This cheerleader sock monkey is for my spirited niece, Miah. Whenever I think of her, I think of her in motion -- skipping through the house, shooting across the pool, laughing and flitting about. So, I wanted her monkey to be reflective of that energy.
AND, she informed me, with her missing front teeth "I was in cheerleading classes!"
This was the first monkey I made for a child that I have witnessed the child's reaction upon opening the gift. I was nervous. In this age of electronics and mass-produced toy lines made for every popular T.V. show and movie character, could a child appreciate an unknown character hand-made from a pair of socks?
Well, the answer is yes, but differently. It's a little slower appreciation (not the big ooh/aaah at initial opening, but a nice building appreciation). Miah took the doll out of its wrapping and examined it. When I told her there was a prayer inside it for her, she immediately started feeling around in the stuffing for it. (Of course! Why didn't I think of that. It might be fun to put a small object inside and have the child feel for it and guess what it is). When her younger sister opened hers (next post), she was attracted to that one more. (By the end of the night they had switched). During the course of the evening, at various times Miah noticed things and commented on them (like, "hey, there's another sock monkey!" from my collection. Then I showed her mine and told her why I made them the way they were). She was also intrigued with the "made from socks" concept.
At the end of the night, when she and her family were leaving (the kids all jammied up with coats and boots over jammies), Miah was clutching her sister's sock monkey doll. "HOW do you make them?" she said to me, with just a note of awe. "I will teach you sometime," I replied, much gratified, and thinking that that is the true gift of the sock monkey -- a shared experience built on love and the age-old gift of creating.