Adventures In Fatherhood

The approach to getting a babysitter sure has changed over the last couple years.
At first, getting a babysitter was a traumatizing thing for my wife and me.

It’s safe to say those days of natural trepidation and anxieties are long gone because now it’s a cause for celebration most of the time.

In the early days of this parenting thing, there was apprehension involved with getting a sitter and leaving behind a kid or kids. While there’s still a natural concern over leaving our kids, it’s nothing like it once was a couple years ago.

There are no more thorough background and credit checks and fingerprinting. These days, if you have a pulse and are decent with kids, we are fine walking out the door.

Of course, I’m exaggerating on both fronts, but we have relaxed quite a bit, and we laugh at ourselves consequently.

When Beckett was first born, it seemed like we spent a half hour or so with the babysitter, briefing her (or he) on a number of things, from how to hold him to how frequently to change his diaper and the details of his feeding schedule. Additionally, there was a blow-by-blow hardcopy itinerary in case some details were forgotten.

Now, we simply remind them of a couple things, like where their bedrooms are and where we keep the diapers and when they should go to sleep, reminding them to call if they need to reach us.

The fact is our kids are getting older and they are easier to care for than they were not too long ago. Is it this or maybe we, as parents, have just learned to mellow and understand the bigger picture?

Whatever the case, like most parents, when we aren’t with our kids, we are talking about them. However, that doesn’t mean a little break is not needed every now and again. It’s that whole absence makes the heart grow fonder thing.

Parents need time together and away from the kids. Shortly after Beckett was born, Pam and I found ourselves reminding each other we need some time outside the house to be husband and wife and not just mom and dad. These days, we don’t need the reminders, as we have dates marked on our calendar weeks in advance for some adult nights – football games, theater shows, concerts, anniversaries, birthdays, fundraisers, simple dinners with friends, etc.

Eventually, I presume our independence will lead to vacations away from the kids. We have done numerous nights away for a handful of occasions, but I don’t think we are at the point yet of considering a week away, but surely soon enough that will be happening. We are growing.

My wife worked me over a couple weeks ago.

I was somewhere near Willards on Route 50 when it finally dawned on me that my wife had executed a perfect plan.

It was a Tuesday evening and our pediatrician’s office was offering flu shots. Coincidentally or not, Pam had to work on this particular night.

Of course, it had slipped my mind until a couple days before when she reminded me I had to take them to the doctor’s office for their flu shots and that she come along because she had an appointment with clients.

I had no problem flying solo on the boys-only mission, but I realized after a few questions that she was dodging me. She played me well, as I asked her what to expect when I got there. She told me repeatedly she was not sure.

At the time, I figured I would just fly blindly into this proverbial bee’s nest. Somewhere around Willards I started wondering if this was an intentional set up and whether Pam scheduled work around this appointment so she would not have to watch as both her boys got their shots.

With that little nugget of curiosity in the back of my head, I continued on to the doctor’s office. When I arrived shortly before the appointed time, I arrived to a mad house, as there were already families standing at the door in the rain waiting for the office to open at 6 p.m. Others were just waiting in their cars, but their eagerness was clearly evident as they waited and stared, without blinking, at the door for the first sign of a staff member.

These people had their plans and clearly it was well orchestrated, leaving me to realize I was about to be worked over for the second time that day. It was evident I should have planned better.

I was facing a double team of kids and the masses of anxious parents and kids were starting to give me some angst. I was beginning to think I was going to there till late in the night because it was first-come, first-served.

While I unpacked the kids one at a time, I watched as frantic parents raced their kids to the door to sign up and wait for their names to be called. I found myself hustling as well, leading Beckett to infer as I threw him over my shoulder and pushed Carson in a stroller, “Wow, daddy’s in a hurry … yeah more.”

Fortunately, all went fairly smoothly. We had about a 15-minute wait and Beckett entertained me with a few of his patented break dance moves and some odd observations of others’ actions, like, “look daddy, she’s doing a big no-no.” He was pointing at a girl in the corner with a finger up her nose.

Both kids handled the shots pretty well. There were the inevitable tears for a couple minutes, but nothing a couple stickers from the nurse couldn’t fix in short order.

For the record, Pam later said it was just a coincidence that she had to work on the same day as the dreaded shots, but I’m not buying that, for what it’s worth.

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.