In a previous post, I discussed my discernment of The Look as a sign that I had entered the brotherhood of parenthood. Below is a description-- born from my experience accompanying Avi in all manner of places public and private.
The Look. The most intense ones come from parents, usually mothers of babies that are several months old or just a few years old. The look is given upon the initial gaze of our baby (or any newborn baby, I'm sure) and the look encapsulates personal memories of their own baby at this age. A description of "the look": eyes wide open and a little blank, pupils dilated, lips slightly parted, jaws receding, eyebrows curved mournfully. The look is sometimes, often-times, followed by themoan. The moan is instinctive, given without effort. It too, is mournful, and usually begins with a dull pitch before bending downward, though on some moms, it actually raises to an inflection that blends question with surprise (I haven't discerned reasons for the difference yet-- perhaps that's one for the pscyhoanalysts). Maren and I currently carry a variation of the look; it has less of the mournfulness, though not much less in Maren's case. She is already anticipating the passing of Avi's smallness and it hurts her. I estimate that I give my version of the look about 36 times a day. Maren's looks are probably in the hundreds. I don't really have much in the way of the moan, but Maren's moans are sometimes heartbreaking. Often though, it transforms into laughter, but usually drops down again for closure.
We are not yet at the point where we are gazing at younger babies in public places and giving the bona fide look. But with each passing day in Avi's life, we are certainly cultivating it.