Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Napless Wonder, and my one and only failing as a mother

Today the Monster chose not to nap.  He's 11 months old.  He needs naps.  He'll tell you he doesn't (well, he won't tell you because he doesn't speak English in any recognizable form, but he'll growl at you in a way that makes his intention not to nap perfectly clear).  But he does need to nap.  I know because I'm his mother and I know better than he does.  At least, that's what I tell myself every day to keep myself going.  Possibly this is just a lie that mothers since the dawn of time have been telling ourselves to keep from just sitting down and crying and not stopping.  "I'm the mother.  I know.  Better.  Than.  These.  Children."

So anyway, we went to church in the morning, and he never sleeps in church, forget about it (he's far too busy worshipping and soaking up all the spiritual goodness, obviously. Also pulling my hair, using me as a trampoline/jungle gym, and making car noises even when there are no cars in sight, anywhere).  So Sundays are always wonky from a nap perspective because he misses his morning nap.  Usually he makes up for it in a sort of midday-afternoon nap, but not today.  Today he decided to just go all out, nap-free, cold turkey, The Napless Wonder!

All of this culminated with me in the car on the way home at 7 p.m. listening to him cry a sort of hopeless, confused cry (I don't understand!  I was sure I didn't need a nap!  I was so sure I'd gotten the calculations correct, and yet here I am, sleepy and wild-eyed and out of my 11-month-old mind!  WHAT IS GOING ON???).

So I did what any rational, caring mother would do.  I popped in my Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of the Beatles CD and cranked it up to FULL VOLUME, effectively drowning out his pitiful cries for comfort and explanation and replacing them with the sweet, dulcet tones of Yesterday, gently yet firmly and loudly imploring him to BE SOOTHED NOW BABY! YOU! WILL! BE! SOOTHED! IF! IT! DEAFENS! US! ALL!

It worked.  I bet you thought it wouldn't, didn't you?  Well.  Shows what you know.  He's asleep right now.  Mother of the year.

Once he was asleep I was free to turn the music down to non-lethal levels, which was obviously the Princess's cue to begin talking nonstop engaging in valuable mother-daughter bonding.

She likes to tell jokes.  Here's the thing.  I'm a good mom, ok?  No, really.  I think I am.  But I have one major weakness, one area in which I fail miserably, and that area is:  Fake laughter.  I can't do it.  Cannot.

I can pretend other things all day.  Yesterday she made streamers with printer paper, markers, and scissors.  A huge pile of 11-inch streamers.  I taped them up, one by one, all the way around the perimeter of her room and we had a birthday party for her Pinkalicious doll.  I brought a present.  A wrapped present.  I sang happy birthday.  I provided pretend cake.  OK?  I'm a good mom.

But look.  I have a sense of humor.  I like things that are actually...funny.  Sample joke by my 5-year-old:  "Why did the cow go into the house?"  "I don't know, why?"  "Because he was sick!"

If you're laughing right now, please, please, explain to me what I'm missing.

First of all.  Cows are female.  If the cow was a he, it was a bull.  Secondly, who lets a sick cow into their house?  Nobody, that's who.  Thirdly, why would going into a house even help a sick cow?  Sick cows need a vet, and fresh air, and probably hay or something.  And medicine.  Bovine medicine.  Nobody keeps hay and bovine medicine in their house.  A house is the last place a sick cow needs to go.

And what exactly is the punchline? Is it like, an irony thing?  Is it funny precisely because a house is the last place a sick cow needs to go?

I just don't get it.

I'm sorry.

So I grit my teeth and kind of force out a really obvious, truly awful fake laugh.  "Ha. Hehe. Hm. Harumph."

the Princess, giving me the evil eye:  "...was that a fake laugh?"

me:  "...yeah."  What do you want me to do??  Lie?  Lie to my child's face under direct questioning??

the Princess:  pouting in the backseat as if I just told her she can never have chocolate milk again, ever.

me:  "what?!"

the Princess:  "I just want you to laugh."

me:  "I did."

the Princess:  "A real laugh!"

How do you explain to a 5-year-old that you cannot force a person to laugh a real laugh?  That 98% of the time she's the most hilarious person I know, but right at this moment, sweetheart, you're just trying too hard.

Seriously.  How?  Somebody tell me, please.


  1. Let the Princess know that I was cracking up at her joke. To answer your question, I have no idea WHY. Maybe because I'm a sleep deprived mother myself and it is 12:30am? Maybe because I know laughing helps burn calories and I have a few to burn?

  2. Ambria... You should get some sleep. Let me know if it's still funny in the morning.

  3. Tell her this joke:

    Mahatma Gandhi walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail. And with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super-callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

  4. This post had me guffawing out loud.

  5. @Anonymous
    Ha! I laughed a real laugh. Well done. Why are you anonymous? That makes me sad. Also curious, and now my imagination is running wild. I've decided you're probably Barack Obama. Look! Barack Obama commented on my blog, and he told a joke involving Mahatma Gandhi and Mary Poppins. I am so important

  6. I actually love anonymous' joke!! But start practicing smiling and laughing when you don't want to and welcome to motherhood,....

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