The experts say that a mother can decipher the meaning behind her child’s cries from about eight weeks of age. They say a mami should be able to tell when her baby is hungry, wet, tired, lonely, too cold or too hot based on the sound of the cry. Well, I’m a mother of two and I’ve never experienced this. I’m sorry, but I can’t understand my baby.
At first, reading about how mothers are supposed to know what their babies need based on their cries, I was disheartened. I can tell when my youngest is angry but that’s about the only meaning I can extract from her wails. I can tell no difference between the hungry cry and the wet diaper cry and I certainly am clueless when it comes to the lonely cry. Am I really supposed to be able to understand what my baby is trying to communicate with me, seriously?
For me, every cry triggers a guessing game. When was she last fed? Does she have a dirty diaper? Is there a gas bubble that needs help getting out? Is it time for another nap? With every cry, I go down my list of possible crying causes and, most of the time, I can figure out what she needs. But it’s not because I understand her baby language, it’s because I’m actually a great mami who’s willing to take the time to figure it out.
Most consider me pretty unlucky when it comes to my girls. They’re both very intense little people, strong personalities, huge opinions, and stubborn like both parents combined. When my youngest is crying, she often shuts her eyes tight and won’t take a breath for fear of you being able to break her rage with an interjected song or smile. My oldest is still a baby by many standards and is still working hard every day to master language. But boy, the way she can fake hysterics with such certainty and dramatic skill, I just know she’s destined for some type of artistic career. I spend a lot of my time around my crying babies, trying my best to figure out what it is that’s upsetting them so I can make it all better.
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Yes, there are days when I feel sorry for myself, surrounded by my drama queens who cannot or will not tell me how to help them. Most days though, I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from them and try new things.
The infant may be crying because I forgot to put a bib on her and she’s soaked with drool. Maybe another mother could have figured that out without much effort. Me? I’ll nurse her, shush her, rock her, walk with her outside, and change her diaper before I finally get the message that she wants a new onesie. But I don’t feel bad about it. My girls know that I’m willing to drive myself crazy in order to meet their needs. They know I’ll do anything to make them happy. They see me go to great lengths to take care of both of them
I may not be able to understand my baby and, to an onlooker, I may look like a lunatic as I try to snuggle my toddler into her crib with seven different stuffed animals because I don’t understand which one it is that she’s asking me to bring to her. But, to my girls, I’m a great mom and they know it.