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Thursday, November 16, 2006

For Crying Out Loud

I very rarely see the Oprah show. My mother, on the other hand, watches it frequently. She called me the other day to tell me about a show featuring an Australian woman, Priscilla Dunstan, who has discovered that all babies have a unique language. Priscilla claims there are five basic cries that all babies are born using. After about the fourth month, however, they start to lose the usage of these "words" if they weren't responded to according to the type of cry.

One of these cries is a "heh" sound. The translation is pain or discomfort. So the morning after my mom told me about the baby language, I was surprised to notice my son making the "heh" sound. I changed his diaper. It didn't stop. I tried moving him around, rocking him, checking his gums to see if he was acting sensitive to teething pain - but I couldn't figure out what, if anything, was making him uncomfortable. That's when I noticed his forhead was too warm.

He had a fever! It was not a severe fever, but certainly enough to make him uncomfortable. I do think it was due to teething, but I was surprised how easily I was able to decipher the meaning of his cry.

Right at this moment, my son is asleep on my lap and I'm doing a terrible job of typing with one hand. He had started to make the cry that is described as the "tired" cry. Amazing, it really sounded like she said. I didn't have to wonder if he was having other issues. I just went straight to rocking him, and it knocked him out. Subsequently, I'll have to fix a lot of typing when I'm done, but he is peacefully sleeping.

I found a small clip of the Oprah show featuring Priscilla Dunstan on It shows babies crying, using those five key sounds. It's just amazing. There's also a website at, and there will be a DVD out soon.

My son is 5 1/2 months old now, so he has lost some of the clarity to these baby sounds, but if your baby is younger, this could be very useful. All it takes is a visit to Oprah's website and a peek at that video clip, and you'll be convinced.

(The clip to look for is "Baby Talk".)


Piana Nanna said...

These baby sounds should work well for grandmas or other babysitters who aren't with the baby every day. Tip: Leave a note with the sitter with a list of the five sounds. That way you won't get a distressed call asking what to do to stop the baby's cries, and you can have an enjoyable evening out knowing your childs every needs are being cared for.

Piana Nanna

The Anonymous Mama said...

That's a great idea! Then babysitters have a better evening too. Kinda wish I would have known this back in my babysitting days.