It’s one of the things that comes with parenthood…there’s just no avoiding it.  If you’re lucky, you get a few years off in between the Screaming of babyhood and the Screaming of teenagehood, but rest assured, you will endure many moments of Offspring Screaming.

But luckily, Newborn Screaming is like pain: you can remember that it was bad, but you can’t remember the actual FEELING of it.  I certainly remember that Ali was a Grade A Newborn Screamer, but I can NOT, thank goodness, remember the pitch, ferocity, and complete terror of the actual sound of her scream.

And, speaking of Scream Grades, there are definitely differing levels of luck when it comes to the Screambility with which your newborn is gifted …

The Categories of Scream: Newborn Stage

Grade A Screamers:

The Pained Animal Screamers – These newborns have an uncanny ability of sounding rather unnaturally like they just stepped out of a horror movie.  Their cries-that-don’t-sound-like-cries can send shivers up your spine within half a second of onset.  Even your pets – cats, dogs, and goldfish alike – will howl in protest.  All that you can do is hope that they grow out of their unfortunate talents AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

The Shriekers – These newborns have the ability to make every whimper sound like they are in excruciating pain.  There are no levels and no volume differentials on these kids – every cry feels like a bone-jarring personal reminder at how extraordinarily unhappy they are with you. I’m pretty sure, from the best of my thankfully-faded memory, that Ali fell into this category.

The Future Opera Singers – These newborns have one thing in spades: VOLUME.  They can blow the windows out with the extreme decibels coming from their tiny bodies.  Your neighbors five doors down will know it if you have one of these.  The baby across the hall from us at the hospital was one of these, and his screams were so impressively powerful that he drowned Noah’s screams right out of our room.

Grade B Screamers:

The Forever Hoarse – If you have one of these babies, you really need to get down on your knees and thank God right now. Noah is one of these, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. His screams are persistent and demanding, but it’s as if he stayed up way too late the night before screaming in the stadium with 100,000 other people at an Alabama game (like his Daddy does), and just doesn’t have the vocal capacities left to REALLY let you have it like you deserve. His screams are actually quiet enough that Ali can’t hear them AT ALL from her room across the hall when her noisemaker is on.  This, dear readers, is bliss.

The Uncommitted – These babies are surely going to grow up and be the Phlegmatics of the world – they just don’t put a lot of effort into their protests.  They WANT to care, they WANT to express their opinion, but they’re really just too laid back to put it all on the line.  Their cries consist of periodic and unconvincing “Wah………….Wah’s”.

The Happy – These newborns are possibly little more than a legend.  I’ve heard that they exist, but I have yet to inspect a specimen of this variety with my own eyes.  They are… quite simply… and blissfully… always happy.  They may cry every now and then, but generally, they just live and let live.  Again, the reality of existence of these babies is quite questionable, and if they do exist, I might or might not seriously resent their ridiculously lucky parents.

I hope that all of you are blessed with Grade B Screamers only.  And I also hope that I’ll never be able to write the sequel to this post – “The Categories of Scream: Teenage Stage.”

13 thoughts on “The Categories of Scream.

  1. Love it! Unfortunatly I definitely have two Grade A screamers. Not fun. Thankfully my first was also a happy and rarely cried (like days w/out crying as a baby!) but when she did look out! Shattering glass and losing years off my hearing. The second isn’t quite as happy…or maybe she is but her sister gives her something to scream about each and every day. :P My nephew is a “Forever Hoarse”. When he cries it’s almost comical b/c he is so upset but he doesn’t get very loud. I wish I had quiet children, but alas, my girls got some good lungs!

  2. I had three screamers, just regular babies that cried, but they were loud and demanding. And then James, who really was The Happy Grade B baby. It may have something to do with the fact he didn’t really have any reason to cry. He was either being held or given attention to by somebody at anytime. Don’t worry though, he has no problem letting us know what he needs now that he can talk.

  3. Goodness, he’s darling even when he’s screaming! You forget all about the screaming in the teen years. What I miss is sitting a kid down and they stay there. That stage never lasted long enough. Now they’re taking off in my car! Enjoy, it goes by quick. Soak it up.

  4. HAhahaI love it!
    My nephew is the animal screamer. I was terrified the first time it happened. I kept saying to my husband “there has to be something physically wrong with him! Did he break a leg or get stabbed with something? He must be bleeding!” Nope. He just has that same cry…always.
    I’m a fortunate parent. My 7 month daughter cries so little that we expressed concern to the doctor. She is just amazingly happy ALL THE TIME! It’s almost disturbing. I’m sure I’ll get paid in bad teen years though.

  5. Chelsea had no scream at all. She was on the vent so long that it damaged her vocal cords so her mouth/face moved, but there was no sound other than heavy breathing. Jameson, however, made up for that. He was a combination of ALL grade “A” screamers! He cried ALL.DAY.LONG.

  6. Hilarious!! Ella was a Pained Animal Screamer. It was awful, even our dog would whimper and hide in her kennel. I am hoping my new baby will fall into the Happy category. I have heard about babies like this and really want one. Or at least in grade B! If she is also a grade A screamer I may lose my mind.

    Now, what about the categories of Toddler screams…or maybe you are lucky not to deal with those. We only really have them sometimes and are usually with the word, “NO.” Maybe not enough categories, luckily.

  7. I am glad he is a Grade B screamer, for you. The picture looks like he could out scream anyone, including his Daddy at a football game. I love when you put catigories to things.

  8. Beege was a happy baby… I know, I was lucky. She was also an awesome sleeper. I was spoiled. Then along came Kee, who was a pained animal – shrieker – opera singer who didn’t sleep more than half an hour a night and that was only when she passed out; to wake up within minutes and start screaming again. So I feel it evened out.
    I’m glad you were blessed with a grade B. :)

  9. Well, I consider myself very lucky because my son was a Grade B “The Happy” baby. He’s 3 1/2 now and I can barely remember any times that he cried, and on the rare occasion he did there was a definite reason for it. We joke that he is saving it all up and we are going to be in for it when he becomes a teenager! (I hope not!)

  10. Don’t know that I could tell you which kind of screamer either of mine were…don’t think it was horrific, but not as “nice” as Noah’s scream :)
    I remember the nurses at the hospital telling me that Luke had “a set of lungs on him”, so it must have been pretty loud. He cried so much the first day & a half (b/c he was starving & we didn’t know it) that he almost completely lost his voice by the 2nd night in the hospital, he would try to cry but not much came out :)
    I do remember my nephew’s scream, he sounded like a baby pig squealing, I’m surprised I’m saying this about a baby’s cry, but it was adorable!

  11. My baby is totally The Uncommitted. The ladies at work actually laughed at how pathetic Lucy’s attempts were to cry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *