Let a smile be your somewhat frightening umbrella

Lately when I tell Hailey to smile for the camera she gives me this:


 …which is less like a smile and more like she’s getting squeezed too hard by invisible bears.  And if I tell her  “No baby, just smile normally” she’ll just try even harder to smile psychotically until her neck viens are bulging and she’s shaking like she’s about to start a fire with her mind.


I’ve tried to wait until she gets tired and goes back to acting normal but she’s very persistent. 


 By the way,  the whole reason why I took this picture in the first place was to capture the unintentional 80’s bangs that appeared after I took out her topknot.  Unintentional…but awesome.

65 replies. read them below or add one

  1. You slay me, Jenny.

  2. is it really windy where you live? what? i’m just asking.

  3. hehe Becca gives me that smile too! The bangs kick butt!

  4. I trick Aly. She gives me the cheese smile, and I tell her what a good one it was and then she smiles for real and I take the picture. What is the deal with the cheese smile?

  5. My sister used to close her eyes and smile as big as possible – without showing her teeth. We have some pretty hilarious Christmas cards from the early 80s. No awesome bangs like Hailey’s though, unfortunately. We had bowl cuts.

  6. HI-larious. Those are amazing. Captioned perfection.

  7. I don’t have any Aqua Net to give Hailey, but if I dug out my old green Caboodles I could maybe find an ancient bottle of Rave. Let me know what you need.

  8. I’m not sure which is the best part: the huge smile, the hilarious series, or the hair.

    Absolutely fabulous. 🙂

    And much, much better than what I get, which are scowls and the hairy eyeball. My family, so cheerful and pleasant. Gotta love it.

    Using My Words

  9. At least she still smiles. I think my son must be developing early because the teenaged glower has come to live on his face whenever the camera turns his way.

    But every now and then, I get lucky…

  10. Purple caboodles over here! Hollah!

    It’s almost like a tribute to Flock of Seagulls. Totally radical.

  11. Aw, I miss my pink caboodle.

    Do they still make those?

  12. I think I just wet myself

  13. I used to get wide-open-show-you-my-food mouth for “smile big honey,” but in her last school pictures I got a totally posed-looking smile.

    Makes me sad.

    But the 80’s bangs make me smile – that is awesome.

  14. “…squeezed too hard by invisible bears.”

    How, oh how do you come up with this stuff?

  15. I cannot stop laughing at that second picture. Even Mr.Tango leaned over and said, “what is THAT!?”

    SO funny!

  16. Yes. Not that I have any personal knowledge.

  17. I’m not sure what’s with the smile but those bangs totally rock!

  18. You know, I don’t think these pics would look so strange if she was sitting on a toilet.

  19. OMG, she is completely rocking that sprayed bangs look I maintained that entire (scary fashion) decade. That style was a total fire hazard!

  20. so i was sitting here looking at the 80’s bangs thinking “jenny, are you sure those aren’t pics of you!?” haha

  21. p.s. jake does the whole constipated smile too..

  22. I remember going through the forced-smile-of-fear phase with my daughter. I think we’re past that now and have moved on to the close-your-eyes-in-every-damn-picture phase.

  23. Toddler! Critical! Mass!


    Stop making me pee, Jenny.

  24. oh my… ‘jammin does it even worse than that.
    I’ve gotten tricky and start asking him questions that require answers that make his mouth take on the smile shape.

    “I like whipped cream” etc.

  25. Those bangs and that smile are a winning combination.

  26. So, Jenny, does she get her smile from you, or from Victor?


  27. I think these pictures should go on your holiday cards.

  28. The black-and-white effect makes these pics even more fabulous.

  29. I was scrolling down, reading that post and just waiting to give you hell about those bangs. But damn your self awareness you did it yourself!

  30. holy crap that is funny! and also, the black and white and big hair…makes me think she needs to be wearing an apron and pearls. too cute.
    and scary. all at once.
    It’s too much to behold.

  31. And I can’t see the third picture without ‘hearing’ the caption as if she’s gritting her teeth…

  32. Like, oh my god…I had those radical bangs also…hehehe! Remember when we used to tease our bangs a mile in the air?? Hello?? Or am I the only one who did that?? *sigh*

  33. Man, I wasted cans of hairspray trying to get a “speed bump” like that.

    My nieces are right into pulling those faces too.. I kinda like it, it looks like all sorts of happy.

