Why do babies cry when we put them down? What do you mean? Of COURSE babies cry when you put them down.
You see.. At the beginning of mankind the world was a very different place. Tigers and bears and other large rather surly animals roamed the earth far more interested in devouring babies than they were in dancing and singing to catchy tunes so as to lull the little critters to sleep.
Babies are smart little creatures that would have long ago been eaten by tigers. Or wolves. Or bears. They’re rather rotten at doing things like moving. And even once they start running they’re rather short and stumpy with horrible balance and a tendency to run into things and then cry. Loudly.
Their defense mechanism for this is the arms of someone a little bit longer-limbed than they, and who has somehow managed to survive into adulthood in the Tiger Lion and Bear infested wilderness.
(That would be you.)
Babies are well equipped with certain survival mechanisms such as the desire to put their mouths on everything in search of nipples that might contain milk. The ability to cry. And the startle reflex which starts with them being startled by a sound or movement and which sets off a chain reaction that goes from “startle” to “startled by the startle” to “startled by the screaming that came from being startled by the startle” and which results in purple-faced screaming until the baby is rescued by a longer-limbed tiger-defying superhuman mammal with a food supply that contains substances remarkably similar to those found in marijuana. You know. To encourage the mellow and the munchies which gives you a sleepy mellow baby that just wants to eat. Not cry and attract predators.
In other words- all their useful reflexes and instincts tell them one thing: CLING TO SOMETHING LARGER OR STARVE AND BE EATEN. They have yet to develop the ability to type, hang out on facebook, chat on the phone, and raid your refrigerator. That comes later.
Ahh. Yes. We have moved to the top of the food chain where we are no longer likely to be eaten by tigers and are in fact more likely to be struck by lightening or run over by some guy checking his text messages when he should be watching for pedestrians.
Babies missed the memo.
You see… Babies are not very good at reading. Their attention spans are notoriously limited by their desire to eat the books rather than listen patiently. The American Association of Pediatricians recommends that they not be introduced to other forms of media until much much later in life. (If at all) This means that babies are about as sadly up to date as soldiers were back in the days where news traveled via horse and some of the best battles were fought after the war had already been declared over.
They’re a little slow on the uptake. You know. Due to the whole “not fully understanding language just yet”. They haven’t even mastered the ability to transport themselves to a toilet for acts such as peeing or pooping. Social Studies and The Formation of Civilization are a bit advanced for someone who still wears diapers and who cannot yet say the word “dada” let alone “Civilization”.
As far as babies are concerned we live in a very different world. A world full of dangers that only mommy and daddy can protect them from.
And so they cry. Until we pick them up.
There are two schools of thought for how to address this.
One of them is to teach the baby that the world is a Very Safe Place by letting them scream until they turn purple, possibly puke from the strain, and learn that it’s okay, no matter how loud you scream no tigers will eat you.
Another way to address it is by responding to baby’s cries and holding baby near you so that baby can gradually realize “Dude, I’m two and no tigers have eaten me. Let me scream about all the things now because ‘no’ is like totally the BEST WORD EVER.”
Of course the baby’s crying. They haven’t the slightest clue that they’ve been born into a world that is relatively safe for them. They’re a little ball of instinct that is pretty damned certain that somewhere out there is a tiger that wants to eat them.
The nice thing is that keeping them safe from those tigers is easier than dealing with the rampant fear of ghosts that comes after the child is slightly more evolved.
Good luck with that one.