A being from another dimension has moved into my house.
About 3 months ago, my wife and I added a new member to our household. We had an extra room that our wonderful little boy Timmy no longer needed so we allowed someone new to move into it. Although he is a lot like our son Timmy, he is a bit more introverted and moody. He is also taller, harrier, and eats more than our cute little guy.
Hmmm. Our new family member is a lot like this.
His name is Teenage Timmy.
So I guess when I wrote that we "added" a new member to our family, I should have really written we "replaced" a member. This insurgence actually occurred a few weeks before Timmy turned 13. But when it did, it was like flipping a switch. It seemed my adorable first born child had turned into a teenager overnight.
It all began with the simple action of closing a door. Up until the transformation, my son only closed his door when he was changing his clothes. Now it is only open long enough for him to squeeze through on his way in and out of the bathroom ... or more likely the kitchen.
It may sound like I am complaining, but I am not. I really like my new teenage son. Like all stages of parenthood, there are new challenges, but these are offset by new forms of fun. Although he and I have always shared a love of Star Wars and super heroes, in the blink of an eye, he became a Simpsons fan as well. He had set his own limit that the show was too "adult" for him. But that changed around the same time his door began to spend less time ajar. I took this as a sign that I could joke around with him a little more and differently.
There was still a family out there who wouldn't let a 12 year old watch this show.
Have you seen the internet?
I began by busting on him for having his door closed all the time. Each time I pass by his closed door I yell, "Hi Timmy's door" and then "bye Timmy's door" on the way back. I have even begun saying goodnight to Timmy's door. It and I are becoming fast friends.
But my absolute favorite part of living with my freshly minted teenager is that in addition to Simpsons, he has shown an interest in another show that is way too "adult" for cute, little Timmy.
Over the past couple of months, I have become obsessed with Rick and Morty. I seriously have no idea why it took so long for me to start watching it. I am just happy I finally did.
If you have not seen the show, let me tell you that there is no way a 13 year old should be allowed to watch it. That is why I refuse to watch it with him. I truly believe there is value in showing him that there are some things you simply don't do in the presence of certain people... like your mom or dad. He needs to learn to adjust his behavior based on his audience.
For example, I am sure he and his buddies swear. However, if he ever swore in front of my wife or I, he would feel our wrath.
Just like I am sure he doesn't always use appropriate language when we aren't with him, I also know he watches inappropriate shows. I am doing my best to teach him where that limit is. If I am unreasonably strict, I am begging for rebellion. If I am too lax, then I fear he will dive right in to some incredibly terrible content.
I don't know about this Rick. We are pretty inappropriate.
Knowing that he knows, that I know, that he knows about Rick and Morty has allowed me to start another joke with him.
For some reason, a few weeks ago, I started telling him to "Get schwifty*" at odd times. It became a game to see if I could catch him by surprise. I even started texting it to him in his room (when I wasn't talking to his door). For example, I may try to bury it in a list of directions such as, 'Hey Timmy, make sure you takeout the garbage. When you are done... get schwifty!"
Although he pretends to be incredibly annoyed by this, I know he actually thinks its fun. In order to show how annoyed he is, he changed my name on his phone to "Jerry Smith" who is Morty's dad on the show. Every time I call or text, "Jerry Smith" pops up. My son said he did this because Jerry is the most annoying, boring and useless character on TV. (I love you too son.)
Last week, my son requested an adjustment to our game. He asked if we could limit "get schwifty" to once per day. This would add a little more excitement to the game. I would have to pick my spot carefully and he would have to be on high alert in order to avoid being surprised.
Warning. This show is definitely inappropriate for younger viewers.
I know I write about a lot of cute, family friendly stuff... this is NOT that.
Is it childish?
Does it border on inappropriate?
Am I going to stop?
I have been around enough teenagers to know that this is not going to be the first or last replacement Timmy. He is going to continue to change over the coming years. As he does, I am going to have to find creative ways to remain part of his life. I don't mean as a father. I will always play that role. I will always be here to guide him back to the right path when he strays (and all teenagers stray). There are going to be plenty of times when I will need to be the heavy for his own good. But that doesn't mean it has to be all discipline and educating. I'm hoping we can have some fun along the way.
*And now a word about "Get schwifty". "Get schwifty" is a song the mad scientist Rick created in order to please an alien species of floating heads who staged an American Idol type talent show in order to decide which planets would survive and which would be destroyed. (Yes that is actually the plot of an episode.)
The song is quite immature and inappropriate... so it is right up my alley.