The Adventures Of Fatherhood – July 10, 2020

It’s always interesting to me how my kids react to things.

At 12 and 10 years old now, most of the time my boys are calm and mellow about things, but there are some instances – usually unpredictable — when they are dramatic and extreme with their reactions.

It’s the latter cases that make for better copy in this space so here are some recent instances.

•At 12 years old, Beckett is laidback for the most part. There are exceptions and I’m sometimes surprised when he reverts back to a toddler. The tantrums of a tween are a lot different than that of a 3-year-old, however. They seem more complicated and represent something altogether different than the matter at hand.

An example would be a recent morning when I had the nerve to not have a bagel ready for him when he came downstairs ready for camp. I handed him his smoothie and he said, “what no bagel?” I let him know I had forgotten and said give me a few minutes. His reaction was shock and awe followed by some other unnecessarily rude comments that resulted in me intentionally making him wait longer.

It was at that point I realized this was not just about a bagel, which I decided to deliver to him nearby. He did say in seemingly grateful fashion “thank you,” which I also took as an apology for snapping.

I have found a short-term memory helps make parenting easier.

•Carson fell off his bike the other night and skinned up his knee bad. Beckett’s reaction was worse than Carson’s.

Beckett took the angle the fall was going to slow him down and prevent him from going as fast as he would like. Once he found out the injury was minor, Beckett was a typical older brother, questioning Carson as to how it happened and whether he would be able to keep up now that he was injured.

That’s when the crying got intense from Carson and I ordered Beckett to just go ahead of us. Once I finally got Carson back on the bike, I could see tears streaming down his face. I told him if it hurts to bike let’s just walk. He insisted on biking, but his tears continued. This was one of those rare moments when I didn’t immediately now what was going on with him. It surely would have been a lot easier if he could tell me, but it was clear something was bothering him besides the injury. I finally figured out what our non-verbal son had on his mind. He wanted his big brother to be biking with him.

As soon as Beckett was back riding with us, he started cracking jokes with Carson and all was well in the world.

It turns out short-term memories are a good thing for all family members.

•While at Speed World in Ocean City recently, the kids showed their immaturity a bit.

Carson wants no part of driving, so he and I partner in double carts on the tracks. Common sense would tell you the both of us would not be able to keep with Beckett in his single cart. Nonetheless, Carson during the entire ride had his foot firmly planted atop mind on the gas. When Beckett lapped us, he started slapping his foot down on top of mine until my threats to end the afternoon early finally resonated. A limp for me was still a result of his stomping.

A few tracks later, Beckett showed his competitive side. I could tell something was up with his go-kart, as he wasn’t keeping up with others, including us in a double cart. Five years ago or so, he would have cried and probably had a tantrum. Instead at 12 years old, he calmly said he was done and wanted to leave. An hour later, after getting in some wins, he wanted to stay beyond our paid for time.

It turns out winning does cure most things.

•Carson is mellow about most things but there are two clear exceptions – food and electronics. He can be obsessive about both at times.

For today, I will retell a story shared to me by Pam. She found herself in a similar situation to me a few weeks ago. She took the boys to get haircuts in Ocean City and wanted to take them to lunch afterwards. They just wanted to go home because it was pouring rain, which was just an excuse. They talked their mother into McDonald’s. She must have just been over them at this point because she rarely eats fast food.

With it raining and the place packed, she probably should have known the order would be messed up. Along with being out of apple juice, which Carson loves, there was also cheese on his burger and he’s dairy-free. At this point, she was already out of the drive-thru line and the inside was closed due to the pandemic. The result was a breakdown from Carson and his big brother – whose meal was just fine — making fun of him.

To make matters worse for Pam, her unsweetened iced tea she had was sweetened, which she hates. It was at that point she lost it. The result was a quiet ride home and the three of them going their separate ways once home.

It happens to the best of us.

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.