Bad Mom,  Bug

Urban babies who wear black must not live in a house with cats

I dressed Baby Bug in all black today. Why, you ask? Because I can. Because she happens to have a black shirt and black pants and I’m getting my mom back for all those years she wouldn’t let me wear black when I was a teenager.

“It makes you look old,” she used to say. Which was exactly why I wanted to wear black in the first place. I hated the way I always looked four years younger than I really was. It hasn’t been until lately that my chubby youthful cheeks are paying off. But there was no talking any sense into my mom on that line of thought back then. I’m sure someday when Baby Bug is ten and wearing black eyeliner, I’ll feel the same way. But for now it’s fun to dress her in black. It’s like she’s a little Audrey Hepburn. For about five minutes…then it’s time to break out the lint roller and de-fuzz all the cat hair off her.

We had two meetings with potential babysitters today. We had to look snazzy for them. I’ve been setting up interviews all week. And even though I’m swimming in applicants and I have no idea how I’m going to pick just one babysitter, I still want to impress them by not showing up with a fuzzy baby covered in cat hair sitting in a stroller covered in cat hair because the cats like to sleep in it when I’m not looking. So we de-fuzzed and de-fuzzed and de-fuzzed. I don’t know how I’m going to keep this false pretense up. Sooner or later they’re going to see the real us.

Picking a babysitter is tricky. So far I’m leaning towards a girl who has lots of experience. Even though I’m a die hard stay-at-home-mom, I’m a bit envious of the career moms because they get to tap into the wealth of knowledge that Day Care Providers have. Day Care Providers put your kid on a schedule. They tell you when it’s okay for your kid to eat gold fish crackers and when they should wear shoes with soles. These things are all a mystery to me. I’ve never been a mom before and I have ABSOLUTELY no time to read up on this stuff. I feel like I’m blindly stumbling through mom-hood learning everything by hard knocks and helpful comments from my blog readers. (Major plug for you guys right there, I seriously would not be okay without you.)

For example: the subject of discipline. This is a doozy for me. Baby Bug has started yelling and it’s scaring the beep out of me. Why does she do this? Why is she so loud? Is she not related to me who has a mouse voice that nobody can hear? Does she not live with her Dad who works at home and likes things quiet all the time? We are quiet people, who is this monster who is lifting our roof off with her constant bellowing? It’s not mean or sad bellowing. It’s just bellowing, really really loud. AND she does it in the park and in restaurants and in coffee shops and the grocery store…. It’s very embarrassing. I’m worried all the other moms are looking at me thinking, “What kind of mom is she? Doesn’t she teach her kid manners?”.

I think this is a normal stage that babies go through. I think Baby Bug is just testing her vocal range and my patience. But I need somebody to tell me that. I wish I could check in with somebody with twenty years of experience and they could tell me everything is fine. I ask my mom but she doesn’t remember. And besides I’m the kid with the mouse voice. I don’t think I was ever loud. So I guess I’m checking in with you guys and with the potential babysitter I’m going to hire.

It’s getting close. I’m going to hire somebody by the twelfth of January. I’ve interviewed four girls so far and I have six more to go. They are all so wonderful, it’s going to be hard to pick one. I’m kinda excited about it. I have a lot of freelance work to get to and I think it will be fun to see how productive I can be again. The thought of two uninterrupted hours (in theory—I will be just down the hall) is almost unimaginable. I haven’t had that much time to myself since Baby Bug was born. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself without someone clamoring to get into my lap.

On a side note… Toby is talking to his sister on the phone and I just overheard him say, “If my daughter loves her Dad, she’s going to hate pink when she grows up.” Hmmmm… I think somebody in this house is getting tired of the pink.


  • Annika

    Oh yes, the yelling is totally normal! She is finding her voice and figuring out what to do with it. It can be frustrating, I know, but it isn’t something to discipline her for, really. Would Toby try earplugs, maybe?

  • Elizabeth

    I agree that she is finding her voice. It might sound mean and wrong but when Hunter yelled, at first, we used to copy him (not at full voice, though) so that we were having a conversation and he would know just how loud it could be. Now, we sometimes ignore him because we can now tell when he is doing it to get attention, and when he needs to yell. The amount of yelling has hugely decreased, now he just yaps. all. the. time.

