Obviously there is a huge difference between laughing with someone and at them. One is a mutual act, and the other is almost an emotional attack. When you are laughing at someone, they are not exactly a participant in the process – so they feel left out of the joke. As a practice, I try not to blatantly laugh in someone’s face, but sometimes that is really hard when dealing the unintentional hilarity / insanity of a toddler.
I feel so badly for doing this. I specifically remember my mom and brother laughing at me when I was a child. They said I made cute faces when I was angry or crying, and it would crack them up. Yet for me, it made my feelings seem invalid. It was humiliating. I would get so irate and resent them deeply. But now I get it. Sometimes a child’s pain is pure comedy.
I try to have the decency to turn away and pretend like I am not laughing, but there are moments I can’t help myself, and it just bursts out. Take for example when The Munch is totally serious about a subject, but I think what she said was funny. If she does not agree, The Munch gets absolutely livid that I would have the audacity to giggle at her logic.
The Munch: Mom, can I have a napkin to clean my mouth from the chocolate?
Toni: But your mouth looks clean. You are fine.
The Munch: But if I don’t wipe my mouth the bees will come in my mouth because of the sweetness.
Toni: Haha… no they won’t.
The Munch: YES THEY WILL!!! (storms of furious).
Then there are the times when she is having an outright tantrum about something, but the rational behind her fury is so absurd it makes me chuckle.
The Munch: NO MOM, I AM NOT CHANGING MY CLOTHES AND I DON’T CARE IF I AM HOT. AND I AM NOT TAKING A BATH AND I AM NOT WASHING MY BUM EVER AGAIN!
(Keep it in Toni… don’t you do it…)