It’s finally happened. I’m the parent of a teenager. Tomas turned 13 yesterday. Write a blog long enough, and you start to run out of new material to cover. I’ve written multiple posts on his birthday over the years. (For the record, here are my posts when he turned five, six, eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve. Somehow I skipped seven.) Looking back over them, it’s interesting to see how he’s changed and how my posts about him have changed. I’ve tried to chronicle what he’s interested in from year to year, so I’ll keep that up now.
Many things haven’t changed from recent years. He’s still a big Doctor Who fan, loves watching Star Wars and Marvel movies, has a great time playing Magic and other board games, and loves to read. But like me, his particular focus from time to time changes and morphs. He had his BeyBlade stage years ago. There was his Cars stage. Pokemon. Transformers. 3DS.
These days, his two main passions are his Minecraft YouTube channel and his Nerf guns. He will happily tell you all the many tweaks he wants to make to his current pride and joy: a Nerf Stryfe he purchased a few weeks ago. He’s planning on upping the motor, swapping out the trigger lock, and repainting it eventually. He did a ton of research to figure out which Nerf would be the best for him, eventually settling on the no-longer-manufactured Stryfe, and buying it when he could find a new one on sale. He got some add-ons for it yesterday for his birthday, and he was very pleased.
But the Minecraft YouTube channel gets even more of his attention. One of the first things he did yesterday was set up a Patreon account for himself, since they have a rule limiting accounts to those age 13 and up. So the very second he could get on the computer (he had to wait until 4pm, which is when we let electronics start being used on Sundays in our house), he went straight to Patreon and registered. He takes these videos very seriously, doing his best to come out with a new one every Wednesday. To make that happen, he has to record the video, edit it, compose music if he needs to, and then find a time to upload it to YouTube. He tracks his views and his subscribers like a hawk, and he’s always doing whatever he can to make his subscribers happy.
So if you’re looking for something to get Tomas for his birthday, the thing he would probably love would be for you to subscribe to his channel (free!) or (better yet, he would say) support him on Patreon. After much deliberation, he decided to base his support tiers on a monthly basis. In other words, you can sign up to give him $1, $5, or $10 each month. At $1, you get behind-the-scenes info on what he’s up to. $5 gets you an exclusive video, and $10 gets you all of that, plus a shout out in his videos and your name in the credits. (He had made abut $1.50 through YouTube ads up until a few weeks ago, when YouTube changed its rules so that only people with 10,000 views can monetize their videos.) So Patreon is his only hope of bringing in money for now. (He’s had about 1,000 views so far. 9,000 more to go!)
In any case, it seems like he had a good birthday. We watched the first part of Iron Man 2, played some Magic, had boxed mac and cheese for dinner and chocolate chip cookie pie for dessert. He’s definitely growing up: becoming more serious about school and his responsibilities around the house, and holding his own in any game he plays on the planet.
Happy birthday, Tomas. Here’s hoping your Patreon just explodes with success.