Joy…on the face of a child

I do love to see the feeling of joy expressed on the face of a child, any child really, but today I wanted to talk about seeing it on my daughter’s little punim.

She’s been very lovey-dovey as of late, constantly wanting to snuggle, whether morning or night, on the couch, or in her big girl bed, as we do before she goes to sleep. Always saying “I love you, Mom” and running to me for a hug…I love this warmth and sweetness from her, particularly because she hasn’t been angling for a “surprise” when she does it.

I wonder sometimes if  the increase in the desire for closeness is related to the increased amount of independence and new skills she’s found in the last few weeks. Is there an algorithm to figure this out? Maybe I should ask Mark Zuckerberg. For one thing, it’s amazing what the influence of a slightly older little boy visiting from Kentucky can do…as we discovered in early August during our week-long staycation.

“Does James wear underwear at night?” she asked.

“Yes, he does. He’s a big boy,” I replied.

“Well, I can try wearing underwear tonight.”

And I said, “But, of course child!”

Funny thing is, I think she’s been ready for a while, but I have this nifty nightlight that looks like a stoplight, and goes green when she’s allowed to get out of bed in the morning (6:30am or 7am, depending).  When I started talking to her about getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom if she needed to, she alluded to the fact that she’s wanted to get up but the light has been red.  Oops. Mommy fail. I re-explained that it was okay to get up to pee, just not to play with her toys.

So after 2 years of being day trained, she’s finally ditched the pull-ups at night. Hallelujah!  The first few mornings she was so proud of herself and the stickers she got to put on her chart to reward her. The joy was on her face.

She’s also finally mastered getting dressed on her own (with the exception of some pairs of socks and tighter shirts), but if left alone and not rushed, she does just fine. And when she’s finished, she’ll say,”Look, Mom! I got dressed all by myself!” I see the joy on her face again.

She made me a picture this weekend of a person – the most recognizable figure she’s ever made and when she showed it to me, I told her it was one of her best, if not the best drawing she’d done. It was a girl with a dress, feet, arms, and a face with a smile…and I didn’t have to ask what it was. Rather than saying thanks or smiling coyly like usual, she said smiled knowingly, nodded up and down and said, “I’m proud of myself.” Joy and confidence on her face.  What a combination – and quickly a favorite of mine to see.

She’s starting to make the connection between the things she wants and the money required to pay for them. I saw this over the weekend when we went to the playspace at the mall and she wanted to have a go at the coin-operated car-type things for the older kids. I always tell her she can pretend because I’d much rather spend money on her another way, but we had just gotten back from recycling our plastics and had given her the change so she had a quarter of her own to use.  I asked if she wanted to use it to make the little NASCAR replica go, and she said no. I offered to help her do it with one of the other ones and she said no, she could just pretend. It was then that I noticed her watching the little ice cream truck like a hawk. There were several children swarming it, and she isn’t the type to crowd in on someone else’s party.  She was biding her time until their mom said it was time to go, and sure enough that time came. Just as they were leaving she had me help her out of the car she was in and ran over to the ice cream truck.

“Maya, do you want to make this one go? I’ll match your quarter and raise you one so you’ll have enough.”

She nodded… I gave her the three quarters to put in and she pressed the start button.

And this is the face I got:

Joyous Maya
Joyous Maya

She made us pretend vanilla cones, some ice pops, vanilla chocolate swirls, and strawberry ice cream cups. Satisfaction in the simplest things.  Joy on her face, and mine.




By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


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