My 11-month-old daughter Maddie has been in the process of finding new and creative ways to express herself. If you periodically read about the baby or if you have met her, it’s quite obvious that she does not like to be ignored. When you combine these two elements together, you have a potentially explosive situation on you hands.
This afternoon at brunch, Maddie had quite an adoring crowd surrounding her. Parents, grandparents and even Aunt Joni and Uncle Tim were showing Maddie the love. The restaurant was packed and Maddie was in high spirits.
At some point in the next ten minutes, the adults must have become involved in a conversation where Maddie’s opinion was not being sought at the time. We were sitting there chatting when a high-pitched screech split the air. Every single head in the restaurant swung in our direction.
This is not an exaggeration. Every person in that place was momentarily stunned into silence by the sheer volume and intensity of Maddie’s eruption. Some people were confused, some irritated and others just amused that a baby could stun such a large group of people into submission like that. The lull of silence lasted almost an entire two seconds before everyone resumed his or her previous activities.
As for our table, nobody really knew what to say. We exchanged some nervous glances and went on with our meal. Maddie’s parents are all too familiar with this type of outburst. However, it was fascinating to see the stinging reactions it produces in public. It appears that Maddie is not quite polished enough for the outside world, but we will keep trying.
Maddie can’t speak yet, but she is announcing her presence with authority. A weekend surrounded by family really has her communication skills soaring. It may not be English, but her screeches, groans, gurgles and infectious giggles tell us that Maddie has a great deal to say.
She is becoming more and more opinionated with each passing day and her progression is both impressive and adorable at the same time. Some studies note that more than 90 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. If that’s the case, Maddie is coming through loud and clear.
Her keen powers of observation coupled with her sense of humor indicate that she is more than ready to start speaking. She is always lighting people up with that perpetual smile. Maddie has already mastered the high-octane scream coupled with her prolific raspberry splatter patterns. But what’s most interesting is that little words seem to be popping up in her babble.
Maddie has always been fascinated by speech and always watches intently as we speak. She often works her mouth as if she is trying to tell us something. Little words like “hi” and “night, night” seem to be creeping into her verbal landscape a bit more each day.
I’m not sure when Maddie will actually begin to speak, but she doesn’t seem terribly interested in waiting much longer.
It’s been several months since Maddie began unleashing her deafening sonic scream. At first, it was a once or twice a week phenomenon. But the screech has unfortunately become part of Maddie’s every day routine.
The good news (I guess) is that the motivation for Maddie’s screeches has changed dramatically. There was a time when this ear-splitting event was the result of some type of frustration. Now when Maddie unleashes her howl, it is because she is wildly happy or entertained. And since she is a happy little girl, this sonic scream is shocking the airwaves in my vicinity several times a day.
Each sonic installment of Maddie’s eruptions is follow by some form of raucous baby laughter. She thinks this noise of hers is terribly funny. Although I try not to let her know it, I think this ridiculous scream is a laugh riot. Despite the actual pain it causes to my ears, it makes me laugh inside every time.
The problem is that no one else enjoys having his or her eardrums ripped inside out. I have tried to modify this behavior, but Maddie figures that if it doesn’t really bother me, there’s no reason to change it. The screeches are not only increasing day-by-day – but they also seem to be getting louder. It’s really nothing short of impressive.
When she lets it rip in a store or in a restaurant, there isn’t really much you can do. I gently touch her bottom lip and tell her, “No.” I’m just not sure she is taking me seriously in regards to this issue.
It actually startles and physically shocks those people who are within earshot. The howler monkey was once considered to be the loudest land animal on the planet. I contend that Maddie is ready to show this primate who the true Queen of the Jungle is when it comes to deafening and obnoxious sounds.
Maddie is determined to announce her presence with authority before she turns two-months-old on Friday. Although my little girl has yet to form any words that we have actually been able to decipher – she is bound and determined to overcome this obstacle by using a combination of persistence and piercing volume.
The persistence aspect shows itself when Maddie is awake because she is always working hard on those communication skills. Our little girl is currently employing a series of clucking, chirping, grunts and screeching to convey her secret, but very noisy messages.
The screeches are the newest addition to her repertoire. It’s a high-pitched mini sonic scream that really cuts right to the heart of the matter. It’s amazing that such a powerful and shocking noise can be generated by such a tiny person. Maddie seems pretty confident that once she fires off one those ear-splitting blasts – she has commandeered all the attention in the room.
The fascinating thing about these specialized events is that the little girl doesn’t seem to be communicating any specific emotion when she does it. The sonic scream is just the baby’s way of putting her raw power on display.
As we have mentioned on multiple occasions – Maddie employs an amazing degree of intensity to just about everything she does. This screech really punctuates her efforts to hip us to her personal wisdom.
For right now, we find these noises remarkably endearing and could not be happier that she is willing to share her thoughts with us. However, if this ear-splitting siren call increases in pitch and duration, we have to wonder if her serenades will quickly lose their appeal.