Adventures In Fatherhood

Ever since we switched Beckett into a toddler bed, the afternoon naps have become frustratingly inconsistent.

It’s been about a month now since Pam took the lead and transitioned Beckett’s crib into a toddler bed. For those who don’t know, this amounted to essentially removing the front of the crib, giving him access to come and go from his bed as desired (gasp).

If it was up to me, this change would not have taken place when it did. I feared he would never sleep and worried he was not ready for this big step. Once again, I was proven wrong, at first.

For the first couple weeks, no change at all was noticed. It was as if he didn’t realize he could now get up or perhaps was scared to as it was something altogether different for him. He stayed in his bed and slept as he always did. Even when he woke up, he would just sit on the side of his bed until one of us came to his room.

Nonetheless, he soon found out the joys of getting out of his bed and exploring, which oftentimes means destroying his room.

In the month since we went to the toddler bed, Beckett has ripped a small little aquarium-like display off the wall, managed to dismantle a rocking chair in his room, flipped over a stereo and removed the speakers, pulled down a window shade off its brackets, ripped numerous pages out of books and wiped the dirtiest of all private business transactions on a wall.

Indeed, it’s been a challenging time full of frustrations and setbacks and ups and downs all around.

Thanks to the joys of a video monitor, we have been privy to all of his antics, although I must admit there was one time last weekend as he was racing around his room that I just turned off the monitor for a few minutes to get some peace.

I figured all the furniture is bolted to the wall, and there was no way he was going to hurt himself. Even if he did, I would hear it throughout the house if it was serious enough. I was growing wearing of watching him throw stuffed animals around the room and aware of the battle that was going to take place to get him to clean it up.

The video monitor, which captures two different views of the room giving us total access, has provided some funny moments of this transition including some blurred images of him somersaulting across the room; walking around with his pillowcase over his head; sitting in his chair tapping his fingers on the arm rests; sleeping half on his bed and half on the floor; tucking a stuffed animal dog under his blanket in bed; and pulling lots of clothes off hangars in his closet.

It’s interesting that he never gets out of his bed at night (and by that I mean 7 p.m. if he doesn’t nap in the afternoon and 8 p.m. if he does). However, he’s prone to prowl in the afternoon.

Some days, he’s out of his bed before we even leave the room and other times he asleep before we close the door. There’s no logic to it because it seems the more active he is the less he sleeps. It makes no sense but it seems to be the way he operates.

A recent no-nap afternoon sums at life with my unpredictable son. As soon as I walked in and saw the disaster he had made of his room, he said to me, “Daddy, there’s no reason for all of this.” I couldn’t have agreed with him more.

The problem when a kid, three months shy of his third birthday, does not nap is he’s all sorts of disoriented and not himself. He’s exhausted but unwilling to sleep, causing him to be a roller coaster of emotions.

In a couple seconds, he will go from laughing to crying and from a fun, happy kid hugging his little brother to a mean, nasty little guy pushing and hitting. It’s like this whenever he does not nap in the afternoon.

After one particularly demanding afternoon with a no-nap Beckett, it was funny to notice within the hour every single toy in his room had been removed and placed next to the attic door.

Apparently, his mom made an executive decision. He did nap that next day, leaving us wondering perhaps he was too distracted by his toys and hoping we had found the secret to afternoon nap success.

However, those hopes were dashed the next day when he immediately began pacing throughout his room, leaving us bewildered once again.

Proof that my 15-month-old is getting stronger and stronger left my ears ringing last week.

Ever since he was old enough to do it, Carson and I have played this game where I put my face directly in front of his (usually making all sorts of goofy looks trying to fetch a giggle) and he gently slaps my cheeks with both his hands.

That’s been a fun little game for us for months. He seems to really get a kick out of it, Last week, I went in while he was on the changing table and I learned just how strong he has gotten the hard way.

He unintentionally, of course, hit me squarely on both ears, leaving me with the sort of ringing of the ears that’s memorable.

That’s the last time I do that. Of course, he really liked the impact his move had on me, so I replaced my head with a soccer ball and that did the trick for him as well.

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.