Mar 30, 2007

Why toddlers cry, a Zangskari analysis

Just the other day I had a chat with Skalzang about why toddlers cry. Skalzang, who is one of my oldest friends from Zangskar, is spending the year with us here in India, and has had much opportunity to see Tashi and Krishan have tantrums.

It was interesting to learn that there are two Zangskari words for the crying of toddlers and infants. One, nyid shrin, literally translates as 'sleepy crying', while the other, stod shrin, translates as 'hungry crying'. So there you have it---a simple theory about why babes/toddlers cry---they are either hungry or they are sleepy. Or both. Not sure what word is used in that context. Sure put things into perspective for me; I think I'll try and forget the hundreds of reasons that cause me endless worry and aggravation. It is not that those reasons aren't at fault----but they are more than likely to be in combination with 'sleepy crying' or 'hungry crying'.

I have to hand it to Skalzang, a nun, for clarifying this parenting issue for me!


Sarabeth said...

There's also the fever cry to add to the list of hungry and tired.

Chris and Vic said...

What would your Buddhist nun friend say about crying from fear and pain, Kim?

There is much appeal in simplifying, but I believe most of us "cannot go back" to the simpler view and accompanying lifestyle emblematic of the Buddhist nun.

Our culture is so complex. Our view may be jaded. We have lost our innocense, so to speak.
Chris and Vic

buddhist mama said...

Thanks Sarabeth and Chris and Vic. It is not that zangskari kids don't cry from fever, or fear or pain, just that there are no specific words for that kind of crying. Perhaps I was a bit too brief in the post. There is in fact a fair amount of discussion about fear and pain that children might experience. Besides actual physical pain, some of this fearful crying is attributed to ghosts, witches, or other negative energies that are directed at the child by jealous villagers for instance. These harmful thoughts by others are believed to directly attack and damage the infant or child, who does not have the resources to ward off such negative energies and may thus fall ill.