Fatherhood Rewind: The 7 different reactions to the cries of a baby!

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Do you remember the original series of Jungle Book? It used to be aired on Doordarshan or maybe it was DD Metro on Sundays. As a kid, we all enjoyed it and it had a huge impact on the games we played. Often, we used to imitate the wolf cries, ‘Aaoooooo’… no one knew that many years later, a not so distant sounding cry would haunt us in the middle of the night, the cries of our kids.

It’s ironical, that when a kid is born the first reaction or emotion we want from the new born is the cries and we all go ga ga when it’s achieved. As time goes by, the cries dry up but not before taking us through a roller coaster of emotions.

“The cry of our kid and how we respond to it summarises the relation”.

There are 7 distinct cries, let’s relate to them.

Hunger cries – Father’s just can’t relate to this version of cries. Not that we are insensitive but simply because mothers are tuned to detect that pleading in the cry which says ‘Feed me, I’m your responsibility.’ This is where the mothers always have an edge over fathers and is used during various arguments in a marriage. Does anyone remember that gross song, ‘Tune mera doodh piya hai, tu bilkul mere jaisa hai …’!

No reason cries – This happens with 4-5-6 months old a lot. They like to play with your emotions. They test your patience. ‘What if I cry at 2:30 AM in the night? It should be great fun, let’s see.’ The sleep deprived parents wake up and like Sherlock Holmes start finding the probable causes of this cry – Mosquito, Hunger, bed wetting, maybe the dad kicked the baby in the sleep, is it hot or cold … What? The feeding and cleaning machine aka the mother gives up soon and goes to sleep and the bamboozled by boss at office and by wife and mother at home aka the father doesn’t really know what to do. Often this leads to the birth of a new sibling. (Surely you must have come across kids with hardly a year difference between their ages)!

Playful cries – These are the adorable, wonderful and much sought after cries. S/he would cry or rather moan with some gibberish words for a few seconds and then laugh at the brightest looking thing shoved in front of his eyes. It’s generally the smart phone these days and as I expressed in my earlier blog, soon that dreadful gadget which starts off as an innocent play thing takes over our lives. The power of these cries is such that all family members assemble to watch the live show!

Tantrum cries – These are not far away once the child gets access to Doraemon and other kids who watch Doraemon. We start pampering them with balloons, small gifts and toys and before long they start demanding them. It starts with a whimper, then a roar and then frequent outbursts especially in front of strangers in a public place. Well, it ends with an assertive NO or a slap or a give-in to his demand and more or less this determines the nature of relationship in times to come.

Illness cries – This is heart wrenching and every parent goes through this stage. Often, we plead to God to make us unwell instead of the kid. The cries due to fever, body aches make us cry and I’ve come across mothers who refuse to get their kid injected with antibiotics in the fear that their babies will cry more. Then there is another spectrum where the parents do not show their vulnerable side, however heart-broken they may be. They instead talk with their kids about the illness and how medicines will help him recover soon. These cries are a challenge and how you jointly deal with it, again, shapes up the future of the kid.

Irritating cries – As the name implies, this is somewhere between tantrums and a plain refusal to accept things as told by parents. By the time the kid turns 5, these cries become mature and threaten to unleash their power at every given possible opportunity – I don’t want to go to school, I don’t want to eat, I want ice cream, I will eat only mango and no other fruit, you love the other kid more than me ….phew! During my childhood, this was simply nipped in the bud with a simple one-liner, ‘The more you cry the more you’ll get whacked’. Boom! Now, is not the era of Boom Boom Bang, it’s about being a friend! I’d rather stick to being a parent.

Post scolding cries – You go through a myriad of emotions once this happens. Your anger, disappointment slowly but surely turns into repentance and cajoling; Get ready for such torrid times once the kid approaches 10 years of age.

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Basically, all cries have a role to play in the evolution of being parents. You can’t be prepared but just be ready!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy – Clipart Kid (main image) www.stickthisgraphics.com

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