Babies cry for a lot of reasons, but there’s one reason that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. Yes, they cry when they’re sick or sad or hungry, but they also cry when they are filled with pure, volcanic rage.
We never think about babies getting angry, but, as someone who has stared down the business end of a couple of babies of my own, let me assure you that they do. And since they’re babies and haven’t developed a lot of coping mechanisms yet, they deal with anger the same way they deal with every other discomfort: screaming at the top of their lungs.
There’s no distinction between things that call for a little anger and things that call for a lot of it. My three-month-old daughter hates to ride in the car. There’s nothing particularly bad about our car. In fact, it’s quite comfortable. But she hates it, so she reacts to being put into her car seat the same way Bruce Banner reacts to being attacked by a biker gang. It’s a good thing that babies aren’t good at using their hands and feet, because if they were, then every time things didn’t go their way, they would become a tornado of tiny fists pummeling everything in sight.
That makes babies slightly less adorable, but it’s just another thing that shows us that babies are people too. They can overreact to slights and be filled with self-righteous indignation for no cause just like all the rest of us. The only difference is that grown-ups have learned how to pout and be passive-aggressive. They express their fury more quietly. True, that’s easier to take on a long car ride, but at least with babies you’re sure about where you stand.