Monks the Avenger (or, emotional development by proxy)

We closed on the house yesterday. Once all the paperwork was signed, we drove the boys over to visit and celebrate on the porch with Pirate’s Booty and cantaloupe.

Monkey wants to put YOU in the mailbox.

It wasn’t the first time we’ve taken the kids to the house, and Noah has seemed pretty excited about it from the beginning. Specifically, he’s excited about the walk-up attic (“Mom, we have three floors!”) and the four-year-old boy that lives in the house next door. If his mom agrees, Noah wants to have a playdate with him “every day for the rest of my life.”

So when his teacher asked me the first week of school “Is it true you’re moving?” I assumed he had been saying good things about it. But when I told her yes, she said something to the effect of “You might want to talk to him about it more.”

The next day in the car, I did.

“How do you feel about living in the new house?”

“Well,” Noah said, “all my body parts are excited except for my stomach.”

Aha.

It wasn’t the first time Noah’s used body parts to describe his feelings. You know who loves that new Katy Perry song, “Roar?” Noah’s fingers. They do a dance every time it comes on.

It was the back of Noah’s neck that wasn’t so sure if it wanted to start school.

And I got a little nervous when, on the way home from the library one day, Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” came on the radio and Noah said, “Mom, do you know what body part of mine loves this song?”

It was his toes. I had forgotten that he’s four, not fourteen.

Recently, another conduit for Noah’s feelings has emerged: Monkey. Monkey was a baby shower gift, and has been Noah’s #1 friend from the beginning.

But Noah’s attachment to Monkey has grown even stronger in the last few weeks. Monkey now has a snazzy, slightly more mature nickname – “Monks” – and a bevy of new responsibilities. For example, Monkey has added “taking care of cousin Finn” to his list of interests, which was previously limited to bananas and Curious George.

Baby Noah with bosom buddies Polka Dot Blankie and Monkey.

At school, “Watch Monkey” keeps an eye on the hallway from the confines of Noah’s tote bag. (His teacher’s genius plan for keeping Monkey out of the classroom, no doubt.)

This morning, Noah had a meltdown because he wanted oatmeal, not the initially requested English muffin. After a solid five minutes of us ignoring his tantrum, Noah informed us that “Service Monkey” would be making oatmeal for him. Unfortunately, Service Monkey was not able to reach the oatmeal nor the microwave, so Noah had to settle for the muffin. (I would be thrilled if Service Monkey would learn to make breakfast. Or change a diaper, for that matter.)

But Monkey’s most important new role has been emotional proxy. For starters, one day after a Pat-mandated timeout,  ol’ Monks revealed a bit of a violent streak.

When the timeout was over, Noah said “Monkey is going to help me stay out of trouble.”

“That’s great,” I said. “Did he tell you to obey Daddy?”

“No,” Noah said matter-of-factly. “He’s going to put Daddy in the mailbox. Then he won’t be able to send me to my room.”

Well, then. Monks the Avenger!

But Monkey is a generally amenable guy, and seems pretty happy about the move. He’s excited about the tree house in the backyard of the new house. He is less excited about leaving his room, or the boys that live in the cul-de-sac across from our current house.

“Tell Monkey that he can still visit Seth and Ezra.”

“Okay,” Noah said. “That will make him feel better.”

I’m glad that Noah has Monks to help him get through the move. And, assuming that Monks doesn’t go all Chucky on us and actually put Pat in the mailbox, I’m glad he can help Noah talk about his feelings.

Now if only Service Monkey would lend me a paw with this packing.