smiles by Ayda

ayda2.jpgMy daughter, Ayda, is one month old today.  She woke Renee and I at 4:30 this morning to get an early start on the celebration.

Let me assure you, her enthusiasm is justified:  there is much to celebrate!  Maybe it could have waited until 6:30 or so, but I’m sure she just wanted to have our undivided, although sleepy, attention.A few of the major achievements to date:

  • She’s fallen madly in love with her mother, and I’m excited to say, she shows moderate appreciation for her father and some of her siblings.
  • She has gained over a pound.  This is actually phenomenal, though you might be thinking, “what’s a pound here or there?”  Well, she was over 9 pounds at birth, so a pound is like an 11% increase.  That’s scary on a grown-up scale.  If it were me, I’d need a new wardrobe in a month.  Actually, so does Ayda.  I’m flabbergasted!  What kind of crazy activity is happening in such a tiny body for that kind of cell multiplication to occur?
  • She has developed a rather attractive belly button.
  • Her head is growing faster than her hair, giving the appearance that she’s balding, but confirming her parents’ suspicions of advanced intellect.
  • She has thoroughly soiled somewhere in the vicinity of 150 diapers.  That’s hard to believe considering the weight gain statistics.  I like to think of this as an early start to leaving a legacy.  Those diapers will be around long after all of us.
  • She is almost capable of turning her head well enough to follow an object of visual interest moving through the room – like her mother.  That darn head is heavy, though, and it has a mind of its own.
  • She can smile.  This is my favorite thing.  I’m enormously curious as to how and why this happens in such a new and miniature creature.

A smile is a big effort for Ayda.  It starts with having a full belly, followed shortly by a loud and sometimes runny belch.  Then she has to be held in just the right position – something which apparently only Renee has perfected.  Once she’s comfortable, Renee (again, only Renee can do this, so far) starts to talk to her in that special talk-to-baby voice.  That’s when the magic happens.

You can’t tell by watching normal people, but if you see a new baby do this, you know that a smile begins in the toes.  Ayda’s toes curl, her legs go stiff, her whole body does this convulsion thing, her head bobs, her arms flail, her feet kick, and it all culminates in that perfect smile on tiny lips with eyes aglow.  If it’s a good one, it will be followed by a protruding tongue and these amazing little cooing noises.  Smiling is definitely a whole-body activity.

Then we all smile, and some of us silly, old, sensitive types tend to tear up a bit.

It’s amazing to me that babies smile at such a young age.  Where does that come from?  Is that for our benefit?  It’s not practical.  It’s not necessary for survival.  It’s not a prerequisite for life or health.  It’s like a bonus.  It’s a gift, I guess.  Maybe it’s a message from heaven.  It’s like Christmas, huh?  That first smile on the face of Jesus must have been special for Mary, and it must have shaken the world.  Ayda’s smile shakes mine, even at 4:30 in the morning.

5 thoughts on “smiles by Ayda”

  1. I may have to disagree alitttle on the fact that a smile isn’t necessary for survival. Sometimes, when I am weary and tired, a smile from one of these gifts from God (our children) can make all the difference between life and death, if you know what I mean :). Their smiles have the capacity to melt a pretty hard, cold heart. Renee

  2. beautiful. i love it.

    it amazes me that after (how many kids do you have?) you still find the little things, like a belch or a smile, worth writing about. your next essay should be about true love, specifically how to sustain it when however many kids it is that you have and a wife and a bunch of grown-up bible study kids need so much of it +)

  3. that is the BEST description of a baby’s smile I’ve ever read. You nailed it. It is a whole body experience. Oh, and thanks for blogrolling me!! I appreciate the appreciation!

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