Some of the best times of being a parent are when you're trying not to laugh, but just can't help yourself.
For instance, one wonderful afternoon this past spring, Madeline, our then-first-grade daughter had just painted the planets for her solar system model. Seeing as the day was nice and she and Marci had been out on the back porch anyway, we had lunch outdoors.
Seated around the table, the educator in me saw a teachable moment to review some scientific facts. I began to quiz the kids about the planets.
"Starting from the closest to the sun and moving out, can you name the planets? What's the first planet?"
"Venus!" responded Maddie.
"No, close. It's the hottest and smallest of the planets." Confused looks, no answers. "It's Mercury. What's the second planet from the sun?"
"I know this one," says Maddie. "Venus."
"Right!" I respond. "Now, what's the third planet from the sun?"
"Jupiter?" she ventures. "Nope," I respond.
"Mars?" she asks. "Nope." Seeing that she's flailing, I throw her a line.
"Give you a hint, you're sitting on it right now." A moment of pensive silence follows.
"Uranus?" offered Ross.
I don't know if they knew why Mom and Dad caught each others' eye shortly before exploding into laughter, and we did not explain why we found it impossible to not laugh.