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.