You are a total goof and I love it.
Once again, a month has flown by and it’s hard to know what to point out. We had a daddy daughter day, where I was responsible for you from wake up to night night. It was a lot of fun for both of us! Finger painting, a trip to the pet store and the book store and the mall (where we found a photo booth!), time at the park… it was a great day.
But you’ve started showing signs of rudimentary humor. (I hope, when you read this, that you don’t take offense to rudimentary. You’re only seventeen months at this point, and I have a feeling this is pretty advanced, humorwise.)
You can tell us a lot of animal sounds. Cows, horses, sheep, ducks, dogs, cats, birds… And this week, you used that to essentially make a joke.
I asked you, “What sound does a cow make?”
“What sound does a dog make?”
“What sound does a sheep make?”
“What sound does a duck make?”
You looked at me and smiled. Not just a normal smile, but a mischievous one — the one you use when you’re going to sneak up and yell “Boo!” — and you smirked, one side of your mouth turning up in a way that reminds me so strongly of my side of the family — and you very deliberately answered:
And then you giggled like crazy.
I asked you again, trying not to laugh. “What does a duck say?”
Giggle giggle giggle!
And then I pretended to attack you with tickles and you yelped “QUACK QUACK QUACK!” and scrambled away.
I can’t tell you how excited I am that you’re learning humor! I have so much to teach you. I’ll try to teach you the same things my daddy taught me about how to construct and how to deliver jokes… but I can already tell that you have solid instincts.
My advice to you this month (in addition to the always important “Be who you are!”) is this: never stop learning how to tell jokes. By this I mean that there is a basic concept to joke telling that you will probably master by the time you graduate high school… but it’s the fine tuning that’s important. It’s learning how to gauge your audience’s tastes and patience and interest. It’s learning that sometimes you will fail to gauge them properly and you will lose them as an audience, but that you will learn from that experience. It’s learning that sometimes the best way to prepare to tell jokes is to refrain from telling them for a while in order to understand what jokes will work best when it comes time to tell them. It’s learning that sometimes your best bet will be to come across as someone who doesn’t tell jokes, so that when you do, it’s twice as powerful. I’ve been learning this for over three decades now, and I still have a lot to learn. Never stop learning, because in learning how to tell jokes, you’re really learning about who people are and why you should love them. A good joke isn’t about you. It’s about the connection between you and the other person or people.
You are truly the most wondrous little girl. It’s impossible to believe that the next time I write one of these, you will be a year and a half. Amazing.
I love you so much, Sage. Your mommy and I both do. Be who you are, because no matter who that is, we will love you with all our might.