Over the past few months, we've watched with interest at some of the seemingly deep-seated behaviors of our small offspring. Having raised many a baby animal, I know that it's sometimes crazy how much instinct and biology can influence behavior. But I hadn't ever thought of it applying so strongly to human babies. Some examples....
The Kid appears to be conducting scientific experiments regarding what effect his facial expressions have on others. He'll smile, then look to one of us to see what we do. Then he'll frown, and examine us again.
It makes me feel a bit like a human guinea pig, but it makes sense. Much in the way Moe used to spontaneously go through every behavior he'd ever learned--sit, down, meerkat--to see what would elicit a treat, the Kid is learning which expressions will draw a smile back, which will get him a bottle to eat, and so on.
Along the same lines, he appears to recognize things with faces more strongly than things without. He'll look at a board book or a colorful object, but his Best Friends are these folks.
That's what we call them, as in, "OK Kiddo, let's go see your Best Friends." They hang above his changing table, and the way he giggles and coos at them it looks like flirting. Using our powers of elimination--while it could be something else entirely, of course--it appears that the attraction is the faces.
It makes perfect sense if you think it out. We have faces. We bring him food and love. Good things come from the things with faces.
We've also noticed that, when he's moving--in the stroller or car sear or sling--he sleeps. But if you stop moving, he wakes up. Our theory is that this is also tied-in to somewhere way back in our human evolution. After all, a mother in a nomad tribe would want her baby to sleep when on the move, and to eat when stopped, yes?
Or we could be reading too much into this. Maybe it's all just gas? Or relief at getting his diaper changed? Or the fact that riding in the car puts me to sleep too?