Watch your mouth

I did not marry my high school sweetheart. Of course, one has to have a high school sweetheart to get the chance of marrying one’s high school sweetheart, and … well, I did not have a high school sweetheart.

I had a kindergarten sweetheart. No, I didn’t marry my kindergarten sweetheart, either. I’m not sure the feeling was mutual back in kindergarten. I vaguely remember something about cooties, though the doctor never confirmed I had cooties.

My kindergarten sweetheart was Peter. The first time I saw him put pen to paper, I was mesmerized. The way he held his lips just so – with his tongue sticking out on the left side of his mouth. Wait. I was sitting across from Peter; his tongue was sticking out of the right side of his mouth.

Seeing Peter strike his pose always made me smile. Whenever Peter was creating or thinking, he would assume the position. His head tilted slightly and his lips tightened, while he stuck his tongue out of the side of his mouth. I was fascinated how he could not write or use his hands without the participation of his lips and tongue.

When my husband is involved in some sort of task, his lips strike a pose similar to Peter, minus the tongue. Rob’s lips tighten slightly and take more of a pre-pucker pose. One might describe the formation of Rob’s lips as pursed; however, I will not use the word ‘pursed’ to describe his lips or the lips of anyone else.

In my humble opinion, describing lips as pursed is overused. I blame Stephanie Meyer and the Twilight series. I think ‘pursed lips’ is on every page of every book within the Twilight series.

I digress.

This past weekend, Rob and I were very busy with chores. In addition to doing chores, I spent a great deal of time looking at and watching Rob keep busy. Whenever I saw his lips strike the pose, I smiled. Even now, visualizing his pre-puckered mouth puts a smile on my face.

When I write or do chores, my lips are turned inward and held in place by my locked jaw. Realizing the tightness of my lips and jaw, I open my mouth and smile widely, trying to relax the muscles. Unconsciously, as I resume the task, my lips assume the position again.

I have a tendency to hold a great deal of tension in my jaw and mouth. I’m not the only person in the family to have such a quirk, either. My Nana was a worrier, and I dare say my Aunt (Nana’s daughter) is a worrier, too. Looking at pictures of my Nana and my Aunt, I see the lines of worry around their mouth. I know those lines are in my future, too.

Yes, if I am sitting and thinking (aka: worrying), my lips are slightly scrunched, my mouth is shut tight, and my jaw is clenched. As a result, just like Nana and my Aunt, I am beginning to see the lines of tension and nervousness appear around my mouth.

Thank goodness for sleep.

When Rob is starting to fall asleep while sitting on the couch, I will watch his head slowly tip forward. Fighting off sleep, like a child, Rob will quickly bring his head up, raise his eyebrows for a second and pucker his lips quickly, as if he is kissing the air. When I am starting to fall asleep, I feel my lips relaxing to the point that my mouth opens slowly.

Watch your mouth. If you were to look in a mirror right now, what would you see?


Side Note: Peter and I attended kindergarten through third grade together. Our elementary school closed in third grade, and our families went separate ways. In a funny coincidence while flipping through Rob’s high school year book one afternoon, I found a picture of Peter. He and Rob were in the same class, and they graduated from high school together. In fact, they graduated from Georgia Tech together, too. Pretty neat, eh? It is to me.

29 thoughts on “Watch your mouth

  1. My daughter tends to stick her tongue out while she’s concentrating. So does my son. Me? I go into more of a glassy-eyed slack-jawed stare. It’s very attractive.

    That is a cool coincidence about your kindergarten sweetheart and Rob. Small world!

    I have to tell you, your comment about Twilight had me laughing. All of the “his lips formed a tight line” or “his lips pursed, broodingly” pretty much prevented me from even getting past the first chapter. I could not get past all of the lips comments! Not a big fan of pasty white vampires with pursed lips I guess…

    1. Darla, i could write a long rant about the over-usage of ‘pursed’ lips. Oh my goodness, how it irritated me. I still cringe when I read it in other books. Again, I blame S Meyer.

      Isn’t it a neat coincidence? It’s no ghost story, but I think it is cool!

      You crack me up with your glassy-eyed-slack-jawed stare. I’m not buying it. 🙂

  2. Daughter #2 married her junior/senior high school sweetheart but they weren’t sweethearts all the time…sometimes on…sometimes off. I do think they are made for each other though.

