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7/30/13, The Agony of Defeat

“On your mark!  Get set!  GO!”

Two monkeys tear across the yard.  The youngest is slow on the start but has longer legs.  They’re neck in neck.    They’re tied down the stretch.  The oldest resists the urge to close-line his brother.  They’re running, running . . . right into . . .


CRASH!  They  topple to the ground mere inches from my hydrangeas.

“Guys!  You got to watch where you’re going.  There are rocks over there and . . . ”  I know it’s futile before I even stop talking.  I don’t know why I even waste the oxygen.

“MOM!  Wasn’t that AWESOME?” The six-year-old leaps up and brushes himself off.

The youngest pops up in agreement.  “Look!  Highlights!”

The two monkeys proceed to re-enact the last few steps of the race in slow motion.  They slowly stumble forward with ESPN worthy looks on their faces.  They grunt and grimace as they fall to the ground one inch at a time.  The oldest brushes the hydrangeas in dramatic fashion before collapsing at the finish line.

I laugh.  Oh, the agony of defeat!

Monkey Race

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1/6/13, Do you want me to say ‘Three’?

“I don’t want to take a bath!”

“You have to take a bath.”


“I’m sorry, honey.  We’re taking a bath.”

“ARGH!” the three-year-old barks then flops to the ground like a pile of noodles.  A greased, kicking pig in a pile of noodles.

An ankle in each hand, I say calmly through gritted teeth, “If you kick me again, it’s lights out, Henry.  No stories.  No hugs.  No blankie.  Got it?”


“Stand up.”


“One . . . Two . . . Do you want me to say ‘Three’?”

I don’t specify what happens at three.  He takes one look at my murderous face and pops up.  I pull his shirt off and carry his clothes to the hamper in the hall.  He’s still standing where I left him, staring at his tummy.  My hands ball into fists.  Breathe. “Come on, Henry.  Bath!”

“Mom?”  He pushes a finger into a tiny pink dot on his chest.  “What are dees tings called again?”

“Nipples, honey.”

“Nipples!”  He grins.  “Why they all pokey?”

“Um . . . because they’re cold.”  I don’t want to smile back.  I really don’t.  Damn.  “Go get in the bath, honey.”

1/2/13: Jingle all the way…

“How do you like my socks, Mom?”  Clink. Clank. Clink. Clank.

“What did you do to them, honey?”

“I put money in them!”  Clink. Clink. Clankety-clank.

“You did?”

“Yep!  Three dollars each!”  Big grin.

“Okay. . . Go tap dance in your room then.”

Jingle. Jingle. Jingle.  He shuffles off.

The three-year-old pokes his head out.  “Hey, what’s that noise?”

“That’s money in my feet!”

And . . . scene!

12/13/12, Magic Mike

The six-year-old comes twirling into my room before bed.  Cloaked in his fuzzy blanket, he spins around then flashes me.   Cape open, Star Wars underpants, sunglasses, and a smile.  I can’t help but chuckle.

“Okay, very nice.  Go get your pajamas on, kiddo.”

But the show isn’t over.  I shouldn’t have laughed.  He spins again and pops open the blanket.  Only this time he’s doing a little butt dance in my direction.  Um…seriously?  I’m really laughing now.

“What are you doing, honey?  Go get dressed.”  I can barely get the words out.

Little Magic Mike doesn’t stop.  He continues to spin and wriggle his hips at me for several more turns until I finally regain my Mom voice.

“That’s ENOUGH!  Pajamas!  Now!”

He shuffles off to Buffalo still smiling.  Don’t forget to tip your waitress!  Try the veal!  He’ll be here all week!


11/24/12: The Wizard

Daddy monkey plays music in the living room to keep the smaller monkeys from killing each other and help them burn off the evening’s ration of Halloween candy.  After 30 minutes of twitching, spinning, and doing the “butt dance,” the little ones are finally winding down.  Mommy has retreated to her laptop and the littlest one is admiring his Superman coloring book.  No one is paying attention to the music any more except the six-year-old.

The Harry Potter theme song is playing.

The six-year-old is skulking around long enough that Mommy finally takes notice.  He is pacing back and forth with his fuzzy blankie over his shoulders.  It looks less like a warlock’s robe than a bath mat but he doesn’t mind.  He has a broken vacuum cleaner handle in his hand.  He waves it at the ceiling and flashes everyone a sinister glare.  Voldemort is in the house!

11/15/12, Face-off

“Mo-ooooooooom!  Frankie’s touching my penis.”

Mommy gears up for a long discussion about privacy and personal space.  Hands on hips, stern Mom-face is in full force.  “Honey, that is NOT okay.  Why don’t we touch other people’s penises?”

“Because they’re poisonous?”

Mom-face collapses into a laugh.  Damn.

11/10/12, Quiet in the forest

After hours of yelling, laughing, hitting, kicking, screaming, running, crashing, whining, giggling, and talking, talking, talking, there is quiet in the forest.  Two monkeys sit in two rooms reading two books to themselves.  Their mother tiptoes silently away from their doors and sits in a dark office typing.  She dare not make a sound or turn on a light lest the spell be broken.

11/9/12, Full moon

Left the three-year-old “pooping” on the potty, which mostly consists of just sitting there pretending he’s potty trained and reading a book.  Came back less than a minute later to find him standing at the radiator playing with his bath toys.  With his pants around his ankles.  Apparently when it’s time to play, it’s time to play.

11/5/12, Bad Idea

“Mom!  I know how they made Frankenstein.”

“Oh, yeah?” Not really paying attention.

“Yeah.  They sewed parts of dead bodies together!”

Spatula drops.  Eyes widen in horror and dart to the three-year-old also sitting at the table.

“Oops!  I mean they . . .”  The five-year-old mines his limited vocabulary for a mom-friendly version of ‘dead bodies.’

Before he can find one, little brother chimes in.  “Dead bodies is a bad idea, Frankie.  Yeah, it’s a bad idea.”

11/1/12, Five Minutes

“Boys!  Five more minutes and we’re turning the games off.”

No response.

In a louder voice, “Boys, I’m talking to you.  Do you hear me?”

Nothing.  Not even a blink.

Still louder. “We are turning off the tablet and the Leapster in five minutes.  Got it?  Say ‘Yes, Mom.’”

Still nothing.  Tap, tap, tap.   Nothing.  A marching band could come stomping through and the little zombies wouldn’t look up.

“That’s it,” an irrelevant voice mutters quietly to itself. “If you’re not going to answer me, I’m taking them away right now.”

Two little heads pop up from their screens, eyes wide with alarm.  “Okay, Mom. Five minutes.”