I am terrible at faking laughter.
It either sounds like I'm forcing a few wheezy chuckles out, or I get too enthusiastic and sound like I'm mocking someone. This isn't much of an issue in my daily life- I've learned that if I don't think something is funny, I just have to smile politely, even if everyone else is laughing uproariously.
A new problem has arisen. Adelaide has started telling jokes. They're not funny.
"Knock, knock." Just those two words are enough to make my heart sink. Being her mother, however, it falls under my realm of responsibility to play along. So I reply, "Who's there?"
First I try the restrained chuckle: "Heh heh heh heh heh."
She's not convinced, however. "Didn't you think that was funny, Mommy?"
"You know, honey, humor is such a subjective thing..." I try not to lie to her, but I also don't want to hurt her feelings.
So she tries again. "Knock knock."
"Candle made out of lightning."
"Candle made out of lightning who?"
"HA HA HA HA HA HA!" I try to mask my bewilderment by laughing like I've just heard the joke of the century. What kind of punchline is 'cheese', anyway?
I'm starting to think I've pulled it off, that maybe my fake laughter muscles are getting a little more toned, when Adelaide raises her eyebrows, looks at me sideways, and asks, "Mommy, what are you doing?"
"I'm laughing at your joke."
"That's not laughing- that's a weird yelling sound. You kind of sound like you're hurt."