The Three Faces of Z
To be fair, she has more faces. And not all are as extreme as these. The Timid is another face that comes to mind – that’s the one she whips out in large groups of people, when I suspect she is only half timid, half I-want-my-mommy-to-pay-attention-to-only-me. There’s also a whiny face, but whenever I talk about her whining, I sound like I’m whining. So we’ll just avoid that today, and focus on the following three faces.
When Z has a job she wants to do, she brings out her FocusedFace. She focuses completely on whatever “job” she’s created for herself, whether it’s putting every single one of her stuffed animals to bed, listing their genealogies, or tearing construction paper into tiny, impossible-to-pick-up-without-tweezers scraps. Whatever she’s doing, she’s intent and quiet. I love to watch her like this, hear the conversations she makes up with herself and her stuffed friends.
This is, perhaps, the most frightening incarnation of childhood I will ever witness. At least, I hope it doesn’t get scarier than this. The words “inside voices” mean nothing. The word “no” means nothing. Pogo sticks sprout from the soles of her feet. She has to do whatever it is she’s set her mind to do, whether or not doing this thing will result in an eternity of time-outs, e.g. picking up the cat and hurling her to the floor, slapping/pushing/spitting (yes, my child occasionally does these things. If yours doesn’t, wipe that smug smile off your face and trade kids with me). The Crazed Face is the one that has me calling Husband, vowing that This Is The Last Day I Will Be A Stay-at-Homie, Here Is My Resignation, I’m Driving to Mexico for Margaritas – Alone – and Nobody Can Stop Me.
One of my favorite recent Z-quotes happened at the dinner table the other night: “I’m going to be the calmest person. I’m not gonna cry, I’m not gonna scream, I’m not gonna make Daddy say I can’t have stories. I’m going to cooperate!” The Helpful personality of Z will often manifest itself in hyper-exaggerated gestures of politeness. She’ll often even help me recognize this face by saying something like, “I feel like a grown-up” or “I’m being polite.” The Helpful Z works to earn approval, and smiles angelically up at me from time to time. She does her chores, she cleans up her toys, she surprises me with random, gentle hugs or back massages.
What kinds of faces did you have as a little kid, or what faces do you see on the kids around you?
PS: I think she just fell asleep during Quite Play Time. YES!
PPS: By the way, if you haven’t played Killer Bunnies before, you’re missing out. I’ve been looking for an excuse to work them into a blog post for over a year now.