Love holds on

By Mir
November 5, 2009

Yesterday dawned and brought with it a fever and listlessness for the girlchild, so I got her brother packed off to school and her set up on the couch and tried to salvage the day. I worked, she dozed. Somewhere towards lunch I stopped to stroke her hair and prepare myself to murmur “Poor little bunny” as needed.

Whether this had been brewing for a while (I think it had) or she was just miserable enough with whatever yuck she was fighting (she was) or a combination of the two (almost certainly), before I knew it I was listening to a tale of woe, a catalog of complaints that ranged from typical friend politics right down to actual bullying.

And oh how I wished that “poor little bunny” would have any effect on the antics she was describing, that she’d been dealing with for months and not telling anyone. I did what I could; I listened, we talked, I contacted the school, and when she dozed I put dog toys on the couch with her so that Licorice would snuggle up.

It all feels inadequate, of course, and this morning brought better health but fresh fears. “They’ll know I told,” she cried, rubbing Licorice’s belly, as I helped her gather up her things. “It’s just going to get worse.” I told her we would do everything we could to make sure it wouldn’t.

In the meantime, Monkey decided to celebrate his sister’s improved vigor by barfing up his breakfast.

So Chickadee went off to school—trudging up the driveway like a lamb to the slaughter, splitting my heart anew—and Monkey got back into his pajamas and lay down on the couch with his stuffed puppy and a bucket.

After a while, he came to lay down in my office, and Licorice (who was bothering me instead of tending to him) decided that maybe his stuffed puppy was one of her toys. That was briefly hilarious, and then we took turns arranging her actual toy, her beloved stuffed monkey, in various spots on MY Monkey.


She would sit and watch us, then leap onto the couch to retrieve the monkey, stop and lick Monkey’s face, and then take off again. (And then I’d steal the monkey back and put it on him again.) This made for a solid five minutes of entertainment, which I’ll certainly take over spending the morning hunched over a bucket.

When Licorice tired of this game, she allowed herself to be captured.


While I don’t think we yet have conclusive, scientific evidence sufficient to declare her the cure for the common cold, random virus, puking bug, mean girls, or bullies, I’m just saying she’s awfully nice to have around for this stuff, anyway.

There’s too many things I can’t make all better for them. But I’m glad to be able to give them something to hold onto, in the meantime.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Hold on tight to the good stuff. If it licks your face, so much the better.


  1. RuthWells

    Oh dear. So sorry to hear of Chickie’s struggles. When it rains, it pours, doesn’t it? Take care of yourself.

  2. Summer

    I love it that Monkey is wearing sock monkey pajamas. You’ve got a monkey trifecta in that last shot: monkey boy, monkey toy, and monkey jammies. Awesome.

    Also, Licorice’s coat is looking lovely and shiny, much nicer than when you first brought her home.

  3. StephLove

    Poor Chickadee! I hope the situation improves.

  4. dad

    Sometimes something to hold on to is better than making it all better.

    Face licking is the perfect bonus!

  5. Leandra

    In both 5th and 7th grades I was the target of horrendous emotional bully session, unfortunately by the same girl both times. What’s that saying, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice….

    Anyway, I can still recall quite clearly how much it hurt so I know how Chickie feels. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger (boy, I’m just full of cliches today, aren’t I?). But also more empathetic and all-around kinder people.

    Just let me know if I can go beat up some girls for you.

  6. Nicki

    Hold on tight to the good stuff. That is the best advice I’ve had all day. Thank you for another perfect Love Thursday post! Always just what the doctor ordered.

    Hugs to your family. May all be well soon.

  7. Tracy

    Nothing in the world makes you feel better than licks on the face, ears, nose…I love that Licorice. She is so sweet and a cure for all things naughty.

  8. Mare

    The healing power of dogs/family members is directly correlated to the amount of love to give. Clearly, Licorice understands this concept and is giving her all to healing. You may have to start calling her Licorice, M.D.

    Hope your family is feeling better. Bullies are horrid. I’ll beat them up too with Leandra.

