Within a week or two, you learn to distinguish between the fussy "hey where did you go" cry and the "OH MY GOD someone is tearing my face off with a paperclip" cry.
Michael and I are particularly attuned to this distinction as we spent the first two weeks of The Bean's life bringing her to the doctor's office where they immediately clipped her heels to draw blood.
In case you were wondering, babies do not enjoy this.
A person passing by in the hallway would have heard the following:
[Snip. As the nurse takes what looks like a stapler remover to my child's heel to get the blood flowing.]
Cadence: WAILING AND GNASHING OF
Michael: Oh my baby!! Your mommy made this happen to you. I wanted to take you for some ice cream. [faints dead away]
Jennifer: Don't listen to your father. It will be OK. [tears forming in eyes] This is so we can make sure you are getting better. [heaving, uncontrollable sobs] It's OK. See. It's almost done. I promise we will never do this to you again...until tomorrow.
We would all emerge from the doctor's office as snot-riddled, puffy-eyed beasts. A charming family photo op for sure.
So imagine my horror the other day when The Bean who was supposed to be in her rocker soundly sleeping so Mama could get laundry done lets loose with the blood-curdling "my ears were just torn from my head and eaten by a pack of wolves" cry.
I run to the rocker and immediately assess the situation.
Looks like just a crying baby, right?
Let me break this down for you.
Newborns have all of two or three reflexes when they are born. One of these reflexes is grabbing.
Sorry to break it to you, but when a baby wraps their fingers around yours it is not because they have sniffed you out as a kindred spirit and will love you to the end of time. Nope, they likely think you are tree branch and holding onto you will prevent them from crashing to their death.
While in the rocker, The Bean managed to get a death grip on her quarter-inch long hair.
Her screams were an APB to let me know that some horrible person had a hold of her hair and was trying to rip it out of her precious head. And why the hell weren't they stopping because it was super painful. And who does this sort of thing to a newborn anyway. Especially one who was sleeping soundly and having a dream about gripping fingers and pooping.
I released her fingers from her hair (no small feat) and immediately picked her up to soothe her. The second I had calmed her down, she shot me an unmistakable look.
"This is your fault Mama. I'm pretty sure you're not a good person and the verdict is out on this whole living thing. So far it seems to be sucking."