Thursday, March 7, 2013

How Many Times Do You Smile In A Day?

Hands down, my favorite time of day is when my children are sleeping. There. I said it.

I'm free from responsibilities! I can sit! I love to sit. Phooey. I never get the chance to sit. Sitting on my couch in front of the TV while also Facebooking from my phone, to me, is pure bliss.

I was in that bliss last night when I heard a toothpaste commercial claiming that "Americans smile on average up to fifty times a day." I the only person who finds this data suspect?

I mentioned this on my Facebook page, laughing at the thought of how one would even go about authentically conducting such a study, and then I thought, well, where do I rank? Despite this insane life of special needs, I'm a happy person. I laugh and smile all day.

Is fifty a large number where smiles are concerned? I decided to find out by tracking my smiles today...'cause, I'm not a nerd or anything like that.

Most people begin their day some time around 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. However, that's not how special needs households typically roll. No sir! Well, at the very least, most houses with autism don't work that way.

We in our home usually start our day around 2:30 a.m. with a good bed-wetting in one room, a frat party in another, enough trips downstairs for water to fill an adult camel, one child losing toys--which simply must be found or else the world will end-- while the other child reaches panic mode about the fact that he is sitting in bed trying to sleep but sleep is not coming.

Night waking simply rocks.

Today, one hour into the day, I had easily logged not one smile; however, I had also not cursed nor yelled, so I considered this a win in my parenting book.  Therefore, I settled back into bed and listened to the sound of Boobahs coming from our older son's bedroom. He was playing the same ten-second portion of the introduction over and over and over again.

My husband had decided to comfort our anxious younger son by camping out on the floor of his bedroom  I reached for my phone, hoping to end the insanity,  quiet my brain and find fatigue once more. Ah, there was my toothpaste post from a few hours before!

Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Additional responses to the posting yielded six smiles. :)  For me, social media is not a waste of time. it is a mental break from an otherwise mentally taxing life. Thank you, Friends. :)  {*Making a silent note to add this smile to my list. lol.}

"Mamamommy, I want potty, please!" I soon heard our older son call to me. It was 4 a.m.

He is not independent in the toilet.  So, I went to him, and we made our way to the bathroom where that child turned around and looked at me. He really, really looked at me. He pulled me down to his level, straightened my long hair, then looked back into my eyes and smiled.  His face, that face which was usually so overcome with sensory overload that it carried a far-off look, a look that caused him to seem disconnected, that face was so very clear. He looked. He smiled. And, I smiled back.

You can bet. I smiled back. There, in the bathroom at an obnoxious hour of the day, my child and I had a rare moment of staring into each others eyes clearly and affectionately, and we were smiling. :)

To my list, you can then add an additional four smiles over the next 30 minutes for kissing the skin off of him.


How hard can this be? Who cares if our day began when, at one stage in life, it used to end? We're already off to a great start! So, let's count!!

1-6) Responses from FB friends.
7) Thankful for the reprieve that social media offers in my day.
8) A lingering moment of true clarity with our older son.
9-12) A mouthful of kisses for said moment.
13-16) Chatting with a FB friend once morning began.
17)Three words: upstairs coffee pot!!!! Every special needs parent needs one.
18) Extra smile for the genius and the joy the above brings to the morning.
19)Haha. Hahaha. Husband and I look like zombies.
20)Down in kitchen. Hello Halloween skeleton.

21) Best. Breakfast. Ever.
22) More coffee.
23)Hello dog who always wears a polite bow tie.

Medication duty with older son. No choice but to brave going into his bedroom, which I loath to do after the night of wakefulness. I stepped on a mound of Boobahs and tripped. Drat. Can't subtract smiles.

24)Missed the bus. Must drive to school. Toileting reluctant older son. Told him to sit and he flashed gorgeous smile to avoid. I'm a sucker.
25) Told son to sit again, and he sat in my lap. I'm still a sucker.
26) Son in my lap (still not toileting) reminded me that he has a song for the jiggly skin on my upper arm. Sings it as he flaps it away. Ugh. Humbling. But still smiling.
27)Older son out the door for school in father's car. Yippee!!
28)Shower at lightening speed before younger son's tutor arrived. Looked in the mirror to do hair and my image did NOT crack it! Woot!
29)A successful teaching moment in homeschool with younger son. Yay mom.
30)Back-to-back therapy for school phobic son complete. Ahhh.

