It finally happened!
After weeks of cough triggered contractions, sneeze provoked twitches and wind induced smirks; it actually came! An unmistakable, undeniable, unambiguous, distinctive, definite, delicious grin!
Five weeks of prodding, tickling and encouraging, and my beautiful daughter gave me a big beaming smile. Wow.
How do I know it was a real smile? I’ll start from the beginning...
Yesterday morning, my placid, serene daughter had a sulk on. Thrown (stupidly) out of her routine by her naive parents after holidaying in The Lakes, Betty’s sleeping pattern had been wholly shattered. A kranky, grouchy little girl spent five hours of the previous night wide eyed, whining and seeking to chastise and punish her stupid parents for their ambitious , ill-advised jaunt. It was a night when Dave and I were thankful that our lass is so breathtakingly cute; otherwise her whinging could easily result in acting on the desire to purposely drive screwdrivers into your own eyeballs, merely as a distraction from the hellishly grating drone of our inconvenienced child.
Once morning arrived, our little cherub was exhausted. Reluctant to feed (“Bloody hell, she is tired.”) I sneakily tried to smuggle my full breast into her snoring lips. Nothing. Worried that, missing a feed, she would feel faint, woozy and fragile, I persisted in persuading Betty to eat. Nipple leaking, I proceeded to nudge her in the nose, dribble on her sleep suit and clumsily poke about her pursed lips with the good intentioned albeit unwelcome desire to nourish my disinterested child. No joy.
Defeated, I placed Betty in her cot. I have come to learn that the chance of Betty remaining asleep when put down is, well, limited. Actually, I lie. There’s no chance. It’s never happened. I patiently pull up a chair, ready to shhh, stroke and tap, and where possible generally cajole her back to the land of nod.
After four or five minutes of allowing herself to drift in and out of a light sleep, Betty began to dream. Pulling a range of crumpled, stretched, furrowed and overly expressive faces Jim Carrey would be proud of, my little girl tried out her face, in a way only newborn babies can, and Botox junkies wish they could. After warming up her face, my daughter progressed to her vocal chords. Following the usual drift off murmurs came a hearty, hard done to, genuine sounding cry. Which was actually part of her dream. Betty woke up.
Amazing. Amazing that someone so small and inexperienced already has an imagination so established that her dreams can conjure up such lively reactions. I, too, have woken myself with hearty laughter due to a particularly vivid dream (I once remember waking myself because I laughed aloud in my dream at Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock farting on a match in the ‘I’m A Celebrity’ jungle. Classic.).
The thought of Betty crying at her own dream, and frightening herself, made me laugh, aloud, to the point where I worried I would really make her cry.
As I continued to laugh, I looked through the cot bars at my daughters startled face, who when, on clocking my huge grin, SMILED BACK!!
Not believing the smile to be a conscious behaviour, I dropped my grin. She dropped hers. I smiled again. And SO DID SHE!! We repeated this smiling/not smiling routine four or five times, and each time Betty mirrored my ridiculous smirk.
What a gorgeous moment. I could feel my daughter knowing me and smiling with me. A connection. A joke shared. One tickled little girl. One tickled pink Mum.