On Screaming

Lately my five year old daughter has taken to screaming. She loves to scream. Thankfully, she is polite about her screaming. If she feels a strong urge to scream she will announce her intentions. “I feel like screaming now,” she will say in a cute little voice before letting out a terrific little squeal that’s more high pitched chirp than blood curdling shriek. Sometimes she will even ask before she screams. “Daddy, can I scream?” And as cute as that is, (i.e. both the question and the chirp that will inevitably follow her request if I concede) the “screaming” can be annoying. A scream is a scream is a scream. “Please don’t scream right now,” I often say. And in those situations when I do not agree to a scream, she will hold her hand over her mouth and emit a muted squeak, ostensibly to relieve her uncontrollable, sneeze-like urge to scream.

Before having children, I never realized that screaming could be fun. I, myself, don’t remember a stage of my childhood where screaming was one of my favorite pursuits. But every childhood is different, each with it’s own joys and sorrows, each with it’s own stuffed animals and skinned knees. And, it seems, some come skipping down the lane carrying a basket full of willful, happy, girlie screams.

Yesterday, when I got home from work, my daughter came running up to me and, in a hoarse voice, announced, “Daddy, I broke my scream box!” When I looked to my wife for verification, I got a sharp glance back that said, “there’s been a lot of screaming today.” The funny thing (besides the idea that screams come from a “scream box”) is how pleased my daughter appeared. She was literally hopping-up-and-down excited that she couldn’t scream. She was all screamed out. She couldn’t scream from all the screaming. Which brought a big grin to my face. An evening without screaming! I felt so happy that I almost let out a . . .


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