My-my-my Poker Face

March 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Posted in Giggles | 9 Comments

“If that’s your poker face, you’re in trouble, Bubba.”

So said my husband to Giggles the other night. They were running around our kitchen island, Giggles clomp-galloping in Daddy’s work loafers and trying desperately to outsmart Daddy’s tickling fingers. But my son? Couldn’t stop laughing. (And tripping.)

He has a great laugh. It’s infectious, whole-hearted, bubbly — all those words you always hear to describe a good laugh. But, it’s … more than that. Better. (And I’m not biased. Much.)

Do you see that? It's his heart on his sleeve.

Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run
When I’m trying to get him dressed and his shirt tickles his chin just so, it’s a squish-your-eyes-shut kind of laugh. When the cat slips under the table to mash his head into Giggles’ toes, it’s an applesauce-out-your-nose kind of laugh. When he’s running for dear life through the living room clutching Lollipop’s dearest, most treasured necklace/book/scrap of paper, it’s a holy-cow-she’s-gonna-pummel-me-and-I-love-it kind of laugh.

Maybe that’s the best thing about it. Once he starts, he just can’t stop. Even when it’s inopportune. When he races Lollipop up the stairs every night for their bath (a contest created and administered by Daddy and not-all-together-Mommy-approved, let me add), he stops, turns to look at Lollipop on his heels, and doubles over in, well, a fit of giggles.

She wins. Every night. And he just laughs.

Personality in Spades
Of course, every joker has a dark side. And for Giggles, it’s crying just as hard as he laughs. If he’s unhappy that you chose his tennis shoes and not his train shoes? If he wants to watch his favorite show about trucks and Lollipop is making him sit through the Sesame Street about princesses (again)?  If he wants more milk and you deign to suggest he first try a bite of broccoli?

Watch the heck out. He wails. He writhes. He wallows. And, oh, the crocodile tears. One day, he’ll be thanking the Academy, I feel sure.

That’s the thing that both thrills and scares me: The kid wears his heart on his sleeve, if ever a kid did. You know exactly where you stand with him. So will his friends, his teachers, his future colleagues. And the ladies? The Ladies will Love Cool Giggles.

His Trump Card
But so will the bullies. The car salesmen. The other poker players of the world’s trades, all looking to pull one over on the guy who can’t hide his smile. Or his sadness.

I can only dash off a quick prayer to Lady Luck that his emotional honesty will help him, not hurt him. That in the end, his laughter and his tears are his poker face. And that he’ll rake in a big pot of happiness because of them.

Because when he laughs like he does? We’re the ones who show our cards. And he wins, hands down.



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  1. I love this. my Wonderboy has a similar “showing his emotions” bent. Both the laughter – which is the best – and the dramatic tears. It can be pretty epic at times and I know what you mean about the worry. But listening to that laugh? I can’t imagine that sheer expression of emotion ever being bad.

  2. They always say “laughter is the best medicine”. So cute, and I’m sure it’s music to your ears. You are so blessed!

  3. Oh, I love this! Really beautifully written.

  4. That would be my middle son. As he’s grown, though, he has learned the unfortunate coping method of holding in some of the stuff that really bothers him. One time, he told me about a bullying situation that happened a YEAR EARLIER. Kind of hard to deal with something that is so far past, you know?

  5. Oh this is such a well-crafted and thoughtful post. I just love it. I know what you mean about fearing for your children as they go into the world with the hearts on their sleeves and that openness and honesty in their eyes . . . scary, but better for them to be able to keep being emotionally honest as long as they can.

  6. Oh, heartbreak. My older daughter, Miss D. is just like that. Everything she feels, she feels fiercely and openly. And yes, she’s is a bully’s dream. Hoping you can nurture that tender and open heart.

  7. So you’ve an accomplished liar and a heart-on-the-sleeve kinda kid. I have one of each too. Wonder which side Bun will fall on!

  8. Okay, I need to leave your blog now because this is the second post in a row that has me crying in front of my laptop! 🙂

    I can’t remember if we had “met” when I posted about my older son and the way he experiences his emotions, but he sounds quite a bit like your Giggles: the high highs and the low lows. Like you, I fear how he will fare in this wild world and can only hope that the highs will be higher and longer than the lows.

  9. My first is full out emotional. Big joys, big sorrows. With me. At school she is a stoic. Almost scarily so. When she was three, she ran smack into her friend. Head to head. Each had a golf ball size red mark. He cried. She didn’t. Until two hours later when I picked her up.

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