They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.
Parenting is a mixed drink with one part observation, two parts perspiration, a splash of carbonation and as many parts alcohol as your state’s liquor laws will allow. As we learn to parent, and by "learn" I mean fail continuously toward a result, we have come to understand that there are various signs to watch out for. In fact, they are looking right at us.
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, and what better way to recognize your child’s emotions than the very lenses they use to see the world.
Amazed (bulging eyes, eyebrows arched)
The awe of Christmas morning meets the shock of an accidental poop in their pants. These widest eyes are reserved just for special occasions. Sometimes visions of sugarplums can leave a mark.
Puppyfied (giant Puss 'n' Boots pupils)
These giant radar dishes transmit a kid's Jedi mind trick. "You WILL read me another story.” They say the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Well, parents, if you’re faced with these saucers of cute, you’re in trouble. They might’ve pooped in their pants, and you won’t even care.
Happy (lower lid slightly higher and crinkled)
Pleasantly open, but slightly crinkled on the side like a murder of baby crow’s feet, this is the proverbial “all clear." Which is usually both expensive and tiring, but generally poop-free.
Sad (watery eyes, crumpled brow)
They're about to cry for any reason or no reason at all. They could also be working on whipping up sympathy for some manipulative purpose. Sadness plays many parts in the plots and plans of puny people, and sometimes in the pants. You can usually smell sadness a few feet away.
Angry (lowered brow, slightly squinting)
Who knows what lurks in the hearts of children. Well, you’ll know soon enough with angry eyes. Like an order of small-fry Mr. Potato Heads, handing your kids their angry eyes means you’ll likely be mashed in no time. The poop joke here should be obvious.
Bored (half-lidded eyes)
Children, especially during summer breaks and moments of important learning, want to sing you the song of their people: “I’m bored.” It’s a swan song, a battle cry and a love story (like Twilight, but better). They’ve pooped their pants and they’re over it.
Suspicious (slitted eyes)
Whether they are trying to calculate how 10 more minutes of playtime passed when the clock suggests otherwise or wondering where their holiday candy went, these kids aren’t buying it. Or they might be thinking it isn’t really the dog that stunk up the living room.
Sleeping (closed eyes, with one peaking)
Finally, they are sound asleep. They look so warm and peaceful. This is what it’s all about—the quiet times and small, sweet hours — hopefully they don’t poop the bed.
How to Be a Dad is a paid contributor to Clorox’s SpinCycle helping you navigate the messiness of parenthood.