When Munchee first started making noises, I thought everything that came out of her mouth was as precious as water. I was so enamored with her little cooing and gurgling that I would have put it in my ipod to listen to it in the shower. Couldn’t get enough of each and every noise. Until one day, a new noise was born.
This was a noise so deep, so guttural, so intense, it seemed as if it was spawned in the depths of the earth’s volcanic crust. It had this intensity that irritated my inner ear like scratching a chalkboard and made my teeth itch. It ignited this feeling of urgency to do whatever possible to make that noise stop.
But The Grunt wasn’t unhappy noise. There was nothing wrong with her. It was more of an alert. A way of saying “Hey, mom, what you are doing is lame. Pay attention to me. No, I am not hungry. I am not tired. Just look at me. Yes… that’s right. Look at me.” There was nothing intentionally malicious about it, but it made me want to look her in the eye and say “seriously dude, shut the fuck up.”
Then I had this realization that changed my whole perspective on The Grunt. I much preferred it to her crying. When she cries, it seriously breaks my heart. If someone else said this to me before having a baby, I would have a quick fantasy of punching them in the face. Babies cry. But when my Munchee cries, it pains my soul. Even if there is nothing really wrong when she is crying besides wanting to get out of her car seat, it still haunts me.
So suddenly, I was just really happy that she was communicating that she wanted my attention, but didn’t feel the need to cry about it. I could then see The Grunt as just an assertive request, and that made me respect it. I hate crying. I feel so disempowered when I cry. It releases stress hormones, your face gets all puffy… it is hard not to feel victimized after crying.
Since I am raising a little girl, I want her as a woman to be forthright with what she wants. I want her to say what is on her mind. I want her to be emotionally secure enough to be self-confident. To use her voice. When she is older I will maybe explain she could be more strategic then caveman grunts, but in the meantime get your grunt on girl!
(tell me you wouldn’t prefer a grunt to this sad as hell face!)