Adventures In Fatherhood

There is one particular phrase that causes me to cringe like no other.

It’s “Hey Daddy, watch this,” an often heard comment from my 2 ½-year-old Beckett.

I remember the first time I heard my son say those words. It was shocking at the time because he was barely speaking up to that point. Hearing him say anything at that point was cause for celebration, and the fact he wanted to be an exhibitionist of sorts was quite adorable.

Today, the endearing part has worn off. It actually scares the daylights out of me because I never know what will follow after he calls that out.

This is a phrase he picked up somewhere along the way and it’s one of his “go to” comments. It’s unclear how it became part of his vocabulary, but it’s something that surely gets our attention.

No matter what I’m doing, I stop immediately when I hear him utter those words. He knows it will stop me and my wife in our proverbial tracks, and it’s probably one of the reasons it’s such a popular expression for him.

Fortunately, most of the time it’s no big deal. It could just be something as simple as cutting a little jig, for whatever reason; or throwing a football up in the air; or kissing his little brother on the head; or hopping around like a bunny for an extended period of time.

However, it’s the other sorts of occasions that give us reasons to pause whenever he says it. It’s these situations that cause us to not trust him.

It’s the times when he’s standing on top of a slide at the playground when we worry about his unpredictable nature; or hovering over his younger brother with his sippie cup in his hand extended over his head; or when he’s holding my phone standing by the trashcan; or when he has a hand full of food at the table; or when he’s standing on the edge of the furniture with a smile on his face; or when he’s managed to maneuver himself in front of my laptop keyboard; or when he’s about to launch himself headfirst into a pile of leaves.

You can imagine the uncomfortable feelings that come about when I hear “Hey Daddy, watch this”. It’s the fear of the unknown, particularly when just about anything is possible.

Within a period of two weeks, things are changing rapidly with my youngest son.

Carson does everything at his own pace or at least that’s how it appears. He has been a little slower to achieve the milestones, like crawling, talking, holding his bottle and feeding himself, than his bigger brother was. However, the last couple weeks have been amazing, as he is now on a roll and is accomplishing a lot in a short period of time.

Within the last two weeks, he has started sitting up by himself, standing up on his own, grabbing food and putting it in his mouth by himself, averaging a new tooth each week, blowing all sorts of raspberries and talking more and more.

I will never forget this period of his life. One day we woke up to find him sitting up by himself in the crib clapping his hands. Not a week later, we looked into the baby monitor at 5 a.m. and were astounded to see him standing up laughing at himself.

These are special times for our little guy. It’s like everything clicked all at once for him.
Clutter is a bit part of life with two little ones, and some of us deal better with it than others.

My wife has a boiling point, and it’s not a lot of fun when it’s been reached. The disorder just gets to be too much for her.

Me? I have my limits as well, but affairs around the house have to get quite chaotic before I reach my tipping point. I think my threshold is higher because I lived with three guys for four years in college and am used to a certain amount of disarray.

As much as we try and work with Beckett on picking up after himself (yes there’s lots of singing, “clean up, clean up, clean up, everybody helps, …”), it’s an exercise in futility for the most part. He seems content leaving behind a path of destruction wherever he goes.

It can get quite exasperating, but it wears much more on Pam. There are times when she just can’t stand it anymore, and all the men of the house – me, Beckett, Carson and the dogs Fletch and Bailey – must evacuate.

There is no order or demand. It’s not needed. We need to be removed from the situation for her sanity and our safety.

Walking back into the house can be a tricky time as well. While I sort of tip-toe lightly, Beckett’s eyes widen as we walk into a clean house. You can hear the excitement in his voice as he says, “wow Mommy it’s so clean”, before he immediately heads for his toys and books.

As much as my wife detests clutter, it seems Beckett craves it. I find myself stuck in the middle, but my wife would say I tend to my son’s side of looking at things more so than her point of view.

If you talked to her about it, she would probably cite as an example one particularly memorable situation on a Sunday afternoon during a football game. Pam had been busy early in the day tidying the house, and a nice lazy afternoon had developed for all of us. Apparently at some point, and I don’t even really remember doing this, on my way to the refrigerator for something, I kicked aside a truck so I could open up the fridge.

Pam seemed to notice it immediately, firing off something along the lines of, “really, you didn’t see that and didn’t think you should pick it up, rather than kicking it aside.”

My response? “Oh no, I saw it, I was just moving it.”
Yes, I’m a work in progress.

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.