Piako Post

My wonderful new talent

- Virginia Fallon

It’s a marvellous thing to discover a new talent at any age, let alone mine. But there I was, coasting towards midlife, reasonably content with my list of very limited abilities, when this newfound proficienc­y appeared.

Having never been a natural at anything, it took me completely by surprise. I imagine that when 4-year-olds start knocking out Monets, sinking holes-in-one, or composing concertos their parents feel the same.

And while my brand-new aptitude won’t make my fortune, it is a priceless gift nonetheles­s: I make the best raspberry noises the baby has ever heard.

The baby started smiling a few months ago, which is when my very specific set of skill was unearthed.

I can’t tell you the baby’s name or share any of his photos because, unlike me, his parents are averse to sharing every minutia of their lives and have banned me from doing it for them. They have given me permission to write about him, though, as long as he remains an unnamed source.

So while his identity remains a secret, I can tell you about his smiles: they are the most beautiful thing in the world and I’ll do anything to get them.

And here’s where my gift comes in. Raspberry sounds are the very height of comedy to a four-month-old, and while anyone can make one it just so happens mine are the best.

The key to my success is that I’m not a one-note wonder. My raspberry repertoire is both varied and ever-increasing: some are short, some are long, some go up at the end and some drop down, but regardless of their timbre they are always, always, funny. Well, at least to him.

Although he lights up like a toothless Jack-o’-lantern at my clowning, other people aren’t always so enamoured. Yes, everybody loves a smiling baby, it’s just the accompanyi­ng racket that’s wearing a bit thin.

At home, while everyone else tries to carry on a conversati­on I’m making fart sounds in the corner, oblivious to everything other than my chubby little audience.

I’m also guilty of cutting people off mid-sentence with the blasts. Someone will be talking about war or food prices only to be rudely interrupte­d with a loud Bronx cheer emanating from the kitchen or couch. It’s obnoxious, sure, but the baby finds it hilarious.

I’ll often cut off my own talking should the baby happen to meet my eye. ‘‘Yeah,’’ I’ll be saying to someone, ‘‘I’ve been thinking about that pbbbbbbbbb­t issue as well, and I’m actually really pbbbbbt worried.’’

I’ve taken to erupting in public too, recently giving an elderly woman an awful start at the garden centre, then copping strange looks while stopped at a red light with the car window open. The latter didn’t bother me though – nothing does, so long as the baby’s smiling.

Baby smiles have long been studied by researcher­s who’ve found the effect on their mothers is a high much like a drug hit and just as addictive.

Our baby’s best smiles are of course reserved for the parents, who are even more besotted than I am. Next in line is the grandmothe­r whose arms he’s always falling asleep in, and I’m maybe fourth in the smilestake­s, which is a pretty good place to be. After all, every baby should have a team of adults trying to make them smile.

And I’m not always making loud noises at him. In fact just the other day we lay on the bed awhile, sizing each other up in silence. ‘‘I love you,’’ I whispered, before he made a rude sound of his own.

‘‘I’ve been making obnoxious noises in public and I’m not embarrasse­d in the slightest.’’

 ?? ?? Every baby should be surrounded by people determined to make them smile.
Every baby should be surrounded by people determined to make them smile.
 ?? ??

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