I babysat 6-week-old Baby the other day. It has been a long time since I took care of a baby given that my own babies are in their late 20s. I managed to keep everything under control for the short time I was in charge and when it ended, something beyond the beauty of Baby stuck with me.
It went like this…I smiled at Baby while making a goofy face and talking to her in baby talk and she smiled back. Yes, I know she’s advanced for her age but nobody should be surprised given her lineage. Anyway, I was goofy and Baby smiled a few more times, and when she got tired of looking at me, I gave her a break from all the fun.
Later in the babysit I saw a small Minnie Mouse rattle inside the diaper bag so I took it out and shook it a few times for Baby. She smiled. I shook it again and she smiled again. When I moved the rattle out of Baby’s sight, she stopped smiling only to start again when I moved it back. I know, big deal, all babies smile at people and toys, including things with Minnie Mouse. But what stuck with me is why she smiled. I always assumed that smiling involved some behind-the-scene processing where the smiler sees, hears, tastes, or touches something, decides if it’s smile worthy and if it is, smiles. How can 6-week old Baby process a middle-aged lady making a goofy face at her or Minnie Mouse rattling around in front of her and in split second decide to smile?
So it might seem like I’m making too much of a few smiles made by beautiful Baby, but perhaps there is something to make too much of. Maybe when we see something like a face the natural, automatic response is to smile and for whatever reason we’ve shut off that response so that a smile becomes something we choose to do rather than something that happens on its own. That’s a messy sentence but it comes down to this…Based on my first babysit in a very long time, Baby automatically smiled in response to other faces. And based on the world in which I live and work, people don’t. Imagine a world where people automatically smile every time they see another person’s face…even if that other person looks like Minnie Mouse.
I think we could all take a lesson from beautiful 6-week Baby this Christmas and make that imaginary world a reality. Simply smile at other faces, regardless of who they belong to and do it…automatically.
Merry 1st Christmas, Baby. Merry Christmas and all the holiday greetings, Everyone!