Around the time she was two months old, Sunshine started smiling. Not just the little random “gassy” smiles she used to do in her sleep, but a real I’m-smiling-at-you-because-I’m-happy smile. She seemed to know the perfect time to smile, too; like when I was exhausted in the early morning, and changing her wet diaper to try to get her back to sleep, and after looking at me for a minute she gave me a big, sweet smile, as if to say, “Thanks, Mommy, I love you.”
Then she discovered she could smile at herself. My husband and I had gone past the university to take care of some things, and Sunshine needed changing. I headed for the washroom, which of course didn’t have a baby change table (apparently university students don’t have babies). There was, however, a narrow makeup ledge in front of a mirror.
I sat Sunshine down there and held her in front of me while I rummaged through her diaper bag for her change pad, diaper, and wipes. Sunshine stared at this little person in front of her in the mirror. Then she smiled. Then that was so funny that she laughed. It was the first time I’d heard her laugh, and we spent the next ten minutes playing in the mirror, smiling and laughing at ourselves.
Now, Sunshine lives up to her nickname and gets frequent compliments on her sunny baby smiles. She loves smiling at everyone. I’ll be walking down the street, and she’ll start kicking her legs and smiling and squealing, and I’ll know she’s seen someone that she wants to say hi to—even if they’re on the other side of the street. In church, she stands on the pew and smiles at the people behind us, until they smile back. In restaurants, she loves it when the waitresses smile and chat with her, and she’s always quick to reward them with a smile back.
She’s nine months old today, and has spent as much time out of my tummy as in my tummy. I look back nine months ago and I’m a bit amazed at all that she’s learned. Yet some of her accomplishments are just little things—something she can do today that she couldn’t do yesterday. Like a smile.