  9. Zilla

    Maybe Chickie’s school counselor reads your blog too and will take care of things for her. Hope everyone is better at your house soon.

  10. Jennifer Joyner

    Gosh, Mir…it seems to me you have far more on your plate than you deserve! And you manage to still entertain and inform your audience..I don’t know how you do it! Hugs from cyberspace

  11. Jess

    Poor sick (or formerly) sick kids, and poor mom. I hope that intervening with the school helped. I had my own pretty negative bullying experiences, and I’m glad that Chickie was able to tell you about hers.

  12. natasha the exile on Mom Street

    Middle school is the seventh circle of hell. If you told me now that I had to go back and deal with those girls and that world again I would have a panic attack. Even as a 32 year-old.

    Hugs to you, to Chickie, to Monkey and Otto.

    It looks like Licorice already has all the hugs she needs!

  13. Heather


    With 3 daughters, one a in high school, one at JR High and another in 3rd grade, it is the JR High that we fear the most.

    The American Girl movie Crissa is just about this very thing and is execellent in presenting all the things we want to say yet it comes from someone other than us… you know the ones that don’t know anything; therefore, the message sinks in.

    The movie specifically addresses the issue of “but if i tell it will be worse for me” amongst other things.

    I hope it helps.

    Although High School has its own issues, it is soooo much better than JR High. It just seems to take so long to get out of it though.

    Another source that has helped my girls is reading/watching interviews of Taylor Swift. She speaks to them in a way they immediately relate to and she exactly what they are feeling. Such as how hard it is with all the “Drama” of being a girl in JR High and High School. She speaks of how it is just everything and all important and how the world will just END but, that passes and you soon realize who the real loosers are… Again, same thing we say, but of course we’re just moms that don’t know anything:) She gives some really good advise. I read it first before i show them becuase you just can’t trust what these starlets are going to say. But everything I have seen from Taylor has been Role Model for sure.

    The only thing that really helps it seems are hugs and birthdays (they group out of it:))

  14. Red Fury

    That is horrible! I am not sure what I will do when my boys are old enough to experience bullying (well, I DO know what will happen *god forbid* if they are the bullies…)

    Please let us know how the school plans on dealing with it.


  15. The Other Leanne

    I remember well being bullied in 7th grade, and how grateful I was when a popular girl went up to the bully and told her if she didn’t knock it off she’d shove her head in a locker! It can only happen if you tell someone. It helps to have a champion. It’s unfortunate that this sort of tormenting has not gone out of style, even after all we’ve learned about it.
    The school has to have a zero-tolerance policy for this kind of behavior.
    BTW, the bully is now one of my FB “friends,” just in case I feel like asking her why someday. And I will.

  16. Anna Marie

    Being a tween-age girl sucks. It sucks big fat rotten eggs and I’m so sorry Chickie is dealing with it. My daughter is 2 and I’m already dreading the mean girls she’ll have to put up with.

    I’m also sorry little Monkey is sick – but I LUUUURVE his jammies!

  17. sassymonkey

    Nuts. I’m not even a parent and I’m getting all Momma Bear about Chickadee. Sixth and eighth grades were the worst for me. Worst.

    I have a knitting bag that is similar to Monkey’s pajamas. Only my monkeys are on pogo sticks.

    Give them both hugs for me.

  18. JennyM

    As Charles Schulz said: Happiness is a warm puppy.

    I’m a firm believer.

  19. JennyM

    Also, you could not pay me enough to go through middle school again. But high school was actually pretty fun! And college was even better!

  20. Liza

    Ugh. So sorry.

    Chickie might enjoy the book Luv Ya Bunches — the bullies get theirs in the end, without too much in the way of offensive behavior from the regular girls.

  21. BethRD

    Eighth grade was the absolute nadir of my school years and possibly of my entire life so far. Middle school is made of 100% pharmaceutical grade suck. The only good thing about it is that it does, eventually, end. I feel bad for Chickadee that people are picking on her, and I hope the school system takes action, but in the meantime, a sympathetic mom and a fuzzy dog are probably a big help.

