It’s fun to watch my sons around young kids these days.
Carson has little interest in directly engaging with them, while Beckett prefers the parents give him some one-on-one time alone with their kid. He doesn’t say it but step aside I got this sums up his approach.
During a recent gathering, Beckett took a special interest in a 2-year-old boy as he usually does.
Besides looking similar with light hair and eyes at that age, the little boy was also running all over the place with reckless abandon. That was exactly how Beckett was as a toddler (and sometimes still can be). If he was awake, he was moving and talking (not that much has changed today).
As I watched Beckett play the role of parent (with the kid’s actual parents nearby), I recalled memories of how Pam and I would take turns shadowing him, redirecting him to safe places and keeping things out of his hands that could harm him.
At one point, this little boy opened up a cooler and randomly started throwing ice cubes. He had an impressive arm. The cubes not hurled were put in his mouth or pockets. Beckett was quick to stop him before the boy moved on to other places and subjects that interested him, like a nearby puppy, a bonfire, bikes, volleyball, horseshoes and cars.
I got a kick out of watching Beckett chase him around. He was smiling and laughing the entire time in amazement seemingly at the energy and no fear mentality the kid had.
Meanwhile, as he is apt due to his introverted nature, Carson was observing from a distance and smiling. When I asked him what he thought about the kid, he giggled and signed, “crazy.”
After the little boy and his family called it quits for the night, Beckett told me how cute the little boy was but that he didn’t listen well and just did whatever he wanted all the time. I let him know that’s pretty much how most toddlers are and that he was exactly the same way at that age wherever we took him.
Rather than marvel over our parenting energy, he chose to believe I was kidding.
A stubborn streak can be both a positive and negative.
That’s alive and well with both of our boys, who are now 10 and 8 years old.
On the positive side, it means they have a strong will, desire independence and can think for themselves.
While I think this tendency will serve them well in life, at their young ages, it’s more frustrating than anything because they are obstinate in rejecting guidance and advice.
In the ocean last Saturday, this stubborn streak was on full display. The waves were big and the currents were strong. Beckett is a good swimmer and can handle himself in the ocean. There were a few times, however, when he was not being smart by trying to bodysurf some large and rough waves.
He was ignoring my demands to stop trying because it was too big on this particular day. He eventually listened after I threatened to pull him out of the ocean if he didn’t listen.
We had a pointed exchange over it. He reminded me he has been in the ocean every summer since he was born. I reminded him the same thing could be said for me and I’ve got three-plus decades of experience on him.
After several hours of being in the ocean with him, I let Beckett go in the ocean with his cousin, 19, while I took Carson into a nearby low tide wading area. I reminded his older cousin to keep a close eye on him. I wasn’t too worried because the surf had calmed a lot.
Unfortunately, that was the problem because Beckett and his cousin thought the waves were weak and small enough now they could bodysurf. Well, the next thing I know he comes out of the ocean with a scrape on his shoulder complaining his arm hurt. He had a caught a wave that was too big and got slammed. That was just what I told him would happen.
Knowing that wasn’t the time to lecture him, I waited until later in the night. We had a long conversation about it. His side of things was he wants to learn things on his own and not be told what to do. I reminded him there are ample opportunities to do that, but asked what happened when he did that in the ocean. He ended up getting hurt and it could have been a lot worse for him. It seemed to sink in and you can bet I will be bringing that up on the beach this weekend several times.
With Carson, a stubborn streak is often on display during games, especially Scrabble. His mom and I often try to help our rising third grader, especially when it takes him 10 minutes or more when it’s his turn. He will have none of it. He’s passionate about making his own move from the tiles before him, but we are equally ardent on not letting him fabricate words as he is prone to do.
In this case, some 25 minutes later, being stubborn paid off for him, as the next thing I knew he had spelled “quest” and scored 40 points.