Tonight as I was giving Laylee and Magoo their bath, life was a dream and a song. Everyone was happy and splashy and damp. Magoo was pouring water over Laylee’s head. She loved it and then suddenly she so didn’t love it. She hated it. Water was evil. Water must be stopped. The only way she could think to stop it was with the piteous siren of screaming death.
Do you wanna know how much sympathy I have for the piteous siren of screaming death? Did you say “zip-o,” “zilch,” or “nada?” Then you win a cookie! Come and get it. Wait. It’s gone. But I still like you.
She was absolutely baffled that I didn’t rush to her aid or even dab the water away from her eyes with a tender “Oh baby!” It’s all about the frenzinated decibility of the wail, well past my tolerance threshold.
So, for the benefit of my kids and all persons of the child-ish persuasion everywhere, I have created a scientific analysis of parental sympathy based on measurements taken on site at my home in the Seattle area.
As you can see, from this highly accurate line graph, as the frenzied volume of the crying increases, the level of parental sympathy decreases. Often the sympathy is replaced by annoyance but occasionally the parent is simply incapacitated by the sheer volume of the screaming and is unable to function, shutting off all nurturing ability. However, my studies have found that adrenaline-based parental sympathy kicks in when a certain level of ear-shattering other-worldly screechitude is achieved, a level which signals an actual dismemberment or other life-threatening injury. This is shown by the sharp rise at the end of the curve.
This sympathetic-destructional graph illustrates how a parent’s kindly reaction diminishes in direct proportion to the amount of property currently being destroyed by the little banshee. If you’re screeching like a psychobot whilst spewing grape juice all over my white carpet and chopping my computer to bits with Ginsu knives, I may be less tempted to comfort you and more tempted to trade you to the Girl Scouts for some cookies.
Carnage is key. If you can show physical evidence of an injury attached to your screaming, regardless of the decibility or destruction, you will receive sympathy. Even small head wounds are good for this. They can be quite minor and still produce an impressive amount of blood. If you’re hemorrhaging, your parents will likely snuggle you… tightly… to stop the bleeding… and for love.
So kids, for maximum sympathy, keep the crying to a soft whimper, the property destruction to a minimum and the carnage on high.