Adventures Of Fatherhood – June 8, 2018

Adventures Of Fatherhood – June 8, 2018

Playing Scrabble with Carson is always entertaining.

For a second grader, his spelling and vocabulary are impressive. In fact, when we first started playing the game a year ago, he often needed help once the game got underway with working off existing words on the board. He had no trouble coming up with words from the tiles on his rack. It was just working them into the tiles already displayed that stressed him a little.

He will not accept help these days. He’s quite adamant about it. One thing this refusal does is it lengthens the time it takes to play the game because it takes him some time to put together his words.

While he’s always quick to bring out the hour glass timer when it’s my turn, he doesn’t like being rushed. It’s typically because he’s trying to put together the longest word he can so he can score high.

An example would be a couple weeks ago when he was taking forever to come up with a word. When he finally did make a play, he spelled the word, “quiver.” I refused, at first, to believe he came up with that word on his own. When I questioned him about it because I thought he was just taking a stab at it, he pointed to my phone, which we often use to check on a word in question through the Scrabble app.

I told him I knew it was a word, but was questioning how he knew that it was one. He shrugged me off and handed over the scorecard (as in be quiet Dad and just get counting). It turned out to be a 40-point score.

In another game, we nearly came to blows over a word he wanted so badly because of its high score. He spelled “zenquote,” which due to two triple letter scores equated to a score of 65. The problem was it wasn’t a word.

When he finally accepted it, he simply removed the “zen” and left the word “quote.” He let me know that he would rather use “quote” than “zen” because it was more points. He was right.

I thought that was genius, but I’m clearly biased.

It’s been about two months since we got our new dogs.

By and large, the kids are keeping up their ends of the deal we made with them before bringing them into our home.

I was initially reluctant to have dogs in the home again. We had lost two labs, ages 15 and 13 years old, to old age in back-to-back years and it was heart wrenching to say goodbye to them. They had been with me since they were eight weeks old.

While dealing with the grief, I must admit I enjoyed the year of not having the added responsibility around the house. Therefore, when Pam got that fateful call at the newspaper about two dogs needing to find a good home quickly, I was dismissive at first. The boys and her wore me down in short order, but it came with conditions that everyone would help this time with the pets.

When it came to the boys, I figured they would help a bit at first and then their assistance would eventually wane over time. Two months later, that really hasn’t happened.

Carson is militant on nobody feeding the dogs besides him. It’s serious business for him, confirming his attention to the task at hand is unwavering when he’s committed. He gets quite angry when the dogs are fed by anyone but him. For what it’s worth, the dogs have certainly come to appreciate his heavy-handed nature with their food as well.

As for Beckett, he needs reminding of his obligations often, but he’s still intent on taking the dogs for walks around the neighborhood a few days a week. He draws the line at picking up their business, however, but I can’t blame him there.

With the school year wrapping up, it was nice to see Beckett’s take on it.

While he’s certainly ready for a break from school work and all that summer brings with it, I can see he’s been conflicted about it lately.

On Thursday morning, I reminded him it was his last full day of school as a fourth grader. He was quick to let me know he was aware. When I asked him how he felt about it, he said, “I’m mixed up about it.”

He said he’s looking forward to seeing his summer friends at camp, being able to stay up a little later at night, a reduced schedule and warmer weather. However, he also said he’s sad about not seeing his school friends for a couple months and that he’s going to miss his teachers. I was so happy to hear that last part because it must be difficult on teachers to say goodbye to their students after nine months together.

I told him make sure you let them know you are going to miss them. He assured me has done so. He doesn’t like getting badgered with questions, but I had to ask him how he had let them know.

“I’ve asked Mrs. Shimko like every day if I can just come back to her class next year,” he said. That’s a great compliment to his wonderful teacher.

When I asked him what he was thinking and feeling this time last year, I will never forget what he said. “I’m feeling a lot actually,” he said.

I think that simple line generally sums up well what teachers, parents and students are all feeling in the final days.

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.