Fatherhood Adventures

Okay, think about this for a minute before responding – what would you say if someone called your kid fat?

It happened the other day, and all I did was smile, for some reason, and utter a ridiculous comment that I would take back if I could.

I was pushing Beckett along the street in his stroller when a neighbor approached to get an updated look at the growing little guy. She said something along the lines of, “hey there, fat boy, you’re such a cute, fat boy.” I was kind of startled and laughed it off, saying, something corny and lame brained like, “yeah he’s well loved, alright.”

As I walked away, I found myself wondering, “what did I just say?” and then started thinking, did she just call my kid fat to his face as well as mine?

When we got to the house, I was still reflecting on the seemingly innocent conversation when I leaned down to pull him out of the stroller. That’s when I realized why she said what she did.

There was my son sitting in a rather unflattering position. Whether it’s my fault or his doing, somehow his shorts had become extremely jacked up, revealing all of his thunder thighs, which in some positions show three rolls of “love”. To make matters worse, he had pulled his shirt up some to show a mighty bulge of belly hanging over one of the stroller straps.

It was at that point I understood how my neighbor’s comment arose. She was simply making an observation.

There are certain moments in life that serve as reminders as to how much my life has changed.

I am a huge Ravens fan and try to set aside a few hours a week for their weekly game on Sundays or even Mondays. All week I read the stories in the paper previewing the upcoming week’s game, player profiles and columnists’ takes on the team. It’s all hype for the upcoming game that weekend.

Last weekend I had to marvel at what I was doing during the heavily anticipated battle between the Ravens and Patriots. Instead of plopping down in front of my big flat screen with some nachos and a couple Lite beers, which may have been the case just two seasons ago, I found myself at a birthday party for some friends’ 2-year-old daughter. I could not help but laugh to myself as we drove to the party with the Ravens game on the radio.

Fortunately, the game was on the television at the party, and my wife and I took turns chasing around our son and making sure he did not pull a tablecloth off, grab a drink, move the birthday girl out of the way so he could push the shopping cart or attempt to dangle on the treadmill like the older kids.

Yes, rather than watching the game, I was playing toddler tracking, my term for following my son everywhere he goes, shielding him from steps, table corners, the streets and the like.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon, even though I missed some of the game. I was even home in time to see the dropped pass that cost the Ravens the game. All in all, a good time (thanks to the Ferrantes), but it was a different way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I could not help but reflect on it.

Every once in a while, it’s nice to have a sleep-in day.

The disclaimer here is 8 a.m. is considered sleeping in at my house. So once every couple weekends or so, I get to stay in bed while my wife takes care of Beckett in the early a.m. The same goes for her, and we switch off whenever possible. It usually ends up being once every couple months for each of us.

Mornings typically start at our house anywhere between 5 and 7 a.m. I must admit when there’s a chance for a slightly expanded slumber its appealing. However, inevitably, the sounds of a toddler fill the house, making sleep difficult, but I must admit it’s fun to listen to how the morning develops from bed.

In our house, our bedroom is directly above the living room, making it easy to hear everything that goes on below. With our son, if you can hear him, then more than likely you can figure out what he’s doing.

For instance, I know that if I hear him yelling, “do-do-do”, that means he sees the dogs first thing in the morning and wants to chase them out the door for their morning runs.

I know if I hear him saying “nana” incessantly that my wife must have shown him the banana he’s about to eat for breakfast or he’s actually enjoying it and saying it at the same time.

If I hear squeals resembling a monster meltdown, that more than likely means he is sitting in the refrigerator, refusing to move and my wife has been forced to pull him out and shut the door. This usually results in a tantrum, quickly forgotten about 30 seconds later.

If there’s a long period of silence, that usually means one of two things – he’s either taking care of some business, likely in a corner somewhere, or a song by the Fresh Beat Band or the Laurie Berkner Band has come on the television.

Perhaps my favorite sound I can hear from upstairs is the pitter-patter of his feet on the hardwood floors. Rarely is he walking from one point to another these days. Instead, he likes to run and it cracks me up. He runs from one end of the house to the other with arms out bouncing around and the curls in his hair moving from side to side. Best of all is the huge giggle and odd sounds when he runs.

With all this activity, I usually can’t resist rolling out of bed and joining in the morning fun. The best part is seeing my son for the first time on any particular day and hearing the pitter-patter as he runs to me.

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.