Crying: a survival guide

Is your baby’s weeping winding you up? Are your toddler’s tears testing your patience? What about your children’s screeching, hollering and whinging? Are you ready to up sticks and move to a deserted island (budge up Tom Hanks, the mammies are a coming).

Then you are in dire need of the Complicated Gorgeousness guide to surviving the caterwauling.

We know that babies (and children) are supposed to cry (it is their means of communication and expression blah, blah, blah). It is also part of the package plan that we signed up for along with snuggles and giggles. But some days does their bawling feel like someone has stuck two fingers up your nostrils and is rudely prodding you directly in the brain. Like there is a party behind your eyebrows where no fugger likes you and you certainly weren’t invited.

I don’t know if you noticed but it has been a bit hot lately. Don’t worry I am not going to complain about the heat. We don’t want to scare off Mr Sunny and his tropical-style treasure. I do, however, have one small gripe. It seems Gabe is not a trooper in this swelter. He is not taking one for the team who haven’t felt these sorts of temperatures since 2005. Oh no, he is very much into doing the opposite of that. He is fed up of the torridness (to be honest it is playing havoc with his bowels) and he is not afraid to let us all know about it.

Gabe has in fact become Mr Outraged of Birmingham (and if he could write into the local papers he would be doing so). Although I am doing my best to ignore his grumbling while sipping piña colada from a corner of the padding pool, his protests do sometimes filter through.

The shrieking does not look like it is abating any time soon as the sun continues to shine. And as I don’t want him to rain on my parade while I am intent on roasting my milky white legs, I have devised a crying system that prioritises the roaring (and the grade of chocolate intervention needed). After all, while there is sunbathing weather to enjoy, it would be foolish to pull out the big guns too early and leave your armamentarium somewhat depleted for mega meltdowns.


Grade one

AKA: The “I’m a bit fed up” cry.

What the baby is trying to say:

  • Gis a bite of that jam toast mum 
  • Where is my rabbit/blanket/dummy? 
  • Can we have Cbeebies on instead of Holly Willybooby (no matter how nice her dresses) 
  • Pick me up for a quick cuddle 

Your mother earth response: Have a cuddle on couch and put on Mike the Knight. Simples. Sorted. Cbeebies is educational (not just an effective babysitter).

Your actual response: Ignore them and carry on watching Don’t get Done, Get Dom.

Chocolate comforter level: Sorry doesn’t qualify, but if you are desperate you can have a rich tea or a custard cream (who actually buys them though?)

Grade two

AKA: The moaning, groaning cry.

What the baby is trying to say:

  • I have a poo in my pants and I am a tad irritated mamma 
  • I wouldn’t mind a beverage as I am a bit parched 
  • I am getting bored of Mike the Knight 
  • The sun is in my eyes 

Your mother earth response: Immediately change bum, provide liquid, give a huge cuddle and set back down with a stimulating toy/puzzle in the shade.

Your actual response: Ignore until flies hover in shape of big arrow or husband comes back from work; chuck a cup in child’s general direction; ask five year old if she fancies playing dollies and first game is changing nappies; brave it out and carry on reading OK magazine.

Chocolate comforter level: Just a Kit Kat or Breakaway at best.

Grade three

AKA: The shouty, outraged cry; the “how dare you take back the mobile phone I was sucking/destroying” meltdown (this grade also includes the ominous “thud, quiet pause, and wail” cry).

What the baby is trying to say:

  • This Mike the Knight fella is royally getting on my tits 
  • I don’t want to play with my piano, or my cars, or my drum, or my bells, or my monkey, or my rattle, or my tool set, or my teapot, or my scout bear, or my polar coaster. Get me new toys NOW (or your purse) 
  • I have just landed head first off the sofa 
  • I am bloody hot, hot, hot and you are too poor/mean to have air conditioning. 

Your mother earth response: Put all toys in fridge to cool (and rotate all day for hours and hours on end), make an ice sculpture of Mike the Knight for child to play with/suck on; make a nutritious snack of chopped banana/raisons; turn off TV and read stimulating touch and feel book.

Your actual response: Give them your purse and resign yourself to calling bank later to replace cards. Use chocolate of any description to placate (even weird no name Easter egg that has been lurking at back of cupboard); put them in bath for an hour (at half past one) while you stand in front of them nosing on twitter.

Chocolate comforter level: You might need a Drifter or a Twix (maybe even a Double Decker).

Grade four

AKA: The relentless “when are you going to bloody stop for the love of all that is holy” cry; the “I need to smash my head against a brick wall just to ease the pain of this screeching” cry; the “call and rant manically down the phone to husband/mother” cry; the “I am crying too” cry.

What the baby is trying to say:

  • I hate you and all you stand for 
  • I need to rip out my teeth one by one 
  • Touch me and I’m going to bite (in the middle of your boob as I know that hurts you lots) 
  • Every time I move, my mouth/throat/stomach/bum hurts and if I am in pain I am taking you down with me. And you are going down harder. 

Your mother earth response: Give an herbal cure (something grandma swore by); play soothing music (a classical ditty on your grand piano); stroke forehead and smile sweetly; take for a stroll to zoo/farm to distract; make crafts and create poems together; make a song bag and recite all known nursery rhymes ever created and then make up your own.

Your actual response: Remain calm for five minutes, then explode, shout back, swear and kick the Bumbo across the living room hitting Mike the Knight in smug face (result) but cracking TV screen; clock watch for capol re-doses; walk around the block 85 times; sit in sweaty mass holding a zonked/drugged up child shallow breathing in case you wake them (stay there for four hours or until bladder starts leaking); tell husband in shouty call that as soon as he walks through door you are out of there (and no one, NO ONE, cares about his football practice). Also that everything is his fault even cracked TV and puddle of chocolate sick over sofa from dodgy Easter egg.

Chocolate comforter level: This is worth a whole chocolate orange eaten in one mouthful (not a piddly bar). In fact forget the chocolate open the vodka!

Survival guide: key points 

  • When in doubt, use Cbeebies for everything 
  • Eat lots of chocolate (and cake) 
  • Keep house well stocked with wine 
  • Move next door to your mum 
  • Divorce pauper husband, marry millionaire and get a team of nannies 

Disclaimer: all mother earth responses will re-resume when not so sweaty. Honest.

Double disclaimer: this does not include night time crying. That is a whole different story and requires counselling and daily trips to Bargain Booze.

Gabe says: “Leave me alone. I am tooooooo hot.”

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