Thursday, March 4, 2010

Past 4 1/2 But Not 5

Monkey Man turned 4 1/2 on September 11. Over the summer, he asked over and over again when he would turn 4 1/2. So once the day came, the day when he officially got over that hump and was cruising on his way to 5, he made sure EVERYONE knew precisely, exactly, how old he was.

Stranger, Family member, Friend, Anyone on the street: "How old are you?"
Monkey Man: "I'm past 4 1/2 but not 5."

Now I miss that phrase. Monkey Man turned 5 yesterday. And I might as well have turned 40 because that's how I'm reacting. His turning 5 is more upsetting than me rocketing into my, (gasp, choke, puke) last year of my mid-thirties in 2 weeks. Total aside: 36 is still mid, right? Just because mathematically we round up once we get to the 5s, I'm still in my mid-thirties, right? RIGHT?

So Monkey Man turning 5 is like a smack in the face that he is a big boy. I am a bright girl. Bright enough, anyway, to understand that he is not a baby. He is a very independent child, and I actually love and appreciate this independence. I love that he can open the door for me when I'm carrying all 50 things I didn't need from Target. I love that he can dress himself and demand that he wear the same sweatshirt that he rolled in the dirt in just the day before. I love that he can put that dirty sweatshirt in the laundry basket and understand when I tell him it needs to be washed and he can wear it tomorrow when it's clean. And he DOESN'T throw a fit.

But this turning 5 thing, it is making me sad and nostalgic. He's not a baby, a toddler, a preschooler. He's IN preschool, but when someone asks, "How old are you?" and he says 5, they might think he's in kindergarten. And being in kindergarten is fine, and when the time comes and I've cried away that first week, I'll be ready to accept it. But for now, he's still home, having fun a few days a week in his small preschool.

There are times when I can really feel that peach fuzz atop his newborn, almost-bald head rubbing against my cheek. Or when I can see clearly, like it happened yesterday, Monkey Man standing in his crib doing the sign for banana because that is what he wanted first thing in the morning when we stopped the bottle. And I can play back, almost by the minute, everything that happened on March 11, 2005 that led up to his birth and turned my world upside down.

But I'm a little crazy. And an upside down world is a lot of fun. Especially when looked at through the eyes of a 5 year-old.

Monkey Man - you are truly one of a kind, a piece of work, something else. I tell you this all the time - Even when you are a big man, you will always be my little boy. I love you to the moon and back, bunches and bunches. Freddy Spaghetti, Goofy Goofenheimer, Bud.

Now Appearing: Kip Winger & Miley Cyrus!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions (which I totally forgot to put in my New Year’s Resolutions post, but that’s nothing new. I forget everything. My head should just be a giant, yellow, sticky post-it. If it’s not written down, the thought is lost and gone forever.)

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, New Year’s Resolutions. I have declared Family Fun Nights in this house. Because, dammit, we are going to have fun, whether you people like it or not. No, really, it was born out of the extreme busy-ness that my husband and I have been immersed in these past few months. We both work, and on top of work, my husband has been contracted to write a book, which is beyond exciting, thrilling, stressful, and just about one of the most wonderful things that has happened to him (us). He has been working long and hard toward this, and it’s been difficult to find time to spend together as a family. Weekends together are practically non-existent, as he is working while I take Monkey Man on some adventure to get out of the house to give hubby some peace to work. And by adventure I mean a trip to the grandparents. So I can take a nap.

I know it’s not a novel idea these Family Fun Nights. And although together we do have fun as a family, this is a structured, one night per week, get-over-here-and-have-fun-with-us-or-be-banished-from-the-clan kind of fun night.

My first idea was breakfast in bed for dinner. I am a huge fan of making breakfast for dinner. So on this night a few weeks ago, I decided to get a little crazy and have our breakfast in bed. Pancakes and fake sausage (we don’t eat meat – well, hubby and I don’t eat meat, Monkey Man eats chicken nuggets, which again, as I stated in my New Year’s post, doesn’t really qualify as meat because who knows what the hell those things are made of). Of course, when one eats pancakes, syrup is the proper condiment choice. Please note: Syrup eaten on the bed, on your nice, clean comforter, is not smart. Waking up the next morning smelling like Cracker Barrel because, hey, look at that! Syrup was on the pillow, too! That just makes your co-workers follow you around salivating.

When dinner ended, we took the family in all its fun-ness downstairs and kicked this party up a notch. Dance Party! I plugged in the disco ball, turned off the lights, turned on the iPod, and here you have our super fun, super eclectic, playlist:

Song #1: Seventeen, by the 80s hair band Winger, has become Monkey Man’s new favorite song. This kid has a raging metal band member living inside him. One day when I figure out how to download a video (like one day when I swim with sharks, or one day when I jump out of an airplane – i.e. these things will never happen), I will post him singing, in all his na├»ve almost 5 year-old-ness, “She’s only seventeen (seventeen) Daddy says she’s too young, but she’s old enough for me!” He belts it out with such passion, such gusto. I fully expect him to emerge from his room one day with eyeliner, a curly, teased wig, and a pair of leopard skin pink spandex. Kip Winger would be proud. I know I am.

Song #2: Party in the USA, by Miley Cyrus just because it’s fun and kid friendly. As if kid friendly has any bearing on our musical choices. Hey, I try.

Song #3: Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys has become a favorite to dance around and play “at the beach.” We build sandcastles in the family room and pretend we are surfing and jumping waves.

Song #4: The Indiana Jones theme song is played almost everyday as Monkey Man runs around pretending he is his new favorite hero.

Song #5: Cotton Eyed Joe gives us the excuse to dance around like we’re at some kind of crazy Square Dance while kicking up our heels and letting out a few, “Yee Haws!”

Song #6: I Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas is another Monkey Man favorite. This is one that he sings to himself while he’s playing, just like an adult would sing a song that’s stuck in their head. He likes to rephrase it to, “I got a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be an awesome night.” I’m not sure why it’s going to be so awesome, and I just hope the awesomeness does not involve a 17 year-old girl.

Song #7: Pour Some Sugar on Me by the legendary Def Leppard, is Monkey Man’s new favorite Def Leppard song. We went through the Let’s Get Rocked phase, the Animal Phase, and now this. Although Seventeen is his favorite song, I have to say Def Leppard is his favorite band. And yes, I’m talking about an almost 5 year-old boy. Not a 35 year-old. Perhaps the best part of him singing this rock classic are the following lines that leave his little mouth:
“Love me like a mom…” (the beginning intro which is actually, “Love is like a bomb” and the one that makes us crack up everytime:
“You got the beat and I got the feet” (You got the peaches, I got the cream)

Family Fun Nights will continue. I have lots of ideas and we’ve already had another one that was a smashing success, however lower key in that we put our pj’s on at 4 p.m. and camped out in the living room to have a pajama party and watch a movie. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the dance party is going to be a staple. I’m just waiting to see what the new Def Leppard hit of the week will be!