  • Jennifer

    That pic is sooo darn cute. Love BB’s expression. I think the yelling is normal. I think my 4 year old yelled a lot at this age. OMG, why can’t I remember clearly?? She’s always been very vocal and had a lot to say. Not always a bad thing. My 1 year old (she’s ONE!) is more of an “Uuuunhhhh”er. She barely babbles so I’m not surprised that she doesn’t yell.

  • BeachMama

    I think it is totally normal, all kids want to hear themselves and see the reaction they get. Sometimes the reaction is the most important part, if you are constantly getting fussed or giving her the attention she wants when she yells she will keep it up. If you kind of ignore it or talk in quiet tones back to her she will probobly outgrow it quickly.

    I can’t imagine trying to find a babysitter that I would be so happy with. I hope you are able to find the right one and get going on your freelance work again, best of luck.

    And Toby may be surprised that Baby Bug will still love pink, but add other colours in there to balance it off ;).

  • stavroula

    Oh, I love the expression on her face in that picture – what a little scamp! She really radiates happiness in your pictures.

    I think that babies become serious yellers as they prepare to be talkers. She understands so much of what you are saying now, and probably tries to ‘speak’ back, but she isn’t quite ready to utter the words just so. So maybe she makes up in volume for what she lacks in precision.

  • Heather

    My daughter is just 6 months old and likes to squeal as loud as possible. Thankfully we’re homebodies so it’s just my husband and I who hear her, oh and the neighbors. Toby needs to get used to the pink at least until Baby Bug can pick out her own clothes. Pink pink pink pink…I love that color too!

  • Jenn Bo

    You have so many cute pictures of Baby Bug, but I have to say, this one is my favorite. I love the Audrey Hepburn reference.

  • andrea from the fishbowl

    You’re right about the yelling. She’s testing her voice… and is probably excited about it and that’s why she does it!

    It’s hard to discipline a baby about that but I believe you have to say something … show her some displeasure in some small way and communicate to her that you don’t like it and it’s not acceptable behaviour. You’ll have to do it repeatedly, but you don’t want her to be doing it when she’s five.

  • Heidi

    I remember that stage. It was the summer before last. My husband had off for a few weeks, so he was taking care of our son while I worked in another room. The screaming was really tough at first (especially for my husband). Once we realized that he was doing it to hear himself, we were amused. Looking back I miss that stage…when his own voice was something to ponder and explore. Sadly, It will be over before you know it.

  • elisabeth

    Baby Bug has more hair than my little one and he is 21 months old!!! I would agree that screaming at this stage is very normal. You are doing a great job!!!

  • MamaBear

    SAJ! That’s funny because I read your blog to find out what’s “normal” for the age of your daughter, because mine, Kikki, is just a month younger. So it’s nice to see what’s coming up. And yes she started yelling too! About 2 weeks ago. Louder and louder. I mock her too (lovingly) so we yell together. She likes it. She is just trying different voices. I don’t care what others think, she’s a baby, she’s allowed.

    Is BabyBug walking without furniture yet? IF not, that;s about to come, Kikki just started on Xmas. Can you say more gates?

    I can relate though as first time mom too, I’m about to research when are babies supposed to stop drinking from a bottle and move on to a cup, when do you stop giving formula and baby food, etc. My mom forgot too, plus things were very different back then (my MIL remembers but gives me bad advice – outdated that is).

    BB is ADORABLE in black! I don’t have black but I have gray shirts and she was all in gray just the other day. I wouldn’t do it every day but it’s fun to see her in something other then pink & lavender from time to time.

    I’m doing her bday in February all in brown and pink polka dots. Very urban. Very fun!

  • Lexi

    Yep, TOTALLY normal. It’s like, “hey, what’s making that sound? Oh, it’s me! Sweet! Let me do it again!”…..or so I imagine.
    I’ve gotten past being embarrassed in the grocery store any more. Jordan has done many embarrassing things, but the worst was the time he peed through the cart onto the floor (his diaper had come undone on one side and slid down the leg of his pants) and into my purse that was in the bottom of the cart. I was at Wal-mart at the time, and I promptly dashed back to the baby section, wiped him down and put him into an outfit off one of the racks. Now I sit my purse next to him in the cart, and not under him.

