Dinner always includes a show at our house. It doesn’t matter what I’m making, there will always be entertainment that will include any or all of the following: musical instruments, singing, interpretive dance, dog toenails clicking the floor, fire alarms going off and intermittent “woahs” as I nearly fall to my death, tripping over yet another thing that has found its way underneath my feet.
I think it’s wonderful that my family likes to be close to each other.
I think it’s insane that we all want to be within a three-square-foot circumference of one another, but hey, what do I know? The Oldsters tell me to soak it up, because pretty soon the kids will roll their eyes when I suggest we have dinner together. Friends tell me to be happy Kiddo #1 is singing Lady Gaga because Kiddo #1’s kids will be singing the f-bomb in every verse (because every generation gets more in-your-face than the last and hey, I can’t argue– Madonna is my vintage and here we are today). But, amidst the calamity, I must admit, I have found that taking a breath and being patient is not as easy as TV moms make it look.
How did Claire Huxtable do it with five children, her job as a lawyer and her hilarious Dr Husband? How did Carol Sever manage three kiddos and her (also) hilarious (also) Dr Husband? Ok, the dad on “Growing Pains” wasn’t that funny. He’s Canadian, so I give him extra credit.
But, after years of difficult research (from my couch), I think the answer comes down to this: they had a laugh track.
It’s easy to have patience when someone is there to laugh out loud (not just LOL, but to actually laugh) at a zany misadventure.
What I learned from my research is: when tripping over a wee dog that is winding itself through your legs, while holding a tray of hot cookies, a laugh track keeps you from dropping the molten lava onto your toddler. When your teenager takes your car keys and accidentally drives through the garage door, the glad-it’s-not-me laughter of the audience keeps you from apoplexy.
After I realized this, I quickly downloaded a couple different laugh tracks. I keep them on my iPod, which is on my person at all times, ready for use.
The other day, when I forgot to pay my cell bill, and a whopper arrived, I played the laugh track while my husband’s eyes bugged out of his head. It really changed the mood. I played my laugh track when I sneezed, immediately after applying the 47th coat of mascara and, amazingly, it made me feel good about looking like a Picasso sketch. When my daughter got marker on her bedroom walls, I played the laugh track after she told me how it got there; it made giving her the timeout even more fun than usual. I walked into an atom bomb of stink when I entered my son’s room, played the laugh track, and the diaper was much more fun to change.
I tell you, try it. If it doesn’t make the everyday feel much less ordinary, you should demand your money back. Not from me, of course (insert laugh track). See! It’s working already!