Laughing with My Boy

Na na na na/Na na na na/Hey hey hey/Goodbye 

Remember that song? Apparently it’s old, released in 1969, but I recall the re-make by Bananarama in the eighties. Here’s a link to the video–if you dare.

My twelve-year-old son and I have this game. When I pick him up from school, if it’s raining (which is almost always in Western Washington), we sing (kinda) that “Na Na” song to the rhythm of the windshield wipers. So, picture them swishing back and forth. Then we start singing. Na na na na/SWISH/Na na na na/SWISH/Hey hey hey/SWISH/Goodbye 

Soon, we get bored, so we add our own lyrics. Ready?

I like tacos/I like burritos/hey hey hey/with fries.

It’s a game, you see. He sings the first part, I sing the second, then together we sing, “with fries.” We hop to different topics, too. Forest animals: “I like beavers/I like raccoons…” but it’s always, “hey hey hey/with fries.” Cartoon characters. “I like Sponge Bob/I like Phineas/hey hey hey/with fries.”

It’s silly. It’s weird. It makes no sense.

But we laugh! Crack up, holding our tummies, laughing.

For years my son and I struggled. He didn’t want to respect my authority. I didn’t know how to handle him. My natural tendency was to clamp down, discipline, lecture. And he grew more and more frustrated, rebellious. The scornful glare became an everyday occurance. Worst of all, he’d say things like, “You don’t love me. You treat me like crap.” I know this was rebellion and wrong, spoken in anger, but I still rushed to my room and cried on my bed.

We get along now. It feels so good to even write that. Our relationship isn’t perfect, but it’s progressing toward the joyful parent-child bond I’ve always longed for. How did we get there? Well, lots of praying, consistency, soul-searching, and … laughter.

He loves making people laugh. It’s his thing. For so long, I resisted this attribute, didn’t encourage it. When I started to see it as a strength instead of a weakness, that’s when things began to change. He feels loved when I laugh with him. Makes sense. I feel loved when someone acknowledges and appreciates my strengths. Why wouldn’t he?

When’s the last time you laughed–really belly laughed–with your kids? Even if your child’s not the born comedian, give it a try. Put yourself in their mindset and force yourself to think their weird jokes are funny. You’ll bond. Just watch.

Keep loving those kids like there’s no tomorrow!




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Ocieanna Fleiss