If you don’t know what grinching is yet, perhaps this monologue by guest playwright, 6-year-old, Luke B., will shed some insight. In it, Max is caught red-handed taking his mom’s lamp into his room. He has a perfectly good reason for doing this, but it may not be what you think… Check out this 1-minute comedic children’s monologue, Grinching Mom. And keep reading if you want to find out a bit more about the 6-year-old boy who wrote it…
Luke is 6 years old and has always harbored an artist’s heart. When he was a baby, he was like one of those babies I’ve seen on youtube videos, outwardly affected by sad-sounding music. His chin would start quivering if he heard a meloncholy song, before bursting into tears and burying his head in my chest. He felt strong emotion through music before he even knew what an artform was. When he was four and five, he wanted to be a painter. After I took a trip to Amsterdam, I gave my young boys a graphic novel about Van Gogh and we read that book, and studied the matching postcard images relentlessly for months. When I visited the Picasso museum in Barcelona, we read a book about this artist and Luke’s heart ached to be “a famous artist.” He would paint or draw almost every day, and crave this time creating. When he was five, his writing urge began to grow stronger. He wrote stories on his own now, and expressed he felt he “had to write every day.” He wrote on topics from fights in outer space to nonfiction books about sharks to even a tale of friendship he wrote for his favorite Project Runway contestant, Kentaro. For a time, he craved playing the cello (we happened to have an old one he was able to keep in his room); now he wants to learn the trumpet. He, his brother and dad created a short film and Luke couldn’t wait to sit at the computer and edit the video with his dad every night until it was completed. He also likes to play soccer, swim, wrestle with his brother, play video games and study snakes, bats, spiders and sharks. But there is nothing like the feeling he gets when he creates.
Luke has been talking about writing a monologue for over a year. His older brother, Dylan B., wrote the monologue, Teddy Shouldn’t Go to Space, and Luke has admired this feat ever since, waiting until the day he felt he was ready to write one of his own.
January 20 is that day for Luke when he declares he wants to write his own monologue. “But I don’t know what to write it about,” he says positioning himself on the bed, near my laptop.
“That’s okay,” I assure him. “So let’s talk about that. When you write a monologue, you want to find an emotional moment, when your character has something he or she thinks is really important to say in that moment. So we can start by thinking of things you really really like—or things you really don’t like. They can be foods or things you like to do, or don’t like to do…”
We start a little list. “Spiders. Money. Ice skating. Laffy Taffy...”
Then he says, “Grinching.”
“Grinching?” I laugh. “That’s great!”
Grinching is something that started around a week ago in our household. I had just started watching the craze-hit show,Tidying Up, on Netflix, and had a productive morning of clothing sorting which ended in cup cabinet sorting. On a kitchen counter, I had a stack of plastic cups with various images of superheroes and transformers that I was planning to donate.
After Luke came home from school, I couldn’t find the stack. I asked my children if they had seen the cups that were on that counter. Luke gave me a soft kind of non-commital answer, accompanied by a smirk, which prompted my, “Where are they, Luke?”
He caved quickly. “They’re in my room.” He eagerly led me into his room where the cups were sitting on the floor.
“Why did you bring the cups in here?”
“I stole them.” I thought this was a very unusual thing for him to say, and he seemed half-excited. “Like how the grinch steals things.”
”Is that why I also found my pot holders in your bedroom yesterday?” That was an odd finding which I didn’t even ask him about at the time.
“Yes…I stole them like the grinch too. But I was gonna give them back, like the grinch does.”
“What else have you grinched, Luke?” It was so easy for me to use this word as a verb. It flowed as though it were designed for this.
“Your favorite really warm pants.”
Next to his bed, in plain sight, there lay my fleece pajama pants, perfect for cold days around the house. He picked them up quickly and handed them to me.
“Are you going to grinch anything else?” I asked.
“No. I won’t. I’m telling you the truth. Unless—Is it okay if I do? Like, two or three times a year?”
My little artist! “Stealing” potholders and donation cups from the kitchen! Honestly, this was a little bit cute. Okay, a lot cute. This child does not typically take things that aren’t his, and has a strict moral compass, almost to a fault. So to enact his current favorite tv show (it is all he wants to watch, quite literally, and it’s almost the end of January!) and to request a grinching pass for 2-3 times a year…it was definitely amusing.
After a brief dutiful parenting reminder about taking things that don’t belong to you…I said, “You can grinch things if you want to, sure, even more than couple times a year, but only if you tell me that you’re grinching them. Because, what if I needed to get zucchini bread out of the oven and I couldn’t find my pot holders? So just tell me if you take things. Okay?”
“Okay,” he said.
And true to his word, after this conversation, he has grinched one thing of mine and told me the second he brought it to his room.
So…how does this relate to writing his first monologue?
Well…life often inspires art! And so, the topic of “grinching mom” is one that is on his mind.
So…on January 20, as we sit together on the bed, laptop posted with a fresh document screen, Luke easily begins a scene of dialogue between a boy named Max and his mom. The mom he writes has some very good points, but Max always has a retort. After this dialogue is written, Luke and I read the parts, and his stomach is giddy with excitement. “My first play!” He has that feeling. Writers, we all get that feeling. That feeling of completing that last word in a first draft. The “END OF PLAY,” or “CURTAIN” typed below the last line. No matter how many revisions await us, there is nothing like that satisfaction, that relief, that pride, that elation of coming to the end of your story.
Luke feels that. It’s the artist’s reward.
The next day, Luke asks to change his dialogue into a monologue. When we sit down to do this, he tells me he has butterflies in his stomach to work on it. I understand, Luke. I understand!
He has me delete all of Mom’s lines, and he reads and edits Max’s lines until he is happy with the piece as a monologue. He gleefully types in the title and his name. And, Luke B., you have now your first piece of theater, written 6-year-old style, published online for the world to see, and read, and perform. So here are the details of Luke B.’s monologue, Grinching Mom. Enjoy!
By guest playwright, 6-year-old, Luke B.
Cast: male or female, child
Setting: A child’s bedroom
Running time: Approximately 1 minute
Description: Max, a child, around 8 years old, is standing in the doorway, holding his mom’s lamp. His mom catches him, red-handed, about to take her lamp into his bedroom. Max offers her an explanation of this theft, and tries to convince her he is not to blame.
Well, I know it looks weird for me to hold your lamp in my hand, but I have a good reason. My light doesn’t work! (smirks) You don’t believe me? (pause) I was grinching it! What? You don’t know what grinching is! It’s when someone takes something. It’s from the grinch movie. Remember? We watch it a lot. It’s like where the grinch goes over house to house stealing everything. Can’t I have a little fun, Mom? All— END OF EXCERPT
Click below to purchase the entire monologue: