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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To all those who question the crying


I often face statements like – 3.00 am I heard your kids cry, or patronizing ones like I haven’t heard your kids cry so much since last one week.
I am not exactly proud that the kids cry if they wake up late in the night or scream during the day when they do not get the attention or object they seek. But if I were in the neighbours’ place, I perhaps would not bother young parents with questions like these. To me a crying child is far or no better in terms of disturbance/ annoyance index than the man who stands on the verandah outside his house and just above my bedroom window and sneezes continuously until the dusting and sweeping is over in his home, or the dog who barks and growls right above my balcony from early morning to late night or the troll who bursts the entire left over diwali crackers one sleepy afternoon or the kids who ruin my garden during any random playtime or those kids who do not budge from near the rear wheels of the car that is screaming to reverse or the mother’s who gossip nearby and are too engrossed to keep an eye on the kids who nearly kill themselves every evening or the old man who plucks every single flower in the campus each morning or the uncouth who serves dinner on the expensive TT table in the association hall. No sir & no Mam, my kids are not a bother if they cry for a total of a few hours spread across the 24 hours. I would be seriously concerned if somebody attributed even one of the above behaviours upon me or my family.
I am glad that my kids are assertive and get their way around us. They need the training to survive in this world where the meek are subdued and ignored and the ones who demand are noticed.
Given a choice, I would rather have a child who brawls rather than one who sits quietly. Yes, my kids are very high maintenance and they do drive me mad, but I don’t seem to mind it then why are you concerned?
I get comments that they are so naughty.
I am secretly pleased that they are naughty. According to my theory, naughty kids are brainier. They have the crookedness inside their mind to think tangentially and innovate. When I see my kids trying to open the cupboard door (to reduce the distance between the bed and the cupboard) and then do a spiderman jump from the bed in their attempt to catch the keys hanging from the cupboard, I freak out yet I am amazed. When I see them dragging a carton or the laptop bag to the fridge so that they can reach the handle, I am angry yet glad that they thought about it.
They cry for everything. I am glad they communicate that way. I am not ashamed. If my kids are crying, it does not necessarily mean that we have failed as parents or caregivers.
It is no rocket science- if they cry I don’t aimlessly rock them or try to distract them. Neither do I ignore them if that is what people think. I patiently try to deduce why they are crying. They are at a stage when they are able to express without speaking. It takes time for me to do an elimination round to uncover the root cause of crying. I may have to point out at several objects like water, mobile phone, keys, book, remote, clothes clip, vicks bottle until I can zero upon the object in demand. Until then the crying will continue and the neighbours can reach hell if they want to but for heaven’s sake (pun very much intended) don’t patronize me by giving me clues in handling the crying.
Often people do not realize that the equations of having 2 kids of the same age in the house are different. More often than not they will have similar requirements around similar times. There may be times when one of the kids gets ignored by luck not necessarily by design. Imagine a situation when hubby or I am alone in the house and both need a (potty) wash. Can it be done at the same time? One has to cry till the other gets attended to. Some times one snatches the toy from the other and the poor fellow is left to cry and complain.
Not to forget the riot that happens when we go to office or mausi (aunt)/ grandma leave for their respective homes. They don’t understand the concept of temporary separation.
Inspite of myself, I was glad when a couple or more pregnancies within the apartment complex were declared. I was glad that the buck will no longer stop at my doors. The crying blame could be fairly or unfairly passed on to other homes with newborns. But no, it seems I am the only one blessed with cry-babies! I marvel at those low maintenance newborns in my building that are seen and not heard.
I know that babies don’t do movies, restaurants, travel, shopping. But you were a parent so many years ago and you know very well the dynamics of getting someone to care for your child the many times you want to go out. Therefore I am allowed an occasional restaurant or shopping scene with my kids. After all, for every vegetable purchase I need to do, I can’t be calling a caretaker to look after the kids. And since I am out the entire week working, I don’t allow the caretaker (read MIL) to do weekends. She deserves to recuperate every weekend. So people, I will shop with the kids every weekend. And if my children cry, bear it; I did it a few years ago before I became a mother and children (may be yours) were bawling in the shopping malls/ cinema theatres and airline. Don’t forget you were the culprit a few years ago. If you have forgotten already, then may be your grandchildren will refresh your memories.
Meanwhile it seems baby boys cry more than girls and we all know that crying is good.


Cuckoo said...

I am not yet a mother, but the way you have expressed your opinion got me thinking. I am not the complaining variety, but I sure could've been upset had someone complained about my child(ren?) Yes, a crying child is least of the noises we put up with... I live on a busy main road, and my grouse is probably the incessant honking, without even thinking of patients of a nearby super speciality hospital!

Just like that said...

Who on earth would complain of a kid crying? Have they not had kids in the house ever?

Almost every apt in our flat has a kid- and they're all of the same age, so you can hear wails from left, right, top, bottom...

