The first time we encounter the monkey ears is at the beginning of the movie. We see Charlie who is helping his mum to cook. he has a pillow up his shirt, trying to be like his mum who is pregnant and is also wearing the monkey hat. As the movie progresses we find out that this particular hat is what brings Thomas’ family together.
We then see jackie wearing the hat during swimming class. This is the part of the movie where we see Thomas and Jackie's relationship start to grow. She then gives Thomas back the hat so she can give it back to Charlie. We then cut to a scene where Thomas is trying to get Charlie to speak without using any signing. He starts trying to bribe Charlie with chocolate to say the word monkey. We see Thomas starting to accept Charlie more and more through the scenes involved with the money ears