Adventures Of Fatherhood

The family had our first “Disney On Ice” experience last weekend.

I went in with low expectations, which were quickly squashed. I am not referring to what I thought the Disney folks would put together. I just wondered how my boys were going to be during the two-hour show. Sometimes it’s best to assume ahead of time that some situations are going to be stressful. Be prepared for the worst but hope for the best philosophy seems to work best for me.

With this particular event, my boys surprised us by being angels. Beckett, 5, was absolutely perfect the entire time, and Carson, 4, was as close to being a model child as he can be in his current crazy phase that often involves random acts of meanness, deviance and the occasional wicked head butt.

Both kids were enthralled with the entire spectacle, and it was probably the easiest two hours of our weekend because they were entertained and realized they couldn’t go anywhere. In fact, they were so enthralled with it all that the thought probably never crossed their mind to try and go elsewhere.

Since it was such a lovely experience, and it was Saturday afternoon, my mind wandered to what was happening in the NFL playoff game that was on television at this time. All the while Mickey and his crew were dazzling us on the ice.

Every once in a while I would sneak a peek at my phone to see what the score of the game was, and each time I could feel the eye balls of my wife on me. I didn’t even bother looking over because I have seen that look plenty of times and already knew her thoughts. It was something along the lines of, “really? Is it that important?”

In all honesty, thanks to the kids being on their best behavior, it was a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, even if I didn’t get a chance to see any of that game.

Power outages test the mettle of parents like nothing else.

Fortunately, last weekend’s event took place while we were at Disney On Ice, and we were able to avoid coming home for several hours until it became evident we had no other choice.

At my house in Berlin, the power was out about five hours. Once we realized the power outage was going to be an extended event, Pam and I agreed there was no reason to hurry home.

Eventually, though, we decided it was time to get the bedtime routines underway, albeit in a dark home. The kids rolled with the punches and that made it much easier.

Carson really enjoyed being read books via a flash flight, so long as he could hold it. I briefly considered a candle and quickly realized that would be insane to tempt a 4-year-old with in his room.

Within a couple minutes, Carson was fast asleep with visions of Mickey and friends dancing through his head, or at least that’s how I envisioned it.

Soon enough power was restored, and Beckett realized that meant he needed to turn in as well. He was probably the only person in town rooting for the outage to continue.

Seeing my kids run is a good thing.

In fact, during Beckett’s sports practices, I root for his coaches to make him run, and I hope it’s a lot because tired kids are a wonderful thing.

That’s why when the players were not listening to their coaches at soccer the other morning, I was applauding the decision to make them run until they were ready to listen.

I wish I could utilize the trick on my sons at home sometimes. It would be a lot simpler and easier to just make them run around for a while rather than trying to have a dialogue about why so and so is making a bad decision and why this or that is a sign of disrespect.

I believe one of the coaches said something along the lines of, “No listening equals lots of running.”

That would make a great sign somewhere, so long as it’s accompanied by my all-time favorite sign, “Beware: Entering a drama-free zone.”

Pam and I took Beckett to eat steamed crabs for lunch and see “Frozen” over the holiday break.

I couldn’t help but think about how far our boy has come because there was a time when that would have been a tortuous experience, but with him now 5 years old (he likes to remind me he is now well past 5 ½ now, actually) he is showing maturation signs. There are still moments of immaturity and bizarre antics, but he is beginning to grasp good things will come to him if we can trust him and he can show he’s a big boy.

It was my first movie experience with Beckett. Pam had taken him before without any issues. I was pleasantly surprised by how intent he was to watch the movie, some of which he watched from my lap. That always warms the heart.

Later, we were talking about it, and he gave his movie review, saying, “I really liked it, but there were too many girls in it. I wish it wasn’t about a princess.”

You see, he is not much into girls these days, as evidenced by a photo taken at Park Place Jewelers’ Men’s Night Out recently. There were two Ravens cheerleaders there posing with guests, and they planted a fake kiss on his cheek for the photo. He wanted no parts of that, and the picture shows him wiping the kiss off and clearly irritated by the attention.

That’s a keeper photo that I will proudly show him some years down the road.