Tag Archives: Monkeys

The Banana Game

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“Rainbow Monkey and Good Old Gorilla don’t know anything. And Owl knows everything. And I’m Rainbow Monkey and You’re Owl and Good Old Gorilla”

These are the instructions I’m given. We did just play this game 15 minutes ago, but it’s important that continuity is maintained.

It’s always interesting to dig into the Little Man’s games. There was one routine we had called “The Unkind Game” where one of his toy cars (often the white van. That damn white van) would refuse to be safe around the toy railroad tracks, and would consequently get bonked by the train.

It goes without saying that he played the train, and I, the truculent hot wheels.

There were a few variations on this game – one toy was behaving badly, and others would be frustrated and have to try to get the offender to shape up.

These games can, in theory, be little developmental diagnostics. Play is so integral to learning and growth – even tag, maybe the simplest of all games helps coordination and body-kinesthetic intelligence. Not to mention burning off the endless fountain of energy possessed by the little bastards. And even beyond development, play can be a method for processing new emotions or information. A five-year-old likely won’t sit down to talk through some unresolved conflict in their day, but they may act it out with stuffed monkeys.

And there have been other imaginative play games I’ve done with the little man that ended up with just him holding forth on some of his favorite topics – insects, spiders, trains, what have you. Some “Little-Mansplaining,” if you will. Obnoxious in an adult, but in a little guy who spends his days being corrected and directed and under the control of people bigger than him, it can be a way to get a little agency, build a little self-confidence.

So I was curious to see what the Banana Game (as it has since been monikered) would play out to be.

Then he started flinging his monkey around shouting “BANANAS! BANANAS! BANANAS!”

That was the game. The entire game.

I’m not exaggerating.

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To Infinity And Beyond

It occurred to me recently that watching a child grow up is like watching the evolution of the modern homo sapiens. With every developmental jump, every few months, you can imagine the primate for whom this was cutting edge, genius-level hoodoo.

And then a few months later the upgrade kicks in an there’s a whole new monkey in town.

I realize apes would be a more accurate allusion than monkeys. But say “ape” then say “monkey.” Monkey’s funnier. Monkey’s what I’m using.

But so evolution. I’d heard a report somewhere that teen pregnancy is down lately. Percolating on human development and natural selection and teens getting knocked up led to another realization: it makes perfect sense that we’re biologically able to reproduce right after puberty. If you had a kid at 14 or 15 you’d stand a chance in hell of keeping up with the little dynamo.

Dang, by the time the kid started sleeping through the night and playing on their own you’d be in your twenties with a decade before joint pain was a constant and plenty of brain cells still left to kill.

But so keeping up with the little guy – Sweet Shatner in the Morning, somewhere around 3.5 some sort of calorie furnice kicked into overdrive. Time was, 45 minutes in the pool at the Y and we’d be working to keep him awake on the 10 minute walk home. But now, we’re splashing around for over an hour come home for lunch, then go romp in the lake for another couple hours and the dude’s still winding down 10-20 minutes after his usual bed time.

It boggles the mind (and ruins the knees).

I may have cracked the code, though. The secret, I found, lies in the 3rd dimension, the Y axis.

climbing

We went to a giant indoor park with – no exaggeration – a six-story climbing structure (all padded and enclosed and safe), with ramps and slides and tunnels and all the mod-cons of the finest in upscale hamster habitrail. In three hours, the dude stopped moving twice for water breaks.

He fell asleep at the dinner table with toast in his mouth.

Running around and splashing about, you really only stay on a single plane. But you start getting vertical, then you’ve got something.

Get vertical papas, get vertical.

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