Today I decided to experiment on my child. Because SCIENCE. I taught her – in a matter of seconds – to make a sad face or a happy face on cue. This was incredibly easy, and although she was a lot quicker and more accurate if I made a sad face at her and cued her with the popular phrase, “Oh no!” (which, to be fair, most toddlers utter with macabre glee rather than sadness), I believe she is now able to simply fake sadness with a purely verbal clue. (Happiness is easy at her age, particularly as she knows she’s just learned a new trick.)
She is not yet twenty months old.
This means that, from the age of one – ONE – we understand emotion well enough to manipulate our own facial expressions accurately. . . . and we can use our faces to skilfully lie about how we feel.
It also, in practical terms, means that when I sense her cry of pain/frustration/whatever has passed the initial burst of real emotion, I can turn to Louisette and say, “Happy face!” and some of the time she really will just get over it and move on. I’ve already done it once today, and I suspect it’ll be super useful during the period when she uses her brand new ability to talk purely for the purpose of 24-7 whining. (“Happy face!” and a tickle attack is somewhat nicer than the, “Be quiet”/”That’s enough”/”Talk nicely” which are honest and reasonable but less fun and therefore less effective.)
I did a little bit of writing today, after begging CJ for help plot-wise yesterday, and filling in some huge holes. My writing is going to be much, much better with one simple strategy: Beside my Plot Plan I’ll have a Character Plan for where the main character starts and ends up psychologically, and why. And of course the two plans will constantly interact. (I also have a “Where are they/what are they doing at this point” plan for all the villains and other off-screen characters.)
I just sat down and wrote a floor plan for a castle. That was cool.