jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.

My New Superhero Persona: CrutchMaster J

My path to Superhero Status began, not with a Peter Parker-like spider bite, nor a rocket ship flying me off of my dying planet, but with a rescue dog and a small (yet very important!) bone in my knee called the patella.

Thanks to my short-lived and unsuccessful flying career, I have taken on a new persona as a Superhero: CrutchMaster J.

I came to this name after a short, yet deeply thoughtful, search. “Crutch Mistress”, while more gender appropriate, sounds too much like my S and M work name, so I had to pass). I had to pass on “Madame Unileg” as it brought back memories of the horrible, media titled “Unibomber” from days of old. “Trying Not To Fall (Again) Lady” was just too lengthy, and brought to mind the commercials for the senior citizen who had fallen and couldn’t get back up. (I got back up, yes I did…and then the doctor told me to sit back down and my knee agreed).

My newly developed super powers are many:

–Carrying Things with Two Fingers and My Chin (while the rest of my digits are involved with my remaining serviceable leg making the rest of ambulatory possible)

–Power of Child Direction (not my strongest power as the listening and ability to follow through powers are not always up to the ability of me to give direction)

–Power of Getting Things Done While Sitting on My Butt on My Couch.

–Power of Launching Myself Sideways into my small car, and swinging my leg inside without hitting anything with a brace locked at zero degrees.

–Power of Instant Hyperventilation, when I think a child or pet is about to touch my leg.

–Power of Ordering Online (just look at my Amazon and Walmart accounts for proof of this; with GrubHub running in a healthy third place)

My arch-nemesis is not kryptonite, but water. It won’t make me melt like the witch in the Wizard of Oz but does make me cringe in terror at the idea of crutches instantly flying out from under me. I do feel a bit of kinship with those witches, however.

I will hopefully be relinquishing this title in six to twelve weeks, though I believe my new powers will always be with me.

It’s Not Infinite

It was just occurring to me, as my five year old snuggled into my hip with her powerful little body, that as free and easy as the snuggles are, some day will be the last one.

One day, not all that long ago, she wore her last diaper, and she drank from her last milk bottle, and she wanted to nurse on my “boo” for the last time.

There are so many “firsts”, and so many new “big girl” moments…first day of Kindergarten, first time using her own body for momentum on the swing, first cartwheel…

But, there are so many corresponding “lasts” and today I just want to hold her close as she parades around in her Christmas Doc McStuffins outfit, holding her new Lambie stuffy, and try to keep her just as she is for a bit longer.

My youngest love

Coming Back

It’s been a bit over a year since I posted.

What a year.

I arranged for childcare for my first New Year’s Eve “out” at a Masquerade Ball with a friend. When that fell through at the eleventh hour, I desperately scrambled for a back up…miraculously begging and bribing my way to childcare that night.

We rang in 2020 in decorative masks.


Who knew 2020 would bring so many more masks?

Masks on the outside and masks on the inside as I tried to fight the immeasurable sadness Durango’s death wrought inside me. Durango, and later another rescue kitten, Sydney, have left me raw and broken, but with my two young children dependent on me during a pandemic.

How do I share amusing anecdotes under these circumstances?

And, now, my little girl has just started kindergarten and seems so much older than a mere two months ago. My son is a confident second grader. And, they are back in person, in a school with so many more (necessary) rules and limitations. Wearing their masks and getting their temperatures checked for half-empty classrooms. School is now limited interactions, and they returned under controversy, judgement, and fear.

“Distance Learning” for us, was both a success and a failure.

We got outside multiple days each week and found some AMAZING local hiking spots. I taught them about local plants and animals. I had them in a Zoom class with a retired astronaut, speaking of space travel and going potty in space. (Okay, I was fascinated, too). I shared my theories and tried to prepare my daughter for Kindergarten. I understand many of their teaching methods so much better now.

And, then there were my long battles to figure out Google Classroom and how to navigate a Chromebook (their homeschool teacher swears a lot when she is frustrated). I am not young enough that these programs are intuitive. My son spent as much time challenging me as his teacher as he did trying to complete assignments. I tried to “quit” a couple times, and his teacher talked us both down.

I worry for what the rest of 2020 has in store for us all, but, for now…we have survived and are coming back.

Continue reading “Coming Back”

When you took your last breath

I didn’t want another

My soul knows that after you

There will be no other

I always felt my time with you

Was more love

Than I could keep

Your soft eyes stared into

My soul so dark

And yet, so deep

We didn’t need words

We felt each other so

I can’t believe already

It was time for you to go

A piece of me

Lies in your urn

That never will recover

Until my body’s turned to ash

And I hold again

My furry lover

Where the #$&!;*÷ Are Your Socks? (Part One)


Since school has started in August, I have bought (boughten?) my son three ten packs of socks and my daughter two eight packs of socks. That’s a grand total of 46 socks. Knowing that he has been in kindergarten for over one hundred days (as I just sent one hundred jellybeans to school to celebrate) and using a complex geometry formula, I can figure out that five months later we would have four boys socks (only two of which, technically, match) and seven girls socks (none of which match).

