Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You'll Laugh About That In Three Weeks

At this point we are closing in on Thanksgiving over here and as I was sitting here thinking about what I could be thankful for I realised that having kids who know how to have a good laugh is pretty good.  Or at the very least having kids that are constantly doing things worthy of being laughed at.  They say that laughter is the best medicine and we sure get a lot of it round here so I thought I would share some of the laugh inducing gems we’ve encountered.  Of course not all of them induced laughter right away but with time and perspective it is true that “you’ll laugh about this in three weeks” is a statement to live by.

Last night we were sitting around the dinner table trying to keep the silliness at a bearable level.  Kaitlyn started giggling uncontrollably and kept saying “I just can’t stop laughing”.  James was trying to get her to calm down enough to finish her chicken when Emily started to get a twinkle in her eye.  She looked at Abigail who sat opposite Kaitlyn in her highchair and Abigail started up.  She was doing this little fake laugh thing which we had never heard before.  We gave up and joined in.  Nobody actually knows what we were all laughing about but it was fun.  Right up until Abigail dumped her plate of rice and chicken onto her highchair tray, raised both hands to her mouth in a dramatic gesture and said “uh-oh” before pointing toward the window and stating “it’s dark”.  She had cleverly distracted us from her bad behaviour by cuteness and by using words we didn’t know she even knew.  Clever girl.

There have been many moments of disaster that at first made me cry and wonder why I ever had children but now I can look back and marvel at the fact I made it through without physically hurting those that laughed at my predicaments at the time.

There was the time I left Emily and Kaitlyn happily watching Dora while I quickly took a shower only to come out and realise that I had left the margarine out on the dining room table.  They were much younger then and Kaitlyn obviously found it perfectly agreeable to sit while Emily “buttered her up”.  The mess was catastrophic.  Emily was so proud of her work.  As I turned around the room I kind of whimpered at each new greasy spot that caught my eye.  Kaitlyn was literally covered from head to toe, she looked like one of those butter sculptures you see at cheesy family restaurants. Except she could move. There were adorable little footprints in a trail all around the playroom and presumably onto the carpet. There were hand prints all over the french doors and the walls. It was unbelievable. I put Kaitlyn in the highchair so that she couldn’t move and gave Emily such a withering look that I’m not sure she could have moved even had she wanted to.  Then I reached for the phone and the camera.  I called my mother and took photos of the little cherubs at the same time.  Somehow I realised in the midst of my trial that no matter how angry I was at the time one day I would want to look back at those little greasy faces and have a giggle.

That reminds me of the time I actually did catch the girls red handed.  I had left some coloured paper on the table and somehow the girls had figured out that when you add water it makes a very pleasing red coloured dye that goes with everything.  Fortunately for me they were distracted from their little experiment before they got too far but when I found the soaking wet sheet of paper sitting there I asked them whether they had touched it.  The answer came back that no they hadn’t been near the thing.  I asked them to come to me and show me their hands.  I think they were utterly shocked to note that their palms were completely red.  I got a photo that time of their shame filled eyes looking up at me with hands outstretched showing their unnatural hue.

Then there was the time that Emily came out of my bathroom completely covered in my makeup.  She had ruined a lot of very expensive potions and looked rather frightful.  I was on the verge of a complete mummy meltdown to be directed straight at the guilty party when she raised her sweet little face and with eyes all aglow she said “I wanted to look like you Mummy”.  I am so glad I didn’t crush her little spirit that day but instead wiped off the powders and lipsticks and told her that she was already so beautiful that no amount of makeup would make her look any more beautiful to me.  

Then there was the time that Emily started sobbing in the bathtub, absolutely convinced that I had ruined her hair.  I had washed it and as we all know wet hair is generally straight and goes a little darker than normal.  Well she thought I had washed out the curls and the blond colour.  It took me quite a while to convince her that it would be back to normal as soon as it was dry.  Unfortunately I inherited my mother’s early greying hair and I have been having it dyed for quite a number of years in an attempt to hold back the ever increasing waves of grey that threatens to overwhelm it.  The girls refer to it as me getting my hair ‘painted’.  Maybe she thought I had done that to her.

Emily is naturally very curious and sometimes this trait has gotten me into trouble.  I remember shopping at the supermarket with her one day shortly after we arrived in the US.  I was trying to pick out a new deodorant for James and since all the brands and ‘flavours’ are different I was having to sniff them all to figure out if I could stand be close to anything smelling that way. I was making some progress but it was taking some time.  Emily sat patiently in the trolley and kept herself amused by checking out the things around us.  Unbeknown to me the opposite side of that particular aisle was filled to the brim with adult incontinence products.  I kept sniffing away as Emily gazed across to the other side.  

She had sat pondering for quite some time and was now ready to ask a question.  “Mummy, what are those?” she said pointing to a package of Depends made to look like underpants.  I looked up and noticed a very elderly gentlemen was also perusing the items across the aisle and I tried to give a non committal answer “oh, they’re for grown ups”.  Then in a very loud voice which could only have been missed had the old man been profoundly deaf “But Mummy, they look like diapers”.  In one quick movement I tossed the latest deodorant into the trolley and started to trot as fast as I could but she was still going.  I can only imagine the poor man heard a rapidly fading torrent of words over my pleas to hush.  “why do big people wear diapers?  Big people aren’t supposed to pee in their pants, only babies.  Is that man going to by some diapers?  Does he wear them too?”

Kaitlyn is also quite curious and one day this summer after watching selected programs related to ‘shark week’ on tv we had this little gem of a moment occur.  We were driving somewhere, I can’t remember where but we were on our way somewhere.  The girls sat in the back of the van and Kaitlyn called out “Are there going to be any sharks there?”  we assured her that there wouldn’t be any sharks.  She wasn’t going to give up that easy “well if there were sharks would they eat us?” probably, it didn’t hurt to let her know that they weren’t the kind of animal you met and immediately got cuddly with.  A little while later “well, if there was a shark and it was trying to bite me what should I do?”.  Well we had an answer for this one.  We had watched Mythbusters and they had determined that the best thing to do when under attack by a shark was to punch it in the nose.  We decided this was as good a time as any for a teachable moment and gave her the answer.  “Oh, ok” she said.  Things got quiet and we returned to our adult conversation.  I should have been warned when I heard snippets of the backseat discussion but I didn’t put it all together until it was too late.  

A piercing scream cut through the serenity and then sobs which contained these words “I know its true, sharks really don’t like to be punched in the nose.  I know that because I pretended to be a shark and Emily pretended to be a person and I pretended to try and bite her and she punched me in the nose and it really really ‘urt and I didn’t like it at all.”  Well you just can’t argue with scientific experiments now can you?  

There have been countless other laughter inducing moments in our family and I’m sure there will be more, probably before the day is out.  Certainly before the weekend is over if James’ wish to put a giant Christmas tree on top of our car and drive it an hour and a half home down the freeway comes to pass.

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