Friday, January 28, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine

What rates 10 out of 10 on the cute scale? How about fuzzy kittens purring, a newborn baby’s feet, or adorable puppies playing? Indeed, these are all saccharin sweet. Want to know one of my personal favorites in cuteness? That would be Prince Charming caught in a fit of laughter. It is so cute, it makes your cheeks ache from all the smiling you find yourself doing when he’s being so gosh darn adorable. One thing we do almost every day that gets his laugh track going is the simple act of playing “kick.” It’s a refreshing change of pace from the Grumpy Badger we see brooding around the house many other moments during the day.
Prince Charming and Monkey like to play soccer. When the weather is too cold or wet, we bring our game of kick inside. They can get kind of wild, so in order to not destroy my house and all the things in it, we have a small inflatable ball that we use for this game. It’s like a mini beach ball, and it can catch some crazy air when kicked with force. But, that’s the best part, you see. When you kick the ball as hard as you can, it shoots off in some bizarre direction with a vicious spin, harmlessly ricocheting off a painting or a lampshade. Prince Charming will then burst into fits of laughter and both boys jump excitedly as they watch it careen to its unintended destination. And, they keep score!
I got smart a few weeks ago and initiated a new play zone for kick in the hallway. We shut the doors to the bedrooms so that when they play, it’s kind of like bowling with the bumpers up. You kick the ball and it can bounce off the wall or a doorknob, all while continuing toward the designated goal. There is still a ton of laughter and jumping, but it allows the game to stay confined in one area of the house.
The other day I woke up with a headache. It was fairly slight, but present. As the morning progressed, it had become more uncomfortable and I no longer wanted to leave the lazy comfort of my recliner. By the time Prince Charming got home from school, my headache had blossomed and wasn’t responding to the traditional first line of medicinal defense.  He came in the house and promptly ran off to go play with his trains while I remained in my chair. Twenty minutes passed and he came bounding back out of his room, asking me politely if I would like to play kick with him. At first I declined and told him I wasn’t feeling very good. Then, I got to thinking about it and decided I’ve give it a try for a few minutes. He was ecstatic.
I told him I’d play for 10 minutes, and then I would need to go back to my chair and rest. We started playing and right away his laughter came bubbling out. I couldn’t help but smile. He’s so cute when he’s happy. I found myself smiling and laughing those 10 minutes, and the time passed quickly. When the time was up, I realized I was feeling a little bit better. So, I told him we could keep playing for a few more minutes. When we finally stopped our game, we’d been playing for about 30 minutes. The longer I smiled and laughed with him, the less my headache bothered me. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was markedly better.
Let’s be honest. Some of my headaches are caused, in part or whole, by the kids. It comes with the territory of being a mom. However, I learned something new. Laughter from Prince Charming can work better than Tylenol and Advil in relieving headache pain. Now, if only I could bottle it!              

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