Fatherhood Adventures

Fatherhood Adventures
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One of my pet peeves ended up costing me some money last month.

Oftentimes, we are rushing to get out of the house to get here and there. If we have a long ride or I’m feeling particularly nice, I will let the kids bring their electronic devices along for the ride. However, what always has annoyed me is when they will not pause or stop whatever is they are playing long enough for the walk to the car.

So on a few occasions we have been walking to the car to go somewhere and both kids have been fixated on their devices the entire way, oblivious to their surroundings. It drives me crazy and usually leads to “mad dad” appearing.

One night recently after karate, I guess I wasn’t paying close attention to Beckett, probably because I was hauling in carryout dinner for all of us. Apparently, Beckett was playing or watching something on the iPad and stumbled up the front steps.

I heard it before I saw it, so I don’t know exactly what happened. He skinned up his shins pretty good but got up and picked the iPad up. It was in its case, so we assumed it was fine. Later, after we ate, I went to charge it and felt the all too familiar pieces of miniscule glass pieces fall into my hand. That happened once before when Carson, 4 at the time, thought it would be nice to put our iPad in the microwave, resulting in the whole device malfunctioning and the glass screen being broke into pieces. There was no saving that device.

In the Beckett incident, the iPad itself was fine but the screen had been shattered. Thanks to Saltwater Media in Berlin, it was repaired in short order and Beckett’s savings account took a hit. That’s at least what he thinks and I’m sticking to it. In typically dramatic fashion, after it happened, he said, while rattling off his latest bank statement balance, “Just take it out of my savings toward my car then.” He’s 7 years old and is saving for a vehicle already.

For a few days, there was an outright ban on electronics leaving the house. That led Carson to sneaking (sort of) his Kindle in his jacket or under his shirt. I let him think he was fooling me just for fun. When we got to the door, I grabbed it at the last minute.

I have softened that over time to a more realistic no device playing or watching as we walk to or from the vehicles. That should have always been the case.

Having a reading child in the house has been an adjustment.

It’s a great thing, but now not much can be left out that shouldn’t be read by a 7-year-old and heard by a 6-year-old.

Newspapers headlined, “Is America Safe? Terrorists Strike Again In Belguim,” shouldn’t be left next to a book bag on the counter. No phones with text messages mulling possible birthday gifts are safe. Emails are in play, too, which is fine, but deleting them because “they seem boring” has to be quickly addressed.

Indeed, this has been a fun transition over the last couple years. Beckett is a reader interested in just about everything and enjoys knowing what’s happening. He seems to be learning a lot.

Everything he reads he shares, which can be quite noisy and random at times. For example, he can deliver some news as random as this “Charmin Ultra Soft Double Rolls is now my favorite toilet paper” or “Dad, Carson’s agenda says ‘Lunch Money Reminder,’ you better pay them or he won’t be able to eat tomorrow.” When Carson hears that, he heads straight for my checkbook.

One unintended side-effect from having a nosey son who can read well has been an appreciation for money, oddly enough. He came across a folder of bills on my desk at work and marveled over the cost of cell phones, cable and electric. It blew his mind when he learned those were monthly charges. He wrongly assumed it was annual.

While he was helping me pump gas the other day, he started asking me all sorts of questions about the differences being unleaded, leaded and plus gasoline and what makes one more expensive than the other. Before I could try and explain, he was asking why the brand of tires we had on our car was different than all the others around us.

As his reading has progressed, he has from time to time found something he shouldn’t. An example here would be this week when he came across a speeding ticket his mom and I recently got in Salisbury. I say both, of course, because she was in the vehicle while I was driving. It was one of those speed camera tickets where your vehicle is pictured three times and you can even see your head. He was able to read (and memorize) the exact speed and how much over the speed limit we were traveling.

Additionally, I have learned to not let him anywhere near my calendar on my phone. He called me out on a date later this month when he has a music festival at school and noticed I had another thing right before it that afternoon. He didn’t like that too much and let me know.

“So, so, you’re just going to have to cancel that because you are going to love our songs,” he said.