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.”