because life doesn’t fit in a file folder

Monkey Has Left The Building

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photo by Traci Bunkers @ www.TraciBunkers.com

“I don’t like it anymore,” my son said, right before he took an enormous bite out of an enormous apple.

“What?”

He held up one finger to indicate that his mouth was full, a gesture he learned from me.

“This Monkey business. I’ve outgrown it.”

I’ve been waiting for this moment since my son started middle school.

Last year.

But now that he is finishing his first semester of 7th grade, he has decided that Monkey is no longer a good fit for him.

Forget about the fact that he actually looks exactly like Curious George.

If Curious George had freckles.

Forget about the fact that after he gets a brush cut, his hairline looks exactly like a little baby monkey’s.

Forget about the fact that he is sproingy like a monkey.

The reality is that Monkey is done being Monkey.

“So can I just start calling you by your real name?”

“Noooooo!” my son shrieked in his high-pitched I’m-in-the-midst-of-puberty-and-my-voice-but-my-voice-hasn’t-changed-yet timbre.

“Well, get to thinking,” I told my boy. “I have to call you something.

After he completed three hours of homework — ten algebra problems, a Spanish worksheet on conjugating verbs, some science worksheet on density, mass and volume, a social studies worksheet on Chapter 2, Section 4, and an English thingy where he had to read something and write a response (note: he keeps me out of the English loop) — he went downstairs to practice piano and then returned upstairs to practice for his bar-mitzvah.

Around 6 pm, he put all his books away and wandered into the kitchen where I was making dinner.

“Tech Support?”

“What about tech support?” I asked absently as I popped a black olive in my mouth while pouring marinade over that night’s chicken.

“That’s what you should call me.”

I looked at him blankly.

“You know, for your blog?” He picked up an olive and popped it into his mouth.

“That’s actually pretty good…”

“It’s good because it’s true,” he said.

Little bastard is right. He will always be my little Monkey, but over the last year, our conversations involve my screaming for his assistance because something has happened to my Excel Spread sheet formula, and I don’t know how to fix it. So he fixes it for me. Or I want to do a Power Point presentation, but I don’t know how to set it up. So he sets it up for me. Or I want to change the banner on blog but that involves Gimp and multiple layers, and I don’t know how to do that. So he does it for me. In 6.3 minutes. For years, he has been my IT guy: my fixer, my assistant.

I am starting to think I should pay him.

While I was thinking these things, my 12-year old son said aloud (to absolutely no one): “I will detach your head from your body!”

Looking around the room, I declared, “Wow, you are the King of the non-sequitor.”

“I know,” he smiled. “And yes, I know what a non-sequitor is.”

We both popped olives in our mouths and, as I finished the dinner prep, my son moved to the pantry in search of something that would be ready to eat sooner than the chicken.

Finding nothing, he moved to the freezer.

Which is empty.

Because it has been broken for one week now.

My son stuck his head deep inside the icemaker. From the depths of the freezer, I heard my son’s voice. It was deeper than usual. Distorted from being inside the freezer, he sounded like someone else: a man.

“I really want a frozen pretzel,” this man said, “When are we going to get our freezer fixed?”

“As soon as I get some.”

“Some what?” he turned to look at me, 12-years old again.

I smiled and popped another olive in my mouth, held up my finger and made him wait.

“Tech Support.”

What nicknames did you call your children? Have they changed over the years? What little changes have signaled your child is growing up?

171 thoughts on “Monkey Has Left The Building

  1. Holy comments! I haven’t been around much but clearly this has been pressed! I’ve never really had nicknames for my kids but I never really had many nicknames as a kid either so I guess I’m just following suit. Good for him for having the gumption to say he was ready to move to something else. BTW what’s taking so long to get the freezer fixed? 🙂

    1. Steve!

      The freezer is 100% fixed as of today! I was waiting for a new bucket which was discontinued. But the chill returned on Tuesday.

