Fatherhood Adventures

Sometimes, I feel sorry for the baby in my family.

The issue here is my wife and I both think Carson gets neglected generally because his older brother is such a handful, which seems entirely normal considering he’s a 21-month-old crazy toddler. The fact of the matter is an infant is easy compared to a toddler because they are at such opposite extremes in nearly all facets.

On one hand, Carson cannot do anything without us. He’s entirely dependent on us for everything. Consequently, when he’s content in his basinet or bouncey chair, he stays there, rather than being held all day, which would have been the case when our first child was a baby.

Due to his age, 3 months, Carson is not as demanding. His needs are simple. It’s pure customer service and general maintenance at this point, and it’s all about a routine and sticking with it. At this point, my little guy is extremely mellow and seems to be relishing life’s little things, like a ceiling fan, his fingers, a pacifier or the sound of his voice. That’s all the entertainment he needs.

On the opposite extreme is Beckett, who knows only one speed – it’s borderline manic and subsequently needs careful monitoring because he’s a hazard to himself.

At times, my firstborn can be extremely independent, while in other moments he can epitomize needy.

A couple days will go by when Beckett is wonderful. He’s a loving, affectionate toddler who aims to please and has a thirst for learning. He’s an absolute sponge and a delight to be around. However, on the occasional dark string of days, he’s a confusing mess. Nothing seems to make him happy, even an activity two days ago that entertained him thoroughly. He’s restless and grumpy when he goes to the darkside.

Fortunately, the good days far outnumber the bad. Nonetheless, he dominates the attention around the house simply because he’s mobile and can clearly communicate his likes and dislikes.

At least a couple times a day an interesting situation will arise that reminds me how the priorities seem to fall around the house. The fact is Beckett rules. For example, as I was about to change Carson’s dirty diaper in the living room the other day, Beckett stormed over and it was clear he had a diaper that needed immediate attention. Subsequently, since patience is not a trait Beckett possesses, Carson’s diaper change was delayed and back to the bassinet he went.

As I took my oldest upstairs to change his diaper, I wondered whether he did this intentionally to keep my attention from Carson. As I wrote last week, the green monster prevails around here now, and I wondered whether he took this to a new extreme by dirtying his diaper because he knew it would get my attention.

That’s probably giving him too much credit. Or is it? Was it intentional? This is how you think when you have two kids under 2 years old and the frenetic pace takes a toll on the psyche. Either way, Beckett’s diaper took precedent.

The beautiful thing is Carson was right where I left him, of course, just looking around the room, kicking his legs and trying to swallow his fist. It’s awesome – he actually stays where I put him and doesn’t freak out when he doesn’t get just what he wants when he wants it. I realize now that I need to appreciate this more than ever because these days are numbered.

In some ways, the baby has to take the backseat because his needs are so simplistic. It goes without saying he’s cared for adequately and all, but Beckett craves the lion’s share of the attention and subsequently Pam and I like to think Carson has developed a laidback personality. This may just be wishful thinking but we are hopeful one of our kids will adopt an easy-going approach to life, and we are fairly certain it won’t be our oldest.

This mentality may be confirmed by a recent development. Carson has been routinely sleeping through the night for the last few weeks. As I write this, I am knocking on wood because the last couple weeks of sleep have been blissful and I don’t want to jeopardize that.

There’s really nothing quite like a full night’s sleep. Before I had kids, it was something I took for granted and never realized was so important. Now, with a 21-month-old toddler and an infant, I consider it a perk.

Beckett, the toddler, sleeps through the night all the time. Sometimes, he wakes up a little earlier than anyone would like (5:45 a.m. for the last week or so), but once he’s down for the night rarely do we hear from him again until morning. That’s a beautiful thing.

Carson, the infant, spent his first couple months waking up every four hours or so, only to eat and then crashing. He has been pretty consistent from the start. Over the last couple weeks, he has proven capable of going eight hours consistently at night without waking up. His record so far is nine hours, which scared us a bit honestly.

While Pam and I love the return to a solid night’s rest, it’s still not what I would call uninterrupted sleep, by any means. There are still points in the night that one of us, or both, will wake up to make sure all is good. It’s a little hard to believe he’s going the entire night so early, but I will take a little head scratching in bed at 3 a.m. over those drowsy wee-hour feedings any 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.