[Chick] Oh, Snap | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Chick] Oh, Snap

"Oh, snap!" That's what Monkey said when he realized he was going to miss a barbecue while with his dad at the beach. I was both shocked and amused. "Did you just say snap?"

He nodded. Yes. He did say snap. Pretty trendy vocabulary for an 8-year-old, even if he did misuse his slang. I thought "snap" was saved for verbal body slams, not for misfortune. Oh well.

These days, Monkey is just too cool for school. (That's some more slang I've learned from him.) In fact, the cool factor has pretty much outranked other factors in life such as public displays of affection, sensible clothing and effective communication.

When I last dropped him off at day camp, he was wearing a "Vote for Pedro" T-shirt, flaming shark pants and spiky hair. He had a forearm covered with statements of his social beliefs. He's a miracle maker—he's supporting the troops, and he's living strong for Lance Armstrong. He's developed a sense of style, or fad as the case seems. He did not kiss me goodbye, and I was not going to see him for an entire week.

To tell the truth, I was relieved to get a break from his Alpha Male attitude. Yes, he's developed one. I believe it's what all those child psyche books call "acting out," which is code for being an #######. Now I'm not Tom Cruise, and I am unfamiliar with the history of psychiatry, but I'm certain that with all the life changes that Monkey has experienced in the last few years (new house, divorced parents, remarried parent, another new house), he's past due a conniption fit.

And boy, has he pitched conniption fits lately. He does not want to eat where everyone else is eating. He does not want to see the movie everyone else wants to see, even if that means watching "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants." He does not want to do what anyone else wants to do because, bless his heart, he doesn't know what he wants to do. He just knows that he does not want to do anything anyone else wants him to do.

So I spent the first few days of his vacation basking in the glory of his absence. I actually had a little time to write without interruptions such as "Watch me do this video game trick … again" and "I'm telling Nana what you are writing." I watched R-rated movies. I sat through a church service without taking anyone to the bathroom. I had Cheerios for supper.

Yeah. That lasted a few days until he called to tell me he had lost another tooth, and I was not there to laugh at what has become his Bubba-toothed mouth. While Monkey's "acting out" phase has kept him grounded to my hip lately, he is, after all, a kid feeling he has lost control of his life. And he's a funny, smart and sensitive kid who I found myself missing like hell.

So to capture his spirit, I began back-talking myself to feel like he was home. I tried to hide from myself to scare me when I entered a room, but that did not work out. I played "Hunka-Hunka Burning Love" and tap danced in the kitchen like he was watching, wishing he were there to roll his eyes. And before each meal I exclaimed, "Why can't we just have hot pockets again?"

Then, when he did get home, I realized I missed more than a lost tooth. While at the beach, Monkey had discovered Monty Python, and, just as I knew he would, took to "Monty Python and The Holy Grail" like those silicone bracelets had taken to his arm after a week at the beach. The first thing he said when I picked him up was, "Get me a shrubbery!" Now that's my boy!

He talked and talked and talked about his trip, and he quoted what I believe is every line from the movie. There were lots of "Remember that part when;" I nodded and laughed and held my aching ribs until he yelled, "I fart in your general direction!" Now wait a minute. I reminded him that we don't say 'fart,' and then winced at the Alpha Male attitude I knew was coming.

Monkey clammed up a bit and contemplated his sassy comeback. Then he giggled to himself and asked, "But it's OK if I say it all funny like a Frenchman, right?" And you know what? I think it is OK. Maybe it's time for Monkey to know that he has new people in his family and has lost his neighborhood friends, but he is still loved for who he is. It's time for him to know that while I'm no longer on the beach trips with him, I am still his biggest fan.

I'm letting go of "Mommy" and settling for "Mom." I'm picking and choosing my battles, because at the end of the day, we're going to remember the time he was allowed to say fart before we're going to remember the day his clothes matched and he ate a good supper. At least that's what I'm hoping for anyway. Snap.

Previous Comments

ID
70386
Comment

The fact that you told your child he could say "fart" ONLY if he said it in a French accent might be the best thing I HAVE EVER HEARD. Next, he's gonna walk up and say "sheet" then you will RUE THE DAY, young lady...RUE THE DAY.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-07-20T17:42:12-06:00
ID
70387
Comment

We prefer shite to sheet. Okay, not really. No one go telling people you hear that chick chick cusses in front of her kid. (had to cover my butt there ;) ) He's currently in his room for burping his name at a friend's house.

Author
emilyb
Date
2005-07-20T17:47:32-06:00
ID
70388
Comment

When me and my brother were in elementary school (we went to catholic school..uniforms and all) my mother was called up to the school one day because he was removed from class. When my mother got there, this tiny little nun had to tell my mother that my brother had been excused because he had said "Fart Blossom" in class. My mother said she almost peed her pants trying not to laugh at the fact that she, a VERY Italian Catholic, just saw a nun say 'Fart Blossom" like she was actually rolling one around on her tongue at the time. So, my mother (because she is such a bad ass) asks the nun, "So, did he use it in reference to a person...or a thing?" Sister Caramel (YES, THAT IS HER NAME..I say this because I still have a bone to pick with her.) solemnly answered, "I believe he was speaking in reference to another student at the time." My mom just looks at her and says, "Cool. Thanks." and walks out. She then beat my brother's ass all the way home LAUGHING at the same time. She STILL talks about that. My mother tells me that was one of the many moments she realized you have kids for entertainment purposes. And, ALL THAT, is what came to mind when I read this story. Thanks for the laugh.

Author
Lori G
Date
2005-07-20T17:56:55-06:00
ID
70389
Comment

Monkey is a funny monkey.

Author
Melissa
Date
2005-07-20T18:08:32-06:00
ID
70390
Comment

You've got to run her column every day! She is as funny as Jill Connor Browne.

Author
M. Gresham
Date
2005-07-20T18:13:44-06:00
ID
70391
Comment

I love this article...I wish our paper here would carry Emily Braden's articles! Robbie Larson Cheyenne, WY

Author
Robbie Larson
Date
2005-07-21T08:10:59-06:00
ID
70392
Comment

Robbie, I agree. The Dallas area also needs great columnists. Donna, will you share her with us? :)

Author
Melissa
Date
2005-07-21T08:39:03-06:00

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