The Adventures Of Fatherhood – February 24, 2023

Life at home with 14- and 13-year-old sons is a lot of things, the least of which is dull.

Maybe your house is the same, depending on the age of the kids. The younger the kids are the more chaotic and busy the household. As the kids get older, it remains hectic, but the cerebral concerns take over as life becomes more complex and challenging.

It’s interesting to take a snapshot in time of life with the kids, and here’s a look at some of the current observations of Beckett, 14, and Carson, 13.

  • Teens try to sound stupid when they speak.

As I sat in my truck last Saturday night waiting for a school dance to end, the language and ignorance I overhead from the kids walking past was ridiculous. Most of the kids I have known for years, and I was astounded by how uneducated they wanted to sound. The only comfort I found was I didn’t hear any of the foolishness from my kid, but I am guessing he, too, thinks it’s cool to speak in a way altogether different than how he has been raised and educated.

I asked Beckett about this observation later, and he said something along the lines of that’s just kids work these days. I wondered why there would be any reason to intentionally speak in a poor way when all these kids knew better and were smarter than they seemed. He said they probably think it sounds cool and quickly changed the topic, “oh along those lines, got anything good to eat?”

This is how conversations with teens go it seems.

  • Carson, 13, has found a new favorite show, The Simpsons. His mom, on the other hand, loathes the show. He gets a kick out of the fact she doesn’t like it. Therefore, whenever he is done watching television, he likes to leave it on the show for her. For example, before school each morning, he usually has about 20 minutes or so to watch a show before school. When I tell him it’s time to get rolling, Carson usually leaves the television on an episode of The Simpsons. He oftentimes even pauses it on a part he knows his mom will not find appropriate or funny.

This week I turned him on to something else his mom does not enjoy. I encouraged him to turn on a sports talk show where middle-age former athletes sit around and discuss sports headlines. Poor Pam never knows what she’s going to walk into, but she can count on it being something she would never watch or turn on for herself.

The game gets played back on me as well, however, as the mother-and-son team conspire to leave a home improvement show or the Home Shopping Network on for me whenever I am not in the room.

  • Multiple times every day I see Beckett, 14, walking around the house with his shirt off looking at himself in mirrors. I notice he also is usually perspiring a bit as well.

Most of the time I don’t even bother digging into the why of what I am seeing. Other times the image is too much to pass up. A case in point would be one night this week when he randomly decided to take a shower and water was literally dripping down his back from his wet hair. He seemed to be looking at himself in the mirror to see what he looked like from behind dripping wet. It turns out he wanted to see what his back muscles would look like this summer getting out of the pool.

It’s February but okay. Vanity is starting to become a thing it seems.

  • Two of Carson’s favorite things currently are salads and hooded sweatshirts.

On salads, all the credit for this goes to his mom. I would have never imagined Carson would dig salads because he’s not a huge vegetable guy. His brother never eats salads, and he would view it as an extreme punishment if forced. For Carson, he really likes them and gets them as a side while out to eat.

After an eye appointment in Baltimore this week, we told him to order anything he wants off the menu at a restaurant in Kent Narrows. He pointed to a salad. When Pam asked him he wanted anything on top of it, Carson pointed to grilled chicken. It was amazing, and he ate every single bite. He now views a big salad as a special treat. We have done something right on that front.

On hooded sweatshirts, there’s something about the weight and feel that brings him comfort. Some hoodies he will not wear and others — after he pulls out the drawstring — he loves to the point he doesn’t want to wear anything else.

I am worried about warm weather arriving. There’s something in his Autism brain that’s connected to wearing hoodies. In fact, on Thursday when it was expected to be a warm day, I told him a T-shirt is all he needs today. In an act of defiance, he put on a T-shirt with two heavy hooded sweatshirts over top. I could see at 6:31 a.m. this was going to be an issue, but I was hoping he would change his mind once he walked outside.

I have accepted there are times when his special needs win. The fact it was going to be a warm day seemed to trigger stubbornness. When we pulled into school, I asked him one more time about taking off the hooded sweatshirts. I was hoping he was shed at least one.  He refused and I could see the fight was not going to be worth starting his day on the wrong foot. So, on a day when it was in the mid-70s, he wore two sweatshirts.

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.