That Smile

I realized recently as I posted my gajillions of pictures of QQ that, in the pictures, she's hardly ever smiling. This is troublesome. This does not reflect the reality of QQ at all. It isn't that she's not cute when she isn't smiling - she is! But the smile is who she is. It's her thing. It's what she's all about.

I often wonder if one-year-olds are all as happy as this one. Are they? Or is this unusual? This kid is probably smiling 90 % of the time. If she is thinking hard about something, or focusing on a task, the smile will sometimes fade. But if she catches you looking at her, she'll immediately grin sheepishly, as if she meant to be grinning all along, but had gotten distracted.

She can also go from a smile to a smile-times-two, a thousand-watt smile, a smile so wide her whole face scrunches up and he skin gets taut and shiny, and she leans right up to within an inch of your nose to make sure you know that she's REALLY, REALLY HAPPY!

It's the smile that gets me - well, both of us, as you can plainly see! - every single time. The smile is what won me over and keeps winning me over, hundreds of times a day. That smile lights up your heart. It's an irresistible magnetic pull. Just try to walk away from that smile. It can't be done.

The only times that she doesn't smile is when she's watching her bottle being prepared, when she's in her car seat (which she still objects to), or when she's very, very sleepy. The bottle thing, I understand. This is a growing kid. She's hungry. And M and I make a mean bottle - usually involving a lot of elaborate combinations of fresh fruits and yogurts and organic soy products. So it takes a while to prepare and blend. The girl gets impatient. And sometimes...sometimes she yells. But as soon as she gets her bottle she goes back to grinning.

The reason that these smiles are so seldom captured on film? It's the camera. The huge, black camera that obscures our faces. If she can't see your eyes, she isn't going to smile. Sunglasses have the same effect on her. She's a very interactive child.

So this morning, I enlisted M's help, and between the two of us we got her to ignore the big black camera for a while, and give her full range of smiles (to balance it out, neither of us wore sunglasses).

There. So now you know.

Oops, she noticed the camera again...

...but it's OK. She'll let it slide this once.


Maia said...

Yes! It's heart melting!

Won't it be strange when she gets her surgery? I know a lot of parents of cleft affected children who really mourned their child's changed smile once the surgery was done. Not that they didn't love the new smile- just that they missed the old one as well.

Qiuqiu's parents said...

Yes! I've already admitted this to a few people...I am TOTALLY going to miss that wide smile! That's my worst fear about the surgery...I know that for a while she will have trouble smiling at all, and it will take a while for her closed lip to "loosen up"...and it's killing me to even think about it! I will SO mourn that big, wide, natural smile of hers! Surgery is only a little over a month away and I have to admit I'm not looking forward to it, for that exact reason! I'm prepared for the pain - I know that will pass - but I'm not prepared to lose that smile! Heartbreaking.

Lisa and Tate said...

She is adorable. I can totally see how that smile could melt your hearts. I think this is the first picture I have seen with Flynn wearing socks! Oh drats, the cold is coming and those cute toesies will be covered!


Diane said...

Beautiful post. I feel the same way about Atticus' smile and it, too, is hard to capture on film. He smiles constantly and it goes from big to bigger. But I think my favorite smile of his, is in the morning...I creep into this room, and he hears me. I go over to the crib and he's lying down. As I peer over the crib, he's already looking up at me, and smiling, sort of shyly, very happily and then he starts laughing. I give him my hands and he pulls himself up and we start the day.

Vivian M said...

She does have the most beautiful smile! But we already knew that.
What I really want is to hear her LAUGH!!

Heather said...

What a happy girl! I love all her smiles.

Tish said...

she is adorable whether smiling or not! but, of course, we love to see the smiles!

i was happy to see your "love" post because your first post on the issue made me think a lot. you brought up some good points about what helped your "transformation" when you said ..." Of course, it is much easier to enjoy life when your child sleeps through the night and can play happily on her own the majority of the time." I think also her expressed love for and happiness with you makes a huge difference. maia, you are so fortunate!

with matthew, he had (and still has) serious sleep issues, is not great at playing on his own (thus, no cleaning/showering/compter for me), and he is not a cuddly, giggly, smiley chid. he does show exuberance and excited affection...but it is pretty much reserved for his dad.

and, yes, all of these things combined has made that "transformation" a long and difficult process for me. but what i am being reminded of in all of this is that love is much more than a feeling; it is the commitment and loyalty even when the feeling isn't strong...it is active more than passive...and it is continuing in these things even when you don't feel "loved" in return.

it's great to read how quickly things have fallen into place for you and flynn!!!

Yoli said...

Love her smile, I really do. What a happy soul, like my Mr.Man.

kerri said...

Beautiful smile. Flynn smiles with her eyes too.
The eyes are a window to the soul....