Jumping Monkeys

In a parenting group, a very funny mother posted this commentary about the ridiculous nature of parenting groups (yes, IRONY. But we’re totally different, super cool and laid back):

Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed,
One fell off and bumped his head.
Mama asked the mom group and the mom group said:
Have you tried essential oils? I hear hyperactivity is a vaccine injury. I’m calling CPS.


After I had my laugh, I rubbed some Vitamin-E on that scar Carlos has on his cheek from the time he slid in his own pee dribbles while getting off the toilet and cut his face on the rim of the trashcan. I felt like the World’s Horriblest Mother after that accident. Yet somehow, the cut gave him a dimple. Who else could turn a pee slip into a beauty mark? That boy is MAGIC.

Trauma induced dimple. (Yes, I know that is not the proper way to secure a helmet. It was corrected before he started juggling machetes.)

Trauma induced dimple. (Yes, I know that is not the proper way to secure a helmet. It was corrected before he started juggling machetes.)

Anywho, now that you’ve been blessed with a photo of The Cutest Little Boy In the ENTIRE WORLD, let me get back to nutjobs who think their kids are the specialist snowflakes of all the special snowflakes.

When I was still pregnant with Vivi, my stepdaughter Victoria sorted through her books and picked a few to pass along to the baby. One of the books was a bright yellow copy of “Ten Little Monkeys” with fingerpuppets for the monkey heads. “I loved that song!” I cried. She and I started reading it together.

Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and bumped his head.

Called up the doctor and the doctor said,

“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”


I blurted, “That’s not how it goes.” Victoria showed me the page. I even flipped a few pages ahead–they were all like that. I figured it was some knock-off Montessori book or something G had picked up in an airport in a foreign land, because every kid born in my generation knows how that rhyme REALLY goes:

Ten little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell over and broke his head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,


Walk it off, monkey. Gravity always wins. Here, bite this stick while we flush it out with Bactine then you can get back to carousing.

Trampoline with no safety cage, no padding. And the ground is littered with dirt.

Trampoline with no safety cage, no padding. And the ground is littered with dirt.

Now that I’ve been parenting actual children for almost a decade, I think the shift in the nursery rhyme reflects the shift in how we parent our kids. The current trend is to shield them from harm–by order of the Department of Health, no more monkeys will be allowed to jump on the bed.

Back in MY day, we were raised with less bubble wrap and more natural consequences–that’s what you get for…fill in the blank. Even the doctor knew it was your own damn fault if you broke your head falling off the bed after your mama had told you 100 times not to be doing that in the first place.

I had every intention of being the kind of mother who can lord it over the others in on-line mothering groups.¬†While I was still percolating my first baby I was already reading hand-me-down copies of Mothering magazine about the proper way to grow, preserve, pulverize and compost my own organic food for my child. I tied myself up in a ring sling and smeared medical grade lanolin on my nipples and it wasn’t even Valentines Day. My kids would be raised with every bit of Mother Henning I could muster. They would suffer no trauma, not even a mild inconvenience.

Then some actual parenting hit and I find myself letting my kids teach themselves more and more of those lessons that only make it into our brains the hard way.

So what about you? Were you taught no more monkeys jumping on the bed or that’s what you get for jumping on the bed? Or did your mom rub some essential oils on your head and file a lawsuit against the mattress manufacturer?

Hang on tight buddy. That ground is hard.

Hang on tight buddy. That ground is hard.

9 thoughts on “Jumping Monkeys

  1. mariner2mother

    I had to laugh because our trampoline looks like yours, except there is ripped padding that needs to be taken off the rest of the way and thrown out. As for the 10 little monkeys, I never heard that one as a kid myself, but I think my mother-in-law gave it to us for my kid: the new version, of course.

    My kid (now 13) always jumped on his bed, our sofa, our recliner, whatever. Because he has Sensory Processing Disorder, the jumping helped him feel normal. We had a mini-trampoline in the middle of the living room for years. He jumped into the recliner and made nests in it so much that one time when he jumped into it, throwing the back part back, it broke. The metal mechanism literally broke. Fortunately, by that time, the chair was getting pretty ratty and I didn’t mind getting a new one.

