Tag Archives: poker face

Raising a toddler? Time to master your poker face

The title of this post is really a note to self.

I’m reasonably good at poker actually. I grew up in recession-era 80s Dublin where people didn’t go out to socialise and instead took turns hosting poker games at home on a Saturday night while enjoying a bottle of Blue Nun or Black Tower. These were the days before the nation realised wine doesn’t actually come from Germany. Myself and my three siblings spent manys the Saturday night peering over the shoulder of our parents’ friends to see their hands and were a whiz at divvying up the jar of coppers from the bottom of the wardrobe between us, just to make it interesting. My poker face was used early and often.

www.mindthebaby.ie Mind the Baby Blog Mastering Your Poker Face
Ah, the good old days
photo credit: aaronmcintyre via photopin cc

Yet somehow, I don’t seem to be able to throw myself back to that time and draw on those former skills when it comes to maintaining my poker face in front of the divilment of a 2 and a half year old. There are just so many inappropriate laugh out loud moments these days, it takes all of my self control not to break my shit laughing when really I should be grown up, serious mammy. Himself is also guilty of this although I tend to cave first.

Like the other night when I was preparing his bath which he wanted to get in to but, ya know, didn’t want to get in to, and I suggested he might wanted to run around naked for a little while instead, to which he curled up his fists, bent his knees and stuck his bum out and shouted in a big growly voice “NO MAMA, I DON’T WANT TO RUN AROUND IN THE NIP”.

Or on getting a huge reaction around the dinner table at the in-laws last week when he announced his poo was gone (we’re guessing he farted), he repeatedly shhh-ed us all, waited for silence, and then pronounced “My poo. Is gone” with beautifully dramatic, Shakespearian aplomb.

Not a day goes by at the moment where there I don’t find myself in tears laughing, and not a day goes by where I don’t have to adopt at least one of the following techniques:

  • going completely silent and not responding to an angry declaration for fear of giggling in his poor little face
  • turning my back and quietly shaking so he can’t see me
  • letting the tears stream down my face so that I can get the emotion out somehow while looking as deadpan as I possibly can
  • laughing into my sleeve
  • leaving the room
  • hugging my husband and laughing into his shoulder
  • biting hard on my lip
  • suddenly finding some important housework to do to my left

I’d say the child is mystified as to what’s going on when the two of us abruptly turn away from him at the same time so he won’t catch us laughing. Although sometimes this is a very effective serendipitious ending to a seemingly solution-less tantrum, so hurray for that.

I do love this age. It has it crazy tantrums that seem to be so perfectly timed for maximum fall out. But then it has the fun tantrums where you know you just can’t laugh, and the hilarious, rip roaring moments that only happen with a joyful, curious toddler that make your belly ache.

But the poker face must be mastered for the sake of all humanity! I might try counting to ten…