Tonawanda News


September 8, 2010

My sons, the comedians

NORTH TONAWANDA — One of the most interesting things about being a parent, I’ve found, is watching fledgling senses of humor develop over the years.

Sometimes, it’s predictable. Sometimes, it’s inexplicable. But it’s almost always cute (thankfully, we’re not in the little-boy stage where “disgusting” gets involved quite yet).

Sam, at 2, still leans mainly toward physical humor. Did Mommy trip over his toy race car? Did he manage to line a plastic ball off his brother’s head? It’s hysterical. Is Grandma making faces at him in an effort to draw more giggles? It’s so funny he can barely breathe.

Animals, seen on TV or while out for family walks, also draw chortles. They don’t even have to do anything. To him, they’re just funny, whether it’s the squirrel in the front yard or the koala bear he saw on a DVD.

Jim ... well, Jim at 5 has entered that little-kid stage where he’s realized he has the power to ... yes ... make jokes. They only make sense to him, of course, but perhaps that’s part of the charm.

He’s been recently captivated by the phenomenon of place names ... how something can be called a shoe store, and what do you know? It sells shoes! How cool is that? The toy store has toys! The pet store has pets! Who knew?

So what if there were ... a teeth store? It would sell ... teeth!

Isn’t that funny?

Well, OK, buddy. If you think so. It’s always good to hear you laugh.

We were at a local craft store a few weeks ago when he got going on a riff about where we could go next (I’d promised to take them to the adjacent pet store if they were good).

“Go to ... book store! Go to ... toy store!” Snickers.

Then things got silly.

“Go to ... spaghetti store!” Chuckle, giggle, laugh.

“Go to ... Sam store!” Snicker. Snort. Giggle. His brother looked at him quizzically. I refrained from commenting that we really didn’t need more than one Sam.

The next one was going to be good. He had to work up to it for a while, giggles escaping from the corners of his mouth as he tried to draw a deep enough breath through the laughter to get the words out.

“Go-home store!”

That was it. He was the funniest little boy in the universe. He laughed so hard at his own hilarity that he sat down right in the middle of the aisle at the store, tears of glee running down his cheeks.

I was torn between joining him in the gales of giggles or being somewhat mortified, but chose an in-between route, calming him down enough to check out of the store and then reinitiating the giggle-fest on the way home.

(I’m proud to say I’m the one who came up with “funny-store!”)

I’m glad my boys are developing their own unique senses of humor. We’ll just have to work at refining them a little bit.

Then again, their father thinks “The Family Guy” is funny.

Maybe I’m just out of luck.

Jill Keppeler is a page designer and columnist for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at

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