"One day it struck me that probably up until their pre-teens, kids live in a unique world of "eyebrows and nostrils." Oh, sure, go ahead and laugh, but get down on your knees and look up at an adult! Uh-huh! Right, aren't I!
When you really think about it, you, as the adult, become sort of a roadmap and tourist guide to their reactions. One eyebrow raised is almost always accompanied with disapproval; both raised means "Oh, my god! Why did you flush the silly-putty down the toilet?" And if both eyebrows plunge downward toward the kid, well, they have a good idea it's going to be "time-out" #34 for the day!
Now, you ask, what could nostrils project? Think for a moment about one of the cartoon dinosaurs videos..."fire" spurts out with such intensity from their nostrils, it immediately prompts "fear and destruction". The kid automatically understands. However, they can't truly associate both nostrils "twitching," just because it was easier for the kid to "poop" in his training pants than sitting on the toilet and counting his toes. That nostril gesture might also be due to mom or dad discovering a partially-eaten tuna fish sandwich tucked between the mattress and the contour sheet. Oops, forgot to mention, the sandwich was served for lunch about five days earlier, but mom was the one that said the kid couldn't go to the park, until the sandwich was "all gone!"
By now, you must be getting the point. Adult's facial expressions are more important than almost any "Dr. Spock" advice, or more-recently, "Dr. Phil." Certainly, we adults attempt to choose our words very carefully, but often it's said to be applauded and esteemed by other adults, not someone 2-and-a-half feet tall that's only been experiencing "outside air" for that same length of time. So, don't we have an obligation to visualize and rationalize from their prospective?
I suggest we consider something as simple as using our lips and cheeks more often, say, with a smile! And a hug! We can do this by going down on one knee, while gesturing for the child to sit on the other. Then, we'll have both arms to embrace them and offer security. After all, one day, our eyebrows will turn partially gray and our nostrils will often need wiping with a tissue."