Fatherhood Adventures

My son played so hard at
his second birthday party it took him a couple days to recover.
Beckett’s big day, which of course means more to his parents than it really
does to him at his age, was marked on the same day as Mother’s Day.
Consequently, we had our family over to celebrate both occasions.
As most parents do, we went all out to celebrate our firstborn’s birthday. He
had no idea what was coming his way, and all in all it was a great weekend for
our little guy, who actually turned 2 years old on Wednesday.

The highlight of the
weekend for me was watching him goofily frolic around on a rented moon bounce,
which, oddly enough, was a cross between a tropical island and a prehistoric
castle. It was, for some reason, complete with dinosaurs and palm trees, all
encased in a castle.

Due to a unique and
lucky set of circumstances, the moon bounce was with us for three full days,
and we made the most out of it.

Besides clumsily falling
down all over the place inside the bounce, Beckett’s favorite part was the
slide, which Pam seems to think was more like a cliff or a ledge. I admit this
was an odd slide. It was basically just a three-foot drop, but Beckett and his
cousins loved it no matter.

The only problem was he
could not climb the ladder to get to the slide on his own, so I was busy
lifting his 30-pound frame what seemed like hundreds of times throughout the
weekend. He could not get enough of it and actually became quite manic and
obsessive about it by the end of the weekend.
That was predictable for my son, and any kid for that matter. This was how I
hoped he would react to it. Who would not love a 15-foot-wide by 15-foot-tall
inflatable playzone where you could just fall over the place without any harm.
I developed quite a fancy to it as well, using the excuse my son needed a hand
to get to the slide to join in the fun, although I’m sure the manufacturer did
not have me in mind when it was created.

It was a memorable
weekend full of laughs, and there’s really nothing like putting a huge smile on
your kid’s face to warm the heart. As soon as Beckett saw it on Friday, he
immediately said, “yeah, Cocos”, referring to a favorite stomping ground of his
in Salisbury.

The only problem now is
he points to where the big moon bounce was in the backyard, asking, “yeah, Cocos?”
Actually, at random times, he will say that. That’s when you surely know you
have done well by your kid.

By the time his actual
birthday celebration rolled around last weekend, Beckett had a couple days to
get accustomed to his new domain. He was ready to show off his moves in the big
bounce to his cousins. So much so he played directly through his usual two-hour-plus
afternoon nap without any trouble at all.

When I say his moves,
it’s worth noting what those actually were. He basically had three favorite
moves – the aggressive frontal face plant, the abrupt fallback on his bottom
and the sprinting toward a wall and bouncing back. All uniquely contrived with
the same ending – a goofy giggle capped off with a bigger laugh.

However, as expected,
Beckett hit the proverbial wall early that night without his typical nap and a
day of all-out exertion. As the day progressed, it became clear he was nearing
the point of total exhaustion. He was basically a walking zombie and a danger
to himself. He was running into things, falling down steps, crying for odd
reasons, throwing toys, babbling nonsense and was too tired to even eat dinner
that night. He was done and needed to crash.

By 6:30 that night, he
was asleep in his crib, not to be heard from for 12 hours.

On most nights, he
unwinds a little bit, plays with his bink, sings to himself and kicks the sides
of his crib a few times. It’s a familiar routine, but not on this night. He was
falling asleep as I changed his diaper for the last time that day.
I love my toddler’s spirit. It’s this way with all little ones, presumably.
They play their hearts out and always give maximum effort. Sometimes, they get
hurt. Other times, they injure others. They only know one speed, and that’s
full tilt, and it’s a great thing to observe. They do everything to extremes
and then just collapse when they can’t take anymore.

For his birthday,
Beckett played so hard a 12-hour sleep session may not have been enough because
he was still not his energetic self the next day.

When I came home for
lunch on Monday, he was an exhausted little boy. He had run around at the park
earlier that day, but nothing out of the ordinary.

It seemed he was still
feeling the effects of the monster birthday party. That became obvious after he
had lunch on Monday and immediately pulled out a pillow, plopped down in the
middle of the floor and proceeded to fall asleep, albeit with a dirty diaper.

After getting cleaned up
and relocated to his room, he quickly resumed his slumber for three-plus hours.
That’s what I call giving it your all.

It seems to me this
celebrating your birthdays well theme continues throughout life. Even as
adults, some mark the occasion with a night of indulgence (some even prefer set
aside a week), leaving us less than 100 percent, but that’s a discussion for
another day, and it’s surely not the same thing.

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.