The Faux Cough

Wito has been dabbling in some fake cough performance art for the past few months. GAH, how I would gladly take Shriek 2.0 over the coughing fits any day. Alas, it seems the cough is his new very favorite activity.

The first couple of times I witnessed the cough, I was pretty certain he was getting sick, exhibiting the early stages of asthma or had some complication resulting from his diaphragm/lung issue during his stay in the NICU. However, over time and many trips here, I’ve assured myself it is an attention-getting mechanism. It seems to be a commonality from the mothers I’ve spoken to, considering he doesn’t cough when he’s sleeping or engaged in playtime or generally NOT bored. The only time he has veered from this pattern was at Music Together last week (OF COURSE), when apparently, upon feeling “invisible” amongst the older toddlers, unleashed a highly believable and over-the-top coughing fit that had many mothers looking at me with:

a) concern that Wito had actually ingested one of the colorful maracas, or

b) contemptible “you brought a SICK baby to class” stares.

Fine, no one actually stared. But I know what they were thinking!!

Now, people. You know me by now…would I, Queen of Germaphobes and Sterile Face Masks, take a sick child to a class? I think not, but of course, these women weren’t privy to my royal status and I felt totally embarrassed.

Oh, speaking of the NICU, I remember the nurse telling me he was going to be a breath-holder when he was only 4 days old. It seems every time they attempted changing his IV or a sponge bath, he would become so irritated and pissed off that we would just hold his breath, purple-faced and eyes bulging.

She was so right. SO right. And this plays very nicely into the coughing fits. Not only will you witness the cough, but a Red Cross Baby CPR movie waiting to happen. It’s truly lovely.

Will it ever stop? Please tell me it will stop.


Like, tomorrow-soon.

  1. rebecca

    April 6, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Oh yeah, the fake cough throws you for a loop, doesn’t it? It freaked me out, too! Now, though, he will do a fake cough, then look up at me and say “bad cough” with a TOTALLY fake sad face. The power of manipulation is strong in the little ones.

  2. cocodrie

    April 6, 2007 at 11:35 am

    This is classic!

    Where, oh where, could Whoorlito get his performance abilities?!?! Surely not from Whoorl, the same girl who reenacts Brit Brit’s best with LaLa without missing a beat.

    Point well taken, Coco. Point well taken.

  3. am'ti b

    April 6, 2007 at 10:50 am

    i loved the pics on saj’s site, it is fun to see what you and wito are up to during the day!

  4. Mary O

    April 6, 2007 at 11:39 am

    My son was a fake cougher, too. I used to think maybe he learned it from me after I had a cold or something. But now he is almost 15 months old and I haven’t noticed the cough for several months now. So I guess it does go away, if you just hang in there and try not to react to it.

  5. Kimmer

    April 6, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Wyatt was a breath holder to the point he would turn blue and pass out.

  6. 180/360

    April 6, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Both of my children were fake coughers and it didn’t last too long. They generally stop once they take up a new trick. Now my 13 month old tries to fake burp. :) I remember my pediatrician said to not give them attention when they do it, because sometimes they are just trying to get a reaction from you.

    Oh, he’s definitely trying to get a reaction! I added an audio file to the post. Hit repeat and enjoy my current endless situation. :D

  7. little miss mel

    April 6, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    stick a fork in my eyeball now! In my ears it sounds like a baby about to start crying, like the fuss before the wail. Makes me cringe as if “nap is over” or 3am wake up call.

    But since I know its Mr. A, it’s more enjoyable. :)

  8. Melanie

    April 6, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    My youngest holds her breath untils she passes out. She has done this since birth,at first it was really scary, she would do it over anything! Now as she gets older it is harder for her to do it, it takes her being overtired to be able to pull that trick out now!

  9. lini

    April 6, 2007 at 6:38 pm

    Even his faux cough sounds beautiful to me, but of course I don’t have to listen to it all day. The end of the audio is my favorite.

  10. Brian Gardner

    April 6, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    Zach’s gone above and beyond the art of the Faux Cough, because now he purposely does it until he gags, or pukes. The little shit thinks it’s funny to fake cough, choke on his laughter and watch his dad clean up the slimy shit that comes spewing out of his mouth as he vomits all over himself.

  11. BeachMama

    April 7, 2007 at 3:50 am

    In my experience it doesn’t last long. But, I do think that all kids do the fake cough. I think they like the sound and feel in their throat in addition to the attention they get. Don’t worry he will be moving on to new tricks soon ;).

  12. angela

    April 7, 2007 at 5:27 am

    My darling little niece is doing this too. I can see right through it, it’s so fake. But so, so cute. (I guess I can say that because I’m not her mother.)

  13. Karen D.

    April 7, 2007 at 6:09 am

    Oh, but it’s so cute! Between the shrieking and the coughing you’ve got yourself a performer! (Funny thing is, you actually miss it when they’re older!)

  14. Tere

    April 9, 2007 at 7:29 am

    That’s funny – my son does this, too, but it’s so obviously fake, so obviously done for laughs/attention/choruses of “awwwww”, that I thankfully didn’t have to worry about it.

    And given a choice, I’d take fake cough over shrieking any day. The shrieking is just too awful for me.

  15. Wacky Mommy

    April 10, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Oh dear God, I think he’s related to my uncles.