I laughed. And then I looked around, almost as if I was one of those writers who sits all day in an Internet cafe instead of talking to herself in the privacy of her own home.
The video promised a cure for those terrible tantrums. Just spritz Nap Time on a cloth, hold it over the willful child’s mouth, and prest-o, change-o, zonked out kiddo! If you thought “but it sounds like chloroform,” the video gets there in the form of a “real doctor, not just playing one in a webisode.”
It’s a joke. But is it funny ha ha or is it funny OMG, ouch, I’m not so sure …
I don’t know how many times I’ve walked into a kid-themed even with the kid in tow and promptly offered her to anyone … ANYONE … in the room. “Want a 6-year-old?” I ask.
I’m kidding. Really. Kidding. I wouldn’t give her away for all the tea in China. Or an iPad (although I already have one, so I suppose that’s not a fair example).
But this is the basis of conversation with other parents. You complain about your kids. They complain about their kids. You sympathize. You complain some more. They sympathize. They complain some more. And you end it all with a pat on the back for one another and some over-used cliche about not really wanting to give them up for all the world (or is it tea in China … as I said, this is how it works).
So why did the Nap Time video make me feel so icky (bear with the terminology, I did mention the 6-year-old)? Mostly because I did laugh. I did get the joke.
But also because it went beyond the “ooh he, he, let’s threaten to do something to our kids” and into a physical manifestation of the “jokes.” The kids weren’t real. The chloroform wasn’t real. But someone took a cloth and put it over a child’s face and … NO!
This is the line. We joke about it. We don’t do it. We don’t even play act it.
You may whisper to a friend that you’d like to set the child out at the roadside with a “free to a good home” sign ’round their neck. But set up the scene, even just for a silly photo op, and it’s not fun anymore. It’s not a garble of nonsense words meant to blow off steam like a shout of “sugar, honey, iced tea” when the dog steps under your feet just as you were about to move the pot of green beans from the stove.
So watch this. Giggle. But don’t tell me you didn’t feel uneasy:
What do you think?
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Image via ChrisCapel1998/YouTube