My amazing daughter has both of her parents riding the wave of a truly remarkable six-month winning streak. Without exception, Maddie has made it a point to greet us with a huge array of smiles every single morning.
This habitual exuberance goes back to the very beginning before Maddie was even able to see. There is no way to resist such a sweet and endearing attitude that kicks off every morning. That’s why this particular winning streak maybe one of the most impressive ones the planet has ever seen.
It doesn’t matter how many times you have to get up in the middle of the night. When Maddie opens her eyes in the morning, she is bursting with love and happiness. Her smile overcomes a wide variety of maladies including stomachaches, headaches and of course, sleep deprivation.
It’s hard to properly articulate the overwhelming rush of emotion you experience by being greeted that way each morning. I have had some long hard nights with that little girl, but it’s always forgiven and forgotten the next morning.
It’s too easy to forget what toxins are lurking in that diaper because her morning attitude makes it all ok. I have never felt more blessed in my entire life. Every morning is a resounding win. Maddie knows that I’m completely under her spell. Absolutely helpless in the face of that glowing smile, but what can you do?
Maddie may be a few days short of her 6-month-birthday, but we can all learn something from someone who approaches every day with such unbridled enthusiasm and irrepressible optimism.
Maddie loves attention and is at her best when she is able to make others smile. This is an art she has been perfecting at church for months now. Today she took another step in her journey to become the great entertainer.
This morning’s service had only been underway for a few minutes when I noticed something remarkable. Six smiling faces were focused in our direction, radiating with adulation for the baby girl smiling at each one of them from her child carrier. Maddie’s fan club was evenly divided between our pew and the one directly behind us.
I could only shake my head and chuckle upon looking down at the little ham who was hard at work making new friends across the congregation. Maddie was soaking up all the attention as she made those cute little baby noises that turn heads and warm hearts.
Her affection for the people surrounding her was matched only by her fascination with how the light in the church plays off of the stained glass. Her curiosity levels are off the charts right now and you can see the wheels spinning as she tries to make sense of all sights and sounds bombarding her senses.
It is so much fun to observe Maddie’s transformation and development from service to service. When we first started taking her to church, she was all about catching up on her sleep – now she is struggling to take in every morsel of information around her.
Don’t get me wrong – Maddie ran out of gas about half way through the service and was quickly in serious need of a nap. Once she started fussing, I scooped her up and she was out in just a few moments.
That was the end of this service for Maddie, but once again our little bee charmer continues to impress!
For such an amazingly photogenic baby – Maddie was not interested in participating in a little holiday photo cheer this evening. For a little girl that is always ready with a smile and who loves nothing more than attention, she was really grinching it up this evening.
We tried a variety of outfits and poses, but the little cutie was not playing our game this evening. I snapped picture after picture, but honey badger don’t play that game! I was actually quite entertained by the spectacle – a Christmas card shot tonight would have the caption under Maddie reading, “What’s your major malfunction?”
The more my wife and I talked sweetly or tried to excite the baby, the more she dug in her heels to let us know that tonight was NOT our night and she would not be sweet-talked by anyone including her parents.
We tried a variety of locations including the Bumbo chair, the floor and even under the tree – but Maddie was quickly losing her sense of humor with her inept parents and their wild shenanigans. After I shot a little more than 40 pics, it was time to suspend negotiations and give it a try some other time.
Apparently the baby was exhausted after all the paparazzi attention because the second Gina took the baby back to the room, she literally passed out. Gina laid Maddie in the crib and the baby simply checked out. I don’t know when our next photo shoot is – but Maddie assured us that we better have a smarter plan in place if want to make it through the day unscathed.
Maddie has been schooling her father this week in the art of negotiation. These negotiating sessions have become part of our nightly culture when it’s time to put Maddie down to sleep.
We’ve had a few tussles, but I have enjoyed the upper hand in two respects. Number one is the fact that when it comes right down to it – the baby wants to go to sleep anyway. Number two is the excessive heat my body generates. As soon Maddie gets picked up, PaPa’s heat is already doing its part to induce drowsiness.
But last night, Maddie switched tactics and left PaPa at a distinct disadvantage. Just like we do every night, Maddie and I were doing a slow shuffle around our darkened house. I watch her very closely during this time, because those giant wide-awake eyes can turn on a dime and slam shut within seconds.
We were just completing our second lap when Maddie looked up at me with her biggest smile. Of course I was powerless, I smiled back, told her how much I loved her and was grinning like a jack-o’-lantern from ear to ear. I tried to shake it off, but I was in too deep. She gurgled a little bit and hit me with that same hypnotic smile. Again, I was putty – stuck in the moment of the gaze and those penetrating eyes.
OK – time to get serious, dig deep and let’s get that baby to sleep. But it didn’t take long to realize that as long as she was enjoying our stroll and giving me that perfect smile – we weren’t going anywhere for a while.
PaPa tried a few tricks of his own – he lightly blew on her – and she actually thought that was funny. Even stroking Maddie’s hair just added to her delight. We had been at it for more than ten minutes now – far past the usual time it takes to settle her down for the night, but I was loving every second of it. I wondered how long she could hold out when I noticed that she was already out cold.
I put her down for the night, but as I went into the other room, I caught myself smiling like a lottery winner with each step. My little girl is far too cute for her own good and it dawns on me every night that with her, we hit the jackpot!
As we celebrate Maddie’s 8th week on the planet – there are several things to be grateful for, but today we will focus in on one of Maddie’s newest skills – her smile.
It was about three days ago when Maddie began rewarding those who pleased her with a smile. On the surface, it seemed like a trivial event – but in reality, it is actually a game changer.
This is a pivotal point in your relationship with your child. For the first time – the parent is receiving a positive cognitive signal of understanding and acceptance that goes beyond what had been the child’s survival needs. The smile strikes of significance and resonates with the parent because it is an intentional act by the baby and you feel specially blessed to be the sole recipient.
The emotions that go along with this event are dizzying. Especially when you have a little girl that is so seemingly desperate to communicate her thoughts. For right now, aside from the crying – her smile is the most powerful tool in her arsenal.
My world stops on that smile. Time is suspended as you soak it in like the rays of the sun on your face. Your cheeks flush and you don’t bother to ponder what has suddenly taken hold of you – you just ride it out until it’s over.
I don’t know if the smile is actually a key component passed down into the human code for acceptance into the tribe – but I will always remember the first moment it was directed towards me and how it makes me feel every time it comes my way.