Well, I woke up this morning in a much more pleasant manner than I did yesterday.

Yesterday morning, I was trying to sneak in some extra snooze time (after staying up much later than I should have the night before trying to finish something).  And my kind wife was kindly allowing me to have said snooze time, while the kiddos had breakfast.

However, I was startled awake by a blood curdling scream of “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!!!” Needless to say, my eyes snapped open as I violently threw off the covers and hit the ground in an instant sprint toward the source —  with motivation of a type that only The Scream seems to be able to produce.  And if you are a parent, I suspect that you know The Scream.  I mean, it is not uncommon for parents hear a lot of screams, due to hurts or wrongs both real and imaginary.  But every once in a while, you hear The Scream.  And you  just know there is something serious and immediate going on.

In this case, though, The Scream was a false alarm.  The location of the incident which ended up being the kitchen, where Boy #4 had thrown up his Malt-O-Meal.

Whew!  That the bit of “breakfast reruns” would cause a blood curdling yell from one of the other boys (who would probably prefer to remain nameless) is not surprising.  As far as he is concerned, one of his brothers throwing up is about the worst thing that could happen.  Ever.

However, I must say that the scene of a little morning regurgitation was absolutely wonderful compared to the imagined scenes that flash in my mind when I hear The Scream.  Indeed, it is amazing how many thoughts can show up in the brain between hearing The Scream and arriving upon The Scene.  For me, they usually involve images of profuse bleeding, broken teeth or bones, and–in the worst of them–something severed.  (Having four boys only seems to increase the odds of these scenes of carnage becoming reality.)

So arriving upon nothing more than the sight of That-Which-Had-Been-Breakfast, I almost wanted to dance a happy jig and hug everybody in the room.  (FYI: Boy #4 was fine, and it was an isolated incident.  No boys were harmed in the making of this blog post.)

I’m not crazy, right?  There are some other parents out there who have similar thoughts upon hearing The Scream — right?  If so, let me know, so I don’t have to begin looking into some kind of counseling.

On a completely unnecessary side note: I did, on two occasions, hear The Scream (or something close to it) emanate from a very distressed Beautiful Wife.  Once was just as I had pulled into the driveway coming home from work, when she yelled it out our front door to tell me to hurry when one of the boys had been injured moments before.  (I will not relate the story here, but, trust me, Boy X and Boy Y will be talking about that story for years to come when they get older!)

The other time was much earlier, late into our first pregnancy.  (Yes, she was the one who was pregnant, but for some reason I always call them “our” pregnancies.)  Due to the discomfort caused by not-yet-born-but-already-quite-huge Boy #1, she had taken to sleeping in the living room where she could arrange her “nest” on the couch or recliner in such a way as to minimize her discomfort, and I remember — in the middle of the night — hearing The Scream.  That moment taught me two things:

(1) It is possible to go from laying horizontally on the bed deeply asleep to standing vertically on the same bed wide awake in virtually no time at all, with no intermediate steps whatsoever.  Why I stood up on the bed is still a mystery, but it did allow for a mighty, spring-powered leap as I jumped through the door to seek out the source of The Scream.  And…

(2) If you are in a deep enough sleep and some one you love activates The Scream, if your reaction is incredibly fast, like mine was that night, you find yourself yelling back comforting things as you leap through the door, like “Yeorwhaguahg!”

Yes, that is the best spelling I can come up with to describe whatever it was I yelled at that instant, as I leaped off of the bed.  I’m not sure if I was trying to say something (like “I’m coming!” or “Up, up, and away!”) or if it was, instead, some primal expression of love and encouragement from ancient times that has been stored in our genetic code for millennia, unleashed from the very depths of my soul when the one I loved was in desperate need.  Yeah, I’m sure it’s that second one…

Regardless, it ended up being a leg cramp.  A nasty one, but, again, much better than the horrific images that played at the Millisecond Multiplex in my brain at that moment.

Anyone else know what I am talking about?

7 thoughts on “Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad!!!

  1. gary

    no couseling needed

    I think this type of experience could be refered to as shock training

    I’m suprized that you didn’t mention the fact that you seemed to be able to move for point a to point b instantly

    I have often wondered if flight occurs at such times, I never remember my feet touching the floor

  2. Ah… The Scream. My reactions when I hear it are much the same as yours. The worst time I remember is when my daughter emitted The Scream simply because her brother had laid down in bed. It may be a bit strange for a toddler to choose to rest on his own, but Scream-worthy? Really?

    Glad nobody was bleeding/dismembered/failing to breath. I always imagine those things- thank God they’ve never happened.

  3. I’ve heard the scream. You get there so fast, it’s like you stepped through a teleporter. And you mean business when you get there.

    The worst scream I experienced was the very first scream that came out of the mouth of little toddler Jonny. Had my heart pumping big time. (A spider had crawled under his shirt while he was playing in the sand box).

  4. Merrilee

    In my pre-parenting days, I heard/read, “You don’t know fear until you become a parent.” I totally get it now.

    I do love the incredible joy & relief that follows a “false alarm” and the near heart attack.

  5. I know exactly what you mean. You left out the part about how you don’t feel how hard and fast your heart is beating until you try to lie down again. Glad it was nothing serious!

  6. rakkav

    P.S.: Apropos to Steve’s comment: should any bear be foolish enough to cause The Scream in a human child, it’s probably the *bear* who should be worried.

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