I am a screaming and crying connoisseur.
I am the a savant when it comes to children under two screaming. I have a sixth sense that immediately lets me know exactly what that scream means. I should hire myself to translate out to new parents as my skill could very well cure all the ills of the world.
Wars could be avoided if I offered my skill and I am a little shocked that no one has come calling yet. WWII was caused because some low level beurocrat had a kid at home who was screaming for 3 hours straight and they just couldn’t fucking take it anymore. Their mind went to mush so instead of pulling out the “Please don’t invade” stamp they accidently pulled out the stamp that said “kill everyone” because they wanted to share their bad mood with everyone.
Through 2 kids I have honed this skill. I am the Jane Goodall of toddlers and babies. I have immersed myself in their culture. It has taken some time but they have accepted my presence and now I am part of the scenery. Through constant vigilance and scientific study I have actually been promoted within this society as Chief of Poop where several times a day I get my crap on my hands. Also, I am required to change on of 3 different diaper genies that we have through out the house. Seriously, we have 3 of those damn things. Two upstairs (each kids room) and one downstairs. They all seem to fill up daily and weigh close to 50 pounds each. Unfortunatly, the Chief of Poop position does not come with biohazard gear.
I have used my tenuous position within this tribe of 2 children to decipher their language and I am finally pleased to offer my results to all the parents out there.
Let’s start with the basic 2 year old midnight scream. You are in your bed and have just laid your head down after spending the last 2 hours trying to calm down your infant. You hear a “thump”. It is then followed by a low level whine that gradually increases in volume and intensity. It reaches its apex where the dogs begin to howl in unison with the scream.
A less experience person may believe that this would mean that your daughter just fell out of her new toddler bed, thus the “thump” sound, and is confused on to what is going on. However, after two years of study I have determined the true nature of this scream. What it really means is Daddy, I just fell out of my toddler bed and why don’t you love me enough to sleep on the floor right next to my bed to make sure I don’t hit the ground when I fall out of my toddler bed. And as Daddy, you are hereby given 3 demerits and are demoted into the worthless father category.
Now this scream is not to be confused with the infant midnight scream, because this is completely different. This scream is usually preceded by 3 coughs and then goes immediately into the chorus of wayyyyyyyyyy. It is all about the shock and awe as that is what is required to wake you from your slumber. If you listen for about 2 minutes, you may find that this scream will take care of itself as another member of the tribe, called Mommy, may finally give in and issue commands to remedy this scream while letting Daddy fake sleep for just a little longer. However, this is not always the case.
What this scream means is that Daddy, I’m hungry now so get your lazy ass up and make me a bottle before I call Child Protective Services. Seriously man, I weigh only like 9 pounds and I’m sure they would believe me when I say that the dog is so fat because YOU give her all my food. Don’t whine about sleep to me bucko. Do you thing the fighting airborne whined about sleep on D-day? Hell no! Now get cracking with the frozen breast milk, chubs.
Lets move on to the day time screams and cries for both the 2 year old and the infant, or as they shall now be referred to as Smokey and the crying Bandit.
You and your wife sit down to have a nice dinner that you just spent the last 20 minutes cooking. You have your nice cold glass of milk in front of you and can’t wait to eat your tombstone pizza and of course then fall asleep where you stand. Suddenly, you hear a couple of coughs that are coming from the infant swing. Instinctively, both Mommy and Daddy freeze as if the slightest movement or eyelash rustle will cause a full onslaught of infant terrorism. Now we all laugh because we know that this will make no difference as the infant will begin to scream anyway.
It sounds like an elk has just broken it’s leg on highway 95 somewhere in Montana. It’s kind of a long drawn out eeeeeeeewaaaaaaaaayyy followed by a series of hiccups as the kid has over extended himself. But don’t be to concerned, he will find his second wind in a minute.
Both parents freeze, each fork just inches from their mouth as both pray that they will get one hot meal today. They stare at each other like High Noon, he who flinches loses. There is only one way to settle this and the game of Rock, paper, scissors begins. Daddy loses and tries to get a best 2 out of 3 going or a 5 out of 7 but he knows that his is nothing more than a delay tactic so he gets up to tend to the war cry of his son.
By this time, as the kid was ignored for an additional 30 seconds he has increased the volume of his cry and this is where the translation comes in. This cry does not mean that he is hungry, wet or in any pain what so ever. That is the rookie mistake that a lot of new parents make. No, this cry means that they don’t want you to eat a hot meal. Its no more complicated than that. Infants have this deep instinct knowledge of when dinner time is and they are sworn in the womb to never let you eat it when it is hot. A lot of parents will spend the next 30 minutes trying various techniques where they can quickly put the kid down. What happens is a ritualistic dance where the parent gets within 2 feet of warm dinner before kid cries again. My advice is to forget anything resembling a hot dinner. Sit down, put on some sportscenter, and cuss your wife for knowing you so well that she always beats you at paper rock scissors.
Our final cry/scream breakdown is going to be courtesy of the 2 year old. I know that several of my readers have a 2 year old so they might want to pay particular attention to this section.
This scream/cry comes right in the middle when you are trying to do something and therefore not paying attention to your 2 year old. It is at this point that your two year old will decided that this is not acceptable and will immediately go into her game plan. First, she yells and screams, followed by running right in front of your path and throwing your arms up. You have two choices: either run her over and keep walking or pick her up. Of course you pick her up which is exactly what she wanted because now she is right in your grill and you must focus on her. She then takes this opportunity to kick you right in the nuts with her little steel toe shoes that some one who hates you got her.
Don’t worry, there is a way to decipher this and handle it. First, notice that there are no actually tears coming from your daughter and this is just a ploy to get you to pick her up while you are trying to cook dinner over a hot stove. Do not be fooled! But if you are weak willed and have to pick her up make sure you pat her down first and remove any shanks she may have made and the steel toe boots. Once up she will continue to scream right in your face. What this really means is that she can’t wait for you to make fun of her and ridicule is a very good parenting tool.
I suggest immediate role reversal on this one. What I do is I start to scream and cry. I match my voice to the exact same pitch and make the exact same face as my daughter. She does not know what to do with this and gets confused. Once she is confused, that’s when you have her.
Put her on the ground and whisper into her ear: Mommy has candy in her pocket. Now watch your minion run off and try to strip down Mommy while you perhaps suggest that maybe she should let you win in rock, paper scissors from time to time.