Adventures Of Fatherhood

Adventures Of Fatherhood
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Carson and I cleaned out the basement last weekend. The result was no hot water for a few hours and no heat for a day because he flipped a couple breakers without me knowing.

Despite that temporary loss of insanity and non-observant parenting on my part, our youngest son, 6, has an amazing resolve to provide a helpful hand whenever he can. This is in stark contrast to his older brother, Beckett, who likes to help but only for a few minutes at a time and so long as nothing better is going on.

We have decided to finish off our basement and make it into an area for the kids, but before construction could begin we had to haul out the various items that have accumulated down there over the last eight years we have lived there as well as the decades before with other owners.

The plan was for Carson and me to tackle this project, while Pam took Beckett to his Saturday morning soccer evaluation. Carson was pumped for the project. In fact, he went straight to the basement door at 6:30 that morning when I told him what we were going to do.

His excitement seemed to be muted somewhat, however, when we made it to the bottom of the steps. I’m not sure I will ever forget his expression and hunched shoulders of confusion when he saw all the stuff that had accumulated over the years in the basement of our 1906 house. I had a similar reaction of shock and concern when Pam first broached the subject of renovating our basement a couple years ago.

When I told Carson that everything he saw in the basement had to come out, he smiled and went immediately to a sink nearby and started yanking and pulling on it. Instead of working on that, I told him let’s start with this mountain of boxes.

Dozens of trips in and out of the basement were made that day and we had lots of laughs. There were some anxious moments when he started to tire out and got a little bit testy and inquisitive. Suddenly, all of the boxes were not making it to the yard. Instead, they were being sorted through along the way and things he wanted were left in the basement to explore further. That’s when I realized hours of work were a lot to ask of my little guy and he was probably getting bored. I know I was getting a bit weary from all of it myself.

Later, I decided my helper deserved a little bonus aside from the Reese’s cup he put back after lunch. I decided I was going to give him $6, but before I wanted to see if he was paying attention so I gave him four dollar bills. He immediately chased me down for the other bills.

That set Beckett off, however, as he is always hungry for money. He asked why Carson got cash and he didn’t. When I told him how hard Carson worked with me, he said, “I had soccer practice and a birthday party so I couldn’t help.”

I am still waiting for his response to whether he wanted to help me this weekend. He’s waiting to weigh his other options.

Beckett is in such a hurry to grow up it’s comforting when reminders surface that confirm his age.

He is just 7 years old but like most kids he seems to always be in a rush to do what others are doing, like skateboarding around town after dark, and be like the older boys, some of whom use words even adults aren’t supposed to speak and are watching R rated movies despite being in the third grade.

When he’s told he can’t do something that older kids may be doing, such as shaking a soda can and hitting it with a baseball bat (true story), he gets whiny and complains that we never let him do what he wants to do. I can’t help but laugh when he talks that way because it’s absurd.

While there are many other examples of how he wishes he was older and could be more independent, there are just as many indications that he’s still our 7-year-old boy.

Around the house, most of these confirmations involve the second floor of the house. He doesn’t like going to his room or taking a shower without having some company, even if all the lights are on in the house and there’s nothing to worry about

Despite assurances that all is fine, he doesn’t like to talk about his apprehension. He’s embarrassed by it.

When he asked the other night if he could go to his room and play his Xbox since he had studied for his test, I said sure, but he never moved. When I asked why, he said he didn’t know how to load the game by himself and needed my help. I knew that was untrue since he has long mastered every electronic in the house.

Nonetheless, we walked upstairs together with him unwilling to inch in front of me at all. When I begged him to tell me what was concerning him, he whispered, “Freddy.” When I asked when he had watched “Nightmare on Elm Street,” he said he didn’t know what that was.

He finally admitted it was a game on his Kindle that had been spooking him of late. That game is now gone.