Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh Baby, That's Funny!

Have you seen those commercials for insurance (or something) with the laughing babies? I love those commercials. And seeing one the other night got me thinking, that almost everyone says a laughing baby is one of their favorite sounds. James Lipton gets that answer a lot on Inside the Actor's Studio. It's pure; it's elemental; it's the sound of undiluted joy.

What gives me pause and delights me about it is the eagerness in the participation. Babies don't laugh at complicated jokes involving a priest, a rabbi, and a talking dog. No, a baby thinks that you crinkling a paper bag and saying "woobie woobie" is the funniest bloody thing he has ever heard and the coolest bloody thing he has ever seen and pleasepleaseplease do it again, because it never gets old. Like never. OMG you did it again.

That requires something rather miraculous. Think about it. How does a five month old baby know what's funny? He or she probably doesn't. Or, and I like this answer better, he or she knows something we don't: that it's not about what is or isn't funny, but about the joy of just letting things be wonderful and going with it. Crinkly the bag again! Lower the face-cloth and say "boo" again! Make that face again!

Babies don't laugh for just anyone, either. My impression, when I watch those darling commercials with the hysterical little tykes, is that mom or dad is the bag-crinkler-boo-maker. And when you are lucky enough to witness a tipping-over-in-your-huggies laugh, the kind that comes from the toes and bubbles all through the house in rolling waves of silliness, it's not a stranger initiating the launch sequence. Baby is in hysterics because somebody he or she LOVES is involved. Which is yet another facet of the awesome factor, isn't it?

That small person is looking into the face of love and participating in an exchange: I'll trade you my laughter for the joy it brings you. I promise it will be a riot no matter how many times you do it. Keep looking at me like that and I can find a bottomless well of these incredible, soul-elevating, miraculous giggles. They're for me, yes, but they are also for you. This is about us loving one another and becoming giddy with the magic of that love.

It really does make you stop and think that life gives you what you look for in many cases. And that joy, happiness, contentment are choices. It's funny because we want it to be, feel like a good laugh, need a little silly. It certainly can be.

Miracles are so often very, very simple. Isn't that wonderful? I could laugh out loud just for the fun of it.

So what's your favorite sound? If James Lipton were sitting with you and asked that question, what answer would pop into your head immediately? I gotta go with the babies, baby.


  1. i'm with you on the baby laughter. One of the best sounds in the universe.

    I'm odd. I love the sound high heels make as they click on hardwood floors.

    And I love the sound of the ocean (cliche much?) it really does soothe me.

    Cat's purr, leaves rustling in the wind, and cicadas on a summer night.

  2. This is an easy one for me. I LOVE the sound of a someone shaking a martini shaker. It makes me ten kinds of happy.

  3. Elaina Huntley2:50 PM

    Gotta be the babies.

    I loved it when my boys were little and they would crack up at the craziest things.

    The leaves rustling when the wind is blowing through the trees. I lay in the hammock and close my eyes and it lulls me.

    For one moment, things are peaceful and calm and quiet. Then my boys find me and start laughing and I smile, right back, full circle.

  4. OMG... I love that post. And it's so fundamental we forget. Baby giggles are the best. I like the rush of the wind on a stormy night, or the absolute silence you get at sunrise after a night long snowfall. There's something so pure about it.

  5. A babies laughter is so pure and sweet.

    I love the sound of a thunderstorm and a babbling brook. Anything with the sound of water.

    And most of all, I still love hearing my two sons teasing each other and laughing, even though they are now 32 and 33.

    Great post!


  6. Cliched as it may be, i love the sound of rushing water in a stream, or the ocean.

    and i love storms! storms make me, to quote Ms Feisty, ten kinds of happy. the wind, the thunder, the crackle of electricity, the peacefulness just before, the silence after and the rapid sound of rain on your winds. ahh peace.

  7. I love my cats purring, the sound of a gentle breeze through the trees, the ocean, a good storm and probably best of all, silence.

  8. I also love it when Max "talks." Used to love that when the ferrets did it. They sound like a completely different species when they make those odd noises trying to communicate.

    I love voices. Certain voices just make me feel safe, loved, and secure. I still dream of my grandparents' voices sometimes. :)

  9. Babies laughing is really a wonderful sound. And the sound of my kids just outright giggling also makes me so happy.

    I love the sound of rain hitting my aluminum from porch overhang. I like water sounds a lot...I find them very soothing.

  10. Before I read the post, my answer was that. My children's laughter. You are so right, that bubbliness is so pure. It delights me to no end. Also, to hear them sing. My son can harmonize with me and he is so gifted (ok i am biased) that I am amazed at the good luck and blessing to hear it and share that with them.

    A sigh of contentment is another sound I love to hear. When people complain all the time, and they certainly have the right to, it's nice to hear them express the opposite.

  11. I like it when my husband calls me "babydoll" in that low voice he has.

  12. oh and when my kids call me "Mommy" because they are all big and stuff now--so it makes me smile when they revert.

  13. Anonymous9:09 PM

    baby laughter for sure!

  14. baby laughter is a pretty awesome one.

    the sound of flowing water (not as in dripping faucets, obviously)

    and silence is pretty awesome too.

    there is also some great music out there that just makes me friggin happy. Most of the Dave Matthews Band songs make me think of summer outside at the Hollywood Bowl. No matter where I am if I hear their music I smile.

  15. I would have to go with a babies laughter...and I completely agree that when you hear those incredible someone that they love who is inspiring it and it is them shairing their love with that person.

    I, also, love to hear my children and grandbabies know those deep and full belly laughs. My babies really aren't babies anymore...the youngest is 11 and the oldest is 21 and both my grandbabies will be two...they are not twins just born a week apart.

    Also, love the sound a book being read...pages being turned...and the sound of a really good rainstorm.

  16. Baby laughter, waves breaking at the beach, rain on a roof, wind blowing through the leaves on trees, and the glub of coffee brewing in a pot on a Sunday morning.

  17. Just laughing in general, not necessarily babies. (Frankly, babies freak me out.)