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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Joke's On Her

My daughter is going through (at least) two phases right now:

1.  She likes to think she's in on every joke.

2.  She does not like to share.

Phase #1 manifests itself in a variety of ways, some of which are half-disturbing (not in an annoying way, but in an is-my-child-insane? way).  My husband and I will be having dinner in the kitchen and Emilia will be in the other room smothering playing with her brother or watching Max & Ruby.  Dos or I will make a noise that sounds like the distant cousin of a laugh, and from across the room Emilia starts laughing at a decibel only appropriate for announcing a fire or Johnny Depp's arrival at our front door.  Then she takes a breath to call out our names, and when she sees she's gotten our attention, she starts shrieking with laughter again, hoping we'll join in.  In her perfect world, we're all rolling on the floor laughing, with streams of tears cascading down our cheeks.  In. On. The. Joke.  (Again, even though there probably really never even was a joke - Dos had probably just choked on a dry piece of chicken.)

The other way phase #1 is evidenced is by the "jokes" Emilia now likes to tell so as to induce family-wide mirth and hysteria.  It started off with repeat tellings of knock-knock jokes.  They made absolutely no sense ("Knock knock! Who's there?  Banana!  Banana who?  Banana banana!!!"), but at least they followed the universal template of what a joke might sound like, especially if you were a monkey, depressed bread, or a sundae looking for a culinary canoe.  Now she is so desperate to get to a punch-line that she completely skips the wind-up and seizes on any word/phrase with multiple syllables that she's recently heard.  She says that word, and then she starts laughing, urging you with her eyes to let the good times roll yourself.  The other day at breakfast, the joke-of-the-moment got trotted out: APPLE JUICE!!!  APPLE JUICE!  APPLE JUUUUIIIICCCCEEEE!!!!  Dos and I played along and laughed with her initially, but after that joke was retold for the 394th time, we had to break it to her that joke time was over.  She still wouldn't stop, so we started throwing tomatoes at her. 

Anywho.  Phase #2 is much more irksome, as it means Emilia devolves into the worst version of herself in front of other people.  Having to referee her Mr. Hyde moments makes me feel both like a bad mother for having a child that doesn't innately want to share and love her fellow man more than she loves herself, but also like a complete psychopath.  I have conversations with myself, inside my head, as I try to assume my most rational, level-headed, I've participated-in-million-dollar-mediations-with-Fortune-500-companies voice.  In reality, I'd like to throw her over my shoulder and strap her in her car seat until she realizes that sharing is WAY more fun that sitting in a car with Mad Mami.  But noooo....I'm a parent.  I have to be patient and pedagogical and pleasant.  Phooey.

Sometimes, the really bad times, when Emilia doesn't want to share, she resorts to more than just a whining "nooooooo" and an elasticized retraction into her armpit of whatever toy or device is being contested.  Sometimes.....well, yes, sometimes my little angel hits or pushes or scratches her opponent.  And sometimes she does that at school, that little slice of Montessori heaven where one of the SUBJECTS they teach is "peace."  Oh boy.

Well, joke's on Emilia.  In a moment of parenting that I can only, in all humility, call divine, just the other day I was pushing Emilia in a grocery cart through Whole Foods when she wanted to go Brian Regan on me.  After she told me a hilarious one about a liquid made out of fruity pie meat, she told me it was my turn.  And before my brain could appreciate the genius I was letting loose by the shallots, this happened:

Mami: "Knock knock."

Emilia: "Who's there?"

Mami: "Pushing."

Emilia: "Pushing who?"

Mami: "Pushing no one.  IT IS NEVER OKAY TO PUSH, EMILIA!"

She loved the joke, and she repeats the punch line all the time now.

And I am looking to take my show on the road.  Preferably, one that leads to a spa.

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