Rows and rows of little shops selling bits and pieces of hardware is probably very close to what my husband imagines heaven is like. Rarely have I seen such a gleam in his eye or such a smile on his face as when he was wandering through that crowded IT Mall, drooling over the latest and greatest in hardware, exclaiming over prices, and pointing out specs to me.
I was along for translation and deal-making services that were required only intermittently during the 3 hours that we were there. So while he pottered around happily in some little store, I plonked myself down on a bench outside to give my aching back a break.
That's when I saw them, a mom and daughter sitting in a hair salon. (Remember, this is Thailand, there are beauty salons everywhere - even in IT malls.) The little girl was about Moppet's age, and her mom was amusing her by throwing a small towel over a stuffed toy and then flicking it off to reveal the toy. The girl burst into loud laughter every time the towel came off and she saw the toy. It was a cute sight, and I watched them with a smile.
But it was a wistful smile, because it's been a long time since it was that easy to make Moppet laugh. A simple trick like the stuffed toy and the towel would earn me nothing more than an inquiring 'how-dumb-do-you-think-I-am' look from her. I remember when she was just a couple of months old, putting her hands together and clapping them would bring on the most gorgeous wide smiles. Peekaboo, funny faces, silly sounds - easy enough, but they only worked for a few more months.
It's not that she doesn't laugh, just that the things that make her laugh are far more elaborate. So when Ally the Aligator strolls along the bathroom platform, falls into Lake Washbasin and screams for help in a shrill falsetto, I get a giggle. And then when Wally the Walrus arrives to rescue Ally and falls in himself, I get another one. When the jug I'm balancing on my head falls off and I just barely manage to catch it, I'm rewarded with an appreciative laugh. And it's even louder if I don't manage to catch it and it bounces off my foot. More laughter when she slips out of my grasp while being lotioned up after her bath and streaks through the house in her birthday suit, with me in hot pursuit. Laughter when she pinches me and says 'AAARGH' herself.
Two days ago,she found these swim goggles and cracked up looking at herself in the mirror. It was just wonderful to watch, for me in particular because although she's taken after her more serious father, my secret (well, not so secret any more now!) wish is that if she could have just one of my traits, it would be the ability to laugh at oneself.
The world is not always a happy place, and life can be hard. Finding humour in every day life helps me stay positive, and I like to think that I'm confident enough in who I am to be able to laugh at myself on occasion. I hope I can give my daughter the same confidence in herself.
But for now I'll settle for another one of those delicious giggles. Time for the tickle monster, I think!