Squeaker does this smile where he wrinkles up his nose and I’m powerless against it. He’ll come at me with it over and over again until I finally smile back at him and then say, “You happy, Mommy? Yeah? Yeah. You happy!”
I wish I could catch it on camera. Then you’d understand. He’s got the crinkled up eyes and the wrinkled nose, but we’re missing the open-mouthed smile.
It doesn’t matter how mad I am at him. Doesn’t matter what he’s done. How frustrated I am. None of that matters. He’ll do his little smile and I melt like butter on a hot biscuit.
I think part of the reason it affects me this way is that it makes me realize just how innocent he is. He does what he does and then he smiles like nothing’s wrong with it. It’s not a manipulation. He’s a sweet kid. You can’t help but want to smile with him.
Example: When he poops in his pants, which is a regular and increasingly frustrating event, I want so badly to get the message across that this is NOT okay. He sees my face, registers the expression on it, and immediately responds with the nose-wrinkle smile. And he does this little laugh with it for that little extra touch. And suddenly I realize…he doesn’t get it. Pooping in his pants doesn’t bother him, so I guess he doesn’t understand why it should bother me. Some days he’s even proud of it. Like, this morning. The Manager is changing his pants and is taken aback at the amount of poop. Squeaker laughs about how big it is. It’s a big joke to him. “Oh yeah. That’s a BIG one!” Gross to us, funny to him. Innocence. How can you stay mad when he clearly doesn’t understand it?
When I’m at my friend’s house and he does this, it’s super frustrating, but then the smile. And the follow-up to my cleaning him is always, “Thank you for making me clean!” Nose-wrinkle, open-mouth smile, and head craning to make sure I see him… He gets me every time.
Yes, we get frustrated. He’s stubborn and strong-willed and moody. But that cuteness. That smile. It reminds me every time that we are doing SOMETHING right. Because he’s also happy and sweet and loving. I cherish every one of those moments because we’re lucky to have them.