A sense of humour

Ask a dozen women what they look for in a man and 90% of them will list sense of humour as the most important.Funny though, I usually snap at the OA if his sense of humour gets in the way of a conversation. Everything is funny until you get married. Then you wonder if life played a joke on you.

Yennyway. This is not about the OA’s sense of humour that kills me. Literally.  It is about the Brat’s sense of humour, or lack thereof. A few months ago the OA and I noticed that the Brat didn’t tell jokes or get jokes. Most other kids in that age group seemed to get it. And were cracking crude potty jokes but the light of our life seemed to find nothing funny about that joke that turned my stomach while the 6 year old narrated it.

I realised that the OA had noticed it too. Why didn’t our son get a joke? It wasn’t the end of the world, but as parents, it interested us. We really thought we were giving him a good childhood. So err.. why didn’t he laugh when he heard the punch line. And then being the person I am, I began to think about it. Was it a lack of vocabulary? Was it some sort of developmental delay? What is a joke? How do you know that it is funny? What makes a joke funny to some and not to others? What does it mean if you can’t see the funny side of something?

Fortunately we met an educator some days later and she gave us an interesting explanation, or atleast a theory. Jokes are funny because you expect it to go one way and then the punch line happens and it is completely unexpected and that is what is funny. Jokes get funnier and you understand them better and laugh harder as you grow older because you are more set in your ways and ideas and you have an expectation in your mind. It is only when you have an open mind, she mentioned, that you don’t find jokes funny. Now this is not meant to be taken literally. To expand on it, when the Brat hears a story, he has no expectation of how it is to end and he has no limits to what is possible. So even a joke with an outlandish ending, is possible in his little Calvin Hobbes world. He nods, takes the joke in his stride as food for thought and walks on.

It was an interesting theory. I am not sure if it is a valid theory but it made sense when explained that way. A few days ago the Brat came and sat in my lap and looked out of the window.

Oye,  I said  – must you land on my lap?

Yes, he nods seriously.

Why? I ask

Because its there, says he. Much like George Mallory.

Ha ha ha, I laughed, forgetting for a moment that he is a child and thinking – Kya chance pe dance kiya. Until I realised that he had said it in utter seriousness. And of course remembering that he was too young to even be aware of the quote.

Anyhow, I don’t know if this is good news or bad, but he is slowly beginning to see a joke. I have to admit, that while it turns him into a normal little boy, laughing at age appropriate potty jokes, it’s the end of yet another era, the passing of a milestone. He’s slowly losing the willing acceptance. The suspension of disbelief. The open mind that doesn’t second guess and innocently nods and believes.  Gradually he is getting expectations, it is no longer open ended. I think I’ll miss my little boy so full of wonder.

PS: After I wrote this post I was chatting with the OA who smiled his OA smile and said, “You know he gets it from you, don’t you?”

I do? He does?

OA: I think he does. Aren’t you the one who still holds your breath each time the aeroplane takes off and wonders anew at how it can lift off and soar through the air? Aren’t you the one who always has 20 things to tell me even if you’ve been home all day? Aren’t you the one who is always full of little observations for your blog? The one who is happy over the funniest little occurrences?

Okay then…

And so I had three things to be happy about

– The son who is growing into the spitting image of his goodlooking father instead of average looking mother gets atleast something from his mother – a sense of wonder

– That apparently I have a sense of wonder that I have never realised

– That the banker husband who wouldn’t bother if I walked around the house with my head stuck up a turkey’s arse, has not only noticed something about me, but about my son too and has actually had the time to draw conclusions. 2011 might just be the year of miracles!


78 thoughts on “A sense of humour

  1. You know what I love about you? Your idealism. That you’re moved to tears by the plight of strangers. That you can fiercely fight for what you think is right. That you want the world to be better and expect it to be. I’ve always been laughed at for my idealism, yet I’ve held on to it: it took blogging to discover others like me.

  2. I really like this post and i am trying to wonder if it is the educator’s explanation or the fact that the OA realization of the genes being passed on or just the whole feel good factor associated with the sense of wonder.

    Ummm…i guesss i could have just clicked on the like button!

  3. Awwww that’s so cute and touching..
    I’m really glad for the Brat and you.

    PS: you really didn’t know you had a sense of wonder? it comes across in your posts – most of them – that you are like a child looking at everything for the first time – with wonder – however many times you might have seen the same thing. life is full of small wonders for you. that’s why we love reading you – you make even the smallest of things sound wonderful. 🙂

  4. so cute, you guys. mine just laughs loudly if she hears others laughing and then turns to me and asks, why was that a joke? really, she is most ridiculous.

