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jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.

Month

April 2018

Girl Time

My son spent the night at his Godmother’s last night and my youngest and I got some rare “girl time.”

I wonder what it is like for her, as she has never known being my only child, and being an “only” myself, I try to navigate my management if their sibling relationship as best I can, with no direct knowledge of either side of it.

At two and a half, she seems content, doesn’t ask about her brother, and is playing with me and our dogs as usual. She played in the sandbox yesterday afternoon, which she usually does solo these days, and doesn’t seem to miss him.

But I expect when big brother returns, full of “I am so cool after a night of being spoiled and being an only again” swagger, I imagine she will rush to greet him with excitement and joy.

They really seem to love and take pleasure in each other, while still maintaining firm grasps on property ownership (each toy amazingly belongs to both of them).

After a docile babyhood,  where she would smile and gurgle at him while he took away any toy that suited him, she has blossomed into a toddler from whom nothing is grabbed away from without a fight.  (I give her brother partial credit in her motivation to develop extreme bicep strength).

I am going to see if she wants to help me make brunch this morning, a task her older brother is loathe to share! “I am doing the eggs! I am doing the cheese!”  It is fuzzy already what he was doing at her age, and I have to challenge myself to make sure she doesn’t get a “free ride” on things because it is easier to get a five year old to pick up toys.

We cuddled last night, and slept in this morning and she had some coveted time watching YouTube kids videos on my phone without competition.

And, before long, we will return to our normal family dynamics…let the fighting and playing commence!

Mini Golf Lessons in Love

I am rule follower, with few exceptions. I have a bit of a lead foot, but still generally won’t go more than nine miles per hour over the posted speed limit.  I recycle, and force my kids and the people around me to do the same (as much as I am able).  I color between the lines.  There is the way you are supposed to do things, and that is how you do them.

And now I am a Mom…

We took the kids to mini golf last night.  At two and a half, my poor sleepy daughter was regulated into her umbrella stoller and only able to give coaching (“hit the ball!”) advice from there.  She took her restrictions fairly amicably for once, probably due to the help of all the sights and sounds on the course.

But my son, my beautiful, athletic, smart five and a half year old son, who had never played putt putt golf before in his life…

We stood at the first hole with him and demonstrated standing to the side of the ball, practicing a swing before hitting, and which direction to aim the bottom of the putter.  He did as directed, and we celebrated each other’s successful shots, and played without keeping score…when we were playing below Jack Nicholson levels, we looked the other way.

On the second hole, he stood to the side as we had showed him, but held the putter backwards. I gently corrected him.  And, at each hole, that putter was somehow always facing the wrong direction, and I corrected him each time.

By the fifth hole, he was standing diagonally to the ball, so his back leg would block an effective swing, holding the putter backwards.  We showed him proper stance and putter placement again.  And again.

But somewhere around the ninth hole, it hit me: he was having fun doing it his way.  Fun! Wasn’t that why we were there?  What difference really did it make if he did it “right”, especially after what was almost turning into nagging?  Who else (that I see in the mirror every day) does it her way even though sometimes it is slower or not the norm sometimes (as long as it doesn’t break too many rules!)?

I took a breath. The most important thing, loving and accepting my son and letting him do what comes naturally for him–have fun!  And, he did! He hit the ball with every imaginable club angle, from many creative positions, and we celebrated every time it eventually went in a hole (with or without our help).

Lessons in Mini Golf and loving my son just where he is…because he is my son.

Missing Genes

I am seriously thinking that my children are missing a gene, an odd DNA strand here and there that helps with learning certain behaviors.  It certainly isn’t missing from my genes; thus it must be some strange omission from the other side.

The following stand out as particularly absent:

First, the DNA that controls the ability to turn off a light when exiting a room.  I would give them credit if it was a momentary, ‘be-right-back, went-out-to-get-a-sip-of-water’ sort of thing…but, no, they are not intending to go back because “let there be light” (everywhere) seems to be their motto.

It’s more accurate than a trail of bread crumbs to tell me every step of where they have been.

I knew my son restocked juice bottles in the fridge because the light was on in the room I use for storage.  I know my son did his chore of feeding our dogs when I found the “trail of proof” light on in the laundry room, door open, light on in the garage, and a trail of dog food pieces leading into the house.

Second, where-oh-where is the DNA strand that would help them identify trash?  Especially, their trash, and help somehow propell their little hands and little feet to actually pick up their trash and place it in one of the many waste buckets I have conveniently placed all over the house.

My oft-used phrase, “Trash goes in the trash” seems brand new to them every time I utter it.

I have verifed that their cute little arms, legs, and hands are functional, but somehow they do not have the gene to identify a used food wrapper and place it where it goes.

The third missing gene that I have identified involves remembering that when clothing is removed, it isn’t immediately  picked up by the Clothes Cleaning Fairy (CCF).  My children seem to think that, just as some magical person must exist to turn off the lights and pick up their trash, there is also a wonderful CCF following them.  I would love to meet her, except sadly, we are one and the same, so in a way, I guess I already have.

Last, but not least, is not the structural configuration to allow my children to hear–they have that–but whatever brain program would allow them to not only listen, but also respond.

There is something so very frustrating about asking them something and being met with dead silence,  and then an annoyed,  “I know!” after I have repeated myself four or five times. I have tried the code word, “Acknowledge”, but thus far this also is met by a blank stare.

They are good kids, I “acknowledge” that, but goodness the missing genes get frustrating some days!  At least, I have their teen years to look forward to, when I hear room cleaning and listening peak! 😉

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