And while we would be concerned for a small months old baby crying (all mothers are new and inexperienced, the most experience being claimed by a mother with a 5 yr old kid))for the rest of the cries, we just ensure that it is not emanating from our flat and enjoy the peace while it lasts... before it starts in our flat!!

I have been annoyed by borewell drilling, cars reversing(at 6.30 am, that repetivitve tune gets on my nerves, it honestly does, when I'm trying to preserve that sleepiness)the nose of the generator in the neighbouring flat(didn't they ever hear of silencers?) but never by a baby crying in a different home!!

Maybe the next time the kids cry, you should take them to the advisers and ask them to do their bit to reason with and quiet down the crying kid. Am sure Ojas and Tjas would have fun, and you too...;-)

SM said...

Dead on, Itchy!
Ever so often, someone from my housing society comes up to us and smiles at Ananya, saying,"Now, she's so much better then before, she used to cry so often when she was little." What do people expect? How do they want babies to vocalize their needs, until they start talking?
And more often than not, these gems come from ladies who are mothers or grandmothers themsleves-it seems like an effort to assert their supremacy at mothering or squashing mine. A little but of empathy would be helpful!

Minka said...

Amen ! Amen ! And if I may say so , Amen !

Mine is a fuss-pot to the core - he wants the remote (wail !), he doesn't want to brush ( wail !) ! And I am itching to tell my neighbour she should have bought a big bungalow on OMR or ECR if she can't put up with his bawling. But I ask her subtly "Oh ! Is that the TV at 6 AM in the morning when I was doing the kolam ?". They really should be listening to suprabhatam right ?! None of my business , you say ? No , really ? And my bawling baby is your business ?

And she asks my MIL ( notice she ignores me ) "Why was he crying like that yesetrday afternoon ? And you were telling him Amma will come and let you play with computer". Poor MIL , she turned red thinking she was complaining about her not handling him well. I am tempted to tell MIL to send him along to her home for an afternoon. If she survives, it will still be the last time she whines.

~nm said...

What a coincidence! I just posted on my blog about the crying habits of my son or shall I say manipulative crying habits?

Manipultive because thats just the means to twist your parents arms to get your ways!

And totally agree its anger and admiration both when we see them doing something naughty and to see how their mind works!

B o o said...

Great post Itchy! Dont you ever think these people will understand. It will be music to their ears if their kids/grand kids cry and annoying only if its our kids!

Just like that - Tell about that stupid car reversing music! It annoys the hell out of me. I even did a post on it long back here -

rayshma said...

no kids for me yet... but my n'bours have 2 twin boys. and they cry pretty much all the time! they also run up & down the stairs.
i really don't consider that as "noise!" i do worry for their safety tho! their mum doesn't even come outside when the little boys are running down the stairs!

Poppins said...

I have similar grouse.. Everytime I take poppin to my inlaws place, if she cried or fussed for anything at all, my grandmother-in-law would turn to me and ask, why is she crying?

And I would be like 'Ask her yourself.. I mean my guess is as good as yours !'. Children cry for a variety of things sometimes simple because they're bored.
Wonder why people take it as an indication of bad parenting.

apu said...

hmm can understand how annoying it must be. its human nature or in this case, children's nature that they will cry for certain things since they cant understand reasoning etc. However I do get annoyed at times when the child cries for a long time, and the parent doesnt bother about others' getting disturbed - this is especially in closed spaces like movie halls...there, I feel parents should take the kid out for a little while, even if it means missing out on 10 mins of the movie...

the mad momma said...

Itchy: I agree... but I will go with Apu's comment. The OA and I have been known to leave restaurants if any of the children so much as murmur. I dont believe in ruining any one else's evening. they are also probably ppl on a break! so while its understandable on a train or a flight where you cannot but help sit there and do the best you can with your whining child, I think its only polite to leave a restaurant or a movie if ur child is troubling, no matter how much u are enjoying urself or how much money is wasted.

our children give only us pleasure... no one else.. .so why should any one else deal with their annoying ways but us?!

excellent post though... with you on those damn cars backing up!

Sunita said...

People in my neighbouhood also walk up to me and tell me she was crying or she wasn't heard today. I for some reason never thought it was bothering them but more concerned about why was she crying, or why was she quiet, is she ill? I think they mean well and are just telling us they can hear the baby. I am not sure if anyone is suggesting we shut them up. I could be completely wrong.
And yes, I love naughty kids becoz they are innovative even though they drive us nuts.

lumi said...

*LOL* I am dying of laughter after reading this post. Although I have only had the distinct pleasure of staying in Pune and Mumbai on my visit to India I can unequivocally say that it was the noisiest place I have ever been in my life and hearing a baby wailing is just a wee part of the noise symphony going on in the background. I find it interesting that your neighbors feels it is acceptable to complain or comment on the crying or lack thereof. Never in a million years could I ever fathom a neighbor of mine in the US come and tell me such a thing. If they ever did they would get a curt "Mind Your Own Business!" Keep on doing what you do-you rock!