The Adventures Of Fatherhood – March 17, 2023

(Editor’s Note: The following is a reprint from March 18, 2011.)

Elephants scare the daylights out of Beckett, and we have no idea why.

This fear surfaced when Beckett, 2, was a baby and does not appear to be something that’s fading away as he gets older.

We learned of this extreme trepidation when he was just a few months old. One day, he was watching Baby Einstein in his swing having a bottle when an elephant roared on the television. It sent Beckett into tears immediately.

More than two years later, the mere image of an elephant can send Beckett into a screaming fit. Throw in an elephant roar and matters get particularly heated. No matter what he’s doing, elephants literally stop him in his tracks and usually spark a breakdown of some sort.

Beckett’s elephant phobia runs deep. On Christmas morning, he wanted nothing to do with a toy elephant he found under the tree that had a fan inside it and could blow little items across the room. I was fascinated by it because it truly looked like the elephant was lifting his trunk and blowing out these little bow-shaped pieces of paper.

Beckett spent Christmas walking over it (and even kicked it a couple times), in favor of basically any other toy. That went back to the store within the next couple days.

Over the last couple months, I was thinking this aversion might just be a thing of the past. That was until last weekend in Salisbury at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center, which was hosting The Commerford Zoo.

When we heard about the traveling zoo carnival and kids fair, we figured this would be something Beckett and Carson would enjoy. After all, there were all sorts of games and kids activities as well as a variety of animals, from donkeys, cows and monkeys to camels, zebras and ducks.

Of course, there were also a couple elephants on hand to giving rides.

I really thought Beckett would be fine when he saw them and realized they were restrained and were actually fairly docile creatures. My wife thought otherwise and worried the mere sight of the elephants in person would spark a meltdown.

Well, Pam was on the money, as Beckett lost it when he spotted them across the room.

The plan was to not take him directly to the elephants. Instead, we walked around and let him look at the smaller animals, getting a little bit closer to where the elephants were slowly but surely. When we got about 50 yards away from the elephants, things went south in a hurry.

Apparently, one of the elephants looked at him, sparking a meltdown of enormous proportions.

He never truly regained his composure until he spotted a huge inflatable slide in an adjacent room.

As he likes to do, he now tells the story something like this, “there was a big, big elephant there, and it looked at Beckett, it scared me and I cried. I cried a lot.”

With one kid running around the house and one still learning how to walk, life can get a little crazy.

That’s on a normal day, but we have been even more on edge over the last week, thanks to Carson’s recent surgery and the fact Beckett has a penchant for something he calls “human bowling”.

Fortunately, Carson, 16 months, seems to be just fine now from last week’s surgery, and the last few days seem to be all about trying to keep him from climbing stairs, crawling on the fireplace and scaling furniture.

A couple times this week, we have seen him standing by himself in the middle of the room, attempting to walk or simply stand without any help. Unfortunately, it’s still a work in progress, as this is typically followed by pretty decent falls.

One evening this week, while Pam was working, it was boys night — me, Beckett and Carson and the two dogs, Fletch and Bailey.

I was getting Beckett’s dinner ready and all of a sudden realized it was too quiet in the house. Neither kid was making any noise. In my house, silence is usually only present when the kids are asleep.

I peeked over the bar in the kitchen into the living room to find an unusual sight.

Beckett was flat on his back and Carson was sprawled out atop him on his stomach. I have no idea how this happened, but I know by the time I got to them both of them were laughing extremely hard.

When I asked Beckett what happened, he uncharacteristically didn’t have an answer. That tells me he was surprised by whatever it was that transpired.

Later, I was able to get a little something out of him and apparently what happened was Beckett moved the ottoman Carson was using to prop himself up with and subsequently there was a little brother-brother pancake session.

Much later, Beckett took this situation as an opportunity for a little reciprocation of a different variety. I had a front row seat for this occurrence, as I watched him crawl along with Carson across the floor until that apparently bored him.

To liven things up, he decided to sit on Carson’s back, all the while saying, “give me a piggyback ride, Carson, yippee.” Due to their major weight differences, that piggyback session turned into Carson being quickly pushed into the floor.

As I rushed to get Beckett off him, Carson just laughed and laughed, prompting Beckett to say, “see Daddy he likes it.”

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.