Adventures Of Fatherhood – September 1, 2017

Adventures Of Fatherhood – September 1, 2017

Are you ever truly ready for school to start?

In Beckett’s case, the answer is definitely no. The good news is I know after the first day he will be happy to be back at school. It’s just that weekly camp life has been treating him well all summer and he likes the relaxed environment, multiple field trips and socialization aspects with new and old friends.

Over the last couple weeks, we have been slowly training the kids for school with slightly earlier bedtimes and wake-ups and mixing in some school work here and there.

Carson has actually been working hard all summer with a full load of speech therapy, daily school work with his new teacher friend who has been coming to our house and various other appointments. When we ask Carson if he’s ready for school, he emphatically says no and usually either signs or uses his device to remind us he’s ready to play anytime anywhere.

School is a challenge for Carson, who will be entering second grade, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact he’s different from other kids because he can’t talk. He’s well aware of this and it naturally makes him incredibly shy, especially early on. For Carson, our concerns are more about making friends, socializing and functioning well throughout the day in a general school setting than the actual school work itself. He’s a smart boy and fully capable of doing well with his school work. It’s the other mundane matters that most parents would never think twice about that give us the most consternation and will likely result in us being distracted and worried all of next Tuesday.

In Beckett’s case, he’s been too busy growing up too fast and learning all sorts of new things we aren’t thrilled about. This is the challenge for us with our 9-year-old fourth grader. He’s in a hurry to grow up and always wants more of everything, particularly a phone, to sit in the front seat of the car, to bike on Main Street, to wrestle at the next Wrestle Mania, to have his own money so he can buy whatever he wants and be left home along while we work.

We tell him daily to not rush his life while reminding him of his responsibilities with school work during the summer. Although we pledged this would not happen back in June, Beckett procrastinated all summer with his summer reading requirements. Therefore, he’s under the proverbial gun to finish his last book and complete his book report before next Tuesday. He had to read three books and complete three book reports in the summer. While he maintains it’s unfair and he wants to go to a different school where no summer work is required, it was not an overwhelming load over the course of an entire summer.

For some reason, Beckett is a reluctant reader. He seems to think it’s cool to not like to read. He often quotes friends from camp about the topic of reading. My favorite is, “summer is for chilling, ain’t no time for reading.” That’s when I respond tersely it’s time for school and that next summer his day plans may change.

In all fairness, he actually read five nice-sized books this summer (he calls himself an overachiever, consequently). He’s required to write a minimum of three book reports on three of the books.

As we sat in his room one night this week — his hair still wet from swimming — I implored him to focus on getting his work done so we weren’t spending all of Labor Day weekend working on school work that he had 10 weeks to complete. At one point, I was growing so frustrated with his short sentences with no details that I told him his first grade teacher would not have accepted these responses.

He argued the point, asking me to text Mrs. Marshall to find out while he grabbed us a snack from downstairs. That effort to distract didn’t work. Eventually he got it done, but I can tell already the start of school will be a rude awakening for him. That means we will have to be on our game.

Last weekend the kids let us know they wanted to relax at home.

I was hesitant because I knew once school and sports started our weekends were going to be occupied by games and other activities. I wanted to hit the beach both days to squeeze out as much sand and ocean time possible while we could.

I could have forced the issue, but they were just tired and wanted to be home because they are on the go so much. I have to admit it was nice to have a quiet weekend at home, although I did wish it was raining outside and not gorgeous.

At one point, we played a four-hour game of Oceanopoly, which is a nautical take-off of the Monopoly board game. There was some interesting bartering and bickering during the game that at times tested the patience, but it was worth the few minutes of headaches that came with it.

It’s these times that are memories we will never forget. That was not lost on us, particularly at a time when many parents are dealing with the shock of dropping their kids off at college and the roller coaster of emotions that come with that adjustment period.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.