expression

We went down to Rainbow’s birth state and spent time with his birthmom, Noelle, and his birthfather three times before his birth. She invited us to her OB appointments and ultrasounds, and we all went out to dinner and talked. I was a little anxious nervous wreck at points before and during these meetings, but they were priceless. I’m so, so glad that we all got to know each other a little bit. Now I see little bits of Noelle and Eric, Rainbow’s birthfather, in our little boy every day.

Noelle did one thing that threw me for a loop at first. She smiled easily and laughed often, but when she was listening to someone else talk, she would often drop all expression from her face. Like, not an expression of amusement or interest or even sleepiness, but just ZERO expression. A totally flat affect at times.

It was a new one on me; I’m used to people constantly emoting with their faces, even when they are just listening to someone else. I worried that I was boring her to tears, or that she was seething at some unintentionally offensive thing I’d said, or that she was just zoned out and not hearing a thing I was saying. But after it happened a few times, I learned that it was just a special thing about her. Which is really nice, upon reflection: when she’s listening and taking in what someone else says, her attention is entirely on the other person’s intent and not on her own facial expressions, so they sometimes just drop away entirely.

Which fits with what we learned and continue to admire about her: she’s extraordinarily unself-conscious and unpretentious, confident and emotionally unguarded.

And now I’ve seen it in more than one instance: RAINBOW DOES IT TOO!!

I recognized that blank-looking expression immediately; it popped up when he was intently watching me teach him how to use a toy. I saw this lovable quirk of Noelle in him, and it was just so cool. I keep wanting to tell her, but feel like it’s likely that Hey, you know that blank, zoned-out expression you get sometimes when you’re paying attention? Rainbow gets it TOO! might be misinterpreted.

So wanted to record it here for posterity: some behaviors are indeed genetic.

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