A celebration of parenting with Katrina Roe

Tag Archives: reading your baby’s cues

So you might have heard that babies have their own language.  If they cry with a ‘neh’ sound that means they’re hungry, if they cry with an ‘ow’ that means they’ve got wind etc etc.  When you first have a baby, there’s a lot of emphasis put on understanding the baby’s cues so you learn to interpret what they’re telling you.  Well what you may not know is that babies also learn to take their cues from us.  They put their own interpretation onto the things that we say.  Admittedly it’s not a clinical study but I’ve been observing this very carefully over the past few months and I think I have cracked the baby language code.  So I thought I would translate a few key phrases that may help you to anticipate your babies response.

When we say… “I think I might phone a friend for a chat.”

They hear… “Time to cry as loudly as possible.”

When we say… “Right, ready to go!  In the car, kids!”

They hear… “Could you please fill up your nappy just as we all get in the car?”

When we say… “Lovely cup of tea.  So nice to sit down with a book for a sec.”

They hear… “Wake up now and demand to be fed instantly!”

When we say… “I’m really looking forward to a night out this evening.”

They hear… “Be sure to get sick tonight with a raging fever and preferably vomiting as well!”

When we say… “Don’t you look sweet in that dress from Granny?”

They hear… “That dress needs more decoration.  Some mashed banana should do the trick.”

When we say… “How do I look for my job interview?”

They hear… “Sick up on Mummy’s shoulder just before she leaves the house.”

When we say… “I think I need a haircut.”

They hear… “Mummy doesn’t like her hair.  She wants me to pull it all out for her!”

We say… “You need a nap now.”

They hear… “Something exciting is just about to happen and you don’t want to miss it!”

When we say… “I’ve got a lot of work to do today.”

They hear… “Just cry today for no apparent reason.”

When we say… “I’m so tired.  I just need a break.”

They hear… “Mummy will miss you too much if you sleep in your bed today.  Be sure to sleep only in Mummy’s arms!”

And finally if we say, ‘I need you to go straight to sleep tonight because everyone’s coming over for a BBQ/Bible study/wine and cheese night tonight’, they hear ‘Carry on and fuss for as long as possible when I put you to bed’.

I hope you’ve found this list helpful as it may explain some of your baby’s more difficult behaviours.  Perhaps you have your own translations to add to the list.  Let’s all help each other understand our babies a little bit better. 😉


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