I still get monthly emails from Babycenter.com, which I mostly now read for amusement’s sake. Take this one that just arrived today:

Whining and screaming: If your 15-month-old has started sounding like a hyena or worse, you’re experiencing his intense desire to interact with you. Children thrive on their parents’ attention and a toddler this age will do just about anything to get yours. When he gets loud or whiny, kneel down to your child’s level and tell him you’re listening. If he keeps it up, calmly say, “I can’t understand you when you talk like that. Please use your normal voice and I’ll be happy to listen to what you’re saying.” Eventually, he’ll get the message.


Ha. Ha ha.

Hoo hoo ha ha ha ha ha HA.


Whew, good one, Babycenter. I love the part where I kneel down and calmly ask my shrieking toddler to use his normal voice instead of, you know, informing him he’s being a douchebag and to knock it off before I cram a Baby Mum-Mum in his screamhole, sideways. Hilarious!

Listen, let’s be real: 15-month-olds are basically feral creatures one evolutionary step below flatworms when it comes to self-preservation and good decision-making skills. Their faintly recognizable vocalizations and ability to lurch from place to place in an upright position does not indicate they possess even one solitary neural impulse capable of being reasoned with. If it makes you feel better to have a Sincere Discussion with your howling (adorable!) bundle of human fail, by all means, have at it, but I think I’ll stick with my method of suddenly pointing off in the distance and shouting “DYLAN! BALL! WHERE’S YOUR BALL?” because the word “ball” makes his eyes dilate like Insectosaurus and he’s a hell of a lot more apt to get distracted by his favorite toy than any long-winded explanations as to why his ear-bleeding communication style sucks and he needs to use his indoor pre-verbal screams.

Besides, if I actually did all that calm talking and reasonable requesting, I would never get the opportunity to bark “DYLAN! FOR THE LOVE OF—SHHHHHH!”, which only shuts him up for about half a second but when it does he makes what I call his “Uh-oh Face”, which is awesome.



49 Responses to “I’ll be happy to listen”

  1. amber on May 11th, 2009 9:36 pm

    My niece will be two in June, and while she’s pretty smart I can’t IMAGINE reasoning with her that way. Sheesh, babycenter.

  2. justmouse on May 11th, 2009 9:37 pm

    1) Screamhole


    2) bundle of human fail.

    seriously. i. love. you.


  3. Kristi on May 11th, 2009 11:13 pm

    Those wacky folks at BabyCenter have obviously been hitting up that crack pipe lately! Seriously.

  4. Amy on May 11th, 2009 11:22 pm

    ha…babycenter..I haven’t thought of them in a long time. I forgot how fing hilarious their advice is! I seem to take more of your approach, but have never gotten such an amazingly cute expresion from my wind bags!

  5. Audubon Ron on May 12th, 2009 12:17 am

    THAT is funny – Feral creatures. I’m 53 and you can’t reason with me that way either.

    If you say to me, “Ron, I can’t understand you when you talk like that. Please use your normal voice and I’ll be happy to listen to what you’re saying.” I’d say, “How’d you like a knuckle sandwich.” What makes Babycenter think Junior would be any different?

    In my case, if I’m in Junior’s face, eyeball to eyeball, Junior would stop long enough to study my big freaky nose, because it would remind him of his ball. He’d be all, “Dayumm, WHAT is that on your face dude? Let me Bonk it.”

    I can assure you, if I’m acting like a hyena, you’re experiencing an intense desire for me to bend and twist your mind. I’m completely into power and control at that point. Now if you say, “Ron, Shut the F up.” See, I get that.

    Where do these Babycenter people come from? That’s funny.

  6. Brenda on May 12th, 2009 12:34 am

    I use the Hey Where’s Your Ball? method too, as well as the What’s That Soooouunnnddd – Airplannnne, Thunderrrr method with my 13-month-old daughter. Both work wonderfully. For five seconds.

    The normal voice request only started working when my son turned three years old. Now he knows his whiny voice is annoying.

  7. Heather on May 12th, 2009 3:33 am

    Whenever my completely unreasonable 13 m.o reaches the critical whine/shriek level I cup my hand to my hear and holler “Whhhaa-at??” all Flava Flav style. Stops him in his tracks and cracks him up everytime. Makes my husband laugh too. Win!

  8. Amanda on May 12th, 2009 4:14 am

    “…I’ll stick with my method of suddenly pointing off in the distance and shouting “DYLAN! BALL! WHERE’S YOUR BALL?” because the word “ball” makes his eyes dilate like Insectosaurus…”

    AAAAHAHAHAHAHA! AHAHA! I just shot a pokey piece of Raisin Bran Crunch out of my nose. (Seriously. And being all pregnant and prone to nose bleeds, that totally sucked for a minute.)

  9. Katy on May 12th, 2009 4:22 am

    Commenting on your piffle! My porn star name is embarrassingly awesome: Mitzi Baysprings. :)

    I’m pregnant now and use babycenter.com to alert my friends and family to just what vegetable my baby is this week. At 38 weeks, he’s apparently the length of a leek.

