Last week on the drive to school, Diddy asked me if it was true your face can freeze.
It was pretty frickin’ cold in the car and as per usual none of us were appropriately dressed, this being California and my having recently fallen prey to the kids’ VERY LOUD PROTESTATIONS that if it’s CLEAR and SUNNY outside is must also be WARM.
(Note to self: Kids aren’t that smart. Stop listening to them.)
But it wasn’t FACE FREEZING cold. I mean, I have been places where it is effing freezing. Like Manitoba. Or Chicago. Did she mean like when I had a boyfriend who lived in Chicago and I went to visit him in January and my lips froze together? Because yes, THAT can happen, and that, my darling, is wny I am not married to that man in Chicago –
“No, not THAT! I mean like when you make a crazy face or a mean face something,” she said.
At this juncture, some parents might stop and think a moment. For instance, last month when we parsed the difference between extinct and imaginary in re. unicorns, I totally copped out and went with what I, actually possessing one, am allowed to call the total pussy play of “What do YOU think?”
But not this time. This time I was ready to step up and knock it out of the parenting park and make a real difference in my child’s emotional and intellectual development. I was shaping a whole human here and I was ready.
(I would also like to point out that I was fully dressed and accessorized, too, thank you very much. At 730. In the freezing car. Yes, Mama is knocking it out of the park this year, or at least faking it till she yadda yaddas.)
“YES!” I said. “Yes! Yes yes yes! I am so glad you brought that up this morning! Your face absolutely can and will freeze that way and I keep forgetting to tell you!“
“So wait – if I make a scary face, or a gross face, or a –“
“Or a whiny face, or a scream-y face, or a tantrum face,” I said. “All those faces. Boom. Frozen forever.”
“Really? Forever? How do you fix it, if your face freezes?”
“You can’t? You mean, I’ll have that frozen face forever?”
“Forever. And if you get frozen with your mouth shut, you won’t be able to talk. Or eat. It’s pretty terrible. You’re starving, and you’re all aggravated because you know the right answers to ALL the questions but you can’t even raise your hand because you CAN’T TALK.”
“Will your face freeze if you’re smiling?”
“Smiling,” I said with as much solemnity as I could muster, “is the only thing you can do to make sure your face won’t freeze. Smiling and laughing.”
She started laughing.
“Exactily,” I said. “It’s a good idea to start laughing RIGHT AWAY.”
“I’m not laughing because I’m laughing,” she said. “I’m laughing because this is serious! I always start laughing when we talk about serious things!”
“You’re right,” I said. “Very very serious. If you hadn’t reminded me today your face might have even frozen TODAY. FOREVER.”
“Mine, too?” Gaga piped up.
“Yours too. Yours, and your sister’s, and your brothers’ … can you imagine all those frozen faces? It is a good thing we had this talk.”
“But Moooooooooom,” Diddy started –
“You’re whining,” I said.
“Oh no! Quick, Mom! Make me laugh! Make me laugh!”