Thanks to my near 5 years at KBToys I am now immune to screaming babies. I did this by developing a grading or scoring system for their cries. It was a simple 1-10 based upon three criteria.
I) Volume: How loud is the cry? You would be surprised at how much this influences a person tolerance level of screaming baby. And yes this also takes into account the environment. If I was out in the food court getting lunch, the cavernous nature of the food court meant that a baby needed to be crying much louder than if he was crying in my store.
II) Pitch: Does the scream have that ear splitting pitch? This differs not only baby to baby but from person to person as well. Each one of us has a different point at which we cringe.
III) Duration: How long can that baby maintain that scream? A child with a small set of lungs will have to take more breaths, each breath is a precious pause in the cry. This is the crucial one for me. I graded so harshly on this one that I would openly mock babies with weak lungs, while simultaneously sharing in the long term relief this provides the parents. Conversely I would be in awe of, and give props to a baby with a powerful set of lungs. the ones you just cannot believe how long they can go between breaths. I truly felt bad for these parents.
Add these scores up and you get your total score for how good a crier that baby is.
Unless you had as much exposure to screaming babies, do not try to implement this, or any similar system. It takes years of judging to get the scoring down right and to judge fairly.
Thanks for reading,
You favorite screaming baby judge,
PS- The moral of the story is that when life sucks, turn it into a game and mock it ruthlessly.