Fatherhood: no laughing matter
I was in the front room, trying to work. But how was I supposed to concentrate with the baby making that sort of racket next door? Crying I can cope with: it's the giggling that's the problem.
"What's going on in there?" I called out, dead jealous of all the merriment. There was a pause. "Nothing", my wife said shiftily. These days, baby laughter is the hottest commodity in our household. We lust after it like desperate junkies, trying ever more ludicrous ways to illicit the tiniest titter from our six-month-old daughter.
She's no easy audience. Standard tactics like the raspberry on the tummy don't wash with her. Games of peek-a-boo are an insult - she sighs and gives me her 'Try again you tiresome little moron' look.
Her sneering attitude makes the occasional chuckle seem all the more precious. Whenever her stupid little face opens up into beaming frivolity, I go dizzy with euphoria. It's better than crack. It's even better than a Krispy Kreme doughnut. If you can imagine a Krispy Kreme doughnut sprinkled with crack then you're close.
And if laughter is the commodity, then jokes are the currency. I covet them with a raging obsession. "You're making her laugh!" I call out to my wife in an accusatory tone. "I heard you! How did you do it? Was it the thing with her toes? Was it the monkey face? TELL ME DAMN YOU!"
But she doesn't tell me, just as I wouldn't tell her. There is an ugly competitiveness to our pursuit of infant giggles. It's only a matter of time before one of us dresses up as a clown and starts careering round the front room on a unicycle. And no one will be laughing then will they? ·
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