There are certain times that you don’t need the shrill crying of a child in your ear. When you’re on a long haul flight. When you’re having a root canal. When you’re hiding from zombies and not wanting to give your location away to the undead.
But the rest of the time, I’d suggest you get over it. Children cry. It's something they're supposed to do. All that unashamed emotional expression tells us that a kid is normal. It's the non crying, all too calm ones you have to watch out for, like the little scheming, blonde mini-psychopaths in children of the corn.
Then again, babies also need to travel across oceans sometimes, visit the dentist and escape zombies, too, so maybe just get all the way over their crying.
As with my personal enlightenment about aggressive buggy pushers (aggressive buggy barging), I’ve walked a mile in the shoes of the judgemental, eye brow raising, 'Can't you control them!' brigade. I've been on flights, with nothing to worry about other than when the drinks trolley will make an appearance, feeling like a jet-setting superstar, when you see a hunch-backed giant making its awkward way down the aisle. As they get nearer, you see that it’s not a hunchback, but a pretty normal albeit unkempt and tired-looking person weighed down with bags and juice cups and teddy bears and a little excited snot bucket of a child. You look at the empty seats next to you in panic and you say a fervent silent prayer, ‘Please, Lord, not next to me! Send the obese guy instead!’
Yes, I confess my lack of compassion. I guess I had to learn through being on both sides of the fence. But I also admit that a child crying is a horrible sound. It’s horrible because it’s supposed to be horrible. A child’s cry is meant to evoke action. And even if that action is motivated by sheer selfish desperation for peace and quiet, it’s effective. It's mother nature’s own natural panic alarm.
But once you hear the cry of your own child, it drives a pain so deep into your body that you feel convinced that their unique cry is coded into your DNA. Like somehow your bloods mingled so that their pain and discomfort is felt in your flesh. It feels so physically painful that you forgo food and sleep, offer them your painful, beaten up boobs to feed on and deprive yourself of batteries for the TV remote to get the magic lullaby sleep buddy working again. You'll do all manner of seemingly insane things, but not just to stop the noise. You'll feel genuinely driven to protect them from the pain, discomfort, hunger and loneliness that makes them cry.
Somewhere along they way, the cries change from meaning I'm hungry, I'm sick, I'm cold, I'm dirty to things like I'm ticked off that I can't wear lipstick, chuck myself off this wall, stay in the grocery store, keep that dog. And that's when people seem the most annoyed by the crying child. They are louder and more angry. And they are usually unreasonable. So child will be crying and the parents will be doing those things that annoy onlookers even more than the crying. They will be ignoring, trying placate, offering sweets, even just not caring. Why don't they stop their child crying? Because they can't.
Life with a two year old is all about that little person you love more than anything, but whose delicate emotional balance is as changeable as their diaper and as predictable as the lottery. You still have to do all the daily things you need to do, but you'll have the additional job of keeping them calm, happy and as inoffensive as possible to the rest of polite society. So sometimes when you see a parent and crying child, and they are just calmly ordering their latte or strolling through the grocery store with a screaming, red-eyed demon child, you’d assume they are stupid, deaf or insane. Nope, they’re probably in their 'happy place' where patience springs eternal. Or they're just pleased that this isn't as bad as little Junior can get.
We’ve all cried and screamed at some point in our lives. And we probably would still until we learned how much it can get on the nerves of strangers. These parents aren't immune to the sound of crying. They just know that their time for crying is over and their little people are having their time now.