I thought I was turning into one: a cry baby that is. Those hormones would play up occasionally, and then, her father’s in a different city, working. I had a tiny little baby who would bawl her guts out, sometimes just out of total frustration because I just couldn’t understand what she wanted. And this attempt at deciphering her cries, especially in the middle of the night, had to be done by me alone. Of course at day time, she wouldn’t give me half the trouble because I had help. She would only bawl in the day time on those days when her ayah wouldn’t come or my mother would be out of the house. All this combined together was a sure-shot mixture to get me burst into tears at the drop of a hat. Since all of this is behind me now, I think I have successfully cracked the cries and I have graduated from being a cry baby to a pro mommy. I am of course talking from the experience of having a 3+ month old baby. I don’t know how her cries will sound and what they will mean in a few months, but right now I am my baby’s master cry interpreter 😛 !
I have noted them down on the basis of how they sound:
- The attention cry (sounds like- Aiii): Pick me up or talk to me or play with me, or carry me/ hold me in a certain way, not the way you’re holding me right now-that’s what it essentially means. It could be at any point in the day or night. If you don’t pay attention, it could turn into something much worse: to point 3 or even more scary; point 4. In the initial days, I would always ignore this point which used to be my biggest mistake.
- The cry of pain (sounds like-Owaaain): This one was the easiest to understand as I could see her face contort, the lips forming the sad face expression. This one, at least in my daughter’s case, isn’t a very loud one. It just sounds like the whole world’s burden is on her tiny shoulders. This cry only happens when she is in genuine pain. Calming her down from this cry is the most difficult and frustrating. And this could also break you down into tears. It could sometimes take hours as sometimes no matter what you do, the pain/discomfort doesn’t go away as fast as you’d like it to. Of course figuring out where or what is causing the pain/discomfort is a Herculean task and if it isn’t addressed soon, it could quickly become point 3.
- The frustration cry (sounds like-Aaaain…owaain): The decibel goes up a notch from point 2. This happens usually when she’s been asking for attention for a while and no attention has been given or if she’s been in pain for a while and you still haven’t figured out/done anything about it. This could also last for a really long time.
- The angry cry (sounds like-Ain): It’s several pitches above point 3. By now, everyone in the entire house can hear her ( definitely the floors above and below mine). She usually turns red. This usually happens when she’s been given her colic medicine (she absolutely hates it) and also if it’s been more than 15 minutes since her point 1 cry. If this cry is for the latter reason, no amount of distraction is going to help, you will have to take her in your arms, sing to her and roam around the house. Hopefully, if all goes well, she will come down to point 3 in about 5 minutes. I don’t put her down o the bed till I actually just hear the point 1 cry.
- The scared cry (sounds like-Aaaaaain): This usually happens when either she’s seen a nightmare or she’s been inoculated. In this cry, she doesn’t breathe, she’s just screaming. She also starts to turn red.This cry is also applicable for the times when she gets colicky. When this happens at daytime, a couple of buildings next to mine, and at night, the whole neighbourhood, can hear her. If the cry is because of a nightmare she’s seen, she calms down the moment she’s picked up. Inoculation: no such luck. It continues till as long as she has the memory of it (thankfully babies have terrible memory!). My daughter cried, went off to sleep, cried again and continued this for several hours after her 6 weeks vaccination. The poor thing was traumatised I think.It’s only really bad during colic because you can’t give medicine till she reaches at least point 3 and she won’t calm down easily if she’s colicky. A lot of music and cuddling usually helps. She’d probably give you a one minute window in which you have to give that medicine.
You’ve got to have a bag of tricks ready and notice what attracts her attention when she’s not upset. Usually the same thing will work for her when she’s upset. Also if you sing any song to her during bedtime, singing the same when she’s crying could also calm her down a bit. Being alert to your child’s needs, noticing all things she likes and using them to calm her down will usually always work. Also children are great manipulators. It’s amazing how she has no sense of her being yet she knows exactly how to have you eat out from her hands. It’s therefore very important to sometimes let her cry out a bit, and not cave in to what she wants. This applies specifically to point 1. Ever since I figured these things out, my daughter’s never gone beyond points 1 and 2. She cried like point 5 for less than five minutes immediately after her 10 weeks inoculation. By the time she came home, no one even knew she had cried!