  22. Karen P

    So glad Chickadee told you. When my daughter was in middle school the kids in her class made up an “I hate Kelsie club”. (She was in a block class schedule with the same kids for three years)I didn’t find out about it until years later. If you don’t know you can’t do anything about it so it is good that she told you. My Kelsie is now teaching middle school and a lot of the kids come and talk to her when they are having problems. I think her experience has made her more understanding of what is going on in their lives. Middle school is a tough age to teach. She taught at the high school and college level before she moved to middle school this year.

  23. Krazy Kitty

    I also thought it would be worse if I told. But eventually I told and things went much better.

  24. Heather

    It’s always good to have someone around for extra cuddles. Hope everything works out for Chickie <3 Good for her, for telling you!

  25. jenn

    Junior high bullies suck :p

    I’m glad Chickadee knows you called the school. I remember mentioning something to my mom in passing and then being confronted by the girl the next day because she’d gotten in trouble. I was so shocked. I understand why my mom contacted the school, but it took a while before I opened up to her about anything.

  26. Nelson's Mama

    Middle school is so hard – can’t say that high school has been much easier, the Nellie Olsens of the world are alive and well. “Odd Girl Out” and “Queen Bees and Wannabes” are a couple of books you might check out.

    Hold your Licorice close tonight and give her an extra hug, we lost our dear Shelley yesterday. She was fourteen and led an awesome life; can’t imagine another dog that was as loved or loved more in return.

  27. Elena

    We’re fighting that good fight here in Bama, too…and not just the kids if ya know what I mean. Fingers crossed & love in my heart (and not just on Thursdays!) for you guys in Georgia.

  28. meghann

    Junior high sucks. There’s not much else to say. I still get a slight stomach ache when I think back to that time and everything I went through at the hands of my peers.

    Tell her she just has to get through these three years, and then it gets better. And to top it off, after the four years of high school, college is downright awesome.

  29. Chuck

    The middle school years generally contain a large amount of suckage, out of proportion to the suckage in elementary or high school. Chickadee is lucky to have you in her corner, and remind her that while things sometimes seem like they won’t get better EVER…improvement really does occur.

  30. Brigitte

    If you DON’T tell, the bullies get worse anyway. They take advantage of someone with no way to fight back. At least this way, some adults will be keeping their eyes open.

    Unlike back in the day, when the adults would blow it off claiming it meant someone had a crush on you, or you were a tattletale. Can you tell I’m so glad there are anti-bullying rules now? :-)

  31. Damsel


  32. Amy-Go

    So, I haven’t been around in awhile…sorry to have disappeared! My gut reaction is to drive to GA and sock the crap out of whatever kid is bothering Chickie! If the school doesn’t fix it, you let me know…or tell Chickie to sock ’em herself (isn’t she the one who can break boards with her feet? If so, this is information the bully might need to have!) Feel better all of you!! HUG!

  33. Aimee

    Oh, poor Chickadee. Here is what I propose. 2009 has been a miserable jerk of a year so far for (it seems like) everybody. I say we start a new year RIGHT NOW, and we don’t tell any doctors, mean girls, jackasses or other undesirables about it. Who’s with me?

  34. Lylah

    For Chickadee: (((((HUGS))))

    For you: (((((HUGS))))

  35. Melisa

    Licorice is the best medicine.

  36. Heidi

    Oh man, I’m sorry Chickadee is having a tough time. I had a tough time with a particular girl in middle school, and it was truly scary. The difference is, she (finally) felt comfortable talking with you about it. Yer a good Mom, Mir.

  37. getsheila

    I miss having a dog. I do have one dog-kitty who cuddles with me at every opportunity and one regular kitty who can’t be bothered (until she decides it’s time for her pampering, that is) but a dog is a big bundle of cuddly love, all the time, on demand. I’m so glad you found Licorice Nonobaddog Kamin Ottolastname. Enjoy!

  38. Katie in MA

    My 3-year-old girlchild is into licking people’s arms to make them laugh. (And darnit – it usually works because she picks the most random times…) How about we trade for awhile? :)

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