I have come to realize that babies are a mood boost. I'm not necessarily talking about the joy we feel as parents nor am I in any way implying that postpartum depression can be cured by our babies. As a matter of fact, I'm not talking about depression at all. I'm talking about a baby's effect on other people, random strangers you see in stores, the park, the zoo, etc. If you are paying attention, it is magical.
Now let's be honest: a crying baby in public doesn't help anyone's mood. Pretty much ever. But I've noticed that when Kira is happy in her stroller, the people around us are happy, too. People who were walking by with frowns, looking harried, will stop for just a moment to smile at my daughter. In restaurants, neighboring diners brighten when they see Kira chewing on a roll or practicing her "ma da la ba da." Her smile has the power to alter the worst moods.
Is it her innocence, her cuteness? Or is it the innate happiness she exudes (except at nap time)? I wish I had her ability to be so absolutely, completely happy. So in the moment. Rest, a full stomach, and a nice stroller ride with new sights to see--these are enough for her. In that instant, Kira probably isn't thinking about getting a new toy or outfit or about what kind of cereal she'll have for lunch. She is just happy to be in that place at that time with her physical needs met.
Maybe when adults and older children stop to smile at her, they are picking up on that magical, pure happiness. Babies remind us of hope, innocence, and joy for a reason.
Maybe we could all learn from a happy baby in a stroller.