Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fun House

When I had kids, I didn’t know that my inner comedian would surface so strongly.  I had practiced on my kid brother when I was growing up, doing outrageous things to get him to laugh (and sometimes cry), but as a parent, I figured all that was behind me.

I was wrong.

It became my life’s work to get our children to smile and laugh.  Our son, blessed with dimples beyond anyone’s control, has these apple cheeks that are two round balls when he smiles hard.  My mission was to produce those apple cheeks every chance I got.

Our daughter is the giggler.  Originally a colicky baby, she traded her screams for belly laughs that came more easily than they did for our son.  All it took was a funny face to do the trick, usually.




As they grew, things I’d do to elicit laughs from my kids evolved from burying my face in their bellies and necks, playing peek-a-boo and kissing their toes, to tickle torture and tickle monster and chase and adding my own details to storybooks that usually involved farting and burping.

“Then Snow White opened the door and saw an old woman who was carrying a basket of apples.  Snow White let her in, and the old hag let a fart slip out and it stunk up the whole house and Snow White threw up all over the floor.”

I was often in trouble for winding them up before bedtime instead of settling them down.

They began to get in on the action, adding their own details to stories they read and making up jokes for every season.  Halloween jokes are the easiest to make up and remember.  Witches, ghosts, skeletons, and mummies are silly. 

Things really got hilarious when they were old enough to be pranked, and I essentially gave them ideas to surprise my husband and me in similar ways.  We all fell victim to the old taped sprayer trick, them barely stifling giggles when Mom or Dad would enter the kitchen to wash our hands. 

It was still funnier when the kids fell for it, because of the full face spray.

Planted objects became a staple at Halloween and April Fool’s Day.  Dad’s life-size cutout of Joe Paterno popped up in the coat closet, in the shower, right inside the bathroom door, inside the pantry – an old man lurking around the house gave a start just as easily as someone jumping out from around the corner.  Scary masks hung on broomsticks had the same effect.



The bin of plastic animals – large scale beetles, rubber spiders, coiled snakes, a too-real lizard – handily hid anywhere little hands could reach and Mom would find when going about her business. 



Over time, I became less the joker and more the jokee.

Our son, now thirteen and a master at the deadpan delivery, knows my weaknesses.  I’m easily duped when he says that he got lunch detention, or failed a test, or didn’t make the team.  He produces real tears at the drop of a hat, giving me the old “Gotcha!” when I display concern.

Our daughter, almost 11, is a one-liner jokester whose observations, while sometimes more silly than satirical, never fail to make me smile.  She’ll change words in popular songs to suit a particular situation or mood – the ease at which she does this makes my head spin.

The tables have turned.  After years of getting them to smile and laugh, they are doing the same to me.  Despite the occasional heart-stopping prank, I can’t say that I mind at all.

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This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt #2: Tell us about a prank someone played on you or vice versa.

21 comments:

  1. Fun! The life-size Joe Paterno made me laugh out loud. And having three boys, I can definitely relate to finding rubber animals in the most obscure places. Though I'm not sure they're intentionally planted, but rather misplaced. Great post.

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    1. No matter if a rubber animal is placed or misplaced, it's still a surprise to find one around the house.

      Joe has definitely scared all of us at least once or twice (or twenty times). He wears all sorts of hats and masks. He has quite a playful side.

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  2. "burying my face in their bellies and necks, playing peek-a-boo and kissing their toes"...oh, I so remember doing this!

    Enjoy every stage of life! Pranks don't stop when you become a grandparent. It makes life fun!

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    1. It sure does. My parents came for Halloween one year wearing ugly masks and the kids were afraid to open the door. Our humor is definitely passed down through the generations!

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  3. That Snow White story sounds exactly like a story I would tell.
    And my kids didn't get me this year (only four and one) but they watched my husband get me GOOD. He told me he had brought home a kitten. I nearly killed him.
    I hope my kids grow up to get us.

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    1. They will, I'm sure of it! The kitten joke - now THAT'S not funny. :)

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  4. I admit that growing up (and amongst friends), I was always the jokester. But as the mom I am not funny. :(:(:( Christian is totally the fun parent. I don't like being the butt of a joke, even though it's all supposed to be fun and games. And I have a hard time allowing myself to make a fool of myself. Which is what I need to work on!

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    1. Honestly? I don't like being the butt of a joke, either. I am probably a pretty poor jokester because of that. I can dish it out, but I can't take it. Boo on me.

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  5. My husband is the prankster in our family. From the time we started dating to now, he LOVES pranking me and I ALWAYS fall for it. ALWAYS. (do we hear 'sucker'?)

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    1. Imagine how surprised he'd be if one day you pranked him right back! :)

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  6. I have such fond memories of giving belly farts to my nephews before they got too old for them. Thank you for reminding me of that!

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    1. I love that so much. I don't get to spend nearly enough time with babies these days. And strangers don't always appreciate me belly-farting their babies. :(

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  7. I look forward to the day my kids take over the role as the joke player. I'm just starting to see their humor shining though and I love it!

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    1. It's the best, isn't it? I love my kids' senses of humor. It's probably my favorite thing about being a parent - seeing them crack jokes and laugh at each other, or themselves (which is what I tend to spend a lot of time doing).

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  8. OH! MY GOODNESS!! That lizard would have scared the ever living daylights out of me!!

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    1. It scared me too, even though I know it well. :)

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  9. Both my kids are starting to show their own sense of humor, and it is equally terrifying and hilarious. There will be many, many MANY pranks in my future, I'm afraid. Honestly, though? I can't wait.

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    1. It's probably the most fun thing about being a parent for me. :)

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  10. Thank you! Our kids are having fun and learning new things . This looks like so much fun for them.


    Kids' education Disabilities

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