Havoc is a Curious Little Monkey

Zeke and I were sitting at the table together, paper and crayons spread out, in the midst of a late afternoon drawing project. Jack was napping and Zeke and I were enjoying a little one-on-one time.

Jack is like a Monkey,” Zeke said to me.

I smiled and agreed. My mind was flooded with images of Jack: his mischievous smile, his signature dance move– one foot stomping as he pumps his fists and turns around in circles, the wild energy with which he runs up and down our hallway. He is like an adorable, crazy, silly, wild, little monkey. “Ohhh my little monkey!” I thought tenderly.

Monkeys are rude,” Zeke said. “And they take people’s stuff.”

Well, that wasn’t where I was going with it, but he had a point, I guess.

I mean Jack is a handful— an extremely charming and adorable handful, but a handful nonetheless. There is a reason why Aaron nicknamed him Havoc.

I can’t evereverever leave the bathroom door open. If by some chance I (or some negligent visitor to our apartment) leave the door ajar, Jack immediately senses the lapse in security and, with ninja stealth and speed, makes his way in. (This is amazing from someone whose pounding and uncertain toddler steps create an uncommon banging, slapping racket– I apologize daily to the woman who lives downstairs and I thank my lucky stars that she is older and possibly hard of hearing. “Pitter-patter of little feet” my ass!)

Once in, he gets right to work. With efficient focus he positions the stool next to the sink and begins tossing everything he can get his little hands on into it– toothbrushes, toothpaste, makeup, stray bath-toys…
If we haven’t shut the taps as tightly as possible, he will then fill the basin, effectively soaking everything and destroying as many items as possible.
When Jack is finished stocking the sink, he moves directly to the toilet paper, unrolling it with impressive focus and sense of purpose. Jack has perfected his technique and can get from new roll to cardboard tube in mere seconds, leaving cascading white streamers from one end of the bathroom to the other.

If upon the completion of these two important tasks he has not yet been discovered and ejected from the bathroom, Jack quickly moves to the toilet. (Speed counts here, because the resounding thwunk of the lid, as he slams it up, always gives him away.) The frenetic splashing and tossing of random objects into the water that commences always has an air of desperation, as if Havoc wants to get in maximum splashing before his time is ultimately up.
Similarly, my bedroom door must always remain secure. Once inside Havoc heads directly for my jewelry box and begins tossing earrings and bracelets in every direction. He amasses a shiny pile of tangled chaos that has more than once reduced me to near tears.

Jack quickly develops an envious fixation on whatever his brother is doing. If Zeke is sitting in my lap, Jack will start screaming and try to push him off and take his place. Jack starts about thirty fights a day by grabbing a treasured knight figure or Spiderman toy, or plastic pteranodon, which has been carefully placed in an elaborate tableau constructed from blocks and random detritus. My peace-of-mind is constantly shattered by shouts of,

No Jack! That’s my special (fill in the blank)!“,

inevitably followed by slapping and tears. Sometimes it is Jack that is crying, but lately, it is often Zeke sobbing amidst the ruins of his carefully constructed fantasy world as Havoc emerges, clutching some plastic treasure, yelling, “Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!” as he flees at high speed.

And yet
though Jack wreaks havoc on our world on a daily basis,
there is no way I can feel anything but elated
when he gives himself up into laughter.

His radiant smile whenever he first catches sight of me….

The way my tiny son pauses in the midst of his busy flurry to throw his arms around my legs and cover my thighs with kisses…..

The way he searches our apartment for his brother, “Zeke? Zeke? Zeke?” and then embraces him in triumph when he finds him….

The way he emulates Zeke’s enthusiasm, crawling and meowing in cat mode, or joyously throwing his entire body into wild dancing whenever he hears a catchy beat. Jack dances to music from passing cars, to ringtones, to the rhythm of street construction….

I guess, like all of us, monkeys are multi-faceted beings, and
I am more than willing to put up with havoc for the sweet life with my sweet little Havoc.

6 responses

  1. This is so sweet 🙂

    September 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

  2. Great post, Mandy. Hilarious and supersweet! Makes me miss you guys. I'm lucky to have 5 very cute and quirky nieces and nephews here, and they're all big fans of Molly. I am awaiting your next post! As always, Miss Molly, your artwork is amazing and wonderful and I'm ready for MORE!!Love,Uncle Sean

    September 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm

  3. thank you!! this is a fun and creative way for amanda and me to connect despite the long distance. a new post to come soon!

    September 7, 2010 at 2:51 pm

  4. I had forgotten about "Bad Mandy" but delighted to be reminded. I am already a charter member of the Havoc/Jack fan club and this post catalogues just a few of the reasons.

    September 8, 2010 at 7:57 pm

  5. Loving this blog! You ladies are super talented! And I literally laughed out loud, no abbreviation necessary. Especially at the part where Havoc frantically deposits the maximum number of splashy objects in the toilet before being discovered. Amanda, you're poor jewelry!

    September 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm

  6. Ha, I have moved the toilet paper off the roles and out of reach…. Teddy's current nickname is "Periscope", for how he lifts his head up and starts roaming around when he is supposed to be sleeping at, say, 3 am.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm

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