    So how/where did you meet Rob? Surely not Ga Tech? Agnes Scott? ha-ha

    Yep…I have my father’s mouth and before him, his mother’s mouth. I recognize it and try hard to keep it smiling. Once I went to the dentist because my jaw was locked with tension…it only happened once but like licking nail biting, I licked my jaw ever locking up again by consciously relaxing it by keeping my mouth open ever so slightly when I caught myself “doing it.”

    A friend from Michigan State moved to Houston back in our 20’s. Imagine Rick’s surprise when he found out her future husband was a former classmate of his in Shreveport, LA! I love stuff like that, too.

    1. Sometimes on and sometimes off … isn’t that the way of most relationships even when married? (smile)
      I went to UGA – no way would I attend GA Tech. (The fact that I could not get in had nothing to do with it, either. (hee, hee))
      I met Rob while playing pool. He was on a pool league, and I was a groupie. The funny thing is – we grew up in different cities and counties.
      The fact that Peter landed at Rob’s high school blew my mind. And then, when Rob got out his college yearbook to show me Peter – I flipped.
      Too funny. Stories like these are fun.

      I try to relax my mouth, when I feel myself tensing. Even now, I am consciously keeping my mouth – well, TRYING to keep my mouth relaxed.
      I must admit, it is nice seeing my Nana’s face when I look in the mirror. My Dad had the same thing, too. Strong genes. 🙂

  3. Both of our boys stick their tongues into their (inside) cheek when concentrating; Imagine my surprise when I saw two of my nephews (on my side of the family) do the same thing! You’re right … our mouths say and do a lot.

    I’m a clencher … and had to get a dental guard to wear while sleeping. What an amazing difference it has made in jaw/neck tension!

    Fun post … MJ

    1. Clench – not clinch. Right. Wow. So glad you commented, MJ. I fixed my mix-up.
      I’ve seen many kids with their tongue firmly in their cheek. Funny. Funny how it appears to be common in your family, too.
      I think it means your family is full of deliberate thinkers. 🙂
      I should get a dental guard. I’ll ask about it the next time I go to the dentist.
      Glad you liked the post. More glad you used ‘clencher’ in your response.

      1. ha ha I never noticed that “clinch” was in there 🙂

        Have your dentist check out the wear on your teeth and jaw tenderness. I had no idea and thought my headaches/neck aches were due to an old neck injury = not so. Got fitted, got the guard and I’ve never slept without it – not even napped. Life changer!


  4. Oh no…I’m off to grab my mouth guard. I was told to wear it as much as possible. I’m training myself to stop clenching my teeth/jaw. It was so bad I was breaking teeth! I didn’t realize the extent to which I was creating bite problems. I couldn’t yawn without almost locking my jaw.

    So my attention is very much on my mouth these days. It is difficult to remember to keep my teeth apart when I close my mouth. I think I spent years trying to get them to meet perfectly!

    There it’s in and now my lips are going crazy over where to sit naturally! 😀

    1. With all the talk of mouth guards – I truly think it is high time I invest in one. Good to know I’m not the only one who keeps tension in the jaw. (Not that I wish tension on anyone.)
      I’ll do my best to take your mind off your mouth next time, Soul Dipper, OK? I’ll try and get your mouth to smile and laugh, giving it a much needed tension break. 🙂

  5. Huh. I haven’t really paid that much attention. I think I chew on my lips a lot. Or do a duck-face kind of thing. Not attractive, either way.
    What is it even supposed to mean when they say lips are “pursed?” Do they have a crumpled kleenex and unwrapped piece of Juicy Fruit on them?

    My husband and I went to the same high school but never met while I went there. He used to date the sister of the guy I dated my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. I did meet him once, while at my boyfriend’s house, but I barely remember it. A year or so later, he worked with my sister. Through conversation, he figured out who I was (he remembered meeting me) and found out that I broke up with my boyfriend and asked my sister for my phone number. One year after our first semi-blind date, he asked me to marry him.

    Your Peter/Rob story is one of those amazing coincidences that I just love. Makes you really think about how all our lives are enter-connected.

