Addicted to novelty since 2001

Babies Cry a Lot Less Than I Thought

Was a dark stormy night
As the train rattled on
All the passengers had gone to bed
Except a young man with a baby in his arms
Who sat there with a bowed-down head.

The innocent one began crying just then
As though its poor heart would break
One angry man said, “Make that child stop its noise
For it’s keeping all of us awake.”

“In The Baggage Coach Ahead”, Gussie Davis
I heard it on John Mellancamp’s Scarecrow

Until the age of 30, I’d never held a baby. Yes, I was disinclined, but in truth there were very few babies around to hold. Before that age, none of my relatives or friends had children. With a couple of exceptions, that extends to Julie’s friends as well.

Over the past three years, I’ve had the chance to spend time with a half-dozen different babies. Here’s something I hadn’t realized about babies: they cry a lot less than I thought.

In pop culture–books, movies, television, music–babies cry. That’s what they do. Their job is usually to heighten the tension of a scene, and they do that (or, rather, the sound man does that) by wailing like a mortally-wounded wildebeest. Alternately, they provide comic relief, but I can’t say I find babies particularly funny.

Having spent thirty years being told that babies cry constantly, it’s been a pleasant surprise to go hours or days in their presence with barely a whine.

3 Responses to “Babies Cry a Lot Less Than I Thought”

  1. Kirsten

    Horses are also portrayed in the movies as whinnying loudly every time their rider hauls on the reins or sets them off galloping. But really horses don’t usually make much noise either.

  2. MCC

    You’ve been around the right babies. My godson was colicky. I lived in the same house as him for a total of seven weeks. I will never, ever be having a baby.

  3. darren

    Kirsten: Indeed, I recently discovered the same thing about sled dogs. I’ve only been dog-sledding the one time, but the dogs were absolutely silent when they on the move.

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