Adventures Of Fatherhood

Adventures Of Fatherhood
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Beckett hosted his first sleepover last weekend, and there was little sleep to speak of for the most part.

Despite my best attempts to tire them out by taking them sledding after school, Beckett and his little buddy, Stephen, both 6, were wide-awake at 8 p.m. The same goes for 9 p.m. as well as 10 p.m. and even 11 p.m.

The boys were great and kept to themselves for the most part. Of course, there was a lot of technology involved considering the weather, but there was also some indoor soccer, impromptu karate sparring, a little bit of reading and some crazy 6-year-old games I could not follow.

We didn’t have a specific bedtime for them since it was a weekend night and we knew they would be excited. In my head, however, I figured 11 at night would be the latest they could stay up. Therefore, I started the countdown at 9 p.m. when they were at their most amped. Subsequent visits found the room in various states of disarray and included further countdown warnings.

When 11 p.m. arrived, I told them it was lights out time, and it was greeted as expected with grunts and moans about unfairness and how they weren’t tired. After several repeat visits, it was clear I was not getting anywhere. I told them in my best mean voice, “the next time I have to come up, I’m not going to be as nice, okay boys?”

As I was walking down the steps, I heard little giggles from the crazy first graders. I imagined they were mocking me but figured I would give them a few more minutes.

As Pam and I sat downstairs, we could hear them jumping out of bed and running around. Whenever I would walk up the steps, they would jump in their beds, pretending to be asleep. They didn’t understand the reality is they stomp wherever they go, and we can hear every single step they take and everything they say. They were not fooling anybody, despite their hopes to the contrary.

Since I was clearly getting nowhere, that’s when Pam — the enforcer of the house — stepped in and went upstairs. I think I was asleep in bed before she even made it to Beckett’s room. I may not have tired them out, but they certainly wore me down.

Whatever it was she did, Beckett was asleep in short fashion and we never heard again from his little visitor.

That was until shortly after 6 a.m. the next morning when they came down looking for the xBox controllers that we had confiscated before the “to bed” order. When I told them they were in our room, where Pam was sleeping, neither was quick to run up the steps to retrieve them. Stephen looked at Beckett, who then asked me if I would go get them so he would not wake up his mom.

Whatever she had done to get them to sleep the night before apparently was still remembered.

Never will I ever take for granted a mild and dry winter again.

This winter’s weather has exposed my weaknesses as a parent, and I assume I’m not alone in my feeling of being sick and tired of this crap.

One snowfall a winter is fine by me. I actually think it’s fun to have no school and have a “snow day” at home with the boys. I like shoveling the sidewalks at home and at work, clearing the cars, getting in snow ball fights with my kids and sledding on what we call hills around these parts. I like the act of getting the kids all bundled up and watching them try to bend over with so many layers on. I like wrestling them to get their little fingers into the right holes of their gloves and convincing them they have to wear a hat and zip up their jackets in the cold. I actually like the abundance of boots and wet gloves, scarves and hats spread out on the floor to dry out.

I like all of that once a year and maybe even twice. Any more than that and I notice my psyche is impacted. That’s why this week I started to focus on all the work that’s involved in getting them ready to play in the snow as well as the mess that comes into the house as a result. I noticed my snow work ethic dissolved as well. I only shoveled the absolute minimum required of the sidewalk. I dwelled on the huge pain snow is around here and the fact we can’t get outside as much as we like because it’s so darn cold.

Add to this the horribly cold weather when it wasn’t snowing this winter and suddenly the walls of the house are starting to cave in and, most importantly, my lack of patience has eroded to all but nil.

You know it’s bad when yet another cancelled school day starts with a 7:30 a.m. trip to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast because they have a small play area. That’s how desperate I was to burn off their energy.

Last Sunday it was actually not cold outside but of course it was raining hard most of the day. Desperation led me to the treadmill of the house, and I put each kid on it for 15 minutes each. They liked it for the first few minutes before quickly growing bored, but I refused to let them off. Beckett eventually figured out what was going on.

He asked, “Is this because we are driving you crazy?”

He was right.