A dozen kinds of wonderful

My current earworm:

Because, yes, today my Monkey is (sing it with me!) 1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10 11 12! (Remember when they only ever counted up to 12 on Sesame Street? It was like numbers higher than that just didn’t matter, or even exist.)

Today we have to start paying full price to take you to the movies. Today you no longer get a kids’ menu. Today we’ll probably start bending a bit when it comes to letting you watch PG-13 stuff, because we started softening when your sister turned 12, but the difference is that you won’t care too much, and if something you watch has even the remotest iota of sexual content, you’ll gag loudly and cover your head to escape it.

Today you say that you feel older, but I have to tell you that such a statement from a dimpled boy in footie pajamas was pretty hard to take seriously. Sorry. I tried not to laugh.

Today you can’t decide where you want to go out for dinner or what you want to do this weekend, exactly, because you want to know where Chickadee wants to have dinner, what Lemur might like to do to celebrate with you. On the good days, you are so concerned about everyone else, ahead of yourself.

Today is a good day.

Today I got up early to make you the cinnamon rolls you asked for, and I got an unexpected surprise when I sent a quick email to Hippie School to ask how many kids were expected today—Teresa mailed back to answer my question, but also to tell me that yesterday you told her something. Yesterday you told her that you don’t hate writing anymore. You think you’re good at it now. Of course, you were always good at it, but last year you assumed you couldn’t do so many things, spent so much timed mired in “I can’t,” that my heart was always breaking. This year you’re learning that you can. You are unfolding into yourself, finding new comfort in your own skin, finally.

Today you are 12. Today I know that you will likely spend many more years—more than some of your peers, yes—in footie pajamas, guileless and wanting little more than for the dog to lick your face until you can’t stop laughing. You’re coming into your own, in your own time, and we’re meeting you where you are. It makes me dizzy; one minute you’re exhorting me to smell your pits (again: no thanks) and the next you want to discuss Prometheus or tell me about how you’re starting a unit on the Harlem Renaissance. And it is all part of you being the exact Monkey you’re meant to be.

Today you kissed me goodbye, and then a minute later you forgot you already had and you kissed me again. Plenty of 12-year-olds never deign to kiss their mothers, you know. Wouldn’t you know I got the very best one?

Happy birthday, Monkey. I hope it’s the best one yet… just like you.


  1. Otto

    Happy Birthday to the (not so) Small Boy!

    Maybe tonight you’ll order something besides chips and cheese at your favorite Mexican place?

    Of course, if you do, it’ll be another trip to the ER as your mom passes out and goes splat on the corner of the table … so, um, just order the chips and cheese, but maybe with extra cheese.


  2. Stephanie

    Happy Birthday Monkey!!!! You’re the best Monkey there ever could be. p.s… LOVE your p.j’s

  3. liz

    Happy birthday, sweet Monkey! And where do you get footie pajamas in big boy sizes? I’ll need to know for next year.

  4. Randi

    Happy Birthday monkey!!!

  5. Katie in MA

    I knew I needed to have my tissues handy.

    Happy Birthday, Monkey! Never has a day, a year, a witty and wonderful boy been so full of hope and happy and magic. :)

  6. amy

    Happy Birthday Monkey!

  7. Diane

    Happy Birthday, dear Monkey. You are exactly who you are meant to be, and that is pretty doggone special. May the year-of-being-twelve be one that has you finding more of your unique self, and of others discovering how very cool that self is.

  8. ChristieNY

    Oooh Monkey is my birthday buddy! Happy birthday to my fellow Capricorn! Oh to be twelve again and not twenty years older… ;)

  9. Leandra

    It was the very best one comment that got me. *sniff*

    Happy birthday, Monkey! Here’s to the best year yet!

  10. Little Bird

    Happy birthday to Monkey!! I have a feeling that this is gonna be a good year. After all, my own birthday went swimmingly, so therefore yours should too.

  11. Genevieve

    Happy birthday to the best Monkey ever! Such a good year ahead of you, with Hippie School and all. Enjoy it greatly.

