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September 17, 2009

This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope

In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.



I’m not talking about knock-knocks that don’t make sense, so you laugh at their absurdity.



(Knock-knock. Who’s there? Uhhh, Poopy? Poopy, who? Poopy Pants!)



It’s not that I don’t enjoy the poopy pants-style humor that is so popular with small children. I just hope that, unlike Adam Sandler, my children will outgrow that particular phase of humor. That they might introduce subtleties of irony, word play, satire and even sarcasm.



Already I see good signs from Bee, who is about 6 1/2.



Last night, after a delicious meal of fried eggplant, angel hair pasta and red sauce with a side of tomato and mozzarella salad, Bee was leaning against the island in the kitchen while I cleaned up.



``Would pasta and pasta make a fire?’’ she asked. I turned to see her rubbing two tiny lengths of dried capellini together like a Boy Scout.



``No,’’ I told her. ``Two pieces of pasta will not make a fire.’’



``Or maybe they’ll make a pasta fire,’’ she said. ``With pasta sparks and pasta flames that explode everywhere. With pasta.’’ Her face melted into a wry, satisfied smile. My motherly heart skipped a glorious little beat.



Humor is important in my world.



Where other parents hope their children are successful, I hope my children are funny.



I mean, I know they can live fully productive and satisfying lives without being funny. And I would love them just as much if they weren’t funny. I know, I know. Really, it would be fine.



When they were babies, I naturally thought about all the other things that parents think about. Their health and happiness were my first hopes for them, of course. And I thought about all the firsts that we could experience together. Their first days at school. Their first favorite songs. Their first lost teeth and first bike rides.

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