Adventures Of Fatherhood

After a recent spate of misbehavior by Beckett, I tried to dig deep and reach his heart the other day by introducing the significance of the “d” word to him.

As I launched into my little lecture about how his behavior was upsetting me and causing me to become disappointed in him, I tried explaining what I meant by that particular “d” word and how I wanted him to understand it well.

Beckett immediately began expressing relief, saying, “oh, oh, I thought you were talking about that damn word that I’m not supposed to say.”

That was startling, particularly since I didn’t know he knew that word in the first place, but I was able to keep myself and him on track and told him the “disappointed” word is what I was referencing. I tried explaining it to him and why it was such a meaningful word and how we parents typically do not want to feel that way about our kids and absolutely do not want to tell our kids that’s how we are feeling.

I then told him about the four or five things that had happened that day that left me disappointed and how it made his mom and I feel sad.

At the end of the conversation, I felt good about it and was certain it was going to result in a change in his behavior.

I found out quite quickly how much of an impact it made because that afternoon he expressed his disappointment in me in no uncertain words.

Beckett loves the show “Wipeout” and also enjoys playing the video game. It fits his personality on several fronts, and he really enjoys acting out some of what he sees on television. That can be quite dangerous if he does these things inside. Fortunately, the weather has turned for the most part and I have begun creating a series of obstacles in the backyard that involve toys, sports equipment and basically anything that I make into a challenge for him.

Last weekend, I was quite proud, as I created 12 different obstacles for him to tackle, incorporating the playground and swing set as well as a picnic table, among other items. Additionally, and if you have seen the show you know, I used my wife’s multi-colored fitness balls as the so-called “big red balls” you see on television. This is clearly his favorite obstacle. I also worked in soccer, baseball and lacrosse into the obstacle course, which also featured some balancing beam-type obstacles as well as crawling through leaves and stuffed animals and overcoming some makeshift hurdles. All in all, it was a fun and challenging course I thought.

At first, Beckett agreed and loved it once I showed him the order in which he had to complete it. Of course, I had to try it out first to make sure everything was safe and fun enough for him.

Beckett insisted I time him through the course, so I did, and he progressively got faster and faster. Unfortunately, after about the 10th run, it got to the point when it was simply not challenging enough to him anymore. Additionally, it appeared I was not setting up the course fast enough for him after he ran through it.

That’s when he called a timeout and requested I sit down next to him at the picnic table. Seemingly mimicking how I broached our heart-to-heart conversation earlier, he put his hand on my knee and said something like this, “you know, I didn’t want to go here, but I have to tell you daddy I am very disappointed in the obstacle course you created. Now I want you to think about that for a while and do something about it. Please don’t disappoint me again.”

It always did hurt when someone told me they were disappointed in me. However, after hearing it from my 4-year-old son, it was all I could do not to laugh.

Sadly, the jogging stroller days appear to be over.

That’s the conclusion after the family took part in the Komen Race for the Cure 5K last weekend in Ocean City. The kids are now simply too big to be packed in side by side.

I don’t think Pam or I realized it until we saw a photo later of the boys literally jammed into the joggling stroller that once was quite spacious for both of them.

Perhaps the tightness of the situation was why the boys were so agitated and annoyed throughout the run. I figured it was the gusty winds and the fact sand was being blown in their face at times during the run that was causing them to be so feisty.

It wasn’t until later we faced the reality that the boys are just too big for it. As the one who was pushing 90 pounds of solid boys in the stroller, I realized it was a load, but didn’t quite know until later how tight they were in there and how ridiculous it looked.

At one point, I heard Beckett say to Carson, “stop touching me, Carson, you are in my space.” That was particularly funny because they were basically packed so tightly into the stroller part of their arms and legs were atop each other.

For about a mile, the two exchanged jabs back and forth and a muttering of, “He keeps touching me, he’s still touching me” were heard.

When those sorts of comments were not being heard, Pam and I were hearing questions about the location of the finish line and how much longer we have to go. I was wondering the same thing I admit.

One thing that we never did hear was the popular kid question: “Are we there yet?”

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.