Monday, August 30, 2010
At the end of last summer while leaving our favorite park on a warm and fire-fly light night, I felt inspired by the beauty of the night and our high spirits to make my kids' childhoods perfect. Idyllic. It was all up to me; I could completely control it by simply being a perfect and idyllic mother. It was just a matter of taking it day by day. So exciting!
Well, a year later, that hasn't quite worked out as I hoped. My kids and I have been a little bit grumpy over this summer. There has been too much yelling, crying, threatening, writhing on the ground and even mild cursing around this house. The boys have been a bit grouchy, too. After watching Andrew melt down and throw an absolute fit over basically nothing, and just before I threw my own retaliatory tantrum (you know, to fix the situation, obviously), I decided it was time to turn things around and thought that maybe, just maybe, there might be a more effective response. I knew it sounded crazy, but I thought it just might work.
I decided to just plaster a huge smile on my face. Never mind that it was fake. My kids aren't that perceptive yet. I forced them into the car, we raced off to a park to blow off steam, and, after I was able to coax-threaten Andrew from the car, I put my plan into action.
As a short aside, Operation Smile has been floating around in the back of my consciousness for some time. I have come to realize that my face is not one of those that gives me away; worse, it is one of those that disseminates misinformation about me. I have had women apologize to me for expressing their love for the Savior or their goals to hold weekly family nights because somehow my face acted like it was offended by their admirable feelings and ambitions. I knew in the midst of one such humiliating apology that my face needed to shape up. I had another occassion to see that O.S. was necessary when reflecting upon some childhood memories of adults who always seemed, from the set of their expressions, tense or unhappy. I don't want my meaness of my natural slack expression to indicate to my kids that I am not having a wonderful time being their mom.
Anyway, O.S. worked immediately. Andrew turned to see if I was watching him on the jungle gym and I gave him my biggest grin. His face transformed into a huge smile. The same with Will (who was happy already anyway, cute thing). Within 5 minutes, Andrew went from out of control to happy and joyful. By the time we got back in the car, we were all genuinely in fabulous moods.
My kids are just tiny little human mood rings of me, reflecting back at me whatever mood I exude at them. Looks like it is in my power to be a completely perfect mother after all! (Does ignoring them while blogging count as an imperfection? Didn't think so, either.)