Shoot! Private therapist appointment at her office in ten minutes!  Forget girlie clothes. Forced to wear the work out gear I had on. Almost out the door. Drat! Gecko must attend this session per son's orders. Slap gecko in travel case. Out the door.

Ten hours into this log, I've got 23 smiles. I think that's weak.

31) Hello, therapist.
32) Correction by younger son to therapist that the Geiko commercial has a Madagascan Day gecko, not his Leopard gecko. Psssh. C'mon, lady.
33) Good-bye, therapist.
34) Discussion in car on the way home with younger son about what I can do with the "balloons" that he is noticing under my t-shirt. Ahem.
35-37) Extra smiles for above conversation.
38) Greet older son on bus. He smiles when he sees me.
39)"I missed you today," I tell him with a smile as we walk into the house. "Welcome home."
40) Receiving a special invitation to partake in vacuum worship.

41)Hearing  older son singing, "I've Been Working On The Railroad", and also the theme song to "Barney".
42)Hearing, "All done!" when I pop into his room to tell him he did a great job singing. Translation: Get out, Mom.

Toileting accident. Don't we just love those?

42)Reading "Fox in Socks" with my reluctant reader.
43)It's Five o'clock!! It's Five o'clock!! It's Five o'clock!!
44)And my house is EMPTY! It's EMPTY! It's EMPTY!
45)SSShhhhh! Listen to the quiet! Ahhhhhhhh.
46)To the Mom Cave.

47)Inhale. Exhale.
48)Dog at my feet
49)14.5 hours into the work day, and I don't want to sell my kids. I actually still like them and am ready to face what fate this coming night brings.
50. Wine.

So, while I was able to hit fifty smiles, by a paltry 5p.m. I also see that my day started much earlier than most. And, while the day is still early, and I could easily continue this little experiment, I'd much rather consider this a learning experience complete. Fifty might just well be a good number, toothpaste commercial. And, as for me? Well, I hit that number just fine. Wouldn't you know the very things in life that are sure to drive me to insanity are the things that also bring me my daily joy?

Cheers, everyone!


  1. Love this! I am sure I would top 100 daily,if I took the time to count. It made me smile thinking about counting smiles!

    Herein one more,just cuz I lovety love YOU. :-)

  2. Yay..I figured out how to comment from my iPad!

    1. Jo, I definitely think that II would have many more smiles. I smile from my heart outward. It's just who I am. However, My mood was more subdued today for me due to the rough night.

      I think I'll do this again when II feel more rested.

      Add two more smiles: reading your lovity love and sending some back!

  3. Amy, sending you a bunch more smiles--the ones I had while reading your post! :-) :-)

  4. yes, I had smiles too; at least you can laugh about it. Or make us laugh? Great post as always.

  5. I'm imagining the balloon conversation and smiling right now. :O)

    Being around kids--especially kids you adore--boosts the smile factor considerably, I think. It probably also promotes the growth of gray hair and causes deep, furrowing grouch wrinkles, but that stuff is a reasonable enough tradeoff for the laugh lines.

    I'm a smilin' fool. I smile frequently throughout my workday (and scowl some, too) and am pretty sure my smile-to-minutes ratio improves after work. It's probably off the charts on weekends, but I've never really taken even a mental tally. I'd guess that except on particularly grouchy days (not that I, um, have any of those) I probably hit the 50 mark well before lunch.

  6. What a great post! I love the way you mixed the narrative in with the countdown. By the way, how does one count one very long held smile, like the one I'm wearing right now as I consider all the joys of your life? Does it rate as just one, or does it get another point after every 5 seconds or so? Maybe I should ask the toothpaste people eh?

    Sometimes I wonder what other workers think of me when I'm walking into the wind across the frozen shipyard, heading for some obnoxious inner bottom with a heavy load of tools, expecting to set my pants on fire, but smiling like a happy fool! I probably reach 50 smiles easily, even though I don't have all the marvelous joys you have Amy. Each smile counted probably represents just a fraction of a blessing.

  7. I never really thought about it before but I don't think I smile as much on the outside as I do on the inside. I'm far too lazy to even attempt to count how many times I smile in a day. This post leaves me wanting to try for more than my current daily number,though, and I definitely smiled a few times as I read this.