jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.


October 2017

How My Kids Build My Self-Esteem


It would be nice to be a Hollywood star, with a personal trainer, a personal chef, and maybe a plastic surgeon on staff to help me get my body back in shape after two pregnancies, but that is far beyond the constraints of my budget. I don’t have the same amount of free time for self-care.  All the personal development courses I used to take have fallen by the wayside.  My post-baby body hasn’t rebounded as quickly or as well as I had hoped, either.  Fortunately, however, I have my children to help me rebuild my self-esteem.

My five year old son likes to have contests, which produce one winner, one loser, and no one in between.  While I am not a big proponent of Participation Trophies or always praising everything they do, getting his seat belt buckled before I can buckle his little sister in and get around  to his side of my car does not feel like a win-lose type of contest.  Or worthy of his “You Lose!” song, which doesn’t contain many more lyrics than repeated statements about me losing and him winning and a ton of finger pointing.

“Mommy, I am little, my sister is little, and you are big!”  Thanks, son.  I know, at five, “big” is not an insult, but it hits on the pregnancy weight I never lost.  Weight which would have been appropriate had my daughter’s birth weight been twenty pounds, the amniotic fluid five, and her placenta another five.

Also, he is thoroughly convinced that he is much stronger than I am.  No, at five, he is not yet stronger than I am.  One day, he will be.  But not today. And when that day comes I will be the mother looking at her son towering over her and I will be repeating the famous phrase, “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”

Then, there is my two-year-old daughter.  She recently followed me into my bathroom, as she does most days, fascinated by what I was doing sitting on the toilet.

“A poop?’ she enquired, with genuine excitement, trying to peer behind me into the bowl.

For some reason, channeling a Hugh Grantish British tinge to my voice, “No, sorry.  Just pee.”

“No poop?” she repeated, clearly disappointed that I had led her on, obviously a cruel parental bait and switch situation.

“No, sorry.”

With a small growl of disappointment, she walked in front of me, and stared at my crotch.  “Ah, YUCK!” she exclaimed, pointing in case I was unsure of her reference, and stomped out.

No need for self-help books, therapy, or a visit to Dr. Phil; my children are all over building their Mom up!




Photo Credit Jamiesrabbits on Flickr.  Thank you for the use of your awesome image!

Incompetent Adulting Part Two: Failed Life Hack

I like to think of myself as moderately handy around our house.  I can fix some minor things, and sometimes I come up with brilliant work arounds.  But sometimes, they turn out to not be so brilliant.

I bought a matched set of my children’s initials to hang on the wall in their room.  Beautiful white, six inch tall wooden initials.  I hung my son’s relatively easily, but became distracted and didn’t get to my daughter’s until the end of the day.  Her first initial went up fairly quickly, but I got stuck on the last two.  They wouldn’t hang relative to his in a straight manner nor would they hang well relative to each other.  I was tired, I needed to scrounge up something for dinner, and I just wanted it done.  So, I came up with a brilliant idea!  I took the last of my peel and stick command strips and layered the backs of them, then firmly pressed them to my walls.  I stepped back and enjoyed the set of matched initials, six mostly evenly spaced letters in two neat groups, symbolizing the two beautiful children who occupy the room.

But, I noticed a few days later, my daughter’s middle initial was missing, and the next day her last initial was also missing.  I looked around and saw them on the floor; her middle initial broken in two pieces and her last name initial under their rocking chair.  I attempted to pick them up, and found out the command strip was now working and the downed letters were stuck firmly to the floor.

I tried to pick up the letter after gently prying at it with my fingernails.  No go.  I tried pulling more firmly.  No go.  I tried twisting it.  No go.  I didn’t want to pull too hard because I didn’t know whether the letter, the command strip, or the fake wood pattern on the five year old wood-looking laminate flooring was stronger.

Next attempt included a handy friend and a putty knife.  I figured it would take a minute or two.  Slide the putty knife under it, and it should come up.  (This is the same mind whose logic got us here).  Ten minutes later, the three pieces are off the kids’ flooring, but most of the command strips weren’t.

Fifteen minutes later, he had cleared all the command strips off the floor, and I was still trying to get enough of them off the back of the letters to try hanging them again (nails, this time). 

I have glued the broken one back together.  I debated rehanging it, and hoping the black line where it broke isn’t too disruptive or spending about twenty dollars for letter and shipping and handling ordering one online from the store that initially sold it to me for three dollars.

