Adventures In Fatherhood

A little one’s birthday should be memorable and celebrated, and we basically did that for a week when it came to my oldest son’s third birthday.

To be certain, we overdid it, but I think that’s the way it should be.

Beckett’s birthday week began with a surprise encounter with Barney a week ago, a new backyard playground unveiled on the morning of his actual birthday, a party at Coco’s Fun House in Salisbury on Sunday with family, lots of cake and ice cream throughout the week and, of course, a quick trip to Atlantic General Hospital’s ER after a fall in his new playground.

The result of all this celebrating was a lot of memories and complete exhaustion.

All of the activity and an unbelievable stretch of misbehavior and defiance by the birthday boy throughout the week became a little too much for me over the weekend.

On Sunday, for a period of an hour, Beckett went to the dark side, pushing items off the counter, hitting his brother, throwing his toys, kicking the furniture, launching himself off chairs, banging his head into my leg, to name just a few moments of high anxiety.

This hour of total disobedience took place the morning of his birthday party, and I am not ashamed to admit I needed to get away from him for a few minutes.

While Pam was in the shower, he was driving me crazy with his bizarre antics and terrible behavior. It reached the point that I went into the bathroom at one point to take a few deep breaths and grab a little solitude before heading to Salisbury to Coco’s for a birthday party in his honor.

Unfortunately, Beckett would have none of that and barged into the bathroom, announcing quickly, “I found you, more hide and seek, Daddy.”

It was a shame much of his birthday week seemed to be dominated by misbehavior, reminding me what a friend said recently about how the “3s” were much worse than the “2s” because they know right from wrong and often intentionally side with the later.

Despite these spells of deviant behavior that drove his parents to the breaking point, Beckett had a great week and it was a special time.

We love surprising our kids and that’s why we had planned for this week to be full of them for some time.

It all started about a month ago when we decided we wanted to do a backyard makeover for our boys, with Beckett’s birthday being the target completion and serving as the driving motivation to work efficiently.

This project basically took over our lives for the last month, involving finding the best playset for the right price, deciding to add a playhouse of sorts to the area, killing a large expanse of grass, laying plastic over that area to ensure weeds that did not surface and then dumping 10 tons of sand in the space.

My largest role in this project involved the sand aspect, specifically getting a heaping pile of sand relocated from our driveway to the backyard.

Fortunately, my mom owns a golf cart that’s equipped with a dump mechanism that made the job a lot easier than having to use a wheelbarrow to haul it back and forth.

After more than 100 trips and a weekend’s worth of work, the sand was in place. It was impossible to hide this from Beckett so we basically told him we were giving him his own private beach, albeit in perfect dimensions of 40 feet by 20 feet.

Then came the daunting task of putting together the playset, which called for eight to 10 hours of work in the directions. Due to the fact I’m the least handy person I know, I figured it would probably take me and a friend twice that time and a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress.

In my life, free time is not something I have much of and the last thing I wanted to do was spend a weekend fighting with a playset, which came with more than 450 wood pieces and about 1,000 screws, bolts and washers. That’s not to mention the little windows and other add-on features.

Subsequently, Pam had the bright idea of hiring someone familiar with these sorts of things to do the job and I love her for thinking of it.

Of course, as soon as we ordered it, my immediate thought was who could I pay to put this together, but I didn’t want to acknowledge my weakness, at least immediately.

Eventually, our team of workers got the playset together and we were able to surprise him on his birthday morning with this nice new addition to the backyard.

He was thrilled and shocked and we got it all on camera. All week he enjoyed playing on his new play set as well as the nearby playhouse, which will be more like a surf shack once Pam is done with her makeover project.

Unfortunately, hours after his big party at Coco’s on Sunday, all the fun and games came to a grinding halt on Sunday evening when a nasty fall led us to the ER.

You may remember this is not the first time we have been to the ER on a special day in Beckett’s life. We spent a Christmas morning when he was 19 months old in the ER after another bad spill required some stitches.

Fortunately, this gash above his eye didn’t require any stitches, just a Band-Aid and some orders to take it easy for a bit.

It was a memorable week, indeed.

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.