The instant my husband walks in the door, giggles fill the room from our 20-month-old daughter.
It is the most beautiful sound a mother could hear. It is also the most jealousy-inducing sound a comedian could hear.
As a mother and a comedian (momedian?), I often find myself feeling this strange mix of emotions. I want my daughter to laugh, but I want to be the reason she’s laughing.
As a parent, all I want in this whole universe is for my daughter to be happy. (Yes, healthy and well-loved and intelligent and kind and someone who has a real appreciation for classic rock and “The Princess Bride,” but for the purposes of this piece, let’s boil that down to being happy.)
So I do my best to keep her happy all day: swim lessons, Mommy and Me classes, gym classes, music classes, reading together (using different voices for all characters of course), dancing around the house, cooking nutritious (and hopefully delicious) meals, taking trips to the park, and doing my darnedest to prevent and quickly diffuse tantrums.
Yes, she laughs at and with me throughout the day, and I eat up every minute of it. Apparently my impression of Elmo, putting my hair over my face, and my naked body are all equally hilarious to a toddler.
But no matter what lengths I go through to make my daughter laugh, only Daddy has the ability to consistently make this girl guffaw.
Just seeing his face (and he is quite an attractive man), makes the whole room light up with her smile. I’m pretty sure the entire city of Los Angeles could run on the electricity that flows through my daughter when she sees her daddy. There is a giggle that she keeps reserved just for him. Whether he’s hiding from her and pops out from behind a corner, talking like Yoda, or “eating her brains“ (kissing her head multiple times in rapid succession), she is bursting at the seams.
When I do the exact same things, I feel like Carey Elwes in “Liar, Liar” when he’s trying to do “The Claw.”
It’s just not the same.
And the comedian in me is jealous.
As a stand-up comic and comedy writer, my goal is to make people laugh. Often times, it is to make complete strangers laugh at the expense of my own humiliation. And when I get up on stage, I strive to be the one to slay the audience with my well-crafted, intelligent jokes, self-assured stage presence, and utter originality.
However, when it comes to my daughter, I’ve taken on the mantra: “Anything for a laugh.” Pratfalls, funny faces, fart sounds–I’m not above any of it.
But no matter how hard I work, I know and understand that the laughs I do earn will never be the laughs reserved for Daddy. The comedian in me will continue to strive for “Mommy Laughs” that at least register somewhere on my toddler’s internal laugh-o-meter. But the Mommy in me is thrilled that my daughter is so happy, loves her Daddy with every fiber of her being, and has parents who make every attempt to keep her well-entertained.