Smiles and Frowns
This past week, Lila has really started expressing herself. She’s been smiling more and more, and we’ve even been able to capture some of her smiles on camera:
So sweet. I have to say, I’ve been extra happy to see those smiles, because it seems like a lot of the time, Lila is a pretty serious baby. She’s very focus and intense when she’s playing with her toys:
…and oftentimes we catch her frowning in concentration, or even scowling:
Sister has attitude already.
It shouldn’t surprise me that she’s a serious baby. In most of his baby pictures, Ryan has a very worried look on his face, a look that seems to say, “Listen, I’m not sure who you people are or what I’m doing here, but I’m not letting my guard down any time soon.” He’s also dressed as a tiny movie usher in some of the pictures, which might have something to do with it. But still, Ryan would be the first to admit that he can be a pretty anxious person, and obviously that quality was present in him from about day one.
And I remember being a very serious child as well—in fact, “serious” is kind of putting it nicely. I believe the word is dour. I think I had a pretty bad attitude—I actually remember actively scowling at the camera for school pictures a few years in a row, and in most of my childhood pictures, my “smile” is more of a smirk.
When you get pregnant, you spend a lot of time wondering who your child is going to be. And then, when your child arrives, you still wonder—who are you? When Lila was first born, we’d just stare at her for hours, trying to figure out who this new little being was going to become.
But the truth is, you don’t have to wait for very long. In fact, I feel like Lila started revealing bits and pieces of her personality to us from the very first day we held her. And she keeps revealing more and more, tiny smiles and expressions and cries and coos that are starting to fit together like puzzle pieces.
When I was pregnant, we’d spend hours talking about what our daughter’s personality might be like. I’ve spent enough time around babies to know that most of us seem to come out with many aspects of our personalities already formed—serious babies grow into serious children who grow into serious adults. Goofy babies turn into goofy 50 year-olds. Outgoing toddlers will always be the loudest people at the party. You can’t “train” your kid to be shy, or outgoing, or happy, or thoughtful, or loud, or quiet—at our core, we are who we are, and it’s who we’ve always been. More and more, and especially now that I have a child of my own, I believe this to be true.
It doesn’t surprise me that Lila is a serious baby. And, serious doesn’t necessarily translate to unhappy—in fact, she seems very content. She seems to be happy in her seriousness, if that makes sense. When she’s kicking at her playmat, or focusing on grasping her firefly toy for the first time, she has an intense concentration like no other—but she’s also clearly having a ball. And there are moments when she drops the intensity and is suddenly a total love bug, grinning and cooing without a care in the world.
And the truth is, I love both moments. There is nothing sweeter than seeing your child smile a huge, gummy smile at you for the first time—or second, or third, or tenth time. But, as strange as this might sound, I like it when she glares at me too. There’s something in her tiny, serious frown that tells me that this baby won’t take shit from nobody. And that, I hope, is something she can say she got from her mama.