I have a photograph of the (lucky?) survivors. 

I no longer make more than a minimal attempt to match socks.  At this point, a superb match is both are the same colorish.  An acceptable match is both are, in fact, sock shaped.

But, my gosh, where do the others go?

I looked in my back seat, in their toy bin, behind the washer and dryer, under the couch cushions, in the dog’s crate, in my purse, behind my refrigerator, under their bed, in the backyard, and in the cat tree. (All of which, are indeed, places where at one time I did discover a sock or some lone piece of abandoned clothing).

I locate, on my best days, one or two of the squirrelly things.

Are they committing sock suicide because they don’t want to traipse through any more muddy playgrounds sans shoes?

If I were richer, I could have a special room just for mismatched socks, empty dreams, and broken promises.  (Sadly, the socks would probably take over and crowd everything else out).

In hand-me-down boxes of children’s clothes we have received,  we have found lone escapees.  These are easier to throw out because if they aren’t somewhere in the box, we will never match them.

But, the survivors from my own house…there is always the smallest spark of hope that somehow, someday they will be reunited, like the lovers on a beach scene in a movie who run gleefully into each other’s arms.  Until then, my darlings,  you will just have to sit solo with your compatriots on my dryer and pray that someday it will be you. 



My Line in the Sand: A Guest Blogger Post

Hello Jannica Merritt readers, I am Jannica Merritt’s daughter, and this is my first solo blog post.  I hope you will excuse any grammatical errors as I recently turned three.

For over a year now, the adults in my life have been trying to sell me on a completely ridiculous concept. They have employed multiple tactics, including threats and bribery.  I have succumbed to none of them, nor shall I.  To quote a colloquialism, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

They have been attempting to persuade me to give up the ease and comfort of my diapers in exchange for the flimsy inconveniences of “big girl panties” and public bathrooms.  (The same public bathrooms which are so “dirty” Mother doesn’t wish me to even lie upon the floor of).

I know when I have a good thing going, and I will not to succumb to the pressure and overblown hype.  The incentives they try to use to sell me on this are ridiculous and mediocre at best.

For example:

1. Potty Candy.  Marshmallows and M & Ms are nice, but not equal to the value of the time I squander sitting on that boring potty chair. *Yawn*  I fail to understand why there are no wheels for a big girl on the go…but not that go.

2. Big Girl Panties. Yes, so they have cute designs on them. So what? So do my diapers. What difference does it make if I have Trolls next to my skin or Mickey Mouse on the outside of a diaper?  They show the panties to me often and ask, “Don’t you want to be able to wear Big Girl Panties?”  Same answer as before, a resounding “no”.

3. Being a “big girl”.  I already know I am, and I feel no need to prove it to you Judgemental Judies.  I am secure and confident in myself and have no need to prove anything to anyone.

4. “No diaper rash when you are potty trained.”  THAT, my friends, lies squarely on the shoulders of the adults in my life who do not check hourly and change me immediately after I have a poopy.

5.  Offering television, only to have it be yet another screening of “Elmo’s Potty Time”…or, offering to read me a book and it’s “Once Upon A Potty.”  Enough, already!  I have given my answer.

Lastly, there are the sneaky, semi-manipulative way my Mother tries to sneak in Pull Ups instead of normal diapers, and peppers it with silly comparisons of pulling it up my hips “just like you will big girl panties some day soon!”

Think again, grown ups!

Post Script: I even go out of my way to help the adults around me.  I will, if asked, bring a clean diaper and a wipe to them.  Yes, it really is enabling their laziness, but I do just love to help.  Help, but not enable their idiosyncrasies.

Early Parental Deterioration

I prepared carefully for my eldest child’s entrance into kindergarten. I bought his books and everything on his very specific supplies list (two stores and Amazon to get everything “right”).  His uniforms all hung tidily in his closet. His backpack and lunch sack neatly hung on a hook in the laundry room awaiting his first day as a scholar.

Day One.  I couldn’t sleep well that night and was up by 5 a.m.  I lovingly packed his lunch, a slice of his favorite (next to French fries) cheese pizza, a freshly peeled orange, a yogurt smoothie drink, and pretzels.  I filled his water bottle, and added a couple ice cubes in case the insulation didn’t last all day.

I put on some classical music (because it sounded scholarly) and made both children breakfast burritos, and orange juice, and got them up to eat.  They sat at their table to enjoy breakfast and argue while I dressed, combed hair, brushed teeth, and took care of our pets.

I changed my daughter’s diaper (because someone is being quite stubborn about potty training), brushed her hair and teeth, and put her in a girly pink outfit for the day with matching socks.

I oversaw my son brushing hair and teeth. I helped him carefully put on his brand new school uniform (his first time in “business casual” attire).  I put a little gel on the corner of his hair where it was sticking up a bit.

