A general rule for dealing with a toddler is to not laugh when they do something bad, even if your sides are about to split open from the ridiculousness of a situation. It sounds like common sense, but there was a time when I didn’t know any better. I’d see a mom wrestling with her child on the bus or train and burst out laughing if the kid did or said hilarious.
It wasn’t the act alone that made me laugh, it was the absolute boldness of the child’s rebellion in the face of an inevitable butt whooping. Each time, the mom would shoot me an angry look or straight out tell me not to laugh because it only encouraged the kid’s bad behavior.
So I’ve been really good about not laughing at children when they do something wrong but funny until the other night when my son telenovela-slapped the s*** out of my wife.
Earlier that day, Liam and I went to one of his favorite neighborhood stores. It’s his favorite because the women that run the place love him. The place is filled with all types of colorful candies in containers perfect for little hands and he always gets a free treat. This particular day, Liam wanted M&Ms, so they gave him a small pack. As any kid would, he loved every bite and had a full meltdown when he was cut off for the day.
When my wife got home from work, Liam jumped into her arms and pointed towards the kitchen where the candy was. I let her know that he’d already had enough for the day and she told him, “Sorry, pumpkin, no more candy for today.”
The boy begged, cried and then made what could be called the first biggest mistake of his life. Liam raised his hand, pulled back and yaaaaaah! Whipped his tiny palm across her cheek. The slap silenced the room and my wife was so angry, she was literally at a loss for what to do next.
I swear, it took every bit of energy not to fall out of my chair laughing. My wife looked at me and I could get out was, “Handle your business.” Liam lost all of his privileges that night and had to go straight to bed. As I helped to put away all of his toys, Liam cried incessantly for leniency. The fact was, he got very lucky that night. In the 12 years we’ve been together, I’d rarely seen my wife so angry. Had Liam been a tad bit older, she probably would’ve socked him in the mouth.
Throughout the ordeal, I was able to hold it together without needing a diaper myself. It was a crucial moment in Liam’s development, as it will set the tone for how he will deal with others later.
I’d like to think we handled it correctly. Liam still gets angry when he hears “no” at times and we allow him to feel that and express it. While his vocabulary is still limited, he’s learning to use his words instead of his hands.
That s*** was still funny though!
What has a child in your life done that made you want to fall out laughing but you had to keep it together to avoid encouraging bad behavior? What did you do to keep a straight face? Drop it in the comments section below and let’s all have a good laugh among ourselves without the kids seeing.