My 6 year old son Leif is not exactly what you’d call a ‘cool kid’. As I write this, he’s in his room singing an operatic version of the Jim Cuddy special on CBC he insisted on listening to. He comes by it honestly – I was never a cool kid either, and my husband...well, my husband still thinks that it’s okay to wear the rooster sweatpants his grandmother made for him to thanksgiving dinner. I love that he’s not cool most days; today when I made him shepherd’s pie he thanked me in a terrible Hackney English accent and called me “gov’na”. As we all are, Leif is influenced by popular culture and tends to mix that influence with his ‘actor’ tendencies, which normally is quite endearing. The other day I realized the influence that pop culture has on my son may be a little too strong when he proclaimed to me that his dream in life is to be a ‘bad boy’.
It was the afternoon, and I was doing the dishes listening to Leif practically scream out Justin Bieber from the office, when he came out of the room with an announcement for me.
“Mom, I want to be a bad boy when I grow up” he proclaimed as the sound of JB drifted from the next room, and Leif was doing some sort of tap dance.
“Really. What, exactly is a “bad boy” Leif?” It is at this point I realize that I may not want to know the answer.
“You know, a bad boy – I would wear my hat backwards and stand like this!” (He starts slouching and crosses his arms in front of him). I realize this is a modified “gangster” pose, and I sort of choke a little, considering I am not sure his dreams match up with his location. I haven’t seen a lot of gang, or bad boy activity here in our small town. Not to mention his love for all things glittery and musical may have a larger influence on his possible gang activity of choice. However, I am still not so sure what to say at this point so I proceed with caution.
“Well...what does a bad boy do? What do you think is cool about being a bad boy?”
“Mom, come on. You know, you get to act tough and sing really fast and you can pee in drawers”.
“Act tough? You think you need to act to-WHAT? PEE IN DRAWERS? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?”
“Oh, you know – like JB’s friend Ludacris? He probably does that. It’s pretty much the worst thing you can do, and if you’re a bad boy you do bad things. I can’t wait.” He gives me the wink and the gun and goes back to the office. That is obviously the official parting sentiment of current bad boys: Take that ‘west’ and ‘east’ coast hand symbols, the wink and the gun are in town.
(For those of you who do not listen to rap, or Justin Bieber, or perhaps those who are too drunk to pay attention to pop culture, Ludacris is a mediocre rapper not quite as nasty as say L’il Wayne, but not quite as annoyingly clean cut as Will Smith. He is also a terrible speller, and definitely sometimes ‘ludicrous’)
At this point, the parenting part of my brain shuts down; I can’t quite decide where to go from here. I am not sure if this is worth addressing, or if I am going to have some kind of surprise in my silverware drawer someday. I yell after Leif “I will sell everything you own, including you, if you pee in my drawers” (half joking, don’t call family services).
“I know. I’m going to wait until I’m an adult, mom”.
Later that evening as I’m putting Leif to bed, turning down CBC and giving hugs and kisses, he looks at me with his big blue eyes and says to me “Mom, I can’t wait till I’m a bad boy. I will challenge anyone who comes my way.”
“What kind of challenge, Leif?” I question.
“MOM, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? When you challenge a bad boy, you have a bad-boy-off”.
I believe at this point, I am out of the woods.
Note to Grade 1 teacher RE: Leif’s bad boy tendencies
Dear Mrs. B
Of course we will pay for any damage to the dinosaur drawer and its contents. Please find attached a cheque for damages.