My oldest son has earned the nickname Monkey both for his wiry physique and propensity to swing from anything he can climb on. He is a particularly dangerous combination of curiosity, charm, and ADHD, and when all three come into play—watch out!
You see, Monkey can get in trouble faster than you can say, “COME BACK HERE!” But when you’ve finally chased him down the block in your bunny slippers, tackled him to the ground, and persuaded him that 7:03 a.m. is not the time to go visit the neighbors, he will turn astonishing green eyes on you and come up with an absurd excuse that somehow works in his mind.
Case in point. We were visiting my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas. It hadn’t been the best trip since most of us were sick. I had an ear infection that came on at 30,000 feet as we flew to Indianapolis. I cried through the last half of the plane ride because it hurt so much. But once we arrived at their house, we were able to drop into puddles of misery like you can only do with close family.
At one point during our week-long visit, it became inescapably apparent that we needed to bathe our children. My brother and I drew the short straws, and as we prepared to give the two boys (ages 5 and 2) their baths, I noticed my little guys preparing to play their favorite game. You see, at home a rousing game of “Catch my Bottom!” nearly always occurred between shedding clothes and climbing in the tub. Now I doubt that my boys are the first to play this game, but just in case you had no siblings or grew up in Antarctica, “Catch my Bottom” is played by waggling your derrière, taunting family members, and running like only a garment-emancipated child can.
So there I was, hopped up on Nyquil and partially deaf due to my infection, and I look at my son and see that mischievous gleam in his eye. I just couldn't take that level of hysteria in my miserable state. So, before he had a chance to bolt away in all his pink glory, I told him, “No playing Bottoms today” and gave him my best Mommy-means-business look.
Monkey turned his extraordinary eyes on me and whimpered, “But Mom, where’s your Christmas spirit?” As you may have guessed, since then ‘Christmas spirit’ has taken on an entirely new meaning in our house. Needless to say, it’s not a term we bandy about during the holidays. We keep our “holiday cheer” to ourselves thank you very much, and I’m sure no one’s complaining, except Monkey, whose comfort with his own birthday suit is somewhat legendary.