Sunday, July 23, 2017

Why I Tolerate Excessive Body Humor from My Sons

When the nurse heard I just found out that I was expecting a boy, she said, "Your troubles are just beginning." I thought it was rude and discouraging. Who says that? However, I continued to receive those reactions and I learned they were referring to many "boy" issues, like fighting, loudness, messiness, and more. And body humor.

I'm not a fan of body humor. Or slap stick. Or sexual humor. It isn't because I think it is vulgar or offensive, even. No, it's too easy. A person can burp loudly and we're expected to laugh? There is no cleverness in it. I didn't expect to have to endure excessive body humor when my boys were babies. I mean, I was dealing with plenty of poop in their diapers, right?

I have learned, though, to accept body humor because beginning these conversations can lay the foundation for helping them in the future. You see, sometimes we joke about things before we feel comfortable enough to discuss them seriously. We test the waters to see a reaction before we continue the conversation. My boys fortunately don't make fart jokes (thank God) or laugh about poop much, but if they do, I don't tell them we don't talk about poop. There have been times when they have given me extensive reports on their bowel movements, including notes on its texture, smell, color, and more. Yeah, pretty gross, but I do not want to shame them about their bodies and how they work. If I can encourage open communication, they will feel like they can tell me or their dad if they have a problem or something is wrong without shame.

To be honest, I had an infection when I was 10, but didn't know it. I assumed that I had leprosy. WebMD and Google didn't exist back then, so I couldn't diagnose myself. I didn't tell my parents. It wasn't their fault, but I was too embarrassed. I suffered until it cleared up on its own--and I was lucky that it did clear up. If I had told my mom, I could have easily gotten relief quickly with the appropriate medication. But, as I said, I thought I was going to be sent off to a leper colony.

I also have to teach my sons that there is a time and a place for certain jokes and conversations. Around me is a safe place. It is not appropriate at lunch, school, or at soccer practice. I currently am trying very hard to teach Jack that it is not OK to repeatedly try to burp every time he drinks. I have to admit, though--it is pretty funny when he burps and blames it on the tree frog in his belly.

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