Cranky Monkey

 

CrankyPants Etsy.com

Photo: Etsy.com

 

 

He didn’t want to put on shoes. He didn’t want a sweater. He didn’t want to read a book. He didn’t like the weather.

He didn’t want to go outside. He didn’t want to play.

He didn’t want to take a walk. He didn’t want to stay.

He didn’t want to sit on lap. He didn’t want his chair. He didn’t want to play with blocks. He didn’t want his bear.

He never liked this yogurt. He never liked bananas. He never even wore this shirt. He hated these pajamas.

He didn’t want to take a bath. He hated Yellow Ducky. He didn’t want to wash his hands. The shampoo smelled yucky.

He didn’t like his bedroom. He didn’t like this bed.

He didn’t like this towel. The brush bothered his head.

A Cranky Monkey day to be

In Mama’s arms instead.

 

 

 

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“I pleased her!”

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The cacophony coming from the children’s room was deafening.

She walked in to two small teary faces. One red with indignation, one blotchy with enraged demand. A pile of blocks depicted fresh ruins. A toy car spun a morose wheel toward an apathetic ceiling.

The wails rose to crescendo, a duet for justice.

She knelt to wrap an arm around each sobbing set of shoulders. “Shhh….” she cooed, “What happened?”

“He …” the girl accused, an index finger poking emphasis at her brother. “He broke my castle.” Tears flowed.

“I didn’t!” he protested, matching tear to bawl. “She push me! It broked!”

“He put the car on my castle! Castles are for princesses!”

“But …” he cried, insisted, “but … I said please, Mommy! I pleased her first!”

 

 

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“My Eyes Forgot!”

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The room looked as if a tornado had gone through it: Toys of every size and color dotted the floor, a scatter of crayons peaked from under the bookcase, bits of paper snow-flaked the rug, a shirt’s sleeve and a lonely sock used an open drawer for recliner.

“Rachel!” the mother’s arms climbed to her waist in indignation. She’d cleaned this room that very morning.

The little girl lifted her face from the doll in her hands. Her visage was the epitome of innocence.

“Look at this room!” her mom exasperated.

The girl rotated her head obediently but without conviction.

“The mess!” the mom repeated when the child said nothing.

“Oh,” the child shrugged. One ponytail holder bobbed deeper than the other–it was hanging by a hair. “My eyes forgot to see it.”

 

 

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“They did it!”

Goldfish

 

“It wasn’t me!”

The potbellied cookie-jar was stranded sideways on the kitchen floor amidst small mountains of spilled cookies in various states of broken. The jar’s lid wobbled under a chair a few feet away.

I looked at the small face, cherubic auburn curls surrounding dimpled cheeks. The forcefulness of the denial belied the crumbs around the lips, the sticky hands, the guilty blue-gray eyes.

“It wasn’t, eh?” I worked to keep my eyebrows in line.

The preschooler squirmed but didn’t fold. She shook her head emphatically, looked around, and tapped her lower lip with a (suspiciously chocolatey) finger.

An idea dawned into her face and she pointed said finger at the aquarium where three goldfish lazed. “They did it!”

My eyebrows escaped. “The fish?!”

A wholehearted nod. She was warming to the thought. “Yeah! They don’t like fish food every day every day anymore … and … and … it the fish birthday …” she swung her finger from one idle swimmer to the next. “Um, this one! See? He didn’t even want fish food for his birthday!”

 

(Thank you, A.J.!)

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Interconnected

phones Etsy

Photo: Etsy

 

“She has a symbiotic relationship with that phone,” the mother complained, eyebrows raised and head tipped in the direction of her daughter.

The pre-teen (on cue) rolled her eyes without lifting them from her opposing thumbs and the aforementioned item’s screen.

“See?!” the mom announced, vindicated.

“Whatever,” the girl sighed in the tone dedicated to oldsters who cannot possibly understand the nuances and necessities of modern life. She placed her phone face-down on the desk and turned her head to her mother. “Happy now?”

The mom nodded, half-mollified, half-mortified.

The lass-with-sass turned to me. “She keeps on me for that phone but she’s the one who’s always on the phone.”

“It’s work stuff,” the mother defended, reddening. Her own ‘lifeline’ already half-way out of her purse.

“Mine’s school stuff,” the girl countered. Her eyebrows rose in victory, a mirror image of her mother’s.

I smiled at their banter. It was a well-rehearsed dance, a sparring of connection more than true conflict.

“Funny thing …” I pulled out the work I had planned for our session that day: a passage and discussion about symbiosis, the close and often long-term interaction between two different species …

 

 

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In reverse

“I don’t like cleaning up,” she complained. The floor was strewn with blocks, mini-figurines, doll’s clothing, crayons, plastic tea-set, make up kits, paper bits, and other detritus of a long afternoon.

