Choosing when to laugh at one's offspring is a risky game. Sometimes when my little potato has had a particularly comical roll off his bean-bag and ended up face down on the cat he gets up beaming as though he's just crossed the Zambesi under his own steam and then laughing at him is wholly permissable. Other times he can sit down softly yet suddenly while emitting a loud fart and yet be inconsolable with self-disgust at having lost his balance in so unmanly a fashion. Laughing at him at that point would be clearly Beyond The Pale and so I have to stifle myself and pick him up for a Mummy cuddle.
He has also developed a sense of humour and has discovered he can use this against us. This is not to say that he hasn't found things funny in the past, but rather that he has now worked out what it is that we adults find funny and then will repeat these things until, frankly, they're a little tedious. Take splashing in the bath, for instance. A few months ago he started splashing me from the confines of the tub. I made the big 'no' face and the sign but he kept it up. Two more 'no' signs later and he flapped his hands down to the water... and stopped, hands just touching the surface as I said 'no' again. And he laughed at me. AT me. And he had a cute little 'I Am Playing A Trick On You' face. And yeay, it was funny. At least for the first ten times. After that I pulled the plug, because secretly I am the grinch.
He did this for a few weeks but showed no signs of expanding his repertoire until we were in Vancouver and Auntie Shelley was trying to stop him playing with Uncle Hoto's stereo. He then spent most of the time we were there camped out in front of it waving his hands in it's general direction hoping to catch us out while secretly pushing the limits until his hands were all over the thing and we'd stopped noticing. And that, folks, is his hidden agenda - make us laugh until we're bored and then just carry on. He did it again in the restaurant where he walked, pretending to eat a crayon to much hilarity until we were past caring. Come to think of it, I don't remember seeing that crayon once lunch was over.
The trouble is that now he knows how to play us, he just puts on his 'Trick' face and it's SO hard to not to laugh. I have lost coffee out of my nose, which, apparently, is Great Fun. I tell you, I am chewing the skin off the inside of my cheeks these days trying simultaneously to keep a straight face while teaching 'No', 'Bad' and 'Stop' to a very small giggling thing.
Anyway, so here he was today, doing his March of the Zombies walk into the kitchen while I was making his dinner. He tottered in, opened the top drawer, pulled out the tea-strainer, wobbled to the bin, opened the bin and dropped in the strainer. It was so choreographed, I thought as I put on my big 'No' face, that he must have planned it. As I pulled the tea-strainer out of the bin, slammed the lid shut and started my routine, he put on his 'I Am Playing A Trick' face, wove back to the drawer, opened it up and took out a teaspoon. As I marched purposefully over to remove it from his fingers, he looked up, cocked his head to one side and smirked at me... and the insides of my cheek started to bleed.