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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The real reasons why babies don't smile

Don't even think about making me smile.
I know so-called “experts” say babies don't smile because of that whole “not developed enough” thinger, but I think there's more to it than that. So I got to thinking what reasons a baby would have not to smile. All of this came to me as I was cooing and wiggling my head and grinning like an idiot trying to get my two-week-old daughter to smile at me and show off her dimples. Here's the list:

  1. They're asleep: Yes. Even when they're awake they're asleep. Eyeballs don't mean anything. Just because they're looking at you doesn't mean they're consciously aware. They're just sleeping with their eyes open.
  2. They're little: Think about it. If you were that tiny and everyone else around you were ginormous, happiness probably wouldn't be on the docket. Emotions you would feel? Paranoia, fear, helplessness, and indigestion. Technically the last one's not an emotion, though it sure causes some.
  3. They have indigestion: Nothing worse than not being able to digest liquid easily. How hard can it be? But those little kids have a rough time on it, if the looks of concentration mean anything.
  4. They're about to puke: All the time. My kids have never even been anywhere near what some kids have, but man have I gotten doused with our newest little girl. The word shower comes to mind, but not in a good way.
  5. They don't see well: Their eyes are still pretty glazed over at two weeks. For all you know, they could see you as a fire demon or ogre making obnoxious noises or something.
  6. They can't move: Would you be happy if your life consisted of sitting in one place wiggling arms and legs until someone decided to pay attention to you? Oh wait – that's what people running those mall kiosks do. I'm pretty sure I've never seen one of them smile either. Mobility is a blessed thing. Flailing arms and legs while trying to lift a head that's a third of your body weight? Not so much.
  7. Liquid diet: Even when I try to feed my daughter ice cream, a muffin, or a juicy porterhouse, my wife disagrees with me. Not just a little either. If your solitary food source were human milk from you know where, I doubt your smile muscles would get much of a workout. Our social engagements often revolve around food. And that'd get pretty awkward if we all shared a baby's diet.
  8. Your head fit through what? Ouch. My head hurts just thinking about it. Enough said.
  9. They have siblings: Suddenly, the newest baby becomes a target of “affection” from the older siblings. This can only mean bad news for baby. But unlike the cat whose fur gets yanked out by loving children, baby cannot flee. Think about that for a second and then reread 6.
  10. Let me sleep! We inflict our schedules and our desires on the little tykes, who just want to sleep, daggummit. We wake them to show them off to visitors, we wake them for feeding, and we wake them accidentally when we step on them...or something... They wake up on the wrong side of the non-bed like 375 times a day.

These are the real reasons babies don't smile when they are newborns. Muscle control doesn't have a lot to do with it in my opinion. Life is rough when you're that small and helpless. There's a lot more reasons than these too. Why do you think babies don't smile?

UPDATE: Yeah, things have changed already since I wrote this. Now, when I make weird noises she looks at me quizzically as if she's trying to process what category of life to fit my actions into and when it slowly drifts into place in the comedic bracket she gives a single giggle, waves her arms uncontrollably and shows off her one dimple. Guess my idiocy finally struck a funny bone somewhere. Here's a picture to prove it:

PS: This post ran first on Modern Mormon Men. You can check it out there with a few comments from people if you'd like.

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