Adventures In Fatherhood

Teaching is a wonderful part of parenting, but I have been surprised to discover learning is also a gratifying, albeit difficult, part of it.

As to be expected, a lot of time is dedicated to showing our kids how to do things, from putting a puzzle together to tricks on a trampoline to stacking blocks to riding bikes, and everything in between. The teaching opportunities are numerous throughout any given day. They are sponges and soak it all up.

However, patience – not exactly among my personality traits – is something I am now forced to learn, thanks largely to my kids.

I realize I’m in the impatient lot. I struggle with it and try to account for it on a normal basis, but there are times when I get a little edgy and I can’t mask my agitation. Getting a handle on my patience threshold is something that needs improving.

Apparently, Beckett has noticed this shortcoming with his father.

Kids do what kids do, and it’s not always what parents have in mind, and that can wreak havoc on the nerves and cause a little impatience.

A recent bath session with Beckett illustrates the point. He was testing my patience by displaying his rebellious nature, which was in high gear because he didn’t nap on this particular day.

A nap-less day is when he’s usually at his most difficult to be around. He’s got the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing working. He can be laughing and having a ball with a toy and then all of a sudden hurl it across the room and break out into a tantrum because he knows he was being a bad boy.

In the tub on this particular night, he was splashing water everywhere and being an overall menace. It was reaching the point I was going hoarse correcting him and trying my best to keep him in check.

None of it mattered. He was not listening. He was throwing his toys at his little brother, Carson; crying because the water was warm (he likes it only cold for some sick reason); and repeatedly telling me he wanted me away from the edge of the tub.

“Daddy, go sit on the potty, right now,” he said repeatedly.

When I didn’t acquiesce, he tossed a bucket of water on me and laughed hysterically. I immediately removed him from the bathtub and went about letting him know that kind of behavior was unacceptable.

Holding back my instinct to raise my voice, I just cupped my head in my hands and nearly rubbed my face off in aggravation, wondering how my 2 ½-year-old son’s stubborn will was getting the best of me.

Observing his dad about to lose it altogether, Beckett looked up at me and said, “Daddy’s frustrated, he needs a nap. He’s tired.” I responded something along the lines of, “yes buddy that’s right.”

Nearby, as I dried off, I watched as Carson rolled on to his back and laughed and laughed as if he was getting tickled. All the while he was keenly keeping at least one eye on Beckett to ensure he didn’t miss anything.

This was surely be an endearing moment years from now. However, At that very moment, it was a test of patience, of which I have little to spare on normal days, but I’m learning it’s a must when it comes to parenting.

I’m a work in progress just like my kids.

Of late, the big change with my boys is their heightened interaction.

For about the first 10 months of Carson’s life, Beckett simply ignored him, seemingly preferring to think he was not present or maybe even refusing to believe he was here to stay.

There were green monster fits whenever Carson was getting attention or at least taking any away from him.

While there’s still some of that and probably will be for some time, it’s become obvious my sons are now getting tight. They are becoming buddies and we love it.

It’s to the point now Carson is at the worship level when it comes to his big brother.

If Beckett is in the room, he has his little brother’s full attention. Carson watches him as he goes about his daily antics of messing up the house or finding fun and creative ways to use a new whoopee cushion he was given recently.

No matter what Beckett is up to, Carson finds it hilarious, and Beckett gets a huge kick out of the fact he can make Carson laugh.

That’s why he’s often heard saying, “Mommy, I made Carson laugh.” He thinks that’s the coolest thing, no matter what he had to do to receive the chuckle.

As this relationship has grown, particularly in recent months, Beckett seems to be prowling for new ways to make Carson laugh.

Recent attempts have included somersaults off the furniture on the hardwood floors; throwing his sippie cups across the room; tickling his little brother with way too much force; giving him Eskimo kisses; and good old-fashioned peek-a-boo games.

As you can tell, his motives range from the reckless and harmful to the sweet and innocent. It does not seem to matter to Beckett as Carson laughs at everything he does for the most part.

Although we have to keep an eye on Beckett and make sure he’s not too rough with the little guy of the house, nothing beats watching these guys at play and laughing together.

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.