No Monkey Business

I took my kids to see Curious George this weekend.  It wasn’t my first choice of movies, but the logistics worked out and off we went.  I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised by how funny and witty the movie is.  I never read any of the Curious George books to my kids – we were more of a Caillou household – but I understand the attraction to this little, furry character.

What I enjoyed the most is the association I made between Curious George and my four year old son, Daniel.  I can almost feel my mother backhanding me as I type this, for I know she would be offended at the notion that I am comparing her grandson with a fictitious monkey.   But if you know my son, you know exactly what I am talking about.

First of all, I have called Daniel my little monkey for some time now.  He is always climbing up, over and on top of me.  In case you didn’t know, Daddy is Latin for human jungle gym.  I have a friend who affectionately refers to Daniel as ‘the goofy one’, for if it is possible for people to be light-hearted, little Danny is at times light-brained.  I love and adore my son, and that boy makes me laugh like I never have before.

The real kicker in making the comparison to CG, however, is not the boys’ actions but rather his facial expressions.  In addition to his big, piercing eyes, Daniel has looks that simply reverberate feeling and emotion.  My dad used to always say that Daniel spoke with his eyes, and there was a teacher in my kids’ school who kidded about wanting to give him an ‘A’ because of his smiles.  Atta’ boy son!

Daniel is one in a million.  I know all parents feel that way about their kids, and quite frankly, they should!!  But let me spell out, if I can, that special something about my son that sets him apart from the rest of the pack.  Whereas my daughter is more cerebrial, Daniel is very free-wheeling.  Where Natalie is mature for her age, Daniel is right there as a four year-old boy.  Whereas all it takes with Natalie is a stern voice, I frequently have to yell with Daniel, my little captain oblivious.  And where I am more patient with my daughter, I am very tough on my son.  Almost too tough at times, and I recognize this.

So, you ask, why am I so tough on him?  It’s because Daniel has this presence about him.  He stands out in a non-visible way.  He radiates, and you don’t even realize it until you can’t help but see it in him.  He’s special in so many ways.  So much so that I fear he will go through life with people just giving him stuff.  He’s got that ‘aw shucks, God bless him’ sense of endearing that you feel compelled to do something for him just to see him smile.

Perhaps this is why I am hard on him.  Perhaps I want him to appreciate everything he is given as well as everything he earns.  If left unchecked, I fear he would develop a sense of entitlement, and society is not kind to people who feel they are deserving.  Besides, humility is always the best cure for someone who is a born winner.  Perhaps I am just being one of those parents who can’t help but gush over their kids, but I don’t think I am exaggerating.  And if I am, I can sit here knowing g that he is, and always will be, my little monkey.  And that’s alright with me.

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