Fatherhood Adventures

Thus far, we have a poor opinion of childproof locks, most of which fail miserably at keeping our child out of areas he should not be in.

We see evidence of this fact every day, as Beckett routinely snaps the childproof locks off our kitchen cabinets and throws them on the floor. If he’s not in his usual destructive mood, he will even run around smiling broadly with the so-called childproof lock swinging around in one hand and a Tupperware container from inside the cabinet in the other. He may not know a lot about the complexities of life, but he certainly realizes the magnitude of this simple feat.

By last count, we have three different kinds of childproof locks in our kitchen. I can say with confidence two of them stink entirely and come loose all too easy. All the little guy has to do is swat at them and he’s able to get into the cabinets and wreak havoc.

From my experience so far, it seems these locks are either too good or too puny. The one lock that is truly kid proof is also adult proof in many instances. That’s why this morning I had no other option but to put the pots and pans from the dishwasher on the counter above where they are supposed to go because the good lock defeated me.

My wife has shown me how it’s unlocked previously, but I have no luck with it. Each time she shows me I watch and try to learn, but the problem is all the while Beckett is standing by keeping close tabs, surely trying to follow what’s going on so he can master it as well. Based on his track record with these locks, it’s only a matter of time.

Rather than continuing to dump money into these things, my wife smartly just decided to give him a couple drawers in the kitchen. She has made a game of it by placing different items in the drawers each day. That way when he opens them up he has some new toys to keep him occupied. He loves the new discoveries.

Although he has tons of toys, he has a particular fondness for Tupperware and loves throwing them around on the floor and banging them together. It’s also a common sight to see him place two underneath his hands and push them around the room in some sort of a kid four-wheel fashion.

Pam started with giving him two drawers all to himself. By last count, it was up to three. Predictably, his attention has waned to those that actually have childproof locks on them that work. A tantrum or two has occurred as a result of his frustration, but we have come to just ignore those ridiculous outbursts that months ago would have caused me to have an adult meltdown.

Aside from these issues, all in all, the house is pretty much kid safe now. Sometimes, I look around and have to wonder to myself what happened to our nice, clean home. It’s still the same house, but it has been taken over by our son in every facet.

He is into everything and our house shows it. The best time to take this all in is after he has been put down for the night. This is when you can really see the impact on the house after a day of Beckett.

Some days the clutter is worse than others. When the weather limits the outside time, it’s usually at its worst. This means a lot of inside games and toys scattered around the place.

We have begun working with Beckett on cleaning up after himself, but it’s largely an exercise in futility at this point. There are times when he will do a commendable job of putting away his toys. He actually gets a kick out of it. When he puts a toy, say his little miniature basketball, back where it belongs, he gives himself some applause and looks up for some sort of praise. Of course, he gets congratulated, perhaps a little too much so.

Unfortunately, minutes, sometimes seconds, later, the ball is back out and he has thrown it across the room. The same goes for his books, stuffed animals or whatever. It’s a funny, yet disorderly, process.

By the time he is down and out for the day, it goes without saying Beckett’s house is a bit of a disaster area. That’s when his parents wish they could just blow a whistle signaling the night cleanup crew into action. However, on a particular day recently when weather confined him to inside, matters seemed a bit more astray than usual.

In one room were random shards of paper, a couple days later found to be ripped out of a magazine that had arrived in that day’s mail; toys underneath chairs and in corners; pillows from a chaise two rooms away; the top of a sippie cup; books lying open facedown in a haphazard way; and furniture rearranged to keep him away from the fireplace, which he has a fascination for since it’s off limits at this time.

Another room close by is what we call Beckett’s domain. As I said, it’s Beckett’s house now, but this is definitely the room he spends the most amount of time in and subsequently is where the most disorder can be found at any given time. This just happens to be where we settle down at night to watch television if we are not preoccupied with something else.

Living in messy times is par for the course these days, and the only way to wrap your head around it is to accept it. It’s how it will be for a while because I see no reason at 16 months to be overly harsh on his fondness for disarray. I’m just content when he’s not trying to do a handstand on the hardwood floor or running backwards into my wife’s treasured grandfather clock or eating the remote control.

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.