ready for our closeup

OK, guys. If you had any lingering doubts about my undying love for you, I feel pretty confident that the following will put them to rest once and for all.

You see, dear readers, I’m about to show you – and in so doing make accessible via the Interwebz FOREVER – photos of myself looking pretty much like arse.

Why? Well, because a) I think they demonstrate a really fabulous tool for our kids, b) I’d like to believe that I’m not really vain enough to care (I am, but I’d like to believe that I’m not) and c) my kid sure as hell didn’t care what her Mama looked like when we took the pictures.

So ..

Deep breath.

Shake it off.

Here we go.


The other night, between shower time and bedtime (hence the wet head), Brooke and I played with the Photo Booth feature on my laptop. Brooke LOVES Photo Booth. She can sit in front of it for ages, playing with the various effects and making silly faces for the camera.

Her particular favorite is making herself into twins, a concept that, while nifty from a visual perspective, sorta scares the bejeezus out of me.



Doesn’t mean I wasn’t going to give it a shot though. Hey, Luau, look! You think I drive you crazy now? Imagine if there were TWO of me! (Insert evil laughter here)



We played around for a while. At one point, Brooke decided I needed a royal blue boa. And who doesn’t really?



I think that was one of the thousand pictures for which Brooke directed us to ‘sing opera’ though it also might be from the batch in which we were ‘saying poop’. Cause hey, who doesn’t like to say poop? Try it. It’s surprisingly entertaining.

We even tried out this nifty Andy Warhol effect. I thought it was kind of cool. Mostly cause you can’t see the dark circles under my eyes. Brooke? Not so much.



But then I had an idea. Like a big idea. Like a stop the presses this could be REALLY useful for my kiddo’s development kind of idea.

Don’t you love those? Those perfect moments when a fun activity suddenly lends itself perfectly to something that you work on ALL THE TIME and the next thing you know you’re working but it doesn’t feel like work at all? Uh huh, like that. Nifty, right?

And that’s how it happened, my friends. Practicing emotional recognition and identification became FUN.

We started with SLEEPY, cause that one’s our favorite.



Then we tried SURPRISED.



The coolest part was that Brooke could study my face at the same time that she looked at hers. When she had the tolerance for it, we talked a little about the various elements of each face. For example, what are the clues we can use to identify surprise? Mouth agape, face pulled back at the neck, eyebrows raised, crinkly forehead. She worked on making our expressions match. Pretty cool, right?

After surprised, she wanted to do her second favorite after SLEEPY. What, you had to ask?




It’s been extremely interesting to watch the evolution of Brooke’s on-demand smile. Even when she’s actually happy, she doesn’t tend to smile. It’s when she laughs that her face lights up and we see what we think of as a ‘happy’ expression. You can see how difficult it is for her to create a typical smile here. Anyway, that’s a whole post unto itself. Moving on ..

How about SAD?



I love that she insisted we add the hands in ‘for drying the boo hoo tears.’

Then MAD. Grrrr.



Then Brooke requested SILLY and well, who can resist a little silliness?



For the record, she calls that face I’m making ‘the hot dog bun’. Too much information? Yeah, probably. Sorry.

Next we tried SCARED.



OK, I can’t help it – doesn’t Brooke look like she’s doing Marlon Brando here? We just have to teach her to say, “I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

No? OK, maybe it’s just me.

Next we toned it down a little with NERVOUS.



OK, so they can’t all be perfect.

But now we have a FUN way to work on them!

How do YOU work on emotional identification in YOUR house? I’d love to hear your ideas!

17 thoughts on “ready for our closeup

  1. I really wish you could see the HUGE SMILE on my face right now!!! This is brilliant!! And oh, did I mention I love you? You are awesome.
    Since Cymbie’s only 3, we have just started to identify her emotions for her as she’s having them. ” Cymbie, you’re angry” or
    “happy”…and so on. The other day she pointed at a smiling Snow White on her head board pillow (On her *new* big girl bed which she LOVES), and said Happy! = )
    On a side note, she saw my thumbnail picture on FB last night and pointed to it and said “Mommy!” 3 or 4 times. My heart’s a puddle on the floor!
    I LOVE THIS POST Jess!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. I love these pix. Jeff also loves photo booth and he likes to make those weird effects. A dear friend gave him a camera when he graduated from HS in 2006 and it was the best gift. He is on camera #2. I love to look at his perspective when he takes photos. Of course, he is so tech savy he teaches us how to do things!! He also always changes everybody’s screen savers to some very unusual shots.
    What a great idea to use photo booth as a teaching tool…especially because you are obviously both having so much fun!!!

  3. Geez, you’re brilliant. Also adorable. Your girl is pretty cute too.

    My kids love looking at themselves on photobooth and over Skype. I’ll have to give this a go. Thanks for the idea!

  4. first of all – you look GORGEOUS, not at all like arse!

    Second, BRAVO for turning play into education. The world needs more moms like you, for our AS kids AND our NT ones!!!!

  5. great idea πŸ™‚ I love hearing such great stories of “Brooke” … miss her tons!

    – Courtney F

  6. What a great idea! Love when you can have fun and work on a skill at the same time! We do flashcards, books about emotions, and watching Mommy’s soap opera-the overacting makes for great teaching opportunity-just need to watch out for the inappropriate situations πŸ™‚

  7. I totally dig the Andy Warhol effect as well, but my kiddos are far more interested in an underwater scene or putting me on a rollercoaster. I’ve tried in vain to get Jonas to be interested in the Photo Booth because I want him to be able to play “Face Games” since there are soooo many facial movements that he cannot do yet (like puckering his lips). No go…yet anyway. I’m going to keep pushing, but what a great extension as he gets older. We’ve also only just started with labeling emotions as we have them. We label them for him, but we’re also starting to label them as we are experiencing them with him as well so that we train ourselves to communicate clearly with him. Anyway…I Love this idea! Thank you for sharing!

  8. whatever, you’re beautiful. the pics and the post are hilarious, as usual. my son and i will have to play a similar game with the hallway mirror. i think i may even show him these pics and see if he can guess brooke’s emotion. πŸ™‚


    rhema loves looking at herself on video, we’ve never tried working on emotions, but i replay clips of her saying a word (or words) during therapy – hoping it will prompt more language.

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