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Monday, September 01, 2008

Mr. Mom

Frances had to attend APSA this weekend, so I got to spend almost three whole days with Baby Bee! Fortunately, she is a good baby, for the most part, not colicky, and she almost sleeps through the night most nights. Once, that is, you get her to go to sleep, which is, I am learning, the tricky part.

Crying babies are a bit like UFO sightings. Project Blue Book back in the 1960s was able to "explain [away]" 80% of UFO sightings as swamp gas, weather balloons, meteors, stars (never got this one--who looks at a star and sees a flying saucer?), atmospheric inversions, etc. But that still left 20% or so of reported (and investigated) sightings for which no explanation could be given. Same as when a baby cries. Sure, most of the time she's hungry--that's the equivalent of weather balloons. Then she's got a wet diaper, or she's tired. But there is still like 20% of baby crying that I have no idea what it's about. Maybe it's always just gas--not swamp gas, but the stomach variety.

There are other baby mysteries. Like, what is that babies dream about? What makes a baby laugh in her sleep? Why do babies laugh in their sleep before they laugh when awake?

Then there are even weirder things. Those of you who know me will know my downward grin. Bee does that too, and she's under 10 weeks old. ??? It could be that she's mimicking me, that she learned to smile from watching me smile. Or it could be that that smile is built-in to my (and her) hardware. It's hard to know, but it's weird. It makes sense that she has my widow's peak and hairline, my feet, things like that--that's hereditary. But is a smile hereditary?

One last baby mystery: Bee sees faces, but it seems only human faces. The cat, even at very close range, is of absolutely no interest to her, even when the cat is moving. Maybe cave babies who didn't react to hairy beasts nearby had a higher survival rate than crying cave babies?


At 11:27 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Just wait. That cat WILL become very interesting to her, and when it does, you'll be on constant watch to prevent incidents. So be glad for now.

Why is it so odd that smiling is hereditary? There's something very spontaneous and instinctual about it, so it doesn't seem a stretch to think of it as hardwired. I could be wrong, but I think Lang's got my shit eatin' grin. She doesn't look as much like me as she once did, but that smirk cements an intergenerational connection that I cannot resist. Maybe that's prelude to a good evolutionary explanation. Or maybe I just got lucky on this one (or her, un-lucky).

What I often find more shocking are the things that seem like they should be instinctual, but are actually highly learned--like sleeping. I've been mentally working up a post on that for a few weeks. If the GOP mercifully cancels another night, maybe I'll write that up.


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