  10. Emma on May 12th, 2009 4:28 am

    Obviously having children of their own is not an employment requirement for the yahoos that write for babycenter.com…

  11. danielle on May 12th, 2009 4:42 am

    “bundle of human fail”

    Oh I love it!

  12. Christine on May 12th, 2009 4:52 am

    Your son is totally a bundle of human fail, but holy cow, that face. I want to eat him.

  13. alomellin on May 12th, 2009 4:56 am

    Is it worse when you are around? My 14 month old is an angel for everyone. As soon as I walk in the room, he melts into a whining, screeching, mess. How is this fair?? I use graham crackers to stiffle the madness. Yes, I use food to shut my child up. I don’t care.

  14. Heather C on May 12th, 2009 5:07 am

    Have these people ever even met a 15-month-old?

  15. Maria on May 12th, 2009 5:31 am

    I’m with you, it’s all about distraction at this age…and they fall for it most of the time.

  16. Becky on May 12th, 2009 5:35 am

    OMG Heather I am so stealing the Flava Flav thing…..

    Thankx “Snowie Hopkins”

  17. Anne on May 12th, 2009 5:39 am

    I wonder if the people who wrote that email have ever, I don’t know, *met* a 15 month old?

  18. Eric's Mommy on May 12th, 2009 5:51 am

    Oh good lord Babycenter.com! Come on!

  19. Christina on May 12th, 2009 6:08 am

    Seriously. Has anyone at Babycenter ever knelt down to their screaming writhing on the floor 15 month old and calmly done this? My 15 month old would have punched me in the nose (unintentionally of course… he was just trying to communicate his “feelings” doncha know?!) and continue screaming. OY OY OY!

    Agreed – Babycenter gets a big fat Pffffffffft with the older baby/toddler/kid stuff. It is so off once they are born which I can understand – they are trying to cater to people with kids on a wide spectrum but still? I mean they keep telling me how great my kid is because he can kick/throw a ball or jump. He is F***ing FOUR. I hope he can kick a ball and jump by now. I think they are just trying to pump parents tires – like ‘hey be proud of what your kid can do!’ and maybe he is the next Barry Bonds (which lord help me) but leaving out the part that my four year old will also still put dirt in his mouth and that he thinks poop/farts are cool.

  20. Korinna on May 12th, 2009 6:20 am

    Ha! You called him feral. That made me chuckle.

    (As did Mitzi Baysprings’s name. Nice.)

  21. seadragon on May 12th, 2009 6:22 am

    I was just having (one of many conversations) with my husband about how we’re supposed to get our 15-month-old to stop screaming and whining when he wants something. (Or how to get him to back off from something he shouldn’t touch.) This morning’s incident was that he started yelling when my husband momentarily interrupted spoon feeding him some yogurt in order to take a bite of his own cereal. Asking him to calm down and use his normal voice or his words (or the sign for more) or something sounds really nice, but dude, it does NOT work. So what are we supposed to do?

    I was hoping that since you’ve already parented through this age before that you would have the solution. :) But maybe you do. Maybe distraction is really just the best we can do at this age?

    Anyway, that uh oh face is fantastic.

  22. pam on May 12th, 2009 6:46 am

    i’m so happy that dylan is the same age as my boys, because everything you write about him, i read and nod along. well, not literally, but you know.

  23. Sharon on May 12th, 2009 6:53 am

    That babycenter advice is right up there with “sleep when the baby sleeps”.

  24. Shelly T on May 12th, 2009 7:13 am

    Dude. My porn name is Gretchen Waterfall. Uh-oh Face to *that*!

  25. Courtney Kramer on May 12th, 2009 7:19 am

    I think the Uh-oh face is HILARIOUS!!! Especially in conjunction with a shit-fit about something. Babies, so easily redirected: D: “AHHHAHHHHAHA BWAHHHAHA HAHAHAHDGA!!!!!” Sundry: “Dylan, where’s your BALL!?!?!?! **with fake excited face and fake curoious voice*** D: “HAHW… Wha… BALL! Where’s the ball?!” ***with uh-oh face** redirect accomplished!

  26. Casey on May 12th, 2009 7:37 am

    Dude, babies and toddlers are totally irrational creatures, which makes the suggestion to deal with them in a rational way all the more perplexing. I’m not sure I’d even try this “technique” with a three-year-old, much less someone who routinely and contentedly eats crayons and dirt.

  27. Katie on May 12th, 2009 7:45 am

    Gotta love the “uh-oh face”! Nom nom!

    Seriously, I think the people on babycenter and any other child-rearing publication have never themselves raised a child! My two boys are the most stubborn, independent, wild monkeys ever, and although their mastery of proper human communication is on the rise, using the passive-aggressive crap they recommend got me nada! Now, the ball trick, that’s always a good way to change their attention!

  28. Jennie C. on May 12th, 2009 8:30 am

    My nephew is almost two and his favourite thing is to SPIN SPIN SPIN. He totally forgets that it’s his favourite thing and when you remind him (usually because his screamhole is being overactive), his eyes light up like he just won a week at Disney Land and he’s off and spinning and laughing and just so darn happy.

