By all intents and purposes, I am living the American dream. I have a big house in the suburbs, a moderately successful career, a wonderful husband and two adorable, healthy and brilliant children.
But, the sounds emanating from my house probably have the neighbors phone in hand, poised to dial 911. Every day. All day long. You’ve probably seen people post pictures of their toddlers online with them bawling their eyes out. The caption reads, “My toddler is crying because… ” “Because there’s not enough milk in her cereal.” “Because he can’t wipe the booger onto the couch.” I could take pictures of my toddler all day and night with the caption, “My kid is crying ALL THE TIME because… ”
In the morning when my beautiful 3 year old wakes up, she cries because she wants to sleep in. Then she cries because she doesn’t like the clothes we picked out. Then she cries because she says her “feet hurt when she walks down stairs.” Then she cries because she wants me to braid her hair. (BEFORE I take the dogs out) The she cries in the car because she wants milk. Usually she stops crying just in time to walk into the school, at least saving us the embarrassment of other parents knowing our child is batshit crazy.
After a long day at work, I walk up to the door and before I even open it, I can hear the crying. Sometimes it’s just my daughter, but frequently my nearly two year old son chimes in. And then, there’s the dogs. Our Boston Terrier and French Bulldog let out ear-piercing squeals and howls every time the kids cry. In fact, they continue long after the kids have stopped crying.
Then, my daughter cries because she doesn’t want to take a bath. She’s crying because she wants to help me cook the dinner she will later refuse to eat. My son cries because I poured water on his head. (heaven forbid I wash his hair) Then, my daughter cries because she doesn’t want to go to bed, wants milk, wants water, wants a book, wants more TV, wants her “computer” (it’s a Leapfrog. Educational, right? At least that’s how we all justify plopping our kids down in front of what is really just a glorified video game system) and then she cries because I won’t let her strangle herself in her sleep with a scarf she has wrapped around her neck like a fuzzy, blue python.
My son cries when I change his diaper. He cries when I cut his nails, although I have NEVER accidentally cut his finger or cut them too short. (The same can’t be said for my daughter) He cries because he wants to go outside, which is all of the time. (Blame us for naming him “Huck”… the perfect choice for an outdoorsy type of dude) He cries for milk. He cries for a ball, any ball, is there even a ball in the room? Probably not.
My kids don’t whimper. They don’t whine. I don’t even think I can call it “crying.” They scream. My son’s screams are so ear-piercing sometimes it’s more like a dog whistle. (and we know they hear it from their incessant howling)
So, you can probably guess who else cries in our house. This guy. When I’ve tried “time outs” and answered ridiculous requests with a resounding, “NO,” when I’ve catered to their every whim and helped them with all bodily functions, fed them and watered them like little, irritating tropical plants… I cry. I’d like to scream, but the whole goddamned rest of the house has that covered. Wouldn’t want to be redundant. Wouldn’t want the cops to actually show up at the house. Because then I would have to explain, “Nope, this is what our household sounds like every single day. This is normal.”
We’re living the American scream, people.