1. It took 117 attempts to get that one picture, and
2. I am probably saying and doing all kinds of ridiculous things to try to get her to actually smile, and
3. A third of the 117 attempts were blurry because she won't stop moving, and another third most likely included her screaming or crying for me to PLEASE-FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-THE-MAMARAZZI-STOP-TAKING-HER-PICTURE, and
4. There was some sort of bribery involved. Always.
And that's really the secret to parenting: bribery.
Any mother can tell you that she always had some judgments about other parents until she, herself, joined the mama club. Then all judgment goes out the window and you basically do whatever you can to survive.
And I myself have mastered the art of bribery in order to survive the toddler years.
Will you say cheese and look adorable for this picture? I'll give you a lollipop/cookie/donut/Milky Way.
Will you stay in the cart for the entire duration of the grocery trip? I'll let you pick out a surprise in the checkout line.
Can I stay in Target for just TEN more minutes? You can have whatever you want from the dollar spot.
Will you use the potty? You can have some M&Ms. Lots of M&Ms.
Will you behave for the six hour road trip? You can watch this new movie, play with this new toy, eat your body weight in junk food... just PLEASE, please stop whining.
So when you see my kid smiling on Instagram, or see a video of her singing adorably on Facebook, or see her sitting patiently in the cart at Target while I pick out fifteen more things that weren't on my list, just know that there's always something at stake. And usually something involving sugar.
Or bandaids. Bandaids are like crack in the Peele house.
And when you see something like this...
Please know that in reality, things look a lot more like this...
Because sometimes, the bribery just doesn't work.
So that's when I turn to wine.
For me, not her.