  5. In a way, your acceptance of all that your children are, with no acrimony but rather mild curiosity, is rather the same thing. Even with your strong opinions and personality, you don’t go into things with strong expectations (if we ignore people in 3 tier AC coaches) 🙂

  6. Funnily enough, I happened to reread your post on flying (and how much it fascinates you), sometime last week. Was in a car with friends yesterday, when we heard a fighter jet – all 3 of us craned our necks out to catch sight of the plane and had a stupid smile plastered on our faces for a while after.
    The new job involves a lot of travelling – was on a flight this morning and as it took off, my prayer was that I will have a stupid, amazed, goofy smile plastered on my face, every single time.
    I love your Brat. 😀 That is such a fascinating observation!

  7. ok…the thing that struck me was you walking with your nose up a turkey’s arse. Everything else slipped away after that…:D

      • Oh…yeah. I saw that one…but obviously didn’t make the connection. dumb me 🙂 Or I’m just not that into Friends. Actually i am – but blame it on my old, feeble memory. It is not enough to look like an elephant 😛

  8. Err.. are you sure the OA wasn’t like just joking when he said all the nice things? Okay before you chuck me out – I’m just kidding! You do have a sense of wonder that is refreshing – why else is the number of folks who read you the same as the number of annual visitors to the Louvre eh?!

    • @Chox: Right on 🙂
      @MM: You didnt know you had a wonderful sense of wonder! eh! and banker husbands do notice things..they dont know how to put it in words..with a wife who write so wonderfully well, am sure OA often feels inadequate to express himself 😉

  9. This reminds of the time I was 5 or 6 and I heard a “joke” from one of my friends. I knew that a joke was supposed to make you laugh but I didn’t get it. At dinner I told my parents the joke and they laughed, but laughed more knowing fully well that I hadn’t got the joke, possibly didn’t even know what a joke was supposed to be. They didn’t attempt to explain it to me either, even though I asked…probably like you wanted to keep the moment the way it was.

    Personally I like making my daughter laugh doing silly things and making funny faces…it is less “intellectual” than a joke but the joyful guffaw is innocent and priceless. So yes, I know what you mean and I am willing to wait a long while before she actually cracks jokes.

    • exactly – we do a lot of slapstick with him. if he kisses me i swoon and fall over. if he pokes me i flop down and die. he loves that sort of thing. but words are a different matter. anything i say is possible…

      • Do not worry.. as long as he understands the joke, it is fine. What matters is if he can make up a joke (on his own or pull out from his memory based upon the current situation).

        It took me big time to laugh at any joke, yet I understood everything.. I always had my own one liners for every situation.. so at school I was always considered serious (boring actually.. one girl compared me with Guru Dutt, while the other said I am Dharmendra from Satyakaam).. anyhow, it was during the ragging time in engg. college that my sense of humour was appreciated. I still rarerly laugh.. in fact I make comments on the joke to make it more funny. So may be Brat is like me in this aspect?

          • What’s the point? as long as you know what it means does it matters if you have to manifest/reveal/express?

            Just ask him what he found unfunny about the joke.. that’ll give you a clue about his take on the joke.. maybe he’ll surprise you with his one liners 🙂

            • Whats the point of laughing? aap mazak kar rahe hain na? it makes people around you happy. And I am sure it transforms your face and makes your wife smile.

  10. You know what’s the best thing about you — that you have such strong opinions on some things and can be so completely open minded about others. It’s great to be able to make the distinction — what one needs to take a strong stand about and what needs to let be. Lovely post.

  11. “the one who always has 20 things to tell me even if you’ve been home all day…”

    Oh Momma, floundering. I love Mia, but some days I am having trouble finding myself and in finding anything to say. I think of things to write and then I don’t write. Like that I have no reason to be unhappy and that sometimes I look for reasons to be unhappy because sometimes i think happiness makes me not write. Sigh. help.

    • it takes time. i started blogging around the time the Brat was turning one. It took me a year to realise that i was a mother, but only 26 yrs old. there was still so much to do and see. and i know you – you are such an interesting person that you’ve just got to let the Miababy sink into your life and it will all come rushing back.

    • hmmm…an author friend of mine said the same thing. Being happy makes her not write. She feels she must be in a fairly messed up state mentally for the words to flow. Told her to stop indulging herself and just sit down and put 300-500 words on paper everyday no matter what…and the gush happened… Not that i’m giving you any advice. i don’t know you. Just saying that others seem to have similar problems..

