What, your baby doesn’t cry?
Why do people turn to stare at crying children? And instead of giving the child (or the attending parent) a sympathetic smile and then going about their business, why do people KEEP staring?
Unless you have telekinetic powers that will stop my child from crying, please – I’m saying this as nicely as I know how – mind your own business.
My younger daughter is noisy. She’s always been noisy. If she’s not happy, she lets the whole world know, and she can go from zero to sixty so fast that it still makes my head spin.
When she’s calm and happy, she’s darling to behold (if I may say so myself). But she can turn on a dime.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re at home or in public, whether she has an audience of one or a thousand. Last week, she howled like a banshee for twenty solid minutes at the local recreation center because she couldn’t get into the pool. On Saturday morning, she did the same at home because her father went out without her. It’s not attention that she wants – it’s just her way or the highway.
And as much as I hate to cause a scene in public or listen to her scream in the privacy of my own home, I can’t let her run the show. Sometimes a little noise is the price we all pay for kids learning that they aren’t in charge.
“Sure,” you scoff. “But if you were a better parent, she wouldn’t behave this way.”
Sorry, I don’t buy that. And neither will most parents who have more than one child.
Children, even siblings, behave differently even when they are parented in the same way. They’re individuals, not clones. My older daughter was a model toddler. We could take her anywhere, ask her to do anything, and she was agreeable and full of smiles. Her little sister has been another story entirely.
(As a side note, I worked full-time outside the home from the time my older daughter was eight weeks old, and I stayed at home for the first year with my younger one. Runs contrary to what you’d expect, doesn’t it?)
I believe that a large part of the difference between my two girls is their grasp of language. My older one spoke very early and was always intelligible. My younger one has been in speech therapy for six weeks and probably should have started six months ago instead. Even over the short period during which she’s been in therapy, we’ve noticed a difference in her demeanor as she learns to make herself understood in ways other than crying.
But she has always cried a lot, even long before we could have possibly expected her to verbalize. It’s been difficult to tolerate, believe me. As parents, our patience wears thin too.
I know she’s loud. I know she’s a distraction. I’m doing my best to calm her down, and to keep myself calm too.
And you can help by leaving us alone.