Your Baby’s Cries: DECIPHERED

So one of the things that made me the most nervous about having a baby was not being able to tell why he was crying.  And I read plenty of articles and talked to plenty of experienced mothers who said, “Don’t worry!  Your maternal instinct will kick in and you’ll be able to figure out why he’s crying.”  And I’m not particularly maternal so I was terrified that it wouldn’t kick in but they assured me, “Once you’ve been around him a while it’s easy to tell what sort of cry it is.

And it’s been seven months now and they were right!  Deciphering a baby’s cries is so, so simple!  Here are 10 of the most basic cries with visual and auditory tips on how to easily identify them!

1.  HE’S HUNGRY

aa baby cry (3) - Copy

You can tell by the shape of his mouth and the prolonged screaming that he wants food.

Your baby is hungry.  Feed him.  He’ll stop crying.

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2.  HE’S TIRED

Look at the tightly clenched eyes and forehead here.

Look at the tightly clenched eyes and forehead in this photo.  Easy giveaway that he’s tired.

Your baby is tired.  Put him down and let him sleep.

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3. THE GIANTS LOST


“Hey, these are all the same photo,” you’re saying. No they aren’t. Clearly you just aren’t good at detecting small changes in your baby’s responses yet. It will come with time!

Football season?  Looks like your baby is a Giants fan.  Sorry, little baby.  This doesn’t look like it’s going to be their year.

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4.  HE JUST WATCHED LES MISERABLES AND GOT UPSET WHEN FANTINE DIED

 Are you paying close attention to the position of the eyebrows?  Because this one is a total giveaway.

Are you paying close attention to the position of the eyebrows? Because this one is a total giveaway.

Your child may be overly sentimental.  Keep him away from Lars Von Trier films and the ending to “Marley and Me.”

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5.  HIS DIAPER IS DIRTY

 "They're all the same picture!" you're saying.  Nope.  Not even close.  Look how his nostrils flare in this shot.  Clear indication that he has to use the bathroom.

“But they’re all the same picture!” you keep saying. Nope. Not even close. Look how his nostrils flare in this shot. Clear indication that he’s crapped  all over himself.

This is a pretty common problem.  If you have trouble identifying the cry you should have no trouble figuring out the smell.

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6. HE’S NERVOUS GEORGE R.R. MARTIN WON’T FINISH THE GAME OF THRONES NOVELS BEFORE HE DIES AND WE’LL NEVER FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS.

 This one is super easy to identify because the baby is in a total abject panic.

This one is super easy to identify because the baby is in a total abject panic.

It’s a scary thought, isn’t it?  George R.R. Martin keels over from a heart attack and we never learn who wins the battle for the iron throne?  I have trouble handling this as an adult– imagine being a baby who can’t even fully process his own emotions?

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7.  HE KEEPS LOSING AT JENGA

 "It's the same picture!" you're yelling.  "Look at the person with the baby-- they're wearing the exact same shirt.  They're in the exact same position."  Just hang in there.  You'll be able to see all these differences eventually.

“It’s the same picture!” you’re yelling. “Look at the person with the baby– they’re wearing the exact same shirt. They’re in the exact same position.  It’s the same f*%king picture.” Stay calm.  Hang in there. You’ll be able to see all these differences eventually.

You’re playing Jenga with him before he’s mastered his fine motor skills?  That’s cruel.   He can barely put little pieces of puffed cereal in his mouth without poking himself in the eye fifteen times.  It’s no wonder he’s upset.

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8.  THE BRONCOS LOST

This is a really obvious cry.  Look how tense his entire head is here.  He's obviously upset about the Packers.

This is a really obvious cry. Look how tense his entire head is here. He’s obviously really upset about this.

No they didn’t.  As of writing this post the Broncos are 5-0.  They look like the team to beat this year.  Maybe he just had a bad dream.

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9.  HE’S UPSET ABOUT ALL THOSE MONTSANTO LAWSUITS

 Are you starting to see some of the minute differences yet?  You are, right?  It's so easy once you practice a little.

Are you starting to see some of the minute differences yet? You are, right?  Of course you are!   It’s so easy once you practice a little.

Montsanto won yet another lawsuit?  Are they determined to put every small farmer out of business?  How could he NOT cry about this sometimes?  Although sometimes I think it’s his Montsanto cry and it turns out he’s upset about the Military Industrial complex.  No parent is perfect at this all the time, right?  Maybe try not to let him watch “Food Inc.” so often.

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10.  HE’S STILL UPSET THAT KING’S SPEECH WON THE OSCAR OVER INCEPTION.

 It's the lines around his mouth on this one, isn't it?  Sometimes it's so obvious it's almost like he's speaking to me.

It’s the lines around his mouth on this one, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s so obvious it’s almost like he’s speaking to me.

Who’s got two thumbs, no teeth, and loves Christopher Nolan movies?  THIS GUY.  Look, no matter how many times you argue with him that The King’s Speech was a really good movie he’s going to make the same stubborn argument about how Inception was much more inventive and experimental so don’t argue with him.    Just soothe him and pat his back and he’ll calm down after a while.

Nice job.  See how easy that was?  You’re going to be great at this.

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19 CommentsComment

  1. Maternal instinct schmaternat instinct!

  2. My kid was an early walker and a late talker. When he finally developed into a person you could have a detailed conversation with, we discovered he was one of those atypical “sensory processing” types. He couldn’t stand the light over his face at the kiddie dentist, the loudness of his entire preschool class singing a song, the texture of many of his clothes, or the tags. Oh, the TAGS! (This was in the days before the tagless t-shirt/underwear trend. He’s grown way better about it as he’s gotten older, but you can tell it’s still a bit of an issue. Anyway, I finally got a clue as to why he was such a fussy, crying baby, and why the simethicone drops never helped his “colic.” I suspect the truth was that he was annoyed to death by any number of things we never considered to be a possible cause of his discontent….his clothes, the lights, etc. Because there were plenty of times he was fed and changed and held and still just fussed and fussed.

  3. Oh my god, I have not cried so hard from laughing in a really long time. Thanks xxx

  4. Came over here at Rarasaur’s behest… not disappointed. This is hilarious. Easily the most legit parenting advice around.

  5. Wow! That is so funny! I am sure this coming March, my daughter (who is expecting) can add to that list….

  6. You crack me up, Ugly Volvo! I too, once had a crying baby and still have the Ugly Volvo. (Truth be told, crying baby is now 20) Our crying baby was so hard to figure out, we nicknamed him “Close and Play”, after the kids record player that stops and starts, seemingly magically. Hmm… I wonder if there is a correlation with that and his music career ?

  7. Reading this made me laugh so hard that tea came out of my nose, and I woke the baby. So, um, damn you. You can make it up to me by telling me why he’s crying *this* time! 😀

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