The Mast-Head: Young Person’s Game

    I think my wife would agree that the birth of our son, Ellis, 16 months ago yesterday was the easy part. Having babies is a young person’s game, and this goes for dad as well as mom.
    With both of us in our 40s, the difference between what we were like in 2001 when we had our first child and now becomes apparent in the little moments. When he wakes up at dawn and wants to play, the climb from inaction to action is steeper.
    Ellis is a big toddler and was a big baby. He started off large and never stopped growing. We feel our age as we bend to pick him up.
    One of the things that Lisa and I are surprised about is how different he is from the girls, who are now almost 7 and 10. Unlike them as babies, he is interested in taking things apart, vehicles of all sorts, and, most of all, climbing on anything and everything from which a fall would hurt.
    From the time he was about a year old and just walking he was able to pull himself up onto a kitchen chair, usually selecting the most rickety. He would stand up and rock it back and fourth. Lifted off by one of us, he would whine and protest and try to climb up again.
    Whether or not we can actually, scientifically, ascribe this to differences between the sexes, I am not sure. Perhaps as younger, more agile parents when the girls were this age, it just seems that Ellis is more of a handful.
    Lisa and I think back with longing to the easy strength and energy we had in our 20s, even 30s. While it might have been difficult in many ways for us to have three kids then, the little battles certainly would have been easier. On the positive side, having had two go through the toddler stage already, our uncertainty about child rearing is substantially reduced. I was talking the other day to another now experienced parent about how much we worried about everything when the first was born.
    With age comes enough knowledge to at least keep anxiety mostly at bay, even if our backs are aching a bit as we lift the little fellow from his evening bath.