Fatherhood Adventures

Parenting can be
demanding at times, but taking the gang on the road takes it to another level.
The “family truckster” headed north last weekend to New York City for a weekend
visit with family, and, oh my, it sure was an interesting experience.

I knew my kids, 2 years
and 8 months, were too young to actually enjoy New York City and what it
offered. However, I figured my toddler would get a kick out of the tall
buildings and the enormity of Central Park. What I didn’t bargain for was how
incredibly difficult he would be for nearly the entire trip.

By the time Sunday
morning rolled around, we were shell shocked by the entire experience and maybe
even scarred by some of the memories made.

As usual, time has a
magical way of healing. After about 48 hours of being back at home base, I
began thinking the kids were not as bad as it seemed at the time. I quickly was
brought back to reality while downloading the photos from the short jaunt
north. While it was not exactly funny at the time, I ended up laughing as the
photos appeared before me on my computer screen.

Most of the pictures
were from our day spent in Central Park, which I think is perhaps the best
place in the world to people watch. The Boardwalk in Ocean City is a prime
people-watching spot, but Central Park offers something altogether different.

The only problem here
was we were too busy with the customer service aspect of parenting to enjoy the
sights and sounds. We were frantically preoccupied with Beckett, who was at his
most challenging on this particular day. He was clearly out of his element and
he just could not get his wits about him.

It was just one of those
days when nothing made him happy. He didn’t want to run around where he was
allowed, only where he was not supposed to be or could get hurt. He didn’t want
to sit on a mushroom at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture for a quick photo. He
refused to hold hands while walking and subsequently was relegated largely to
the stroller, infuriating him beyond belief and causing frequent meltdowns. He
had little interest for long in the many playgrounds offered in the park. He
reluctantly ate a hot dog from a park stand, and he even was not that into an
ice cream pop.

He was clearly off and
we forced to make the best of it. Our mindset was we were not going to let him
ruin the entire day, but that was foolish. He pretty much did and challenged us
at every step of the way.

Flipping through the
photos from the trip a few days later cracked me up, although it was anything
but funny at the time.

There was one of Pam,
Beckett and me at the Alice in Wonderland sculpture where I am holding Beckett,
who, of course, wanted no part of that. In the photo he had his arm behind my
head and his leg wrapped around my waist, all in a frantic effort to wiggle
free. What’s classic is Pam and I are feigning ridiculous smiles, while my kid
is tomato-faced, crying and trying to do bodily damage to me so he can run
free. It’s a keepsake shot.

Other photos I had to
laugh at included:

— a picture of Carson peacefully asleep
in the double stroller with Beckett nearby pitching a fit. I was caught looking
to the sky wiping sweat off my forehead. Pure exasperation.

— There’s a photo of
Pam and Beckett overlooking a pond in the park. Nice shot, but unique in that
Pam is hanging on to Beckett’s right hand while his left hand is stretched out
in an unsuccessful attempt to touch the algae in the water. Next shot, of
course, showed him pitching a fit.

— A shot of Beckett
sitting on a rock overlooking a softball game made me laugh because there I was
trying to have some quiet time with my boy pointing out the intricacies of the
game at hand. That all came to a quick end when I discovered he had kicked his
shoe off somewhere along the way and that a reconnaissance mission was in

— There was a photo of
Carson, the 8-month-old, and Pam’s step-son, Steven, that made me smile. Carson
was in the stroller, kicked back and Steven had his head rested near him. While
it was a nice shot, I was immediately intrigued by what I was doing at the time.
There was this pleasant and tranquil moment. All the while nearby Beckett was
likely launching himself off a manhole cover on to the dirt. That did happen.

— In a shot that played
itself out throughout the entire downloading session, there was a photo of a
clearly frustrated Pam trying to catch up to Beckett, who was in mid sprint
heading for a horse-drawn carriage. It was a series of photos showing him
pulling his hand away from her’s, scrambling away and then her catching up to
him. The last shot showed her walking back with him with her hand around his
wrist and him pitching another huge fit.

— Last, and certainly
not least, is a video of Pam, Beckett and me on the Carousel in the park.
Beckett cried throughout, saying the music was, “too loud.” Subsequently, Pam
sat with him in a nearby booth on the Carousel and eventually calmed him down,
while I rode the horse up and down until our turn was up.

Looking back, after
having a few days to recover from the unfortunate aspects of the experience, I
can honestly say I was proud of us for even embarking on this adventure. We
knew it was going to be a proverbial roll of dice and we understood what might happen.
Unfortunately, it was rougher than we even expected, but it seems to me that’s
just parenting.

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

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.