Actually, I Love Adolescent Boy Humor
Bring on the terrible potty jokes and fart noises.
We’re sitting at the kitchen table attempting a family dinner — something we sadly don’t do too often because of schedules, food preferences, and general end-of-day behavior difficulties. But on this particular night, we’re all gathered around the table for some pasta, grilled chicken, and corn on the cob. And it isn’t long before the three-ring circus shenanigans begin.
First comes the fart noises. Then it’s the wildly expressive facial contortions. And don’t forget the good old fashioned potty talk. My older boys, nine and seven, are the ring leaders — endlessly one-upping one another to make each other and their little sisters laugh. Problem is, I’m laughing too. Because unfortunately, while my stone-faced husband is trying to maintain even the lowest level of dinner table etiquette, I am unable to hide my affinity for immature, adolescent boy humor. I just find it too funny.
I can’t be the only mom struggling to maintain composure during the toilet talk and juvenile sarcasm. Even the “yo mama” jokes, which technically should now feel offensive to me, get me really laughing. Unfortunately, I have to find a way to maintain an authoritative role during the adolescent comedy show or I am going to end up in trouble.
First, my husband might divorce me. Well, not really — but I can tell my inability to keep a straight face during important parenting moments is starting to wear on him. Like at Christmas, when he spent a little too much time in the bathroom and since has been referred to by our 9-year-old as “Little Daddy Dumper Boy.” I’m sorry, but it’s a great insult! I audibly laugh every single time, even when it’s used in high-stress, already adversarial situations. There I am, co-parenting with him through a difficult situation and then my son hits him with a sarcastic, “yeah, okay Daddy Dumper Boy” and I go from helpful co-pilot to stifling giggles in mere seconds. And when they throw out a well-placed swear?! Oh, don’t even get me started.
I also don’t want people (my kids included) to misconstrue my laughter as approval of bad or offensive behavior. And I want others to see me as the smart, trustworthy, responsible parent that I am, despite my immature sense of humor. So when my son calls someone a fart-knocker or hits a friend with, “ohhh, you just got burned, Karen!” I gotta learn to clench my jaw and swallow my laughter. And maybe reprimand them. Because while part of me does think some of it is hilarious, of course the bigger part of me wants to model and teach them good behavior. Their antics are mostly innocent, but I don’t want them running around offending everyone they meet.
Most importantly, I need to be consistent with my messages to them, and my current behavior is probably a little confusing. Of course it’s hard for a kid to follow the strict rules of a parent who then laughs at the misbehavior moments later! Actions speak louder than words, right? And I know my kids ramp up their inappropriateness exponentially when met with laughter. So I’m definitely adding to the problem.
So, here’s to hoping I can grow up — or at least fake it. Because my guess is the inappropriate humor is only going to escalate when they hit the teenage years, so I better learn a little self-control. From here on out I will work on sharing my foolish, immature humor with a more adult audience. Honestly, though, “Little Daddy Dumper Boy” is just a really good burn.
Samm is an ex-lawyer and mom of four who swears a lot. Find her on Instagram @sammbdavidson.