My husband recently changed jobs. As a result of his new schedule, he no longer comes home from work and crashes on the couch, only to fall asleep within minutes. His new schedule leaves him significantly more time to be with his family and it has been glorious to see his relationships with both of our children blossom as a result.
There is a lot more laughter in our home these days. There also seems to be a lot more mischief.
My daughter and I often head upstairs for the night a little bit earlier than my husband and son so that we can have a little extra special time together to watch her favourite crafter, Moriah Elizabeth’s, weekly YouTube episode. The boys aren’t as keen on the show and somehow my son has conditioned himself to be ferociously hungry as soon as we say it’s time to go up and get ready for bed so the boys stay downstairs for a “midnight” snack, despite it being five hours or so before the clock actually strikes 12.
Since my husband has been home and less drained than in the past, something funny has started to happen when my daughter and I go upstairs. It’s no longer just the usual smell of peanut butter and honey toast and general silence coming from downstairs. It’s been loud. There are now fits of uncontrollable laughter.
Whatever could the be laughing at? I wondered the first few times. Whatever it was was surely making an impression.
The first few times it happened, I just sat back and enjoyed the sounds of happiness. Whatever it was, the boy and his dad were bonding.
I eventually asked my husband about it and he said they’d been watching clips of The Simpsons and while a lot of the more adult-themed jokes went over our son’s head, a lot of it he found exceedingly funny. As long as it was being monitored by his dad, I didn’t mind my son watching it. It’s become their special thing even if he knows it’s not something he should be watching in general.
One evening I asked my son what they were doing down there that was so darn funny.
“Oh, nothing,” my son replied. “Nothing at all.”
I raised my eyebrow at my husband, who grinned.
“You know we don’t lie in this family,” I cautioned him.
“We were totally not watching The Simpsons. That’s inappropriate,” said my eight-year-old with as straight a face as he could muster.
“THE SIMPSONS!” I roared, feigning rage. “YOUR DAD IS LETTING YOU WATCH THE SIMPSONS!?”
(In truth, we have a list of all of the episodes ranked according to their rating: from U (universal) to whatever rating it goes up to, and the reasons why.)
My daughter, just about two years younger than her big brother, hasn’t had the same exposure to Bart and Homer, but that’s not to say my dear husband hasn’t introduced her to the show in a totally different way: through music.
Last night, laying on our bed prior to family reading time (we are reading the Spy School series right now by Stuart Gibbs and we all love it) my son and I were treated to a duet.
My darling husband and six year old sang the entirely of ‘See my Vest!’ a parody of ‘Be Our Guest’ from Beauty and the Beast, from the season six episode entitled “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds.”
The song features the iconic Mr. Burns singing about his love of fur clothing and his desire to use the Simpson’s dogs for a fancy new suit. Inappropriate to say the least! But also outright hilarious. It was the best live rendition of a song I’ve heard all year.
Some men hunt for sport,
Others hunt for food,
The only thing I’m hunting for,
Is an outfit that looks good…
See my vest, see my vest,
Made from real gorilla chest,
Feel this sweater, there’s no better,
Than authentic Irish setter….
As a parent I could get angry about my kids being exposed to questionable material like this, but I’m not. I know they’ll be exposed to it eventually. In fact, they’ll be exposed to a lot worse in the coming years.
I figure if my kids learn now that mom and dad are approachable and reasonable about the things they think are controversial now, and that they are safe to have all the conversations that need to be had — openly and with some humour while they’re young — they’ll never know any different. They’ll be willing to allow us to help guide them through life when the real issues arise and they’ll be better prepared decision-makers than they would be if we shielded them from it all as a result.
But, if one day I happen to get a note home from school about my child singing inappropriate songs from The Simpsons I can assure you two things will happen: first, I’ll give them the lecture on saving things like that for more suitable times, and second, I’ll laugh.