Friday, December 01, 2006

She said what?

C and I watched this amazing show last night.

Well in fact it wasn't that amazing, it was just some bog standard crap tv but it was about this woman who claimed to be able to understand what babies are trying to communicate through their array of piercing shrieks and cries.

This seemed ridiculous at first but then she (let's call her Babytalk Lady) explained that she was musically attuned as it were, and when her own baby was born Babytalk Lady was able to remember and recognise the noises he made at different times.

And hence, eight years on, and having closely watched many many babies (slightly unnerving don't you think?), she was able to create a dictionary of baby language which any parent, of any nationality, could use to identify their baby's needs. Apparently they are formed from the baby's physical response to the need.

She shared five of these with us but I am assuming there are many more since she has a dvd to flog somewhere. Here are the five and their meanings:

Neh ..... I am hungry, damn you!
This was a sort of general crying sound but you could distinctly hear a 'n' sound. It is created by the sucking action of the tongue against the roof of the mouth, which makes sense when you think about it.

Ow...(as in cow) Bed! Put me to bed before I have the welfare people onto you.
This is the sound for tired and I have to admit that I had already noticed that when Tricky was tired he would make this mournful owowowow shout.

Eh...burp me, for the milk it is mixing with the air and churning in a hellish manner in my gullet...
This is a sort of short eh eh eh kind of noise. Babytalk Lady says if they make that noise in the middle of the night one needs only to throw bubba over the shoulder and burp him/her before putting back down for restful repose.

Eairh....My tummy hurts, I want to make the bottom burp noise...
This is a sort of longer sound then the noise for burp me. Babytalk Lady says this will not be the quick burp back in bed scenario and probably means you are in for another hour of 'colic hold' ie cycling junior's legs like a pair of egg beaters.

Heh...I'm not happy. My clothes are too tight. I'm too hot, no wait I'm too cold. I'm worried about the proximity of those lemons...
Or "discomfort" as she described it. This noise was a sort of breathless huffing sort of cry.

The babies will often combine sounds because they are cunning like that but eventually one will dominate and when you have attended to that need the next will make itself known and then the next and the next and then you will drop with exhaustion.

Today I have heard Tricky say Neh when I was taking too long swapping him from one boob to the other, eh quickly followed by him spewing over my lap and owowow at which point I lay him down in his cot and he immediately closed his eyes and went to sleep.

It is both satisfying and also slightly creepy because I've been reading Spot And His Dad and singing Galumph Went The Little Green Frog to him over and over and for all I know he wants Proust and La Boheme.

Sadly, Babytalk lady did not divulge the secret words for... You scare me with your smiling or... These socks with the crocodile face on the toes are not cute they are demeaning or... For the love of God, drink some coffee mama, quickly!


Drew said...

Thats frigging funny mate...:)

I watched that show last night too - I swear some of the demonstrated `cries' were really ambigious ... let us know once you have Tricky sussed out.

And - did you see that girl `Kath' or `Cath' from Hi-5? When did she pop one out????????

Trevor said...

Okay – I’ll climb on board with the whole ‘baby-whisperer’ thinking, but, BUT, I’m going to have to play the triplet card again (sorry).

Lonan may well be going 'Neh', because he’s a bit puckish.
Jonty may well be going 'eh', because he’s a bit windy.
Ava may well be going 'owowowow', because she’s a bit tired.

However this combines to come out as 'NEOWEHOWEHNEHOWEHEHOWOWNEH', which I defy anyone to accurately interpret.

It’s much easier to just interpret the sounds made by the parents –

‘You’ve got to be bloody joking – I just fed you’ – indicates a hungry baby

‘Hang on, Jonty looks a bit….oh crap…I’m covered in spew’ – indicates a windy baby

‘AAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH I CAN’T STAND IT ANYMORE’ – indicates babies who will soon be going to bed – tired or not.

My educational DVD will also be released shortly…

Lut C. said...

That is a bit creepy.

Now, I know some claim you can teach your baby some form of sign language from 6 months and up. Just simple things, food, thirst, sleep, pain, ... but supposedly it helps against a babies frustration of wanting to say something, but not having mastered words yet.

Flicka said...

"I'm a bit worried about the proximity of these lemons..." You slay me!

I hope the baby interpretation thing keeps up its magic for you. But knowing Tricky, he'll find a way to outsmart your system. It's in his name, after all. :-)


Nico said...

Someone was recently telling me about this. Your version is much funnier though! I also enjoyed Trevor's take on it :-)

M said...

This show was on last month here in the U.S. Husband and I intently watched it as she even calmed babies in Oprah's live audience.
Luckily, I had pretty much figured out MAddy's cries before I watched this show. Otherwise I Would have been pretty pissed that I hadnt' seen the show earlier.
The only one that has really struck a cord with me is the ehh ehhh one..where Maddy needs burped. :)

heleen said...

We also recognise a distinct cry that does not need immediate attention or action from parents. It's the I'm-really-annoyed-you-put-me-to-bed grizzle. If you take action you actually arouse the baby again. If you don't do anything they sleep within minutes. A very important one I think.

Thalia said...

Sounds fascinating. I was addicted to the baby whisperer before it got too painful to watch, and she's dead now, anyway, so no more programs. Sounds like this prog you've been watching is the new generation.

Thanks for your comment, OG - can you drop me an email when you get the chance, I can't find any email address for you. Thx.

Lin said...

Just when you have figured it all out, Tricky will be telling you exactly what's wrong.

Kind of like teaching your baby sign language. By the time they understand what the hell you're trying to do, they'll just say they're thirsty/hungry/pissed off.