Posts Tagged ‘monkey’

This summer Miss S turned seven and her world cracked open. Laughter that had always been bubbling below the surface erupted. There was joy and enthusiasm in everything she did.  Confidence exuded from her pores. I found myself on more than one occasion, mouth open, filled with pride, wondering: who was this masked girl?

It started with the bike park. Where once Miss S only wanted to pedal the flat path between two runs, or cry, she became fearless, and at the gentle peer pressure of her older sister, tested hillier trails. Suddenly she was zooming down intermediate runs, with a gigantic grin plastered on her face.

Okay, full disclosure: she did break the visor of her bike helmet when she went headfirst into a compact dirt slope. But even that didn’t stop her. Some snuggles and sips of water, and she was back in the saddle, giggling about her visorless helmet, zip zap zooming again.

At the pool Miss S discovered the one-meter diving board. Over and over and over again she jumped into the dark blue water – we’re talking forty-five minutes or more of jumping, climbing out and then jumping again.

Her enthusiasm for this newfound skill was so contagious that on one visit, I decided to honour my inner acrobat, and showoff, show Miss S a new skill.

Toes curled over the edge of the board, I swung my arms and sprung into action. My beautiful, high arching dive would have given any Olympian a run for
their money. The landing: a perfect 10.

Miss S waited for me to get out of the way, walked to the edge of the board and, without hesitation, dove in.

Nary a splash, compared to my blue whale awooga, her first ever diving board plunge looked like a penguin slipping into the water.

It’s amazing what happens when confidence collides with happy.

She didn’t care when the attendance list for her birthday party was stuck at zero. “I still get to do everything I want and have cake,” she told me.

And when she jumped onto a log that was half in the water and half on the beach, but more in the water than she first calculated, and she was pitched into the frigid Pacific, all she could do was shriek and laugh until her sides hurt about how wet she was.

But the summer wasn’t all smiles. A cloud rolled in when ever anyone mentioned her two front teeth. She was quite pleased they were loose and quite displeased when anyone suggested she make them both fall out at Christmas.

She was even more displeased when her older sister slid down the slip ‘n slide and knocked the first one out. Even though the tooth was literally hanging by a root, the fact it had been knocked out before its time angered our little Leo.

When days later, the second one finally fell out, the cloud lifted and Miss S was happy to place it under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy… and finally found humour in how the first was lost.

P.S. She makes an adorable walrus.

July and August were sweaty, dirty, chlorine, with ice cream on top, filled months. They were an opening act to a fall that has been full with grade two, Brownies, bell choir, friends, and of course, monkey bars, Miss S’s latest accomplishment.


“Monkey” By Miss S.

With all children, there is a feeling of hope and excitement for the future. But spend some time with Miss S, these days, and you will realize how truly wonderful the future is shaping up to be.


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IMG_1019Some people hunt Leonardo Dicaprio; others hunt Crystal the monkey.  Can you guess which side I’m on this week?  Times have changed.

In case it hasn’t been clear: Miss S is in love with monkeys.  Ape for them, really.

Every time I start to wonder if the shine is dulling on her daydreams, she’ll suddenly announce Vinsy (vine-zee) is hanging onto the roof of our car as we’re driving, or jumping on my head as I sit on the couch.

Since being a monkey lover in Victoria doesn’t lend itself to crossing paths with them on the beach or hearing them in the trees, it’s my dream to take Miss S to Costa Rica to see them live and in person.  Until then, she’ll have to be content with reading about them, watching them on TV and playing with her barrel of stuffed monkeys, or will she…

Wednesday night I read a tweet saying a movie called Monkey Up was being filmed at the Belfry, a local community theatre.  Doing some frantic research, definitely way more frantic than it should have been, I learned this movie was about a real live monkey.  No plot line, but a real live monkey.  Sure, the title, but one never knows with computers these days.

Enter Crystal the capuchin monkey of Night At The Museum, and Hang Over II fame, though I left the latter out of her screen credits as I zipped jackets and hustled the girls out of the house for a Thursday morning adventure/stalk.

The morning proved promising: sunshine, cherry blossoms, candycane posts being unloaded from a truck; pine trees tossed in a pile on the ground.  Filming was inside the adjacent high school, so though we saw the white movie trailers, and signs for crew parking, the adventure proved more of a lesson on set decoration than acting monkeys.

