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  • Susie Csorsz Brown

Faking it

Dyspeptic. Crotchety. Cantankerous. Sulky. Bad-tempered. All so much more descriptive than just ‘grumpy’, right? Grumpy is so vanilla and boring. Want to know what my favorite tool is on the computer? The dictionary tool. I really love a good synonym.

Not that long ago, my eldest asked me for a book of all of the languages in the world. Well, first he wanted to take Chinese language classes (after a day spent immersed in French at his sports camp), and then he asked for the book. The boy’s mind is never at rest. My hope for him is that he uses that mind for good, not like those malevolent people who create viruses that take over good bits of the computer world. I know, I know there’s a good bit of space between the two. I have avoided looking at the news the last few days just to play ostrich and hide from the plethora of bad news we find on any news site.

I digress. We are crotchety over here. Summer vacation is not running as smoothly as one could hope, especially considering this is day 15 for the boys to be at home. We still have 15 days until school starts. I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking (kids were otherwise occupied running around the embassy pool, spraying each other. Apparently, one does not get sufficiently soaked while playing IN the pool; one must also drench oneself and others in the vicinity with squirters and then jump in), and made a decision: I don’t like being this dyspeptic. Because, literally, it is making my stomach hurt. So I’m going to use one of my coaching tools and I am going to do my absolute best to give them positive. Even if all I get back is a sheer wall of antipathy, I will soldier on. Yup. Otherwise, I will have to get in the car and leave and I am fairly sure that is against the law.

Wish me luck.

Did you know that if you fake a smile or a laugh, it is likely to morph into a real one? In fact, smiling alone can make you feel better. Did you know that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile? Frowning seems like a silly thing to waste extra energy on. Smiles are also socially contagious, so that’s even more of a reason to ‘fake it’, seeing as how they are one of the very few contagious things you would want to see spread, especially through your entire family.

A few more tidbits. Did you know that when you count to 10 when you are angry, you are really delaying your impulse. Anger, when delayed or deferred, is a weakened impulse. Weakening a negative impulse is a good thing. Sometimes, when all I really want to do is just yell, I take a deep breath, count to 10, and hug the little offender instead. Hugging makes both of us feel better. Especially for my middle son, this is an effective tool to calming us both down.

So. Summer is supposed to be relaxing and fun. Summer is supposed to be enjoyable. I think I need to remind us all of that, perhaps every morning. And afternoon. And evening. It does help knowing, too, that school is just around the corner.

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