6 Years, 3 Months, 12 Days

I filled up the bathtub and added some bubble bath because it’s traditionally been a big hit.

But not today.

Today is the day you say goodbye to bubble baths.

Weird milestone, I know. I just thought all kids loved bubble baths – but I guess you’re already outgrowing them in favor of fancier shampoo and conditioner.

bubble bath

But, just when I’m sobbing over the quickness of your growing up and started writing this, things took a turn.

You’re now sitting in the empty bathtub with a handful of conditioner – the same amount you would use if your hair was still long but you are actively rocking a cute pixie cut. You won’t rinse the conditioner out because the water is too cold.

It’s too cold because I filled a bathtub for you with hot water, that you drained because “bubble baths are for little kids” and decided to take a shower, like a big kid, with no hot water because we used it all in filling the bathtub. While the water is lukewarm, you’ve decided it’s simply too cold for you to rinse your hair so you’re sobbing in the bathtub.

So, bubble baths are for little kids, ok. But coping skills are not programmed yet, so here we are.


Ah, you’re ready to rinse. I think. Let’s see how this plays out.



Lockdown. Third time’s a charm?

These don’t get easier, Kiddo.

Someday, you’ll get it. For now? After a week where you’ve been particularly clingy and worried (though you refuse to say why), I suspect it has something to do with Lockdown day.

Or maybe I’m just reading into it.

Regardless, I’ve written about this twice before. Once when you were in Preschool – in a letter I wrote to you that went “Somerville Viral”, and once last year in Kindergarten.

And today, on the 312th day of the calendar year, a year that has had 307 mass shootings in schools, places of worship, malls, grocery stores, and more – you get to practice yet another lockdown drill with the fire department and police department inside your school, a school where I can see clearly how a locked door won’t stop someone from getting in because of the glass windows on the interior doors, and still nothing has been done from our country to keep you safe.

It makes me physically ill, and I can’t tell you that. But I can write for a third time that you had a lockdown drill and how nothing continues to be done.

All I can do is send you to school with this little piece of chocolate because you are now only 6-years-old, are not quite sure why the parents are so upset – just two days after more people were slaughtered in a restaurant including one man who survived a shooting at a concert in Nevada earlier this year – give you a big hug and say “I’ll see you at pick up.”

And I hope I’m right.



November 8th, 2018

This date, November 8th, 2018, marks an important milestone in your education. It was going to happen someday, however, I really thought it would be much further down the road.

Today is the day that neither of your parents could figure out one of your homework problems when you asked for help.

I knew this would happen eventually, but I certainly didn’t expect it in a language problem specifically designed for first graders. I had my money on 5th grade math if we’re being honest.

Your dad? English major.

Your mom? Published author.

Neither of us could figure this out and I know when the comments rush in, well look at this like, “Ooooooh! Of COURSE!”

But not now. Not in this moment. The entire McGrath household was stumped by first grade English.


Mom (and Dad)

PS: A Twitter user actually ended up answering this, which is a relief to the adults who were losing their minds on this puzzle.

It’s not WoodIN (which isn’t a word). It’s not “KINdling” because it’s not following the convention set up in the exercise (last letters stay the same). I think @CompanionAnimalPsych is correct. It’s “Thin”.

Dear Little: The Tooth Fairy (or: It Wasn’t Supposed To Go Down Like This)


, ,

Dear Little –

A little over a month ago, we were in SF (which was on fire) visiting Auntie Sip and Uncle Doug where you celebrated your 6th birthday. They put together a cute little birthday party for you but you were too sick to even eat any of your birthday cake. The next day, we boarded a flight to Seattle (also on fire) so we could see Uncle Ben and Auntie Kate’s wedding ceremony at Fort Warden…and you yacked all over the aircraft.

So, yeah. You were ill. Sorry about that.

I was personally ticked off when the attendant showed up after you vomited all over the plane with two tiny bottles of vodka. I thought one for me, one for your dad, what a nice way to offer a bit of an assist in an otherwise unpleasant experience. Thanks, Delta! That was until the attendant informed us that this was going to be used to clean the seats because they were out of rubbing alcohol.

I had to tell him to NOT rub you down in vodka, not even to clean you off because I could see where that would backfire later in our day.  Explaining to security, the cops, or Child Protective Services why you are covered in vomit and smell like a bar was not going to make an already long travel day go any smoother. Plus, jail isn’t on my bucket list. We settled instead to just change your clothes and do our best with paper towels and a hand dryer in terminal A after landing.

After a few days, you started to recover! Relieved, excited, and feeling SO badly that you couldn’t have cake, Daddy and I took you to get a cake pop around the corner. How could a cake pop go wrong? It can’t.


Hopped up on sugar, no sleep and post-ill kid hyperdrive, you started skipping down the street, and promptly fell on your face.

We checked your teeth, your nose, your forehead – all of it. Everything looked fine. But for the next few days you seemed off. Well, concussions do that to a kid, so does a 3 hour time change, so we just figured you’d be fine. Eventually.

However, getting back to Boston you kept saying your teeth hurt. You’re 6, your teeth are supposed to come out soon, so maybe the tooth fairy was going to visit soon! How exciting! By Tuesday, five days after your faceplant, you stopped eating food because “food hurts.”

That’s not good.

