Friday, November 9, 2012

C'mon get happy

You know that thing where little kids are wired to be people pleasers? You stick your lower lip out and wait patiently. The kid will rush to reassure you. You will be smothered in a kiss and rewarded with the good behavior that had you waiting and pouting.

Unless that little kid is my kid: then you get punched in the mouth.

When G was littler and both his motor and verbal skills were less refined, maybe we were willfully misinterpreting. His habit then was to smash your face in and proclaim, me make you happy! We thought (sort of) (maybe) that it was a fumbled reach of affection, not unlike how I love to swoop my hand under his chin and stroke the downy underside between jawline and pillowy neck rolls. It was an arm outstretched with love. Wasn't it?

He is more deliberate now, more articulate, and no less gentle. So if you pout in his direction, you deserve what's coming.

He will poke your lip right back into your mouth for you. Apparently, he's been doing that all along.

I give you happy face!

About your actual feeeelings, the boy is not concerned. But you will restore your face to its proper comportment promptly, or he will restore it for you, delivered with a happy face of his own.

You may feel like you are splitting your lip on your own teeth. This should disincentivize me from emotionally manipulating his behavior, you would think, right?

Unhappily, I have not yet learned that lesson. (Ouch.)

But then the day comes when you pick him up from school and he's the agreeable one, and his sister is climbing a tree instead of getting in the car, and he hands you a flower.

And you first think, "you're not supposed to pick those flowers!" and then you think that he's tampering with federal property and will probably get arrested and then his sister climbs higher up the tree exactly one beat after you say "L, get down now, we're leaving!" and the guard with the gun on his hip waves at your sweet boy. And your sweet boy will wave at the guard with the gun on his hip and say I got a flower for my mommy! It's a lellow one! and the guard only smiles more, and says "goodnight, ma'am" as he passes.

And you wonder if he won't arrest your tamperer, maybe he could arrest your tree climber? Just handcuff her long enough to wrastle her in to the car? But before you can ask him that favor, he's gone, and your girl is still ignoring you from way above your head but your boy, he's right before you, with love in his palm:

it's for you! A flower to make you happy!

and you will concede in your head: yes, sweet boy, you give me a happy face.

(Happy Friday faces for everyone!)

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