I don't really understand why Buffy is so into kids. Maybe it's because of the way that kids interact with Buffy, maybe it's because they are closer to the same size or maybe it's because kids understand something about dogs that adults forget as they grow up.
When Buffy first met kids from the age of 6 to 10, Diana and I were cautious. We didn't want Buffy to get too excited and nip at their hands. As Buffy got older, and she had positive experiences with kids, we relaxed. We feel comfortable letting Buffy play with kids as long as we know that the kid knows how to interact with Buffy in an appropriate way.
Recently Buffy has hung out with babies and toddlers. This raised another level of concern for Diana and I. When Buffy first met one of Diana's cousin's daughter, she was only a year old. Buffy was eager to play with her but she wasn't sure what to do with Buffy. One moment she wanted to play with Buffy then when Buffy came over, she would walk away. As the night went on, Lily became more relaxed with Buffy as she through down Buffy bread to eat from her high chair.
This last week Buffy met my niece Amelia. The first night that Buffy met Amelia, she didn't really know what to do with her. She sniffed her a couple times but mostly left her alone. The second night was a different story. When my brother Ed put Amelia's car seat on the ground as they entered the house, Buffy trotted up to Amelia. She carefully sniffed Amelia's feet, and her cheek, walked around the car seat and looks up at us approvingly.
As the evening went on, Buffy followed whoever was holding Amelia. At first I thought it was because Buffy was jealous of Amelia's attention but in the way that she walked and looked up, I got the sense that Buffy was trying to help.
Later in the evening my mom was sitting on the floor cradling Amelia. Buffy came up to them and sat down near them. My mom reached out to Buffy and pulled her towards Amelia and Buffy relaxed into my mom's lap and cuddled up next to Amelia.
Soon Buffy and Amelia were asleep in my mom's lap. I panicked for a second seeing how close Buffy was to Amelia, but seeing how at peace they both were I quickly relaxed and took in the magic of that moment. My mom put Amelia's hand on the back of Buffy's neck and her little hand grabbed a little of Buffy's fur. Buffy didn't move at all when she felt Amelia pet her, instead she relaxed deeper into my mom's lap.
A couple days later Buffy got to spend some more time with Amelia. They were both more active as this was the middle of the afternoon. Buffy did the same thing she did during their earlier meeting following around whoever was holding Amelia, especially when Amelia was crying. While my dad was holding Amelia, my mom was playing with Buffy getting her to jump holding her hand above Buffy's nose. As Buffy jumped and barked, Amelia laughed for the first time.
The first laugh is a special thing. It's a sign of a baby's physical and emotional development. Just a couple months ago, Amelia could not make out shapes or communicate a wide range of emotions. Now Amelia was watching, listening and comprehending Buffy at play and communicating her joy through laughter.
I am so proud that Buffy was part of Amelia's first laugh. I'm overjoyed that Buffy can interact with Amelia in a positive way. The fact that Buffy helped Amelia learn to laugh makes me feel that somehow Buffy knows that Amelia is a special person to all of us.
It's the feelings between people that we can't articulate and understand that are the most special. Buffy and Amelia are family. I don't know Buffy understand this, but that's what makes it that much more magical.