Dance Puppet! Dance!

“I heard her laughing like crazy! What was she laughing about?’ Mom was happy that Lia was happy. I could see it in her eyes, and her face glowed with the light of shared joy that mothers have for their children.

“Oh, she was just making her puppet dance.” I tried to sound casual, realizing I might be on the verge of blowing my carefully crafted image of staunch professionalism.

Mom had a quizzical look on her face, and she wouldn’t just let it go, “Her puppet?”

Mom’s feelings are important too. Moments of joy and peace are savored in this home. So I caved, and repeated myself, “Making her puppet dance.” Only this time I added a brief visual that looked eerily similar to a puppet being handled by the Puppet Master as I waved my arms and bobbed my head, obeying the commands of my invisible strings.

It took her a moment to process the strange scene, but then her eyes lit up again and she laughed, “Oh, I see,” and then added, “that’s funny.”

“Yeah,” I said softly, working very hard to keep a straight face, “but let’s just keep this to ourselves, shall we? I have an image to protect.”

Our eyes met, and we both cracked up.

I would imagine that we’ve all heard the old adage, “Laughter is the best medicine”. Type that statement into your favorite search engine and you will find tons of sites reporting actual data from a variety of studies that support the assertion of a link between laughter and good health. Many of them describe laughter as an antidote for what ails you, and a fast-acting tool to bring your mind and body back into balance. I happen to love the Discovery Channel, so I’ll include a link to their web presence and an article titled 10 Reasons Why Laughing is Good for You.

Early on in my relationship with Lia, I found that her “behaviors” are considerably less if we spend time doing things that make her laugh. If she’s starting to rev up for a tantrum or a meltdown, I try to make her laugh. If she’s in the middle of a crisis, I try to distract her by making her laugh. It isn’t 100% effective, but it works often enough to definitely make it worth the effort of trying.

I may have mentioned previously that I don’t generally play with children. That just isn’t my personality type. But, to help my patient, I will put my personal needs and preferences aside. And, because she doesn’t seem to appreciate my usual dry, sarcastic wit, I dance. I dance for my Puppet Master, and she laughs.

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