      This post ran on 11/3. I don’t know how WordPress does the Freshly Pressed thang. There was a definitely a delay was in finding it! 😉

      By the way, I LOVED the song you wrote for your wife. Fantastic.

      1. Thanks, I’m kinda proud of it! Thanks for tweeting it. And congratulations on the freezer victory!

  2. If he dosen’t want any of the pins anymore I’m open to having them 😀 I’m obsessed with Curious George – monkeys in general ! 🙂 Loved this blog though super cute.

    1. That photo of the pins came from Traci Bunkers from Flickr.com. If you click on the photo, it should take you to her site. You can leave her a comment. Maybe she’d be willing to make a deal! 😉

  3. I love this. I call my kids Monkey 1 and Monkey 2….

    1. Do they like to climb all over everything, too? 😉

  4. I like this blog, although I have no children now, but i also want to learn how to communicate with my kid in the future. So great blog!

  5. My parents have and always will, call me “dumpling” my dad has at times shortened it to “dump” which does not make me happy. My aunt would call me doodle, and my two older brothers “the favorite child”. My grandmother would call me “dingle hopper” and my grandfather would have to go through all three of his kids’ names as well as my two brothers before he got to me. He still calls me “Julie” (his youngest daughter/ my aunt) to this day. I never bother to correct him. I still answer to all of them go this day.

    My boyfriend of 3 years actually calls me “monkey”. Excellent post!

    1. Dorrie!

      You got stuck with some stinkers: Dingle Hopper? And Dump? Oy! I know about being called the wrong name. My mother used to do this hybrid thing with my brother’s name by mixing our names together. And now she has grandchildren, so we all get thrown into the mix and I just kind of wait until she figure out who I am.

      Her only daughter. 😉

  6. for the record …Just how big was that enormous apple anyway?
    lol
    -Ron
    http://www.learntobeatmatch.ca

    1. It was positively huge.

      If you know what I mean. (#IYKWIM)

      If you are gonna hang with me, you have to like hyperbole. 😉

  7. We called and still call our daughter pumpkinhead. And what is funny she is absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Has always been pretty. Where did we ever get pumpkinhead. Our son was nicknamed Grego or the Mayor, not that it is too abnormal or anything, but a special guest in our home abreviated his name to Grego and it was cute and stuck and then when he was in fifth grade he was Mayor of 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. And that one stuck because my boss at the time was pretty impressed, as were we.

    1. I love every single one of those names.

      There is a kid on my street I call “The Mayor” because he is such a charmer. I can totally imagine him kissing babies and asking people to vote for him.

      Some nicknames are just spot on!

      Nice to meet you! 😉

  8. How cute. My kids (or my son rather) are more like me. I never went through a stage where I demanded the adults in my life to call me something more … ‘mature’ or less … ’embarassing’. Let them have their little slice of heaven.:) My son is the same and has several different nicknames, even though, some are actually mispronunciations of his name and he just lets people use them. My son is just shy of 18 now but, when he was younger, I used to call him Mainey and some other relatives called him Maney or Mainy Man. His name is Treman (trah-main). I made the personal choice to stop calling him that and just start calling him Main when he was about 13 or so. When we had a conversation about nicknames about three years back, he didn’t really care if people continued to use any of his nicknames. It just isn’t a big deal to him.

    Now, my daughter, on the other hand has a few nicknames I’m almost positive she does not want to carry on in her life. One is Chicken. I don’t know why various relatives on my side decided that was a suitable nickname for her but it is one they have used. One of my sisters used to call her Doodoo because, as a baby, that seemed to be all she did according to my sister who used to babysit her while I worked. The last is GloWorm. As a child mixed with black, my daughter is very fair-skinned with a strong yellow undertoned to her skin just like her mother so, once again, various members on my side of the family thought that nickname was appropriate since one of the nicknames they use for me is LightBrite.

    Gotta love it, eh? Thanks for the post!

