Sunday, September 5, 2010

Crazy Monkey Things

This morning, a friend asked Halle why she had named her kitten Monkey. “Oh, she just does lots of crazy monkey things,” was Halle’s nonchalant reply. “Crazy monkey things” includes breaking two vases and a bowl and using a section of the pantry as her secondary bathroom. What cat wouldn’t want two bathrooms? I know I certainly appreciate having the luxury of multiple lavatories.

The craziest monkey thing this week was not the cat’s fault; it was her mistress’s. As I was working on a project, I noticed that a rare serenity hung in the air. There is a legend attached to children and stillness: This combination is the most dangerous kind. As parents, we often long for peace. There are fleeting moments of temptation when I think, “I know this temporary quiet is the result of some sort of naughtiness. But maybe I could let her be naughty just for a few more minutes….” That is always a bad, evil, dark temptation.

I discovered Halle wielding a Sharpee on the couch. I caught her before every cushion wore black mustaches, and actually succeeded in erasing two out of three scribbles. After a personal tirade which completely wiped out any recollection of peace, Halle spent some time in solitary (which parents call “time out” to make us feel less like wardens). Then, I asked her to help me clean up her mess. I supplied a rag, which she happily trotted off with to a wall. “Why would she be going over there?” I naively asked myself.

Here I had thought that I had nipped the Sharpee incident in the bud. The couch was but Halle’s third station. The first was a small area of kitchen wall, which required four coats of paint, but probably could have used five. The second was a small area of living room wall, which now needs paint because in my scrubbing frenzy, I rubbed the green off. I have no idea what paint color the living room is.

I decided that from now on, I am only selecting paint named after food. My kitchen is “Butter” (everything tastes better when it’s cooked in butter), my upstairs bathroom, “Mint Chocolate Chip”. I should have made the living room “Lettuce” or “Brussel Sprouts” or “Pistachio”. Then, if something like this ever happens again, I can say, “Go clean up the butter!” Or, “That pistachio had better be shining when you’re through with it!” Inevitably, I would have to have a snack. The snack would probably calm me down. Win, win, win.

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