By Mir
January 3, 2006

I’ll give you three guesses about what I was busy doing tonight, and why.

Nope, not that.

Ewwwwww, NO! Sicko.

Okay, fine. Need a hint? It’s very graphic, so don’t click the link unless you are of hearty disposition. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Ready?

When sprinkles attack!

Tomorrow my darling baby Monkey turns six years old. He will have CUPCAKES! And! SPRINKLES! at school. Then he will have CAKE! And! ICE CREAM! here at home. All of that sugar is pretty exciting, as is the prospect of presents, even though I’ve assured him that his grandmother sent a box of rocks and I plan to give him only a few sticks and maybe a ping-pong ball. He’s not buying it.

I started writing about when I was pregnant with him, when he was born… and it’s not what I want to focus on, this looking backwards. It’s easy to look backwards, with him. He’s my baby. He’s the one with the giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and the permanent bounce in his step and his infuriating and undying love for his blankies. In so many ways he still seems so LITTLE. He’s small for his age. He hasn’t lost a tooth yet. He’s still struggling with wetting the bed (and will doubtless be thrilled that I shared that with the entire world). And although he’s faking it mightily via memorizing any book he’s heard more than once, reading is coming along very slowly, for him.

At this age, Chickadee was still taller than most of her classmates, had lost a tooth and had several more that were loose, hadn’t wet the bed in over three years, and was reading chapter books. She seemed older. But she was six, and now in a few hours, he’ll be six. Just a different kind of six.

He’s the kind of six who sees big-kid life on the horizon and is in no hurry to meet it. He pads into my room in the morning and hops into bed with me, manually prying my eyes open if I do not rouse quickly enough for him. He wants to snuggle and chat and start the day off right. When I finally pry him off of me and send him off to get dressed, he’s likely to roll around on the floor of his room with his pajama top stuck halfway off his head. He doesn’t understand why I don’t find it as funny, now, the 50 billionth time, as I did the first time he did it.

We used to say he was the world’s most easy-going kid, never bothered by anything. Now he is quick to frustration and sadness, but it goes as quickly as it comes, most times. He’s embarrassed by his tears but the alternatives–shrieking at the top of his voice, for instance–bring swift consequences which he doesn’t enjoy. He doesn’t understand the fine art of bargaining, either. “Well,” he’ll say to me, all serious, “if you don’t give me that thing I want, I’m going to kick you!”

“Oh REALLY?” I’ll respond.

“Yes,” he confirms, boldly. I raise my eyebrows at him. “No,” he admits. “But I really want it.”

Well, then.

His whole face lights up when I pick him up from school, as if he hasn’t seen me in a month rather than having been dropped off by me that morning. His cubby is almost always full to bursting with drawings and scraps of paper which are ALL! VERY! IMPORTANT! He has to hug his teachers goodbye and wave at his friends before he’s willing to leave. He enjoys school but wishes it was all art projects and superheroes, with none of this pesky learning stuff. He has mastered flying under the radar in this way; if you don’t pay attention, you’ll assume he’s just an average kid who’s not very interested. He will sucker future teachers who aren’t on their toes, I fear. Often when I’m drilling Chickadee on her multiplication tables or some other academic exercise, when she is stumped, Monkey will pipe up with the answer. The correct answer. He’s sneaky.

Monkey believes his big sister can make the sun rise and set. But as he ages he’s beginning to realize that not only does she have her own agenda, he too can twist situations to his advantage. He bats those big green eyes at me while assuming a matter-of-fact tone after a squabble: “She’s lying. You KNOW she lies a lot.” And yes, she DOES lie a lot. But it’s not ALWAYS her fault. He’s not as adept at fabrication, but he’s perfecting the art of wide-eyed blamelessness.

And yet, no matter how truly rotten Chickadee is towards him, he cannot stay angry with her for long. He can’t stay angry at anyone for long, really. He is forever proclaiming his love for everyone in list form, wanting to make sure that all of the people in his life are duly noted, from his “very favorite mommy” down to his “third best friend” and everyone inbetween.

I wonder if his reluctance to grow up is more telling than I assume. My inclination is to believe that Chickadee always wants to be older because she believes that way brings greater spoils, and Monkey is happier just being the age he is because he’s naturally more complacent. But I’m beginning to think that he smells the responsibility that comes with age, and he’s just not interested. Sneaky.

Tonight–as he often does–he hooked his arms around my neck as he lay in bed, trying to keep me from leaving. He giggled and squirmed as I kissed and tickled him, trying to get him to loosen his grip. Finally I pointed out that I had birthday presents to wrap, and he let me go. “Night, buddy… love you,” I called as I closed his door.

“Night!” he answered. “Tomorrow! Tomorrow I’m SIX!” I could hear his little heels drumming in glee against the mattress as I went down the stairs. “MAMA!” he called, when I was halfway down. “LOVE YOU!” I patted the wall in response, with a chuckle.

Six years gone by in the blink of an eye, and yet I can barely remember what life was like without him. In six more years he’ll be on the verge of puberty and probably bigger than me. But he’ll still be my little Monkey.

Happy birthday, Mr. Monkeypants. You’ll always be my baby. Even though you’ll soon be reading and won’t wet the bed forever. I promise.

So there.


  1. Chickie

    Heh, when I saw “when sprinkles attack” I thought maybe you’d been cleaning your bathroom!

