Fatherhood Adventures

When it comes to parenting, moms and dads see some things differently.

There’s a long list of examples to illustrate the point, but going too far into detail here could be a little hazardous to my health. Therefore, I digress.

Some safe territory to chart involving the strange differences between parents involves the diaper change, which is usually my department around the house, particularly when it comes to the 22-month-old, 30-pound-plus toddler and the inevitable challenges that it involves.

In one way, my wife and I approach a diaper change the same way – we dread it – and those feelings have little to do with what’s inside the diaper. That’s just something you come to terms with early on in this adventure.

However, the similarities end with the dread because Pam and I go about a diaper change with Beckett in opposite fashions.

With my youngest son Carson, it’s no big deal. The thing with him is he’s extremely ticklish and laughs whenever he is touched without his clothes on. Therefore, giving him a diaper change is more hilarious than stressful. Plus, he’s just 15 pounds and is not doing a lot of moving around at this point.

With the frisky Beckett, in short, my wife adopts the story approach, while I go the way of the stopwatch.

Pam goes the marathon route with the diaper change, preferring to talk him through it, telling him a story or maybe playing the repeat game where he mimics everything she says in his own tone and voice. She believes this keeps him distracted enough to let her get the task accomplished. Plus, it’s really her only play. She understands well she does not stand a chance if it becomes a wrestling match because he’s as elusive as he is freakishly strong for his age. He has a way of overpowering her.

Although I admire the overall results she gets with her methodology, I prefer to think of Beckett’s diaper change as a sprint.

I just look to roll up the sleeves and cue the ring bell. I aim to get it done quickly and set him free. To me, it’s something to be taken care of as efficiently as possible, particularly now that I understand he will do whatever it takes to avoid being constrained. If it means getting off his back and onto his feet playing again, he will kick, slap, roll to his belly, stick his hands in the dirty diaper, yank out arm hair and even push himself off the changing table altogether.

Overall, I think it’s a good thing his mom and dad approach the diaper change in such contrasting manners. Maybe it keeps him guessing and unsure what’s coming up next. Or, more than likely, perhaps it just makes him laugh.

Seemingly out of the blue, my son has developed a love affair with Elmo, the 3-year-old talking muppet from Sesame Street, and I don’t approve of this relationship.

I came home from work last Thursday to my wife telling me all Beckett was asking for all day was “melmo”, as he refers to it. A couple days later, of course, a “melmo” DVD mysteriously appeared in the house.

While his fascination is growing, I must admit I prefer and miss Diego, the animal rescuer who he once enjoyed tremendously. My reasoning is simple.

As many parents realize well, Elmo has one of those zany voices that can be quite annoying. It’s sort of a high-pitch shriek, which is more irritating than it is cute, if you ask me.

With the weather warming and outside opportunities to play now plentiful, my hope is this phase runs its course soon enough and that he forgets about his little buddy “melmo”.

In the meantime, since Beckett is an absolute sponge and soaks up everything these days, I have a concern with this baby muppet adoration. Since Elmo always refers to himself in the third person, I am curious as to whether Beckett will pick this up as well. I can just see it now. Although he cannot say his name yet, I’m sure one day he will say, “melmo wants sgetti dada.”

Carson, the 4-month-old, spent his first night in his room this week.

This was a long time coming, and there’s no question it should have happened by now. Unfortunately, a number of things, including nervous, overprotective parents, led to our little guy staying in a basinet in our bedroom for the first 4 ½ months of his life.

With the first couple nights, all went well, save for some sleep deprivation for my wife, who spent most of the wee hours staring at the monitor to make sure all was well with her baby.

I must confess Pam was not alone in her reticence to move Carson into his crib. While she has those common maternal fears, I was more concerned with disrupting his wonderful routine of sleeping through the night. I worried moving him to new surroundings may cause a regression of some sort and return us to the nights of a couple hours of sleep here and there.

Fortunately, that was not the case at all, as he has slept through ever since he was relocated and seems to have adjusted better than his mother.

On that first baby-free night, I was surprised to find myself immediately longing for the lullaby music we used to help him fall asleep every night. Fortunately, all is good because I can still hear the tunes through the monitor on the nightstand.

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.