Several weeks ago, the edges of Lumpy's mouth began to twitch. We wouldn't have called it a smile, exactly, but it was getting near. He'd perfected other looks long before, such as the grumpy frown, the suspicious sideways look, and the coy glance, but a proper smile remained elusive. There were times when his mouth would curve upwards, but this always seemed to be as part of his random facial gesticulations, rather than any expression of pleasure. And they were generally directed at inanimate objects, rather than his indulgent, loving, and increasingly desperate parents.
Six weeks, we were told. That was when the proper smiles began. We warned Lumpy of this deadline, hinting that there were nearby skips that he could conveniently tossed into if he didn't up his game and start performing pronto, but the date passed and we still hadn't had something we could actually confidently identify as an expression of happiness at our presence. But there were still near-smiles, and occasionally they happened when we were looking at him. So we held off from the skip-tossing for the time being.
And then they started. Big, proper grins, accompanied by the cutest coos and squawks ever heard. And they happened while he was actually looking at us (though more regularly and reliably while staring at Mr Butterfly, Lumpy's changing table companion, and BFF. But hey, who hasn't played second fiddle to a wind-up insect with psychedelic spinning wings?)
The mornings were the best times, after a good sleep and a big feed, with the undivided attention of his audience. I would sit with him propped up on my legs and he'd giggle and grin and be generally delightful. So of course I tried to capture this on camera. And, without fail, every time I got my phone out, this is the sort of thing I got:
Wot? Smilz? Me don do smilz. Am grumpee babee. More milks now plz.
Hahaahaaa. Watch me teaz yous wid this almost smiles. Am evil geniuz. More milks now plz.
You iz lik rilly boringz, you knows. Can be resolved by givin much milks now.
Am seriuz. You boringz me into unconsciousnez. (also weakness thru lack of milks)
Ok, now Lumpy angryz. Prepare to dies.
Having failed so magnificently at photography, I turned to video. Surely if I filmed for long enough, I would eventually capture a smile. Instead, I managed to record this (please note highly intellectual Radio 4 in the background and the oinky piggie-like grunts that precede the inevitable crescendo):
Ahh, sweet vomitty memories.