Adventures In Fatherhood

With a 2 year old, life often involves a lot of “no”.

This can become quite repetitive, and, while we try to come up with other creative ways to get the point across, the word “no” is almost always inevitable. There’s really no other way around it, at least as far as my toddler goes.

Beckett is a handful. He likes to test the boundaries. Although I know he understands right from wrong, there are times when he sides with the later. It’s just his nature to be a little mischievous at times, and, while it can be frustrating and exhausting, I would never change anything about my kid. In a way, I admire his will to do his own thing, but there are limits.

Sure, we praise him when he does well, like when he shakes someone’s hand and says “nice to meet you” or “sure happy to see you”. I have no idea how or whom he picked this up from, but one day he walked up to me extended his chubby little hand, shook my hand and said, “nice to meet you.” This came right before he yanked my hat off, put it on his head, cocked it sideways and sprinted straight into a nearby chair. He quickly picked up his cap, said “whoa, oh my gosh”, shook off the unexpected encounter and went about his business of playing trucks.

That’s one of those moments to be cherished. I love that spontaneity and never knowing what’s going to come out of his mouth or what he’s going to do at any given time. I don’t even mind it when he says something wrong like, “daddy’s a girl, mommy’s a boy.” I just correct him, move on and memory bank it for a laugh later.
Right or wrong, most of our time continues to be consumed with protecting him from himself and that usually involves a constant stream of “no” and finding other means of getting the same message across.

I wish there was a better way but there are certain situations that call for a stern response.

For example, over the last couple weeks, Beckett has become fascinated with our two dogs – yellow and black Labs. He enjoys patting them on the head and back and saying, “good dogs”. He also likes grabbing their tails. He gets the biggest kick out of when they lick him. That just cracks him up like nothing else currently.

As his comfort level with Fletch, 11, and Bailey, 6, grows, it’s become interesting to watch their interaction. He fancies himself a bit of a dog whisperer (or at least that’s what I think when I see him whisper in their ears and then put his ear down to their mouths).

The dogs, fortunately, just let him do whatever he wants to them, although that concerns me when I watched Beckett trying to peer into Bailey’s mouth the other day while he was panting. That seemed to amaze him, and all of a sudden he tried to stick his entire hand and arm down Bailey’s throat. Bailey didn’t seem to mind, but it scared me.

I had no other choice but to yell, “no” at him and explain to him why. Apparently, it sunk in because now every time he comes close to either dog’s mouth, he says “no, no, no”. That’s a good thing.

Plenty of other situations surface every day that merit a little bit of, shall we say, correction. Here’s a few:

— He often stands by the pool, giving his mother a panic attack every time. Thinking he’s being clever, he dips his toe in the water, saying, “noooo” in a mocking tone.

— While I am giving Carson a bath, I usually let Beckett explore the bathroom. Inevitably, his favorite spot is the shower and the most fascinating object in there is the soap. He brought it over to me the other night and put it up toward my face. Since he was saying, “mmmm”, I figured I would oblige him, as he probably just wanted me to smell it and echo his sentiments. Instead, he shoved it with force into my mouth. He laughed hard.

— After he had been asleep for a few hours the other night, Beckett suddenly jumped up and started yelling, “bananas”. Apparently, for some reason, he thought it was morning already. We were quick to remind him that was not the case.  

Such is life with my little guy.
A special note of appreciation this week goes to “Fireman Mike” and his wife, Connie.

Area resident and volunteer firefighter Mike LeCompte gave Beckett (and me as well) a thrill last Saturday by letting us ride shotgun with him during the Berlin Fire Department’s 100th Anniversary Parade. Thanks to Mike for being such a generous host.

Connie deserves some gratitude as well for giving up her seat alongside her husband, allowing us the opportunity to take a ride in the parade. She and her husband should know they made my boy’s day.

What was amazing was how silent my son was throughout the entire parade. He is typically nonstop volume, talking and babbling about something or other all the time. It might not always make sense or even be comprehendible, but there’s always something coming out of his mouth.

That was not the case along the parade route, as he seemed to be overwhelmed and in awe of everything. He was silent for the longest period I can remember, other than when he’s asleep, of course.

For me, the best part about that afternoon was hearing him tell the story later in his version of broken English.

It goes something like this … “Fireman Mike … horn, honk, honk … parade Beckett, Daddy, Fireman Mike … big red truck … vroom, vroom, vroom … yeah … one more time, one more time … yeah, vroom.”

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.