Adventures Of Fatherhood

Adventures Of Fatherhood
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(Editor’s Note: Steve Green is on assignment this week in Florida gathering new content for this page. He will return next week. In the meantime, here is a file column from Feb. 28, 2010.)

It’s just not right that Laurie Berkner Band songs fill my head all day.

For those who don’t know her, a simple web search will confirm she’s a sensation in the world of young kids. My son, Beckett, the 21-month-old, is infatuated with her and consequently her catchy music dances through my brain at odd times throughout the day.

Although I am not going to be downloading her albums to my Ipod anytime soon (no need to since Pam already has a couple CDs for long car rides with the kids, anyway), it’s safe to say I hear more Laurie Berkner music these days than any other band. Among my favorite songs are “Under A Shady Tree,” “We Are The Dinosaurs”, “Victor Vito”, “Walk Along The River”, “Oh Susana”, “The Goldfish” and “Moon Moon Moon”. I’m not certain, but more than likely I know all the lyrics. Other parents with young kids surely can do the same.

It’s one thing to hum children’s tunes while at work, as well as well-known nursery rhymes. It’s another to do it at the sink in a public restroom.

Let me explain: the Nick Jr. channel, Beckett’s favorite, uses a short song to illustrate to kids the proper hand washing technique. It goes something like, “top and bottom, top and bottom, in between, in between …” It’s a nice reminder about how to cover all aspects of the task, but the thing is I found myself in a public restroom recently humming the song while moving my head back and forth.

It’s in moments like these I find myself wishing I had some sort of disclaimer, “new parent alert” because it’s not exactly a shining moment, considering I’m an adult. I don’t know what excuse I will use years from now when I am still walking around humming “Farmer in the Dell”.

The seven o’clock hour around my house usually is bath time. Consequently, around eight o’clock, I’m ready for bed.

By far, as expected, the more difficult child to bathe is my oldest, while Carson, the 3-month-old, is a delight.
Beckett is a handful in the tub and has been ever since he started walking. Over the course of the last year, I have to hand it to him. He has some slick moves and has gotten creative when it comes to his burning desire to stand up and run around in the tub.

His challenging nature is why I usually try to get him in the tub first. While he can be difficult to contain and keep on his bottom, he’s also a blast in the tub because he loves it so much. He still squeals in delight when I ask him if he wants to take a bath and particularly when we walk into the bathroom.

For some odd reason, every night we approach the bathroom, he taps me a few times on the shoulder and says “dada”. I find it incredibly charming, although am unsure how this became part of his routine. It’s strange but wonderful at the same time. There’s little time to marvel over this once he gets in the tub because I have to immediately go about the business of protecting my son from himself because he gets a little crazed.
Of late, he has taken his dog imitation to the bath. Often, throughout the day, Beckett likes to put a snack on the floor and get on all fours and eat it like a “dodo,” as he would say. It’s quite hilarious.

He just recently started doing his dog imitation in the tub, meaning he tries to maneuver himself to all fours and stick his face in the water. What he’s trying to do is drink the water, presumably. Whenever he escapes my grasp, he will try and pull off this move. On the rare case he does, he will stick his head entirely in the water, coming up with a face full of bubbles and a fit of laughter.

Another move he likes to try and pull off is sticking his entire mouth around the spigot. He does this when the water is off and then flips the water on. He’s only pulled this move on me a couple times but every night he at least tries to position himself for it.

If Beckett is the challenge, Carson is the treat. He sits in his little tub, inside the bigger tub, and seems to relish the experience. He doesn’t need any toys to keep him occupied. He’s at the point he marvels over my voice still and likes the warm water on his body. He just lets me do whatever I want to him, smiling and cooing every now and again in that cute way that only a young baby can.

It’s quite the contrasting experience between my two kids. Bathing Beckett is more on the hectic side, while Carson leans toward therapeutic. Either way, it’s pretty exhausting.

At random points, my wife and I often marvel over how far our oldest kid has come.
Although he does not tell time, Beckett clearly knows when it’s time to hit the sack. He makes it obvious to us when he’s ready and all we have to do is ask him if he’s ready for nighttime and he sprints for the steps.

The other night, when it came time, Pam asked him something along the lines of, “Beckett, are you ready to go to your room and go night-night?” He clearly said “yes” and headed straight for the steps.

As I was walking over that way, making the mistake finishing my conversation with his mom, I saw him peak a-round the corner and wave his hand, as if to say “come on, let’s go.”

It’s these moments that remind me and confirm he’s growing up so fast right before my eyes. It seems like yesterday getting him to go to sleep was a chore. He actually looks forward to it now and that’s fantastic.

(The writer is the publisher and editor of The Dispatch. He and his wife, Pamela, are proud parents of two boys. This weekly column examines their transition into parenthood and all that goes along with it. E-mail any thoughts to [email protected].)