  • callie

    this is what we did with our two babies when they started to yell (and I guess it never really bothered us, but we were afraid to go places and have people think we had cave people with us)- stand close to the door, and whisper or talk normally, saying something like, “Baby bug, inside voice. Baby bug, inside voice”, then open the door to outside, stand on the porch or in the yard and yell “Babybug, OUTSIDE VOICE!” Repeat. and Repeat. And laugh together, because your baby is so silly.

  • Molly

    Yes. The Yelling. Oh the YELLING. Ivo’s dad taught him to yell. And now is trying to UNteach him! Good luck! I don’t mind it, I like having a loud kid. He’s spirited! And the yelling is preferable to the WHINING. The WHINING is what DRIVES ME CRAZY! It’s all normal, you just have to ask other mothers of kids the same age. Waking up all night screaming? Normal. Hairpulling? Normal. Pulling my glasses off my face? Normal. I want you to hold me a standing position all day? Normal! HA!

  • Bethany

    I will be the 17th person to tell you that yes, the yelling is totally normal. Baby Bug probably just likes the sound of her own voice and she isn’t old enough to understand that people don’t generally like to be yelled at. :-) She also is not old enough to be disciplined yet, and won’t be for another 6-12 months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t model proper behavior and reinforce good behavior whenever you see it. Yelling back to her in a baby-style “conversation” is definitely fun, but if you don’t want her to yell inside, only yell-convo with her when you’re at the beach or wherever, not in the house. Anytime she babbles at you inside in a normal tone, make a point of saying something like, “H, I like how you are using your quite inside voice, it sounds so nice to my ears!” When she yells you could say something in a conversational tone like, “Ouch, that loud yelling hurts my ears,” but don’t make a big deal out of it or she will just do it more to get the attention. :-) I like Callie’s idea of demonstrating inside and outside voices in a silly way–laughter is a great teaching tool!

    You might think she is too young for any of this stuff, but the earlier you start teaching the easier it will be later, for you and Baby Bug. And she might surprise you! When our daughter was about 16 months old, she was hollering away in the car, and I said, “Ow, that yelling is really loud. Could you please use your inside yell in the car?” I had been talking about using an inside voice for months but had never said anything about inside yells, so I didn’t expect her to get my lame joke. But she immediately lowered her volume and quietly said, “Aaaaahhh!” Then grinned at us inqisitively, as if to ask, “Was that better?” We cracked up and praised her for it, and ever since (she’s 2y8m now) we can ask her to use her inside yell and she immediately lowers her voice, knowing that she can get us to laugh.

  • Kuky

    Wow…I feel like a total loser mom. I would let my baby go out covered in fur. I don’t read any books on what to expect with her. I let her yell and I yell with her. I’m going to be one of those moms other moms look at! Waaah!!!

  • Jamie

    We have two dogs and I am constantly picking dog hair off of everyone in this house!

    Good luck finding a babysitter. My girls are in daycare four days a week and I have to say that during the holidays any semblance of order and schedule went out the window. I kind of like having that to rely on!

  • Anny

    When my friend’s baby started yelling in public, she’d move her fingers over his lips so that his voice would make funny sounds. He ended up liking the funny sounds better and stopped yelling.

  • Texas T-bone

    Yelling is normal. For the kiddo, that is. There’s no need for discipline until they really know better. I imagine when you start asking about discipline you will get a gamillion different answers, so in the end it has to be something you figure out. That’s what we did, and our method works for us. For now. We’ll have to see how Kid No. 2 responds when he gets older.

  • DeeJay

    Sorry if sombody else has already said this but:

    The bellowing in public and worring about other people and what they think…I think at those moments that I am glad my kids grew out of that stage many years ago.

    No worries…it’s just like you said…a test of her vocal abilities. If you pay too much attention to her when she does it now it will become a thing to control you with soon. They are smarter at this stage than we ever give them credit for.

    I love your blog…and pink.

  • Gramma

    I vaguely remember my children yelling back at the ocean on the beach in Hawaii. It seemed to release whatever pent up energy that had accumulated.

  • Angella

    Every time I’ve come to comment on this, one of MY kids starts screaming :) TOTALLY normal for her age – both boys did that at her age. It’s their way of communicating, but I remember it drove me a little batty at the time :)