Monday, February 26, 2007

Funniest Parenting Moment

This week's CHBM carnival topic is "Funniest Parenting Moment." A bit of a stumper, given that my house is generally full of laughter, at or with another family member or one of our pets. How to pick just one moment from the many moments?

Recently, for instance, we were all watching television and a commercial came on. You may have seen the commercial. A little boy is showing his drawings to his parents. They start out pretty typical: "This one is our house; this is a dog," and so on. The last drawing, which is not shown to the camera is "mommy and daddy wrestling." The parents put that drawing aside, looking stricken. Susie, whose comprehension and sense of humor grow more adult every day, "got" it. She told us that she "got" it, but she didn't comment. She did snicker and turned a little pinker than usual. Alex, though, is seven, and he isn't quite so sophisticated. "What?" he kept asking. We were all amused, but nobody was going to explain it to him. After about ten minutes, his face lit up (you could almost see the lightbulb turning on) and he said, "I get it now." I looked at him and asked if he could explain it. It was his turn to redden a bit, and he mumbled something like, "Not something I want to talk about." (I'm still not sure if he really got it or not.)

Alex gives us plenty to laugh about...funny dances, songs, jokes. But a couple of years ago he started pranking us, much like Ashton Kutcher's television show, Punk'd. He would wait for a quiet moment and tell us that some kid in his class stole his lunch money. Then he'd sit back and watch us react, with increasing emotion. We'd get ourselves all kinds of worked up - "What is that teacher doing?" "How did that happen?" "What's wrong with these kids today?" - and he'd give a few vague answers. Once we'd reached fever pitch, he'd grin and say, "Just kidding." Yes, our little boy had punk'd us! And that was in kindergarten.

These days, his sense of humor is mostly expressed through joke telling. More accurately, joke reading. He loves joke books and reads them out loud. The louder we groan, the more amused he is. I particularly love to ham up my reaction, doubling over and acting like I've been hit in the gut when he reads a particularly corny joke. Of course, this totally eggs him on, and the hits just keep coming.

While I see this interest in joke books as a normal part of his development, I'm more interested in his wacky antics that don't come from books. One afternoon when I came home from work, Craig was listening to a Camper Van Beethoven cd, and Alex couldn't have loved it more. He started dancing around the living room, in that wonderfully uninhibited way that kids dance before they learn to be self-conscious. He had gloves on and told us that the gloves were magic and that they made him keep moving (like The Red Shoes, which he's never seen). After a few minutes, he was still dancing and I had to pick up his sister. When she and I returned, Craig told us that Alex danced, non-stop, to the whole album. And each song's dance had a story to it, with great drama and lots of detail.

Yes, that's the magical stuff. Seeing his imagination running wild. Seeing him un-self-conscious, uninhibited, safe with his family, knowing we enjoy his humor and sensibilities.

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