Adventures Of Fatherhood

Participating in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is going to be a new family tradition.

The newspaper entered our first-ever float in the parade earlier this month, and the plan all along, of course, was to include the kids as leprechauns on the float.

Prior to the event, I was concerned how the kids would handle it for two reasons — first, there was the long wait for our turn in the parade, and, secondly, how safe and behaved would they be on the float.

As expected, it was a challenging couple hours until it was our turn in the parade. The kids got bored and impatient during the wait and understandably so, but fortunately there were many of us to keep them entertained at various times.

Carson, 4, found particular delight in the nearby Ocean Pines fire trucks and particularly the shiny bells on the front of the trucks. He liked looking at himself in the spotless bell while pulling the rope to ring the bell. Thought the bell was loud, I let him have it a couple times because the firefighters encouraged him. However, I did have to go in a different direction once he found joy in putting his tongue all over the perfect bell while he simultaneously pulled the bell.

However, on the float, the kids were perfect. They stayed seated most of the time and seemed to have a lot of fun, waving and throwing beads and candy at the thousands of people lining Coastal Highway. They were not challenging at all. Beckett sat at his makeshift desk complete with computer monitor, keyboard and lamp, all of which were completely wrapped in previous issues of this newspaper, while Carson sat on the float and waved to the masses like he was the Queen of England the entire time.

It was a great day and an event that should be fun to participate in as a family for years to come.

Beckett likes playing goalie in soccer, despite my repeated requests for him not to volunteer for the spot.

On his indoor soccer team, most of the players do not want to play goalie because they would rather run, be near the ball and score goals. Consequently, Beckett, 5, usually volunteers and spends part of the game in the goal.

I reminded him last week to not volunteer to play goalie. My main reason is I want him to burn off some energy in the game and oftentimes minutes go by without the goalie getting any action at all. He or she just ends up standing there the entire time while the ball is in play elsewhere.

Last Saturday, Beckett played out in the field in the first half, but then ended up in the goal for the second half. I bit my tongue so I wouldn’t be one of those sports parents that spark eyeball rolls at youth events.

Well, he must have known what I was thinking because he was the most active and aggressive goaltender I have ever seen. Literally, when the ball would come within 30 feet of the goalie box he was running toward it looking to kick it out of his end. He would sprint out as fast as he could, kick it and then sprint back.

While there were two occasions when it backfired and he got burned with the other team scoring, I couldn’t help but love the gusto with which he played. He was all over the place and remembered when he could use his hands and when he had to use his feet. There was definitely no standing around in goal waiting for the ball to be shot at him. He was a little bit too aggressive, at times, but he was not going to hear that from me.

This weekend is his last game of the season and I’m quite sure he will be returning to goaltending, which is fine by me so long as he burns off that energy.

It was interesting to watch the kids’ interest in the snow wane over the last few months.

By my count, there were five significant snow events this winter (and spring). I know this from the company expense account, which shows five plow invoices for the newspaper office’s parking lot.

At first, it was a lot of fun for the boys to be out of school and have some time to play in the snow. We went sledding. We built snowmen. We had snowball fights. We lost a glove or two, and we definitely got cold. They had a ball. It was fun for the most part with the exception being the whole snow glove drama because neither kid likes to wear them.

By the time this week’s snow came, they were disappointed there was no school and neither had much interest in playing in it at all. Beckett even commented how it was spring and it doesn’t snow in the spring. I had no answer for that because I found it ridiculous as well.

Although they were reluctant, we forced them to frolic in the snow a bit, hopefully for the last time.

Carson refused to wear his gloves and never took them out of his pockets in a form of protest apparently. Beckett threw some snow balls initially, but instead preferred to trash talk how neither I nor Pam could hit him from across the street. I resisted the urge to fire one at him.

Within 15 minutes or so, we were all done. Like so many other households around here, it’s safe to say we are over the snow. Personally, I am specifically sick of shoveling it.