  12. Dawn

    Beautifully sweet post. Happy birthday to your little (big) monkey :)

  13. Arina

    Happy birthday, Monkey! Here’s to coming into your own, in footie pajamas, no less!

  14. Mandy

    Happy Birthday, Monkey! And Happy Mom-iversary to you, Mir!

  15. Deirdre

    Happy Birthday Monkey! And Mir, what a beautiful post. And no, I’m not at all weepy, it’s just allergies. Even though the tree is gone. (sniff)

  16. Arnebya

    Understanding the him he is becoming. Beautiful. Happy birthday, Monkey. Twelve is a fabulous age. Make it a fabulous year. Chips and cheese filled.

  17. Jenna

    Happy Birthday Monkey!!!! Love those pj’s!

  18. Megan

    Happy Monkey Birthday – here’s to being 12 in 2012 (how cool is it that Monkey gets to be the same age as the century??) and to being your very own Monkey.

  19. Melissa

    Happy, happy birthday Monkey! Another “birthday buddy” here! Although, I’m a few years ahead of you *ahem*, but I can tell you it will keep getting better!

  20. Jill W.

    Happy birthday, Monkey!

  21. Mona

    This is perfection, Mir! Made me tear up. :) You are some kind of mama!!! And I wish we had a hippie school here for my little (wouldn’t you know it) Capricorn. She could sure use one. Happy, happy birthday, Monkey!

  22. Chuck

    Aw, those pajamas are too cute. Happy birthday, Monkey! Hope the rest of your day was even sweeter than the cinnamon rolls.

  23. dad

    Oh happy day for the monkey boy.

    What lovely thoughts and a deep tribute from your mom ..She obviously loves you so much. Everyone does but she expresses it the most graciously. And as for you, Otto, how are you going to handle it when he orders something totally different and then proclaims that he would like a marguarita? (You will probably be forced to do something lame like falling back on the law.)

    We hope you all have the best day, followed by the best year ever.

  24. elz

    Happy Birthday sweet Monkey. May 12 hold more good surprises than you think possible.

  25. Tenessa

    Happy birthday, Monkey! I’m so glad that Hippie School is exactly where you need to be and you are learning to find comfort in that wonderful skin you’re in!

  26. TC

    Happy birthday Monkey! You just keep on being you and making you mom so happy!

  27. Crista

    Happy Birthday Monkey! May your 12th year be everything you want it to be!

  28. Lucinda

    Happy Birthday Monkey. Keep unfolding.

  29. Emily

    Happy Birthday, Monkey! May your next dozen years be even better!

  30. Beth R

    Happy birthday, Monkey! It’s fun being born on a decade – it’s always been easy to remember how old I’m supposed to be. And enjoy your chips and cheese; it sounds like a WONDERFUL dinner to me!

  31. Beth A

    Happy Birthday Monkey! I hope your friends enjoyed the yummy treats!

  32. Karate Mom

    I LOVED that song when I was a kid!!! LOVED IT!
    Monkey, happy birthday! Hope it’s fantastically fantabulous!

  33. Scottsdale Girl

    uhm, do those jammies come in adult sizes???

    Happy Berfday Monkey! Hope it is WUNNERFUL

  34. ste

    I hope Monkey had an awesome day today for his birthday! Happy Birthday!

  35. Chris

    The cinnamon rolls sound great! Happy birthday, and I am glad he likes writing!

  36. Jaime

    happy birthday Monkey!!

  37. Lara

    Aww. You write the nicest tributes to your children! Happy birthday Monkey!

  38. Katherine

    Happy birthday Monkey! Keep being sweet to your mom. I have a just barely still 12 yo, and I love that he still gives me hugs and kisses. Even sometimes in public! 12 was a great year for my boy, I hope it will be just as great for you!

  39. Kailani

    Happy, Happy Birthday Monkey!
    Have the best day ever!!
    You are special, you are unique, you are amazing, you are loved.

  40. The Other Leanne

    Dear Monkey,
    I know next-to-nothing about 12 year old boys, but I think you are great for just who. you. are.
    And in that picture above you are holding your hand exactly like my brother used to, so I want to thank you for the little gift of seeing it again.
    Happy Birthday, young man.

