Dear Little: Sore Throat Redux


Dear Little,

Look, I know it’s hard to get checked by a nurse. I get it. When your throat hurts, it hurts, and the last thing you want is a stranger swiping the back of your throat with a Qtip.

But, kiddo, you have to stop kicking nurses. In one day you are up to two strikes. One for each nurse you kicked or hit while they tried to swab your throat for strep. (One got really mad and left the room). One more and I’m pretty sure they can arrest you for assault.

I can’t do all the things I would do for a client if they are scared: Calming Cap (blinders), heavy sedation medication, and a cheese stick. However, we can talk about it, and I understand you are scared. I get it. We’ll figure it out.

Honestly, I think just having time and someone who doesn’t say, “You have to do it this way or else” would help.  And being either much younger than 7 where you are too small to truly fight back, or much older than 7 when you can understand why the swab is uncomfortable but necessary, will really help.

Without prompting you decided to do what you do best: Write a note.

I tried to make you feel better by relaying a story of my youth. When I was 14 my dad had to lay across my legs, so I wouldn’t move when the doctor had to put a Novocaine needle in the bottom of my foot through a wart. This was so he could then use nitrogen to freeze it off.

Turns out, military dad who was taught weapons at West Point didn’t lay down hard enough and the doctor ended up with a black eye from my other foot kicking him square in the eye socket.

I told you this story to demonstrate that I understood what it’s like, that it’s not fun, but we have to sometimes do uncomfortable things to be healthy.

However, what you took away is that mom is a badass and told your entire second-grade class today that Mommy Kicked a Doctor in the Face.


At least you don’t have strep. Just two strikes on your medical record and a budding career as a baby MMA fighter.



“Little Joe”

Dear Little:

You were very upset last night and kept saying we needed to grab “Little Joe”.

“Kiddo? What is Little Joe?”

“Little Joe, the cookie you made! We can’t leave Little Joe!”

Luckily, your dad finally figured out what you were talking about.

We were at the annual hang-out-at Uncle-Matt’s-and-make-holiday- cookies-extravaganza last night. One of the elves lost a leg so I decorated it as Tiny Tim, complete with an antler from a reindeer cookie kit that was repurposed as a crutch.

Now I want nothing more than you to rewrite the traditional Scrooge Christmas story with obvious “we’re trying not to get sued” names like Little Joe, The Spirit Christmas Now Time, and others.


Mom… And Little Joe.

Way Back Machine

Social media is great for reminding us what happened in years gone by. Here is a flashback from four years ago:

Actual dinner conversation
Me: Aislyn, use your fork.
Ace: I want to use my hands.
Me: Stab your food and shove it in your mouth. Like a lady.

I’d say things have changed, but they really haven’t.



Dear Little: Hookie

Last week, you had the chance to take a day off school to see a matinee of The Lion King with Auntie Maura and Aine.

Up until the night before, you thought you were going to a movie theater, not a Broadway production. That’s on me.

But, instead of taking the day off, you protested.

“I need to go to school! I have to go to school! Can I go for half a day?”


Kiddo, hookie. You’re doing it wrong.



Dear Little: Imagination

You made a Lego thing.

It was a coffee house, but not any coffee house. This coffee house is in the middle of the woods so hikers could enjoy caffeine.

It’s also owned by two dogs.

And despite being in the middle of the woods, this coffee shop has a drive through.

I would 100% go to this place. Also, this proves that you are 100% my kid.



Dear Little: Capoeira

Hey, Kiddo!

A few weeks ago you went to a class with our neighborhood friends. You were invited to jump in, which after a bit of hesitation, you did.

The next week, you said you wanted to go back. We did. Then you said you wanted to go back yet again so you could kick, dance, play tag with your friends and play music.

Given that music had been a complex issue at school, we said, “Sure!” We paid for a month of Capoeira classes. You even got a little outfit, learned how to tie the belt rope so you’re pants don’t fall down, and get to mix acrobatics, dance, music and martial arts a few times a week.

All I can think of, no matter how hard I try not to, is the episode of Bob’s Burgers when Capoeira is called, “sexy dance fighting”.

You are doing a new thing, having a blast, playing musical instruments, and always want to go back. For that, I’m thrilled.

I’m also tickled because I got to look through funny gifs from Bob’s Burgers, so thanks, Kiddo.



Dear Little: Bomb Doggie!


Kiddo, this is so cool.

You got to handle a working bomb detection dog tonight.

We learned that Bomb detection dogs are trained (currently – the number is rising) on 19,000 odors. I don’t know 19,000 words let alone be able to identify that number of smells. 

We also watched a lot of explosion videos, including this explosive spin on the holiday spirit:

I didn’t know these dogs aren’t just proactive (sweeps before the Superbowl, airport luggage searches or when there is a weird package left at the Somerville Train Station), but also are critical in helping after an explosion with evidence collection. For instance, bomb detection dogs went in after the Boston Marathon bombing to help piece together what happened, what had explosive material on it, what didn’t, etc.

These dogs are amazing, and I’m so thankful that Sgt. Viera and Figaro are out there keeping us safe…

ace fig pose

…and that you trusted her enough to do something you’d normally find scary: Talk to and engage with a complete stranger. You later said, “She was a police officer, so I felt safe, and I really wanted to work with Figaro. Those two things helped. Plus you and Nina were right there. I felt brave.”

This is a huge victory, and I’m so happy.  But, something tells me that for you, like me, with Dog, all things are possible.

ace and figaro