There is no sound I enjoy more than my sons’ giggles. Recently, I elicited peals of laughter from both boys while I pretended that a monster named “Ralph” inhabited in a small whelk shell in our house. I would peer into the shell, then put it to my mouth and call “Ralph, Ralph, please come out!” The bit was silly and ridiculous, but the boys found it hysterical. “Do that again, do that again!” they howled. From their reaction, you’d think I was a seasoned comedian on stage at Radio City.
There are plenty of great reasons for grownups to act playful and silly. It helps us cope with stress, promotes creative ideas and fosters innovative thinking. What especially appeals to me about silliness, however, is how memorable these moments are to my sons. Months later, they’ll recall some goofy song we made up together. Conversely, if you ask my two-year-old where he went before he took his nap, his likely response will be “I don’t ‘member.” And when I think back to my own childhood, the times I recall most vividly are when my parents acted silly.
My other favorite part of acting silly with my boys is that it strengthens the bond between us. They seem to feed off my laughter just as much as I do with theirs. I love that we continually share silly jokes such as “Why is a seagull called a seagull? Because if it flew over the bay, it would be called a bagel!” When one of my sons tells that joke, I will