    1. Interesting how some nicknames are embraced while others are rejected. I have to say, I don’t think I’d like to be called “Chicken or “Doodoo.” Not in public anyway.

      I love that you are LightBrite. Besides that fact that it addresses your skin, it has such a wonderful, positive connotation to it. I wish all mothers could be LightBrites to their children. You know? 😉

  9. I have a middle-school Monkey,too. His name is Henry. We wanted to name him Harry, but our last name is Wolf. Obviously, he would have killed us. He’s always been Henry, but lately, he’s asked us to call him “Hank”. He’s not a “Hank”. He’s my firstborn, my amazing child who’s just like your Monkey — gets himself up and out every morning even as I doze (and feel guilty). Sometimes I shorten his name to “Hen”, but my husband glares at me as he rightfully should, as does “Hank”. My middle child, the only girl, is Maggie. She’s actually Margaret, but we call her every variation of Maggie, including Mags, Magaroo, Maga-laga-ding-dong, Magariffic, Maggie May, Magalicious, Maggie Moo, etc. She’s got an awesomely fun name that everyone loves to embellish. Thankfully, she’s game. My youngest is Nathan, though he prefers to go by Nate (easier and faster to spell when you’re in third grade, dying to finish your worksheet so you can get out to recess). We’ve also taken to calling him Natey-O, the Natorator, N-Dog, and the Natester. For now, Nate is eight (years old). I love the rhyme and I never want him to grow out of this age…literally or figuratively.

    1. I love that y’all have eleventeen-hundred nicknames.

      It speaks to a kind of intimacy. An expansiveness.

      I love how Nate is eight.

      And he’ll always be great.

      I’m guessing that will stick. 😉

  10. Love it! You know what my nearly seven year old came out with the other day? He was singing the green bottle song, and he sang: ‘infinity green bottles standing on the wall, infinity green bottles standing on the wall, and if infinity green bottles should accidently fall, there’d be minus infinity green bottles standing on the wall!’

    1. How does he know about negative numbers? That is just wrong?

      Can you say “math genius”?

      1. You’ll know Renée that kids often understand far more than conventional education expects them to … he is pretty good at maths though 🙂
        By the way, how long have you been blogging? You’ve got quite a following, I’m impressed! Tell me how you did it … 🙂

  11. It is interesting to read your post. 😀

  12. Great narration ! My Dad call mostly call me Mon (means Son).I call my 6 year old nephew Chreiya manusha (which means the little fellow ).

    1. Where are you from? I love to learn about different word origins. I will have to come over to your blog to see if I can figure it out! 😉

  13. My Dad still calls me Ninky (with variations of Ninkydoodle, Nick Nack Paddy Wack etc etc) and has done for as long as I can remember – though the change came when I stopped whining about what he called me and just grinned at him. I know he’s playing around with my name and I find its a sign I’m home when he gives me a huge bearhug and calls me his Ninky.

    1. How wonderful: to be someone’s Ninky. *sigh*

  14. Wow… loved your post! I have an almost two-year-old niece. I never thought she’d outgrow being called a li’l fish until I read this!

    1. Keep that L’il Fish thang going as long as she’ll let you.

      You never know. My nephew, now in college, still lets me call him Alley Cat. And his sister, my niece, lets me call her Audge-Podge.

      I hope I can kiss both of them at their weddings and whisper their nicknames in their ears. 😉

  15. heehee! Our fifth kept on giving himself nicknames…”Call me Silver, Dad!” is how it began on a beach in Florida. He went from Silver, to Chad, to Chongy to Jonny. He lost a lot of phone calls that would come in. “Hi – may I speak to Chad?” sorry wrong number…!

    1. Hilarious how he renames himself! How much do I love that.

      Of course, if he was your FIFTH *you are amazing* I guess he had to do something to stand out from the crowd! 😉

      1. Exactly what we said. He chose to “own” his identity through the names.

    2. Actually, that’s a rather creative thing to do. Maybe he has his sights set on being an actor.

      1. Hi Karl:

        I’m pretty sure that his plan as of now involves: bringing his wife to live with us while he goes to make computer apps for Apple. 😉

        But he is definitely an actor. Oy!

