Straight Face Parenting

Posted on | April 8, 2015 | 1 Comment

There are a host of things I’m not good at when it comes to parenting. I mean, I could dedicate seventy thousand blog posts to all the stuff that I get wrong and still have more to say. But who wants to do that, am I right? Because part of the fun of having a blog is painting it in pretty colors and showing you how great and amazing I am at all the things.

But there is one thing I will freely admit to sucking at… keeping a straight face.

My kid, amongst all the other things he is, is totally and often inadvertently HILARIOUS. And it is just about all I can do not to explode with slivered confetti of amusement. Because he’s so serious when he speaks and the things he says are just. so. funny. And 90% of them I can’t put on here because if I did, he would kill me in like ten years so I just store them in my head and hope to God that I don’t forget them with time and age. Plus when he’s mad? Oh my goodness… when he’s mad. He is HILARIOUS.

So how do you do it?

How do you keep a straight face when your child innocently asks the most hilarious questions on earth? How do you not burst into giggles when they get angry and slam a door or, as J did the other day, give me a VERY angry “thumbs down” sign. Because that stuff is just pure comedy gold. And every single time, I want to pick him up and stuff him in a bottle and keep him just exactly this age because how could any age ever be better than five… when the world is still interestingly new, his vocabulary is full of words he can’t fully pronounce and his mind is full of questions and thoughts that the world hasn’t taught him to hold inside.

J holds nothing inside.

His mind and heart are open books to me right now and I desperately what to scan and print both of them, to document how completely wonderful he is at this particular moment. Especially when he’s happy. Mostly when he makes up truly wonderful songs and even more when he sings them about me. And even, most of the time, when he and I are both angry at the world and/or each other.

The other week we went up to Atlanta and were at the mall waiting on our scheduled time to arrive at Lego Land. He was pouting because he wanted to be there NOW and I was frustrated and tired. As we walked through the mall, he crossed his arms and stomped, whining that he wanted to go “riiiight now.” Finally, I’d reached my limit. I dropped into my “serious mom” voice and told him to get it together. I gave him what I imagined was my meanest look.

And he looked at me for a moment, frozen in what I thought was fear.

But then he twisted his mouth sideways and I could see he was holding in a smile.

I tried not to smile but then he giggled a little.

And I laughed because I realized my meanest look must be pretty funny.

And everything was fine again. I guess, maybe, not keeping a straight face is genetic.

Or maybe it’s just not that bad of a thing after all.


One Response to “Straight Face Parenting”

  1. Maggie
    April 9th, 2015 @ 5:38 pm

    I’ve mostly given up. The problem is that when Youngest says things that are hilarious that I know I probably shouldn’t laugh at Oldest busts out laughing and then it’s too late.

    However, when it’s really important that I not laugh for whatever reason I draw on the deep well of laugh avoidance I cultivated through 6 years of catholic school. Look away, deep breath, under no circumstances look at anyone else who might find the situation funny, think of something else, and imagine Sr. Alice Marie Husson is going to bust my ass if I laugh. Works like a charm 😉

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