Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Biology of Whining

The whining in my house is out of control.

It is easy for me to see an evolutionary advantage to many of my kids' behaviors. For example, babies cry when you put them down. I imagine back in the hunter gatherer days they would be much more likely to survive if they were carried by their parents instead of left behind to be eaten by a lion. Or whatever dangers our ancestors faced - I am not an expert on early human civilizations. My point is that I imagine the babies that cried lived and had more babies that cried. Makes sense.

I think that kids are often at their absolute most adorable around 18 months. Chubby faces, baby hair, cute little toddler waddles. Unfortunately, around 18 months our wonderful little babies realize they have needs and wants but haven't become great communicators yet, turning them into screaming terrors. I think the extreme cuteness at this age is an evolutionary defense against being left for the lions. On purpose. Because for god's sake, you already have cheerios on your tray. Calm down.

What I am saying is the cuteness also makes sense.

But whining. What could possibly be the evolutionary advantage of whining? When my kid starts with that tone I start looking for the nearest lion. I suppose it is an effective tool in getting your attention - one study recently showed whining to be more annoying than crying or baby talk. Perhaps preschoolers back in the day long before preschool was invented whined their needs and had those needs met. Unfortunately for my preschooler, today we have preschool and his super high-pitched requests for milk in that cup no not that cup no I want to put the top on LET ME DO IT have me ready to send him there and leave him.

My god. Shut it, kid. I swear, I will find a lion.


  1. F and I often have "conversations" where she whines at me and I tell her that Mommy won't help her if she whines. And by often, I mean every 5 minutes. Oy.

  2. aaah...the things I have to look forward to x2...wonderful!

  3. Bwah! My son (almost 3) has taken to calling me "Mama" in a whiny voice. This from the boy who skipped right to Mom at 24 months. I hate it!