One of the greatest gifts I hope to bestow on my children is an appreciation of the art of sarcasm. A witty sense of humor, a sharp ability to come up with clever remarks and a well-rounded vocabulary will serve them well in life. (Oh, and an ability to see humor in the stupid crap people do. That always helps.) I figure that if nothing else, these children will have a good chance at growing up to be the people everyone wants to talk to at parties. They may not become extroverts (although that seems completely impossible now given their non-shy behavior), but they'll be able to slide in a few conversational zingers now and then. Interject a sarcastic comment here and there to make those around them smile. Maybe even laugh.
Anyway - the other reason I want to teach them the art of sarcasm is purely selfish. It's completely awesome to watch their brains try to figure out if my responses are the truth or sarcasm. Jack will pause - squint his eyes at me - tilt his head and say 'Mommy, you're teasing! Right?' James is quite similar - although he's usually giggling so much it's hard to know what he's saying.
Also - it's really fun to completely torture them. Take Anna for example. I relish in feeding her sarcastic remarks - and watching her squirm and argue in protest. She's a different pickle from her brothers all together. She gets offended when I tease her, and takes everything literally. And often times way too seriously. It's been a struggle getting her to lighten up - to relax - and let humor in. (I do try hard to tell her that I'm not laughing AT her - rather I'm laughing WITH her. That we all need to learn to laugh at ourselves. And I do try to show her that I laugh at myself. All. The. Time.)
Sometimes it works. Sometimes not. But she's coming around. Slowly.
For example - we were in a rush to get to church on Sunday. (When are we not?) The kids were dragging their feet from a no-nap day + late night the day before - coupled with being unjustly torn away from the treasure the leprechaun left them. I may have bribed them a little - telling them I had a 'special treat' for breakfast. That sorta prompted them to get their butts in gear - and get to the table - where the boys were delighted to see I had doughnut holes on the table waiting for them.
Anna slumped and slouched in her chair. Rolled her eyes. Said 'really? Doughnuts? This is what we're supposed to get excited about? SO exciting mom. Really. SO exciting.'
My first reaction was to get really pissed off - and to tell her to wipe that snarly grimace off her face. However, I turned to her and said 'good job Anna! Excellent use of sarcasm!' Then turned back to the kitchen sink.
I did happen to look up just in time to see her grimace turn into a smirk, and for a fleeting second, a smile.
So maybe, just maybe, this kid will learn to lighten up.