the city chicken

Baby noises, papers, and … whatever else
11 14 2006, 3:24 am
Filed under: celebs, fun stuff, ideas, TV

Baby language

Did anyone else see Oprah today!?!?!

What an amazing discovery. Priscilla Dunstan was on the show today and says she has discovered the secret language of babies. At first I thought, “Oprah, what the hell are you doing with this sham on your show,” but it is pretty clear that this woman has a real gift for hearing and hearing memory. She is one of those people who can hear Mozart and play it back on the piano perfectly from memory. Well, she has done a lot of testing and researchers from Brown U who have been studying the cries of babies have gone to her in order to further thier research.
Basically, she says that all babies, regardless of race, ethnicity, etc, make 5 universal sounds all with a specific meaning.
(this applies only to the 0-3month old crowd!)

You really do need to hear the sounds in order to really understand what you are listening for but basically you need to listen to the “pre-cry” sounds. Basically, a baby goes from saying “hey, I’m hungry” to “AHAHAHAHAHAA” really quickly and once the hysterics begin, it is a lot harder to pinpoint what the underlying sound is that is at the “base” of all the racket.

Here they are:

“Neh” – I’m hungry
You may be thinking “I have NEVER heard a baby say “neh”, but remeber it is the beginning of the cry, not the hysterical freak out that follows lol. There is a definite “n” at the beginning of the “neh” and apparently it has to do with the fact that when a baby is hungry, it’s instinct to suck is determining what shape the babies mouth is in… so if you put your lips into a “sucking” kind of shape and make the “neh” sound (remembering that babies have no teeth for thier tongue to bound off of!), you will hear it.

“owh” – I’m sleepy
Women everywhere will immediately recognize this one. This is the sound that I associate with “infants” rather than just “babies” and it always seems upsetting because it has such a helpless feel to it. This one requires a nook, a song, rocking, walking… something soothing…

“heh” – discomfort
Definitely sounds like “heh”. It was funny because one woman that Dunstan worked with said she had always though her son just hated his car seat or car trips because he cried the whole time but when she heard him distinctly making this sound after knowing what it meant, she did some research and found out the car seat straps were too tight… everybody wins 🙂

“eair” – I have lower gas….
lol… this one seemed so obvious once she pointed it out …. it doesn’t really sound like it is spelt, but imagine making the sound “eair” from your gut when you are in pain….
yup, this sound doesn’t really change no matter how old you are lol.

“eh” – I need to be burped
It sounds like an “eh” which might be hard to distinguish from “heh” but it comes from higher up than the others and tends to be a shorter lived sound than the others.

Really I wanted to write all of this down because this is invaluable knowledge whether you are a new mom or just babysitting or in the company of an infant. It would make life a lot easier for many people to at least know what is behind the crying instead of just desperately trying any and everything to make it stop.

Other stuff

Well, in other news… I am busy writing a paper tonight (or trying to write a paper as it seems to be). I can’t believe that thanksgiving is already next week!! From here on out I will have to be studying everyday (well, I already was…) but I won’t be able to have “super productive days” and then “super non-productive days”… I will be trying to get a lot done for a few hours and then taking long, worthwhile breaks so that I don’t need a whole afternoon or evening to recover from studying. I’ve decided to hang out with Brian during some of those breaks… even if it can only be an hour or so, it will be well worth while because we can make the most of the time and it will give my breaks some substance rather than just sitting around waiting for the next round of studying…

Well, speaking of which, I am gonna go back at it. Hope everyone is doing well!!!


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