My little one, now 2 years old, is a very serious little girl. She has always been very serious. When she was about 2 months old I remember anxiously watching for her first real smile and trying many days to coax one out of her, only to be met with a stern glare or a curious stare. Her siblings could do it without any trouble, but for me her smiles have always been fewer and farther between. If it is difficult for me to get her to grin, it is impossible for people she does not know. Little old ladies stop us in the store to tell me how cute she is and she glares at them. Friends smile at her and ask how she is doing and she stares back blankly. On Halloween, all decked out in her furry Elmo costume and receiving candy from countless friendly faces, she walked straight mouthed along not showing any signs of enjoyment.
Last summer we spent a day at my parent’s house. They had invited a lovely British couple who they had become good friends with as well, and we had a great day of swimming and eating and fun. The woman, who had never had any children of her own, loved kids. Really loved kids and spent as much time playing with my children as she did visiting with the adults present. She tried everything to get my little one to smile for her. She sang her songs and played crazy games with her but my daughter would not crack even the tiniest of smiles. At best, she gave her a concentrated look of interest. The man later commented to my father that something was wrong with our baby. It just wasn’t normal, he said, for a child so little to be so solemn. My dad assured him the baby is fine. And she is. She is not an unhappy child just serious and VERY wary of strangers.
I started playing a game with her when she was about 18 months old. It was my sneaky way to trick her into smiles but don’t tell her that! I would say, "show me your silly face" and we would, together, stick out our tongues and roll our eyes. Then I would say "show me your scary face" and we would both make monster faces at each other. Then I would say "show me your sad face," and she would stick her bottom lip out and look as though she had lost her best friend. Then I would say "show me your happy face," and voila-
She is a lot bigger now than she was then but it still works every time! I wonder sometimes when I see those oh-so-rare, oh-so-beautiful toddler grins-
|"show me your.......shy face"|
Is it wrong that I love this kid so much?!?!?!?!?!?