Have you ever heard a large group of kindergarteners eating? Seems that this age is just getting to where they’re enjoying words, so they start making up their own. Each child trys to top the previous made-up word in silliness, and pretty soon, the whole table is laughing and talking nonsense.
I’m at a loss to explain why this happens at mealtime. What is is about milk gurgling in the mouth that makes “poofiecookiecarpet” hilarious? I’m also at a loss in responding to my four and five year olds (and to a lesser extent my imitative two year old) because of some internal conflict: I want mealtimes to be happy times, but I also want them to use good manners and actually eat.
And, as it happens, the most effective humor (for this age) seems to be when some forbidden word is “accidentally” created. We’ve already said that potty talk is out of bounds, and yesterday I had to explain to David that he could make up silly words, but that God’s name wasn’t something he could be silly about. Even now, it’s like we’re defining the biblical limits of humor– appropriateness in what we say, when we say it, how it affects others.
That’s another lesson. Last night on the way to church, David and Bethel were making up names to call their friends at church. It was silly and not at all malicious, but I suspect some friends wouldn’t appreciate being called Suzymagillicuddy. I didn’t say anything. I just thought about it. It may need to be addressed in the future.
Now I want to think about it more clearly and biblically. I’ve offered guidance, but I want to think it through and see if I’m responding correctly. In particular, I want to think about the silliness at the table and how I can best respond to it.
No answers today. Just questions.
Diane Heeney says
Maybe I am a latent five year old…poofiecookiecarpet made me grin. But my mouth isn’t full. =) I think we are going to have to address the name-crafting game here. My son (8) called one of Erin’s friends “Lindsey Lou Who” (sorta Grinch-esque)…and Lindsey didn’t much care for it. Funny how so many of these seemingly trivial things translate into big things on the adult level. Best to get a handle on ’em now…
Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one with table giggles. 🙂 When I was in third grade, I was sent to the principal’s office because I compiled a list of “nicknames” for every member of my class. I remember the suppressed smile on her face as she asked me whether I intended to speak these names or just have them written down. Truthfully, I just thought it was cool that I could make appropriate puns for everyone’s name (and they weren’t mean), so I’m glad the principal seemed to understand. Still thinking on these matters….
I feel like I could’ve written this post. (And it did make me laugh!) One of our struggles right now is silliness at the table. Like you said, we want mealtimes to be fun together times, not militant, stoic times, but it seems like the silliness goes a little too far. How to explain to the kids that balance? I dunno…