Parenting is a complex emotional roller coaster. When your child was a newborn you waited on the edge of your seat for the first smile and laugh. These signs were proof your child was connecting with you and it was the fuel you needed to keep going during those early months. As your child grows and begins to say “No,” throw things in the trash, and run the other direction, you quickly realize you need a different kind of connection to make it through toddlerhood. For me, and I assume many more, it is laughter.
I began to think of all the times I laughed at my son in his almost three years of life. I realized there were a lot, and to be honest, I didn’t feel bad about it. I realized laughing at your child happens often and there are various reasons that might elicit a chuckle or a full uproarious laugh.
First are the laughs that you don’t really want to have but they get you through the stressful, hard, or embarrassing moments. I felt all I could do was giggle as I wiped the explosive blowout from my child and car seat in the middle of the parking lot. It was finally my turn to feel the stress and inconvenience, but a small giggle helped me through. Temper tantrums, though not always funny, sometimes have a humorous ring. I have seen many picture compilations of toddlers having meltdowns over the silliest things and parents documenting their crying child for others to see.
Next is the laughter you try to hide. You turn your back or purse your lips hoping you let nothing out or they don’t see you. This often revolves around a swear word being uttered in that cute toddler language, using your underwear as a superhero mask, or a very blunt statement they said about someone around you that may not be very nice but you just can’t help smile or laugh. Afterwards, you check with those around you to see if they just saw or heard what you did and you enjoy the laugh together.
Last but not least, is the laughter you can’t help. There is no holding back. It comes out whether you like it or not and sometimes you wonder if those around you judge you for laughing at your poor innocent child. I have let out a full laugh when my child ran into a sliding glass door. I almost fell over, and peed a little, when my son got stuck in a chair that spins in a circle at a local park. At that point I didn’t care what others thought, it was just too funny.
Regardless of which kind of laughter, it’s important to see that they all can be cathartic. You might even realize after reading this, you laugh at your child way more than you realize and that’s not a crime. After all, laughter really is the best medicine and we could always use a little more in our lives.