What’s so funny?

world-mapThe other day, Saint James and Supergirl shared a hearty chuckle at my expense, for the first, but undoubtedly not the last, time. It started with a little laminated map of the world that’s been floating around the house for eons. Every time I clean up, it gets propped on a windowsill in the kitchen, shuffled into my planner or a stack of place mats, or stuffed into the cupboard where we keep the playdough and paints. It hangs around the kitchen mostly, but I have found it fraternizing with the dust bunnies under Saint James’ bed and once it was in my tub, a world patiently waiting to float away.

I’m convinced someone is paying my kids to quietly and deliberately carry things around the house because this is what they do with a thoroughness and alacrity that can only come from mucho cashola. I picture their employer as a shadowy figure sitting with his back to them, a halo of cigar smoke around his bald head muttering in a ripped paper voice: You just move things, right? Ya take your toys, don’t even play with them, you just move ‘em. Up the stairs, down the stairs, just put ‘em in a different spot. The floor’s good. Always good. And if it’s not a toy, even better. More money for moving household items. Kitchen stuff. Always good. The whisks, the oven mitts, the tape. Always good. Always good. Take ‘em to another room. Better yet, take ‘em to your mother’s car. Drop ‘em. Always remember, a ladle in the minivan is a beautiful thing. Same goes for a box of bandaids in the freezer. Stuffed unicorn under the sink. Always good. Always good. Don’t over think. Just keep moving. You pick it up, carry it, drop it. Simple. Capish? My children nod solemnly, their eyes as big as saucers.

This all by way of saying, the mapa mundi has got some legs. So the other day I decided to put an end to its shifty and peripatetic ways and tape it to a wall. Specifically, the wall next to the toilet in the kids’ bathroom. Supergirl, who never misses a thing, came sliding out of the bathroom with an exaggerated, Disney tween show intoned Can someone please explain, like, WHY there’s a map, like, in the bathroom? To which I responded, simply: So you can learn about the world while you poo. And that’s when it happened. She and Saint James chuckled, and then they LOOKED AT EACH OTHER and laughed some more. And then they repeated what I said, and laughed even more! They were sharing a laugh. At me. At something I said. I walked away with a secret grin, letting them revel in a rare moment of solidarity and mirth.

With that little exchange, I realized that their sense of humor is evolving, ever so subtly. They are precariously perched in that spot where I can make them laugh because I’m so smart and funny and that spot where they can laugh at me because they’re so smart and funny. I can tickle them and still make them laugh. I can make a cross-eyed bucktooth face and still make them laugh. But not for long. Someday, that behavior will elicit nothing but groans and eye rolling and the only giggles I’ll get will come from general battiness, slips of the tongue and tumbles of words. Lucky, for all of us, I’ve got those in spades.

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