(There really are no good synonyms for "shriek" that start with "m.")
Banshee Boy made another appearance in our house last night. As I was getting him ready for bed, he shrieked loud enough to burst eardrums. I told him that hurt Mommy's ears, and covered my ears and made a sad face. Did he feel chagrined? Nope, he did it again. And again. I sat there for over a minute with my hands over my ears, trying to keep a deadpan expression. Each time I removed my hands from my ears, he did it again.
Next, I removed all fun items from his crib and dumped him in it, telling him I'd come get him when he was ready to stop shrieking. He shrieked a few more times and then started babbling, so I went back. He shrieked again as soon as he saw me.
We repeated this process about four times before I'd decided I'd had enough. It was time for a Hammurabian lesson. Upon re-entering his room the last time he, of course, shrieked again--so I moved my mouth within about six inches of his ear and shrieked back, matching his decibel level as best I could.
He was definitely not expecting that. He jumped back, put a hand over his ear, and looked at me with a look of utter shock and dismay: "Why would you DO something like that, Mom?" I told him that his shrieks hurt my ears just like mine just hurt his. I then distracted him with tickles and continued getting him ready for bed.
I'm happy to report that he remained at a far more decibelly-appropriate level for the rest of the evening. He let out only a few more screeches and I continued to match him--and each time he looked at me warily. Whether he recognizes that screaming hurts others or just didn't like the new consequence, we're making strides towards civilizing the Banshee.