I had a comment on my blog about humor yesterday. Brian from New York wrote, “I’m curious: were you funny that way with your own kids or did you have to play the straight serious parent all the time? I always used the grownup talking silly thing with all my friends’ kids and my assorted nephews and nieces. I was wildly popular with the under 10 set.. But mostly because they didn’t expect it from a “grownup”. They’re so used to their parents setting a good example.”
I’ll answer this in the simplest way I know: I’m huge with the Fourth Grade.
In other words yes, I think I was funny with my kids. The youngest one in particular liked a good laugh. He and I were always hiding behind the doors on each other. Only we didn’t ever jump out and scream the way Peter Sellers’s manservant used to do in the old Pink Panther movies. We did something much worse:
Say one of us was coming out of the master bathroom whose door opens outward and pushes back flat against the door to the bedroom that bathroom is in. It would swing out, bam! and hit the wall of the bedroom next to the bureau – unless the other person was standing behind it. Just standing there looking straight ahead and sort of crazed in a Tony-Perkins-as-Norman-Bates kind of way.
It wasn’t that you could see the person. The person was behind the door. What you could so was feel the person.
Instead of the door banging smartly against the wall and thus making a sound, the person opening it would feel something… something sort of soft… and squishy …. and resistant, that something being the body of the lurker.
It made the door-opener shout way louder than s/he would have if the person had pounced, screaming like a banshee; yell so loud the one waiting behind the door would also yell .
The door opener never learned.
Sigh. It was a great game and one we never tired of. All through his Sixth Grade year one or the other of us was screaming.
I guess this doesn’t really make me seem so much like a funny mom as a slightly deranged one with a kid to match. Let’s get a visual about the contagion of fear. Let’s close with the famous scene from E.T. which I like anyway since I look kind of like the little alien these days, especially when I dress up to go to meetin’ in my purse and bonnet.