Whenever I post photos of S, at least one person comments on how she’s always so happy. Here are five reasons I believe that is so:
1. I don’t take photos when she cries – of course she’s smiling in every photo I post; I don’t take photos of her when she’s having a bad time or upset or crying. There are 24 hours in every day, and not all of them are perfect. Many of them are pretty close to perfect though, and it’s those times the camera comes out.
2. She’s two – what does she have to be sad about? She doesn’t understand things like “recession” or “UKIP” or “debit interest.” As far as she’s concerned, she has her favour reindeer socks to wear to bed, and her favourite teddy goes everywhere with her. The world is her oyster and everything is just peachy.
3. I tickle her. A lot. – It’s easy to get a photo of a child smiling – just tickle ’em! Or show them a video of a doggy. If it’s S, all she needs is to see the bin lorry out of the window, and that’s her day made. Most children are easily pleased; of course they’re always happy, if something as simple as seeing a dog in the street will brighten their day. I think adults can learn a lot from this one!
4. I don’t punish her. – I don’t believe in punishing a toddler for having a hard time in understanding the world. We don’t do the naughty step or time outs. S rarely tantrums, and when she does it’s never met with a chorus of “do as you’re told/stop acting out/don’t be so silly /go and sit in the corner on your own and think about what you’ve done.” I believe that allows both of us to move past whatever has been bothering her that much more quickly, and get back to the serious business of having fun.
5. We do hugs. – S gets approximately eleventy billion hugs a day. She sleeps in my bed and gets cuddles all night, when she needs them. She gets cuddles where she runs into my arm and narrowly avoids headbutting me (if I move my head quickly enough); she gets cuddles where she sidles up next to me and pulls my arm around her; cuddles where she comes and sits on my lap; cuddles where I help her with a toy and steal one when she’s not expecting it. The best cuddles are when I go to pick her up from nursery, and she’s super excited to see me. I am her world, and she is mine. When she’s here, I’m smiling. When I’m here, she usually is smiling too. And then I take a photo.