Sunglasses Make Me Giggle


I’m in the midst of packing up the car to go shopping when my then eight month-old, Little Lewie, stares at me inquisitively and begins to giggle. The giggles start off slow, but then they become loud and fierce. What did I do? I laugh and giggle back. His laughter is contagious. A few minutes later, I’m still giggling with him wondering what on earth even started this silliness.
When I lift him up to put him in his car seat, I’m finally aware why he thinks my face is so funny. He eagerly takes a swipe at my sunglasses and giggles all the louder. “Hey, Little Lewie,” I sing. “Do you like mommy’s sunglasses?” He uses his little rake like motion to grab them off my nose and then clumsily pulls the interesting object away from my ears and face. “Hey, what are you going to do with that?” He looks at me, looks at them, and then looks back at me. Apparently, he doesn’t know what he’s going to do with them either, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to let go of his new found treasure.

I let him look at them for a few minutes, making sure he doesn’t pinch his fingers, (I’m a first-time mom, you know) realizing full well that the lenses are about to be covered with tiny little fingerprints. Do I have a tissue, I wonder. Then I realize that my shirt should clean them just fine. I snap him into his car seat and then take the driver’s seat of my little silver Poniac Sunfire. (Just two days ago, I received a letter in the mail saying that the Pontiac brand was officially ending in 2010. Soon my car would be labeled either a collector’s item or a piece of junk. I had no idea that six years after my new car purchase, I would be driving an extinct car.)
“Little Lewie, can I have my sunglasses back?” I chime as I try to playfully reach for them. “No way,” his little movements answer as he uses all his might to hold on tightly and move them out of my reach. I grab his favorite red hippo rattle to distract him and then finally reclaim my glasses.

At eight months, my little boy is really exhibiting his personality. Before, I could do almost anything to make him laugh, but now his taste is more discerning. Making fart noises only gets half a laugh, and bobbing my head looking like a wooden puppet on strings (or a total mental case—your choice) gets a mere smile. Like any parent, I’m constantly trying to think of new and fresh ideas to revitalize his funny bone. It’s a game of chance, and half the time, he’s laughing at something that wasn’t even done deliberately.

While Little Lewie has a unique personality, he still has similar interests to most babies his age. For example, he loves playing with anything that makes crinkle sounds, and he loves tags. After viewing Little Lewie’s nursery, a friend of mine once asked, “Why does he still have tags on all of his stuffed animals? Are they just for display?”
“No,” I answered, “ You see. I can’t explain it, but Little Lewie doesn’t seem to care that this tiger is soft and cuddly, nor does he care that he has blue and white stripes. He likes his little tiger because of the big red tag that’s on his ear. If I take it off, then the tiger’s allure is gone.”

Parents know about the tag phenomenon. Lewie enjoys his stuffed animals, his blankets, his towels, and his washcloths as long as they all have tags. He’ll search until he finds them, and then he’ll spend the next 20 minutes or so exploring its texture. “Is it sharp? Is it smooth? Does it taste good in my mouth? Oh how I love flicking this tag again and again with my fingers.”

Peek-a-boo is another favorite pastime for giggling. I suppose every parent has their own version of it. I first discovered his interest in it, while I was peeking at him in his Jumperoo from the kitchen. I was just peering at him in the living room to make sure he was okay, but he found my peering hilarious. Squeals of laughter came from that little mouth while he bounced so furiously in his Jumperoo that I was forced to check the weight limit again. (Are you sure that thing won’t collapse?)

Our peek-a-boo game started with me disappearing completely, only to surprise him by popping my head out from the wall that separates the kitchen from the living room. I’d say, “Peek” and then disappear again. Of course, Little Lewie was so entertained, he’d be constantly looking and waiting in my direction for me to do it again. Soon I’d start playing the game every day, but somehow peek-a-boo transformed to me now saying, “Peep” as I look around the corner. I don’t know exactly when I decided to become a barnyard animal, but to keep it interesting, I now also peer at him from our staircase, our living room window, behind the couch, and even the coat closet. (Damn those hangers keep attacking my hair!) I often wonder if my life was visible to the outside world, what people would think? “Look how cute” or “Oh my God, that woman really needs to get herself a life!”

When Little Lewie’s not in the Jumperoo, we still play, yet, another version of peek-a-boo. I’ll lie him down on the floor, cover his head with a light blanket or cloth, and announce, “Where’s my little boy? Where did he go? Where did he go?” I’ll remove the blanket but still move my head and eyes around as if I’m still looking for him. Then, when I think he least expects it, I swing my head around, gleam at him, and say, “There he is!!!” His laughter and big smile are so darn cute that I’m transfixed into repeating it again and again. By the fiftieth time, I swear my husband deliberately disappears into the bathroom so that he doesn’t have to hear my playacting anymore. Oh, he says he has to go “dootie,” but I know it’s his version of “Get me out of here, before I strangle my wife and kid.”

Are my little boy’s giggles contagious? Absolutely. Just as I need oxygen to breathe, I find that I need his giggles to get me through the day. I need them to reassure me that I’m a good mommy and that I made the right decision in giving up my full-time job. Even more, I need them to know that maybe he’ll turn out to be a healthy, happy, well-adjusted boy after all. Now where are those darn sunglasses?

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