It’s all in the lessons learned

Mar. 18, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Since becoming a new father of three boys in August, I have picked up a lot of different lessons.

In the first 37 years of my life, the only thing I had to worry about with regards to kids was how to pick on my little sister and not get caught.

Now, the lessons are completely different.

Living in a house with three boys brings about varied challenges especially when you factor their ages. The twins — Jordan and Jeffery — are 12 and Nathan is 17.

If you think just because they are boys they are the same in their behavior, you would be mistaken.

Here are some of the lessons I’ve been able to pick up along the way:

• Treat them the same. I swear I live in a house with three lawyers. If one of the boys is getting something the others aren’t, it turns into a federal case. Kids have become smarter and don’t waste time resorting to crying but more towards debate. This can even be for the most remote of things like food. If one of the boys gets a snack, one or both of the others will present their case for why they should receive the same thing or why the other shouldn’t have gotten what he got.

Curtail the Internet. I think this is a thing all parents can relate to. If it is the weekend, I can expect to see the boys only when it is feeding time or if they are just passing through. Rarely, when they are passing through, are they not attached to a cell phone or computer doing something on the Internet. The problem is they have yet to decipher when the weekend stops and school nights begin. Being on the Internet at 10 p.m. on a school night does nothing but lead to issues when getting up for school the next morning.

• Games, games, games. Speaking of the Internet, when did video games become so popular? I remember having an Atari 6400 but not really playing it unless there was really nothing else to do. Now, it seems gaming systems are the first resort to kill time rather than the last. I feel somewhat silly because when they ask me to play with them, I have no idea what they are doing and develop frustration when I’m outplayed by a 12-year-old.

Stay on top of them. It’s not that the boys are deceitful, because they really aren’t. But if you aren’t clear on your instructions, things will either be done completely different than you expected or not done at all. Telling them to do the laundry usually entails three or four follow-ups to make sure it was done and the clothes were brought upstairs appropriately. If no follow-up is done, the laundry usually either won’t get done or only laundry belonging to the child you instructed will be complete. There have been times when I have had laundry still in the dryer after about a day with those clothes done belonging to the child assigned the task.

• Hide the food. I have never been around individuals who eat as much as the boys. I just don’t know where it goes. I usually eat once a day — which I know is not good for me — but these boys eat six to eight times a day. If not for bedroom closets, I fear I would look like a war zone refugee.

All-in-all, the boys do their fair share to keep me on my toes.

I know most seasoned parents already know most, of not all of the things I have mentioned. But, it never ceases to amaze me how fast they grow up.

Even with all of the challenges associated with it, I try very hard not to lose a day with them because I know they will grow up, move out, go to college, get lives of their own, leaving their mother and me to our own devices.

I just hope those days don’t come too quickly.


Matthew Clark is the editor of The Daily Courier. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TDCMatt