Learning to Listen to Two

Posted 03-22-2010 at 01:09 PM by Harmony96

In the animal kingdom, mothers know the cries of their own offspring and can pick them out of a crowd.  Being that humans are a part of the animal kingdom, the same holds true for us.   I can do this easily with my daughter, Lydia, who is now three.  Several times a week, she plays in a crowd of 15 to 20 children.  Even if she’s not in my line of sight, I can pick out her joyful squeal as if she were right next to me.  But if someone were to ask me to pick out the voice of a different child, there would be no way I could do it.  The other happy noises all blend together to me.   

She’s also pretty well understood by most people, even strangers.  In those few instances where translation is needed, I am right there to decipher her words.  I’m her mother.  I’m with her all day, every day.  I can understand her and she can understand me.   

When Benjamin joined us in October, I quickly started to study his different cries, grunts and other noises, so I could meet his needs.  I thought we were doing pretty well.  He was growing and happy and being enjoyed by his big sister.   

But, then he outgrew the distinctive newborn squeaky cry.  If he and Lydia were both napping, and one of them cried, I would have to really think and listen to figure out who needed me.  Their cries sounded SO similar to me.  I would think it was Benjamin, only to go check on him and find him sound asleep.  Meanwhile, Lydia would let loose another wail, and I’d hurry to go check on the “right” child.   

As he gets even older, their cries continue to sound more and more similar.  But at the same time, I find myself re-tuning my ears to distinguish my children, not from a crowd, but from each other.  Just this afternoon, Benjamin woke up from his nap with a wail, and I said to myself, “Wow, that really sounds JUST like Lydia,” and at the same time walked straight up to his crib without a detour.  In my heart, I knew which child needed me, despite how it sounded on the outside. 

Motherhood is a journey where the destination is unclear and the paths are always changing.  I am growing right along with my children.  I know as they get older, they will continue to grow in similarities, but will not become cookie-cutters of each other.  I love dreaming about who they will eventually become.

Filed Under: Mommy Talk


8 Responses to “Learning to Listen to Two”

  1. whitneywalters on March 23rd, 2010 1:54 am

    Great post and cute pics!!

  2. kiezamy on March 23rd, 2010 4:25 am

    the same thing happened to me 2 days ago. We were having a get together for my newborn girl. My hubby and I were in the room busy shaving our girl’s hair off (an islam ceremony)and my older one (19 mths) is with her grandparents. Earlier a child had also been crying. But later i heard cries. My hubby kept insisting it’s the child who was crying earlier but i know it’s my older daughter. From her cries, i’m able to know it’s her. Now that’s what you call a motherly instinct, no one can beat that! :)

  3. blackbirdmama3 on March 23rd, 2010 12:37 pm

    Awesome post mama!

  4. heathero on March 23rd, 2010 2:42 pm

    Excellent read! I have had the same problem trying to tell which of my los is crying…it is still very hard for me even tho’ they are getting older.

  5. Suncoastmommyof3 on March 23rd, 2010 11:54 pm

    I have this problem with my 12y old daughter and my 13y old niece….they sound so similar ….it freaks me out everytime…Ashley will say MOM! and Im like what? and its not Morgan ( mine)…so I guess this happens and will happen till they grow up!!!! ( Isn’t it great though!!)

  6. Lilymomma on March 24th, 2010 1:41 am

    This happens to us all the time w/ my 11mo twins and 3 y/o DD. I wonder how #4 is going to fit into their choir?! Great post!

  7. RebekahG77 on March 26th, 2010 9:27 pm

    Your post reminded me of when my boy was in the NICU. He was my first, and as we were approaching the NICU, I heard a squeaky little cry, and I was thinking “wow, that really sounds like Jacob!” But he was only a few days old, and my time with him had been limited because he was so sick. I doubted that I would be able to pick him out. I was so surprised and excited to find that it was indeed Jacob. Mommy’s instinct was right :)

  8. pickychicmom on March 26th, 2010 11:39 pm


Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Leave Your Comment Join Diaper Swappers or login to comment!