(Editor’s Note: The following column is a reprint from the summer of 2015.)
Rainy weekend days test my parenting mettle.
The saving grace for last Saturday — the first day of significant rainfall in a few weeks — was the morning was fine, and we were able to get out of the house early for a soccer game and lunch. Once it started raining around mid-day, it essentially didn’t stop until sometime overnight.
On the way home, like everyone else with a cell phone, we got the message about a tornado warning in effect and heard word one was spotted in the southern end of the county. We raced home and were spooked enough by the warnings and the fire alarm to head toward our basement, which is unfinished and the last place Pam and I would ever want to be with our children for an extended period of time.
For a while, Beckett, 7, was fine just sitting on a stool because he had his Kindle. That all changed when we found out the wireless Internet does not reach the basement. The whining then came. Although I love technology, my tech support skills are limited. I could not solve the issue and was not willing to turn on my hot spot on my phone, so he started exploring the basement.
Being an explorer by nature, Carson, 5, was already one step ahead of him, touching anything and everything without a care in the world. Of particular fascination was a flashing green light underneath the HVAC system.
Both kids wanted to know what that was for and I had no answer for them. Good or bad, I’m more of the “we have a guy for that” type when it comes to those sorts of household things. Eventually, with them not taking no for an answer, I just made something up about moisture control.
Beckett didn’t buy it and pointed out I wasn’t much help to him at that moment. I would neither fix his Kindle nor allow him to touch strange things that may or may not cause him harm and certainly would make him dirty.
That was humbling and to deflect some of the criticism I pulled up the radar on my phone to prove I do know a little something about something that might interest him. He was impressed with my meteorology knowledge.
More and more, the word “so” is being used to start sentences in our society.
Despite it being a pet peeve of mine, I am guilty of it as well and have found myself saying it a lot more than I care to admit. As a result, I have instituted a self-imposed restriction on the word, or more specifically starting a sentence with it. It appears that was a little late in coming because Beckett is starting to do it as well now.
As a matter of fact, on Wednesday morning, he was looking over some awards and citations from a banquet this week and fixated on the “key to the city” I received from the Town of Ocean City.
Proving his love affair with the Boardwalk arcade is still alive and well, he asked, “So [elongated with a few extra o’s for effect], does this mean we can get into Funcade anytime we want now because we have a key to everything in Ocean City?”
He doesn’t forget much.
Beckett has now been on the cover of local newspapers three times in his short life, and the fact it has not included this very paper was not lost on him.
Two of the cover photos were submitted by his school — Worcester Prep — and used as “fill” photos on the papers’ front page. The first one came in 2008 when he was just 6 months old. It was actually a photo of him, Pam and me with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the school’s annual Christmas bazaar. Surely that paper’s editor didn’t know he put his competitor on his front page. That made for some good laughs.
Twice this summer he has been featured on the front page of another paper. One was for being chosen as a runner-up in the Mr. Peach contest and just last week he was featured on the same paper’s front page for a summer camp he attended at his school two months ago. That was again another fill photo on the front page, for some strange reason.
Beckett doesn’t seem to think much of being the cover boy. It’s one of those “oh, cool” type of reactions that doesn’t get a second thought normally. However, he did point out something to me last weekend.
“How come I have never been on the front page of your paper?,” he asked.
He didn’t accept it when I told him he was featured on the inside of the paper several times or that hundreds of words are written about him each week in this rambling.
“Just put me on the cover every week moving forward,” he ordered.
Now every time he sees a newspaper around the house or at the office he picks it up to see if he’s on the front page. When he’s not, even if it’s the Wall Street Journal, he shoots me a look, holds it up so I can see it and throws it to the floor.
That’s some high expectations.