I want to be a comedienne! By the time I’m 80 – I’m 60 now – I want to be telling jokes for a living. When I tell this to my children, they say, “You’re not that funny, Mom,” but I see little smiles forming at the corners of their mouths when I’m laughing uncontrollably at my own jokes! I don’t really have jokes, I am just silly. Lately, with my children grown, I’ve been trying to be a little “over the top” and say unpredictable things.
I have always been a “fun” Mom, but have recently become re-enlivened about wanting to become more humorous from the influence of one of the Dad’s from my former preschool class. He is a funny comedian and is often at the edge of being over the top. I love that about him because that is when I laugh the hardest – when he surprises me with what he says. I also think humor needs to come from “where you live” in order to be authentic. So today, I am going to send my “naughty Dad” an email. I refer to him as “naughty dad” to differentiate him from the other Dads I know, when I tell stories to my family. The email will contain my very first official joke. If he doesn’t laugh, I hope he still appreciates the effort and is flattered by his influence on me wanting to spend more time appreciating humor and laughing. He should be flattered. He is a remarkably bright, quick and talented young man with a good heart, and just the right amount of “naughty” – and a great Dad and husband, I might add.
As I said, my kids tell me that I’m not funny, but I often hear them making jokes ABOUT me. Oh well, at least I’m fodder for their jokes! One that always makes me laugh is when I hear them telling people, “This is how my Mom talks. She is a Waldorf Preschool Teacher,” and then proceed to use a very ethereal voice and gestures, singing out phrases, etc. For some reason all of the young people crack up when they hear this. I can’t figure it out! But I don’t stand alone. They spend equal time making fun of their Dad, complete with cuss words as they imitate him fixing something!
I laugh easily and find it such a joyous release. I truly believe that it IS the best medicine. Today I took the time to wonder, “Why do I feel joy-filled a lot of the time?” I learned about humor from my parents who were really funny and I have passed this value on to my children. They are hilarious and it lights up my world to see them coming. My son speaks to the family pets as though they were complicated beings, my older daughter is warm, open, and accepting of all of the foibles of humanity, and the younger daughter has unrelenting cleverness – and talk about over the top! Between funny friends and family, they all keep my laughing.
By storytelling, families can build quite a few funny tales that they love to repeat when they get together. My siblings and I tell the same stories over and over, and then we exaggerate and tell them better and better. This is such a bonding experience. We are all in our 50s, 60s and 70s now and family get-togethers still fill me with joy and laughter. My siblings are pretty funny, and yes, it can be a competition to see who can make whom laugh the hardest. I hope my children are building their stories to bond their little trio together. At least they can always make fun of Mom and Dad.
I try to be open to all of the funny things that happen in the world – and there are a lot! I think I’ll start carrying a little notebook around! As a teacher, being around children is always funny because they don’t have as many boundaries. If you think about it, immediately upon our children’s arrival into the world we start teaching them humor by cooing at them, then soon start trying to get them to smile, then by throwing them up in the air…… It is such a joy when a baby is surprised and giggles. Peek-a-boo can be a favorite game for years! A happy child always has funny things to tell you, sometimes they are wild made up stories, and sometimes they are true events about Mom and Dad. Both types are teacher favorites! Don’t get dismayed if young children tell a lot of “stories”. They have unlimited imaginations.
When I taught preschool and kindergarten, I always tried to include a funny part in the puppet show or story, and believe me it was NOT hard to get a hearty laugh. All I had to do was make a character fall down, or say something silly and everyone laughed and laughed. In kindergarten, all of the six year olds wanted to tell knock-knock jokes and at lunch we had to limit the telling to one each because they could tell many.
I had a favorite funny personal story about how my daughters kept flushing their little duckie down the toilet, “Bye-bye-duckie,” I would say as I told them how the little duckie swirled around and around on his way down the toilet to clog up the drain, and the little students would almost weep. I also had a favorite funny Korean tale about a tiger that danced when he heard music. I would only tell these tales about once a year. I guess the idea of my girls being naughty or seeing their teacher do a funny dance made the children laugh. When they would ask for the story the next day, I would say, “Today is the story about………” and it had to be a different story. These special stories were too silly for every day. Sometimes I would retell one later in the year if the atmosphere needed it. But every day we were light-hearted and joyous together.
When your children become teenagers they become deeply funny. They will tell you quite an earful if you are open to it. I was! Laughing with your teens is one of the most bonding experiences that there is. Yes, you stand together as family during hard times, but it is great to be ready to laugh with your family no matter the ages and stages of your children, even if their jokes are a bit obnoxious. Remember, they will be on their own before you know it!
Spontaneous fun often erupts in households, but I am also encouraging you create some fun purposefully if needed. Get out and throw the Frisbee if you are a Mom that usually lets Dad do the physical stuff and show the kids your best moves! Your children will be thrilled. Maybe Dad can have a tea party with the children and their dolls or favorite “stuffies”, complete with costumes. And Dad, do you need a hair styling, your nails done ?I’m sure a lot of children would like to assist you with this. These events create memorable moments.
So to remind you of 4 humor rules I learned from watching “naughty Dad”: 1. Start where you “live” (bring humor appropriate to your child’s age), 2.Do or say things that are unexpected once in a while, 3. Bring humor often, laugh heartily, and 4. Share these funny stories with Greeny (just kidding) (sort of).
Share your joy with your children so that they can be happier, more confident and as carefree this summer as little birds. It will actually help them, and you, be healthier.
Have a fun summer together! I’m meeting up with some of this crazy crew below next week!
Also, I didn’t get my photos this week from my little pal Brianna Doby of little o photography. She IS back to work after giving birth to beautiful twin sons, but I am waiting for a big batch of new photos to show you next time. I look forward to that!