What can change a moment from ordinary to grand? What can take a picture from fine to super cute? What can a dad from struggling to feeling like he’s provided above and beyond his daughter’s needs? A quarter of an inch of movement.
You’ve heard the old adage that it takes more muscles to smile than to frown. So, one would assume that smiling is easier than frowning. I does not seem so with baby. She’s willing to frown and cry at a moment’s notice, but smiling is not as easy.
She was smiling from the first day she was born, but those smiles all came during sleep. Weeks later she would smile randomly, but not in response to anything in particular. In the past few weeks, she’s has started to smile in response to things, and this is the greatest/worst thing to happen. Now we spend our play time trying to get her to smile. If she does, it’s the greatest acknowledgement that yes, we can do this, and yes we are providing for her every need. If she doesn’t smile, she’s grown bored of us and is not happy with her life. The greatest/worst moments of our day.
We’ve become stand-up comedians, and she is our crowd. Some days the crowd is happy with us, and other days not so much. Much of the time our new material just dies up there, and we’re forced to reach into our old tricks (making telephony sounds, or beeping sounds). We’re like Jeff Foxworthy. If no one is laughing at your new material, bring out “You might be a redneck if..” to reel them back in.
We prepare meticulously, gathering our props (rattles, the jitterbug), rehearsing our peek a boo and remembering to get close enough for full effect. Then she’ll stare at us wondering what’s going on, roll her to the side and laugh at the dog walking by. Scene stealer!
This morning when she arose from sleep, she started to make her wake up sounds. I went in to pick her up, and she looked at me. She smiled. No silly sounds, or bright colors, but just me. I provided what she needed then (a lift out of crib jail and companionship), and she was happy about it. These are the moments you wait for when she’s two weeks old and unhappy at three am. They do eventually come.
It’s a validation of your parenthood. The affirmation of a positive, as opposed to everything up to this point being a signal of the negative. It feels so good.
To highlight the importance of a smile, I submit these two pictures of her first Valentines flowers. Tell me which picture is way better than the other!