I’ve never that I can recall spent so much time smiling as I have in hte past few weeks. I must spend a total of a couple of hours a day just grinning goofily at my daughter.

Smiles and coos are Bella’s primary means of communication right now and most changing table sessions end in a long smiling contest with lots of oohing and ahing and a few delighted squeals. She’s really getting quite verbose, stringing together long and complex series of vocalizations. My favorite is a very breathy little coo, almost too faint to be heard. Or maybe it’s the big, gummy wide mouthed smile that takes over her whole face and always seems to come with a little shake of the head as if her face weren’t enough to hold the joy but it has to become a motion of her entire head.

And of course I find myself smiling right back, echoing both her facial expressions and her little noises. Though sometimes she looses me on the noises. How does she make that little gutteral trill? It’s amazing what a person can do who has only vowels in her vocabulary. I think I’ll never master her subtle language. It will be up to her to learn ours. After all her brain is much more flexible than mine. But it seems like a loss, I wish I could learn to speak Bella, such a charming, simple language that has no words for hate or fear or anger. Only expressions of love.

She’s teaching me lots of things. Like patience. She has none so I must learn to have enough for the both of us. She doesn’t understand wait so I must drop everything to help her now, not in a few minutes when it would be more convenient.

But most of all she’s teaching me joy and simplicity, how to live in the moment. How to stop everything and stand for five minutes leaning over a changing table after the poop has been wiped away and the dirty diaper disposed of, smiling goofily at a little person who loves me without reservation and with her whole heart.

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