Mouths of babes

            Yesterday, Zachary asked me why I do not laugh very much. 

            I did not know what to answer.  I thought I was the type of person who laughed and smiled a lot.  Now, my child tells me I am not.  I know sometimes I suppress laughter so that his whirlwind of a brother does not see me laughing at his antics.  But I did not realize I had become a person who does not laugh.

            Is it just his perception?  I don’t know.  I know I have greater joy in my life now than I have ever had before.  I am a calmer, more balanced person.  I am less angry than I have ever been and it feels good.

            But, do the people around me know it?  Has my joy come at the expense of expressing mirth?  Does my husband know that he still makes me smile, despite the minutia of everyday life?  Is he seeing those smiles?

            I am far more patient with my kids than I was a year ago.  But do they know that I, too, have a sense of humor?  I don’t tell dirty jokes anymore; I have cut out humor at the expense of others; I try to be less sarcastic.  Has motherhood made me less funny?

            Have I lost something that was so very much a part of me?  Have I traded in my laughter?

           Or maybe, just maybe, the child was wondering why I don’t dissolve into hysterical laughter every time he or his brother puts a bowl on his head and pretends its a hat.  It’s entirely possible this was just the first of many times my kids will wonder why their mother does not have as refined a sense of humor as they do.  Bring on the fart jokes.

20 responses to “Mouths of babes

  1. i wonder how my children will see me. because i am both serious and an irreverent joker, just depending…and i think parenthood may be bringing out more of the serious than i intend.

    interesting food for though, Emily.

  2. adults laugh less than children – and i think it is probably as you said – you just laugh at different things

  3. My daughter once asked me why, when I laugh at what she tells me that it sounds like I am just pretending to laugh…ouch…was it that obvious?

  4. I second Painted Maypole.

  5. Moms have to be the heavies for so many reasons. It’s not that we don’t laugh; it’s just that we are not perceived as laughing all that often.

  6. never be afraid to belly laugh…that is what my great grandmother told me the last time I saw her…adults, no matter how great their sense of humour, sometimes forget to belly laugh…and there is nothing like a silly kid or fart joke or pure silliness that can make us find that inner kid.

    I find it hard to remember her advice from time to time.

  7. I find the bowl on the head endlessly amusing …. wait, no, that’s not me.

    My oldest was just telling me that she knows she doesn’t smile very much; should it matter, she wondered? Maybe we need more fart jokes ourselves.

  8. Funny how these words from our children can cut deep, make us re-examine who we are.

    I agree with those above; I’m sure you laugh but probably not at the same things. I really do try to laugh when my kids laugh, provided that what they’re laughing at isn’t some act of naughtiness! Some of my fondest childhood memories have to do with my mom being silly– dancing this funny dance, flapping her arms like a chicken. My kids love it when I do this, too, and much more silly things. Silly begets silly, I think, which is a really good thing.

  9. Something to think about. As parents we tend to over-think everything. Try to be a good example. Maybe we do need to relax a bit more.
    Or maybe it is like you said. Maybe they just wonder why when they itch their butts we don’t think it is funny. 😉

  10. I think my kids probably figure I don’t laugh much either, but it’s hard to form them into respectable little people who can fend for themselves as adults and thrive in society if I encourage burping and farting at the table with my laughter. Or if I encourage bowls as hats as you said, etc etc etc. It’s hard sometimes to know when it’s okay to let loose and laugh and be silly and wear bowls on your head with your kids, and when you need to remind them of their manners… Hopefully for both our sakes, our kids really are seeing us LAUGH!

  11. Don’t the boys nows that random chin hairs are funny?

  12. (I can’t type, clearly)

    Of course, nows should be know.

  13. I swore upside down and sideways that I would not go automatic on my kids. You know, nod insincerely and say hahaha. But I do. It is survival.

  14. I fart in your general direction! No?

  15. I used to wonder the same thing about my own Mom. I think I even, at times, perceived her as humorless. She wasn’t and isn’t.

    But I think laughing less and worrying more is just an occupational hazard for us Moms.

    I do wish I could be more…jolly, but truthfully, I’m just not a yuk-yuk type of gal. I’m more…smirkingly appreciative.

  16. Funny that your children can make you reconsider who you are… I thought that once they could speak, this may lessen a bit. Sounds like maybe not.

    Surely they will soon understand YOUR humor… and then, bring on the giggles!!

  17. I think the last part of the argumentation is sound. My experience of men is that he may wonder for the rest of his life why you don’t fall about laughing at fart jokes. My son complains bitterly that I don’t actually LOOK enough when he tells me too. I say ah-hah, thinking, just you wait until you have children of your own, my son, and then all will be revealed to you.

  18. I think your last sentence is the answer! You clearly have a sense of humor!

    I laugh (and fake laugh) a lot with the kids. It’s with grown-ups I have trouble. I am basically very reserved and I hesitate to “cut up.” I am more sarcastic with adults, which is OK and funny sometimes but also something to keep an eye on I think. I don’t want that type of humor to be what I am mainly associated with – it isn’t really me.

    One of my goals for mid-life crisis and beyond is BIG LAUGHTER. However I can get it!

  19. I think children have such different senses of humor than adults. My kids will laugh – deep belly laughs – at nothing. Literally. Nothing. The last time I did that I was 22 and had consumed copious amounts of alcohol.

  20. Kids, there’s really no pleasing them. My kid says I laugh far too much.

    “Moooom,” he says, “that’s *not* funny at all.”

    Oh, but it is.