Saturday, 8 February 2014


I know that others have attempted—rather laughably—to characterize the sounds that infants make in order to more accurately identify and address the baby’s needs in a timely manner. I’ve come up with a guide to my own children because they’re unique and special, as well as vastly superior in every conceivable way to others’ children. In an effort to clearly differentiate it from other baby languages, I gave my dialect a very distinctive name: Granger Baby Language.

I start with a basic description of the vocalization, label it with recognizable actor’s name to make it more memorable, approximate under what circumstances or at what time it occurs, suggest a putative cause, and provide a possible remedy. I have established the existence, through rigorous empirical research, of four standard cries.

Cry #1: The William Shatner

Description: The William Shatner is akin to what one might expect to hear from someone being flayed with serrated bamboo shards. The cry is one of not just mere physical pain, but of complete mental, emotional, and spiritual agony. To hear this cry, one thinks that nothing will ever be right with the world again. The William Shatner is so named because it is completely over-the-top and out of proportion to any visible insult to the child. It is the aural equivalent of chewing the scenery, only on steroids.

Timing: Approximately 10-30 minutes after last feeding.

Likely cause: Gas.

Remedy: The only remedy here is tailored towards the listener, because by now they’ve missed the boat. Aside from puncturing one’s eardrums for relief from the wails of torment, the only other step to be taken is to remind oneself that one must ABSOLUTELY BURP THE BABY AFTER FEEDING. “Oh, I do burp them, but nothing comes out” is not a valid excuse. If one lacks the commitment and physical endurance to get one’s baby to burp, I suggest investing in one of those industrial paint shakers.

Cry #2: The Samuel Jackson

Description: The Samuel Jackson is angry. Very angry. If you ignore the Samuel Jackson, there will be hell to pay—as one should rightly expect from the name. The Samuel Jackson is generally in response to a legitimate symptom, although the vocalization is rather more truculent than one might expect. Aggressive but deliberate, frightening but totally justified in its rage, the Samuel Jackson will be heeded upon pain of death. Any confusion on your part will be met with the venomous reply: “Granger Baby Language, muthahumpa, DO YOU SPEAK IT?!?!

Timing: Approximately 30-60 minutes after last feeding.

Likely cause: Too many Royales with cheese. Yes, soiled diaper.

Remedy: Change that baby. It’s gettin’ tired of this muthahumpin’ poop in its muthahumpin’ diaper. If you hear your child emit the Samuel Jackson, I double dare you to ask it, “What?”

Cry #3: The Daniel Day-Lewis

Description: Like its eponym, the Daniel Day-Lewis needs no introduction. Its presentation may vary drastically, but it is unmistakable in its genuineness. Neither hysterical nor inhibited, the Daniel Day-Lewis is the gold standard to which all other cries must be compared. One will hear the Daniel Day-Lewis many times during one’s parenting career, and it will entrance a person every time. It is commanding. It is credible. It is evocative, and it will move a person to confident and compassionate action.

Timing: Approximately 2-3 hours after last feed.

Likely cause: Hunger.

Remedy: The listener must attempt to rouse oneself from the daze brought on by beguiling tones of the Daniel Day-Lewis. One must provide sustenance to the elegant and poised child that is emitting such a self-assured cry.

Cry #4: The Woody Allen

Description: The Woody Allen is barely even a cry. It is a most feeble attempt at eliciting some emotional reaction or comfort from parents. To hear this cry, one cannot help but roll one’s eyes at its meekness, although a person does commiserate to a degree with the infant’s existential plight and self-consciousness. The Woody Allen is so named because the cry itself seems to convey that the baby is all too aware of its insecurity and is embarrassed because of its diffidence, yet it persists with its eccentric and awkward behavior. There’s really no good reason for the Woody Allen other than its mild entertainment value.

Timing: Variable. Usually manifests once all other needs have been addressed.

Likely cause: Boredom.

Remedy: Extensive psychoanalysis.

Such is the extent of Granger Baby Language...for now. I will update the list as time goes on in order to release new and improved versions and capitalize on my newfound scam. I hope that you found this guide as instructive as I found it enjoyable to write. Feel free to add your own submissions to the list.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a Samuel Jackson that requires immediate attention.

1 comment:

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