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All in the Smile

All in the SmileMaybe it’s due to sleep-deprivation, or maybe I’m just not very good at remembering landmarks. I know that my daughter’s first intentional smile took place at approximately four weeks, but I don’t remember the circumstances or the exact date. I also know that I should have written it down in her baby book while it was still fresh in my mind.

I recall telling my husband, “I think Ashley smiled today, while I was changing her clothes, but I’m not sure.” Thinking back, I’m sure it was a smile because she loves putting on new clothes and usually smiles the whole time.

That first smile is a bit foggy, but a few other smiles remain indelibly imbedded in my memory.

–    I remember the first time she smiled after nursing, lying her head on my breast and smiling with her whole face. It’s hard to know, when you’re nursing, if the baby is getting enough food. Weight gain, of course, is an indication that she’s eating enough. But this smile showed me in a way the numbers on the scale never could that she was satisfied after nursing.

I remember rubbing her back and leaning over to kiss her tiny forehead, and she smiled again.

–    My husband and I had been at a wedding until well after midnight. Our daughter was asleep in her bouncy chair when we returned home. She was fast asleep, but she smiled when she heard my voice, and again when I approached to give her a kiss.

–    I remember the first time she smiled at a toy. I hung a little Baby Einstein puppy from the toy rail on her bouncy chair, replacing the original toy that had been there since she was born.
I squeezed the dog and it barked. Her eyes got wide with surprise, and then she grinned. I continued making the dog bark and she continued smiling. I think she even giggled, but, like that first smile, I can’t be sure if it was an actual laugh or just a random sound.

As a full-time freelancer, my days used to be filled with lengthy to-do lists that involved interviews, transcriptions, and writing. I still keep a to-do list, but it is significantly shorter… and if I complete only one or two of the items on the list, I consider my day a success. But the true benchmark of a good day, now, is a day when I can keep my daughter smiling.

I’d love to hear other mom’s stories of their baby’s first smiles – or any other significant smiles in their infant’s lives.

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