Where was the adult supervision I clearly needed?

Momming, On The Cheap

Parenting, as anyone who has children can attest, is not inexpensive. Food, insurance, clothes, entertainment, education, and the endless requests for every new toy. Even though my son doesn’t get everything he wants, he appeals for every fun-looking new toy that advertisers manage to place on his radar.

I am astounded at the ticket price just to get in our local amusement parks and zoos, much less do anything once I pay for parking and admission.  The pricey “fast pass” addition is almost mandatory if we want to actually get on any rides; and I would need a second job if we wanted to eat at any of the local zoos and children’s museums.

So, I, like many other parents, I suspect, have found some ways to save money and still keep my kiddos entertained. I call it “Momming, On the Cheap.”

Here are a few ways we save:

Goodwill, the new museum. Just browse the easily accessible aisles full of toys from today and years past. Many will have been helpfully pre-played with, so my children can experience what their use and function was. I don’t have to stress if they break anything, since it won’t cost all that much to buy it. Their clothing racks are full of styles from past eras. Their aisles are walked by colorful people of all walks and stations of life.

Halloween store, the new amusement park. We spent a happy hour wandering around the recently opened Halloween store. All throughout the store, there were colorful masks and costumes, and buzzers my kids could step on to activate ghosts, radioactive zombies, and ominously singing creepy children.

Petsmart, the new zoo.  Aisles and aisles of temperature-controlled comfort, and animals from rescue cats and dogs, to fish, parrots, lizards, mice, and guinea pigs. Parking is usually convenient, and entrance is free. Sometimes there are moving attractions, such as a pre-teen with her lab on a leash, willing to stop and introduce her and let my son pet her dog. Sometimes there are pens out by the front, with rescue puppies waiting to wag their tails.  The Doggy Daycare area has tons of doggies interacting, playing, and sometimes even pooping (always good for a laugh!).

Costco, the new restaurant.  I don’t mean lunch at the food court, though it’s hard to beat taking home a pizza and feeding us for a day or two on it, I mean going to Costco on a typically busy day and wandering around once, or twice, or three times and grabbing a sample of food each time. During their peak hours, this can be enough to fill those little tummies—and my not-as-little-as-I-wish-it-was tummy.

So, save those dollars and Mom, On the Cheap!

My Kids’ Room

My kids’ room reached critical level recently.  If it had been a nuclear power plant, red lights and sirens would have been going off.

It was so deep with toy debris there was really no way to walk to the far wall and turn off a night light or open their blinds.  It stayed like that far too long because not only were my kids too intimidated to even start cleaning it up; I was, too.  It only got worse the longer we all ignored it; as though the Fairies of Debris snuck in each night and played among the ruble.  Somehow, despite no one being able to get in it, it kept getting worse.  I was worrying that any day we might see a filming crew from Hoarders, Junior.

My friend helped me get started one morning after we both had a stiff shot of caffeine and a good night’s sleep.  As best she could, stepping over and around the wreckage, she went in.  It took me a few tries to cross the threshold.  And maybe a valium.  Probably not, but maybe.

We practically raked out the layers of dirty, broken, and mismatched toys.  We cleaned the parts of the toys they still use and made piles until there were nearly complete sets of toys and the kitchen accessories were actually near the toy kitchen.  Foam swords were placed near other foam swords.  Learning ”computers” were stacked together.  We found games I had forgotten they owned. 

The toys they no longer had interest in were snuck out in a garbage bag to be donated because I knew I would get vehement pledges of loyalty, declarations of this being their “favorite” toy ever, and crocodile tears  if they saw what we were doing.  We even located the floor and had enough room to vacuum up weeks and weeks of dust, dirt, and pet hair.

Now, their room is perfect! 

There is a cubby holder for each category of toy, the toys they no longer have interest in are gone, the dirty toys have been cleaned, their beds are made, and even their stuffies are lined up neatly in a cute little row.  It’s perfect.  It’s beautiful.  I took several pictures and compared them with the “before”s.  I posted the after on social media.  I nearly cried at the peace and beauty of it.  I go back in there when I need a Zen moment.

And, they are NEVER EVER EVER going back in there again.  I am not kidding.  Nope.  Not to sleep and certainly not to play. Never.  Some rules a Mom just has to stay firm on.  The end.

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