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Nothing can prepare you for how much your kids will make you laugh


My husband was squatting on the floor. I’m not sure what he was doing.

He could have picked up a leaking blueberry from under the fridge.

Maybe he wiped away a puddle of milk. Or pee. We’ll never know.

But what we do know is that he suddenly sensed a malevolent and imposing presence behind him. He turned slowly.

My son, then three years old and five feet tall, stood above him, brandishing a fork, apparently ready to stab his father in the back.

He wore large black-rimmed glasses without lenses.

“What … what … what are you doing?” stammered my husband.

“I’m Dr. Ugly,” was my son’s response as he stood up, his face stony. “Now open your mouth. “

Then he burst out laughing and ran away to terrorize the dog.

The dismal baby shower

When I was pregnant with our son in 2016, we didn’t have a baby shower. We had a farewell picnic.

“Sun and rainbows (aka poop and vom),” the invitation read.

The description explained that as we prepared to descend into a world of vomiting, pooping, sleep deprivation, and sore nipples, we wanted to see everyone say goodbye to us… until we were out of the room. purgatory of babies.

At the picnic, people lined up to tell me how sorry they were for the impending disaster in the months to come.

But then a friend pulled me aside and said “be prepared for whatever they make you laugh – you’ll laugh like you’ve never laughed before”. She was right.

  Isabelle Oderberg with her family, including her husband and two children.  The husband holds his son in the air by the foot.
Isabelle Oderberg (right) with her family, including her husband and two children.(Fiona hamilton)

The time my son made the whole tram car laugh

As my son and I walked to the tram stop, we were discussing poo. Specifically, how everyone pooped and there was nothing to be ashamed of.

We had just finished the conversation when we got into the crowded second car, surrounded by suits and boots on our way to work.

“So how does everyone poop?” He whispered to me.

Quietly he looked away from me and got down into the car and slowly his arm started to lift, his finger outstretched and he started pointing at each commuter screaming (I would say maybe even bordering on screaming) : “He poo, she poo, she poo, he poo”.

I was mortified. But all around us, the stone-faced commuters started to smile, then laugh, then burst out laughing and nod their heads. A guy leaned over and said, “You’re right boy! We’re all pooping.”

Of course, it’s not always happy

Parenthood is more than difficult. It’s a work; physical, mental and emotional.

But there’s a reason so many families come back for a second, three, four or more.

My husband and I often call each other in the middle of the day to relate something quite tumultuous that one of the descendants made up.

There is the time when my son came home from kindergarten dressed as a pirate, singing that famous sailor song, “Yo ho ho and a bottle of bum”.

Or the time he refused to answer her name for weeks, insisting her name was actually Cat Tree Custard.

Or the pronunciation errors that have now become grammar correct in our house, like the iconic Australian bird, the Kookabugger.

It’s no real wonder that often my husband and I would crawl into bed at night and spend up to an hour sharing stories about their silliness.

I ended up buying a book to keep track of all the hilarious statements the little ones make.

Sometimes, just for fun, I pull out the ragged notebook and we read aloud some of the most ridiculous examples.

I recently asked my daughter what noise the horses make, expecting her neighing, but instead, I was gifted with “go on horseback!”.

She said this, coincidentally, in the same boosted cadence my husband uses when he’s got a little flutter on his uncle’s horse running north.

At only two years old, she takes on all her meaning and makes us laugh as much as her brother.

What I tell new parents

So now when I see friends getting ready for their first baby and I can see the anxiety on their faces, as their friends try to warn them of the hard times ahead and all the bad stories, I take them always apart and assure me they know they will need extra handkerchiefs.

Not just for slime, spills, smudges, but also for those days when you feel like the laughter can’t escape you fast enough and you might explode, tears streaming down your face, your sides on fire and your heart filled to the brim with pure unadulterated joy.

Isabelle Oderberg is a journalist, media and communications professional and writes a book on pregnancy loss called Hard To Bear.

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