The Adventures Of Fatherhood – August 14, 2020

It was an eventful week for our 12-year-old kid and appears to be an expensive month coming up for his parents.

On Monday, Beckett had a teeth cleaning and I wasn’t prepared for what I heard. Because I’m scatterbrained most days, I wasn’t thinking the topic of orthodontics would come up at this appointment.

I fully expected to hear concerns from his dentist about not flossing enough and wearing out his gums with his death grip during brushing. I assumed there would be a cavity as well because his toothbrushing seems generally to be lacking. I would have been thinking about braces or Invisalign coming up if I knew he had lost all his baby teeth. I should have realized that, but again the brain is scattered these days.

Showing me his overbite and misalignment, the dentist asked, “Are you ready dad to go down this journey with me?” The short answer was no, and the longer response may lead to a long and winding bluster about the wonders and challenges 2020 has brought.

On the bright side, he didn’t have any cavities and his visit was covered by insurance. The orthodontics will not be so that’s another matter altogether.

Before I had a lot of time to review the financials of that reality, the next day Beckett had his 12-year-old well check, and it was quite entertaining.

He is fascinated with the topic of puberty and seems to be really looking forward to things changing for him. Many of his friends’ voices are changing and he has noticed how much they have grown this summer. He keeps wondering when he will start maturing and seems to think something is wrong with him. I assured him all is fine and told him some of your friends are a year older than you and it’s different for each person. I reminded him he had a doctor’s appointment coming up and it would be the perfect time to discuss with him.

My son is especially fixated on a certain something’s size changing. When he asked the doctor about that specifically, I didn’t help the doctor out and instead waited to see how he handled it. Beckett has a way of speaking bluntly. It’s often hilarious because there’s no filter. He’s not one to disguise what he’s thinking so he’s typically overt with his words. He clearly wanted to know when he would be entering puberty and what he should be expecting as far as body hair, his height and also when a certain something would be growing in size.

When the doctor began to skirt around the subject, Beckett interrupted (as he is prone to do) with his desire for a certain height he wanted to be as well as length of the other subject. I couldn’t contain myself and just started laughing. The doctor had to take a seat and was clearly giggling behind his mask.

Being a professional, he quickly got it together and went about looking at his current size and weight and comparing it to other kids his age as well as his recent growth. He then predicted Beckett would be about six feet tall. My kid seemed disappointed, but then quickly moved on to the other matter he had referenced several times. He asked if he could tell by looking at him now what size he can expect to be when he’s adult. The doctor said he could not offer any prediction on that, but he encouraged him to keep eating his vegetables and getting the right amount of sleep. He said everything would fall into place so long as you stay healthy and rested.

Not really understanding the conversation was turning too personal even with his own doctor, Beckett let him know the size he hoped in inches his most private of parts would be. It was outlandishly large and the doctor cautioned him on his expectations, reminding him there could be some uncomfortableness associated with his hopes. It just got increasingly weird, but it’s clear Beckett is obsessed with puberty and what it will mean for him. He seems to think it’s an immediate transformation, and the doctor educated him a bit on it. I think it ultimately sunk in because he later remarked how misled he had been by TikToc and Snapchat about the subject. Imagine that as I roll my eyes.

Once the funny business is over, Beckett took a shot like a champ without any issues at all. He also aced his hearing test. The same cannot be said for his vision test. He wore glasses for a few years before finally wearing us down and proving his slightly off vision was not a huge deal.

At the doctor’s office, however, it was clear it’s a bigger problem now. He was referred to an eye doctor for further evaluation.

On the way home, Beckett seemed to grasp the issues at hand. “So my teeth are all jacked up and my vision is terrible?,” he asked. I found a way to cushion the news, all the while thinking about the extent of the impending financial damage.

It’s true parenting is not for the weak.

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.