15 June 2007

Be "Exasperation"

Years ago, on Sesame Street, I think, they showed a sequence where people displayed different emotions, and the off-screen children would announce what faces they were making (HAPPY! SAD! EXCITED!) in order to teach children either a)how to read these expressions on others, or b)how to become a bad actor. Our family took to playing this game in the car, but our version went like this: Stephen (7 years younger than I) would tell mom to "BE" whatever, and she would show that emotion. "BE SLEEPY! BE SURPRISED! BE WORRIED!" Our favorite was "BE . . .COOPERATION!" Anywho, for a while, my brother's version of these emotions was uncannily near in appearance to how my mom displayed them. I always thought that was funny, especially since my mom's version was a bit (as you can imagine if you know her) over-the-top.

Kids. I chuckled. So impressionable.

Fast forward to the present (my brother, now 23, displays emotion very appropriately), and I've got my own little impression-master named Charis. She has always been big into making faces--I blame the large mirror in our living room and the fact that her mother is a bit of a ham--so various expressions of happiness or fatigue or even cooperation are normal around here. But the other day, I was mildly frustrated by something--say, the tightness of the pickle jar lid or the crumby mess that was on the floor where moments earlier there had been animal crackers--and uttered a sound that any one of you would recognize, sort of a throaty "rrnnrnrnrnggggghhhh!" Well, dear, sweet, impressionable Charis happened to be nearby.

So now, whenever Charis wants to convey that she is somewhat less than pleased about something, as today in the car on the way home from Meijer when I wouldn't allow her to have any of the mini-donuts she picked out, she emits that same sort of rrrrrnrnrnggghh! in a distinctly 3-year-old way, and does so repeatedly until you have acknowledged that you understand she is frustrated.

Kids. SOOOOO impressionable.

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