I can’t quite pin point exactly when it started but I know from pictures that it wasn’t there when we went to Disney in October and that it appeared some time around Christmas as I was trying to get an appropriate Christmas card picture.
Somewhere around 3 years old Jack decided that when you are asked to smile, it’s not something you do naturally but instead an act of forcing out your lower jaw and gritting all your teeth for the world to see.
And at first I was annoyed saying “that’s not how you smile, smile like you mean it” or “show me a real smile”.
My Mom pointed out that my brother did the same thing as a kid, that this is what he thinks other people look like when they smile.
This smile like so many other things is just a phase. Something that will pass as quickly as it came. That one day I will forget that he smiled in such a way. That when I look back at pictures this will be the smile that he had a 3, which is so different than the one he had at 1 or even 2. A smile that isn’t even the same as the one that comes naturally when his Dad comes home from work or when he watches his favorite TV show. It’s not the one that greats me when I pick him up from preschool or the one the one he wears when he plays with his favorite toys.
But it is the one that appears anytime the camera is out, any time I say, “smile” or “can I take your picture”. It is the smile that will only last a phase, so I’ve stopped asking for his “real smile” and cause this is 3 and about as real as it gets.