Adventures Of Fatherhood

It’s been about three years since I have truly felt rested. Not coincidentally, that’s when my first child was born.

This may be more psychological than anything else because I have this mental thing with being forced to get out of bed and start the day at a certain time.

I can wake up at 5 a.m. on my own and be just fine, but when coerced by a screaming kid, a loud alarm clock, a sick dog or what have you, I am disturbed, and it seems to make me more tired than I should be.

Perhaps I’m just a mental midget or maybe even have lost my mind to a degree. No matter, it’s a reality with me. Maybe when I have more time or am getting the proper amount of sleep, I will see someone about it.

With kids, sleep or even a remote semblance of rest is never really what it used to be. Consequently, a full-blown addiction to caffeine has surfaced (iced lattes are my vice, sometimes two a day).

Even when my kids are on solid sleeping schedules, proper rest still seems to be lacking, but of late it’s been taken up a notch.

For about the last month, Beckett has been fighting sleep — refusing to go down on his own or at least not without a serious battle and is waking up before 5 a.m.

Nowadays, even when the kids are quietly tucked away in their beds for the night, we can’t relax because we have come to expect the unexpected.

For instance, after just sitting down for the night on Sunday, Pam was startled when Beckett walked downstairs, turned the corner into our living room and said, “Mommy, I need to see you for one minute.” Apparently, he wanted to have another book read to him before he called it a night.

There was no crying or crazy behavior on this particular night, but it was an hour after he was put down for the night and just another example of his bizarre behavior of late regarding sleep.

This is quite a change for us, leading me on more than a few occasions to get down on one knee, look him straight in the eye and tell him how he’s being “unfair to mommy and daddy and Carson.” I am basically pleading and begging with him to please give us a break.

I have even pulled out the wildcard with Beckett that usually works masterfully — “you are acting like a little baby buddy and you are a big boy, right?”

To both of these comments, Beckett said, “Daddy’s eyes are blue and Beckett’s eyes are green.”

That didn’t exactly ease the frustrations at that very moment, although the next morning I did laugh about it while driving to the coffee store, of course, for a little refueling.

For about the last two years, Beckett has been the ideal sleeper. It was to the point we would go about our nightly bedtime routine and simply close his bedroom door. While he did not fall asleep instantly, roaming often around his room for a bit to unwind, there was never crying nor any sort of hysterics.

Today, there’s nothing but drama when it comes to bedtime. It’s been this way ever since his third birthday, for some reason. At this point, I’m not certain which is more painful — all the crying and screaming at bedtime or the random early morning awakenings.

We are now each morning startled awake by Beckett talking to himself and cruising around his room. Within a couple minutes, we can spot him running by our bedroom door to the bathroom. Unfortunately, he’s not going in there to use the facilities the way most do early in the morning. It’s the electric toothbrush that he fancies at this early hour. From our bed, we can hear the stool being pushed over to the counter, him turning on the toothbrush and then giggling to himself because it tickles.

Eventually, he makes his way into our room and just talks incessantly about how he “took a long nap” and wants to go outside and “play in the backyard and jump in puddles.”

It has come to the point we are going to great lengths to avoid talking to him, all the while listening to make sure he’s not destroying the house or acting crazy in another fashion.

The other morning, about 4:30, Pam suggested we just fake that we are still asleep when he eventually roamed into our room. I went along with it, of course.

After listing to his little footsteps traverse the rooms on the second floor, Beckett did eventually announce his presence in our room, as if we didn’t know it already.

When neither of us responded, he went elsewhere, taking his little morning cruise session downstairs to explore the first floor. This worried us, but it was easy to track him, as he’s a stomper, like most kids his age.

Eventually, he returned upstairs and we could hear him muttering to himself something about his breakfast not being ready and wondering why he could not reach the milk in the refrigerator.

Seemingly wanting to share this information with someone, he stormed into his little brother’s room, noticed he was asleep, too, and quickly left the room, slamming the door behind him. This, of course, scared the daylights out of Carson, who was now hysterically crying.

Despite our unwillingness to accept it, our day had begun. It was 5:10 a.m. and I was cranky.

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.