Tonight, undeterred, and still intrigued by the single tweet I’d read, I tossed Miss Q and Miss S their jackets, and drove them back down to the set.

Miss C got extra stories at bedtime from Daddy, but perhaps that won’t be enough of a get when she looks back on this evening.

Within minutes of arriving on set we spied Crystal the monkey on the back of her trainer, wearing a fur collared, plaid coat.  Miss S couldn’t believe her eyes – even more so when we realized there was a second, different, monkey being carried around the set.

We got within feet of both Crystal and the other monkey, multiple times, as their trainers wandered in the wings.  Miss S let out a squeal when Crystal’s trainer stopped and got her to smile for Miss Q, Miss S and an older girl.

Turns out the movie is about a monkey who saves Christmas. I reckon it will be like the Buddy movies the littles adore, in other words, we’ll be first in line.

While the smile Crystal flashed was the highlight, watching Santa explode backwards out of his chair, crashing through the set wall was also pretty cool.  From that moment on, Miss S had her ears plugged when everyone was told to be quiet.

Movie Santa, as he called himself, told us later there was lots of padding.  He was a handsome actor, grey hair, kind eyes – Miss S couldn’t take her eyes off him, while Miss Q shyly answered his questions.  When he left she said, “Now I know that there are two Santas: a movie one and the real one.”  I gave a vague nod and pointed out the bulldog wandering the set.

Though I wondered at times what the girls could actually see, being surrounded by Christmassy props, cameras, lights and action, it was worth keeping them up past bedtime, not only for educational purposes, but good ol’ fashion Hollywood monkey magic.

Yes, there is a monkey in this picture.

Yes, there is a monkey in this picture.  Not Crystal, but the second monkey.  We failed paparazzi school.




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Dear Uncle G,

Thank you so much for the gift you gave our wee monkey-girl, Miss S.

I know you bought it with the purest of intentions: (a) you know how much your niece loves monkeys; (b) it was freaky looking, and, (c) you hoped it would screech day and night at the top of it’s robotic lungs.

Flower.  Miss S has named her Flower The Monkey, and she loves it like she may one day love her own human babies.

Flower has been carried around the house on Miss S’s hip, strapped to her front in a baby carrier and hung upside down off Miss S’s shoulders.  Miss S won’t put her down, because Flower doesn’t want to be put down, just like Miss S didn’t want to be put down when she was a baby.

That’s right, Flower, screeches, makes monkey noises, and blows kisses when left to her own devices.  When she’s in motion, her voice box is on overdrive.

But you probably knew that, given the user manual states Flower makes 101 different sounds thanks to her carefully placed sensors.  Or maybe the fact Toys R Us sold you 12 ‘DD’ batteries for this toy.  Twelve.  Thankfully she only takes four at a time.

Miss S is exhausted.  Her eyes are droopy, cheeks flushed.  Looking after a monkey baby is hard work.  I suppose I should thank you for that life-lesson that’s coming at her at the ripe old age of four.

“You have to be quiet, Flower’s sleeping.”

“Miss S, your monkey just woke up.”

Huff.  Stomp.  Stomp.  Stomp.

Today she graciously let her little sister monkey-sit.  When I asked her why she was suddenly letting Miss C play with her toy – not that I was questioning this Kodak moment – Miss S whispered, “Flower is a lot of work.”

Even though Miss S allows us to shut Flower off at night, this mum is sleeping with one eye open.  Miss S may think the giant blue eyes that spontaneously open and close are funny; but she hasn’t watched Chuckie, Gremlins or any other toy horror movie from the 80s.

One day Flower will join the other animals in the closet, or be quietly culled by a garbage bag.  Until then gentle brother, you have made your niece’s fourth year a memorial one and given her the monkey of my nightmares, but her dreams.


Flower Monkey -CM

Needy Flower

Your Sis-tah



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I am thankful for my family’s good health, love, and the roofs over all of our heads.

I’m thankful my littles love to imagine, run with wild abandon, and still like to slobber me with kisses and boa-constricting hugs.

I am also thankful for all our friends, near and far.  You may not always be in the forefront of our family’s daily thoughts or actions, but it is a comfort knowing fun is just a letter, email or knock on the door away.

On a superficial level, I’m also thankful for our vehicle, the ocean, Lysol wipes, the ability to order groceries on-line when life gets too crazy, bamboo bedsheets, and beverages that end in latte.

