Adventures In Fatherhood

Carson rarely cries but when he does it causes a stir.
Last Sunday was a special occasion for our 10-month-old – his christening day.

As adorable and angelic as he looked, Carson seemed to be a bit off on this day, particularly during the actual baptism ceremony itself. Tears filled his eyes on a number of occasions, which is newsworthy because days often go by without one crying session from him.

Although he could change at any time, Carson, thus far, has proven to have a mellow personality and is clearly the more laidback of our boys. He seems content no matter where he is, has shown a willingness to adapt to any situation at any givan time and makes life quite easy for his parents.

Based off what we believe to be his personality at this young age, we did not worry too much about him being fussy during the baptism ceremony. It turns out some concerns were merited because he was not happy for much of the event. He didn’t have a total meltdown, but it was close at times.

Perhaps he was warm in his christening gown or maybe it was that he’s so unaccustomed to being the center of attention (second child syndrome) or it could have been the fact he’s cutting some teeth. Whatever the case, he seemed quite miserable, and he made sure we were aware of it with a few tomato-face expressions and lower-lip extensions.

Eventually, he settled down once we sat down in the pew and he got a bottle. At one point, I looked over at my wife and asked her, “is it hot in here or is it me?” She made it clear it was not just me.

There’s nothing like holding a crying baby in front of a group of people to get one a little hot under the collar.

In the days leading up to the baptism, most of our concerns were dominated with curiosity over how Beckett was going to behave.

Carson surprised us and did pose some challenges, and Beckett behaved as we expected. He was a typical 2-year-old and refused to be still and restrained at any point. He was into everything, refused to sit for even 20 seconds and discovered a love of drums.

A good indication of his behavior was immediately noticeable. As we walked into the church, he immediately started shouting, “Jack Black,” a reference to his favorite guest actor on the show “Yo Gabba Gabba.”

While folks were entering the church that day, we let him frolic around and visit with family. All was fine until he noticed a drum set used in the contemporary service at the church. He was fascinated by this new development in his world.

He was rambunctious and excited from the start and the drum set proved to be the main obstacle keeping him from settling down. He wanted nothing to do with anything except banging on the drums with either his fists or the sticks nearby.

Fortunately, we had made plans with a family friend to remove him from the church if things got a little hairy. All in all, I think Beckett was around for about three minutes of the service. Instead, decked out in his sport jacket and tie, he ventured into the Sunday School area and that was the place for him.

“He’s exactly how you describe him,” is what church-goer JoAnne Donovan said to me at the end of the ceremony, referring to this space, as I literally wrestled Beckett away from the drum set one last time.

Due to this obsession, some of the photos of family in the church after the ceremony are quite funny. Most folks are smiling, including me, but I admit mine was faked, as I was trying to prevent Beckett from trying to dive out of my arms and get to the nearby drums.

Shouts of “on my own” are commonly heard these days.

A serious independence streak seems to be the big change of late with Beckett. There’s something new every day with a toddler and that’s entertaining and fascinating to me.

Along with an affinity for making everything a hat, from a shoe, a playing card and a sippie cup to a bowl, pebble and diaper, the most popular change I have noticed recently is a strong willingness to do things on his own and with no help.

On one hand, I welcome it and celebrate it, but, on the contrary, it scares me and makes me question whether he’s ready to do certain things on his own.

This fierce independent will surfaces whenever we get into our car. He now wants to get into the vehicle on his own and get into his car seat without any help. That’s all well and good, so long as he’s cooperating and not trying to get into Carson’s seat or crawl into the driver’s seat, as commonly happens.

His “on my own” mentality also takes place during all meals. He now wants to feed himself and doesn’t want any help unless he barks for it. That’s a good thing. The same goes with the bathtub, as he tries mightily to wash his own hair, to no avail.

There are limits to his independent abilities, and it can be challenging at times in determining how much proverbial rope to give him.

There are times when you just have to overrule him, and one prime example is when I have to stop him from sprinting directly into the ocean. He doesn’t understand that he can’t just run straight into the crashing waves. He doesn’t realize it’s dangerous. That’s when I often have to pick him up and remove him from the situation.

That’s when he screams and shouts, “on my own,” which just have to be ignored in this instance. That’s not always easy when it yells it a dozen or so times for a couple minutes.

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.