My sense of humor has always been a coping mechanism for me, and it's gotten me through a lot. A lot. I know this is something I've passed on to my kids because they are, well, a funny bunch. You really do have to have a sense of humor to live in this house, I must say. The darker and sicker and more twisted the better, but if you haven't gotten in touch with that part of yourself, just give us at least something to work with and we'll help you get there. Ha ha!
I used humor a lot in bringing up my own kids from the time they were young (new additions to the family just have to get used to me/us, as my two have had years to adjust), even in the area of discipline. When my daughter was a "tween" and she would need an attitude adjustment in public, for instance, I would threaten to sing John Denver songs at the top of my lungs. This would get her immediately into order because she knew I would do it. On rare occasions I had to actually make good on the threat. One time we were all in line for popcorn at a movie theater, and she just kept huffing and puffing about how long it was taking. Being a snot, frankly. As a warning, I began to hum the opening of "Rocky Mountain High", but she rolled her eyes at me and apparently didn't take me too seriously. So when she continued to grumble, I began - just a little quietly at first - "He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year..." Then something really awesome happened. The guy behind me in line joined in. Pretty soon a handful of us "oldies" in line were singing "Rocky Mountain High" together, and she was mortified into submission. :)
There was also a time when my son was being a bit... difficult? Mouthy, let's say. So, I headed down the hall toward his bedroom, and as I did so, I whispered to my foster son, "Tell him I'm heading for his room..." Before I knew it, my son was racing down the hall behind me, trying to catch up and get ahead of me. I was too fast, though, and I flashed through his door and slammed it shut behind me just in the nick of time. I locked the door, and then... I sat on his bed quietly for about five minutes while he stood outside pleading. I came out smiling and walked away, saying nothing. The poor kid spent about the next week going through every single thing in his room, trying to figure out what I had done or taken or messed with. It was driving him crazy. I finally let him know, thinking he'd suffered enough in that week, that I hadn't done a thing. Bahahaha!
Back when my daughter first started high school, it just so happened that I was on the school board. This gave me some connections (poor kid). Well, backing up a little bit here in the story, there was this cookie jar I'd found at a yard sale, and Kristen (my daughter) hated it; it looked like a gingerbread girl, which I thought was cute, but she found "creepy". So, one night when she was sleeping, I set the cookie jar on the desk in her room, right where she'd be looking eye-to-eye with it when she woke up. The kid turned that one around on me, though, because when I woke up in the morning, it was on my night stand and it was me who was looking it in the eye. Ha! But I wasn't to be outdone. I stashed the cookie jar behind some clothes in her closet the next day, where it would startle her, which it did. Were we finished, though? Of course not. That night, there was the little gingerbread girl sitting in my office chair when I went in to get some work done.
So... The first day of school was approaching, and remember those connections I mentioned? Well, I made some calls. I found out in advance which locker Kristen would be assigned, and I even got her combination. Tee hee... On the first day of her freshmen year of high school, my daughter opened her locker to find that "creepy" gingerbread girl cookie jar staring her square in the face. When she called me on the phone, I answered already laughing! That one, I have to say, was priceless!
Of course, when one doles it out - so to speak - for so many years, one has to be prepared for some payback when the little tots get older. A while back, this is what happened to me when I unwisely fell asleep on the sofa one afternoon:
And this happened to my daughter at the hands of my beloved "stray" Kayla (who has the patience of a saint and can always pull off what you think she can't); those circles are the little felt dots you use on the inside of cabinet doors to keep them from slamming loudly:
Speaking of Kayla, this is what she left for me one Easter when we were decorating eggs and I asked her to "leave a few eggs in the carton for me because I want to bake cookies":
Yeah, you may have to look at that for a minute...
So, I'll tell you why I was thinking of this tonight, our sense of humor and all. This morning I was heading down the hallway to go to the bathroom, and I caught a glimpse into my son's room. Every drawer was hanging open (this is a weird habit he has, leaving all his drawers open), and I laughed out loud. From the living room, he called out, "What's so funny?" I replied, "I just saw your room and it occurred to me that it always looks like you just got robbed." Ha ha. And then I headed into the bathroom, where I remained for all of about a minute and didn't hear a thing... When I emerged, I noticed that the two cabinet doors in our hallway were standing open. "Very funny, Jeff!" I shouted down the hall.
Then I headed toward the living room, where I found that every single open-able thing was hanging open. All the cabinet doors in my buffet and in the shelving units by the TV, all the drawers in every end table and other piece of furniture, the coat closet door... Even the sliding drawer-thingy in the DVD player was standing open.
I was already laughing, and then I headed into the kitchen. You guessed it. The oven, the breadbox, the dishwasher, every cupboard and drawer, all open. Suffice it to say that the kid covered the entire house - quietly and in less than a minute. I laughed until I literally cried. The apple, as they say, does not fall far from the tree. :)
And as we were chatting before he went to bed tonight, I brought up his little prank and chuckled again. That was a good one. And he said to me, grinning, "We are a funny family. Other things about us may be debated, but not that. We are one funny family."
As long as we can hang on to that, we'll get through whatever comes our way. :)