  16. Love your site! I have always called my son “peanut”, but now that he is 8 I need to find a new name. I called him when he was with his “cool” friends and I got the look……I can’t be the mom that embarrasses him, but habbits are hard to break. 🙂

    1. I hope that Tech Support is never embarrassed by me. Especially when I am dancing on tables and stuff. 😉

  17. Maybe he realized that he is an ape, not a monkey.

    My son prefers his first name, no nicknames are allowed ;-(

    1. No nicknames. Ever? *wrapping brain around concept* Hmmmm.
      I think that in this family that would play out with my son being bombarded with eleventeen-hundred nicknames. I would start calling him regular other names.

      “Oh, hi John,” I’d say casually — assuming that was NOT his name.

      “‘Sup Pete?” I could have a lot of fun with that. 😉

  18. I have three boys and have referred to them as sugar-bear, boyos, sugar-booger (which my husband put an end to as it made him feel nauseated) and sweet thang. They are all big, burly, teenage football player now and I all get away with all of those names at home. Sometimes as I get overly excited in cheering for their games I can’t hold back calling out, “Run, baby!”

    1. Okay, that is what I get for trying to comment from my phone before I have my contacts in to remedy my inability to see and hit the proper tiny letter key. I meant to say football players, as there are three boys. And I get away with those names at home. I also assume that I don’t get scolded for the references to them as baby from the bleachers because they don’t hear me. Even though I have been told several times by parents and coaches that I have a very healthy set of lungs. One should not sit near a vocally trained mom that knows the game and loves her players.

      1. I love that you cheer for them. I’m a cheerer, too. I can’t help it. If I’m not allowed to cheer, I can’t even go. 😉

        Run, baby, run! 😉

  19. So pretty! nice post!
    Take a look and follow me if you like
    Cosa mi metto???

  20. My mother always called me Angeril Turnip. I have no idea why but I still really like it…..

    1. Angeril Turnip. That is excellent! She would be a great character in a book. It was definitely used as an endearment, yes?

      Like she wouldn’t yell: “Angeril Turnip, you go and clean up your room this moment!”

      No, she wouldn’t. 😉

  21. Well certainly if he is old and genius enough to fix excel formulas…he definitely has outgrown his “monkey-phase”. You just might have a future computer genius/billionaire in your hands! ;o)

    1. He’s been doing my Excel formulas since he was 7 years old. How wrong is that? He just gets technology in a way that I don’t.

      Crazy.

  22. you have such a gorgeous blog! i really look up to people like you. It’s an outlook thing… something about balancing caring deeply and being nonplussed. regards.

    1. I think you have confused me for someone else. I do have a positive outlook, but I also am known to be a total twit and screw up. I do it all the time.

      All. The. Time.

  23. Ahh yes, monkeys. My 22 month old is obsessed with monkeys. He watches Curious George 2 on Netflix everyday, multiple times!!! I’ve tried all types of other entertainment but he’ll have none of it. I need tech support!

    1. Don’t you just love Curious George? So fantastic! And so adorable.

      But now he-who-shall-not-be-named is gone. Poof.

      Enjoy your little guy while he is young. One day, he won’t want Curious George anymore. He’ll want to watch Saturday Night Live. And then you will want to cry. 😉

  24. Cute story. At home my 12 year old daughter doesn’t care if I call her bug (which is the nickname both of my kids have) but in public I have to call her by name.

    1. Ah yes, the “coolness” factor.

      At home it’s fine to be all intimate, but not in public mom. Duh! 😉

      Luckily, my kids doesn’t mind if I call him other names in public.

      Probably.

