Today I watched a horrific video of a woman performing what she calls “baby yoga,” but what I am pretty sure most people would call medieval baby torture. You can see the video clip here. But if you don’t have time, here is the summary. There is this crazy lady who swings babies around by their arms and legs and calls it yoga. There you have it. And as disgusting as I find this woman to be, I find the behavior of the mothers of these innocent babies to be more disturbing. If you really think about it, this woman did not run around snatching up babies to swing around. Nope. She has been handed over babies, some as young as two weeks old, to use while performing her sick yoga. And these mothers have just sat and watched, some laughing, as this woman swings them about as if they were nothing more than objects. Crying objects.
But it seems like nobody cares if these babies cry. I mean, they are just babies and crying is just what babies do. Yes. That is what babies do. Babies cry for just about everything. And why do they do that? Well, because they aren’t born knowing how to speak, write, text or blog. They are born being able to cry, and that is how they communicate with the world around them. Crying is a big freaking deal. It is a big, important, freaking deal.
And every cry counts. Every cry has a purpose, a reason, a message to be heard. Just like every word that you speak has a purpose, a reason and a message behind it. But for some reason, so many people don’t view a cry in that way. They view a cry as an annoyance; an annoyance that should be silenced or ignored. And that is wrong.
And it is wrong because crying is so freaking easy to understand. And I know somebody right now is just itching to say, “I really wish that you wouldn’t say that figuring out what a baby’s cry means is easy. It really is not always so easy and saying that is damaging to women. Blah, blah, blah.” No, it is probably not easy for every mother in the world, but if every mother in the world kept at it, then every mother in the world would be able to understand the meaning behind a cry. Seriously, if humans can figure out that a dog has to pee when it sits by a door, then we can take the time necessary to figure out what our own children mean when they cry.
The good news that comes with figuring out the meaning behind cries is that it allows you to gauge your response and intensity of your reaction based upon your child’s cry. For instance, I know that a high, sharp pitched cry followed by a deep breath from my Mush Man means that he is hurt or uncomfortable. I know that whimpering cry typically signals that he is tired. I know that a cry that sounds like “ahhhhh” is typically a pissed off cry. And lastly, a cry that is on and off and is associated with a lot of mouthing means that he is hungry. I am sure my son has more than those four cries, but those are the four that are most common. And I never spent time with a notebook and pen studying my child to figure this out.
I just paid attention. And I made some mistakes. Sometimes I got frustrated. But I just kept paying attention. It was a lot like my high school chemistry class except for I didn’t have to listen to stories about “back in the day.”
My son is nine months old, and it probably took me till he was about five months to learn all of these cries. I have a Shih Tzu. And it took me at least two years to figure out that when he looks at me and snorts he has to pee…or has already done it. Seriously, people, if we can teach dogs to save children from wells then we can probably learn why the hell our kids are crying.
Some people seem to get very annoyed with the idea of paying attention to a child’s cry because they believe that it is normal for babies to cry or they think that crying is all part of a baby’s master plan to manipulate and take over the world. They are partly right. Crying is totally normal. It is so normal that I still do it. In fact, sometimes I do it just because it helps me chill out, deal with emotions or communicate that I am really freaking upset. The part where people are wrong is that babies cry to manipulate. They just don’t. I could give you a million reasons why it is physiologically, mentally and developmentally impossible for a baby to manipulate an adult by crying, but truth be told, if you sit and think about it you should be able to figure it out yourself.
Finally, my baby cries. I always do my best to understand why, and if I can solve his problem, I do it. By the way, the first asshat who tells me that they let their baby cry so that they can learn to deal with their own problems gets a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the groin. Your four month old cannot deal with his problems alone, and by expecting him to you are no more preparing him to be an independent adult than I am preparing my Shih Tzu to be Lassie by asking him to get his own water from the well.
But my baby does cry. And if I can’t fix his problem, I hold him or talk to him or do something that let’s him know that I am here and I care for him.
Sure, sometimes I might walk away for a minute to breathe, but I always acknowledge every cry. Because someday, when I am old, I am going to expect my child to acknowledge me if I am unable to speak or care for myself. It kind of goes along with that whole treat others as you want to be treated saying. Acknowledge your child’s communication, his cries, the same way you would want somebody to acknowledge yours. Makes sense.