I’m not sure who first said the words “laughter is the best medicine”, but I believe that no truer words were never spoken. If that is in fact the truth, then perhaps there is no better place in the universe to convalesce than my own house. Based on the concept, my unconventional dwelling is more efficient than any hospital or rehabilitation center. And I now believe that I live with a bunch of pharmacists. Even with two toddlers in the mix, the amount of laughter heard in my home is exponentially greater than that of tears.

I was born the youngest of three in a family where, if you didn’t have a thick skin and a warped sense of humor, you didn’t make it past the age of five. Thankfully, there were never actually any casualties. I was also fortunate enough to marry into a family that held humor and laughter in pretty high regards. That being said, my spawn have a genetic predisposition to be pretty damned funny.

I keep a small green notebook with me at all times to scribble notes in whenever they say or do something worth remembering. I had finally made the jump to speaking the notes into my iPhone and saving them in a folder, but after dropping it in the toilet, it no longer accepts voice commands. So I’m right back to my primitive method of pencil and notebook. This little .89 cent spiral notebook has become one of my most valuable and prized possessions. It’s a veritable treasure trove of one liners innocently provided by my four children over the years.

I’m deemed it time to share a sampling of some of the gems routinely heard in my house, and kept in that trove. Since my children range in age from one to 23, that is the span during which some of these occurred. In fact, I’m even going to start with one that just happened this morning.

In the interest of discretion, and not scarring my kids for life once they and their friends can read my stuff, I’ll refer to them as numbers rather than by their names. Hell, I’ve been writing this piece for three years and haven’t even told you my real name yet; I’m certainly not going to lead with my kids. Obviously, One will be my oldest who will be 23 soon, and Four will be my youngest who will soon be 2.

Earlier today I was seated on the couch watching cartoons with Three and Four in my lap. My primary focus was on Four who seemed to be attempting to find her way into the Guinness Book of Records by fitting the most Teddy Grahams into her mouth at one time. I probably should have just stopped her or taken them away, but I was both curious and impressed; I was prepared to initiate the Heimlich at any time.

While watching my youngest spawn train for a bright future in the world of competitive eating, I couldn’t help but notice in my peripheral that Three was approximately third knuckle deep with her index finger in her nostril. I was mildly concerned that the mere depth of her mining could potentially cause blindness or a brain contusion but then I remembered that we had just clipped her nails so I simply informed her that it was gross and returned my gaze to the future Nathans’ July 4th hot dog eating contest champ. She, now much resembling a chipmunk preparing for a long winter, had ceased shoveling and was now diligently chewing. I looked back at Four, and her quest for gold like an Olympic hopeful had also ceased.

Though I do have a great appreciation for bodily functions, I still find them pretty gross when they’re not my own. I immediately became profoundly concerned with where my little girl had stowed her newfound treasure. So with a furrowed brow and in a stern voice I looked her square in the face and asked, “Did you wipe that booger on your shirt?!” She looked right back at me with pride and exuberance and said, “No, Daddy. I wiped it on your shirt.”

This is my life. Some would call it disgusting, I just call it Monday.

A few weeks ago I had Three and Four in the bathtub together. It was mid afternoon and I was desperately trying to cleanse them of whatever their chosen medium for destruction was on that given day before their mother got home and saw how crappy I am at my job. It may have been toothpaste, nail polish, syrup, or Sharpie. I don’t recall which. I washed them both thoroughly then allowed them time to play with their bath toys and each other for awhile. Then as they so often do, they turned on me. They began splashing me violently and the more I pleaded with them to stop, the wetter they got me. Being one to pick my battles and knowing I would lose this one I simply remedied the situation by closing the curtain. So I sat on the closed toilet right next to the tub and listened through the curtain peeking in from time to time.

My two youngest have very unique, very cute, and completely opposite voices. Three has a deep, raspy voice that falls somewhere between Demi Moore and Kathleen Turner. I’d say more like Lauren Bacall or Froggy from the Little Rascals. While Four has a very high pitched almost pixie like voice. I’m convinced that some of the things she says can only be heard by dogs. So to listen to the conversations between these two is constant entertainment. Four has also assigned each of us nicknames and that is all she’ll address us by. For example, she calls me Daddy Man. I’m never just Daddy, I am Daddy Man. She refers to Three as Nattlebug.

I sat listening to them through the shower curtain when I heard a squeaky, cherubic voice screaming, “yeehaaa! Ridin Nattlebug! Yeehaaaa, ridin Nattlebug!” Needless to say, I had to move the curtain and look in. I found Three belly down, head above the shallow water, completely stretched out the length of the tub. Four was seated on the small of Three’s back with her legs wrapped around her waist holding onto her sisters shoulder with her left hand while waving her right fist in the air like a seasoned bull rider in a rodeo. She was riding her slightly older sister like a dolphin and chanting like a cowgirl. Were it not inappropriate, I probably would have filmed it, but quite frankly I was laughing too hard to have worked a camera anyway. Three was a pretty good sport at first but after a minute or two she started screaming back, “Get off of meeee! I’m not an animal!” This took an already hysterical situation to a whole new level.

And this is how I spend my days. Thanks for playing along.

Until next week,

Syd Nichols

Send me your thoughts and opinions at sydnichols@yahoo.com