The scene: I’m cuddling with Josie in her bed.
Josie: Mommy, you have stripes on your face!
Me: (dying inside) Yes, babe, those are called wrinkles…
Josie: Why do you have those?
What I was thinking: I have those because of you and all of the sleepless nights and the stress that you cause me. And because I’m getting old and I didn’t inherit flawless skin and you won’t either, so there!
What I actually say: These are from laughing and smiling so much! You’ll have these someday, too, because you’re such a fun and joyful person!
When it paid off: A few weeks later, Josie ran to me and proudly pointed to the “stripes” she gets out of the corners of her eyes when she dons her biggest smile. “I have stripes because I’m such a happy girl!” Victory is mine.