Friday, June 27, 2008

Pure Joy for Children

The sound of children's laughter is infectious for me. The pure joy that they find in life's small details astounds me, and even on days when I want to resign from my job, their giggles of delight bring me back to understanding why it is that I have made sacrifices in my life to spend time with my boys.

I am often astounded by the things that bring the biggest smiles to my children's faces, things for which adults usually wouldn't even spare a second thought. Here are some of the laughter-worthy experiences for my boys...

1. Silly "hats" - Now, the word "hats" is in quotes because I don't really mean hats. E and B can turn anything into a hat, and when they do, hysterics often ensue. A postcard advertisement that came in the mail? It is a new pirate hat. Boxes that hold their toys? Train engineer hats or spaceman helmets. T-shirts that get stuck on their heads? Well, those are just silly t-shirt hats, of course! :)

2. Water - Water, water, water... is anything more spectacular for children? Hot day? You can play with the hose or fill up the pool. Water slides into the kiddie pool are the best. Raining? Fantastic - you can jump in puddles! Whether in the bathtub or a watering can, water is one of the best things on the planet. Just don't squirt them with it - not cool.

3. Secrets - Nothing puts my kids in stitches like secrets. For them, secrets are words that sound silly that we whisper (or yell, whatever you prefer) back and forth to each other. Some of their favorites? Picnic table, mango, and goggles. These secrets are great when the kids are getting antsy in the car or at a restaurant and somehow manage to keep them entertained much longer than coloring on those dinky placemats.

4. Bubbles - I realize my children are not alone in their love of bubbles. It often seems to me that bubbles have magical properties that adults are not aware of, kind of like the sound of the sleigh bell in "The Polar Express" that only those who truly believe can hear. There is a great quote from the movie "Knocked Up" that sums it up nicely...

Ben: "They seem to love bubbles."
Pete: "Oh, god, they go ape sh** over bubbles."
Ben: "They're really going ape sh**."
Pete: "I mean, that's an incredible thing about a child. I mean, what's so great about bubbles?"
Ben: "They float. You can pop them. I mean, I get it. I get it."
Pete: "I wish I liked anything as much as my kids like bubbles."

I think that last line says it all. Somehow in our adulthood, we lose that sense of wonder and excitement for things like these. For me, I only seem to find it when I am with children - the excitement, wonder, and giggling are contagious.

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