The Adventures Of Fatherhood – May 28, 2021

The thought of a “sleepover” makes me cringe.

Having some buddies over for the night was one of Beckett’s wishes for his birthday earlier this month. Talks evolved from questions about how many kids he could have for a sleepover to whether we were going to make them go to sleep. We agreed three would be the max for sanity reasons as well as available beds, not that sleeping ever truly matters when it comes to a kid sleepover. As for sleep being mandated, the answer was most likely.

He ultimately decided to just invite one friend to stay the night. I figured this would be a breeze, as compared to the sleepover we had a few years ago with four boys. It was more like an all-night hangout gaming session as sleep was not really had and it ended up turning into a two-night stay for one of the boys.

As luck would have it – or possibly orchestrated ahead of time by our kid – there were a couple extra boys added to this most recent sleepover at around 8 that night. They were having so much fun skating and hanging around outside they wanted to continue inside. For the next several hours, all we heard was loud music and voices far louder than needed seemingly at all times.

Though I like the idea of Beckett having friends spend the night because he enjoys it, what I am not going to miss is the fact I barely sleep on these nights. In fact, I barely even needed my watch alarm I set for every hour after midnight to check in on them. At some point, I must have drifted off because by the time the 3 a.m. alarm went off they were asleep.

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When I heard them milling around shortly after 6 the next morning, I was shocked. I knew my kid was going to be a mess the entire day going on just a few hours of sleep. He was wide awake for about half the day, but then crashed and burned in the afternoon and was off the rest of the day. The same went for me because my sleep was wrecked too.

I truly cannot imagine ever saying later in life I miss all these sleepover nights. Nope, it’s not going to happen.

When Beckett asked the next day if he could have so and so sleep over next weekend, Pam and I didn’t even say a word. We just looked at him.

“Too soon, I get it,” he said before heading outside to clean up the dozen water bottles and skateboard helmets he and his friend left scattered all around the yard for no good reason.

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Puzzles are huge at our house.

We have taken puzzles when we go skiing or other long vacations, but over the last few months we have started leaving one out on the dining room table to work as we can.

Carson, 11, is the puzzle master of the house because he’s patient and never gets frustrated. He spends by far the most time and often works alone on the puzzles.

On the other extreme is Beckett, 13, who takes one glance at the puzzle and flops his arms as if, “no chance.” It’s not really that he has anything better to do at that time. It’s just he would rather do anything – I mean anything, even sitting in silence having a staring contest with a wall – than try and wrap his mind around a puzzle. It’s just not his thing at all.

I get it. At times, sitting down to get my head into a puzzle is tough. I have to be in the right mindset and be able to put away my phone, put on some music and just get into a groove with Carson. When I do, it’s enjoyable and it’s incredibly gratifying to finish a puzzle.

As luck would have it, the last two puzzles we worked on were missing one piece. I can you tell that is not satisfying in the least bit. It’s aggravating but Carson just laughs it off. We realized this week perhaps why he takes it in such stride. While he’s masterful at a puzzle, he’s also sloppy with the pieces.

Because he’s such a unique individual, he must always work on the puzzle shirtless. Since his vision is not great, he must also get close to the pieces, resulting in him essentially laying on the table at times. Consequently, puzzle pieces are constantly sticking to his arms and belly, falling inevitably to the floor.

Unbeknownst to him he often walks around the house with puzzle pieces stuck to him. Therefore, the pieces often go missing and we find them in weird places.

After completing our seventh puzzle this month, Carson went hunting for another puzzle Tuesday night. When we didn’t hear from him in a couple minutes, I had visions of him inside a closet tossing the contents out behind him searching for a puzzle we had not done. I bolted upstairs to find his legs hanging out from under the bed. Once I pulled him out and redirected him to a closet where he might be able to find one, I let him be on his own. It turns out most of the puzzles have been completed in the house. He came down with a puzzle of a skyline over water that read, “about 750 pieces.”

I’m a bit skeptical about how this puzzle is going to go, especially more than half of it involves a dark sky. As of Wednesday night, he had most of the sky completed while I worked on the bottom, which consisted of ripples upon ripples of water. He is further along than me.