Adventures Of Fatherhood

It’s always interesting in the days after Christmas to see which gifts from Santa receive the most attention from the kids.
The favorite for Carson, 4, was a big tractor-trailer truck he received that was full of smaller cars that could be stored inside. That truck was a hit but the fact it came with a rug that depicted an entire town, complete with buildings, roads, railroad tracks and ponds made it even better. He spent an amazing amount of time in the days following Christmas simply laying on it and running his new cars and trucks along the roads.
There was a little blip in that happiness when I inadvertently stepped on one of the little vehicles, crushing it beyond repair. Fortunately, he didn’t see it and I was able to toss out the evidence in quick fashion. He would have been devastated if he witnessed that mishap and then my parental guilt would have been out of control.
The best part about these gifts and his enjoyment was the fact it was not electronic and did not require nice weather outside to enjoy. He’s a simple guy who seems to enjoy independent play, and I love that about him.
With Beckett, 5, his favorites were predictable. He enjoys playing outside more than anything, so I knew the new basketball hoop and the new skateboard (complete with full safety gear, of course) would be highlights.
Every year we like to hold back a big gift from the kids until after they have already enjoyed Christmas morning and what’s under the tree. This year was the basketball hoop, which we set up outside on our deck so they could not see it prior from inside.
We set the stage a little earlier with a few basketballs wrapped under the tree, but they didn’t catch on. Those balls represented my first stab at wrapping a circular object, and I didn’t do well I must admit. It was a wreck and featured about as much tape as it did paper. In hindsight, there was little reason to wrap it because both kids just immediately began dribbling them in their wrapping.
What they didn’t know though was the balls were going to be able to be used sooner than later.
When the great reveal took place, both kids were incredibly excited, but Beckett was particularly ramped up and balls were flying in all sorts of directions in short order. He loved it. That was clear early on.
The only problem was it was freezing at 8 in the morning on Christmas Day, and I couldn’t handle it for too long. He on the other hand has whale skin and never complains of being cold.
Once inside, Carson quickly went back to playing truck on his rug and Beckett returned to asking when he could have some of the M&Ms that mysteriously found their way into his stocking. Sugar, of course, is a part of every Christmas it seems around our house.

During church last week, Beckett showed his intuitive side when discussing the donning of a New Year at Sunday School time.
“It’s a time to regroup,” he answered when the pastor asked the kids’ thoughts about the arrival of 2014.
Those are words I will be reminding him of often.

On New Year’s Day, we took the kids for the first time to the annual Penguin Swim fundraiser for Atlantic General Hospital.
When we talked about it the day before with Beckett, he said, “nah, I don’t want to go into the ocean when it’s freezing.”
Carson was equally uninterested, shaking his head “no” in a seemingly perturbed fashion. His distaste, however, I believe was due to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse being on television at the time.
Beckett warmed up to the thought of heading to the beach once I told him he didn’t have to go swimming and that we could play football. Carson’s laidback spirit played out as expected and he went along with the fun.
Neither kid seemed entirely impressed by the spectacle, interestingly enough, but they did enjoy seeing the crazy people dressed up as their favorite superheroes.
At one point, Carson must have spotted a Mickey Mouse participant, as he was signing that to us during the event.
As soon as the people jumped in the water, Beckett asked if we could go play football now, so we did, while Carson and Pam used a pile of dune grass to make a fort.
Beckett’s idea of football and mine are quite different. Rather than playing a game of throw and catch, he wants to be tackled and to tackle me. That’s what he means when he says football.
That basically means a lot of roughhousing, which I’m always game for with my boys. Beckett likes to dish it out, but he loves being tackled more than actually tackling.
I particularly like it when Beckett tries to get his little brother, Carson, involved. While sitting on me, he called over Carson to “help him beat me up.” Carson came over landed a few light slaps to my legs before running back to his fort with his mom.
At one point, I tackled Beckett, who while lying on the beach spotted a soaking wet viking walking nearby.
“Look Carson, there’s a viking dude with horns,” he told his little brother, who responded with a raised fist and a growl.