Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Monkey

My Monkey will be 4 in March. She earned her nicknamed in the womb, when she was so active she could make my necklace dance in meetings. When she was an itty bitty baby, we knew she was sound, super-sound asleep when that last right foot would finally fall still. Even now she is BUSY. Now she jumps and runs and wants to hang upside down or be thrown or tickled or somehow be always in the throes of an extreme. Until, of course, the independent Monkey emerges. Imagining. Then she doesn't need dolls, or toys, or people. Dinner goes uneaten because the Mommy spoon and the Daddy fork are taking baby peas and nuggets on a walk around the plate. She is a creator, a nurturer, an over-enthusiastic hugger. Poor baby brother gets over-hugged ALL the time. Increasingly, we get invited, maybe demanded, to enter her worlds. I am Daddy (or Grammy) to her role as Mommy, or teacher. Lately, I am the Beast to her Beauty.

She is fiery and strong. Oh, my. Firecracker. She knows her mind, and her play is intense. It cannot be interrupted. She is my 'little bit' - always the smallest of her friends but certain she is the biggest. What do you say to the not-even-on-the-growth charts child who declares she is bigger than Daddy? She is so darn cute. Breath-catchingly poised and lovely. I wish strangers would stop saying it, because that isn't what I want her to value about herself, but it is true. A 23 year-old smiles back in her preschool photo; coy and cynical portrait on the playground.
Discipline will be an issue (umm, o.k., it is already)... that much is more obvious each day and I struggle to find effective methods that respect her intelligence and protect her spirit. More on that later. Much, much more, I'm sure. I don't intend to let our mother-daughter bond evolve into a battle of wills.

She is my heart. Who knew I could love something this, this much or with this purpose? She is my deepest insides - the best possible incarnation of me and I know now the reason I am Here. She has all the possibility in the world, and I am constantly cowed by the responsibility of helping her make the most of it. But still, she has always led us. She taught me from the very beginning that I am NOT in control. She knows what she needs, in the big sense, of course, and Mommy can only guide. Occassionally steer. Definitely not row. Monkey rows her own boat.

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