Somehow, I am now a mother to a toddler! Yes, there are tears and tantrums (that’s just from me when thinking about potty training) but to compensate for this, there is also a little personality starting to bud.

One of my favourite new traits is this manly, hearty, fake laugh Sophia conjures from deep within when she wants to join in with Imran and I, sharing a joke with us without quite understanding what’s so funny.

Last week, said laugh was projected with vigour, and it reminded me of the Friends episode about Chandler’s ‘work laugh’ (I will safely assume you all know the one). I suddenly realised how we adopt these social coping mechanisms from such a young age!

A flamboyant social laugh, a slight tweak of the accent to match our surroundings, a rehearsed smile for the camera. These start from the moment we are able to express ourselves, and sometimes take years to master.

So many of our patients will share stories of how they have learnt meachisms to smile without showing their teeth, developed ninja hand reflexes that they can depend on to shield an unwanted space or crowding.

Sophia’s fake laugh is hilarious, and I can’t help but genuinely laugh myself when I hear her. I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to conceal my happiness and smiles and not be able to join in!

We all have a rehearsed laugh that we need to use in certain situations, but no one should be hiding their smile because they are unhappy with the appearance. There are so many ways to help people smile with confidence – whether its genuine or not!

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