Adventures in Fatherhood

Beckett made his first Facebook status update last month.

That’s right, he’s quite technologically savvy for a kid a month shy of his third birthday.

When we received our iPad around Christmas, neither Pam nor I could have imagined how much Beckett would love it. Of course, it wasn’t a huge surprise that he would want to play with it, but we were surprised to observe how proficient he immediately was it and how quickly he mastered it.

It’s to the point now that if he notices one of us with it he demands it in only the charming way that a toddler can. Statements like “give it to me,” “it’s my iPad” and “it’s mine” dance through my head.

I have been noticing how adept he has become with it for weeks, flipping from one app to the next with ease, adjusting the volume at will and even flipping through family photos naming his relatives, but one day recently it all hit home when I randomly noticed my Facebook page had a status update that consisted of “Aaassszzz. … xxcvBb-vbbbdgm”.

It was such nonsense my immediate reaction was to conclude it was the work of a hacker, immediately changing my password, but later realized it was Beckett that hacked into my account. That’s when I truly realized exactly how masterful he had become.

If you are unfamiliar with an iPad, this proficiency may not seem that impressive, but it’s worth pointing out there’s no keyboard on an iPad. You have to touch the screen in the designated spot to bring typing keys up and then know how to hide it when you are finished to continue on to other things. That’s not even including the fact you have to find the Facebook logo first to even access the social network.

The iPad is a fairly simple device to use for adults, but I didn’t think it was something exactly friendly for kids. Apparently, I was wrong.

I am constantly amazed at watching him on it. He quickly slides through the screens and goes from playing a piano in one musical app, naming animals in a learning program and playing “Angry Birds,” a silly and popular game available on numerous mobile devices, to unknowingly buying songs through iTunes, watching a saved episode of “Modern Family” and taking pictures.

Carson, too, is interested in the iPad, but more so as a chewing device, and Beckett will have none of that. He often says, “no no Car-Car, iPads aren’t for babies.” To which, I say to myself nor for 2-year-olds.

As expected, we have to be careful with Beckett because he’s addicted to it and can be quite obsessive at times. Therefore, we monitor his usage as much as possible and try to use it as a treat or perk rather than an accepted toy he can play with whenever he wants.

When I found him the other day searching adeptly through YouTube (he somehow came across a behind the scenes look of the TV show “Yo Gabba Gabba!”), I panicked and decided he needed a break.

I was worried what he could come across and how he would articulate that later. I get a kick out of what’s on YouTube, but it’s no place for a young kid.

When I grabbed it and told him it needed to charge, my son eloquently and hysterically said, “But daddy, I want to play match-match, numbers and letters on the iPad.”

That’s when I knew it was time to get outside and run around, despite the fact he said repeatedly while running around, “I want to watch Sesame Street on the iPad.”

There may be nothing like seeing my two kids on a trampoline together to give me a scare.

As you would expect, Beckett is a madman on the trampoline and is now able to somersault, run around in circles, jump on his bottom and land on his feet and get in and out of it on his own. He loves it and is fun to watch.

Last weekend, during one of those warm days that results in early spring fever, I took Carson outside so he could watch his crazy big brother on the backyard trampoline.

Within a few minutes, Carson got antsy and pitched a fit. He wanted to get in it with Beckett in a bad way and was letting me know about it.

After a talk with Beckett, consisting of a few warnings and reminders, I let Carson loose on the trampoline with him (shhh, don’t tell his mother).

Stunned by the bounce factor, Carson just sat there bewildered for a minute or two, while Beckett egged him on to do something, seemingly anything. Carson seemed to be in a state of shock and didn’t blink for what seemed like a couple minutes.

Frustrated by his inactivity, Beckett started jumping with all his might, and Carson loved it. If you are not going to move, I’m going to make you move seemed to be the thought process.

That immediately led to worries Carson was about to get launched airborne because Beckett was really getting into it once he noticed his little brother laughing.

When Carson made it to his knees and started crawling around the trampoline (which is protected by a seven-foot enclosure, by the way), Beckett got a little too rough, leaving Carson’s face literally bouncing off the mesh of the trampoline’s surface.

I jumped in and got him out of harm’s way and Carson threw an enormous fit with huge tears. I figured he was scared and maybe even got hurt a little. I was regretting the decision.

Apparently, he liked the rough housing, as he tried to wrestle free with all his might to let his brother work him over some more.

When I didn’t let Carson back in the trampoline, both my kids threw temper tantrums and became incorrigible.

Ah, the joys of fatherhood.

About The Author: Steven Green

Alternative Text

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.