Adventures In Fatherhood

A new nightly event has become quite the hit around the house.

I handle the bath duties in my family, and, depending on the attitudes of my boys on that particular night, it can be a hilarious event full of giggles and memories or a nightmare full of anguish and frustration.

Since Carson was born 14 months ago, I have been taking him and his older brother, Beckett, into the bathroom simultaneously. It’s a little male bonding time for us.

However, until this week, I had never put them both in the tub at the same time. I figured Carson was now big enough to give it a shot.

While I was looking forward to seeing my boys playing in the tub at the same time, I worried for Carson’s safety, as putting him in a tub with Beckett leaves him susceptible to flying toys, lots of splashing water and some occasional rough housing.

Prior to this week, my routine included giving Carson a bath first, while Beckett roamed the bathroom waiting his turn to get wet.

My oldest likes to explore and touch everything. In the bathroom, which is kid proof for the most part, his explorations typically included flushing the toilet repeatedly (that’s still a fascination); using his mommy’s brush on his daddy’s hair (makes me feel pampered in a weird way); going into the shower and smelling the soap and shampoo (he always says, for an unknown reason, ‘they smell like the sun’); putting the towel over his head and playing “peek-a-boo” with Carson (a sure laugh maker); and repeatedly getting on and off the “potty”.

When the roles were reversed and Carson’s bathing was completed, Beckett’s moment in the spotlight took place, while his younger brother hung out and observed and surely learned Beckett’s favorite tub move – dumping buckets of water on his head.

That was then. The routine changed this week, thanks largely to Carson’s newfound curiosity and ability to move around with ease.

Currently, I put both my boys in the tub and it’s pure comedy. I don’t know what it is that’s so funny to them, but they laugh hysterically throughout the session. What humors them typically tickles me as well so it’s usually a lot of fun for all of us.

Beckett’s excitement is so intense he’s just constantly babbling nonsense and laughing. Some of the comments that come out of Beckett’s mouth continue to make me laugh hours and days later. It’s not so much what he utters, but how much he cracks himself up.

“Daddy, look at Car-Car’s hair – it’s stuck to his face,” he says, followed by all sorts of laughter and goofiness.

“Car-Car’s all wet, he looks like a worm,” followed by a belly laugh.

“No, no, Beckett don’t dump water over Carson’s head, I’m being a bad boy Daddy,” followed by more laughs, featuring a few odd knee slaps.

And so on and so on goes the laughter until I decide my water-logged boys have had enough.

Of course, that’s greeted with temper tantrums from them both, reminding me of the vulnerabilities of a kid double team.

Laughing with my kids truly is a blessing that I cherish.

There are many profound sayings about laughter, and one of my favorites is by E.E. Cummings, who said, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

I feel fortunate that I can’t remember a day when I did not laugh hysterically with one or both of my kids.

Beckett is surely the headline comedy act, but Carson is closing the gap.

As I have written many times, Beckett is our extrovert and Carson is the introvert. The roles could change later in life, but there’s a clear distinction between our kids currently.

That’s not to say Carson does not have his sense of humor because he does. It’s just not as refined and blatant as his big brother’s at this point.

However, give Carson a little freedom in the house and he will have you rolling.

The thing is we might not know what he’s laughing at, but the sounds he makes are contagious and inviting and before you know it you are giggling along with him and have no idea what it is that’s so funny.

The other night is a good example. While Beckett was eating dinner, I let Carson out of his gated playzone to cruise around the living room area. Before I knew it, he was across the room eyeing up the fireplace (seems to me all kids love fireplaces because they know they are off limits).

When I picked him up and relocated him, he threw a tantrum until he was placed back on the floor and immediately returned to the fireplace.

Once he got back there, he let a huge laugh, causing Beckett to do the same thing (he said, “Daddy, Daddy, Car-Car’s being silly again, that little goof ball”). As to be expected, I got a huge kick out of that as did Carson.

After further inspection, I found out what Carson was initially laughing so hard at.

There was a Christmas tree ornament in the fireplace (an electric insert, by the way) that was surely relocated by Beckett during one of his many devilish encounters last month.

When I let him hold it, he immediately threw it across the room and fell backwards in a fit of laughter, confirming what we have suspected all along – he’s learning from his older brother and molding his behavior subsequently.

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.