The Second Month Big Smiles
During the first month babies seldom make enough major changes to write grandmother bout. It is a stage of becoming organized, discovering to whom she belongs, and learning to fit into her new home. It is a time for parents to recover from birth, survive on less sleep, and adjust to life with a new baby. In the second month you are, in the words of surviving parents, “over the hump.”
The second month is baby’s social debut — the coming out of herself. She opens up her hands to greet people. She opens her vision to widen her world and her mouth to smile and make more noise. The feeling of rightness and trust developed during the first month opens the door for baby’s real personality to step out.
The Great Imitator
Baby’s intense interest in your facial gestures prompts her to mimic your changing facial expressions. Like a dance — you lead, baby follows. Nothing can entertain a baby like a face. Walt Disney capitalized on this observation by creating cartoon characters with big and exaggeratedly round eyes, nose, cheeks, and ears. The best of these, Mickey Mouse has survived the longest.
When your baby is in the quiet alert state, try this face-to-face game: Hold your baby within best focusing distance (around eight to ten inches/twenty to twenty-five centimeters) and slowly stick out your tongue as far as you can. Give baby time to process your antics, then repeat two to three times a minute. When baby begins to move her tongue, sometimes even protrude it, you know you’ve registered a hit. Try the same game with opening your mouth wide or changing the contour of your lips. Facial expressions are contagious. You may catch your baby mimicking your yawn, or vice versa.
Mom, the mirror.
In playing face-imitation games you mirror your newborn’s expressions back to him. When a newborn frowns, opens his eyes or mouth wide, or grimaces, mother instinctively mimics her newborn’s expressions and exaggerates them. Baby sees his face in his mother’s. Infant development specialists regard mirroring as a powerful enforcer of baby’s self-awareness.