Fatherhood Adventures

The day starts and ends early around my house.

Have you ever been asked whether you are a morning or a night person? Years ago, particularly during my college years, I would have never imagined calling myself a morning person, but I have definitely become just that over the years, thanks to my job, in part, and my son, largely of late. Generally, my day starts by 6 a.m. and usually ends by 11 p.m.

Getting up early and going to bed early seems to be the life of most parents I know. Personally, that’s fine by me because the early morning around my house is a wonderful time that I treasure every day.

A highlight of most of my days is going into Beckett’s room first thing in the morning. He’s become predictable and starts to stir in the morning around 6 a.m. or so. He usually lets us know he’s ready to start the day through a chorus of “dadadadas” and “mamamas” or by blowing some raspberries. That’s our morning alarm essentially. It sure beats the alarm clock’s annoying chime or radio fuzz because he seems to always wake up in the morning in a good mood, leaving me to wonder if that’s how I would feel if I slept for 10 hours straight.

On any given morning, there’s nothing quite like walking into his room and seeing him standing in his crib. Once he sees me, or anyone else for that matter, he squeals and smiles and spatters off a dozen or so “dadas”. How can you not start the day in a good mood with that kind of greeting? It doesn’t even matter if a dirty and wet diaper change, accompanied by the inevitable wrestling match with my growing boy, lies in your near future.

During most workday mornings, I am with Beckett, giving my wife some time to herself before taking on mommy duties. I enjoy being a part of the transition from a little boy who is still waking up and getting his bearings to a high-energy little rascal with a lot to jabber about and explore.

I never actually realized how loud these morning hours are until last weekend. It’s one of those things you just get accustomed to and don’t think twice about. That is until others are affected. Last weekend, during a family visit, my nephew and his friend were asleep in our living room, which is basically Beckett’s domain.

I found myself trying to convince my son to keep his babble to a minor roar so they could continue sleeping. It was an exercise in futility. At this point, he’s not even quiet when he’s eating. He likes to hum, bang his hands on his high chair, try and grab the spoon and even, for some strange reason, play a song with his bottom lip and pointer finger.

I soon gave up on the idea of keeping my 13-month-old quiet, focusing instead on trying to keep him from throwing blocks, balls and stuffed animals at them while they slept.

Soon enough, they woke up and were content to lie around and watch Beckett’s morning shows, including bits and pieces of Ni-Hao Kai-lan, Max and Ruby, Franklin and Wonder Pets. They still knew all the characters.

On most mornings, Beckett, like any other kid, expects breakfast soon after he wakes up. He plays on his own for a bit, but it’s likely he will let you know he’s hungry soon after. Although he may be only 13 months old, he’s well aware of his morning routine and knows when it’s time to eat. He may not wear a watch or be able to read a clock, but he most certainly has a concept of time.

Although eating always excites him, I think the highlight of his morning time is when he walks freely around the house. This is when the volume of noise in the house reaches its apex. He gets so excited to be loose and allowed to cruise. His favorite place continues to be the kitchen. More than likely it’s because of all the drawers that he likes to try and open, all to no avail as the place is kid-proofed now to the point there are places I can not even figure out how to get into without the help of my wife.

When he’s not trying to pry open cabinet doors and kissing his reflection in the dishwasher in the kitchen, he is running into furniture in the living room. He seems to enjoy running into a chair or ottoman or whatever with reckless abandon and then looking up at me with a smile, waiting for me to seemingly approve in one way or another. Of course, I do just that.

There has been one thing that has changed in recent months in the mornings. He demands more attention more than he once did. It’s become a little game. If he sees me on the computer, he has been getting a little fired up of late. It’s seems anything that takes away my full attention from him is not cool. It’s not a total meltdown, but it’s enough to rattle me to shift my attention. This is not a big sacrifice because my kid’s antics are pure entertainment, whether it’s in the morning, afternoon or evening.

As much as I enjoy being with the little guy, there’s no question a toddler can be exhausting. Although I work during the week, I find out on the weekends how draining a toddler can be to care for throughout the day. That’s why by the time he is ready for bed my wife and I are wiped out.

As much as I adore going into his room first thing in the morning to welcome another day, there’s a similar sense of enjoyment in putting him down for a night’s sleep. A little rest and relaxation is a wonderful thing before waking up and doing it all over again the next day.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.