So, my niece, Lauren, is four years old. She’s just at the right age to get so excited over Christmas that she’s about ready to pee her pants. Plus, she’s a girlie girl and loves all Barbie and princess and that sorta girl stuff.
So, Uncle Marc gets Lauren something totally, totally impractical: a play dress that makes her look like a four year old on her wedding day. Lauren was all excited to show this stunning wedding attire off, but as she walked in the room, her father looks at her and says, “Take that off…and I don’t want to see you looking like that for at least another 25 years.”
The conversation at the table continued and we noticed Lauren had slipped away. A few minutes later, she returned in her normal clothes, plopped herself down at the table and was very, very sullen. It took a few minutes until we figured out that four year olds do NOT understand sarcasm. Her father was totally joking, but in a way that put Lauren at the center of some playful teasing. Being the well-disciplined child that she is, the poor kid took it to heart… and was feeling ashamed for doing something “wrong.” It was really sweet and sad, both at the same time.
I’m not really sure there is a moral to this story, other than it showed that kids don’t always understand adult humor. It is definitely something I’ll be more aware of when playing with Lauren and her ‘lil sis in the future. And maybe something that’ll manifest in adult interactions, too.