Having a child is a life altering experience in many ways.  The very first is the need for security multiplies, mostly due to the fact that this little being is so easily harmed.  Safety and precaution or magnified in previously mundane situations such as backing out of your driveway.  Thoughtful processes for how and when to allow your pets access to the bed become a quick game of chess to begin your day.  These situations are solved with relative ease, however they continually require diligence as the lack of focus for one instance can cost you gravely.  The loss associated with an automotive accident or a paw erroneously trampling the youth are disastrous, whereas the work to prevent it is an redundant exercise.

Another change is the day in day out review and analysis of a being only now, before your eyes, growing through childhood.  It is fascinating.  It’s difficult to take an objective view due to your inherent bias toward your progeny.  You love them and their actions and peculiarities are similarly lovable regardless of true merit.

Part of the said analysis is understanding how human emotions work.  Juniper smiles at me every day for seemingly no reason other than waking up, or seeing my visage in her periphery.  The sense of personal satisfaction received from this perceived adulation is monumental–it simply feels great to have a small child give you that every day.  However upon further reflection there really is no good reason for it.

Could it be that she knows her father (and mother) so well already and correspondingly smiles at their presence?  It’s altogether possible.  When she sees Teresa she recognizes her and smiles genuinely, or changes her tune depending on the feelings she has at the moment.  Recognition is there.     However she will smile at complete strangers as well, again for no real reason.

My time of watching her without any humans in her view is very limited, so it’s a struggle to say whether she is smiling as much without some sort of human stimulus.  My expectation is that most events or objects that can set themselves apart from the normal environment in some way such as movement, color or sound have the potential to elicit such a response.

More importantly, this stimulus response relationship points toward an inherent happiness in humans.  Nature prompts elation–the very experience of experiencing life is joyful.  On the flip side of the coin, there exists a natural propensity to experience unhappiness as lack of resources like food or shelter.  These natural formations of emotion are intriguing–and something to learn from for years to come.