        • gaah….don’t fish. It’s cos ppl aren’t interested that we’re all here – reading every word you write and even recalling stuff you have forgotten that you wrote?

          I don’t know about your writing. Maybe – you feel for everything around you and record the events and your reactions to it. Maybe the ‘writer/author’ types need to feel more angst… ok…this isn’t quite coming out right…

  12. Really, you should be proud of Brat and his openness, also haven’t you notice that we don’t get some jokes which are from other language or culture (that we don’t know so well) or translated jokes, even as an adult we have problems in that way, so the theory given by the educator,s point holds for all age group, you don’t catch a joke when you don’t know/believe about the setting or convention lying inside a joke. Also I became a fan of OA who even being a man can see invisible things, I have seen so less of them and as you guess my husband (though handpicked by myself) does not fall in that category (sigh!). Keep going in 2011 and many more years to come!

  13. just saw your blog header about plants freezing…mulch (cover the ground around the plants) with lots of leaves (at least and inch) and they should make be alright…btw, i hope they’re not in plastic pots:)

  14. A sense of humor is acquired over time. I didn’t particularly notice this until I started teaching kindergarten last year. My five-year olds hardly ‘get’ my jokes. And I’m always full of them. Though to be fair, my sense of humor is tinged with caustic wit, very sarcastic. Even Mr. Sachinky can’t bear it, most of the time.

  15. My son laughs a lot when watching TV with his sister.. and I/we were not sure if he really understood the situation. I always keep on pestering him with my stupid jokes.. just to evoke some expression.. I’ll give you some of his comments:

    1) one day I was after him telling him that he does not listens to me, he does not read, he doest not do his homework.. and all that stuff.. for about 1 minute.. somewhere between he realized that I will go on and on.. so he starts walking upstairs.. and I started following him.. and then I say to him ‘what should I do Avi.. what should I?’ .. he turns around and says deadpan ‘just wipe my nosy and go away’
    2) He wakes up and takes a look outside and see lots of snow.. he then knew that he is not going to school and I’ll be cleaning.. He is super excited and listens to me for whatever I am asking him to do. I clean the snow.. then take a break.. and after that he stoppped responding to me.. so ask him ‘ Avi, why are you not listening to me’ and he replies ‘coz you are not cleaning snow anymore’
    3) once he told his mother that he does not reply to me because ‘my dad talks stupid things’

    Go figure..
    my advice.. just keep on pushing.. you’ll know why Brat is not laughing..

  16. Wow – very well theory around what is a joke and why does it make one laugh. Never heard of it that way but makes a lot of sense.

    And you know what song hit my mind instantly as soon as I finished reading your post? They lyrics of “I hope you dance”. They go something like this:

    I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
    You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
    May you never take one single breath for granted
    God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed

    I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
    Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
    Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
    And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
    I hope you dance
    I hope you dance

  17. I like the theory…it explains why I don’t laugh nearly as much as my classmates,many of whom are Chinese and think very vertically. But even otherwise I don’t usually laugh out loud…I’m more of a chuckler/smirker. You learn to make allowances for social situations as you grow up…if somebody tells a joke during job interview, you bet I’ll be polite laughing till my jaws hurt, even if the joke is profoundly unfunny. Brat will learn these life skills in due course.

  18. Thought provoking article. Made me google on the importance of sense of humour in children. Here are links to a couple I found interesting.


    The articles even provide tips on how to encourage and help your child develop a sense of humour.

    One thing to keep in mind is that the Brat may not find traditional jokes funny, but something you do or say out of the ordinary may be funny to him. I personally think its important for people of all ages (including children and even babies) to have a sense of humour. So I think its great news that the Brat has begun to get jokes (I presume he already had a sense of humour, just that he didnt earlier see the humour in a narrated joke). I try and use humour with both my kids to ease the tension when we are in the middle of/about to get into a brawl – it usually has very positive results.

    hey, btw my hubby’s a banker as well!

  19. “I usually snap at the OA if his sense of humour gets in the way of a conversation. Everything is funny until you get married. Then you wonder if life played a joke on you.” Ditto! Why is it that men feel the need to make a joke at any odd time? I was sure V was going to try to use humour while I was in labour and I would’ve probably killed him… thankfully he didn’t.

  20. ojas and him must be brothers of last life just yesterday me and N were discussing the same thing we thought he is too young to get them may be

    I like that explanation too

    brat is just too cute bless him

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