My girl, the queen of the side eye.
It might surprising to some, but I've always loved that Isla has never been that bubbly, outgoing, smiley baby. Her smiles and laughs are well earned, her goofy side only coming out to those who take the time to earn her trust.
People's reactions to a serious baby versus a bubbly baby carry some parallels to the expectations of women in our society. The value placed on being ever pleasant, mild, carrying a smile on your face - making other people comfortable.
Praises awarded to a baby, especially a little girl, usually fall along the lines of "easy," "happy," "friendly." There's a gravitation toward the baby that smiles at strangers, that is happy to let everyone hold them.
Now - don't get me wrong - I love to see a smiling baby, and who can resist a good cuddle?!
But I love and value the other side of the coin too - my girl with her serious, thoughtful, evaluating stare. The intensity, the cautiousness. She's a force, and yet she has such a gentle heart. She's a leader, and she's remarkably clever. When you take the time to earn her trust, she shares the most remarkable light!
Like many women face in our world, that first impression is applied to our little girls - they are quickly categorized into friendly or shy, happy or serious. When there isn't the instant gratification of a smile, interest is lost.
So to every woman, and every little girl who has ever been underestimated, told to smile more, who has ever been categorized at face value: I see you, I see that beautiful complexity - don't ever let them force the smiles that aren't from your heart. ❤