Stella smiles a brand new open-mouthed smile. What two months ago was as instinctive as her newborn sucking, has become willful. I can see it in her eyes. It is she that initiates now. Mimicking is a new-born reflex. Smiling to make me react a certain way is learned. There is a twinkle in her eye. She is trying to convince me to play, when I am trying to coax her to sleep. Stella lives deliciously in the moment. She is not aware that in five more minutes, were we to continue playing, she would get over-stimulated and upset, making settling into sleep more difficult.
Every new parent watches eagerly for each new milestone. The first independent lift of the head, the first smile, the first roll-over. Adept now at all of these, four-month-old Stella rolls over in her crib, lifts her head, and gives me a big smile. Her mom thinks she has her hands full now, just wait until this one learns to crawl, pull herself up and talk!