Today, I had a story run in Brain, Child that doesn’t fit this mold. It’s a satire piece, a “Future Letter from Your Crying Child,” inspired by the Worst Blog Ever, “Reasons My Kid is Crying.” If you haven’t seen that blog, you don’t need to go there. Basically, it’s a user-generated site where parents can post pictures of their crying children along with the sometimes inane reasons why they are crying. Now there’s a book coming out. Imagine that — you send pictures of your crying child to a stranger’s website and they get a book deal out of it.
Notice I used the word “Child,” while the post that inspired this bit of satire said “Kid.” I do think there is a difference. Kid implies a certain distance from the subject, doesn’t it?
I have a single picture of my first son crying. He was taking his first bath, so we were trying to get pictures to capture the moment. His crying was a sign of my inexperience. I soon learned the value in putting a towel down to hold him in the baby tub so he felt safer.
My son certainly gave me enough opportunity to take pictures of crying. It’s not like he wasn’t, at least to me, the cryingist baby in the history of babies. So why don’t I have any more pictures of him crying? It’s not like I’ve white-washed our history together. I know him. He is five and his cries still send tingles down my arm.
But here’s the thing. If he’s crying, then I’m holding a camera, not him. If I know what made him cry, thank freakin’ God because then usually I can do something about it. I’m not always going to have that kind of power.