Babbled: Are Photos of Crying Kids Actually Funny?

I like a funny photo that shows how miserable parenting can be at times, just like the next mom. I mean, this photo of my niece at a wedding she clearly didn’t want to go to? Classic:

It’s the juxtaposition between Mom and Dad’s shiny, happy faces and the child’s refusal to pretend that she’s anything but annoyed — and then shows it just like Tony Soprano would — that makes the photo funny. (Posted with permission, by the way.)

Likewise, perhaps, the ubiquitous photos of kids crying in Santa’s lap, like the San Francisco Chronicle’s annual Santa Tantrum Awards, are humorous because they capture the idiocy we parents put ourselves through to follow tradition by sitting our small children on a stranger’s lap — a stranger with a red suit, white beard and creepy “Ho ho ho!” laugh. We spend the whole year warning kids not to talk to strangers and then tell them, “Go sit on that man’s lap while I take your picture.” Why does their response surprise us year after year?

But there’s something about photos of crying kids that just doesn’t work as humor, not for me anyhow. Not anymore. Take for example this collection of “20 Hilarious Cranky Toddler Photos” over at Babble. Other than the kid in the Burger King hat in front of his smiling parents (see above: juxtaposition), they don’t strike me as funny. In fact, they strike me as people laughing at other people’s feelings, kind of like this:

5 Hilarious Cranky Grown-Up Photos

crying man

Mr. Mood Swing: One minute he's excited to drive his new car and the next, he's all grumpy because someone dented it. You never know how a grown-up will act!

crying woman

Cash Flow Crier: Her biggest client just pulled the account and she's going to have to lay off employees. Hey lady! A frown requires more muscles than a smile!

couple in financial trouble

Sorry Savers: They just hit the bottom of their savings account. Maybe someone will loan them a laugh!


injured soccer player

Soccer Sad-Sack: Aw, you got a boo-boo, champ! He just needs some Goldfish crackers and it'll be like it never happened.

Asian woman is praying and shed tear.

Crying Cutie: Praying the scans come back clear. If only the doctor ordered some cheer!

 Not that toddlers don’t sometimes carry on to manipulate us. They do. And when it works, they do it again.

It really is miserable snaking through the supermarket with a wailing kid when you just want to buy some freaking chicken nuggets for dinner and go home. Been there, wrote about that. In fact, I once told the checker at BJ’s Warehouse who was putting smiley face stamps on receipts to stamp my cranky toddler’s forehead because “That’s the only smile I’ve seen on his face all day.” (He didn’t.)

I get it. I really do. And I’m guilty as charged.

But when I see adults so publicly making fun of kids who are crying, a part of me cries, too. And if it could shout out, it would say, “THEY CAN HEAR YOU.” They know you’re mocking their feelings. And that ain’t funny. Been there, wrote about that, too.

Prove me wrong: Where are the funny photos of crying kids?




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