There's French, Spanish, German....But, do you speak Three-Year-Old? I'm not very fluent in it either, but I have my moments of clarity where my brain can switch from the language of Middle Schooler to Little People and something magical happens.

It may not seem like a big deal to others, but to me it was a HUGE lesson in breaking down a pose to help a little one relax her smile and get a good shot.

[Enter sweet Ms. Violet]

Throughout our session together, Violet's smile seemed a little forced or slightly stiff to me:

While totally cute and hilarious, "How do I get her to relax her cheeks and smile?" I kept frantically searching my mental tool belt and here is a step by step of what I had Violet do:

1. "Violet! Hold up your hands like me." (holding up hand with all fingers extended as if to give a high five)

2. I took each hand and placed them on the back of the chair she was sitting on for placement. This also gave her something to hold on to for my next direction.

3. "Violet! Can you close your eyes for me sweetie?"
Any time I had asked her to do something for me earlier in the session, she was all helping hands! I was sure she'd help me with this task and do something "for" me. Notice in the photo that she lowered her chin too as if she had nodded off to sleep or was ready to pray?

4. "Ok Violet, open your eyes to look at me please."
Politely asking never hurt anyone!

5. "Violet, do you love your new little sister, Tess?"
Mom had told me earlier that the girls adored the new addition. So, I already knew the answer and hoped for a more naturally occuring smile...

She looked over at her baby sister getting some lovin' from Mom and gave me a sweet hint of a smile, not just on her lips but in her eyes too. :)

Mission accomplished. [insert huge sigh of relief here]