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Who can resist a laughing baby? Even when toddlers are naughty, their exuberance sparks the same in us. Life is good, and they don’t hold back on expressing that joy.

Babies find humor in the simple things. We can play peek-a-boo non-stop. For some reason our appearance and disappearance is hilarious.

What fascinates me is how early in life they know what is funny and how to be funny. Our little Samantha laughed at my husband when she was only three weeks old. She knew even then that Papa was being silly.

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And how clever they are at such young ages. My daughter, Erin, and I were talking on the phone when 17 month-old Tyler vanished. They were in their home with all doors closed and locked, but she could not find him anywhere. She called his name repeatedly. He did not respond.

We became increasingly more concerned. We feared he was stuck or hurt somewhere.

Finally, she found Tyler hiding behind the couch. He burst into a huge belly laugh when he saw her frantic face. He was very proud of how well he hid from his mommy and how he scared her to pieces. He took advantage of her being distracted on the phone. Maybe next time she will think about that before taking her attention away from him.

And then last Saturday, while playing on the floor with my other 17 month-old grandson, Daniel, he took a large mouthful of water from his sippy cup and proceeded to spit it out into my hair. I screamed and jumped. He burst into laughter. This little guy knew exactly how to tease his nana and how much fun that would be.

Babies are innately happy and playful. Somehow, even little ones know early on how to get a reaction out of grown-ups.  They enjoy surprising us. Most of all they love to laugh.

Our world is pretty stressed out right now. There is tension all around. Sure, we need to pay attention and take the many problems seriously.

But we also need to stop from time-to-time and put our troubles aside. Smiling, laughing, and playing are good for us. A happy break here and there helps to get us through the tough stuff.

(Photos: Daniel, 17 months-old; Samantha, 3 weeks-old and Marshall)

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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