Crying is probably one of the most important skills an infant can learn.  Without crying, a baby cannot have its needs attended to nor can it adequately control the adults in its household. Never underestimate the power of crying.

Initially, when you’ve first made the transition to the dry world, you’ll be crying instinctively so don’t fret too much about what you’re saying because the adults will instinctively try to appease you.  So it’s okay to have the same cry routine to complain about soiled nappies, the hungries, the temperature, level of lighting or the colour of your sleeper because the adults will attempt to change all of these in a furtive effort to make you stop.

As you get more adept, you should develop a more elaborate cry routine.  Each of you will develop a routine that is different, of course .. this is necessary to prevent mothers from getting together and discovering meaningful patterns.  What is important though is that you learn about “levels” of crying and how you should use each level to achieve the desired effect.  Here’s a sample classification taken from my own repertoire:

Stage 1: Not really a “cry” … it’s a pre-cursor to crying.  This is the warning we give to tell our handlers that they’ve got less than a minute to figure out what we want before we move on to the next stage.  Phonetically, it’s much like an “eh……” sound (or “uh….” for our American cousins or “pardon me” for you Brits) but it’s uttered with a sense of urgency.

Stage 2: This is your standard every-day cry, your bread-and-butter wail that gets you everything from a new diaper to a bandaid on your chin. Practice this when you know you parental units are away  — try to find a “wahhhhh – wahhhhhh”  sound that is both sincere and has volume. Occasionally, your adults may catch on that some of these stage 2 cries aren’t sincere…learn from this and hone your technique.

Stage 3: At this stage we’re screaming.  The volume and frequency of the cry should be more intense and it should inspire a sense of urgency and concern from your handlers. This is where your acting ability shines because when the Stage 3 Scream is well executed, every male adult within 100m will reflexively rush to defend you and every female of child-bearing ager within 3 Km will begin lactating.

Stage 4: A stage 4 scream is not something to be toyed with — this is the infant equivalent of 911.  Every adult mammal, upon hearing a stage 4 scream, should immediately rush to your side with a first aid kit and be prepared to airlift you to the nearest medical facility. Don’t abuse this scream — it should only be used for true emergencies, the occasional test and, infrequently, for entertainment purposes.

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