Dr. Jackson and Mr. Grunt

I have pictures of my son like this:

but it’s like pictures of someone else’s kid.

That is not my child. Mine doesn’t know how to smile. There is only grunting, sucking on a boob, sucking on a bottle but wanting a boob, grunting, screaming, and getting ready to scream. And grunting.

I’d show you a picture of the real boy I know, but no picture of him screaming conveys that it’s gone on for 53 minutes at 11:48pm on a Thursday night. I could get video, but you wouldn’t want to watch. He’s been held upright, face-down, right-armed, left-armed, both-armed, neither-armed, close to me, away from me, in a rocking chair, in the driveway, and by his Mama. Bathed, bounced, swung, jiggled, swayed, tickled, stroked, patted, covered and bare. Makes no difference.

A picture can’t tell you he rejects his bottle (every pathetic formula we’ve tried), and uses Mom as a pacifier, which does not pacify her. A frozen image of screwed-up, red-faced angst does not capture the sound of choking and coughing on phlegm from his head cold (Attention, Family: Kiss my kids on the mouth again after EVER having had a cold, and I will murder you. No-one will ever find your body). You also can’t hear him straining, grunting, screaming in agony at his granite-hard belly, or the amazingly mature sound of his gassy relief. Those sound like mine. And mine sound like my father before me, and probably his father before him.

Did I do this too? Is this God’s payout to my parents on their own investment in suffering? No wonder every parent wants grandchildren — payback’s a bitch, and they’ve been banking on it since day 3 of my life.

P reminds me that Sarah did this too. I don’t remember. Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome has wiped my memory. Still, I would much rather deal with her current nasty looks and messes than the screaming (this is a mild one):

Hers turn off at night.

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