Who is the baby?

The way an adult tries to build a relationship with a baby is fascinating to watch. As soon as a baby can smile, every adult feels the only way to justify their own existence in some way, is to get the baby to smile at them. As if the smile shows that they are acceptable in the eyes of someone with little or no actual opinion about anything.
Babies generally learn to smile socially around 3 months, before that time their face is a mystery to them, and only useful as an opening for food and air. To the parents the non-smile period of development is tough as you have no indication a baby is happy, or more specifically, whether he likes you or not. Of course you know when they are not happy, but for the rest of the time you have to be satisfied that they are content and comfortable – happiness is not a concept understood this early on.
Babies tend to mirror the smile they see on faces around them in the early stages, but then go on to be more choosy, as they appreciate the connection between the joy they are feeling inside and the muscles around their mouth.
When an adult knows a baby can smile they feel an irrepressible urge to test their skills to get the baby to smile. Depending on the baby’s mood they may be successful, but this is not an event that will repeat itself every time that person steps into view. The adult then has to make a decision: do they accept that the smile was just luck and walk away, or do they persist and spend hours trying to entertain the tiny audience in the hope that he will take pity on them and smile again.
So I ask myself the question: does the adult want the baby to smile for their sake or the baby’s? And if it is for their own sake, do they mind whether the baby is smiling for joy, or just to please the audience? For me, I only want my son to smile when he is happy, not to make me feel better, because that kind of smile is fake. Honesty is always the first lesson! Integrity the second!
I guess my problem is that when an adult tries to get a baby to smile, they work to a point of desperation, which is not an attractive quality. Moreover, the poor child has a gormless adult’s face flashing in front them, waving all manner of toys, to the point that the baby is exhausted and is less likely to be in a good mood than if left to their own devices.
I try and learn when my son is in need of external stimulation and when he is content in his own world. I think we will get on better this way.

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