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Little Man Therapy

Back in the day…when I was preparing my hilariously funny Father’s Day joke present for my husband, I had no clue that the spatula called life was about to flip me upside-down. My Moon and my Sun were seven and almost four, respectively, and we had sold off our baby equipment in a recent neighborhood garage sale. No more diapers! So, as a kind of festive, light-hearted jest, I decided to take a pregnancy test and put it into a gift bag for my husband. I figured that by the time the negative result registered in his brain, I would have already had my chuckles.

Well…as you have probably already guessed…the “joke” was on me, and this was how I first discovered that Little Man was on his way.

Fast forward about three months short of a year later. The girls are both teenagers, dealing with ever more complicated teenage issues, and knocking me flat from time to time as they swing on their moods like Tarzans on speed… Little Man, with his nine-year-old joie de vie and awesomely quirky views of the world, has come to my flustered soul’s rescue on more than one occasion. Having the space between The Sisters and Little Man has proven to be a successful (if not on purpose) formula for our family. And…by my calculations…when Little Man hits the prime of those rocky teenage years, The Sisters should be well on their ways out and ready to help!

Let us take this morning, for example. After a rough couple days with one of The Sisters, who will remain anonymous (for her own good…but mostly for mine, since I DO NOT want to revisit the issue in my head), I awoke this morning to discover that my voice had decided to leave on an early spring break. So, I spent the morning trying to whisper loudly, as I assumed my habitual role of school prep traffic controller. After The Sisters had left (having thankfully caught the bus in the knick of time), Little Man came over and gave me a big pat on the back.

“That’s enough talking for you!” he insisted. “Only nodding from now on and if you want to say ‘maybe’…do this.” He hunched up his shoulder and put his hands out palms up.

I smiled, nodded, and began to wash the breakfast dishes. He was more than happy to fill the silence with his usual nature factoids and musings about animals. As I scrubbed the plates, he walked over to me with a little piece of what looked like recycled paper in his hand.

“Feel how soft this is,” he said.

I lifted my hands up to show him that they were wet, and he nodded in understanding.

“Here,” he offered, “feel it on the side of your cheek.”

I leaned toward him and he gently passed the smooth little sheet across my cheek. I smiled and lifted to my eyebrows while nodding to show that I agreed that the paper was, in fact, very soft.

“I got it in Lit Club at school yesterday,” he explained. “Isn’t it soft? It’s made from the fibers in elephant poop!”

Yes, it is always nice to get a gentle, caressing, therapeutic nudge from Little Man to reset my day…even when it is done with elephant poop paper…

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