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September 18, 2008


Maria Wood

Ugh, silliness, definitely a problem for me. I wasn't even particularly silly as a child (parentified and adult way too young).


Yeah, I think I found silliness vaguely embarrassing and undignified as a child, at least some of the time (there were zones that were okay, mainly in one-on-one play with siblings). I was WAY too grown up otherwise, and mainly for the wrong reasons.

At the same time, I also very quietly envied and admired those who could do it, could disregard everything but the joy, and run with it.


1. I was chastised by La, the 5 year old, for not playing the "yes game" right. "You say yes and I say yes. Yes." Apparently, her grandmother with Alzheimer's disease was the best at it. It would crack them both up. Another favorite, which gets us through the produce section is when she prompts, "You say broc-o-lie [the way the Wiggles say it] and I say brocli. Brocli" Which arose from "You say tomato and I say tomahto. Tomato. Tomahto. Potato. Potahto." from the old song.

2. I sort of run into this too - where I get into my own loop - and don't hear silly. Or it takes some restraint to not push the 5 year old on my agenda (getting into the car so we can get going) vs. her agenda, which is more taking the scenic route, but generally amenable to the larger agenda of getting everyone to school. One strategy is to get into the car earlier, but another is not worrying about a few tardy slips.

3. I wonder if being silly is "men's work" - there's a classic complaint, "He just comes home and plays with the kids." And I'm wondering what's wrong with that? Is that really a problem so much (so long as the dad is cognizant of the adult issues and participates in the adult side of the situation too)? DH and I have a very different approach to having a few hours alone taking care of the kids. I'll end up taking care of the housework while taking care of the kids, which means multi-tasking and not really sitting down and playing or being silly. DH will maybe fold laundry at the most while he's watching the kids. When the baby was little, he complained to me that El never rolled over for him. My response - she can't roll over if you never put her down.


Oh, and the men's work thing? That's not to say that I couldn't or shouldn't find more room for silly and play. No one ever finds that their children are grown and wish they had spent more time keeping the dishes clean. But that it's nice that Dads seem to come at it naturally.


Yup. Silly dad, here. Hedra has the right of it - Letting go, and simply not giving a damn what people think, is the key. Men, more or less naturally, have less self-consciousness about what other people think of us - I suspect that it's the same blind spot that allows a fat, balding, unshaven man to look in a mirror and say "lookin' gooood..!" We simply don't, on average, use the same filters as women do.

So, 'though I sing horribly, I can come up with bizarre lyrics that scan, on the fly, and sing I do - To my daughter's public horror and private amusement, and to my son's comic and overly-dramatic disgust. Or I make like an orangutan, or tackle & tickle them, or make funny faces, or tell *really* twisted takes on fairy tales... Or play any of the hundred or thousands of varients of the "you're so silly" game... I have no monitor that says "that's not dignified." I'm a guy, and we just don't care that much about dignity. Not usually, anyway.


I do have to mention that ep is a VERY funny guy, to the point that he can even make *me* laugh. He doesn't always trot it out, but his timing is great. And I still sometimes miss it, while everyone else is laughing till tears leak. (It kinda sounded like he wasn't funny enough, but it is actually me.)

Tranq and Cathy, good point about the Guy=Silly-is-fine thing. I think that whole split is one of the reasons for so much of the 'Mommy knows best' thing most moms I know had to go through before they adjusted to the whole 'wait, two different parents is good' concept. I remember watching a friend scowl in contempt and repression at her DH while he rolled around on the floor making the baby laugh. She was worried about safety, age-appropriateness, and probably dignity, too. It BOTHERED her that he was just being silly, and not taking the right awed-and-overcome stance vis the baby thing. She got over it, but it took a while. It took me a while, too, and it's now just one more reason I really like men.


Oye.. I need to play and be silly more. I love it when I can let go and do that with the kids. Problem is someone has to be a grown up around here. And i don't mean that my husband isn't, I just mean that in child-rearing we have the sterotypical roles of daddy is the fun one and mommy is the other one (however, you want to define other). It's not bad. It's just how things are. But i do enjoy being silly.

Goddess Babe

I remember being really embarrassed when my mom was acting silly, even at home, pretty early in life. I don't know if I picked up on her "how will that look to other people" thing or what.

Anyway, I think silly is GREAT! And, I suck at it. I'm trying. REALLY hard. Trying to get better at silly.

Even with Miss G was very small, I'd do something funny, she'd laugh, and I'd say "Mommy is silly!" so she'd laugh more.

Now, with all the 2 1/2 yo rules about who may play with what, where, how and when, I never really feel like I know how to play. And, I get yelled at for being silly at the wrong times. ugh. So even when I get the spontaneous urge to be silly, it might get squashed by a small drill sergeant.

SO, Hedra, what does one do when silly is regulated by the child, AND one sucks at silly to start with?


One refuses to stop trying. Because it WILL come back as an allowed function. Just not yet. (The idea of 'someone looking at me and thinking something I can't hear and might not LIKE' is part of her age, so yes, she absorbs 'what WILL people THINK!?' And later, she'll decide she can choose whether she cares what they think or not.)

Like the singing thing - NO SINGING (and no dancing, and no silly dancing, and so forth) were big rules for all our kids. But I'd still break into song now and then, and then have to go 'oh, no singing? It bothers you? I like singing. I'm sad I don't get to sing. No singing? Okay, no singing. For now.' Same WHAT? Noooo! Sad. Accept. Hope. process they go through on everything they don't get to do, too. (Minus outrage, heh.) And I do get to sing, now, too. Not always, but 90% of the time, it doesn't bother them. YAY!


I'm pretty silly with people I know and trust. I'm very silly with my children, and quite silly with hubby, but I'm sure people I don't know well must think I'm simply up-tight, but that is due to shyness. I have a very dry sense of humour that doesn't translate very well in the written form, nor, unfortunately, does it translate very well in Italian. But neither does Monty Python, so there.


Heh. I'm trying to picture Monty Python translated to Italian. The rat and spam sketches, not to mention the cheese shop...


i got a lot of good silly ideas from the book _playful parenting_ - my memory is fading and it was a library copy - must get my own!

i agree about dads having an easier time letting loose.... and i don't think that any parent has a *duty* to be silly - but it sure can be a helpful tool.

one favorite silly game here is "nobody better wake me up" - courtesy of FIL. lie on couch, pile blankets and pillows on yourself and announce that no one had better wake you up. then let the kids attack. it's fun with my 1 year old, and i've seen 8 and 9 year olds still enjoying it. somewhere around 3 you can start using them as pillows or blankets and then complain as they slip away or wiggle too much. it's a favorite of mine when i want to play but also lie down, hee hee :)


We must both excel at silly in our house. It is how we diffuse most of the temper tantrums (The stern "If you don't stop screaming I'm going to change in tone "TICKLE YOU"), anger demands (Stop -- leads to singing a rousing chorus of "Stop, in the name of love, before you break my heart) (I've even caught Hunter just doing this on his own to break the frustration cycle - it works. Hard to be frustrated singing that song.) Or the simple every day silly: You know what? Chicken butt.

It is fun. It is actually pretty easy. Just think. I need to laugh. We've actually done a few yoga laughter exercises together. They always end up VERY silly.

Have fun practicing silly!


We play:

You know what?
I love you. You know what else?
(same exact tone, as if delivering a brand new secret) I love you. You wanna know what ELSE?
(same tone again, like, oooh, let's share this secret!) I love you. (giggles usually start around now)

I don't totally suck on silly, I guess, but I definitely need more practice, still.

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