When Grandpa and Grandma were visiting us last summer, Grandpa told us a story about a squirrel who kept eating from the bird feeder on their deck. Like many homeowners they went through a series of tactics to keep the squirrels out, such as putting freely-spinning soda bottles around the pole used to hang the bird feeder, but none of them were effective. Anyway, Grandpa explained that “one day a squirrel was feasting in the bird feeder and I snuck up and swatted him on the butt with a stick. And he ran off!” Everett thought this story was *hilarious*! And this came up again one day recently when we were riding to school and saw a squirrel’s tail and derriere sticking out of a bird feeder. Chris asked Everett what was so funny about Grandpa’s story. “He said butt!”

A couple weekends ago at lunch Chris was telling a story about a coworker many years ago who forgot about his leftover lunch in his desk drawer and then left town for a few months. It sat there for weeks and finally started emitting an odor that was simply overpowering. So Chris posed the question “Is there a pig farm in here?”. Also hilarious!

Everett is now reaching the age where he is very attuned to humor. One of our most recent experiences is the book The Dumb Bunnies’ Easter which he checked out from the library with his card (yes, he now has his own library card). Both Melissa and Chris have mixed feelings about this book. We don’t like to use the word dumb, particularly as a descriptor for people, or in this case story characters. Also, the book could be perceived as making fun of people who are not well-educated. But it was difficult not to like it at least a little bit once we saw how hard Everett laughed. This caused somewhat of a positive feedback loop. Everett liked the book so much he kept asking Chris to read it, and in fact we once read it seven times in a single day. In an attempt to keep from losing his mind, Chris starting adding embellishments. For example, Poppa Bunny spends the entire book walking around in his heart underwear on Christmas Eve, even when he goes outside to cut down the neighbor’s Christmas tree.
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So every time Poppa appeared in the book Chris would yell “Would you put some pants on for crying out loud!?!” Everett laughed so hard he was having trouble breathing. After a few days of progressively greater embellishments Chris was walking around the house in heart underwear, which is unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon. No, we are not providing photos.

It’s curious what children find funny, and that they can remember funny events for so long. Chris recalls when once when he was a child a bit older than Everett, and his family went to see a Christmas play that featured “The Three Wise Guys” instead of the three wise men. Both Chris and Sean thought this was hilarious and it is a joke that persists in our family to this day.

As a final example, Everett has been in the nap transition period for a few months, which basically means that some days he takes them and some days he doesn’t. Generally speaking, he hasn’t been crazy about taking naps for the last year or so, but he needs the extra sleep and Mom needs some break time during the day. However, after a while we developed a problem: his sleep inertia at the end of the day has been getting lower and lower. This translates into extended periods of wakefulness around bedtime, during which he is procrastinating, talking to us, getting up for various reasons, tromping around his room, etc. A couple weeks ago he quit naps altogether, and his sleep inertia is now much higher at bedtime. This is much better for everyone because now he falls asleep much faster. In fact, many nights we don’t hear a sound out of him. The downside to this is that he is sometimes so sleepy that he can’t wake up enough to register when he has to go to the bathroom at night. The other night Chris got him out of bed and took him to the bathroom. Everett was so tired he almost couldn’t walk, yet he still managed to ask “Is there a pig farm in here?”

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