Friday, April 16, 2010

Cry Spotting

Not that there is anything wrong with it.....but I'm not a big fan of crying.

Now I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you that I haven't experimented with a bit of crying in my day. But this experimentation mostly took place when I was younger, and more impressionable. Guys, need I say more than Brian's Song? Yeah, enough said.

Before becoming a father, not being a fan of crying and all, I would pretty much tune out any form of it that I would hear from other peoples children. Seriously, all forms of 'kid crying' were like nails down the proverbial chalkboard to me. In fact, if a kid was crying in room I was entering, I would often pull a U-turn on the spot just to avoid the drama, letting the child's parents deal with the issue at hand. I didn't want to deal with it unless, of course, I was forced to.
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My real problem was that I hadn't developed Crydar - the ability to spot a genuine cry.

But now it's a different story. Now I'm a dad. Now I can deal with a crying child. My crying child. It has a profound effect on a dad, or mom, to hear their young and helpless child hurt or in pain. And Crying? Crying children trigger some primal response in parents.

In fact, I would argue that there is no more powerful force on the planet than that force which a new parent generates immediately upon hearing the genuine cry from a child they are separated from. Mountains could literally be moved, or atoms split if these very flashes of energy could be harnessed in a safe and usable manner.

However, as children get a bit older, they also get a bit smarter everyday. They subconsciously learn what buttons can be pushed. They learn that if they cry, their mother or father will often instantly melt, and quite possibly, give them whatever it is that they want in the moment. This is a powerful tool for a child and of course the vast majority of kids often test the limits of their parents resolve by running the gambit of dramatic crying episodes...often daily. I don't really blame them though. They often don't realize that they are laying it on thick.

So it has helped me quite a bit that after nearly three years as a dad I have developed highly functioning Crydar.

I can spot a real cry in no time flat. This comes naturally now. In fact, most of the time I can spot a fake cry even when the crier doesn't know that they are presenting one. Heck, there may even be tears involved. Years of experience have helped me hone in on the distinctions.

So, as I put my little guy into his crib tonight, if after a few minutes I hear him crying over the monitor, he needs to realize that his daddy's Crydar will be on. And, if his is not an authentic cry, well then it may be a few minutes before someone makes their way up to check on him. And although we will tell him how much we love him when we do respond, we might just let him cry that fake cry for a little while.

Not that there's anything wrong with it, of course.


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15 comments:

Kevin P Metzger said...

"In fact, I would argue that there is no more powerful force on the planet than that force which a new parent generates immediately upon hearing the genuine cry from a child they are separated from. Mountains could literally be moved, or atoms split if these very flashes of energy could be harnessed in a safe and usable manner"

Or bust into the womans bathroom at the local grocery store - The big potty incident

But I too have the crydar now and my poor son who is my youngest of three will have no luck with the fake cry.(Must repeat daily)

Ah who am I kidding we all bend sometimes. Great post, Happy Fatherhood Friday.

Cheryl said...

Great post. Crydar does come in handy. Just be glad that you are not a lactating mom working retail. NOT fun when just any genuine baby cry can trigger such responses! sorry TMI?
My daughter is a master at the mock cry. It has taken some honing of the ear but I think we finally got it!

Dad is in the House said...

I remember when I first realized my daughter had a fake cry. It was sooo bad! But she must fool some people, because I'm always having to tell them it's fake. And then, she continues to improve on it as well.

SciFi Dad said...

We classify them as sad cry and hurt cry.

Sad cry only gets a response during waking hours and when the child isn't crying because of discipline (in other words, I'm not going to soothe you if you're crying because I took away the power drill).

Hurt cry gets an answer no matter what.

Paul Schwartz said...

Having a four-year-old, I think my ears are all cried out. I am immune to any emotional response whenever he cries. If he came to me with a bone sticking out of his leg, I would probably still say, "I can't understand you when you are crying. Please calm down and we can talk..."

Homemaker Man said...

Crydar is one of those tools a parent has to develop to survive. Broken crydar is a bad thing. Nice post.

Captain Dumbass said...

It's amazing how that genuine hurt cry flips a switch in your head.

Slamdunk said...

Crydar--good concept I'll have to use that next time.

WeaselMomma said...

With my children being a little older, I have found that my crydar has upgraded to the model that can distinguish between "I'm mad", "I've stubbed my toe" and "I need to go to the ER". A cry from my teens means "Someone broke my heart and I need my Mommy" (even if they are too big for Mommy).

Lady Mama said...

Um, did you just make that up - "Crydar"?? I've never heard the term - too funny. And yes, I too can spot a faker a mile away.

BloggerFather said...

If I imitate his crying and he laughs, it was a fake cry. If I do it and he cries even more--well, that means my crydar was off and I have to work twice as hard to make him stop.

And if he cries in the middle of the night, he gets up to our bed no matter what. I pick my fights...

tessasdad said...

Great stuff!

Jason @ The Devoted Dad said...

Yes, honing the skill of crydar is just that, a skill. I believe that crying is on a sliding scale- with the extremes being from "faker" to "emergent need". Sometimes, depending on my fatigue level- I will judge my response based on this scale, simply because I don't want to feed into the "faker" side of the crydar scale. But I say this with caution- because only those who are crydar connoisseur's should practice with this scale. :)

Mighty M said...

I think my crydar needs a tune up because my daughter is getting pretty good at confusing me as to what is real and what is fake. :)

Keith Wilcox said...

my youngest one is a champion fake crier. I get so frustrated because I have to be on super alert all the time with him. He's so good at it that it's sometimes really hard to tell the difference. But, you're right. Once that real cry is detected there's nothing to stop a parent from attending to it.