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Mister Smiley

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Ezra’s finally starting to smile. And I don’t mean those accidental facial contortions that look like smiles but actually mean Hey guys, I just let one rip. These are honest-to-goodness I’m happy and I want to show it smiles. The kind that send a shiver of awe through your bloodstream. So, obviously, we abuse our rights as parents and try to manually trigger it as frequently as possible.

He’s happiest when he’s just been changed out of a dirty diaper. (Who wouldn’t be?) When he’s laying on that changing pad, content, that’s the time to try to go for the grin. We’ve got a few go-to moves:

  • The Brush. He’s got a spot at the top of his forehead that’s especially sensitive to tickles. A few strokes of the hairbrush will usually set him off on a minor smiley fit. We need to be careful here; I’d hate to think we’re conditioning this kid to be an overly obsessive preener.
  • The Chinstroke. Industry standard. A little tickle under the chin or around the mouth and, boom, baby happy.
  • The Bellyrub. Not the most consistent, but it’s still my favorite. Two reasons: a) it was an early bellyrub that got our first real grin from the boy, and b) my hand is about as big as his whole chest, and there is something supremely satisfying about grabbing his whole midsection and giving it a hearty, loving wiggle.
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