Triticum Turgidum

Lying Dormant and Waiting to Bloom Since 2005

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Location: The Prairie, Illinois, United States

I am a beauty-loving ambidextrous higher-order primate who learned transcendental meditation at 7, statistical analysis at 23, tap dancing at 30, and piano at 35. I tolerate gluten, lactose, and differences of opinion, but not abuse. Or beets.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

What's this Expression?

My daughter is 11 months old and already knows how to make mischief. She digs it too. Two favorites are putting her hand in the dog's water bowl and sweeping her hand over the food on her high chair tray so it flies all cattywampus.

The fascinating thing is not that she enjoys making mischief (all babies do), but the way she interacts with me while she's doing it. Is the sidelong glance with a raised eyebrow an inborn expression of impending naughtiness? Because that's exactly what she does: the moment she's about to go for the bowl or play "chaos" in her high chair, she looks at me out of the corner of her eye, pauses, and proceeds incrementally, to see how far she can go before I stop her. If I raise my eyebrows in return, she'll actually crinkle up her nose and eyes and give me a huge, impish grin. Like she's trying to charm me.

It always annoyed me when people would accuse babies of "flirting" (can we please wait a few years before assigning sexual motives?), but I can understand the temptation to assume that very adult dispositions underlie infant facial expressions, because some of these expressions look so adult. Hence movies like Look Who's Talking and, inexplicably, Look Who's Talking Too and Look Who's Talking Now.

The beauty of children is that, as soon as they can speak, they reveal our efforts to project our own thoughts and dispositions onto them to be not only misguided, but hilariously wrong. I look forward to the day when I see an expression on Fia's face like the one above and think, "She looks like she's trying to connect with me on a spiritual level," only to have her open her mouth, take a deep breath, and say: "POO POO."


Blogger PFG said...

The word that popped into my head was "beatific".

6:15 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger Bela said...

My pussycat used to do that: look at me from the corner of her eye before taking a swipe at some innocent ornament on a shelf or reaching up and scratching the wall (and tearing the wallpaper, of course). It was a mischievous and defiant look.

Hope you don't mind my comparing your cute daughter to my cute (late) pussycat. :-)

8:56 PM, January 25, 2007  
Blogger WinterWheat said...

Not at all. My dog does the same thing. Of course, the difference between dogs and cats is that, once caught, a dog will follow up with a hung-head look of shame. Cats know no shame. :-)

8:58 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger violetnoir said...

K, I don't know what that expression is on Fia's face, but she sure is lovely, and I love the color combinations.

Is it almost one year? How the time has flown by!


10:37 AM, January 26, 2007  
Blogger Bela said...

True. Cats are always very proud of what they've done; except when they trip over something or jump into the toilet bowl by mistake, then they pretend nothing's happened. 'No, I didn't do it!'

5:24 PM, January 26, 2007  

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