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Check back with your friends in a few weeks. The language changes! I look at little-baby pictures and videos now, and think, "She's hungry. That's why she's crying. It's so obvious - why didn't I see it?"

One of my greatest fears of becoming a parent was knowing when I was supposed to do stuff. I watched my friends with toddlers suddenly say, "Let's go home and eat lunch." How did they *know*? Can I get that schedule in a book?

Nope. It's the immersion technique.

I'm a very proud aunt, and I spend a lot of time with my nieces and nephews. But, if you were to ask me to distinguish between their cries, for the most part, I'd have no idea. But their moms, (and even my mom), can tell. I definitely think it's a mother thing. But, more than that, I think it's an attentive mother thing. There are plenty of horrible mothers out there that have no idea what's going on with their kids. But, then there are those that do seem to speak "the secret language of babies". My guess? You'll learn it just fine.

Your friend K is really "magic" and in tune with her baby, that is obvious from your observational research.

I have confidence that you too will develop the necessary skills to master that language special baby language. All you need you have, that is the desire, the willingness, and the compassion to be a really great mom. In the meantime see if your friend K will allow you to practice on her baby, well not the breastfeed part, but the diaper changing, burping, bathing and loving.

No, all moms don't speak the secret baby language, at least not at first. My son was a complete mystery to me for the first few months. I never knew why he was crying and it didn't help that he cried 8 hours a day. I felt like a must be a terrible mother and couldn't understand why I wasn't able to "read" my baby's cries the way all the books said I would. But eventually I figured it out. It just took awhile for us to get to know each other.

I didn't speak baby language at all, at first. but put it this way: there is no more powerful incentive than the goal of the contented baby who is no longer CRYING AND CRYING AND CRYING AND CRYING. :)

Wow. As the K in question, I had to make time to write a response. I am both stunned and overwhelmingly reassured by Sarah's description of her night with us. Many times in the past four weeks, I have NOT felt like magic. We've had a part-time postpartum doula with us who TRULY knows baby language, and each time she's been able to decipher a strange little squeak or movement, I grill her: how did you KNOW that?? I so want to be able to understand Baby J. Sarah's observations only go to show how much I've learned and improved in four weeks, and if I can learn and improve (which I'm doing mostly by trying to stay calm [difficult when a baby's cries make you want to rip your own heart out], paying close attention to J, and trial and error), then I am POSITIVE that Sarah can, too. But thank you for making me feel like I'm getting the hang of this mothering thing, especially because I'm still at the stage where simply leaving the house with the baby can overwhelm me to the point of tears. That's another piece of information for you, Sarah: _I_ cry a lot more than he does. xoxox

Baby Magic! I love it! I am K's post-partum doula and I must say, she is a phenomenal MOM! Her willingness to understand baby "cool" is half the battle of learning him. Her love for him and the love support from daddy B completes this family's oneness. And the fun doesn't just stop there! Are you kidding?! They are going to grow and change together-as a family. What an adventure to look forward too!

When the time comes for you to know the cues, sometimes before the cues even happen, guess what??? You will! The key is to be confident in your love and free enough to allow the universe to guide you. Relax! It's only a baby :) Enjoy LIFE! ppd-L.

First of all, thanks for giving me a genuine laugh. I’m sure other people have remarked on mothers’ baby-whispering powers before, but your ability to elevate the mundane to the mystical is why you’re clearly a writer/blogger instead of a normal person/blogger. And you make us mothers sound so impressive!
The truth behind baby whispering? Field work. Thousands of hours of anthropological field work. We watch the baby breathe, snort, cry, gurgle, complain, and, if we’re lucky, smile. Then we engage in experiments – if I try bouncing her on my knee, is the feedback positive? And if I apply that technique to the delicate post-feeding interval – does the bouncing bring the burp bubbles to the surface, like tapping a can of Coke? Or does it just bring the food back to the surface? Oops.
Basically, when you’re a parent, your life’s happiness depends on reading the secret pattern inside those coos and snorts. Video-game-obsessed teenage boys have nothing on us – if there’s a short cut or trick to avoid crying, we’ll learn it. And whenever a non-parent says, “Have you tried…maybe if you just…,” we just shake our heads, because we’ve already tested every variable.
So, don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll put in the requisite field work and be able to spout a veritable doctoral thesis on your kid’s every belch, stretch, and snort. :-)

I just stumbled on this blog by accident from the Happiness Project and LOVE it. I'm so glad you're thinking of having a baby - they really are wonderful, magical creatures, but hard. I love that your freind "K" wrote in to say that she cries more than her baby. That is so often true for first time moms and we rarely talk about it. I'm also glad that she has a doula who is helping her to understand her little one. I read the book "The Baby Whisperer" inbetween my two little boys and I was amazed to learn that my first poor little guy had actually been trying to tell me things. I listened much more closely with my second one and found that she was right, I could start to decipher between different cries.

I live in your area and wish you all kinds of luck and joy finding a new home and having a baby of your own to bring in to it. A man helps, definitely. It's a hard thing to do alone, but it's not impossible.

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    What is Starfish Envy??

    • L.A. 2009. I’m stuck in traffic on the 101 freeway, listening to Isabella Rosselini on NPR. Isabella, for some reason, mentions that starfish are one of those rare species that can reproduce asexually, and I realize that if I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about finding a boyfriend/husband. I wouldn’t have to internet date! I wouldn't have to figure out if I want to/can/should have a baby/adopt a baby/child on my own. I wouldn't have to stress about things like FSH levels, or weigh my feelings on in vitro versus adoption. I would just have a baby. Thus began my starfish envy.
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