reasons my son is crying

To date, it appears that there are forty-two documented Reasons My Son is Crying, each accompanied by a pitiful, often blurry photo of a cute, snotty-nosed toddler. Not my son, mind you, rather the blogger’s son, neither of whom I know. The shared link on Facebook intrigued me, so I clicked on it and scrolled down through most of the photographs of the crying child, reading captions such as, “He is out of pretzel sticks,” and “He asked me to put butter on his rice. I put butter on his rice,” and “The milk isn’t juice.”

Thinking of my son Calvin, who had just suffered a five-plus minute seizure a day or two before, made it hard for me to find the humor most obviously intended by the blog's author. In fact, as I scrolled through the photos I realized that the child might perhaps cry seeing himself in such a state on the Internet, thus creating yet another photo op for his parent.

Calvin doesn’t cry much anymore, though that hasn't always been the case. As an infant he’d cry for hours and we never knew exactly why, though we figured it was either intestinal discomfort and pain or perhaps over stimulation of his partially formed brain. He has cried from falls and bumps to the head, and he cried when he knocked out a tooth. He has cried when needles prick him in order to draw blood. He has cried when he has had twenty-eight EEG leads glued to his head then peeled off a few days later. And he has cried after countless seizures.

Tuesday night shortly after I put Calvin to bed I heard him crying and sputtering. I leapt up the stairs where I found him strangled by the netted canopy that we’d fashioned to keep him from falling out of bed. Somehow he’d gotten his head stuck in a narrow space between the edge of the canopy, the footboard and the safety panel. He must’ve been trying to bite the netting because I found him gagged like a character in some Quentin Tarantino film, his frantic writhing causing the net to somehow wind around his neck. He was bound so tightly that with all of my strength I still could not release the anchor loop from its hook because there was no give. Frantic and trembling, I quickly unlooped the backup cord which was tethered to one caster, allowing enough slack in the netting to ease the noose around Calvin’s neck. As I loosened the cords, scooped him up and rocked him in my arms—this little defenseless kid of mine—we cried and cried until time eventually eased the trauma. Luckily, beyond suffering great fear and pain, he sustained only minor contusions at the back of his neck.

Shortly after I put Calvin back to bed (sans netting at that point) I had a resentful, though not completely justifiable, flashback of the photo blog. It made me wish for a child who cries about spilt milk, for one who cries about sharing his toys, who cries because he can’t eat candy off of the floor, who cries because his brother’s boots don’t fit him, and who cries for no apparent reason at all.

But later, when I had gained some distance and perspective, I went back onto the blog and was able to get a little appreciative chuckle for the trials of a typical toddler and his witty parent.

EEG 2006

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I remember the nights where I would cry because even though I knew logically I would be fine, the deviant electrical activity in my brain was telling me that I would die. I was 18.