To date, she normally greets every day with a smile and does smile a lot to almost every one who tries to talk to her (provided that she's not tired nor in a totally new environment). Owing to this, our relatives and older family members often give her 开心果 nickname which literally means Fruit of Happiness and ask me whether I smiled a lot when I was pregnant with her (re: the answer is no, I didn't smile a lot back then. In fact, I cried a lot because of my pregnancy hormones).
To me, baby's temperaments are partially genetic but can be switched on and off depending on the environment.
Baby Naomi and her many expressions.
Anyhow, here are some practical routines that I do on daily basis in laying the groundwork for a happy baby:
1. Learn to read the signs
By now, Baby Naomi is a master in showing us, adults, the things that makes her upset or content. By reading her facial expressions and listening to her cries, both husband and I normally can predict whether Baby Naomi is hungry, tired, bored, feels hot, needs a diaper change, wants to be carried or a space in her toy-land, craves some baby songs to hear or misses her pacifier. Once we pretty much understand what she wants at a specific time, we'd attend to her need. Although the rule in the house pretty much sounds like both husband and I are under Baby Naomi's commands but we don't jump up and check on her every time she makes a peep or slight noise.
2. Maintain hygiene
Practising a good hygiene is essential in keeping a baby jolly and healthy all the time - plus clean baby does look and smell nice too. Honestly, I can't really stand looking at dirty kiddo so I try my best to keep my child clean every day. I bathe Baby Naomi twice a day and wash her hair once a day. I keep her nails trimmed so I always check on her nails every few days or so as they grow very fast. I change her diaper when it gets heavy, not only when she soils on it. I immediately clean her bottoms and change her diaper whenever it's soiled. Until this very day, I still sterilize her milk bottles and pacifier. As she drools a lot and makes mess when she eats her solids, I place a bib on her neck during the day so her shirt would remain dry and clean. If Baby Naomi's clothes happen to be a tad of wet, I don't mind changing her clothes. At home, I wipe her face and hands with damp cloth after she takes her meal or eats a baby biscuit. A pack of wet tissues is a permanent resident in my diaper bag as wet tissues are great help in cleaning baby's dirty hands or other parts of her body when I go out with my little one.
3. Healthy baby, happy baby
Undoubtedly, a healthy baby is happy baby. I try my best to keep my baby away from any sick adult or kid around us. When I fall ill, I try to stay away from my baby temporarily and let my husband handle her for a couple of days; and vice versa. Sick babies are never fun to deal with. When it happens, baby suffers and so do we. These days, I have been considering whether I should get Baby Naomi a flu shot sometime soon because the last bout of flu that attacked her last month was pretty terrible for the three of us.
4. Get enough sleep
Who doesn't get cranky when not getting enough sleep? I am not a true believer (yet) in waking up a baby when he or she is napping or sleeping. Baby Naomi takes two to three naps during the day and she turns to her bed again around midnight. Somehow, I find Baby Naomi's at her best mood after she wakes up from her nap or sleep.
5. Invest on quality (and quantity) time with baby
From my understanding, a happy kid or baby gets to spend quality time from both of his or her parents. Despite the old saying that goes "quality time over quantity", I would think that in baby's mind - quantity means quality. No matter how busy and flat tired we are, both husband and I always spend quality time playing, cuddling, singing or just hanging out with Baby Naomi every single day. I'd say that I get the luxury of spending more time with Baby Naomi and giving her more attention throughout the day as I'm always at home with her - one of the benefits of being a SAHM, you say?
Finally, don't you agree that a happy baby is the product of a happy home, regardless of genetic make-up? I do.