My wife and I are in the process of adopting a baby girl, known affectionately as ‘Squish’ here at the Daily Dad until her adoption is finalised.

In this regular column, I am sharing the ins and outs of parenting a newborn and the joys and challenges of adoption.

Enjoy this week’s edition of ‘The Adventures of Squish’.

Squish’s First Laugh

It happened on our way home from a trip interstate. We had just stopped to enjoy a scenic view and were preparing for the final three-hour drive home. Angie was changing Squish on the back seat of the car when that first unmistakable cackle found its way out of our baby’s mouth.

It was as though a corked bottle had just popped or the floodgates of a dam had opened wide — and a torrent of unbridled delight burst forth.

Instantly, Angie and I were in stitches ourselves as we watched the laughter flow out of Squish for the first time.

Firsts are fun. As a new dad, I have to say the funnest first of all has been seeing our baby laugh. I have been addicted to her silly little giggle ever since.

Laughter as Medicine

The book of Proverbs says that “a cheerful heart is good medicine”. (Proverbs 17:22). The late comedian Bob Hope called laughter an “instant vacation”.

I have been thinking about laughter recently and the important role it plays in our home. So many of life’s activities are mundane. Sometimes, it feels like one day just rolls into the next. Especially as winter sets in here in the northern hemisphere, life can sometimes feel repetitive, boring — even a little bleak.

But laughter interrupts those feelings like a dose of medicine, and immediately transports you to a place of cheer and positivity.

Now that Squish is laughing on cue, it has become our aim every day to coax as much laughter out of her as we can. I often walk into the room while Angie is doing a crazy dance for her. Angie regularly finds me making silly noises at Squish or throwing her up into the air.

Laughter is a payoff for life’s drudgeries. And it is an essential ingredient for a strong and healthy family life.

The Science of Laughter

Science is finally catching up with the book of Proverbs. More and more research is coming out affirming the incredible health benefits of laughter.

Perhaps it goes without saying that laughter has many benefits for our mental health — whether improving our mood, relieving stress, easing anxiety and tension, or strengthening our resilience.

But laughter is also great for our physical health. Studies have shown that it boosts our immunity, lowers our stress hormones, relaxes our muscles, decreases pain, and can even help prevent heart disease.

Laughter comes with many social benefits too, including deepening relationships, enhancing teamwork, and defusing conflict.

Take Yourself Lightly

A shortcut to laughter can be outsourcing it to someone else: listening to a stand-up comedian, watching a comedy series on TV, or reading a funny comic.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But I believe the best way to cultivate laughter is simply to choose to see the funny side of things in life as often as you are able. Humour is best when it’s homegrown.

It was the philosopher G. K. Chesterton who said, “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”

I think he was on to something.


Image via Unsplash.

Published On: December 7th, 20230 CommentsTags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author: Kurt Mahlburg

Kurt Mahlburg is Canberra Declaration's Research and Features Editor. He hosts his own blog at Cross + Culture and is also a contributor at the Spectator Australia, MercatorNet, Caldron Pool and The Good Sauce. Kurt is also a published author. His book Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West? provides a rigorous analysis of the modern malaise in Western society and how Jesus provides the answer to the challenges before us. Kurt has a particular interest in speaking the truths of Jesus into the public square in a way that makes sense to a secular culture and that gives Christians courage to do the same. Kurt has also studied architecture, has lived for two years in remote South-East Asia, and among his other interests are philosophy, history, surf, the outdoors, and travel. He is married to Angie.

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