Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pure happiness

At this point, Theo stays awake for about 2 hours at a time, and during those periods he always has a good long session of happiness. It sounds strange but it's easy to delineate the difference between a 3 week old baby and a 3 month old baby in terms of the emotions they put on display. At this point, you can count on him to smile broadly, twist his whole body, and let out a loud, throaty laugh in response to all kinds of things. We sing, tickle, and play games with him to elicit his happiness as much as we can. Even just looking at something with lots of contrast, like a striped dishtowel, can make him chuckle.

His grins are so big, so genuine, and so easy to create. It was definitely tough to keep a smiling face when dealing with a newborn that wouldn't smile back, but now, acting silly is the easiest thing in the world. I've danced soft shoe tap while wearing slippers, flapped laundry at him like I'm tempting a bull, and copied his nonsense sounds as best I can. His laugh is the only reward necessary.

While enjoying his new personality, it struck me that one day he won't think hitting a rattle is all that hilarious, and that there will be days when little Theo will grumble, resentful of an unfair world. I had my share of bad days as a child and remembering how jaded I could be, even then, it's tough to think about Theo feeling the same way. Fast-forward to the tween and teen years and I can see how parents despair over their babies becoming cold and confrontational. It might be hard to not blame oneself. "He was so open to love and joy - how did I screw him up?" Just as bad, one could end up blaming the child. Can one really believe that the child is mean at heart while the memory of such emphatic joy is still etched in memory?

I look into Theo's beaming happy face and see something there worth preserving. Sure, his current joys won't keep his attention in 6 months. The point is that at every stage, I want to teach him that remaining lighthearted and open is vital to enjoying the everyday. That we all create our own happiness, and that it's well within his means.

While I may have had such a thought before, it has now solidified into something real. Remembering lessons like these will not be easy. In fact, I know that I violate this all the time. Already I can see that this is something Theo is teaching me, and that I'm excited to learn it as well as teach it. It makes me happy just thinking about it.

For now though, I think I'll just stick out my tongue and make fart noises until I can get him to laugh.


  1. >For now though, I think I'll just stick out my >tongue and make fart noises until I can get
    >him to laugh.

    Still works for me.


  2. Such a little cutie pie. We teach our children so much - but it's always amazing how much they teach us too.