Was doing my grocery shopping on Sunday when I heard this sharp, high-pitched rhythmic barking and thought to myself, “Whose obnoxious kid is doing that? KNOCK IT OFF!”

Turns out it was mine.

While I was trying to order two cuts of salmon at the seafood counter, Arddun was sitting in her pram and basically rehearsing for some secret ventriloquism exam I didn’t know about, because she about threw her voice to the other side of the fruit and veggie section. Nothing awful – she wasn’t distressed. If anything, I think they were her new happy sounds. Which were short, sharp, constant, and VERY LOUD.

Yes. It seems our seven-month-old has discovered the joys of vocalisation.

Apparently, it’s all very normal. A quick google (“Help! My 7-month old is shouting!”) brought up a plethora of articles, opinion pieces, and forum threads of mothers freaking out because their babies have turned banshee. They are starting to babble, apparently. Vocalisation is part and parcel of testing out syllables which eventually turn into proper words like “Mama”, “I Want”, and “Now”. Oh goodie.

So yeah. It’s normal. But it’s also embarrassing. And quite distracting.

Recent scenarios include:

1. Ordering seafood from Woollies

“What would you like?”

“I’ll have two salmon pieces, and have them in your – “

“- HAAAAAAA!”

 ” – oven bag (so sorry about that)… and can I please have your marinade?”

“Which one? We have ginger and – “

” – EEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!”

“Just give me lime and chilli please – I’m so sorry, she just discovered her voice – and could I have them both – “

” – HAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaa… ppppppbbbbbbbbbbbbtttttttttt…”

” – sealed in the same oven bag, please? Thankyouverymuchsosorry.”

2. Having lunch in a cafe

(To me) “Your baby is so cute!”

(To Arddun) “Hello, cutie!”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

“How old is – “

“AAAH-blblblblblblblblbl…”

” – she?”

“About seven and a half months.”

“Oh wow!”

“Ha! HAAAAAA. EeeeeaaaaaaAAAAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!”

“Um… is she okay?”

“Yes…”

“She seems upset about something…?”

(Wearily) “No… she’s just discovered – “

“PPPBBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!”

” – her voice.”

 

The only useful thing about having a baby that shouts?

 

“Hello?”

“Hello… My name is… Ranjit, and I’m calling from Microsoft…”

“Hi Ranjit, hang on a second – I’ll put you through my assistant…”

“I am calling you today because our systems tell us that your computer has a virus. Can you please turn on – “

“EEEEEAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!”

 

But otherwise, it’s quite concerning. I don’t want my daughter to become a disturber of the peace, but it’s not like she understands the concept of inside and outside voices. And she’s not upset. She’s not whingy or crying when she calls out like that – she’s just expressing an opinion or testing out the acoustics. But it’s like I’m wheeling around a midget sonar wherever I go now.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to model the way. They say that when giving an instruction to a child, you shouldn’t focus on the negative, but offer the constructive. So instead of “Stop running!”, you’re supposed to say, “Walk slowly.” My brain doesn’t work that fast, so I tend to do it in stages.

Which sounds like this:

“AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHH!”

(While covering her mouth.) “Sweetie, stop yelling. Speak in a whisper, like Mommy is doing right now. See? Quiet. Inside voice. Use your inside voice.”

“EeeggaaAARRRGGGHHH!” (Translation: Speak up. I can’t hear you.)

 

I don’t know. I guess it’s a stage of life, but if anyone can pass on any tips… I’m listening.

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