Monkeys on the Beach

2 Sep

Every summer my family and I try to make a trek down to the Outer Banks beaches–Hatteras specifically. We love Hatteras for its remote location and plentiful wildlife so, in keeping with our yearly ritual, this past week, we packed up the kids and everything but the kitchen sink and headed for some fun in the sun.

As all mothers and fathers know, a trip with your kids is full of unexpected surprises. A harmless walk into the kitchen can be met with projectile objects and a wet sensation on your feet from who knows what. So, you can imagine my surprise when my now two-year-old, Lainey, said there were monkeys on the beach (herself not included). The Benadryl I gave her before bed should have surely worn off by the next afternoon so I figured she was not experiencing some strange side effect of any kind.

No, I believe the reason for her remark about monkeys was due to a giant piece of driftwood that floated onto the shoreline. Lainey pointed to the out-of-place relic and asked what it was. I told her it was driftwood, kind of like a piece of tree. Some moments passed and as she sat down in her tiny beach chair for her snack, she pointed to the still present driftwood and said, “Tree, monkey. Tree, monkey, ooh-ooh-aah-aah.” I let out a giant cackle and tried to fathom why on earth she would have thought a monkey was in that decaying piece of bark in the sands of Hatteras. Then I remembered I had just read her a book about different animal habitats. You know the ones—where fish live under the sea, bears live in caves, and monkeys live in trees. So, any bright two-year-old would, I guess, conclude that if they see a tree, there is a chance a monkey may be in it. The book didn’t bother to go into specifics such as, “Monkeys don’t live in trees in North Carolina but prefer more tropical destinations like Costa Rica.” I mean it’s a board book for Pete’s sake.

Yes, that afternoon at the beach, I realized how literally our children perceive the world. They are brilliantly naïve, naturally loving, and quite hilarious. And, if anyone does happen to spot a monkey on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, please let me know…

Blogged by Tara Kompare (

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