She is hanging out in her crib, wearing a sleep sack (not a starfish outfit, zippered pillowcase or a straitjacket, as some commenters have wondered), when Mom brings in their feline friend, and the baby goes nuts. It's incredible.
There is no way you can watch this video and be bummed out. No way. Her excitement, her facial expressions, her noises, her outright glee, her innocent joy and her wild gestures are cheerful as hell. If you're having a down day, hit play. Repeatedly.
Pets have an amazing effect on children, according to Karen Stephens, who is the director of the Illinois State University Child Care Center. She writes that pets help prevent or overcome fears (children with pets usually fear animals less than their peers who don't have pets of their own), provide unconditional love, teach empathy, help them demonstrate compassion and help them learn responsibility. Children who help take care of pets naturally learn to be accountable for their actions, and pet care also increases a child's sense of self-worth and confidence.
Pets have even been shown to have positive effects on kids with autism or other developmental disabilities. Pets can help calm children down and can act as social buffers in play situations with other children, both of which are concerns parents of children with autism have. Other studies highlight the deep bond children have with their pets, even so far as kids who have suffered through adversity (such as a death, divorce or serious illness) having a better relationship with their animal friends than with their human ones.
This little baby will likely grow up an animal lover, and she will probably be better off for it. And we hope her parents make a million more videos.
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