It’s very strange having two kids who are teenagers. When my husband and I got married and I officially became a stepmom, the boys were only four and seven. They were adorable and innocent and now I wish I had started this blog back then so I had a record of all the cute things they used to say.
For instance, whenever they broke something they would say plaintively, “It was on an accident” instead of “It was an accident,” which we always found funny. (They did not, because even though they were cute, they would still get in trouble. Parents are jerks, right?)
Once Gunnar found a stray cat outside our apartment (that he named “Sprinkles” even though it was tiger-striped) and when Eric wouldn’t let him bring the cat inside, Gunnar cried, “You hate God’s creatures!” (Eric countered with, “I don’t hate them; I just find them filthy and dirty.” Gunnar was not appeased.)
When Gunnar experienced the dreaded “special” health class in fifth grade, he came home and said, “I know all about how babies are made.” Then, with a meaningful look at us: “It’s disgusting.” (“Don’t look at me,” I protested. “I’ve never made babies.”)
At our old apartment, our bedroom’s vent connected with the boys’ vent. So whenever they needed us they would just holler through the vent like it was an intercom: “Dadddyyyyyyy… Jesssssieeeee… we’re hungryyyyyyy.”
Of course, this meant they could also hear us. Whether we wanted them to or not, ifyouknowwhatImean. I still remember Caleb saying to us disapprovingly over breakfast, “I could hear you guys kissing.”
And sometimes we’d watch movies that were funny but probably not age-appropriate. For instance, one night when Eric wasn’t home, the boys and I watched “Dodgeball.” Fairly harmless, but I forgot about the ending when Christine Taylor’s character kisses another girl and says, “I’m not a lesbian, I’m bisexual!” and then proceeds to make out with Vince Vaughn’s character. Not exactly pearl-clutching dialogue, but at the time both boys said, “Ewww!”
Then came the inevitable question: “What’s bisexual?” Gunnar asked.
Oh, dear. But, amazingly, I came up with a diplomatic answer: “It’s when you like both boys and girls.”
“Oh,” they said solemnly. Then, “Ewww.” (This was in the good old days when the thought of anyone kissing anyone was gross and hilarious.)
Now, if we were to watch it and that scene came on, they’d both be like, “All right!” Then they’d probably rewind it and watch the scene again. Ugh.
I think that’s what bothers me most: not that it’s awkward to watch that stuff with the kids, but now there’s no need to explain/avoid explaining what it means.
The other night we all watched Louis CK perform stand-up. My rule has always been: If it’s funny and not tooooo inappropriate, then it’s okay to watch. Since I’m a comedy writer, I try not to censor too much when it comes to comedies.
For example, Tosh.0 gets on all of my nerves, but I don’t forbid the boys to watch it; I just don’t want to be around when they do. (Although Eric claims he’s heard me laughing while it was on. Filthy lies.) But on the other hand, a few years ago I watched one of Dane Cook’s stand-up routines and not only was it incredibly vulgar, it wasn’t even funny. Unforgivable. So I banned them from watching that.
I have weird rules, you guys. Deal with it.
For some reason that night Caleb was being all grumpy and teenagery. The whole time Louis CK was on he kept interrupting and saying things like, “Oh, it’s funny when he says the “F” word…”
After he had interrupted approximately five million times, Gunnar hit “pause” with pointed emphasis, looked over at Caleb and said sarcastically, “Anything else you’d like to say? Any other comments? Come on! Get ‘em out now!” which for some reason I thought was just as funny as the comedian. It’s hard to convey in blog form how funny Gunnar is because it’s all in his expression and the way he says things. I’d post a picture of him but I think he’d literally kill me. So just trust me… it was funny.
Everyone quieted down and, after glaring at all of us, Gunnar hit “play.” And we watched a brilliant comedian and laughed our butts off… as a family. Anything we can all enjoy together is a rare and precious gift during these dark teenaged times.
So if I have to watch a guy tell hilariously inappropriate jokes just to hang out with my boys… I’ll take it. Even if now the boys insist on explaining the jokes to me.