Friday, September 10, 2010

The T. P. Club

We all know that timeless adage, "Laughter is the best medicine."  It is 100% true ... no matter what ails you!  And I know first hand that nothing beats a bad day with crazy kids like a good laugh.  I am quite certain that the days when Brett is home or my mom is up, the ability to laugh with someone over the cuckoo-headed craziness of our house makes the whole day better.  There is nothing like sitting across the table from someone who has just witnessed the insane naughtiness of your sweet little one and being able to raise an eyebrow and smile.  Somehow being in the parenting-trenches together with someone who has a good sense of humor and who can help us laugh off the stress and trouble of parenting makes it not nearly as exhausting.  It's the long days when I haven't laughed or been unable to "find the funny" in a certain situation that makes me a grump.

Now ... the trouble with relying on another adult to see the humor in a situation is that 87% of the time, I'm alone with the kids.  Hmmm ... that is a pickle!  What is the solution?  Well ... I have found that laughter with my kids is equally powerful!  In spending as much time with my kids as I do, it's easy to find that what they say and think is really pretty funny ... at least to each other!  My problem is that often I get hung up on being more mature (is there such thing as a cultured sense of humor?) or I find myself too busy to catch the little jokes that tickle their funny bones.  The trick is figuring out what makes them laugh, tossing aside my age (and that I'm "Mom") and joining in whatever silliness they are enjoying.  And you are guaranteed that there is a lot of silliness to enjoy.

Aaron is, by far, my favorite kid to laugh with.  He has this wonderful little giggle, his face turns pink and (because he's my son) he frequently has to bolt for the bathroom!  I can tell he likes laughing with me, too, because when he finds something that gets me laughing, he puts it on replay ... over and over and over again.  I don't know if it's because he's a boy or because he's the first born and by default we are sometimes more serious with him or if it's because he's often off with buddies, but finding time to laugh with him has become my quest and my means of staying close to him.

Norah has a terrific sense of humor and is regularly making little wise-cracks.  Lately, however, she has begun to dabble in physical humor.  She makes this ridiculous face, does a little march like an oompa-loompah and adds a strange little grumbly voice to her act ... it's a hit every time.  I think it's because she is so cute and yet before you eyes she transforms herself into this strange little man.  And she knows she is funny ... you can see it in her crazy, wide-eyes!

Ashley is a little quieter when it comes to being a jokester.  She is more prone to giggle along with everyone else and adding to whatever they are doing.   She has found that if she says something funny, sometimes it's even funnier the second or third time.   As a result we sometimes have to reel her in as she will repeat her favorite catch-phrase ad finitum.  She does have a wonderful little hysterical giggle that is rather contagious ... you don't even have to know the source of the laughter to join in.

Lydia is certainly the clown in our 4-ring circus!  She knows better than anybody how to work a room and get the desired response.  Seeing as she has three enraptured audience members who will chuckle at just about anything she does, we often find ourselves having to be the rain on her parade when she is confusing comedy with mischief.  For example, the kids love when she wrestles with them, zerberts their legs and bounces on their bellies.  They will laugh and squeal at her silliness ... but then she grabs a handful of hair and gives it a good tug and the fun is over.  We have had to be rather stern with the big kids about not encouraging her in her bad behavior ... even if she looks really cute while she is doing it!

Now I will be the first to admit that my kids are not always funny. :)  We experience our fair share of whining, moping, fighting and grumbling.  The goal then is to find little bits throughout the day to share in a few good laughs.   We have a few shows that we enjoy watching with the kids, mainly because we enjoy the good clean humor and silliness.  We have several seasons of "The Cosby Show" on DVD and this summer we set aside Tuesday nights to giggle our way through "Wipeout".  We have also rented "The Muppet Show" from our local library and that has been fun to watch with the kids ... and remember back to when we were kids, too!  We also enjoy reading some funny books with the kids ... you can't beat snuggling up with your little ones and having a good chuckle at "Calvin & Hobbes" or "Junie B. Jones".

Recently we were reading "Judy Moody" by Megan McDonald at bedtime and ended up with one of those hysterical laughing sessions that sent Aaron running from the room.  In the book, Judy and her friend Rocky are both fretting because neither are them belong to any clubs.  At this point, Judy spots a toad in the grass.  Out of curiosity she picks him up only to have the silly little guy pee on her!  Rocky thinks this is hysterical until it happens to him.  At that moment, they realize they are two new members of the "T. P. Club" ... the Toad Pee Club!  Now, as to be expected, any sort of bathroom humor like this typically gets the kids going, but the added bonus was that just a few days prior we had been camping and sure enough Timmy the Toad had peed on my hand.  The kids busted up laughing ... Mommy was in the "T. P. Club", too!  It was one of those sweet snapshots, hearing myself laughing right alongside my kids and ending the day on a great note!

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