If there’s anyone in the world that can make my kids cry more than I do, I’ll walk on water.  (Actually, I’ll probably key their car.  And if it’s a kid, they’ll get a firm wedgie, fork-lift style.)

I’m not sure what the percentages are, but in my house, we are 2 for 2 when it comes to infant torticollis.  Worm had it.  (Which is expected, because the uterus goes from apple size to watermelon size for the first time.  It’s a tight space.)  Now Smush has it.  (Which is strange because after having one baby, the uterus should be the size of a hot air balloon.  Plenty of room for a baby to ride a bicycle in there, let alone sleep for 10 months.)

I treated Worm myself (after sleeping at a Holiday Inn Express) and although his torticollis was more pronounced, he was much more compliant when compared to Smush.  I would massage his neck and perform range of motion tests.  15 minutes after softly sobbing, his brain and body would check out and I would finish up his session a short time later.  (It’s easier to work on babies that aren’t squirming, kicking, and flailing…)  Two weeks worth of treatments and full ROM and strength came back in his neck.  I did this early enough in his life so that he shouldn’t remember a thing.  (Hopefully…)

But Smushie is a different story.  This is the third time I’ve treated her and it’s the same story as the last.  With the lungs of a lion, she proceeded to cry for almost an hour while I worked on her neck muscles.  (Crying is an understatement here.  It is more like a life-threatening shriek, bleeding from every cell in her body.)  Did she get tired?  Nope.  Could she cry for another hour?  I’d bet another four hours were possible.  Why did I stop?  Because I had enough.  I couldn’t bear to do any more work on her.  When my child is screaming at the top of her lungs in pain and looking me in the eyes the entire time as if to say, “Please, make it stop.  I’m hurting.  I want to snuggle you for comfort because you are the only thing I need to feel safe and secure.”, it’s difficult for me to muster the emotional strength to keep going.

Without exaggeration, my little girl is usually happy and content for 23.5 hours of the day.  She has maybe cried for more than 3 minutes a handful of times in her life.  I make her bawl her eyes out for 60.  She has never cried so hard and so intensely before I started physical therapy on her.  Ever.  I’m the source of her agony and that’s a hard pill to swallow.  So during treatment, I subconsciously absorb some of her pain to overcome the guilt of being the one delivering it.  And in trying to bear some of that burden, every session leaves me spent and wanting to crumble to pieces.  Barely holding me together is the fact that this is necessary.  The very definition of a necessary evil.

The good news is that she now turns her head in both directions almost equally.  I hope that she needs only one more session before full neck flexion, extension, and rotation are restored.  It’s not that she can’t take much more.  It’s that I can’t.

“Everything’s going to be alright.” I whisper in her ear as she falls asleep, exhausted from the physical therapy.  Deep down, I know it’s more for me to hear than for her.

Shame on You Honeydaddy!

I Forgive You Honeydaddy!