Adventures Of Fatherhood

If the walls inside our house could talk, they would be screaming in pain.
That’s because our sons are slowly but surely destroying the house and the contents within it.

Although I have not been keeping track, Pam can probably cite by number how many valuables, like picture frames, vases and collectibles, the kids have broken in the house over the last five-plus years.

In the early days, she was adamant that she was not going to redecorate the entire house because of the little ones’ curiosity and penchant for destruction. Soon enough, after one item was doomed followed by another, her prized possessions started to disappear slowly but surely, but she remained reluctant to stash everything away.

Soon enough, as more and more things turned up broken or at least mildly damaged, she acquiesced but not without some moments of frustration over why the boys would not leave things alone.

While I lend a sympathetic ear to her ongoing concerns over the loss of these valuables, I tend to get hot and bothered more by the fact the house is clearly showing the wear and tear from the boys’ abusive and careless behavior. After all, there is only so much furniture than can be relocated to cover up damage.

The fact is our boys are rough, and that does not come as a surprise, but what has been startling has been the sheer volume of damage inflicted on our house over the last five years. Our house was built in 1908 and it’s showing every single one of those years, mainly as a result of being home to two boys ages 5 and 3.

Everywhere I turn these days I see evidence of their destructive and careless ways, such as Beckett’s bedroom door which he has brought off its hinges twice by swinging on in Spiderman fashion. My last repair seems to be holding, probably because I used the longest screws I could find at the hardware store.

What got me thinking about this in depth this week was Wednesday morning, which was one of those starts to the day that had me seeking a restart by 7 in the morning. I know things are off to an inauspicious beginning when I am exhausted by the time I get to work.

After hearing some odd banging from his room, I walked in to find Carson had pulled down the curtains. In fact, he had actually ripped the curtain rod and the mounts directly off the wall as well as two large chunks of dry wall with it.

As soon as I walked in, he refused to look at me and instead covered his eyes and shook his head furiously. He obviously did not want to see my reaction, particularly because this was the second time in a week he had done it, and there were repercussions for him the first time.

After I gave him a piece of my mind, he was slow to leave his room. For that matter, he was actually reluctant to get out from underneath the curtain, which he was using as a blanket for himself and his stuffed animals. It appeared to me he was having a good time before I walked in, and that aggravated me further.

Eventually, he literally tip-toed out of his room with one eye covered by a hand and the other dragging a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal (misery loves company, perhaps). Of course, standing by Beckett was applauding Carson’s achievement, growing my agitation even further.

While doing the repairs later that day, I found myself wondering why I am even hung the curtains again. I quickly realized if I wanted the kid to ever sleep he needed them because the room gets a ton of light.

Most repairs around the house have to be outsourced because I am the least handy person I know. An example is a broken window in a door that Beckett broke this spring swinging a bat around like Luke Skywalker. The good news is that will not be evident months from now.

The same cannot be said for the various dings, scrapes and holes that the kids have caused to our walls. I can’t even recall how most of them occurred, but my guess is Pam can reflect accurately on each.

While surveying the house the same morning Carson wrecked his room, I counted 10 areas that will eventually need cosmetic repairs.

Some of the damage was from kid gates being set up in the house and some scrapes from the kids pulling and yanking on them over the years. Other areas it’s clear were a result of kids banging into the walls while riding toy trucks. Some places it’s noticeable the walls have been scraped with toy cars and the like, such as one instance when there is a clear indentation left from an airplane propeller. In other areas, it looks as if crayon remnants can be seen, despite obvious scrubbing.

Other more significant damage has resulted in replacement parts having to be ordered.

For instance, we are presently down two kitchen drawers, one from Beckett standing on it and breaking through and the other from Carson trying to do chin-ups from it. The end result here is the kitchen being a source of embarrassment because buying replacement kitchen drawers is not as easy, or cheap, as one might expect. That’s what I call an ongoing project.

Eventually, a wholesale makeover of the house will be in order, but I was reminded watching Carson inadvertently wipe grape jelly on the wall the other day it should not come anytime soon.

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.