Maren is hilarious. I remember the first time I got a glimpse of her silly personality. She had only been home from the hospital for a few weeks, so I guess she was somewhere around 5 months old. It was bedtime. Before climbing into bed, though, Henry wanted to perform the puppet show that he and Randy had been working on over the previous few days. I sat on Henry's bed with Maren on my lap while "The Three Little Pigs" began. Maren's eyes looked even bigger than normal as she so very intently watched the puppets on Henry's and Randy's hands. Soon they got to the good part. As Henry made the wolf on his hand huff and puff Maren smiled, then giggled, and then full-on laughed. It was probably the cutest thing I had ever seen. We all laughed out loud and Henry has been forever proud of the fact that he was the first one to make Maren laugh.
Henry's accomplishment has lost some of its merit as the months and years have gone by. There are few times when Maren is not smiling or laughing. She finds humor in just about everything. When a humor-lacking-situation arises Maren is quick to inject humor wherever or however she sees fit. When she recognizes humor in a conversation, she likes to contribute. Of course, more often than not, it is inappropriate. Here is one example:
I was pulling the van into the driveway and noticed a large package sitting outside our front door. I asked Maren what she thought might be in it. She didn't know. I said, "Maybe the box is full of broccoli." She smiled and I continued, "Maybe there's a big bag of Q-tips, or maybe it's full of pumpkins." I looked back at Maren in my mirror and she said, "I know. Maybe it's full of buttholes!" My bad. "Butthole" is definitely my favorite quasi-swear word. (Thank you, Leah Weaver, my best friend in the third grade.) Maren cracked herself up while I managed to be an adult and reprimanded her. It was hard not to laugh. Of course after Randy got home I cornered him and privately told him the story. We both laughed.
Maren's finest moments though, come when she doesn't know that she's being funny. Not that it's a swear word of any sort, but another favorite of mine is "I don't care!" Like when I ask my kids to brush their teeth and they say, "I don't want to," and I say, "I don't care." Or, when it's time for bed and they say, "But I'm not tired," and I say, "I don't care." Maren picked that one up, but almost never uses it correctly. To Maren, "I don't care" means, "I'm kind of on the spot and don't know what to say."
To my family-- remember when Don came home from scout camp and told us the story of when Brother Tocknell asked all the boys to go out and gather a faggot? Don grabbed Jimmy Gardner and yelled out, "I got my faggot!" (Seriously, Brother Tocknell-- what did you expect with a group of teenage boys?) My mom was not amused, but the kids-- all 6 of us younger than Don-- picked it up and ran with it. From that day forward, whenever a sibling got mad at another sibling, the offending sibling was sometimes a "jerk" or a "butt," but more often than not, they were a "faggot." In our minds, "faggot" was synonomous with "jerk" or "butt"-- kinda like Maren's, "I don't care."
The first time I noticed it we were at church. I was walking with Maren to the coat closet when a woman stopped her and said, "What a pretty dress!" Maren just looked at her, shrugged her shoulders and said in kind of a whisper, "I don't care," and then kept walking. It was fantastic. The woman looked at me with disgust and all I could say was, "Sorry. She didn't mean what she said." Yep-- best... mother... ever.
The second time was the worst. We're all sitting in the Bishop's office for tithing settlement. He pops the question to Randy and me, and then Henry, and then Maren-- "Maren, are you a full tithe payer?" You guessed it-- Maren looked at him, shrugged her shoulders and said in that loud-ish whisper, "I don't care." Classic.
Okay, one last story for this never-ending entry. Sometimes Maren comes up with words/phrases that are all hers. My favorite one of those is, "butt-jerk." In a sentence it goes something like this: "Obama is a butt-jerk!" No story with that one. It stands alone.
Thank you, Maren, for your sense of humor. You constant stream of smiles, laughs, silly jokes, quasi-swears, full-on swears, and inappropriate one-liners keep me smiling. I love you.