on splinters, tonsils, ear tubes, and trust.


“Mommy, I got some-fin in my foot!”

It was five minutes till bedtime, not like I was keeping track. (Okay, let’s be honest: I am always keeping track).

His dirty blonde hair was still wet from the bath, and a post-dinner belly protruded from the top of his spaceship pajamas.

“What’s in your foot, buddy?” I asked.

I pulled him towards me, and he sat down in my lap as we both examined the foot in question.

“I dunno! Some-fin!”

Upon further investigation under his teepee twinkle lights, I spotted a splinter. No doubt, the result of him playing barefoot at the park a few hours prior.

“Sorry, buddy, you have a splinter in your foot. Mommy’s going to have to get that out for you.”

He looked at me, wide-eyed, unsure how to respond. I cautiously explained the removal process: that I would have to use tweezers, and that it would pinch a teeny tiny bit, but it wouldn’t hurt. He seemed skeptical.

We migrated to my bathroom for tweezers and better light. Panic set in.

“No mommy, I don’t want to!” he cried.

I reassured him over and over again that I was going to help him, not hurt him, but as things like this normally go with three year-olds, he was quickly flailing about on the bathroom floor like a fish out of water.

I looked to my husband for reinforcement, and within seconds he was contained in his daddy’s arms. I grabbed the affected foot and gave careful instructions, “Everett, mommy is going to take the splinter out. Be very still. This won’t hurt, I promise. You have to trust me, okay?”

He looked suspicious. Slightly terrified. The weight of my own words echoed in my mind. Does my own son not trust me? Have I ever given him a reason not to?

Just when I thought I had screwed everything up, counting the number of times I’ve said, “this won’t hurt” or “we’ll do that next time”, a single tear rolled down his cheek and I watched his body exhale.

He relaxed into my husband’s arms, and waited for me.

I squinted, and carefully removed the splinter in one quick motion. He didn’t even flinch, my brave boy.

“All done!” I exclaimed proudly.

He smiled as a wave of relief washed over him, a fish falling back into water.

My husband released him to the floor, where he immediately ran his fingers over his foot and looked at me, bewildered.

“It’s gone! My foot is all bed-der!!!”

“I told you, buddy. Mommy will always take care of you, okay?”

“Oh,” he smiled.

I gave him a kiss on the cheek and that was it, a lesson in trust.


Everett is having his tonsils and adenoids removed this morning, as well as tubes put in his ears. We are all up before the sunrise. This is early, even for us.

I’ve packed his Elmo and blue blanket carefully in his backpack. I bought him a new Lightning McQueen sippy cup so he can stay hydrated in style after the procedure.

I know he needs this. But when I picture the needle, the anesthesia, the cutting, the blood, I can’t lie—I get a little lightheaded. I’m not an anxious person by nature. I’m the “relaxed” one in our family. But this morning, I can’t help but feel a tiny bit panicked. On the outside, I’m cool and calm and collected, but on the inside, I’m just like Everett staring at the tweezers. Suspicious. Slightly terrified. A fish out of water.

The doctor said he will be fine afterwards. “It’s a very basic procedure,” he told us. He’s probably done this hundreds of times.

So here we are.

This morning I will sit back, and I will try to relax, and I will be brave for my boy like he is brave for me. I’ll say a prayer. I will kiss his cheek before they wheel him away, and then I will wait. Wait. Wait.

A lesson in trust.

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14 Responses to on splinters, tonsils, ear tubes, and trust.

  1. Misti says:

    My son had ear tubes in at the end of October; he was then, almost 14 months old. It is definitely worrying but mine came through and you could barely tell he had anything done that afternoon. I know tonsils and adenoids are little more involved…*hugs* from another momma you don’t even know, but I definitely get it.
    Misti´s last blog post ..Eightmile Lake | Wenatchee National Forest

  2. Katherine says:

    My little one has had tubes twice. Knowing they’re going under is hard; seeing them confused as they come out is hard as well. It will make him healthier, but it’s not easy. Praying for you this morning!

    • Lorraine says:

      I was wondering why your lil one needed the ear tubes twice?

      • Katherine says:

        She had ear trouble very early on due to some complications at birth. Our doctors tried to avoid doing the surgery at a young age because the tubes can fall easy, but constant ear infections threatened hearing loss. She ended up receiving the first set of tubes before she was one, they fell out after a few months, and she had to get a second set when she was 18 months. Two years later, she’s tube-free, significantly healthier, and has great hearing.

        I’ve known multiple people who had to get tubes two or more times — it seems to happen if children get tubes very young and the tubes fall out before the ear has matured enough.

        • Katherine says:

          Also, to address your other comments…

          The first hour is rough afterwards because the child is usually confused and emotional coming out from under the anesthesia. Then add the soreness from surgery. The first hour is hard, but it gets A LOT better.

          Sorry to hear your little one is having a hard time with his ears — not fun!! My daughter had to get tubes after having to go on a lot of prescription meds to address ear infections. She had to be on constant strong meds (which isn’t greatand has risks as well) or else she had ear infections; that’s why we ended up going with tubes. If he’s not having ear infections, hopefully your Drs will thoroughly explain why they are recommending tubes.

          Praying the appointment goes well so that you can have confidence in your decision, whatever you choose to do!

  3. My son just had tubes put in yesterday, I totally feel you mama. The first hour after surgery was the worst but I can already tell he is hearing better and so happy! Arm yourself with some pain meds and coffee, you can do this.

  4. Amanda says:

    We are about to head down the tubes path as well…it’s terrifying and I totally understand! You can do this. I’ll be praying for you and your sweet boy!

  5. Paula says:

    Sending positive thoughts your way this morning Ashlee!

  6. Lorraine says:

    Praying for your lil guy Ashlee. They want to put tubes in my lil guy too. Seems to be a very common procedure, even just in the replys on here. What did they do before ear tubes? I have to say I’ve been putting it off. He’s never had an ear infection before and I was doing the natural route to get the fluid build up to drain on it’s own. He goes in for his ent check up tomorrow, so I’ll find out then.

    • Ashlee says:

      Good luck, Lorraine! Everett had temporary hearing loss from the fluid build-up. He has only had a couple of ear infections his entire life, but the hear loss definitely needed to be fixed. He is doing great now, I haven’t heard one “huh?” since Tuesday!

  7. Heidi says:

    Sending you hugs your way! My little guy has tubes put in a month ago, he was almost 11 months old! After sooo many ear infections it was time and it has been so great! You can tell he feels better! Can I ask about the tonsils and adenoids? I’ve been reading and think maybe we need to look into that for his… But I can’t get anyone in my family to take me seriously!

    • Ashlee says:

      Everett had pretty severe sleep apnea. We only noticed it this past month when he started waking up several times a night….he began coming into our room in the middle of the night and it was eye-opening listening to him breathe while he slept. My husband had his adenoids removed when he was 4, I think part of it can be genetic too.

  8. Katie says:

    That is scary. It must be hard to see your little one go through anything. Feeling for you, mama. I hope it all went okay <3
    Katie´s last blog post ..black coffee, blankets & bachelor

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