I don’t think I’ve talked about Monkey much, lately, because we all know that my favorite thing to write about is ANGST, preferably the most anxiety-fraught, annoying angst I can get my hands on. (Fortunately there is no shortage of that in my life, generally speaking.) And while my daughter seems to share my proclivity towards “the glass is half empty and also has water spots, and a crack! WHY GOD WHY?!” my son rides on a much more even keel.
I was prepared to fight the school district to get him comparable services to what he received last year, and they offered very reasonable accommodations and I didn’t have to fight anyone. I was prepared for him to have a hard time fitting in and to have meltdowns that would really put off his new classmates, and he has shown remarkable maturity this year in managing to hold himself together at school. (He still has tantrums for me, at home, but let’s just pretend that’s because he loves me, mmmkay?) In short, I steeled myself for a rocky beginning here, for him, and I was just plain wrong.
(Thank goodness his sister has generously provided twice the drama I anticipated, to compensate for his easy adjustment, as a service to us all. She’s always thinking of the family, that one.)
The best part of settling in to life here, thus far, is that Monkey’s best friend back home was named Franklin
Knowing my son as I do, I worried at first that he had gravitated towards New Franklin based upon his name, but of course it turns out that New Franklin is sweet and charming and loves Pokemon and the two of them play together for hours and seem to have a genuine bond. Plus Old Franklin’s mom was… ummm… if not exactly weird, she was certainly standoffish, and New Franklin’s mom offers me wine and also invited me on a ladies’ night out thing and in general is someone I would like to tuck in my pocket and carry around with me because she is not only Good People, she is super nice.
So I enjoy Monkey’s friendship with Franklin both because he seems to have picked himself a nice friend and because he was kind enough to basically present ME with a potential friend on a silver platter while doing so. (Chickadee has only brought me a woman 15 years my senior who doesn’t speak any English. Clearly she doesn’t love me as much as her brother does.) There WAS that one time that Franklin and Monkey decided to play ball inside the house… and yes, that ended badly; but overall, I couldn’t be more pleased.
As for school, Monkey has firmly wormed his way into teacher’s pet status, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. There will come a time when he may need to cut back on the unabashed love and hugs, but for now it’s still very endearing. For the curriculum night presentation in his classroom, the teacher showed a quick slideshow of the kids working, and she started it off with a shot of Monkey grinning over his math book like the cat who ate the canary. “That’s Monkey,” she said to the other parents, “and as you can see he is having NO FUN AT ALL in our class.”
Right now Monkey is having a rough few days because he has a tooth about to fall out. His sensory issues mean that the small annoyance of a dangling tooth put his nerves on a constant setting of JANGLING. So he’s a little more hyper, a little more easily set off. Still, the difference between last year and this one is HUGE; I can finally see what his occupational therapist told me last year about how he will outgrow some of this, and learn to control himself more as he ages. That tooth is driving him nuts, though, and he’s not sleeping well because of it.
He appeared at my bedside at about 3:00 this morning.
“Mama, I’m afraid of the monsters.”
“Honey, there aren’t any monsters,” I told him, while he stood there, all bedhead and sleepy warmth, twisting his loose tooth. “I think you need to go back to bed for a few hours, okay?”
“Okay, Mama,” he said, giving me a quick kiss and heading back to his room without argument. I wonder if he was even awake. (Maybe I should have asked if there were snakes in his bed?)
Soccer is starting up, and this morning at breakfast while I combed knots from Monkey’s mop of hair (his preferred method of hair brushing is to just wave the brush over the top of his head, or maybe just smooth the top layer, somehow, without touching any of the hair underneath) and he squeaked protestations, he said he thought it was time for a trim because the front is falling into his eyes. This sparked another chapter in The Great Hair Debate, because if he’s truly going to keep growing his hair, and run around on the soccer field, should I keep trimming the front? Or should we let it ALL grow so that eventually he can pull it back in a ponytail?
I confess to not understanding his obsession with having his hair long; especially around here, boys typically keep their hair VERY short. Monkey still lets me pick his clothes and generally is not so much fashion oblivious as that he just has no interest in thinking about these things. Plus with the sensory stuff, I’d think hair hanging down his neck and onto his face would be maddening. But this is his “thing” right now, and I’m happy to play along. I’m curious to see how far he’ll take it.
Maybe for the first soccer game I’ll put a couple of barrettes in the front there. That coupled with the big gap he’s gonna have in his mouth shortly would be right purty, dontcha think?
“Bye Mama, I really love you, have a good day!” he called as he left this morning. I’m sure that he started telling me to have a good day because I say it to him, but I dunno… I think he really means it. He’s just that sort of a kid.
Then again, somehow “don’t let the bed bugs bite” from me has somehow morphed into his closing line to me each night being “BED BUGS MAKE YOU ITCHY!” followed by hysterical laughter, so maybe I oughtn’t read too much into what he says.