I know you’re not supposed to laugh directly at your children when they’re trying to be serious or when they’re dabbling in naughty territory. I know this because I get paid to write about parenting, which should mean that I know a thing or two, but also because pretty much everyone is aware that this is not a good parenting tactic.
Sometimes, though, it happens.
Yesterday, younger daughter huffs into the room. She’d been playing with her dad in another room, and judging from her expression, something wasn’t going her way. She says in her lilty, lispy voice, “Daddy is just a teeny, tiny, tiny, teeeeeeny, little, tiny …”
And this went on for a while, until finally she says, “teeny tiny bit … stupid. Just a little bit. I hate to say that in our house. But it’s true.”
Saying “stupid” in our house is like dropping the F-bomb. You just don’t do it. And I’ve been firm on this issue, because I’ve been hearing the word a lot lately, thanks to a certain classroom friend of younger daughter’s who says the word frequently at school. There’s always one, isn’t there?
But how do you not laugh at that? I literally had to turn away. I couldn’t even manage to talk about why she was angry or help her deal with her frustration because I was afraid I’d snort right in her face.
The upside is that I now have a new track to play in my head whenever I’m feeling bothered by a bad driver or stupid difficult person: “You’re just a little, tiny, teeeeny, tiny …”