Dylan laughed for the first time three or four weeks ago. He had already been smiling and making cooing noises, but this was completely different. He was lying on the mat we change his nappies on at the time; hardly somewhere synonymous with mirth, but chuckle he did. I had just got back from playing football and was getting out of the shower when he decided to debut his giggles.
If I were more of an insecure person I would have been fighting off some pretty strong dysmorphic feelings after being apparently ridiculed by a ten-week-old child, but I have long since accepted that he’s my intellectual superior – as every new parent will tell you, their child is a genius – so I let him off this time. It isn’t as if we haven’t laughed at him, after all.
Even before he was smiling, Dylan was giving us plenty to laugh about. First of all were the myriad of facial expressions; from his ‘quizzical alien’ look to the involuntary chin wobble that occurred every time he tried to lift his head when his muscles weren’t quite ready. Then there are the noises he makes as he experiments with sounds; the other day for example he interrupted me mid-rant with an extended, fed-up-sounding sigh. Brilliant comic timing which cut me down to size instantly.
The other thing is the toilet humour, of course. It’s probably just as well that Kate and I have the sense of humour of a pair of eight year olds, as funny sounds and smells emanating from his nappy punctuate the day at regular intervals, along with the ensuing infantile laughter from us both. His ‘sharts’ as we’ll call them are like volcanic eruptions and, in the early days, they were so forceful that these by-products shot sideways through both his nappy and bodysuit, decorating both me and my clothes. Nice, although we have both now developed Matrix bullet time-style reflexes while changing him, which is a bonus.
The finest example of the poo-related comic timing he is cultivating though, came on my parents’ wedding anniversary. “Wish Grandma and Grandad a happy anniversary, Dylan,” I said. His response was a loud, prolonged and squelchy expulsion of air and faecal matter. See? Genius!