Monday, May 16, 2011

Why so serious?

We’ve been parents for 10 weeks now, and without a doubt one of our favorite pastimes is to look at baby Elliot’s multitude of facial expressions and try to deduce what the heck he’s thinking. Since he can’t talk yet, facial expressions are his main mode of communication …and, boy, it is one expressive face.

Something we noticed early on is that he seemed to, more often than not, have some variation of a concerned expression on his face. As the picture in this blog entry can attest, his brow would be furrowed or his eyes wide open with an expression somewhere between shock and concern.

We’d joke all the time that his concern was clearly justified. … I mean, look who his parents are, right? In fact, now that I think about it, little Elliot’s expressions have given us much to laugh about. Nothing is funnier than lowering him into his little bathtub or changing his diaper and his eyes are wide open looking at you with that “are you sure you know what you’re doing?” expression.

Early on, much of his “awake” time was spent looking so contemplative that it was clear that he had a lot on his mind. He seemed much too young to be that worried about the price of gas, unrest in the Middle East, the upcoming elections and all the other things we would joke were occupying his thoughts.

That’s why when he decided to start smiling a few weeks ago, it was extra fun for us. I know it’s just the natural way that babies develop, but for us it was so much more. It was like he’d had 6 or 7 weeks to really take stock of the situation, analyze all the data and finally decide that, yes, his parents were pretty cool.

Now that he’s learned it, he’s turned into a smile machine. Every noise, tickle or funny face gets a laugh. Even a sneeze:

So when the dreaded “2-month” doctor visit arrived, it was extra hard on his mommy and daddy! He was just lying there on the exam table smiling and laughing without a care in the world. Our serious baby had completely lightened up. Then came the doctor with 5 needles destined for him. The doctor was working quickly, and she was on needle number two before that happy expression vanished and turned to one of sheer horror.  His eyes shot wide open, and the screams started. He was looking at us like “you tricked me!” Lauren and I had the odd reaction of laughing. It’s not that his pain was funny—it was heartbreaking, but the change in his expression was so dramatic (I’m talking Academy Award material) you couldn’t help but stifle a laugh.

This time he was resilient. Before we even got him home, he was back to his smiling self, and we were able to check off another milestone without too much trouble. Hopefully we’ll be able to keep up the smiles and laughs when those teeth start coming in…

Jordan Echols is a Sr. Marketing Specialist for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and first-time dad to 10-week-old Elliot.

No comments:

Post a Comment