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When you become a parent, you are inundated by advice, mostly unsolicited by other parents (and oddly, some people who’ve never had kids). Almost all of it is contradictory, counter-intuitive and seemingly cruel (until you’re actually in the moment, and you understand exactly what they were talking about). From my understanding, it’s part of the initiation to the parenting club, and part genuine interest and concern, because parenting is fucking hard and anyone who says otherwise is a negligent tool, liar or both.

What people don’t tell you, though, is how much fun it is. I’m serious. Parenting is really fun sometimes (okay, most of the time, and never between the waking hours late at night). If you had told me when I was 30lbs heavier, straining to move, and miserable, just how much laughing I would do in the coming year, I wouldn’t have believed it. I was bearing down to enter a warzone of crying, poopy diapers and nipple torture (the latter never really experienced because we weren’t successful at breastfeeding, but I digress). I had no patience for this “oh, they’re a joy!” nonsense. I’d have thought you were giving me a line of bullshit so I wouldn’t smother the kid in a sleep deprived haze.

But, in the last year, I’ve learned that it’s really true. My kid is hilarious! Maybe not to anyone else, but he gives me these looks sometimes that crack me right up. And, even though I know I’m not supposed to laugh, every time he takes a cheerio off his high chair tray and straight-faced drops it off the side, I can’t help myself but laugh. I’ll let him get away with about three of those, before I figure he’s done eating, but I have to turn away to get my giggles out before I take him out of the chair.

And, in the stifled laughter, and the moments where I can just laugh out loud with him, all the other crap melts away. Yes, there are still bad nights, and days too. Yes, he’s a challenge, and I can’t let my guard down with him for even a second. But, the laughing makes it easier. And, frankly, these days, I’m laughing a lot more than I’m not, and there’s something really awesome about that.