    1. I don’t get the meaning of ‘pursed’ either. Pick up any book within the Twilight series, though, and you’ll see ‘pursed lips’ frequently. I haven’t read Breaking Dawn, so I can’t say all four are filled with pursed lips, though I think it is safe assumption.

      So you married your high school sweetheart that you happen to meet years later! (smile) It works. And yes, I love amazing coincidences like the Peter/Rob story. There are other neat stories involving me and Rob, and I believe these stories are a good indicator we are where we should be.

      Thanks for visiting, Amy!

  6. My kindergarten boyfriend was Michael Morris. He came over to play once after school. We ate Fig Newtons and tapioca pudding. We slow danced as we listened to the Patridge Family on the record player in my room. He wore green pants and I loved him.

    I have a terrible habit of clenching my jaw. Sometimes when I’m feeling stressed out, I wear a mouth guard at night. I’m also addicted to chapstick. I may need an intervention.

    I loved this post, Lenore. It made me smile. 🙂

    1. I’m glad it made you smile, Nancy. Hopefully, the smiling gave your jaw a nice reprieve from the tension. 🙂

      I love the story of your kindergarten boyfriend – actually, I just love that you remember every detail. For the record, I had the same album. It had a house drawn on it, right? And the Partridge family was sitting inside? Loved that album.

      P.S. I just found out (via stalking) that Peter married a neuropsychologist. Good to know my crushes married well. (smile)

  7. Cute, cute. Do you suppose Peter still gathers his lips together and probes the air with his tongue when he’s thinking? I don’t know what the heck I do when I’m thinking…I guess I don’t do enough of it…thinking, that is.

    1. Ha! …. thinking that is. Thank you for that point of clarification, Linda. (smile)
      As sad as it may sound, I do wonder if Peter still does the lips/tongue thing. One doesn’t outgrow such a habit does one?
      I suppose I should give my clenched jaw a break and think less. 🙂
      Thanks for visiting!

  8. You’re right: pursed lips are on every page of Twilight. At least the first book. I had to stop reading after that. My lips were actually tired.

    1. Jacquelin, her frequent use of that word is incredibly annoying. Really. I cannot vent about it enough. The fact that you stopped reading due to the pursed thing proves my point. Thank you for that.

      In other news, I am reading Between Shades of Gray, and I am loving it. I hope to finish it this week.

  9. At the risk of using an overworked term, I unconsciously “purse” my lips when thinking, working, etc. Now the wrinkles have formed that way. Can’t help it, can’t stop it, can’t do anything about it at this stage of the life game.

    1. Pegoleg, because I am thrilled to see you here in my neighborhood, I will excuse your use of an overworked term. Please, try to use another word (or words) to describe your habit of protruding and tightening your lips to the point of creating lines around your mouth, OK? However, if the preceding request will prevent you from coming back to my neighborhood, then disregard it.

      Try as I may – and I do try – my mouth quirk is set in stone. Those are the breaks, as my Mom says.

  10. When I’m concentrating I start chewing my lip. After a time I realise I’m ding it and have to try and control myself, which intereferes slightly with my concentration. Thats life for you

    1. Funny how that works, Peter. And, for the record, you were not the ‘Peter’ I wrote about in my story. However, I am happy to hear about another Peter with a quirk. Welcome.
      I find the instant I catch myself tightening my mouth, the train of thought leaves me… *sigh* then I assume the position again, in hopes of regaining that lost thought.

  11. Oh this one hits home Lenore Diane. When I am falling asleep on the couch, which is whenever I have a glass of wine, so like every night, Hot Joe says I get an angry face. I frown. Yup. SOOOOOO pretty. He said sometimes he will press my forehead very carefully and I will relax. Awesome. Everyone wants to be frowning. I told him he isn’t allowed to look at me anymore. And I HATE it, cause as soon as my eyes shoot open and I realize they were closed I look at Hot Joe and there he is smiling at me. Then he will scrunch up his face and frown at me.

    He’s mean.

  12. I’ve had to work on relaxing my jaw, and wear a mouth guard at night, too. Kindergarten, you were so young! I wasn’t engaged until first grade.

    1. I’ve yet to get the mouth guard, but I have a dental appointment soon – so I will check with my dentist.
      I did start young, Patti. Ironically, I didn’t marry until I was 33.

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