    Happy Birthday, Monkey!

  2. ben

    Yay Monkey!!! Six is such a great age!

    (well, it’s better than FIVE. That’s what my five year old tells me)

  3. margalit

    Wow, what is that fabulous cupcake holder? I’ve never seen one of those. Beautiful spwinkles, btw.

  4. Marvo

    Eh, Monkey shouldn’t have to worry about bedwetting. I’m bedwetting all the time. I guess I really should stop putting my hand into a pitcher of warm water while I sleep. :-(

  5. DebR

    Wow, those are some thoroughly sprinkled cupcakes!! And they’re in a very pretty pan.

    Happy Birthday Monkey!!

  6. buffi

    Happy Birthday Monkey! Six is such a fun age to be.

    SugarPlum will be nine on Thursday. That is just getting too old. This must be stopped.

  7. Holly

    Happy Birthday to Monkey!

    Mir, has Monkey been tested for gluten intolerance? (Sorry this is a soapbox attack) Many of the symtoms that you relate could be due to gluten intolerance and/or celiac disease: smaller size, bedwetting, sensitivity to foods. A blood test is all that is required to see if it is a possibility.


  8. Chookooloonks

    Happy Birthday, Monkey-man!

  9. David

    Awww… That was lovely. And I think I can say with some authority that you’ve achieved total sugar satu — *ahem* I mean, optimum sprinkle coverage.

  10. Peek

    Everytime I read about Monkey it brings me to tears, because he reminds me so much of my little chimp. Happy birthday Monkey, hope it’s filled with all things Pokemon and superheros.

  11. Theresa

    Happy 6th Birthday Monkey!!

  12. Fraulein N

    Awwwww. Happy Birthday to Mr. Monkey!

  13. Steph

    Those sprinkles are perfectly arranged! :-)

    Happy 6th Birthday Monkey!

    And to Mom, Yay you survived another year of motherhood in one piece!

  14. Katie

    6? Seriously 6? They grow up way too fast. Happy Birthday Monkey! I think I got a sugar high just looking at those cupcakes. Poor Monkey’s teacher. hehehehehe

  15. Aimee

    Now I’m all weepy. Happy Birthday, Monkey!

  16. Zuska

    Sniffle…Happy Birthday, Mr. Monkeypants, indeed!! Monkey is so much like MegaBoy that it is uncanny – and I’m not ready for the 6th birthday yet, although I’ve got until May to prepare myself. Sigh.

  17. chris

    happy, happy birthday monkey boy! you are loved at home and across the internet!

  18. Amy-GO

    *With a big lump in the throat* Happy Birthday, Monkey! Do your mom a favor…don’t get big too fast. ;)

  19. alektra

    Awww! Happy Birthday, Monkey, son of Mir and sister of Chickadee! (He just needs cool superhero-sounding titles in my head).

    Everytime you write about him, I just want to give him a kiss on the top of his head and see him skip off to play with a friend. Thank you for sharing this post, it was really great.

  20. alektra

    BROTHER of Chickadee. BROTHER. Us onlies can’t remember all these sibling words.

  21. Latte Man

    Wow Scary… I could write a virtually identical (no siblings, no bed wetting) post for my daughter if it were her birthday today (she is still 5 months shy of 6).

    I am told almost every day that I am her “Favorite Daddy”, and on the days I pick her up from aftercare, even though she can not tell time, she seems to know when I am late, and expresses concern that she was worried that I am OK and something didn’t happen to me, all because I am 5 minutes later than usual.

    I don’t know about the not wanting to grow up though. My daughter has always been what is called by some as “Overemotional” and the challeges that go with trying to learn how to deal with the overabundance of “feeling”.

  22. Latte Man


    Happy Birthday Mr. Monkeypants!

  23. Cele

    A wonderful tribute, not only, to a six year old monkey-man, but to the mother who loves him.

  24. Big Bad Ex

    if he’s anything like me, his growth spurt is not scheuled to happen until the summer between 5th and 6th grade.

    nice post mir…was thinking a lot of the same things myself yesterday about the kids’ differences and similarities at this age.


  25. dad

    Happy Birthday Monkey. We’re sorry we can’t be there to share it with you but you are in our every thought.

    It’s wonderful to be part of so much love. I have a lump in my throat and only wish I could craft the words to write as moving a tribute about my baby. Guess what Mim? That feeling never goes away.

  26. Shash

    Happy Birthday, Monkey!!! I hope you had a great day with your friends at school. Six is way better than five, so my 11 year old says.

    My youngest will be four soon, and I could totally relate to this post.

    So, Mir, how does it feel to be a mom to a six year old? Pretty great, huh? :)

    Keep the great stories coming!


  27. Angela

    Happy Birthday, My man Monkey…and what a lucky fella you are to have such a great Mommy!!!

  28. Bethany

    My Sass will be 3 in two weeks. She is leaving babyhood behind and entering the world of a kid. Some days she is very, very grown, and others, she wants me to rock her to sleep like when she was tiny.

    It’s both awesome and wonderful and a little poignant to watch them grow into actual people, isn’t it?

    Hope his birthday is a great one!

  29. Mike

    Happy belated birthday, Monkeyman!!! And congrats on making such a super boy, Mir, one hug at a time.

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