Our kids noodle around on our iPhones constantly. By “noodle,” I mean change my ringtone to Nicki Manaj and sign us up for the 4GB Pro Data plan at $60/month. As long as they’re occupied and happy, right?
Arlo (2) has a knack for finding bizarre stuff on YouTube. He’s been known to travel 50 to 60 levels deep into “related videos”, so whether it’s Death Metal Bob the Builder, or Steve-o snorting a line of wasabi, he’s on it . He also explores my music library, often starting a Rush song only to immediately chant “Over over over.” I don’t think he likes Rush. That’s OK, they’re an acquired taste, and La Villa Strangiato isn’t the best introduction to their specific brand of progressive rock. We’ll work on that when he turns eleven.
Luckily, he almost always gets confused and switches off any hip hop clip featuring “rump shaking” in favor of Yo Gabba Gabba, so generally we haven’t had to intervene. Recently, however, he’s discovered my voice notes, and has, on multiple occasions, started playing recordings of my standup which makes us jump out of our seats faster than if he’d downloaded Pat Robertson’s podcast.
Somehow, it’s tacitly agreed that we would rather he watch a 2 Live Crew video than listen to a recording of me explaining to a group of strangers how I’ve simply grown too old to enjoy pornography, or why I fear my eyes are so close together that people on the street think I’m from a less evolved species.
We’re always alerted the same way. He’s holding my phone and quietly saying, “Daddy Daddy Daddy.” That’s when my wife and I scamper to make the first loud vocal noise we can think of so he can’t hear me talking about how difficult it is to be Zen when a shaved chimp in a diaper is playing the kazoo in my ear. I panicked once and just started singing the chorus to “I Will Always Love You” at the top of my lungs. It was the most wholesome thing I could think of.
Of course, he doesn’t know what I’m talking about, but the mere fact that it’s ME – his daddy — talking late at night about stupid grown-up stuff makes us envision a dense cloud of innocence bellowing out through his ears.
I don’t know how old my kids will be before I let them watch my standup. I’ll probably just wait until I catch one of them watching a Louis CK special after I’ve gone to bed.