Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Your Laugh, My Joy

Ishmael recently turned 100 days old, and it was the first day I heard him laugh. His laugh is still more like asthmatic coughing hiccups than a real laugh, but there are few sweeter sounds on Earth to me. It makes me get kind of teary when I hear it. It's like treasure hunting to play with him, never knowing when you're going to strike gold. When I look at him, I still can't believe he came from me and that I have a son. 

Aristotle, in his book “De Anima”, pondered what it is that makes humans different than all other creatures, and concluded that is is our ability to laugh (source: Radiolab). He believed the first laugh of a baby was possibly the most important moment of life because it was the beginning of their humanity; heated air from the stomach moved up through a membrane into the soul and a human was “ensouled,” becoming a human being. He thought that it was supposed to happen on the 40th day though and it has been somewhat disproved that humans are the only creatures that laugh, but I still like that antique idea. 

Ishmael still doesn't laugh often because when he's really excited, he still prefers to shriek. He's really got the hang of the volume too, and sometimes I'm afraid people are going to think he's in pain or something (especially since he can apply the same skills to whining). He's also taken to lunging at things with his mouth open, which I do believe is an expression of mild ecstasy. I hope I can get a video of his early stages of laughter, and I'm also working on getting some pictures of his big open-mouthed-joy-face that my mom and sister have taken, which I hope to share on Facebook later. May your day be filled with laughter. [above image via Pinterest

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