The books assured me I would know my child's cries in their infinite variety. And as a good mother, I would read the eloquence of his tears and ride like an avenging angel to his rescue.
Yeah, well, six months later, I can tell you what the "tired" cry sounds like, because it's so much more keening and desperate and heartbroken than the other cry. Uh huh. "The other cry." As far as I'm concerned he's only got two. I'm desperate for him to learn to talk.
The other cry has tiny variations, but today, staring at this small person who has taken the place of my baby, I had an epiphany. His other cry means just one thing - "I have seen the status quo, and lo, large and powerful life form hovering nearby, verily it sucks monkey testicles. And I say unto you: Cause a change to occur."
Seriously. Besides "tired," what else is there? He's hungry, he wants someone to make it so he's not hungry. He's bored, he wants someone to entertain him. He's overwhelmed by the noise of the Stargate episode we're watching, he wants it turned off. He's tired of the bouncy seat, he wants to be moved to the toy car. He's squishy in the pants region, and he wants to be cleaned off and dried. Whatever "it" is, it's something he wants changed and he lacks the power to change it.
This is why half the time, it doesn't matter what he actually wanted, being picked up and bounced makes the crying stop. It's change, and that's all he really wants. I feel like I understand him a little better.
I still can't wait until he learns to talk and blows my theories to bits, though.