We left home promptly at 7:15 a.m. and drove excitedly to school.

Day Two. Frozen breakfast entrees. Other things a bit compressed, but achieved. Still relaxed and chill, because mornings are “easy”.

Fast forward a bit…

Day Seven. Son sent to his room to find clean uniforms while eating a banana. Lunch scrounged from fridge, consisting of 2 hot dogs, pretzels, and some cottage cheese.  Left house at 7:40, but forgot my bra.  Daughter probably had a clean diaper.  Everyone’s hair and teeth brushed.  Found his water bottle on the backseat as we left and hoped it wasn’t empty.

Tried to walk evenly at Walmart for emergency supplies, and my three year old pointed repeatedly to my breasts and yelled “Mommy” as we walked past the bra section.

Day Nine.  Parent’s Walk of Shame to sign my son into school at 8:01.  Front desk lady quite pleasant, but son speaks of “getting a tardy” at dinner. Glad I had remembered my bra at least, and everyone’s hair was brushed. (We won’t speak of teeth).

Day Eleven. No further Walks of Shame, however this morning my son’s hair was smoothed a bit with spit as I handed him his shoes and half a banana in the car. I am not sure if he brushed it. I have discovered no one checks if my daughter’s hair is brushed and I can brush mine in the car while in line dropping him off.  Also, pants are only optional if you are three.

If I focus on him having teeth and hair brushed, uniform on, and lunch of some kind in his backpack, the rest doesn’t matter.  I just don’t want any more tardies on my his record.

It’s eleven p.m. and soon I will stop writing and put his uniforms for tomorrow in the dryer.  I have Cheetos to put in with his cottage cheese,  so it will be a good day (as long as I don’t fall asleep before those clothes get in the dryer…).

Here’s to being a School Mom!


How did this happen?  How could it possibly be that enough time has passed between that positive test and all the nausea and sleepiness that my first born is ready for this? I know that I. am. not. ready.


I look in his eyes and see a little boy, and I see him play and he still seems so little. Then he stands up.  Almost up to my armpits already. He knows his alphabet, at long last. He helps with a few small chores. He can work a tablet better than I can.

I see this. I know it.

And, still, I am not ready.

It is such a cruel joke that my children’s childhoods are going so fast (all while I remain 29 years old. Ahem).

The school supplies are all purchased,  looking new and so pristine.  His school uniforms are hanging neatly in the closet, waiting for him to wear them. His new shoes are ready.  His books are sitting, unspoiled and unopened, waiting for his first recognitions of words.

Everything is ready except me.

In a few days, he will be a “rising kindergartener” no more. He will be a kindergartner.

He is smart and engaged and anxious to meet his new friends and teachers.  (And also to lord his School-Attending status over his younger sister).

He is ready to test his new wings.

He is ready to BE a kindergartner.




Goodbye, Locks I Love

This is a First World Problem; I know that.  I will not pretend otherwise.  But, it is my First World Problem.

I was so excited that my rising (*gasping*, because, really, how did this happen so soon?) kindergartener was accepted into an amazing charter school, not only the school system I wanted, but the location less than two miles from our home. The school has a fabulous curriculum and my son will be ready to be either a world class innovator and leader or a cunning super spy by the time he has spent thirteen years there.  The classes make me jealous, and their founding principles are truth and beauty (and, really, who doesn’t love those?).  I love it so much I wish I could go there.  I seriously, truly would love to go there, even as an adult…right now, sign me up, because I want to learn all the fascinating things they are teaching.

I like the campus, it is new and beautiful and the doors are thankfully locked (in the sad state of today’s world).  The playground has slides and things to climb on and shade.

I fought, yelled, screamed,  pulled my hair out–worked early on with my son to get him to their starting level of knowledge.  I stood firm when he challenged my knowledge of which letter was S.

And, I really loved the idea of the uniforms.  Everyone fairly equal, and when my daughter goes there, there will be no battles about what she wears (to school, anyway). And, if uniforms can still bring battles, please leave me in my deluded state; it’s nice here.


I just read the full text of the uniform requirements and gasped aloud in horror–boys must have very short hair!  I am no hippy (although I would have made a great one!).  My son, who was blessed with a head full of beautiful, super thick, naturally wavy dark blonde hair has been sporting Mama’s choice; a slightly long, shaggy do.  It is adorable and shows off his locks to the nth degree.

And, I will have to have it cut! In kindness, will not cut it myself (as my many attempts at bang trims have led to about the same number of disasters),  but I will have to trust my hair care professional to help me through this difficult time.

I have enjoyed these years of living vicariously through his beautiful thick curly hair. His hair genes didn’t come from me and sadly my daughter didn’t inherit them.  So, he has been the sole family member with good hair.  I knew it would come to an end someday, but I really thought I had more time.

It’s rather late to find an identical school which differs only in hair requirements. (Did I hear someone say, “Chasing unicorns?)

Short hair.  Too soon. *sigh*  I will get through this somehow.

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