Monday, May 17, 2010

Excitement, Exuberance, and Exultation

Ryan is very a happy little guy in general, but lately he sometimes gets so happy that he can’t help but let it all out in a delighted drawn-out shriek that I can only explain as an absolute overflow of excitement, exuberance, and exultation. For example, last night he was happily bouncing in his bouncy chair while Herb and I were having dinner, and every once in a while, he’d start giggling, then stand up on his very tiptoes, stretch his arms open wide, and let out a long joyous screech that dissolved back into a delighted squeal at the end. I can’t describe it in any other way than as audible joy.

How wonderful to be so happy that you can’t help but let it out verbally! Think back to the happiest moments of your life – don’t they all include some kind of vocal outburst? A “woo-hoo” or “yippee” or “hallelujah”? An “Amen” or “hot damn” or “yahoo”? There’s something about a vocal expression of excitement that somehow completes that moment. It gives you an emotional release.

I guess the flip side is true, as well. Misery and anger and frustration are often best expressed in some kind of noisy outburst, whether it be a rebel yell or a primal scream or a Charlie Brown-esque “AARRRGGGHHHH!!!” Releasing your emotions, whether positive or negative, is a wonderfully cathartic part of the human experience. And it obviously isn’t strictly verbal, because Ryan has no concept of “verbal” yet. He just knows he has something inside him that needs to be released in sound form – and he releases it, with great gusto.

When you stop and think about it, it’s amazing how good non-verbal babies are at expressing their emotions audibly in a very understandable way. There’s no mistaking that joyous screech for unhappiness, and there’s no mistaking an unhappy wail for joy. Ryan makes different noises for discomfort, for pain, for hunger, for frustration, and for tiredness. He makes different noises for curiosity, for interest, for excitement, and for happiness. It’s a shame that most adults aren’t as clear about their emotions. It’d make life much easier sometimes if we let our emotions be as apparent as babies’. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make myself some lunch. Yippee!!!!!
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