Today's Wonder of the World is...the Yawn!
Baby yawns are the sweetest!
In fact, this particular baby yawn inspired this post! Today is the sixteenth birthday of that yawning baby boy!
Happy Birthday, little six foot tall Ben!
You're at running camp, so I can't follow you around all day, retelling little Ben stories and imitating the precious speech impediment you had until you were five. How you used to call your sister YaYa and your favorite drink yemonade.
And I can't replay the scene from every night of your toddler-hood, when you'd stand at the foot of the stairs and beg, "Night night! Night night!"
Oh the joy of having at least one child who begs to go to bed!
So back to yawns...
The most wonder-full thing about yawns is how contagious they are!
Flickr photo by kath1313
Thanks Dr. Seuss, and your 1962 Dr. Seuss's Book of Sleep! How right you are!
We do it in every culture.
Flickr photo by Fahd Murtaza
We yawn when we're tired, bored, or when we see other people yawn.
It's called positive feedback, and we just can't seem to help ourselves.
People used to think yawning was caused by the body needing more oxygen, but no one has ever proven that.
Although they have proven that teenagers sometimes do it just to be sassy.
At least in my house.
(Not that my children would EVER be sassy. Oh no.)
If you ever want to watch me yawn, just put me on a stage in front of a room full of people as I'm about to speak about my book. Like right before this happened.
I always thought my incessant yawning before public speaking was my own unique weird little habit. But apparently I'm not the only person in the world who yawns when they're the least bit nervous! Wikipedia says that paratroopers sometimes yawn before they jump out of airplanes.
Yey! Other people are weird too!
(I wonder if other people ever experience inappropriate laughter? Just curious.)
I could go into a long explanation of some of the hypotheses for why we yawn, but frankly, reading them made me yawn.
Plus I've forgotten all the biochemistry I ever knew and don't want to look like a dumbo.
Instead, let's look at funny shots of animals yawning, shall we?
Here's Tanner the Slobber Dog. It's a fuzzy picture because he made me start yawning.
And here's a horse of course.
Flickr photo by lilredhorse33
Ooh. I bet his breath is nice.
I read that guinea pigs yawn to show their dominance or anger.
Flickr photo by pyza*
Or maybe he's just tired.
Still, I feel a little intimidated. Don't you?
Of course he could be irritated with me because I called him a guinea pig, and he's actually a hamster. Sorry, little fella, I always get you two confused.
I don't usually like it when dogs show me their teeth, even if they are just yawning. But this guy doesn't bother me.
Flickr photo by knitterj
In fact, I think he's hilarious.
So does this cat.
Flickr photo by dawneubanks2005
Unless he's just yawning and stretching.
Here's a vocabulary word of the day for you: pandiculation. Pandiculation means the act of stretching and yawning at the same time. It's what the cat is doing probably.
Either that or hee hawing about some goofy dog.
Seeing all this yawning makes me feel the need for pandiculation.
As in this illustration from one of my childhood favorites, Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses.
Night night! Night night!
(Another wonder of the world is the nap!)
But I must have some yemonade first!
Have a Wonder-full Tuesday, everyone!
Happy birthday Ben! And you too, Mom!