  29. KB on May 12th, 2009 8:33 am

    My favorite toddler advice that comes in every single parenting book is “take an extra 10 minutes to do xyz”. If I were to do that with every suggestion in the book, I wouldn’t have time to work, but hey, my kid got in the car with all necessary garments on and hygiene completed so we can get to day care. Of course, I’ve lost my job due to never showing up because I’m taking 10 extra minutes to get my kid out the door, so getting to day care really is moot.

  30. telegirl on May 12th, 2009 8:51 am

    My last email from Babycenter was, “Your 2-Year-Old: Ready for French?” I guess my little boy is a little behind but we’ve mastered single words like “car” and “cookie”, etc. and an occasional sentence: “Birdie. Go?!” (a-hem! I can call it what I want!) but seriously, introduce a SECOND frigging language? Whatever.

  31. Heather on May 12th, 2009 9:01 am

    After taking a pointed object from her (6 days from being 15 months as well) that she had to scale the desk to get and has gone limp and I’ve laid her down on the floor to throw her hell fit…
    Hayden, where is Rosie (her strawberry shortcake doll)? Feigns interest. Retrieves Rosie.
    Hayden, where is the Orajel? Pulls from diaper. Mouths entire tube.
    OK, point to the duckie? Wags finger in direction of duckie.
    Point to the shell? Looks dumbfounded as we are not in the tub where the shell is.
    Where is Elmo? Flips middle finger.
    Good girl, now, bring mama the noose?
    …all evening long. Never. Fails.

  32. Jasie VanGesen on May 12th, 2009 9:16 am

    Truer words have never been spoken about raising boys… seriously.

  33. Joy @ Big Time Fancy on May 12th, 2009 9:22 am

    My life needs more “uh oh” face.

  34. Noemi on May 12th, 2009 9:40 am

    “Uh-oh face” is made of WIN.

  35. Andrea on May 12th, 2009 11:37 am

    This made me laugh outloud. So much to look forward to…

  36. melissa on May 12th, 2009 11:49 am

    I think i just snorted. Luckily i’m alone with my 19month old. Thank you, that was hilarious and exactly what happens here all day long.

  37. shriek house on May 12th, 2009 11:51 am

    I’d totally subscribe to babycenter emails if YOU wrote them. Also if they included priceless “uh oh” face in each one.

  38. MelV on May 12th, 2009 12:11 pm

    Yes, yes, and yes. HAHAHAHAHAH. I think I have a girl crush on you! :)

  39. Swiggy on May 12th, 2009 12:25 pm

    I stopped reading the babycenter updates months ago, but for some reason I can’t bring myself to delete them. I just leave them unread in my inbox thinking I’ll go back to them at some point in time. With my first, I read them obsessively, but now I’m just like “eh”. I don’t even read the What To Expect book anymore, haven’t touched it in like 10 months. And who the hell tries to reason with a non-verbal toddler?

  40. Sunshyn on May 12th, 2009 12:39 pm

    Now, when he’s a little OLDER, you can try whispering in his ear, “I can’t hear you when you’re screaming.” And maybe, “Use your words.” But first he has to HAVE words. Jeezly crow. I do like whispering in the ear of a screamer, though. They have to shut up to hear YOU. And that uh oh face. OMG. Oh, and remember, he’s a redhead. They do tend to, um, melt down.

  41. warcrygirl on May 12th, 2009 12:59 pm

    This post makes me think of the “Up!” commercial with the talking dog collar.


  42. haitian-american family of three on May 12th, 2009 2:18 pm

    These days I just look at my 2.5 year old like she is INSANE when she starts the yelling, then she’ll stop and we can move on with the day. But at 15 months? Good luck getting them to do anything at all-let alone be quiet on command.

  43. Amy on May 12th, 2009 2:52 pm

    Yes! 14 months and we’re at the screeching stage. I can’t imagine trying to reason with him. At least I’m not alone… :)

  44. veralynn on May 12th, 2009 8:52 pm

    Yes, LinkedIn is definitely worth it. Good career networking for me. Boyfriend got an answer to a question on next-step education/qualification stuff that’s saving us a good $20-some thousand in tuition expenses and my office is now moving towards using that for more job-hunting.

  45. Jakki on May 13th, 2009 6:31 am

    so love the ‘oh oh’ face…LOL

  46. Shelly on May 13th, 2009 10:06 am

    Re: your earlier piffle about Blood Meridian. What did you think of The Road? And did you read No Country for Old Men? What did you think of it?

    Also, my 2 yr old makes the uh-oh face, too. Priceless.

  47. Erin on May 13th, 2009 10:48 am

    My 15-month-old gives me the grumpy face when I reprimand him. Which is terrifying, because it’s like looking in a mirror.

  48. WM on May 13th, 2009 10:52 am

    Heh, you gotta take those babycenter emails with a grain of salt.

    …and maybe knock back a little tequila beforehand and a little lime afterward.

  49. Kym on May 13th, 2009 5:42 pm

    Those Babycenter articles are totally written by someone who CLEARLY does NOT have kid’s, and if they do they probably lock them in closet’s for fun!

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