Like many first time, soon-to-be parents, I stocked up on all the parenting books — most of which have only served as coasters on the table behind the couch. But buying them made me feel more prepared.
Of course, the joke is on me because nothing prepares you for parenting. You just have to wing it and find the humor in every day situations because nothing happens by the book.
Each book laid out expected milestones – rolling over, crawling, first steps, first words. But none of the books covered the most under appreciated milestone: the first joke.
I consider myself funny. Hilarious, actually. I am the queen of dad jokes, most of which will usually illicit at least a smirk from my generally highbrow husband and a blank stare from my almost four year old. One day she will appreciate them. At the very least, she will master the eye roll response that every dad joke aims for.
In the meantime, I do what I can to instill an appreciation for silliness in my daughter every chance I get.
When she was about 2 years old, my future Tina Fey (hey, we all have dreams for our kids, right?) picked up her sippy cup of milk, held it up horizontally above her lip and said triumphantly “milk mustache!” I laughed so hard it scared her. Clearly, I was winning at parenting.
She really set the bar high with Milk Mustache, so working on her stand up routine will take time. I am fairly certain she won’t be cast on SNL based on her current repertoire of poop and fart jokes.
Sharing laughs has really helped us through some of the traditional milestones that can test both of our patience. The big toddler feelings — and the resulting tantrums, her need for independence (no matter how unbelievably slow she is at doing everything), and her newfound need to be right (when will I learn not to argue with a preschooler?).
Early childhood development research shows that humor at every stage benefits a child’s development. Humor can tell us a great deal about what is on our child’s mind, and is an accessible avenue for communicating their emotions. Time to stock up on knock-knock jokes!
For us, getting out the door in the morning is prime time to feel rushed, then frustrated, which inevitably leads to tension. How is it that only at 7:30 am every shoe goes missing and every toy needs to be stuffed in her backpack? She has been up since 5:30. Surely two hours is enough time to locate all the things. But without fail, nothing snaps both of us out of the “Hurry up!/One more minute!” cycle quicker than a good laugh. As the terrible/terrific threes (because we all know three is way worse than two) make their way to becoming the fantastic/frustrating fours, a little levity goes a long way.
Your turn, moms! Share your favorite silly game to lighten things up when tensions are high. It’s okay to admit that you find those poop jokes kinda funny.