Every adult will have one show or character they attach to their childhood and for me that was the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Where I lived the show would come on weekdays at 3:30 and because school didn’t get out until 3:25 I was forced to either run home as fast as my little 4th grade legs would take me or find a friend who lived closer to school and talk him into letting me watch the Turtles at his house; that friend ended up being named Phillip. The practice of going to his house to watch my heroes fight the likes of Shredder and Krang went on so long that my Grandmother was led to believe school didn’t actual get out until 4pm. I tell you this story because my childhood heroes have now become my sons.
I don’t remember why I choose to introduce my son, who is almost three, to the pizza loving Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but I can only assume it came from the fact that a man can only take so many repeat views of FROZEN. As I hit play and the first note of the iconic theme song fired up I was transported back to my 9 year old self but instead of standing next to Phillip I was next to my son who was as deeply entranced as I was.
Watching the Ninja Turtles and reenacting the moves with his sword (that used to be used for pretending he was Jake…sorry Jake) has become his number one post-bathtime hobby. I have yet to make he choose a favorite turtle as thrusting such an important life decision at him that early in life would be cruel.
As I end this love note to the Ninja Turtles I do want to say one actual parenting type thing (No, it’s not the overly obvious message regarding too much screen time). Like anything on television you’ll need to gauge for yourself when action and violence becomes too much for your family. The line for us is the old animated turtles versus the newer ones. The older TMNT show (1987) is almost all corny jokes, pizza eating and April O’Neil in the body hugging yellow one piece but the more updated versions are mostly just fight scenes…and pizza.
Being a parent can be tough and it can cause you to put a side a lot of the hobbies and interests you had pre-kids so when the little moments that remind you of how great raising a little one can be it’s important to hold on to them tight and then whack them with a plastic yellow sword turtle style.