Sometimes I put a pair of cotton princess underwear on my head before I wake up my daughters in the morning. Sometimes I recite their breakfast options in a ridiculous French accent. I smear bubbles across my face while I’m giving them a bath and tell them absurd stories about the day their father and I selected them from the discount rack at The Baby Store because that’s where babies come from.

I open my mouth to yell at them and end up launching myself across the living room with a loud TRA-LA-LAAAAA ala Captain Underpants. (Speaking of which, we do, in fact, make our fair share of Uranus jokes around here.) I activate Mommy Robot Procedures and make loud beeping noises while I press the moles on their arms to change them from Grumpy Mode to Happy Mode and, most nights around 5:30 PM, to Sit Your Tushy In The Chair and Eat Your Dinner Mode.

I do all of this because a) I crack myself up, c) more often than not, I’m not entirely sure what the hell else to do, and d) it seems to work.

When I say it works, I don’t mean that this magically ends every single problem. Rather, what I mean is that when I stop taking myself so damn seriously and respond to my daughters with humor and silliness, the stress and tension in our family decreases—and the fun and cooperation increases. I feel less frustrated and more connected to them, and from that place of connection, everything else feels easier, too.

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