It’s finally happened. At six weeks old, Bill has begun smiling while awake. Erev Purim he smiled at me after I changed his diaper. The next morning he smiled at Banana when she came into my room and began dangling a rattle for him. He smiled at his other sisters all the rest of the day.
The “sneak preview” sleep smiles on newborns are a treat, especially in the early days and weeks. But those smiles (and sometimes laughs), while amusing, are when baby’s eyes are closed; baby’s smiling, but not at you. (Laughing too, but maybe it’s okay that it’s not at you. There’ll be time enough for that later.)
The waking smiles are thoroughly rewarding since baby’s actually communicating, looking at you and expressing amusement, contentment, or love. It’s one of the greatest rewards of newborn parenting, and in turn encourages parents and siblings to engage baby more in an effort to elicit more smiles.
There’s no substitute for the animated eyes, tiny lips and gummy grins on a baby. What a great Purim gift.