God You're Screaming
It doesnt take long to realize that a child was much easier to take
care of yesterday. I can remember hearing Rebecca whisper under her
breath about how she couldnt wait for Skylar to be born, that she
couldnt stand being pregnant another minute because she couldnt
sleep. Foolishly, we hoped, things would change once he arrived.
Things did change, like Rebecca slept even less because she was
breastfeeding every few hours, all day and all night long.
Fortunately, theres always the hope that things will change again for
the better. I can remember hearing Rebecca whisper under her breath
that she wished Skylar could hold his bottle for himself. Slowly we
worked with him and his finger control. We could tell he wanted to
be able to do it so badly. Finally the day came when he could hold
the bottle for himself. That was also the same day he was able to
reach up, remove Rebeccas glasses, and break them. Since then he
has discovered how to open drawers filled with deadly kitchen utensils,
how to make the same sound on his electronic toy until God has the mercy
to make the batteries die, and, joy of joys, take off his diaper all by
himself. I still have the bruise from the morning we foolishly laid
our son in bed between us with one of his hard plastic rattles. With
a single random flailing of his arm, Skylar was able to wake us both from
deep REM sleep when he cracked me in the crown of my nose and nailed
Rebecca in the eye.
A pattern is starting to become clear to me with each of these changes for
a hopeful better. Skylar is now clearly on the path to learning how
to walk. He can already crawl, albeit backwards only, and is able to
back himself up until he is trapped in the jaws of his changing table.
Even in his untraditional mode of traveling he has discovered every tasty
paper clip I have ever lost in my life. Setting him facing the door to his
bedroom, I figured he could only move himself further back into his room
while I took advantage of a three-minute run down to the basement to move
laundry into the dryer. I didnt realize there was a spin cycle on
Skylar as well, as I discovered when I returned and he was somehow out in
the hall, right at the edge of the stairs. It is a foolish pipe
dream, I know, to wish that things could be like the past, when I could
lay him down on my bed and be able to come back 20 minutes later to find
him in exactly the same spot.
Just yesterday I sat Skylar in the easy chair while I changed a CD.
I turned to see Skylar filled with curiosity as he leaned forward to see
what was over the edge of the chair. It was like being in a movie,
with Dad-cam rolling: slow-motion and you just cant move fast enough.
As he fell head-first, I remembered the words of my brother as he
explained to me that children lose an IQ point every time they land on
their heads. There was the horrible thump as Skylars head hit the
floor, then an infinity of silence.
Silence. Each night I pray as I lay in bed for a sound no louder
than his gentle breathing while he sleeps. We cant go to movies
anymore because Skylar has become a chatterbox as he cycles through his
ba-ba, da-da, and ma-ma repertoire. And then there are the screaming
fits when he is teething where my heart breaks for him as my mind shatters
over and over again like Promethean glass. Silence. It seems
to be only a distant memory of my past. But at this moment, silence
I hear his scream, and then I can finally breath again. I pick
Skylar up and soothe him. Rebecca rushes into the room because this
is the first time we have heard this particular cry; it is one of those
firsts neither one of us feels the urge to run and get the camera for.
We both hold Skylar, and I thank God that he is screaming. For
despite all the noise and chaos he brings, my life is so much richer for
his being a part of it.
I look at Rebecca, and she looks at me. I see her lips move as she
quietly whispers under her breath. I cannot hear her words for
Skylars 100 decibel screams are about an inch from my left, almost
deaf, ear. But I can read her lips because Im thinking exactly
the same thing:
When do we have the next one?