Her brother frowned. He’s been occupied with his tablet instead of playing with her and while it was nice to have the chatterbox quiet for a change, he did not relish the prospect of doing the work or facing the dressing down he’d get if his parents returned to see the living room drowned under mountains of little-girl paraphernalia.

She glowered back, lower lip already quivering in preparation for what he knew all too well will be a battle he would lose.

“It’s not cleaning up,” he started.

“What?” she squinted, suspicious.

“You see,” he enticed, “it’s like magic …”

“Magic …? ” She still wasn’t buying it.

“Yes, magic! You’ll be making a mess in reverse!”

 

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Ten Day!

ten-from-etsy

Photo: Etsy

 

She’s turning ten TODAY!

No more single digits. A two-number age from now till the foreseeable horizon of life.

She’s excited.

She is giddy.

She is a tad hesitant about transferring into a group that possibly puts her in the same category with ‘old people’ like her Momma and Papa, or me, or even — gasp — her Nana, whom she loves but is oh-boy-so-very-old …

She is turning ten TODAY.

A birthday like none prior. No turning back now that she takes the one-way step into two-digit life.

She’s shiny-eyed.

Happy with a chance of maybe.

Her mother is a little teary. “She’s growing up. I’m glad and I am sad …”

She’s turning ten TODAY.

A cake with two handfuls of  candles. A dinner of her choice. A celebration. A row of little gifts. Perhaps one for every year.

She’s pleased.

She’s shy.

She is a little frightened.

“What if I don’t like being older?”

I smile at her sweet honesty.

Her mother sighs. “… Welcome to the club.”

All Packed

beyondtherack-com-cupcake-backpack

beyondtherack.com cupcake backpack

 

She packed a snack, Baby Bear, her rainbow blanket. She stashed a book and some crayons, last week’s (slightly stained and missing a corner but still meaningful) drawing of butterflies and “maybe aliens.”

She added a half-eaten cookie, a seashell, a necklace (you just never known when you might need one). She tried to squeeze in her pillow but it “won’t go.”

She put her shoes on (wrong feet, still fit).

She zipped the bag and pulled her hat on. Splayed the coat on the floor, pushed her arms into the sleeves, and flipped the whole thing over her head just as she’d learned. The coat slid on but tugged the hat off as it went, sending it to lodge someplace between her shoulder blades.

She paused in apprehension, then shrugged, jumped in place … ‘birthed’ the hat from under the hem and victoriously repositioned it on her head.

She nodded in satisfaction, reached for her bag and hoisted a strap over one shoulder. Squirmed and wriggled to get the other arm through the second strap.

“There.” She breathed. She looked around.

Frowned.

Being ready was nice but actually leaving was less enticing. All those hours at preschool before she got to see Mommy again.

Her shoulders slumped. So did the bag. Her lip quivered.

A moment passed. She brightened.

“Mommy!” she called. “Can you pack me a hug?”

 

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Overworked, Underplayed

overscheduled

The mom consulted her phone’s calendar.

“She has soccer on Mondays right after school, then she has a pre-reading tutor. Tuesday she has piano after school but I can rush her to you if you have time for a session at 5:30 or so? She’ll be a little tired and maybe hungry but I can give her dinner in the car on the way here or something. Oh, actually, next month she’ll start rehearsals for her recital. Thursdays are really difficult because she has gymnastics and then they have rehearsal training, so she won’t be able to do anything before 6pm. Maybe that’s a bit too late? Fridays she has another pre-reading class. I really don’t want her falling behind. Maybe I can bring her to you after … though she has some playdates scheduled next month. Saturday she does ice-skating. …” Looked up. Sighed, “Do you work Sundays?”

The little girl is not yet five.

 

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It’s Pretty To ME!

She wanted three pig tails. One in a braid. On that side.

She chose a pink and burgundy polka dot ankle sock for one foot; a striped brown and green crew sock for the other.

She pulled on sparkly silver leggings and an oversized, over-loved tan shirt from her brother’s cast offs. Cracked number 4 on the back. Dinosaur eating a basketball on the front.

Added several rows of plastic New Orleans beads, a pasta necklace, an Elsa pendant, and an ivory fuzzy crop shrug “to not be cold.”

Blue loafers.

A bracelet.

Unfolded that crew sock.

Twirled in front of the mirror.

Caught her mother’s horrified look in the reflection. Mom in solid pastels and tidy gold necklace, pressed slacks blending into same-colored oxfords.

“What!?” She placed one hand in protestation on an expertly side-jutted hip. “It’s pretty to ME!”

 

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Image from: Lovethispic.com

 

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