Miss Q wrote in the Thanksgiving card that she made at school that she’s thankful for rabbits. (Totally random, but she is an animal lover.)

Miss S’s monkey says she’s happy for her monkey family, bananas and jumping.  When I asked the monkey what Miss S was thankful for, Monkey put her hand in front of her face and said, “It’s a secret.”

What isn’t a secret is Miss C’s thanks that Daddy’s introduced her to his homemade pumpkin pies. Whenever she passes through the kitchen and sees the half-eaten plate she gives an enthusiastic, “M-oh,” and signs more frantically.

Our dog, Madam N, is also thankful Miss C loves pumpkin pie.  She has taken up permanent residence beside Miss C’s chair at the dinner table.

Finally, after waffles, this morning, Miss S ‘s secret was revealed.  “I’m thankful I’m a kid,” she said.  I’m thankful for that too.

We all hope you have a great gobble-gobble, and that you find a little something in your life that causes you to pause and say thanks – even if it is the simple fact your toes look extra sparkly thanks to a recent pedicure.

Miss Q’s kindergarten art – an apple, some feathers, a tongue-depresser, and *poof* it’s a gobbler.

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Today had bits and pieces of “grr” amidst the good.  There wasn’t one specific thing that made me feel like a grouch.  Lack of sleep helps, as does a sore boob, fussy babe, and toddler who enjoys screeching like a monkey the minute said babe is latched- thus sending babe into shrieks of terror.  Ahhh, LIFE.

My determination to get more food into Miss S, along with my desire to hit the re-set button, sent me to my old faithful: TV.  One problem: it was 11 o’clock in the morning and though Tree House plays continuously, I don’t really care for anything on that channel – nor do I want Miss Q figuring out “Miss Q shows” are on in the middle of the day… plenty of time for that later.  So that left me with movies – Young and The Restless is still on the banned list.

Second problem of the day: Miss S finally-finally settled in for a good feed seconds after promising Miss Q a movie.  Stuck to the couch with a two-year-old eager to help, I decided to forgo the DVD tutorial and try Shaw Video on Demand.

Let me tell you, it was the best $4.99 I’d spent in a long time.  Not only did we find Clifford’s Big Movie – completely ‘G’ rated – can’t go wrong with Clifford; we had the collective opportunity to take a breath.

My inner grouch began to evaporate as Miss Q snuggled beside me; and Miss S actually fed and slept for 40 minutes. Heaven.

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Miss Q and I had a constant “I need you to listen to me.” “Okay, I’ll listen to you mama, from now on.” battle royal today.  It was as if she decided she was bored with being a monkey and moved on to being an ape.

How can two-year-olds be so trying, yet so confidently cute at the same time?

Each time she looked into my eyes with her wide hazels, I bought into her honesty.  Surely she won’t continue down the path of sneakiness, I thought after catching her with her hand in the sugar jar.  She just needs a change of scenery, I chanted when she removed her socks as we tried to leave for her play group.

After I found her not at the front door, but bouncing on her bed, socks off, declaring, “I just need to do this to burn off my energy.”  I knew I was going to have to do what Dr. Phil says, and raise the stakes.  (Incidentally, I’m okay with the bouncing on the bed, it’s the other parts I’m not okay with.)

But, time-tested time out was greeted with, “You need to get the timer, Mama.  Here, I’ll help you.”  No tears, no tantrum, just one two-year-old eagerly trying to set two minutes on the clock.

So, was taking all her stuffies away the next time she didn’t listen too harsh a punishment for a two-year-old?

Probably not, considering the two-year-old in question helped her daddy remove all the toys from her room.  A game for her – gleeful her animals were marching out of her room in droves.  An empty room – new and exciting.  “You forgot this,” she told me, handing me the doll’s pillow.

Some would say she was crying out for attention by misbehaving.  Others would say she’s two- deal with it.  I’m sure it’s a bit of both.  What good is it to be two if you can’t test the boundaries and your parents once and a while?

As Miss Q sleeps, I type beside her pile of stuffed animals, random throw pillows and bedroom carpet.  They’ll be returned tomorrow, not that she’s concerned about starting fresh.  Maybe Dr. Phil’s advice is better suited for phone loving thirteen-year-olds.



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