    Life’s too short and I’m too old to coddle. Besides, one day he’ll be out there in the big, bad world, and he’ll need to be able to deal with it. So far, he’s doing pretty darn good.

  2. Heather

    I tell my sister I think the essential oils are the Longeburger basket of 2015. And the upside down photo reminds me of my first of many playground injuries. My lovely daughter, now 26, declared “so what, blood will come gushing out?” At age 5, when I told her jumping on tree roots would lead to her cracking her head open, like one of the monkeys on the bed, which it promptly then did. And lo and behold, she and I both survived. Ah, life.

  3. Cassandra Bagley

    My mom used to send us outdoors in the morning and say she would see us for lunch and then the same thing after lunch–she would see us for supper. But we were in a safe neighborhood where all the neighbors knew who we were and there were only subdivision streets to cross. My kids were in the same situation, so they had a sense of independence while being relatively safe in the larger sense. They had scrapes and bruises, broken bicycles, and even one broken bone, but they learned independence, problem solving and cause and effect, skills that serve them well now. I think when we wrap kids in bubble wrap, we are denying them the chance to learn real-life skills.

  4. Lisa in Athens

    My brother and I would tend our own injuries if we incurred them after bring told to stop X or Y will happen unless we needed stitches. (Or he started it but that’s another story.)

  5. Julie

    You probably already know I’m of the, “That’s what you get for_____” kind of mother. I do make them wear bicycle helmets because they ride on the street, but they’ve both still managed to get some good injuries over the past years. My mother put me out of the house unless it was raining, and the neighborhood kids and I roamed and played and got all kind of cool scars. Ahhh -Bactine! I can just see that bottle now, and the thought of it makes me wince. My dad’s favorite was to put turpentine on cuts and scrapes – and it actually feels good!

  6. joanne

    Today I saw a perfect example of ‘helicopter’ parenting. The doorbell rang this afternoon, and the 11 year old girl that lives across the street, a couple of doors down, was selling Girl Scout cookies. accompanied by her mother. I was thrilled, since my next door neighbor Girl Scout has moved, and I missed out on my share of cookies last year, and I never had cash on me when assaulted by the GS’s outside the Winn Dixie.
    I now am living in the same neighborhood I was so fortunate to grow up in. I was a Girl Scout (decades ago) who sold cookies door-to-door, even when I was just a Brownie. My dear mother would never think of chaperonig my neighborhood wanderings, even when I was eight years old.
    She carried this same policy to bike rides to school and, in summer, to the pool, as well as Halloween. After school and summers we could play outside – basically anywhere – with the only stipulation to be home for dinner or by dark, whatever came first
    I realize that today’s climate is very different, and children’s safety from predators is paramount. But I wonder if that mature young lady that sold me the cookies would have benefited by tackling her sales efforts solo. Her mom could have sat on her front porch and watched her daughter visit a dozen homes without losing sight of her
    That is a lot different from wrapping a child in bubble-wrap and gauze to protect them from the normal bumps and bruises of childhood. No one supervised us on the swing sets and there was no foam covering the chains, or rubber mulch beneath to soften our falls. Same thing with the jungle jim. Yes, I usually sported a band aid somewhere my entire childhood, but I am not scared from my relatively ‘free’ childhood, albeit one with lots of rules and good manners.
    I feel sorry for kids today. Their parents are terrified, most teachers are harnessed by the strictures of their curriculum, kids are ‘labeled’ to their continued disadvantage, and there seems to be no end to the latest parenting advice.
    I don’t know how any of you brave parents do it and still try to give your children what most of us experienced in our childhood.
    My hat is off to you!

  7. Chris

    Two little monkeys jumpin on the bed, 1 fell down and bumped his head. Momma called the doctor and the Dr. said, “That’s it I’m calling CPS!”


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