Babies make me laugh just by watching their expressions as they try to figure out the world. They make it all seem funny: birds and clouds and lawn mowers; dog bowls and T.V.’s and sneakers; rings and lips and voices. Each and every idiosyncrasy is funny, and everything and everyone in the world is idiosyncratic to a baby.
Sophie, my granddaughter, finds me especially peculiar. When I walk into a room, she looks at me and smiles. When she smiles, her eye light up and she crinkles her nose like a teenage girl flirting with the quarterback. How did she learn to do that already?
But back to me. Why am I so amusing? I read a nursery rhyme to Sophie and bounce her on my knee. She chuckles. I put a dinner napkin over her face and ask, “Where’s Sophie?” She giggles as if I’m the funniest comedian in the world. I blow bubbles on her belly and she laughs so hard she gets the hiccups. Now that’s funny.
There’s something about the sweet innocent face of a baby that makes us all smile. God, in her infinite wisdom, creates babies round and comely quite purposely. Otherwise, changing diaper after diaper after diaper, cleaning up each time the baby regurgitates her food, and trying to get the baby to stop screaming and take a nap would be impossible to endure. But just when a mother or father, grandmother or grandfather, is about to take the baby back to the hospital, where she came from, she stares at you with big wide sweet blue eyes and opens her arms to be held, smelling sweeter than a bunch of lilacs, and chortling in pure pleasure. The heart melts into molten chocolate, and the baby becomes a part of you, a third arm, another lung, some appendage or organ that you will never ever be able to do without.
Watch a baby when you have chance. She’ll remind you how peculiar and intriguing we all are, and how strange and wonderful life is, in all its mystery and delight.