      If he does, he just endures it. 😉

  25. Great post…love this!!

    When our youngest son was born, and during his “little” years, I called him “Sugar Bear”. It’s common, I know, but it fit him perfectly. When he began to play in community sports leagues, I shortened it to just “Bear” as I am sure he would have cringed, and maybe even disowned me, at hearing me yell “Go Sugar Bear!” from the sidelines…LOL LOL

    I remember one afternoon as we were all watching him play in a Coach Pitch baseball game. His team had done well, and when he met up with the rest of us after the game, I said something like, “Way to go, Bear!” At that moment, one of the other player’s Dad echoed my encouragment by saying, “Yeah, way to go, Bear!”, to which my son immediately replied, “You can’t call me that. Only my mom can call me that!”

    Needless to say, I felt pretty special. Now he’s all grown up, working and saving for school, so the nickname stuff as halted; but on occasion as my husband and I are taking inventory of the day before heading to bed, I’ll ask him, “Have you heard from the Bear?”, to which he simply replies “yes” or “no” as he is well aware that any effort to correct me would seriously interrupt my attempt to hang onto my memories of our children’s “little years”.

    Thank you for sharing, & congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

    1. Hi Renee!

      From one Renee to another, I say hooray that your Bear is all grown up.

      You did something very right… proud Momma Bear. 😉

  26. My parents have no nickname for me. I’m Robert to them.

    My 16 year old brother is still sometimes called “baby” by my mother as in “where is the baby?” Or else, she might call him “my sweet.” My father calls him “Jeffey-boy.”

    Unlike Monkey, this does not bother Jeff. Any teasing from his friends over the baby nickname is rare and generally taken in stride. It doesn’t bother him at all.

    1. Isn’t it weird how each kid is different?

      If you were my kid, I would totally Italianize you.

      You would be Roberto to me. 😉

  27. Found you through Freshly Pressed and loved this. My husband calls our little guy “ratoncito” in Spanish, which roughly translates to “little mouse” in English. . . interesting how language affects which nicknames we might choose. Now, at 20 months, if you ask where the little mouse is, he points to himself.

    1. How cute is that? Now I love your ratoncito, too.

      Muchas gracias for visiting. 😉

  28. Sorry I’m so late. I’m a decade older than the mother of your monkey, but I’m known as “la niña de Elena”, the daughter of my awesome mother. I’m sure IT can help you with that translation. Congratulations on FP. Wonderful post!

  29. This is good. I used to be “Tech Support” for my parents… That got old pretty quickly. Old dog…..New tricks….

    1. You are so right; he’s getting pretty annoyed with me. This morning he had to show me how to set up a table in Word.

      My prediction is that by next year, he will have ditched me.

      I’m working on learning those new tricks. 😉

  30. I love it! So glad I finally got a chance to check out your blog. This post was so sweet and beautifully written. I can’t wait for the day my kids become tech support for my blog. Well, maybe I can. I’m enjoying the monkey phase too much. 🙂

    1. Don’t rush the monkey stage. It all stopped in a day. A day I tell you.

      I wasn’t ready.

      I’m so pleased to meet you. You are one helluva writer.

  31. Great post! My 4-year-old son loves Curious George, but currently switches identities about every 45 minutes between “Lightning, The Queen” (he’s sure that’s what the character is called) and Buzz Lightyear. “Mama, I’m not Buzz Lightyear anymore; I’m tired of flying.” “Mama, I’m done racing, I’m not The Queen anymore.”

  32. That’s a lot of homework for a 7th grader!

  33. I have a 2 1.5 year old boy that I call Monkey too. I dread the day that he asks me to stop calling him that. I sure hope it never does. Great blog!

  34. I actually read this when I was away on vacation but I’m just now getting around to commenting!

    I love the new nickname! My kids are all still very happy with theirs, even my 8th grade princess. She isn’t really much of a typical “princess” type so I never really thought the name fit, but she is my only girl so that makes her the “princess of the house” no matter how practical and undemanding she is. 🙂

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