Small cried a lot too.
For a long time Small’s only form of communication was to cry. Therefore there was a lot of crying. When Small wouldn’t stop crying I told myself that he was just a very communicative child. Whilst it felt like a bad thing at the time I knew from all the stories and anecdotes I had ever heard that in a few years, once Small had fully mastered speaking, he would likely give it up as a bad lot, communicating only in monosyllables if I was lucky, if not grunts. I tried to convince myself that at that point I would look back on this incessant crying phase with some degree of fondness.
When faced with a particularly tenacious bout of crying the doidens would often hear me sobbing, “Why can’t you just tell me what is wrong!” If Small had mastered spoken language he would have probably replied, “I am, you’re just not bloody listening!”
Unfortunately Small wasn’t going to master spoken language anytime soon so it was up to me to learn Screamish. This took practice. I had to listen to many screams. It was a slow process but eventually I picked up the subtle differences between screams and was able to determine what was wrong. During the learning process I used the following useful checklist of possible ailments:
- Dirty nappy.
- Not well.
- Generally miserable.
- Testing lungs capacity.
- Testing response rate of parent.
- Wanting to say hello because he hasn’t seen you for 5 minutes (default behaviour during the hours of darkness).
As time progressed more cries evolved but I diligently stuck to my study of Screamish and began to associate different cries with different problems (a cry was always associated with a problem of some form). In an attempt to bypass this problem recognition element of the crisis resolution process I even tried to instil in Small the management ethos of ‘bring me solutions not problems’ but that was a complete washout.
As time progressed, the cry evolved a spin off species known as the whinge and later still the tantrum.
Not so much a parenting guide full of advice, more the reality of parenting kids and being a house husband and father, written by a stay at home dad to three children.
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