That’s What She Said
While I realize that my boys will physically grow up, that they will – God willing – develop mentally and emotionally to the point that they will have their own lives, I am beginning to think none of us ever truly grows up.
Some examples of life in my house:
A child calls, “Mom, I can’t find my balls!”
A grown man says, “Ha. He said balls.” (There is only one grown man in this house, so you can probably figure out to whom I’m referring.)
A child says, “Wow, that’s a big one!”
Two grown people say, quietly so the child doesn’t catch on and repeat at school, “That’s what she said.” And then the grown people laugh and laugh, like they just made the funniest, most original joke ever.
Our oldest hears everything we say. We suspect he can hear our thoughts. So even though we think we’re exchanging our immature jokes quietly, we should really check ourselves. It’s only a matter of time before That’s what she said! is shouted in response to a well meaning teacher saying something like, Oh, what a big boy you are.
So far only a few harmless oddities have escaped H’s mouth at school. He hums the Sanford and Son theme song, because I do a little rendition of that every time I get frustrated about a mess. So, you know, daily. Doo-do-doo-do. Doo-do-doo-do-do-do-do.
And yesterday when Mark walked in the room to pick up H at school, our four-year-old shouted, “What’s happenin’ Raj?”* And Mark responded “Hey, hey, hey.” The preschool teacher gave Mark the strangest, most quizzical look, to which he just shrugged the international response: Kids, where do they get this stuff? At home. That’s where.
In my day to day life, in my interactions with almost everyone I know, I am – I swear – a mature adult. I’ve sat in meetings with CEO’s and senators. I made not one off-color joke in those meetings. Really. I even kept my sarcasm in check, because I realized a long, long time ago that almost nobody gets my sarcasm (should I be more self aware and realize that maybe I’m just not that funny? Uh, no.). Anyway, I am a real, live grown up person. Shut up.
But I live in a house full of male people. Before our toddler could even say Dada or Mama, he giggled at burps and farts. Men come wired to love a gross joke, an icky reference to bodily functions. And grown men? Everything – every.thing. – can be turned into a sexual double entendre. I’ve heard from friends with girls that their daughters can be just as immature, so it’s clearly not a male-only phenomenon. As much as I try to deny it, to be the lady of the house, there’s just something entertaining about tapping into that junior high sensibility.
It makes me wonder, where do we draw that line with our kids? Sure, we don’t want them shouting, Ha, he said balls! during preschool recess, but I believe it’s important for the home to be a place where laughter is shared over a variety of things. Not just appropriate, church-worthy jokes. We have to learn to laugh at ourselves and see the humor in every day. Otherwise life is just way too hard. Way too sad.
I really want my kids to develop a well rounded sense of humor. I want them to appreciate comedy in all its forms. I also want them to be mature adults.
So how do we strike the balance?
For me it comes down to their emotional maturity level. Can they understand the joke? Do they know enough to not blurt it out at school?
Our kids are really little now, and they are far from emotional maturity. Far, far, far. We keep things age appropriate (honest, we do), meaning we’ve curbed our exclamations, no matter how quiet, of That’s what she said, et al. For now we’re working on comedic timing and telling knock-out knock-knock jokes.
H’s current favorite:
Interrupting cow [insert loud MOOOOO by joke teller here] who?
I wonder, do you allow yourself the occasional regression? Or do you find it offensive when people go all junior high on you? What do you think about off color or immature jokes? How do you expose your kids to comedy?
*According to Wikipedia, so it must be true, Roger Thomas is shortened to Raj, not Rog. Why did I even look this up? I have no idea. I had this sudden urge to confirm my Raj/Rog spelling. I, apparently, want to show proper respect to the cast and characters of What’s Happeninning!!