Before I started naming adults, I used a more simple naming convention for the grandkids of Zion Family Homestead. I numbered the monkeys. Vanity was Orangutang because he couldn’t be a mere monkey, while Perfection and Handyman’s children were Monkey’s 1, 2, and 3, and Grouchy and Sleepy’s eldest was number 4. When Banana came along, she fit in with the crowd pretty well, though I was a little worried about her getting eaten. I used to call myself “The Zookeeper” because I had ended up with so many monkeys in my home. While there are days it still feels like a zoo here on the homestead, I rarely use the monkey convention anymore. These kids have just become so different and distinct as they grow, it is hard to lump them together like that any longer.
Where They Come From
As has been mentioned previously, Cold and Stinky Bubbles come from Handyman’s previous marriage, while Hungry came from Perfection’s previous relationship. That does mean that Hungry has had a lot more time with her Papa than the other two. It also means that Hungry has had a lot less time with her Dad than the other two. It probably evens out. When Handyman and Perfection got together, Hungry was formally adopted into the family, and all three children were sealed for time and eternity in the temple.
More importantly than their parentage, however, each of these children comes from Heavenly Father. I used to be a firm believer in nurture vs nature, but I have come to learn that both play an enormous role in the development of a child. All three of these children are so very different from one another.
A Little About Cold
Cold is an amazing boy with amazing potential. Despite difficulties and challenges in his life that could lead him to be held back academically, he flourishes under Perfection’s firm homeschooling and is quite a math wiz for his age! Likewise, he has a great spiritual potential. Before he was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he offered some of the most stunning and insightful prayers. He wanted to know the truth for himself. And he was willing to face persecution to follow through on the decision he had made. We were all so very proud of him.
Cold likes spider-man and any comic book action heroes, plays Pokemon and Magic: The Gathering. He is one of only very few children I know who can sit still for a lengthy period of time. Doing almost nothing. Without fidgeting or becoming frustrated. It’s impressive.
If I had to select one admirable trait in Cold that I think he exemplifies better than anyone else, it would be patience. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t still struggle sometimes! But when patience is called for, Cold has it in him. He has it to spare.
A Little About Hungry
Hungry is a special child who has already changed the lives of those around her. Credited with her Mom’s conversion to the gospel (at age 2, no less), she has also greatly strengthened the faith of her family with her believing heart. Because her Mom had come up to live with us when she was in the final stages of pregnancy, Lala and I were able to be a part of her life from day 1. Lala was the second person to hold Hungry and carried her so very carefully back to the hospital room from delivery.
A voracious learner, Hungry devours her schoolwork by leaps and bounds, chasing Cold along the academic path to success. She loves rocks, princesses, fun stories or movies (particularly ones of girls who kick butt), cooking, experiments, and giving gifts. She’s a little bit tom-boyish, while still enjoying dressing up nice. Much like her Mom.
Hungry’s most admirable trait? Charity. She loves to give, loves to serve, and loves to be with people doing things that make them happy. Like all children, she wants her own attention, too, but no-one makes you feel more cared about on any given day than Hungry.
A Little About Stinky Bubbles
Stinky Bubbles is a loving sweetheart and much sweeter than her name suggests. Her Dad has joked for a long time about how much she smells, which is where her name came from. She determined that she, personally, preferred the name bubbles. I’m nothing if not willing to compromise…
Eager to please and always interested in being involved, Stinky Bubbles prefers to do so while hanging onto someone being carried around, if she can wrangle it. She’s pretty good at sneaking her way into your arms. At least, she’s good at sneaking into mine! She’s also the most stubborn and determined little girl I’ve ever encountered. This usually manifests itself most obviously in troublesome ways, but is, and will be, an asset when she sets her mind on good things.
Stinky Bubbles is definitely more girly girl than tomboy. She loves princesses – especially when she’s the princess – cuddles, cooking, and playing make-believe. She is usually the one willing to fit in with what others have going on. This works well with her opinionated siblings.
Stinky Bubbles most admirable trait is love. She loves with an openness and purity that is both astonishing and sometimes scary. She loves people at first sight. Loves them even when they are picking on her (Yes, Vanity, I’m talking about you). She loves without reservation and without judgment.
The Monkeyteers On The Homestead
Obviously, the monkeyteers’ primary job is to learn. Under Perfection’s homeschooling, they do a great job of it! Sometimes it can be frustrating, but I know she considers it to be rewarding and fulfilling as a Mom to teach her kids. We’re also super glad to keep them a little more sheltered from today’s standards by keeping them out of public schools. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooled kids get plenty of socialization. You’ll be hard pressed to find more social kids than these three.
Otherwise, the kids have various chores and household tasks on their plate. They also work outside on the homestead, feeding, milking, and cleaning up after our kinder goats and flocks of chickens. They help out in Handyman’s Garden and generally anywhere that their little hands can be put to work!
The Monkeyteers and Papa
Sometimes it seems a little weird, to outsiders, how I think about my kids and grandkids. After all, I’m young enough to be the little ones’ father instead of grandfather. But while some people have offered disbelief that I consider myself the patriarch of the adults in our household, heaven forbid anyone who tries to convince one of these kids I’m not their grandpa. I’d love to see the conversation. I can just picture Cold’s confused frown, Hungry’s rolling eyes, and Stinky Bubble’s long-suffering smile.
I love them dearly and love being a part of their lives.
They have so much potential in them, and I feel so blessed that in all likelihood, I will be able to be around for so much more of their lives than most grandparents can dream of. One day, I hope to bounce THEIR grandkids on my knee.