Friday, April 1, 2011

Yucky Monkey

When my baby sister, Alyssa (now one year old), first started crawling, there was a dawning of a new age in our house...
The Age of Chaos.

Alyssa is a mess-maker to the core. She doesn't pull things out of place to play with them. No, that would be too cliche! Instead, she seems to make messes for messes sake. She'll sit at the DVD shelf and pull the cases out as fast as she possibly can, throwing them to the floor around her then crawling away to her next target. Now that she's walking, the situation has gotten worse. She's even stealing the dirty spoons out of the dishwasher and trying to run away with them! Let's just say that our house is consistently in a state of disarray.

A significant problem we recognized when Alyssa went from an object of rest to an object in motion (that will stay in motion until acted upon by an outward force -- a.k.a an adult chasing her down) is the presence of our two dogs, and Alyssa's new hobbies quickly became splashing in the water bowl and climbing over the cranky 13-year-old dog.

In addition to the new areas of mischief, Alyssa also discovered her new favorite toys: the Yucky Monkey.
(Insert theatrical sound effect here) 

A tattered dog's toy, Yucky Monkey may have been only slightly ripped, but carried a very stained and soggy exterior. No matter where we tried to hide him, it was as if Alyssa carried a 6th, "Monkey" sense. We would hide him behind the couch, and hours later she would emerge victorious, monkey in hand. Toss it down the hallway, hide it in the corner, you name it. She found it.

While Alyssa loved Yucky Monkey, but he obviously grossed out the rest of the family. I would find her snuggling and chewing on him, and shudders would ripple through me. However, there was nothing quite like the way her face would light up when she'd find him again. Alas, to the baby's dismay, a few weeks before Christmas, mom eventually threw Yucky Monkey away.

As Baby's First Christmas arrived, we sat around the living room and helped her unwrap her presents. She got package after package of frilly pink dresses, fancy singing toys, and baby dolls... but the shining star of the night came from big brothers, Cory and Nathan. Alyssa was paying minimal attention to the presents, a little overwhelmed at all of the gifts... but as mom helped her pull back the wrapping paper, Alyssa's toothless grin grew wide, her face beamed, and she snatched out and snuggled... a new Yucky Monkey. Cory and Nathan had found an exact replica (but clean this time!) of Yucky Monkey at Wal*Mart and got it for Alyssa. By far, her favorite and most-used present. (It can be difficult to keep the dogs away from him, though!)

You know, this whole ordeal with Alyssa and her Yucky Monkey has me thinking... we so often carry a similar mentality throughout life. I know that I easily form an image in my mind of a "Happily Ever After" for my life - or even just a day - and when things don't quite turn out the way I anticipate, I get frustrated. "God, why didn't things turn out like I had planned?"

Maybe, just maybe, the A that I desire on my test isn't what would truly be best for my future... or maybe instead of being overcome with frustration when I'm running late and can't find my keys, God wants me to use it as a learning opportunity for patience. Because just like Alyssa thought the dirty, germy, stained dog toy was the best thing in the world, the adults looked at the situation and recognized that it's not a healthy environment for her, we can think a situation is incredible, but God sees something better for our future.

God's been teaching me patience lately -- to hold on, and He will provide something better for me than I can imagine.

"In his heart a man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps."
-Proverbs 16:9

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11


  1. Congratulations on the blog. I'm still a bit of an amateur at writing but it's something that I have really grown to like. It's therapeutic to get put the words on the screen and, when someone reaches out and comments, that is the icing on the cake. Good luck! Your sister sound like a handful but certainly energetic and into discovering her world - she'll go far :)

  2. I really enjoyed reading your blog! Hmm like your "Mom", I think you have "writing" in your future!

  3. LOL @ Yucky Monkey! Absolutely loved this story! And when I tell you I can relate, I absolutely can!!! Little people crack me up! So happy Alyssa has a "new and improved" Yucky Monkey! haha! Great lesson too. Thanks so much for sharing this.


  4. Glad Alyssa was able to get her own Yucky Monkey. She remindes me of my 4yr old who can destroy a room in 10 seconds. They're little for a minute then their off to college. Look forward to reading more of your posts.