Aug 20

My Kid Repeats the Same Joke Over, and Over, and…

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Don’t get me wrong.  Did you get me wrong?  Let’s not be wrong about this.  I appreciate the time and dedication it takes to get a joke just right.  There are subtleties in word choice, mannerisms, and inflections that can make or break the effectiveness of a good joke.

But when it comes to our children practice doesn’t make perfect, does it?  Practice, in this case, makes increasingly schlocky.  They’ll do something like Noble did tonight at dinner:
“Hey dad, remember when we were on the airplane?”
“Yeah.”
“When you weren’t looking, I accidentally pooped on my face.”
Noble, sitting on his hands, quickly brings his hands up and imitates smearing poop on his face in a very Mary Katherine Gallagher-sniffing-her-pits way.

In my mind, I know that this is disgusting, and should be stopped, but the comedian in me can’t help but laugh at the shock, the pure randomness, and the hand gesture with the silly face, the hilarity of it all.  I burst out laughing.  But then a switch gets flipped in Noble’s brain.  The kid got a laugh, and so he decides to reenact the joke from the beginning.   Again.  And again.  And again. What once was funny, is now the nails on my sanity chalkboard.

I want to respect the craft.  He’s found something funny and is working it for all it’s worth.   And I feel horrible when I say, “Ok dude!  I think it’s played out.” But I don’t know what else to do, especially during the crude jokes.  It’s almost as if the crude and inappropriateness of the joke sinks in deeper and deeper with every retelling, until I feel frustration and guilt at not “parenting” it earlier.

So I really should apologize, in advance, to any playdate moms who have Noble over for dinner and hear something shocking or poop related.  It’s only because good shock humor is my parenting kryptonite.

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