The Bear Trap cry


I hate not knowing. I don’t mind if I don’t know that I don’t know, but if I know that I don’t know, I absolutely mind.

And that absolutely made sense.

To use it in a scenario: If you have a surprise for me, but I don’t know you have one until you put it in front of me and yell, “Surprise!”, that’s great. However, if you tell me you have a surprise for me then leave me wondering what it is, that’s not great — because not only does it leave me frustrated, but chances are my imagination will think of something way cooler than what yours did, so when you finally do give me the surprise, I’ll be inwardly disappointed at it.

Lately, Timmy has taken to crying loudly and suddenly for no apparent reason. He’ll be playing with his plastic stacking cups, or rolling on the floor, when he’ll suddenly give me the urgent ‘I just put my foot in a bear trap!’ cry. Yet when I go to tend to him, I can’t see a problem. I’ve been surprised by how many people—professionals in the childcare industry—have told me, “Maybe there’s no reason. Sometimes babies just cry.” (Perhaps this is the baby version of the nonchalant, “Kids will be kids,” that doesn’t actually explain anything.)

Sure, they cry. But there’s always a reason. There has to be! Even if the reason is, “I like the sound of my own voice,” fine, I’ll take it. I just need there to be a reason, because if Timmy does things for no reason, then all that leaves is chaos, and I can’t hope to understand that.  And the thought of not being able to understand my entropic child horrifies me. I’m sure he’ll accuse me of the disability sometime, probably in his adolescence, but I’d like to think that’s a while away.

Considering his age and stage, and what I’ve read from the oracle Google, my inner sleuth has drawn two major suspects: teething, or frustration at his current inability to crawl.

He’s already given a few teething false alarms, showing all the signs of teething except for the obvious one of little white pegs erupting in his mouth. Plunket tells me during these times his teeth were probably shifting inside his gums, just getting ready to come out. So teething complications are an ever-present possibility.

And his body can’t keep up with his brain, by the looks of it. At six months old, his brain seems to already think he’s a toddler, so expects him to transport himself to the stacking cup that just rolled out of reach. (It also seems to believe he should now have only one nap a day.) This exhibits itself in Timmy’s grizzles and immense frustration that he’s not moving toward the runaway stacking cup when he frantically swims in the air, only his belly touching the floor.

So does the bear trap cry happen because his body’s not doing what his brain is telling it to? Or because he’s aware of pain in his gums? Or because he likes the sound of his own voice? …Actually, I don’t think it’s that one. The ‘I’m playing with my voice’ tone sounds more like, ‘A-da-da-da-da-da-aaaaahhhh-da-da…’ with a few tongue-raspberries and squeals thrown in for variety.

If I have no hope of knowing the reason…okay. I can accept that. I don’t like it, but I can accept I may just have to wait. That’s not the same as conceding there is no reason. It just means I have to wait until the surprise is unveiled.

It won’t be as cool as what my imagination would have come up with, meanwhile. It probably isn’t teething, or motor skill frustration.

He’s probably annoyed by carpet fibres on his tongue.


(4) Comments

  • Emma Ubels on Facebook
    05 Nov 2012

    dam those carpet fibers!

  • Callie @
    05 Nov 2012

    Bhahaha! I’m torn between agreeing that it’s likely his inability to make his body to do what he tells it to, and the carpet fiber theory.

    Sometimes when my little ones would howl for no apparent reason, I’d check and see if there was perhaps an eyelash in the eye? It’s a long shot, but you never know…

    Anyway, that is an awesome post. Love your writing style 😀

    • Eve
      06 Nov 2012

      Thanks, Callie. 🙂 Bizarrely, when I’ve noticed an eyelash on his eye, it doesn’t seem to bother him at all! It makes me blink a lot just looking at it (irritation by proxy?) but he appears not to notice. Strange specimen, that one!

      So it must be the carpet theory.

  • Rachel
    08 Nov 2012

    Nah! I go for the frustration that “my body jolly won’t do what I tell it to”. I bet once he’s crawling, the racket stops. Hmm… must vacuum my floor again.

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