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    Reconnecting Through Laughter

    Laughter is the closest distance between two people.

    ~Victor Borge



    My children were playing “adults” this afternoon.  Their rules were simple: “You sit here & I’ll sit here, and we’ll have a conversation like adults”.  My three year old son, fascinated by the idea, started talking about going to Wegmans, and then quickly dissolved into laughter. “Talking like adults” is, apparently, hilarious. My six year old daughter – obviously the game coordinator – immediately corrected him, “No, no,” she said, “You can’t laugh.  Adults don’t laugh.”


    Now, according to my children, there are things adults DO talk about: Serious Shops (our business), grocery shopping, driving, getting children in the bathtub & ready for bed. But, when they started laughing again (fun game that this was), my daughter piped right up – more emphatically this time, “NO, we can’t laugh, because adults don’t laugh.”


    It wasn’t any of my business, I admit – I wasn’t part of the game. I was doing “adult stuff” like cleaning up the kitchen, while they were playing. But hey, they were in my hearing range, and I wanted to set the record straight! So, I interjected, “Adults DO laugh!” to which I received the reply back, without hesitation: “Not really!”




    This interaction brought to mind this quote by Oscar Wilde: Life is too important to be taken seriously.


    Us adults – or, more specifically, us parents – tend to take ourselves too seriously. 


    I’ve been making my way through the book Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen for quite some time now.  It’s a fantastic book – all about connecting with your children through play and… laughter. He has an entire chapter devoted to laughter: Follow The Giggles. He says, “Sharing a giggle is a basic way to join and connect with children.  Laughter automatically brings people closer.” (p.79)  


    I've seen it happen; it really is so true.  Even though, as busy adults, it can be a real challenge.


    When things get stressful – particularly during the witching hour – you know when I mean: the late afternoon, when school and work is over, dinner is about to be made, the children are bored, my patience has left, and everyone has had just about enough of each other, I want to reconnect with my children – and they with me! But, we’re all so wrapped up in our annoyance with a long day that isn’t quite fun anymore – perhaps our thoughts are mulling over tasks we didn’t finish at the office, or projects around the house we meant to get to (but didn’t), or blog posts that we wanted to write (but never got out of our heads), and that reconnection with our children feels like this far-off, out-of-reach ideal.  So, instead of coming together, we tend to withdrawal from each other – perhaps me to my kitchen or the computer, and they to their games (where they tend to do whatever possible to get on each other’s nerves) or ask to watch a movie (which tends to result in disagreements over what they’d like to watch).


    Most days, I end up intervening in the bickering – grumpily – which doesn’t improve anyone’s ability to make it peacefully through to Daddy arriving home, and certainly doesn’t aid in our reconnection.


    But some days – when I can relax enough to crack a joke, make a funny face, or just plain act goofy – when I can drop my seriousness just a bit, and remember that there will be time to finish all that other "important" stuff – when I realize that the real important stuff is my children and their immediate need to reconnect with me – I am able to use laughter to break through the grumpies.  The distance between us dissolves along with our daily stresses. We giggle, and hug, and relax, and then we can all get on with our day. Peaceful. Reconnected.


    I’m going to laugh more with my children.  It isn’t hard – laughter. In fact, it’s fun! It’s one of the easiest ways to get back in touch with the kid inside yourself – and help your children connect with you.


    Here’s to laughter (it is the best medicine, right?)!


    Posted: Dec 01 2010, 00:42 by kelly | Comments (7) RSS comment feed |
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    # December 01 2010, 08:50

    Dionna @ Code Name: Mama United States said:

    Dionna @ Code Name: MamaThe other day, I put on a video (to get some time away from Kieran, doncha know). I'm doing my thing in one room, and I start hearing little giggles coming from the other room.
    And more giggles.
    And even more giggles.
    It was irresistible! I had to go in there and see what was so funny. I scooped Kieran up, sat down with him in the big chair, and we giggled together over Elmo.
    It. Was. Heaven.
    I'm so glad we shared that :)
    Excellent post!!

    # December 01 2010, 09:26

    Jamie United States said:

    JamieI just blogged about my own difficulty playing with my kids, you know really playing.  This book has been on my list to read, but it just got bumped up to the top because it is so important!

    # December 01 2010, 09:38

    Amber Canada said:

    AmberThe outcome of a grumpy dinner hour is all about whether I can let go of myself enough to be silly and laugh. I'm not always successful, but I'm getting better.

    # December 01 2010, 19:38

    phdinparenting.com said:

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    Nine Ideas to Meaningfully Reconnect with Your Child | PhD in Parenting

    # January 25 2011, 23:01

    Samantha United States said:

    SamanthaOne of my son's favorite games is 'don't smile, don't laugh' which always leads to smiling and laughing. It is something my dad used to play with us when we were little and upset about something. My three year old has added an extra twist, if you smile or laugh, he gets to tickle you, which leads to more laughing!
    It really does help lighten any mood, and kept him in bed long enough last night when he didn't want to sleep, that he fell asleep!

    # February 12 2011, 10:24

    KellyNaturally.com said:

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    # October 26 2011, 09:31

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