I looked in your mouth and noticed the front of your teeth, where we looked before was still fine. But behind your front teeth, I thought I saw a crack.

Dentist confirmed – a cracked tooth.

We thought, “Perhaps this will just be a quick glue job.”

We thought wrong. Kiddo, when you go for it, you REALLY go for it, and usually, that would be the thing we encourage. Live your best life! Be your best self! Don’t half-ass something when you can whole-ass it. You know, give it 100%.

But when it comes to fracturing teeth, you get the gold star. You didn’t just crack the tooth. you cracked BEHIND the tooth and all the way through the root. I don’t even know how you did it.

So here we are, you on the precipice of losing your first tooth. Most kids go through a wiggly phase, push the teeth with their tongues, and anticipate for a few weeks about the loot the tooth fairy would leave as a present under the pillow, maybe figure out how to game the system so they could catch her (or him – it’s 2018) in the act.

But you are so, so good at fracturing teeth, I had to hold you down while you got not one, but TWO shots of novocaine and a set of pliers to yank a fully rooted baby tooth out of your skull.

Fun Fact: as the adult tooth comes down to push over a period of months, it rubs the root of the baby tooth down, which makes it wiggly. The baby tooth is a tiny little nugget that kids can put under their pillow.

If, however, you fracture a baby tooth that is by all x-ray evidence a year from an adult tooth coming down to wear down the root, you get this fodder for nightmares:

Girrrrrrl, this came out of your face. Took a few yanks of the pliers. That black line is the fractured root. This whole thing was the length from the tip of my index finger to the first joint. 

Suffice it to say, as far as you are concerned, the tooth fairy “myth” is something your parents say when they take you to the dentist, give you several painful shots and use tools found under the sink to forcibly yank a bone from your jaw.

You think the tooth fairy is a sadist.

Had this been your second tooth and you had a normal experience, I wouldn’t be as worried, but Kiddo, we have another … what, 36 teeth* to lose?

*I’m a dog trainer, not a dentist. I have NO idea how many teeth are in a kids’ head, and I’m too lazy to look on Google despite typing this on a laptop connected to the Internet.

You seem to know as a concept that this is unusual (or as you currently say, “Unuthual”) but I’m not convinced every time you have a wiggly tooth, you’ll have a flashback to that time all of this happened. Time will tell.

You are so cute, with or without a full set of teeth. I am sad though that I will never see all your baby teeth again.

I can say this – the next time there is a lost tooth, I’m pretty sure she/he won’t have a large bill handy. That might have been a one-time sympathy trauma transaction. I think that was also a fluke, and coincidently, the exact same amount of money your father happened to have in his wallet after our trip and short notice.




Dear Little: Change of Plans

Dear Little,

Today, we were going to go to the comic book shop and then to a street festival.


So, here’s a picture in case you just remember at some point in the future that we didn’t take you to Somerstreets. We aren’t terrible parents. You just kept throwing tantrums and falling asleep.

Growth spurt?


Mom (and Dad).

Dear Little: Hate


, , , , ,

Dear Little, 

Ok. Play along. What age would you have expected the first slam door/”I hate you” combo?

You were 5yrs, 11months, 6 days.
Circumstances: You wouldn’t get your shoes on to walk the dog who hasn’t peed in 7hrs. I enforced a time-out protocol and you absolutely lost your brain. Screaming, slamming the door, full-on highly caffeinated, I took your (fill in whatever cool substitute for a Game Boy is) teenager shit that I was 100% not prepared for.

After we walked the dog, who waited much longer to pee, you apologized to him for making him wait. It was really sweet.
So, just in case you were curious, there you go.

Dear Little: Chrysalides

Dear Little,

Last night during dinner, you introduced your dad to the word “chrysalides.” You explained that this was the plural of the word, chrysalis.

I seconded your assertion because that’s what I learned with all your paperwork, notes back from the teacher, and school projects when you guys did a few weeks on the butterfly life-cycle. It was a word that I had never heard before this year and thought it was cool.

Then the following exchange occurred:

A: “Mommy? What was the word you had a kid for many chrysalis?”

M: “I think we used the word chrysalises.”

A: “But, it’s wrong.”

M: “Apparently, and now  we know that.”

A: “Daddy? What did you call it?”

D: “I think I also would have  called it chrysalises.”

A: “So, your teachers didn’t teach you that word when you were kids?”

D: “No, kiddo. I don’t think they did.”

M: “Or, it’s been so long since we were kids that we forgot.”

A: “Well, I’m never going to forget that word.”

3 seconds later:

A: “Hey, Mom? This pasta looks like chrysalises!”

Never forget, kiddo.

Never forget.



Dear Little: Good Little Reader



Dear Little –

You survived your first sleepover at Maddy’s house. Her parents also survived for those old enough to read and understand what having two 4-and 5-year-olds in a small apartment overnight could be like.

Your dad and I went to watch the Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me taping. It was nice to get away and know that you were in for a fun night.

After the show, I put my phone back on and saw I missed a ton of messages from Maddy’s mom.  I panicked. Are you not going to bed? Did you fall at the park? Are you in the ER? Did Maddy decide she didn’t want to share her parents overnight?

My panic turned instantly into laughter as I think this is my new favorite text, ever.



Yes, you are a good little reader.