At 9 years old, Beckett is constantly wavering between being independent and completely helpless.
It’s quite the range and on display multiple times each day. He likes the idea of being self-sufficient and not needing our help, but the reality is he’s far from it most of the time because it takes a lot of work.
It’s a process for sure. On one hand, we marvel over an instance that spotlights his will and desire to accomplish things on his own. Fifteen minutes later, we are wondering if it’s laziness or ineptitude that’s fueling his inability to carry out the simplest of tasks, like remembering to put away his soccer balls and bike when done with them or turning in his library books at school on time.
One thing we are excited about is he has finally gotten to the point he gets himself dressed in the morning before school and doesn’t have to be reminded to brush his teeth (although a breath test to ensure is still part of the morning). When he gets home from school, he changes his clothes and completes his homework on his own, although out of habit we still check it over.
He likes the idea of being independent. Last weekend while spending the weekend in a Pennsylvania hotel for a soccer tournament that was on full display. After a long and wet day of soccer on Saturday, the kids on the team got together and roamed the hotel. It was a little unsettling at first but several checks on them proved they were behaving and just hanging out in the hallways talking and playing games. The key was they did not want adult supervision at all times.
At one point, Beckett came back to the room to check in. The conversation went something like the following:
Me: “Hey, want to take the room key with you?”
Beckett: “What do you mean?”
Me: “You can take it so you don’t have to knock to get in.”
Beckett: “Sure, but what if I lose it?”
Me: “You have to make sure you don’t.”
Beckett: “Okay, yeah this is great. I can’t wait to show my friends.”
Although we gave him some independence, there was never more than 15 minutes elapsed before I was snooping and checking in on him and his friends. They weren’t doing anything wrong except maybe talking too loud at times. One thing they did was indulge in too much hot chocolate, which was set up for free in the hotel lobby.
One challenge was getting Beckett to break free from his friends at 10 p.m. When it came time to wrap it up for the night, he wanted to know if we could bring a few friends back to the room. I immediately shot that down because his brother was asleep and we’re not crazy.
Once back to the room, however, the independent streak subsided. He needed to be coerced to brush his teeth and use the bathroom before turning in himself. Once in bed, he was hungry and thirsty and reverted back to being a toddler, saying he was too tired to get up himself. When I didn’t immediately oblige, I thought he was going to cry.
It appears we are still needed as parents because his independent desires come and go.
One of the highlights of a three-day weekend to central Pennsylvania for Beckett’s soccer tournament was a visit to Strasburg Railroad.
We figured if Carson had to sit on the sidelines and watch his brother play soccer all weekend we could treat him to something fun on Friday.
Since trains are his favorite thing in the world right now (along with his mom, of course), we figured there was no better place to take him when it was announced the Thomas and Percy engines from the Thomas & Friends series would be making a special appearance at the railroad.
It was also an opportunity to do something for him near his birthday. Carson’s birthday falls the week after Halloween, which mirrors Christmas at our house. That means his birthday often gets lost in the shuffle. The railroad station day seemed like a good thing to surprise him with for his birthday.
The only issue with that plan was on the morning of our excursion he woke up with a stomach bug that hit him hard. He was vomiting and had diarrhea all morning. This was the exact same situation that played out last month during an excursion to Busch Gardens.
After a couple hours of monitoring him, we decided we would carry on with our plans. He slept the entire road trip and seemed to be much better as a result. He was far from perfect and showed little excitement initially when we told we had a surprise for him. That all changed when we got to the railroad and he first saw Percy and then Thomas.
I think he thought he was just going to be able to look at the trains and get his picture taken with them at first. When we told him we were going to go on train rides, he showed his first true expression of happiness on this day.
Several train rides later and an expensive trip through the gift shop, we were on a way to our hotel for the weekend and all signs of the illness were gone.