Leonardo Da Vinci (from sketchbooks)This week I’ve been thinking about laughter. I’ve also been admitting to myself that I rarely laugh. Sure I find things amusing and I try to be amusing myself. But how often do I really Laugh Out Loud? Literally. My husband has commented that I don’t seem to enjoy comedies. But the truth is that I do enjoy them. I just do it in a silent, self-absorbed kind of way. My sense of humor bubbles below the surface and I manage to keep it all to myself.
My kids laugh. They think air is funny. They even sit around my laptop with me and get all hysterical over my blog entries. Ethan tells me it’s “the funniest blog ever” and then he says (with all the sincerity of a child who has never seen Misery) “I am your number one fan”.
I know my kids laugh because their happy noises only have one volume setting: ear-splitting. Boy laughter is inevitably linked with loud, raucous chasings through the house or explosion noises and flying Lego. It comes in bursts of wild abandon. And, frequently, it escalates rapidly to non-funny injuries. Perhaps this is why I find myself so often yelling at them to “just stop being so GOOFY!”
But I know that laughter – real, physical, shaking of the gut laughter – creates endorphins which in turn make you happier. (Side note: did you know the study of laughter and its physiological effects on the human body is called gelotology. Does this mean that the study of what happens when gelatin makes you laugh is called Jello gelotology?). Anyway, I know that I could truly benefit in many ways from adding laughter (and apparently more Jello) to my diet. Most importantly, the kids need to see me laugh more. They take their emotional cues from me. They know before I do when I’m grouchy or upset. All I have to do is let out a single *sigh* and McKay asks me what’s wrong. Why can’t my mirth be contagious too?
So this week I’m setting a goal to laugh every day. I’m going to giggle and snort and chortle if it kills me. I want to develop the habit, even though for now I may have to consciously let out a good hearty fake guffaw now and then.
I’m also refuse to be deterred by how pathetic it is that I have to actually set a goal to laugh.
The best news is that I’ve already gotten in my dose today. At breakfast, Nora was crawling around and we noticed she was blowing a huge snot-bubble out her nose. I joined the boys in relishing the moment of hilarity. Even Nora looked up to admire all our silliness and she grinned a huge, tooth-less, bubble-faced, “man, you guys all look ridiculous!” grin. And we laughed some more. And it felt good.