Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What makes a good "Laughing Baby"

Hey all,

I've been away for a while. Working on a novel. Painting animals. Trying to get things done.

Many people have asked me, "Christine," they say, "What are the elements of a good 'Laughing Baby Video'?"

And I realized as I was surfing YouTube this morning that I do have some criteria in mind when I am picking a video

1. Baby with infectious laugh.

2. Minimal coaxing of child--i.e., the presence of an adult cooing should not be louder or present for more of the video than the laughter of the baby/babies/puppy/kitten.

3. A stress free environment. I don't want to watch babies cracking up with other screaming children running around, or with drunk parents yelling at a football game (not that these things don't happen around babies, I just don't want to watch it). Also, let's skip the weird lighting situations that make it look as if the baby is being interrogated. Also count me out when a child is overstimulated. Babies learn empathy and to take cues from the adults who interact with them. There is a term for this. It is called interactional synchrony, and the process is very important for the development of social skills and empathy. Babies can laugh hysterically when they are overstimulated--or they can cry, or through a fit. The point is, they don't have complete control over their volume buttons, and adults can accidentally turn them up to eleven, when they might need to take a breather. Trust me when I say these videos are not funny. Even if their YouTube label says they are. Nobody wants to watch the baby who looks frightened or distressed laughing while someone goads them on. "Make him laugh," you hear in the background, "Make them laugh." Subtext: "We might win $10K on AFV." It's obvious when it's forced. It's just uncomfortable.

4. Spontaneous joy. This is a little harder to define and I think it is actually the result of the above circumstances coming together to create magic. Let's just say, I am here to do a service for you--that service is to inject a little innocence and happiness into your day--and if I don't keep the above in mind while surfing through laughing babies, well, then, I am not doing my job. I watch the uncomfortable weird videos, so you don't have to.

I welcome your suggestions as to what makes a laughing baby joyous and funny, and what constitutes an uncomfortable viewing....

Without further ado, here is this post's laughing baby. I think it is a fine example of the above criteria.

Enjoy and keep laughing, babies.....

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