  34. The bangs were the first thing I noticed. I thought to myself “Wow, she really does a lot to her daughter’s hair. I just make sure my son’s hair is not sticking up – too much.” 🙂

  35. Yeah…we don’t tell AJ anymore to “show me happy”. It gets a little scary.

  36. The Claw!

    We just saw the proofs of the “class photos” for our daughter’s pre-school, and she’s wearing a smile similar to your daughter’s. What is up with that?

  37. At least she understands what is expected of her. When I tell my daughter to say “Cheese”, she answers with “yes please” and then takes off towards the frige.

    Love the do.

  38. LOVE the Eighties hair! (Love the cheese too, but that goes without saying.)

  39. For a while mine gave me this crazed grimace, too, but I must say, Hailey’s got it down to a science. Popping neck chords and everything.

  40. I tell them not to smile, that whatever they do, don’t smile. I get the best laughing smile shots that way.

    Also, tell her to say a word. Not cheese, but something else. Nothing is coming to mind in the moment, but you know what I mean. Something with that sound.

    ps. Love the bangs.

  41. Her expression is that of a 56 year old librarian who just discovered someone has been eating in the library and she’s desperately trying to keep it together.

    I love it.

  42. That’s not just cheese, that’s cheese with a side of cheese.

  43. LOL! Woo! Look at that big Texas hair!

  44. she’s so freaking cute no matter the intensity of cheese.

  45. That’s cheesier than Cheetos! 🙂 And is it even possible to see the hairstyle past that smile? 🙂

  46. OH.MY.EVER.LOVIN.WORD! Hailey is a mini film noir goddess. You? Your command of prose? I have an eternal crush on your brain.

    And Melissa and Peter cracked me up. Heck, why stop with them? Your commentors are the funniest/sharpest in the biz.

  47. She just thinks she’s winning. When she turns 16 and brings her first date over, and you whip these pictures out and show them off, she’ll realize it’s not nice to fool with Mother’s Nature.


  48. There’s a fine line between pleasure and pain, y’know. And in those photos I think she’s edging up to the line. Heh.

  49. serious. I was looking at the progression, and thinking – oh god, Jenny, I long to discuss the perfect eighties bangs with you, demonstrated by your modelish girl, but I wouldn’t want you to be offended by my bringing it up.

    obviously, I still have some getting-to-know-you-better to do.

    *slaps self in head for being a dolt*

  50. Ha, at the LOLHaileys.

  51. Thanks for your comment Jenny…You are right Mr. Twinkle Toes is a Squidbilly! Go figure. Oh, and LOVE your daughter’s cheese! My used to do that but have since grown out of it. I plan on using the crazy pictures as blackmail when they start dating!

  52. Hilarious!!! My kids went through a stage, but it was nothing like this. You have leverage for lifetime Jenny! Way to go!

  53. wow. those teeth!

    i have several pictures of my 4-year-old nephew doing the same thing. cute and frightening, at the same time…

  54. She’s to cute for words;) and the hair do to funny.

  55. I have a whole series of cheesy Trevor smiles. It was a phase that passed. Good thing, too.

  56. Those are priceless!!!

    I love her little cow lick:)

  57. And yet, she’s still beautiful…but man (woman, I mean) those are perfect shots for Happy Halloween cards! hahaha

  58. Hilarious – and I was totally thinking, “did she DO that to her daughter’s hair?” until I read that you did not. You are, thereby, forgiven, for something you never did.

  59. What’s with all the hate for the hair? She looks adorably vintage, like some love child conceived during the filming of The Breakfast Club or Heathers. What could be better than that?

  60. Oh, thank you! I needed a good belly laugh!

  61. […] thinking that this was the most disturbing picture I’ve ever posted but then I remembered these.  […]

  62. I like the part where her veins jump out of her neck, the last visual clue I’ll have before my jugular is torn asunder. Stoopid Halloween.

  63. Looks like she was just watching too much Wallace & Gromit to me…. 😉

    Daniel Hagan’s last blog post..Test…

  64. Why you should never tell my daughter to smile…

    By Jenny (bloggess & mom of 4 year old) What you get when you don’t tell Hailey to smile: What you get when you do tell Hailey to smile: This is why we never tell Hailey to smile. PS. When……

  65. My brother was like that for the longest time. All the school pictures before 5th grade were just him showing his teeth 🙂 He wasn’t even SMILING, it was just :[]

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