November 19, 2007

by Jen Bakken

As parents, we all remember our child’s first smile or the first time they laughed. Those baby giggles were so cute, they made us laugh right along with them.

It was amusingly simple to make them chuckle. With just a silly face or goofy noise, you could send them into full belly hysterics.

Remember when your infant found the fun in playing peek-a-boo?

Once they become toddlers and preschoolers, they discover the art of making you laugh. Their language skills develop, and they enjoy telling the same knock-knock joke over and over. To them, their joke is just as funny the fifth time as it was the first time they told it.

In the beginning, our little ones see us (mommy and daddy) as the funniest people on earth, but as they grow older, they find humor in other people and things too.

We, as proud parents, watch as they find something funny in a book or on TV.

I’ll never forget the first time my oldest son laughed so hard he nearly cried. He was watching a children’s show and something made him laugh, uncontrollably. I can still picture his little smiling face, and how he was literally rolling on the floor with laughter.

Eventually our children grow from cute little gigglers into wisecrackers.

They develop their own comical ways and discover sarcasm. They even delight in making jokes at our (mommy and daddy’s) expense.

My kids like to tease me by moving things around the house. It usually doesn’t take me long to notice a knick-knack, or picture frame, out of place and it doesn’t take the kids long to laugh at my annoyance.

With three children, I’m getting pretty used to being the butt of their jokes, and although I don’t always enjoy it, I do find joy in watching their sense of humor develop along with their personality.

A few years ago while taking my children to Wal-Mart, my son started asking if he could get something at the store. He was about six years old, and I was a little mad that he was asking for a toy when we hadn’t even made it to the store yet.

I told him we were sticking to my list and not getting toys. Almost before he could make a sound or start protesting, his younger sister voiced her irritation from the back seat,

“Oh man, here come the water works,” she said.

I’m not sure where she came up with that line, at three years old, but it made for a good laugh. (And she thoroughly enjoyed teasing her brother.)

Sometimes it’s not an older brother but dear ol’ dad who gets teased. Recently, while watching a fictional TV show, which takes place in the White House, my husband thought he’d give the kids a bit of trivia.

“Do you guys know what the address to the White House is?” he asked. When no one answered, he proudly announced, “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Before he had a chance to feel like a super smart dad, our 10-year-old quickly added, “Or you could just say, it’s a big white house … you can’t miss it.”

We all erupted with laughter and even dad had to chuckle a bit, too.

Misunderstandings can, also, create quite comical moments, like the other night when someone on TV was talking about the color ochre. I asked my family, “What, in the world, color is ochre?”

To which my daughter quickly and confidently responded, “Green.”

I looked over at her and questioned how she knew that ochre was green.

She simply said, “Well mommy, because ogres are green.”

Laughter. Something we all need in our lives. Humor. One of the many gifts we share with our children, or those wee witty wisecrackers share with us.

Oh, and by the way, the color ochre is a light brownish yellow, not green. I looked it up on the Internet.

Here in Delano, we are proud of our community, our schools, and our children. . . why not have a column about our little ‘tigers’?

You can e-mail your tiny tales to: jbakken@hjpub.com or mail them to Tiny Tales, PO Box 498, Delano, MN 55328, or just stop by our office next to New Attitudes Salon, Hwy 12 East.