Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these monkeys

The latest in the conversations with kids series:

Elaina [8 years old]: Jesus! Give me a monkey!

Me: . . . . what?

Elaina: Oh. Jesus. Please give me a monkey.

Me: What are you talking about?

Elaina [with poorly concealed impatience]: I'm ASKING JESUS for a MONKEY, Daddy.

Me: Jesus is not a monkey-god. Why are you asking Jesus for a monkey?

Elaina [pointing]: That sign says to.

Me: Mercy. That sign says ask Jesus for mercy.

Elaina: What's mercy?

Me: Being merciful is like being kind and forgiving.

Elaina: It would be kind to give me a monkey.

Me: But it wouldn't be merciful to the monkey.


Me: See, this is exactly what I'm talking about.

Elaina [loudly and very atonally singing]: JEEEEEESUSSS, GIVE ME A MONNNNNNNKEY


Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Ian says

    Listen, I know Jenny is on book tour, but don't you think you're ripping off the Bloggess's trademark excursion-into-absurdity mode rather egregiously here?

    Also, very cute, and very genuine. My kids are similarly insane. Thanks for sharing.

  2. En Passant says

    Obviously she's ready to join a choir and learn tonal hymns like Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear.

  3. doug says

    I have a son (9) who likes to point and say "I want this", a daughter (10) who calls me "royal dad", and special needs daughter (10) who calls me "duck" and spells it out.

  4. Ken M says

    I suppose I should be thankful my daughter (3) will never pray for monkeys.

    Once we told her that a monkey had borrowed her Elsa dress (It was in the wash), and ever since, she's been terrified of them….to the point we had to get rid of her monkey pj's.

    Oh, kids.

  5. ketchup says

    When my daughter was four, she loved chocolate milk. She liked it so much, she would drink it so fast she would make herself sick and throw it up. Once after doing so, she asked me "Daddy, what color is it when Jesus throws up?" I told her I didn't know, and that I was not sure whether or not Jesus threw up. She thought for a moment, then said "Yeah, I suppose Jesus knows not to drink his chocolate milk too fast."

  6. barry says

    ..And the powers of the Sun and the Moon
    All worked upon a certain rock – old as Creation,
    And it magically became fertile.
    That first egg was named Thought,
    Tathagata Buddha, the Father Buddha,
    Said, 'With our thoughts we make the world.'
    Elemental forces caused the egg to hatch,
    from it then came a stone Monkey.
    The nature of Monkey was IRREPRESSIBLE!

  7. Chris M says

    A few years ago, when my middle son was about 4, he would always tell us about seeing Jesus outside. It took some work, but we finally realized he was talking about the Sun. He insisted that Jesus was / was in the Sun, since he was the "sun" of God.

  8. Robert says

    I hate to have to be the one to break this to you, Ken, but you ARE a monkey. We all are.

    No, we're apes. Monkeys have tails. You may have been born with one, but the rest of us usually aren't. ;-)

  9. says

    If Jesus won't give me a pony, then nobody gets a monkey, either!

    We'll all have to get our ponies and monkeys the old fashioned way–from the Internet.

  10. hymie! says

    I don't know how to properly quote a comment. Sorry.

    >Dear Monkey Jesus,
    >Thank you for evolution.
    >And fermented oranges.

    Very nice, but too many syllables in the last line.

  11. mcinsand says

    Be careful about those monkeys. From what my father experienced, they can be almost as bad as ponies. In the early '70s, I remember my father coming home shaken after a day at work. He drove the backroads, and a monkey jumped onto his truck and started pounding on it. That was something of a surprise, given that we live in North Carolina. The monkey had escaped and gone feral.

  12. Larry says

    Eight years old; this sounds about right. Wait until she is twelve, that's when the real fun starts.

  13. Tim says

    This is exactly why I respect children. They have no rules as they haven't learned them yet. No filters yet, all is equally curious to them. Therefore they are capable of anything and everything.

  14. Terry Towels says

    I just read Doris Lessing's introduction to SHIKASTA (she foresaw current days in the book, and I wanted to reread it). She says "H.G. Wells said that when man cries out his little 'gimme, gimme, gimme' to God, it is as if a leveret were to snuggle up to a lion on a dark night. Or something to that effect."

  15. Kratoklastes says

    8 is old enough to be told that Jesus never existed and that the bible is a collection of easily-disproven hogwash invented by a bunch of ignorant tribal savages who founded a genital mutilation cult because (a) they didn't understand how the world works; and (b) they needed a foundation myth.

    I reckon I would not have been much more than 8 when I decided that (albeit in a less formalised framework: just "This book seems like nonsense, and the story of Genesis contradicts my How and Why Wonder Book of the Cosmos") – and my parents did not bat an eye.

    We're better than that now (members of the political class excluded: they still need believers, because the existence of a large group of gullible non-thinkers helps them live in palaces… so they try to keep alive the trope that belief in nonsense is actually a good and noble thing).

  16. machintelligence says

    I am reminded of the story where two friends were talking about pets and one allowed that he had bought his son a pet monkey. Wow, the other said, isn't he awfully messy and smelly? Well, yes he is, was the reply, but the monkey doesn't seem to mind.

  17. sorrykb says

    Steve L wrote:

    Why get just one monkey? Get her a barrel of them.

    Thanks to Steve L, today I learned of the existence of the North American Barrel of Monkeys Association. The world is a better place than I thought.

  18. sorrykb says

    @Kratoklastes: You do realize it's possible to be atheist and not be a joyless buzzkill, right?
    The KidHats are fine and I'd say quite capable of figuring out whatever it is they'll need or want to figure out without you or I wandering into their parents' house telling them what that is.
    Or, short version: Live and let live.

  19. Edward J. Cunningham says

    Ken should be grateful that Elaine is praying to the monkey god instead of….

    …THE PONY GOD!!!!

  20. ... says

    Read this last night after my kids went to bed. Woke up this morning hearing my four year old saying "Please Jesus". I'm starting to rethink that Christian preschool….

  21. says

    Chimps we most definitely ain't! We descend from a common ancestor to chimps and bonobos but that wasn't a chimp a bonobo or a human, and was probably about as different from us now as it was from them now, that's how evolution works!

  22. SimonJester says

    My older two sons, 6 and 4, regularly ask in our morning prayers that they will be able to meet penguins. And no, going to the zoo ain't gonna cut it, I have learned from interviews with them, they want to have a proper conversation and maybe a follow-up play date with penguins.