David says "hi"...
You know how every parent thinks their kids are the cutest? And you know how they're all wrong, because YOUR baby is actually much cuter? Well, I won't keep you in suspense... you're all wrong. The Ramirez children are the most cutest. Even the term "most cutest" is more cuter than however you describe your kids' cuteness.
Here's the secret to raising (rearing? I never get that write) children who are photogenic: Keep them happy. Oh sure, Sophia has some bad hair days--which usually coincide with her dad fixing her hair--but no matter how many stray strands are in effect, when she flashes that beautiful smile, the camera eats her up. I'm pretty sure the psychologists say you aren't supposed to call your kids "beautiful" or "smart," you can only say they do "beautiful or smart things," but this Sophia is one beautiful little girl, and it's not so much her looks as it is her spirit. So okay, now you and I are on the same page. And yes, you're right, you do have a beautiful child, unless he kicks me in the shins again. That's something that's neither beautiful nor smart for him to do more than once.
There's been quite a bit of discussion about Elijah's looks the past few weeks, beginning with his cranial-facial surgeon telling us before the surgery that we would need "a few months" to "get used" to how different he looks. That's not something a parent wants to hear. We expected the worst, but you have no idea how RELIEVED Melissa and I were when we saw him post-op. He just looked so... good! Better, you know? Healthier, with the frontal plate of his skull moved forward to protect his eyes, with a more masculine, better-defined ridge above his eyeballs. I think I remember Melissa giving me a high-five before we even shared a hug.
The swelling set in, and there was definitely an angry-furrowed-brow thing going on for about ten days, but now his eyes are as wide open as they were before the surgery, and the definition in the eyebrows is still there, and he's just stinkin' handsome. Handsome, I say!
Frankly, it could have turned out differently, and I thought about that to some degree, but mostly I didn't worry about it, and I'll tell you why. That first week, when Elijah was hopped up on pain meds and antibiotics--the big stuff, with the "-dine" suffix at the ends of the names--even then, he was actively searching for things to smile about. He'd get excited at hearing a voice, or feeling his stuffed dog, or the touch of his mom's lips on his tummy. He was obviously feeling a lot of pain, but that smile kept returning and staying longer and longer.
Maybe I'm convinced that my kids are cuter than other kids because they always (well, exceedingly) smile when I ask them to, and they do because they think I'm funny or kind or safe. But if it sounds like I'm describing myself as a parent who keeps his kids happy at all times, forget it. My brain has been bad recently, suffering sleepless nights and worried evenings, but through it all, Elijah and Sophia keep laughing and grinning at the simplest things. Trust me, you can't be more amazed than I am. Where does a gentle spirit like that come from? How does an infant make the decision to have a good attitude toward life? I'd say we were lucky, except I don't believe in luck.