This column started eight years ago for selfish reasons as a means to document the journey that is raising children.
What I have found reading through the three binders of columns the other day is these ramblings are memorializing for eternity the little things that occur in our lives. That’s a special thing.
My wife and I will always remember the big things in our kids’ lives, such as school and church performances, Christmas and Easter festivities, birthday parties, sports highlights and lowlights, emergency room visits, vacations and the like.
What we might forget about are the random things, or adventures, that happen every day that seem banal at the moment but given some time and perspective they become special memories. Some experiences I came across after reading the columns that I had forgotten about involved the internal trials and tribulations we had when Beckett went from two naps to one nap a day around 18 months; the challenges associated with eating out with two toddlers; the confusion I had with a blood lead test for our boys when they were babies; how we used to dance to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” in the morning; the decision to become a mini-van family; and the makeshift morgue we created at our house for books the kids had destroyed with their rough play.
Going through these old columns resulted in me focusing more of late on the day-to-day goings on with my kids and all the random, strange and funny occurrences in life. It was a great reminder to be present in their daily lives to soak it all in, even if that leads to a rapid surge in gray hairs.
The following are some examples to prove the point:
•In his head, Beckett thinks of himself as much older than he is. He often uses the phrase “back when I was a kid” to describe how he has matured and changed over the years.
While indulging in a rainy day video game session with him the other day, he wondered aloud how I used to deal with him when he would to throw temper tantrums about losing or things not going his way in the middle of soccer video games.
Because he’s really good now and I have to concentrate to stay competitive with him, I didn’t immediately answer. Not one to be comfortable in silence, he answered his own question saying, in a somewhat mocking fashion, “reading a book won’t get you so frustrated.”
I responded that I might have told you about the importance of practicing. He cut me off, in an increasingly mocking fashion, “yeah you probably said you can’t get better without practicing.”
And to imagine I didn’t think he was listening, “back when he was a kid.”
•Since it was gorgeous out, on New Year’s Day I took the kids to the beach on Assateague Island to burn off some cabin fever.
To keep everyone happy, we traded off between soccer, Frisbee and football (Beckett’s preferred activities) and collecting shells (Carson’s favorite beach activity this time of year).
During a triangle soccer game we often play together, Carson kept improvising to make up for his lack of power. Rather than cooperate, he decided he was going to make us kick the ball between his legs. As he stood there between Beckett and me with his legs spread as far as he could, I warned him that could be dangerous, especially with his big brother’s obvious intentions. It didn’t take long for the inevitable to happen and Carson was doubled over.
Fortunately, he rebounded quick but wanted me to take his place. I knew better, but did anyway to make him feel better.
As a sort of consequence for doing what I told him not to do — elevate the ball to his brother’s most sensitive of areas — I made Beckett shell with Carson and me. He would never admit it, but I think he liked it actually.
Later after we got home we were rinsing off the shells when I noticed some funny business. The kids could barely contain themselves. When I asked them who picked up the horse manure (not using that word, they’re kids after all), they both pointed to the other before belly laughing together.
•A favorite activity of Carson’s lately is using his Osmo system, which connects to an iPad and allows users to interact with games by manipulating game pieces, letters and words.
His favorite game of late has been one that involves adding, subtracting and multiplying numbers. Over the holidays, he spent hours on it. Since it was educational, we had no issue with that at all.
At one point, I told Beckett this would be good for him as well because we can set the difficulty. As is often the case, he tried to take over the game. I insisted he watch Carson and he was impressed. Being the big brother, his compliment was not exactly kind.
“Wow Carson, Mom and Dad always said you were smart but I didn’t believe them until now,” he said.