Most babies have fairly a predictable sense of humor and often the thing that makes them happiest is your big, smiling face. Fortunately, babies don't care if we're wearing makeup, they think we smell like love itself, and your coffee-stained bathrobe feels just as wonderful to them whether it's been washed this week or not. If your baby could talk she'd say, "Mom, don't worry about the zit on your nose, let's both hide under this blanket for awhile. There, isn't that cozy?" (Your baby is off-the-charts empathetic, by the way -- most kids aren't that tuned in until they're seven. What an amazing parent you are!)
As babies get into their first year, though, it's fun to find new ways to crack them up.
1. Feathers. For the baby who doesn't like being aggressively tickled, a feather can do the trick. (Freeze the feather overnight first to kill anything that might be living in it. Ugh, or maybe skip the feather and tickle her with a cotton ball.)
2. Peek-a-who? Your giant, amazing face popping out from behind almost anything will get a laugh, once Baby catches on to what's happening. Warning: once they get the joke, they will want you to do this 10,000 times in a row.
3. Other babies. The first time my son met another child his age he almost died of delight. If you don't have a playmate handy, babies also love pictures of other babies faces. Mrs. Mustard's Baby Faces book was the go-to cheerer-upper in our house that first year.
4. Get weird. Sometimes, you have to veer off the tried-and-true paths to find what your particular baby finds funny. For us, we found that lightly pounding on our son's sternum made him laugh so hard his face turned red. He still loves it, and he's 10. I have no explanation for this.
5. Puppies! There is little more heart-burstingly adorable than a laughing baby being swarmed by puppies. If you don't have access to a basketful of eight-week-old Golden Labs, however, any friendly family pet can do the trick. Keep Baby's arms and legs covered (scratches aren't funny) and supervise.
6. Eat some raspberries. And by that I mean cover your baby in raspberries (a.k.a. zerbits, belly bubbles, or plain old fart sounds), eat up his face with kisses, nibble his toes, and go ahead and gobble him up.
7. Just do what you do. Some things strike certain people as being funny, and babies are no exception. Maybe your baby liked the way your pants fell off when you sneezed; or maybe the cat tried to jump from the couch to the TV and missed. YouTube is full of serendipitous moments like that where babies are laughing their heads off. Cherish them, for they are impossible to recreate.
Image via flyone/Flickr