‘She’s been here before, that one,’ remarked the stranger with a knowing smile as she watched my 10-month-old bouncing in the shopping trolley performing to her crowd.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve heard this remark and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
I don’t know what it is about baby Smiley. She seems to intrigue people.
Perhaps it’s in the way she surveys a person when she first meets them. She momentarily stops bouncing, squealing, or babbling to look into their eyes, seemingly assessing them. Once she decides she approves, which she always does, she returns to entertaining her adoring fans with a smile that just won’t quit.
Perhaps it’s because she’s a content bub, for the most part. She’s comfortable in her surroundings and in herself. She doesn’t demand attention. She’ll happily sit on the lounge room floor pulling toy after toy out of her toy box. If she discovers one of her favourites, Big Ted, Upsy Daisy, or a pink whale, she’ll give them a hug like she’s greeting a long lost friend. She’ll put her whole body into the hug. She’ll lean forward babbling softly with her head to one side as she squeezes the insides out of the toy. If she catches you watching, she’ll give you the cutest, wettest smile you ever will see.
Perhaps it’s in how alert she is. Always listening, observing, and mimicking what her older sister does. She follows people with her eyes. You can’t get away with anything with her.
Perhaps it’s her eagerness to engage with people. She loves to entertain, waving to herself, clapping, growling like a bear, trumpeting like an elephant, or simply getting her groove on to Justine Clarke waving her hands in the air like she just don’t care.
Perhaps it’s the handful of comments about Smiley being an old soul that now has us intrigued. Part of me dismisses the comments simply as something people sometimes say about babies, the other part of me finds myself watching her, wondering.
When I hold her in my arms at bedtime swaying from side to side singing a lullaby, she will more often than not reach up to touch my face with her short, clumsy fingers and look into my eyes. These flickering moments, these connections, the feeling of familiarity leaves me wondering.
Maybe she is an old soul. Maybe she has been here many times before.
Whatever her story is, has been, or will be, we’re just glad she chose us as her family.
What’s the strangest thing someone has said to you about your baby?