Adventures Of Fatherhood

There were separate occasions on the beach last weekend when Carson temporarily lost all good judgment.

We had been just noticing how our 4-year-old was starting to show signs of maturation and gaining some of our trust on everyday matters, such as not kicking over our potted plants intentionally or pushing his cousins directly into our pool (both of which he has done) or not clearing shelves in our house (which he has done too many times to count).

Unfortunately, on the beach on Saturday, he reminded us of his affinity for making bad decisions. On this particular day, there were three significant incidents of note.

First, while we were playing in a hole I dug out for him, Carson quickly found something else that got his attention. With a little sand shovel, he moseyed over near a woman who was clearly asleep in her beach chair. He got a kick out of the fact she was asleep with her mouth agape and holding her magazine.

He stood there for a minute laughing at her and started innocently playing in the sand, but closer to her than he was to me. I was suspicious and expected something mischievous, so I moved closer. He didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, my attention waned and he took advantage of it. He took a shovel full of sand and flung it on the unsuspecting woman.

I don’t know how many times I said how sorry I was to her, but it didn’t really matter. There are times when “sorry” is just not enough. That’s particularly the case when the culprit clearly was not remorseful. There he was hiding behind my legs, trying to yank my bathing suit down and laughing, while she dusted herself off and spit out sand from her mouth. Needless to say, some downtime followed for him.

Later, and by this time Pam and Beckett had joined us on the beach after an event at the Freeman Stage, Carson showed he had not gotten all the evil out. We were building something else in the sand that involved buckets of water when I stood up to do something and walked away. Apparently, and Pam says I let him walk right by me, there was another woman asleep on the sand by the water’s edge. Carson jiggled himself over to her and dumped his bucket of water right on her face. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he jumped up and down in delight over this feat.

Fortunately, this woman, a mother of three boys, handled it incredibly well. She laughed and laughed while spitting up the water.

Nearby the woman, who had gotten the sand dumped on her earlier and surprisingly did not move away from us, was laughing incredibly hard. It’s worth noting she didn’t laugh at all when she had sand dumped on her earlier. She was quick to remark that it must have something to do with people sleeping and that he likes the sneak attack. Again there was more downtime for Carson and from that point forward we did our best to make sure he did not notice anyone else sleeping around us.

The third strike came when Carson cranked up and hit Beckett, who was riding waves, on the back with a shovel. If Pam told this story, she would most likely point out that I shared some of the blame for letting Carson go into the water armed with a shovel. She would say I should have known his intentions. She is probably right.

Of course, Beckett’s instinct was to go immediately after his little brother and seek retribution. I simply told him, “easy,” and let him work Carson over for a minute like big brothers do.

I felt his frustration and was fine with him sitting on top of him and roughing him up a little, thinking maybe Carson would learn his lesson. I broke it up before it got too rough. It was certainly not my finest parenting moment, but after the previous incidents that proverbial ship had sailed anyway I figured.

One of the many changes that have come with parenting for me has been the interior condition of my vehicle.

I have never been a neat freak by any means, but at one time I subscribed to the theory you can tell a lot about people by how they keep their vehicles. While I still believe that to a degree, I don’t think too much about it these days because my vehicle is always a wreck on the inside.

I got to thinking about this on Monday morning. This was a particularly hectic morning. I dropped Carson off at his summer academy at school and then took Beckett to swim camp and afterwards dropped him off at daycare after a clothing change. The problem was he needed socks for his daycare and for some reason he kicked off his shoes and socks on the way from camp to daycare. One sock was never heard from again and I blame the messy state of my truck.

As I searched the vehicle, I discovered about a dozen matchbox cards, DVD cases, coloring books, a different colored sock, a Gatorade bottle, a couple sea shells, handwriting practice sheets and a ridiculous amount of sand from the various beach excursions.

I had enough of my disorganized ways. I left Beckett at daycare and headed directly to the car wash. At my first stoplight, my cell phone rang and I needed to go to the office. I never did make it to the car wash that day. As a matter of fact, today is Friday and I still haven’t made it, but I will over the weekend. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.