Benjamin Burns was born mid August in 1987. His proud father remembers Ben’s rather large head, thinking it probably concealed a huge brain. More than likely, “my third child, my beloved son,” would develop to be an intellectual prodigy of some kind.
After two days at home with incessant crying, Ben’s father, Dan, asked his wife, “Do you think the hospital would take him back?” Little did either parent know that Ben’s shriek like screams would become part of their everyday life for a very long time.
Thinking Ben’s wailing occurred because he was hungry and would not nurse, his parents switched from breast feeding to baby formula. Rejected! Ben spit up the formula as he had breast milk. Next came Enfamil with limited success. What baby Ben didn’t spit up, he burped up. Proper nutrition became an ongoing battle in Saving Ben.
Dan attempted to rock his son to calm him. Only the most aggressive bouncing and rocking helped sooth the baby, and then for a very limited time only. Dan explains how tossing Ben high in the air could sometimes quiet him.
The author relates that he held the shrieking baby on the lid of a washing machine during its spin cycle, hoping the violent machine vibrations and noise would bring the child and himself some relief. Dan reports how Ben looked into his eyes with such pathos that he remembers telling himself, “I will always love you. I will never abandon you.”
Eventually, some of Baby Ben’s cries were traced to ear infections and colic. Of course, treatment helped stop each bout, but the ear infections recurred with an unnatural frequency. Each brought about a series of pained crying periods.
Dan noticed in one of Ben’s quiet moments when he sat by the TV that his son was staring incessantly at the sweeping radar hand on the Weather Channel. He wondered how his son could stay so mesmerized with such a dull activity. At least it quieted him.
As if Ben’s incessant screaming was not enough, Dan and his wife noticed other oddities about their son. After learning to walk, the boy would run about the house on the balls of his feet, toes tucked under, carrying an object he’d found. It appeared the boy had no interest in the object be it a toy or a coat hanger.