Adventures Of Fatherhood

An eye doctor’s appointment for my oldest son this week became a two-hour ordeal that I will not soon forget.

Poor Beckett was one bug-eyed boy afterward due to the fact the doctor dilated his eyes. I was one bug-eyed father as a result of the long and tedious waiting involved with the tortuous appointment.

I’m an impatient person, especially when my proverbial plate is full. However, my son has me beat on the lack of patience front, as he cannot tolerate having to wait for anything. That’s why doctor’s appointments with Beckett are usually challenging.

The same goes for his younger brother, Carson, who has wrecked several waiting rooms in his day and has been known to clear a magazine rack in short order if given any space whatsoever.

I had been dreading taking Beckett to this eye appointment for weeks. When Pam and I took him to his first appointment a few months ago, it was a nightmare. I have never had any eye issues so I had no idea what to expect. If Pam had any inclination, she didn’t share it with me, probably because she knew I would mysteriously have a conflict preventing me from attending.

At that first appointment, Beckett’s eyes had to be dilated and we had to sit in a small waiting room for 45 minutes for the eye drops to kick in. It was a good thing both of us were there because we had to pin him down to allow the doctor to put in the drops in the first place. With good reason, he would not voluntarily let it be done.

After that anguish passed, we had nothing to do but wait, and we were completely unprepared. We didn’t bring any books, games, puzzles or electronic devices to pass the time. We told some stories, which were repeatedly interrupted with Beckett’s desires to touch and tweak all the equipment around him.

When this week’s appointment came around, I was prepared. I had some of his books, his Kindle and even a snack and juice to pass the time during the dilation. I knew it was still going to be difficult, but armed with enforcements this time would help, or so I figured.

As luck would have it and again this is probably my inexperience with the eye world, he couldn’t use the Kindle because he could not focus because his eyes were dilated and had no interest at all in the books. The snack was good for killing a minute or two.

What he did have a lot of interest in was a nearby 3-year-old girl, who he dazzled (or scared) with his light saber moves and his quasi-handstand-flip maneuver. When he started tumbling across the waiting room, I had to step in and that’s when things went downhill. We were in the 12th minute of what was to be a 30-minute wait for the drops to work.

Of course, that 30-minute wait turned into 45 minutes. There I was sweating in my effort to contain my 5-year-old, and there was my son, who was now all pupils at this point.

Getting desperate to pass the time, I thought he might enjoy looking at himself in the mirror with his dilated pupils. That was unwise, as it led to questions over whether his green eyes would ever return. At one point, he asked if the doctor could make his eyes blue, as it was his favorite color. When I told him not to ask, he wondered why and figured if he did the doctor would give him these “dark black eyeballs” forever.

There were several conversations that went around and around like this until we were finally called back and the eye examination continued.

It was the longest two hours of my day, but when I dropped Beckett off at daycare he gave me a hug and said, “thanks, that was a lot of fun Daddy, let’s do that again soon.”

I just shook my head in disbelief, stammering something about being pleased that he enjoyed himself.
Low tide at the beach with my kids is the best.
That’s how it was last weekend and it was ideal for little kids.

Oftentimes in Ocean City when the tide gets low, a sand bar emerges off the beach and in between is a wide wading pool that’s about two feet deep. It’s perfect for kids to frolic in without worrying about breaking waves.

That shallow area kept the kids entertained for some time before they both started trying to get to the sand bar so they could jump waves. Eventually, they talked me into taking them out.

At some point, it became too much to keep my hands on both of them amid breaking waves, so I put Carson on my shoulders. Beckett is independent for the most part and knows how to swim, so it was much easier to have Carson in a safe place.

The challenge is keeping Beckett close. Like all kids, he wanders off. Add to that natural tendency to be inquisitive and talkative a current and wind and he can be far away in a heartbeat.

With Carson safe on my shoulders, I focused on keeping Beckett within arm’s reach in case he was knocked off his feet. Carson must have noticed my attention drifting because he grabbed my sunglasses and tossed them into the waves. They disappeared just like that.

For some reason, Beckett started crying over it, while Carson laughed on my shoulders.

Later, as we cut into a watermelon, Beckett said Carson’s punishment should be no watermelon. Carson, with watermelon dripping down his robust belly, found that equally hilarious.

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.