“Let my people eat!”*

Moses in a basket on the riverDid you hear researchers recently reviewed studies of how much babies cry? Who cares? Of course babies cry. They get hungry, they need their diapers changed, they get sick. Since they can’t talk, crying is their way of communicating their discontent.

According to their study, Canadian babies, along with those from Italy and the UK, cry the most. I’d say Canadian babies have more reason to cry than babies from other countries. It’s cold here and the winters are long. Who can stand being cooped up? Canadian babies want to go on more walks but, if it’s not too darn cold, sidewalks aren’t passable to strollers because of the unshovelled snow.

Rumour has it I was quite the crybaby in my infancy, although I don’t know how much I cried compared to the recently determined national average. You’d have to ask my mom. Better yet, I’ll ask her, since she’s a diligent follower of my blog.

Annie: “Hey mom! Did I cry a lot? Was I colicky?”

Mom: [Silence.]

(Turns out my mother is not a diligent blog commenter, so my secret is safe.)

There is one fatal oversight in this research, which makes me wonder why the well-reputed Journal of Pediatrics published it: the researchers studied only infants. I know, I know, it’s the Journal of Pediatrics. Still, what about the country where adults cry the most? Wouldn’t that be more interesting?

People expect babies to cry, but they’re alarmed when adults do. Remember when the ER doctor told me I needed a hospital admission, and I cried because I hate being in hospital? My crying prompted a referral to the social worker because of my apparent emotional instability. From this experience, I learned not to cry in front of doctors.

Then, a few weeks ago, I tripped and fell, bruising both knees. I would have cried but I didn’t want my dear friend M., who was with me at the time, to think I was a baby, so I held it together. I shed a few tears of embarrassment once I was home.

I foresee ample opportunity to cry at the Passover seder on Monday evening. I’ll cry because the Jews were enslaved in Egypt for so many years. I’ll be cry out of fear that baby Moses will not survive his ride down the river in a leaky basket. (Ed. note: He does survive, thank God.) Then I’ll cry because the Jews wandered in the desert for so many years and no one thought to ask for directions.

There will be ample opportunity to cry over the festive meal itself. I’ll cry over the feared consequences of matzah. As an adult, I understand why the fruit plates of my childhood seders always had prunes on them. I’ll cry when I dip my greens in the salt water. Why must our symbolic tears be so salty? Finally, I’ll weep with hunger because the story of Passover is so darn long we won’t eat for hours.

Do you now appreciate why this crying study would be a lot more interesting if adults were the focus? If the Journal of Adulthood would consider revamping the research, I’d gladly be the first participant. Any other cryadults want to join me?


*Ask your favourite Jewish person to explain this joke.


6 thoughts on ““Let my people eat!”*

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