  41. Sassymonkey

    Happy birthday Monkeyest of Monkeys!

  42. Headless Mom

    I’m glad I got here before the end of the day. I hope Monkey had the greatest birthday ever!!! I really wish that Monkey and my Headless Boy #1 could hang out. I have a feeling that we would be in trouble.

  43. Kira

    Happy birthday, dear boy! Mir, you made me cry. I’m glad your family…is. Love you.

  44. Monique

    Happy birthday Monkey!!

    Wishing you a very good day!!! And a awesome year! Today is my birthday too!! I’m so glad I get to share it with such a great (most handsomest) boy like you. God bless!

  45. Heather

    He has the same birthday as my big sister :) It is a day for very special people, obviously. Happy birthday, Mr. Man. I pray the next year is so, so good for you.

  46. Heather

    Oh, and Mir? That little ditty is going to pinball around in my head now for hours while I try to get to sleep, so thaaaaanks heh.

  47. Saskia

    Happy birthday, Monkey!

  48. Kendra

    Happy birthday bud! Love you to pieces!

  49. Chris

    Happy Birthday Monkey!

    Hope it was a great day.

  50. Sharon

    Have a wonderful, happy, happy birthday!

  51. Jean

    Happy Birthday Monkey! Hope the year ahead brings you joy, happiness and lots of love…both from others and you for the wonderful child you are :)

  52. Aimee

    Happy Birthday, Monkey! I’ve never met you, but I sortakinda feel like I know you through reading about you here. For what it’s worth, I think you’re awesome!

  53. Rachel

    Happy Birthday Monkey! My “little guy” turns 12 on January 14… I remember being pregnant and everyone was worried the world would end on 1/1/00 (Y2K). Such a silly thought, when I had big plans for the baby I was carrying. =) Super cool to be the same age as the century. =) Happy birthday & here’s to the best year yet!

  54. Bren

    Awe, Mir, you made me cry!

    Happy 12th Birthday, Monkey!!

  55. Another Dawn

    Happy Birthday to HRH The Monkey of Mir.

    Only the bestest Monkey of them all. I hope this year just gets better and better for you.

    P.S. Tell your mom she’s pretty!

  56. Billie

    Happy 12th Birthday Monkey!!

  57. lily

    Happy Birthday, Monkey. You are awesome!!!

  58. Jen B


    That’s the same song we sang to E over & over late last September. NOW the realization that she’ll be THIRTEEN this year is ridiculous!

  59. jodifur

    Happy Birthday Monkey!!!!!!

  60. Kim

    Happy Birthday, Monkey! And Mir, thank you for the nostalgia trip – haven’t seen vintage 70’s animation like that in a long time, and it was weirdly comforting. I’m pretty sure I saw that one when I was a tot.

  61. Varda (SquashedMom)

    Happy Birthday Monkey! And don’t make your mom smell your yucky pits, even if you are proud of their man-smell (my 9 y.o. has stared that already on basketball days)!

  62. kapgaf

    It’s late but here’s a French “joyeux anniversaire” for Monkey, all the way from just outside Paris.

  63. Jeanie

    Happy birthday, Monkey. I hope it’s a great one. And I love your blue dog jammers.

  64. Nancy R

    Happy Birthday, Monkey! You share a birthday with my youngest daughter, who turned 8 today. Remember eight? Eight is great!

  65. addy

    Happy Birthday Monkey!

  66. Sheila

    That is Some Kid you’ve got there (remember Charlotte’s Web?). Hope Monkey had the happiest of birthdays. Twelve is awesome. Coming into your own is awesomer.

  67. Stephanie

    Mir, our babies aren’t babies anymore! It’s so bittersweet…and I love that Monkey still wears his fleece zip up pj’s, just proving that he’s not quite “grown up” yet…

    I’m leaking around the eyes, thinking of all our chats, when our little ones were so tiny. I miss that (the chats and the tiny one). The other day, Jack asked me “if you could create *anything*, what would you make?” I told him “a time machine”.

    Happy (belated) birthday, Monkey!

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest