Photo: Marisa Svalstedt

The role of a parent is a multi-faceted one. In addition to providing food, clothing and a safe environment, parents must also provide their children with the tools to understand right from wrong, ability to make judgement calls, and of course, the knowledge of what is acceptable vs. what isn’t. While these things may seem cut and dry there are times when it isn’t always easy to teach a child how to behave properly.  Children are always watching, calculating their parent’s reaction to the things they do, and sometimes a parent’s reaction isn’t what it should be. After all, parents are just people, and therefore find many inappropriate situations very funny. Though we do our best to keep our composure, sometimes it’s downright near impossible to maintain a straight face when a child does something less than acceptable.

Announcing bodily functions

It didn’t take long to realize that my child truly finds it hilarious when she passes gas, and finds it even more so when she loudly announces it to everyone around her. Try as we might, my husband and I find it next to impossible to not snort with held back laughter when we hear her proudly yell with a big smile, “I Farted!”

Repeating inappropriate words or phrases

No. We are not perfect parents. On occasion we let a swear go, and somehow a toddler just knows that these words are special. I’ll never forget my husband angrily cursing at someone who was flying toward a crosswalk we were on, and five minutes later hearing my toddler repeat “Piece of sh*t car”. Another friend of ours suffered the experience of having their daughter wander into their room while watching The Exorcist. They had to hear her explaining one particular bloody horror scene to anyone who would listen as she knew it sparked humorous reactions.

Laying down in the middle of the supermarket, department store ETC

I’ll admit the first time I saw my child lay down on the floor of a store in protest I thought it was hilarious; however, after making the mistake of giggling and teasing my daughter about it I was doomed to experience such happenings many times over, which was not quite so funny.

Kicking and screaming in public

There have been some moments that were too ridiculous for anger, or even words. I shall never forget the day we were trying to leave a local farm after picking out our Halloween pumpkin and our child decided she didn’t want to go. She screamed, kicked and flailed so hard that my husband and I were sent into a fit of hysterics, and it took a good fifteen minutes to regain the strength and composure necessary to strap her into the car seat.

Nose picking

It’s so gross, they think it’s funny, and it is funny, but if one wants their child to grow up with their finger up their nose well into adulthood, don’t laugh. Find a way to not call attention to it, or politely, unemotionally take the bugger they hand you with a tissue and move on. It’s for the best.

Stripping naked

Every kid loves to be naked. My daughter can barely keep clothing on once we are in the house, but usually she’s not so apt to disrobe in public. She finally took her shirt off in the middle of music class, and while my first instinct was to smile, I had to gather the strength to tell her that people don’t undress when they aren’t at home.  Nakedness won’t be so adorable once the kid hits preschool.

Throwing food

I’ll admit that watching my child reject a new food is a sight to behold. Watching her taste a sugar cookie and then tossing it across the room because it isn’t chocolate is quite amusing, but having to clean up after every piece of rejected food (and there are many) is not a path I’m excited to encourage.

Digging for treasure in the litter box

Sometimes there are things too horrible to do anything but laugh. I never thought it would happen. I was so careful, and kept the litter box out of eye view, but she found it. She found it, and that moment I entered the room and saw her playing with the “prize” she found inside I had to do my best to clench my teeth, and stay silent as I took her new interesting toy away and tossed her in a frothing bubble bath.

Moments of adorable sadness

There have been too many moments where my daughter has cried over something utterly silly, and adorable. My husband and I used to giggle because it was so cute to see her getting upset over missing her Minnie Mouse doll, or when she runs wailing down the hallway with her tiny voice bouncing with every step so she sounds like a shrieking lamb. Now that she’s nearly three we have to try like hell to keep our laughter over her adorable sadness behind closed doors. We don’t want to give her the impression we are making fun of her, or worse, don’t care about her distress; even if at times it’s downright hilarious to behold.

Making open observations about other people

This hasn’t personally to me yet, but my little brother apparently mortified my parents by yelling, “Look at the lady with the big boobies!” when on vacation. How one keeps a straight face in situations like that I have no idea, but I’m guessing I’ll soon find out.