Tuesday, 10 October 2017

When Your Kid Starts Telling Jokes

When we got Girl Child's Reception profile at the end of last term, there was a rather sweet observation. It went something like this:

"Girl Child: Mrs X, I've got a joke to tell you. Why did the horse cross the road? Because it wanted to see it's NEIGHbours! Do you get it? Because horses say neigh so when you say neighbours you sound like a horse!"

Teaching how jokes work is actually a topic in the early years curriculum, and part of me feels rather sorry for the reception teachers having to endure not only terrible jokes, but also the explanations that are destined to kill any shred of humour left in the joke!

But for me it's been lovely seeing Girl Child start to understand how jokes work. I remember years ago telling her my favourite joke - "What's orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot!" - and she laughed but it was months later that she revealed she didn't actually get it. This simple joke which I thought was obvious was totally baffling to her. She invented her own versions, mainly with weird nonsense words as the punchline which were only funny insofar as they sounded odd. I laughed dutifully but wondered when she'd actually understand real jokes.

I suspect it took her longer than other children because she has a very literal mindset. She doesn't do well with turns of phrase or puns - although now she has got the hang of jokes, she's starting to enjoy a good pun. Chip off the old block, she is. But at first some of her jokes were toe-curlingly bad, and at times a little disturbing. I have a vivid memory I'll probably never erase of her trying out jokes in the bath and saying, "Why are the walls red? Because there's blood all over them!" (There wasn't. And the walls weren't red.) So I'm quite glad she's starting to understand the mechanisms of a funny joke.

Weirdly enough, she understood sarcasm before she understood jokes. She got it even before she started school, which is apparently quite rare. A few weeks into school her reception teacher told me how another child had knocked over some crayons and she'd said, "Oh thank you very much!" to which Girl Child had responded, "Is that sarcasm? I'm good at spotting sarcasm!" But she understands it in the very black-and-white sense of saying something you don't really mean, so sometimes she does miss the mark. And to be fair, learning to spot sarcasm is necessary for a child of mine as it's basically my second language.

Along with the jokes and the sarcasm there's the toilet humour which, honestly, I could live without. But I know it's just a phase, and hopefully one she'll grow out of. Seriously, where do they learn that the word 'poo' is funny? I certainly didn't teach her that!!

All in all, it's rather entertaining to watch your child learn humour. Even if it involves a lot of bad jokes. And worse explanations.

When did your child first 'get' jokes?

Linking up with Day 10 of #Blogtober17 - Jokes.


1 comment:

  1. My eldest son is nearly 20 and has still not grown out of the toilet humour, I'm afraid! x