Our son Matthew had a hard time accepting humor at first. He would laugh at funny things on television or in movies; but he did not understand how to process teasing. This brought on some very tense moments which required an extra dose of compassion and patience on our part. We are, by nature, a family that thrives on practical jokes…and gentle teasing is one of our love languages.
By gentle teasing, I mean the following example: Rex walked into the house yesterday after playing out in the dirt. I smiled widely, winked obviously and said, “So, mister man; were you going to wash the backyard off your legs?” He giggled, shook his head and said, “Ummmm, nope! Uh-uh. I wanted to keep it on me to remember the yard!”. We laughed together as he walked out to clean up.
This whole interchange was a completely foreign concept to Matthew until a few months ago. I remember one of the first “humor breakthroughs”. I was driving alone in the car with Matthew and Marissa. Matthew made an outrageous statement about something, and without thinking, I teasingly said, “Ohhhh, I see, Mr. Spoofer. You are telling a Tall Tale!” as I winked at him in the rear view mirror. *Cue tears.* I felt awful. He said, “My name is Matthew, not Mr. Spoofer!”.
I explained that Daddy and I called each other silly names just to show that we love each other…not mean names, but silly ones, like “Little Miss Pees a lot” or “Mr. I had Onions tonight”. I explained that if the names change, the person still stays the same in their heart. With a sinking feeling of dread in my gut, I asked him if he was starting to understand. “*Sniff* I think so…since I was pretending to cry, Mom! I knew you were kidding!”
He got me.
About a week later, the five youngest kiddos were heading upstairs to bed. It was a chilly night, so I hollered up to ask who needed an extra blanket. 3 little voices answered that they did. I went all the way to the far corner of the basement to retrieve the warm layers. My arms were heavy laden when I tromped back up the two flights of stairs. I handed out two of the blankets, and went from room to room asking who requested the third one. Total silence. James said, “Are you sure that you counted right?” I replied, “Three of the kids answered me.” We heard snickering behind us, and turned to see the cherubic face of Matthew, dissolving into giggles. “Ha! I got you, MOM! I asked for the blanket but then acted like I didn’t. I.TEASED.YOU!”
James and I shook our heads as we smiled. “You sure did get me, buddy! Way to go!”
That boy. What a Spoofer!