There are many new things to experience and learn as a first-time parent. I read a ton of articles and blogs to prepare myself as much as possible, yet my infant consistently surprises me or catches me off guard. Usually, they’re cute little things that come and go, as he gets older. I take a ton of photos and videos to remember all the behavioral stages, but I’d like to forget one of them. In fact, I’m hoping to block it completely from my memory.
Babies get more fun as they begin smiling and trying to make sounds. Sometimes, it looks as if my son is trying to have a full-on conversation with me. Then, one day, a terrible sound came from his mouth. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard—a high-pitched screeching sound. It was not a quick, quiet little shriek. No. It was a long, loud screech that pierced my eardrums. My son discovered his highest and loudest sonic capability.
Hearing it once or twice was bearable. Then he started doing it all the time. All I could think was, “Make it stop!” I did not know how I would survive this phase of parenthood. It also didn’t help that people say, “Oh, yeah. My kid did that until they were three years old. It won’t go away any time soon.” Great. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear! It continued day in and day out. How does one teach a 3-month-old baby what are good sounds and bad sounds? I tried ignoring him when it happened… no luck. Then I would reprimand him when he did it… still continued. After that, I thought I would talk only in a low voice so he would try to copy the tone of the sounds I was using. I was desperate!
We went about our lives as normal as possible, but he would screech wherever we went. Our friends would look at him and say, “Awww, that’s so cute!” I would immediately reply, “No! It’s not!” Other parents have told us that those little quirks are cute until your own child does them. Then you’d give anything to make it go away.
About two weeks after the screeching began, I suddenly noticed something. I hadn’t heard any high-pitched squeals in a full 24 hours. Dare I think it or say it aloud, lest I jinx the situation? Sure enough, I heard no more screeching for an entire week. I could finally breathe a huge sigh of relief. I am incredibly thankful the banshee phase only lasted a few short weeks. Contrary to popular belief, banshees aren’t cute. It seems as though each little thing that comes up is a test. If I can survive this, I can survive whatever comes next. As they say, this too shall pass.
Image by Upsilon Andromedae via flickr