You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing…*
My son first laughed at 11 weeks old. Up until then he was smiley, grinny, even giggly, but this was when he discovered the beauty of the chortley, chuckly belly-laugh.
I remember the moment very well. It was a stormy autumnal evening and we had just returned home from visiting relatives. He was lying on the sofa in the kitchen and we were double-parenting – blowing raspberries at him…suddenly he laughed and it was the best sound I have ever heard in my life, I’ll never ever forget it. He laughed and laughed and laughed and so did we.
From then on, like most babies and children, he has been quick to laugh. I am struggling to think of a day when he hasn’t laughed (possibly the flu-stricken Christmas last year, that was bad)…he even giggles in his sleep. It’s wonderful for my confidence if nothing else…it’s often me making him laugh and I have therefore discovered that I am one of the funniest people in the world. Obviously.
Two family members on separate sides of the family and independently of each other were quick to nickname him Chuckles…
Now, at 3 years old, his world (and me) is still ‘so so funny’…
We all know laughter is good for us…’laughter is the best medicine’ and all that jazz. And I really do believe that…it can be an emotional release of all sorts of things, not just happiness. I’m sure many of us have experienced the relief and perfect impertinence of collective laughter amidst a tragedy or crisis.
In parenting it can be the best tool in the box. The wonderful Kate Orson has a whole host of ideas and thoughts about using laughter with children – take a look at her archive of giggle parenting for some of the incredibly useful and thought-provoking articles on this subject.
In labour it can be pretty handy too. Laughter helps to relax and ‘open’ up the right muscles in the right places in labour. My husband and I have, once again, been undertaking our pain practice for labour (I’m still on my blogging break, shh not really here) and one of the practices is to focus on the breath while smiling…for some reason this has always really made me giggle. The more I try to just smile serenely the more I giggle. The more I giggle the quicker the time passes and the more the sensations lose their label of ‘pain’.
And all this laughter has got me thinking….for many people the days when their children are young are the happiest days of their life. For me that’s been true so far…of course there’s the profundity of creation and the joy of unconditional love (etc etc!) but maybe, just maybe, it could simply be because I now laugh more frequently and naturally than I ever have before.
(*Quote by Michael Pritchard)