Phantom Cries

It happens to everyone, right?  You got a new baby or kitten or puppy (yes, I’m going to equate all of them here) and the incessant caterwauling is such that you hear crying even when they aren’t.

You know how it goes.  You will say, “Is that the baby crying?”  And, if you live in my house, your wife will say, “No.”  And then you will stare at her wondering whether you’re crazy or she’s deaf or both until the cry either repeats or doesn’t and then you have the answer.

Usually, she’s deaf.

But that doesn’t entirely rule out crazy.  RR has always needed soothing at night.  Sometimes she wakes up a lot and sometimes not at all (and then we talk about it in whispers because jinx) but when she wakes up, she does it with a horribly mournful cry suitable for natural disasters and sprawling grief.  When I get up, I go in, soothe, put her back down and 10 minutes later am back in bed.  Brilliant.  But then I lay there, listening to her wail.  She isn’t.  She’s asleep and I’m spending the next hour thinking:  Is that a cry?  Oh come on baby, go back to sleep.  Is she really not crying?  You’re hearing things.  No, she’s definitely crying.  Or not?

I even hear theses phantom cries when I’m in the house alone.  Every so often,  I’ll hear the sounds of her whimpering and gearing up to a world-class cry.  But since I know she isn’t home, I can’t wonder, I just know: crazy.

I’m sure the scientific explanation is that half-ear you keep out, scanning for trouble.  Or, it could be that we live in an older house.  One that has seen plenty of small children whose tears have left an echo that gets rubbed loose every so often.  In fact, sounds aren’t the only thing that drift through on occasion, but that’s a story for another time.

I wonder if phantom cries will be come phantom floor squeaking when she’s sixteen.  I can hardly wait for that.

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8 Responses

  1. I think there are so many things that sound like a baby crying. In fact, when you have a baby I’m willing to say that most unexpected noises make you think the baby is crying.

    Sometimes I wake up thinking I hear the baby and it’s the dog whining or a car going by or neighbors down the street talking on their porch. It takes me a while to figure out what I’m hearing. It’s part of the parental sleep deprivation plot, I swear.

    • Exactly! Because if you were thinking clearly, you’d be wondering why you willingly change diapers while cooing a billion times a day.

  2. Another explanation. The homeless family that lives in the vacant lot next to your house has a baby the same age as yours so their cries sound the same. Every nap time has me standing outside her bedroom door trying to figure out which baby is crying.

    My mom says that after my brother and I moved out of the house, she heard phantom creaking of the kitchen floor around the time we’d usually come home at night.

  3. I say my ears ring to the sound of babies crying even though my “baby” is 2.5 years old. I really hope to grow out of this! We do also happen to have a preschool across the street but it doesn’t explain the evening/nighttime “cries”

  4. This happens to one (or both) of us all the time. We have a video monitor, so even though we can check to see if she’s actually crying we still doubt ourselves. You’re definitely not the only one!

    • I’m glad you can see it to prove she’s not crying. I just have to sit there and wonder if I’m going crazy…

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