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Jewish Journal

Sunday Drive with a Howler Monkey

by Ilana Angel

August 29, 2011 | 8:42 am

The Howler Monkey

I was home all weekend with a sinus infection and bronchitis.  I can’t breathe, have a horrible cough, and I could have spent all day in bed.  My son was great and took care of his dear old mom.  He did his homework, checked on me throughout the day, and made me lots of tea with honey.

I dozed off early Sunday afternoon and when I woke up I actually felt a little better, and asked my son if he wanted to do something fun since he’d been studying Shakespeare all weekend.  I figured I had enough energy to maybe sit in a movie.  Instead of a movie, all he wanted to do was drive.

This is my new reality.  My kid wants to drive every minute of every day.  He has his permit, is taking lessons, and every waking moment is about getting in the car.  He moves in slow motion when I ask him to put his clothes in the hamper, but he was The Flash when I said I would go driving.

I have never seen a kid get ready to go out so quickly.  He was up and sitting by the front door waiting for me before I even finished telling him we could go.  It would be fun I thought to myself.  A relaxing Sunday drive around town with my baby.  What could be better?

My son did great.  He is a good driver and I am very proud of him.  I told my son he was great and he told me I was a Howler Monkey.  He said he thought it was funny how uptight I was, and that my screaming was right out of an Animal Planet special on wild monkeys on Asia.

How odd that I seem to have blocked that part out.  I was certain we had had a nice Sunday drive, but he seems to think it was a lot of me screaming, and him thinking I was a Howler monkey.  I know I’m not feeling 100%, but still, wouldn’t I remember the screaming?

We made it home safely, as I knew we would. He did great, and we planned for him to drive himself to school in the morning.  We had a nice dinner, watched the VMA show, and listened to him recite some Shakespeare.  I woke up this morning to find him waiting by the front door.

This kid is all about the driving.  It was cute and so my day began in the car with my son.  I decided to do a little experiment.  I took my phone, set it to record a conversation and placed it in the cup holder between the two front seats of my car.  We were off and I was on monkey watch.

He drove, I was impressed, he went off to school, and I drove home.  I just got in, made a cup of tea, and sat down to listen to the recording.  I had thought to post it, but I am simply too embarrassed so you will have to trust me when I say, I sounded like a Howler monkey.

I said “Oh my God”, 8 times.  I said “Slow down”, 5 times.  I said, “Be carful”, 4 times, and told him “I love you”, 3 times.  All things you would expect to hear in the car of a young driver practicing with their mom.  The difference here was the tone in which I shared with my child.

If you close your eyes, and imagine that monkeys can speak, I actually sound like a howler monkey.  It is a high-pitched note that is more common in an opera than my everyday life.  If I were on American Idol, Jennifer Lopez would call me “pitchy”.  I cannot believe it is actually me.

It would be funny if it were any other parent than me.  I am screeching and my kid is just driving, not really listening to me.  If we were able to hear him through my monkey impersonation, I am certain we would hear him laughing at me, and calling me a crazy monkey under his breath.

My son is amazing and I am blessed that he is an animal lover with a soft spot for monkeys.  I am picking up my son after school today and he will want to drive us home.  I am going to work hard to turn off my inner monkey, believe in my kid, and put my energy into keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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