I have a problem.
Not really even a problem, per se. More like a teeny little issue.
Hardly worth mentioning, actually. Certainly not bad enough that it needs real attention. I can stop anytime I want.[sws_pullquote_left] I can’t help it. Without fail, if I witness someone involved in unfortunate events such as tripping, hitting their heads, suffering MINOR, non-life threatening
injuries, or otherwise embarrassing themselves, it just starts happening. [/sws_pullquote_left]
The only reason I even bring it up is because I MAY have begun noticing very insignificant and probably over-thinking-it flags that I could POSSIBLY be passing on this teeny issue to my children.
My name is Sharon and I am an inappropriate laugher.
I can’t help it. Without fail, if I witness someone involved in unfortunate events such as tripping, hitting their heads, suffering MINOR, non-life threatening
injuries, or otherwise embarrassing themselves, it just starts happening. A little giggle at first, but before I know it I’m doubled over practically crying and gasping for air due to laughter.
You can imagine how helpful this is when trying to be a good parent and model compassion to my girls.
Take, for instance, the somewhat unfortunate incident I witnessed this week. My parenting skills were downright deplorable because I could not for the life of me stop laughing.
Here’s how it went down:
We were on our way to the beach for a lovely week of vacation. As we all know, when traveling with females, daddies are forced to stop more often than they’d prefer for bathroom breaks. So, we pull into a reasonably clean looking gas station and proceed to take care of nature’s call. As I emerge with my middle daughter from the restroom, I see my husband and our youngest child (the one I described here…) standing at the register ready to pay for some sugary snack she talked him into buying for her.
My husband, seeing that he would inevitably be asked by his other daughter to buy her something as well, pulled Leighanne away from the counter and told the guy behind them to go ahead while he waited for Lauren to pick something out.
Well, this was injustice of the worst kind to our 4-year-old. A travesty, really. War crime.
Letting someone in FRONT of her when she’d been patiently waiting in line for her candy?
Uh-uh. This wasn’t gonna fly.
And so, in one swift moment faster than the naked eye could behold, our brown-eyed, curly headed little darling sent her little bony elbow flying right towards its target. And she NEVER misses.
I am more than a little reluctant to tell you her target was her poor, unsuspecting daddy. And she nailed him right where it counts.
He’s a loving daddy! Why would she do that to him?!
It was as if the place froze in time. The gas station attendant stared at them. The guy who had gone ahead of them in line was horrified (sympathy pains, most likely). Others in the store just stood with their mouths hanging open. Our other two daughters gaped a little bit at the absolute coldness of their little sister’s attack.
The only sound was my husband gasping with his hands on his knees to try to brace himself against the pain and the darkness threatening to overtake his vision.
Oh, and the sound of our little darling’s sweet footsteps as she marched herself out of the store and waited on the sidewalk, arms crossed and her angry eyes still boring into everyone who crossed her path.
Okay, okay, there was ONE more sound – the pitifully inadequate sound of me trying desperately NOT to let myself laugh out loud.
I mean, what kind of wife am I? Who else would EVER laugh when her poor husband has just been attacked unawares and he’s literally standing in front of strangers and seeing stars flash before his pain-stricken eyes? And what kind of mother would EVER, EVER respond to that kind of defiant and horrifying behavior by LAUGHING?
I know! It’s ridiculous! Mother of the year with this one, folks.
I headed straight outside (after wiping the tears from my cheeks and trying to think sad thoughts) and planted myself directly before my 4-year-old. Kneeling down, I placed both my hands on her shoulders and looked straight into her eyes.
Come on, you can do it. Keep it together. You must look stern just for a second to discipline your naughty child. Deep breath. This is important, Sharon! You don’t want her to grow up to be a dangerous, violent woman who abuses her husband! I told myself.
But I couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t in me. I had to start over three times in my little speech about not hitting daddy in the bottom because I couldn’t say it with a straight face.
Even my older daughters were telling me to stop laughing. It was awful.
After my third attempt, I finally communicated to my daughter that her behavior was unacceptable, and at that moment my poor husband came (somewhat gingerly) walking out of the store. He walked straight to the van, not casting so much as a glance at either of us.
I need help. I seriously do. I could start a support group. “Inappropriate Laughers Anonymous”? “Losers Only Laugh” (hey, we could call it LOL meetings!)?
It is just not normal that my fondest memories are times when my husband has tripped on a rug and fallen face first on the floor, when my mother-in-law hit her head on the corner of the cabinets, or when my friend hurt herself during a vacation Bible school lesson she was teaching (long story, don’t ask, but it was seriously funny).
Am I the only one having trouble being a responsible parent when it comes to this kind of thing? I can’t NOT laugh. It’s a curse all the women in my family suffer from. My mother is legendary for her inability to remain composed when someone suffers a teeny bit of pain. I can just see my girls as adults. They’ll be shunned as unfeeling, hideous monsters who laugh at the misfortune of others.
Add it to the list of things they’ll need therapy for thanks to having me as their mother. And please, please don’t trip or mash your fingers or stub your toe in front of me. I can’t deal with it like a normal adult. Even right now a little smile is on my face just at the thought of it.
Yes, go ahead and judge me. I know. I KNOW.
Wife. Mom. Dispenser of sippy cups and band-aids. Sharon Webber is the mother of three young girls and proudly totes her many titles. She's your every day mom, just working to keep the chaos under some kind of control. She loves to write about their ordinary, yet extraordinary, adventures as a family of five at her blog Mommy Mayhem. Laugh with her...or at her...and reassure yourself you're not the only one on this crazy ride called motherhood.