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jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.

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Parenting

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!

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.

But…

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.

Earning My Pants

Namaste.

I inhale, deeply breathing in the essence of life, of Mother Earth, of all humanity.  My mind and body become completely still.  I lean into Garland Pose and a small scent of patchouli surrounds my lean, strong body in size small, stain-free yoga pants, the bottom edges sitting just above my perfectly manicured toenails.

(The above was not actually me, just how I pictured myself practicing yoga before my first class).

I am a Type A person, who rarely makes or takes the time to relax.  That caught up with me finally and my doctor recently recommended meditation.

I have a history with meditation, however.  When I meditate, I either mentally redo a room in our house, make an unworkably complicated plan for world peace, or fall asleep.

He suggested I try yoga instead.

So, there I was, in the midst of all the nearly immobilized, calm-seeming folk on their personalized yoga mats with their cool-looking yoga sloganed tank tops and yoga pants (finally, I am official!  I must admit, I have been wearing their pants under false pretences since childbirth…).

I want to share a bit of my internal conversation during my sixty minutes of calm, peaceful time “practicing” my yoga.

This is my brain on yoga:

–Where is there a space in the back?  It is only open up front? Shoot! I have to get here on time next time, whatever the kids pull.

–Downward Dog! Ha! I won’t even make fun of that name, I won’t make a barking noise…and look how good I am at it.  Yoga. I got this!

–I think we are out of almond milk. I better put that on my list. Wait, what is everyone else doing?

–Put my right hand on the mat. Easy! Right elbow to left knee, now do what?  Do people even bend that way?  Oh, look, all those people in the front row do…

–Is that lady looking in the room from the childcare center? I hope it wasn’t one of mine!  If I ignore her, maybe she will leave.

–Why is no one else sweating?  Seriously,  I would love a fan or preferably a Blackberry Mojito right about now!

–I wonder what time it is?  Are we close to an hour yet? I think the clock is on the back wall; I will take a quick peak at it.  Wait!  Where is it?  Oh, no, on the front wall…and, busted! (As the instructor smiles at me).

–How are all these other people not only standing on one leg without jumping around to catch their balance, but some are sticking a leg straight out.  I missed those muscles at birth!

–Oh my goodness! The lady over there just farted loudly! Thank God my sinuses are clogged and, mostly,  THANK GOD it wasn’t me!

–Thanks for giving me the other version of this pose I am already trembling in, and hoping to do a reasonable facsimile of, until we can return to Downward Dog, my new home.

Namaste!

 

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!

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! 😉

They Are My Sunshine

There is a song from the 1940s by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell that has been covered by numerous artists and part of the lyrics are:

“You are my sunshine,

My only sunshine

You make me happy

When skies are grey

You’ll never know dear,

How much I love you

Please don’t take my sunshine away.”

It was likely written regarding a romantic love interest, but it reminds me of my love for my beautiful children.

A hard day? I can bring a smile to my eyes thinking about hugging my daughter.

Tired? I perk up after work when I arrive at daycare and hear jubilant screams of, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” as my two and a half year old runs to me for a hug.

Tonight, when I arrived at my sitter’s, my son ran out singing his own version of “Mommy’s here!  Mommy’s here!  She’s here!  My Mommy’s here!” and running back and forth between her door and my parking space.  It showed not only his ever-lasting love but revealed the possibility he had conned her out of quite a bit of sugar.

My daughter has the cutest angry/pouty face when she has been sent to her room,  and stomps out in indignation.  It is all I can do not to smile where she can see it as she stomps away.  And, a few moments later, it is hard not to cave when she holds up a toy enticingly, and says, ” ‘Prise, Mommy!” (her copy of her older brother’s way of “buying” himself out of a time out by putting together a cute collection of his toys as a “surprise” for me.

My heart swells each morning to look at their cherubic faces as they sleep,  before I slip off to get a few chores done before they wake up and want to help.  Before long, my five-year-old will be able to really help me on some of them.  He is getting so big, but unfortunately  it takes almost as long to explain what I want him to do and ask him enough times that he gets started on it,  as it would to do it myself.

They are my sunshine!  They make me happy when life is grey!

They will never know fully how much I love them.

Please never take my sunshine away…(except, of course, when they are 21 and then I will be okay with them getting their own places).

My Junior Groot

I recently watched Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 on Netflix.  I love the characters,  their in-fighting and their many flaws.  And, Chris Pratt is not hard to look at, either.

But one scene, amazingly, was very similar to my everyday life.  If you haven’t watched the movie, SPOILER ALERT!!!

 

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Baby Groot, the only one of their band who is free on a space ship full of outlaws, is the only hope to help Yondu & Rocket Raccoon escape.  They only need Groot to bring Yondu his prototype fin to replace his original fin, which was destroyed by the Ravagers.  They describe it in intricate detail, and Groot returns with a desk, a small live animal, a severed toe–even Yondu’s underwear–everything BUT the needed fin!

Asking my five-year-old son to bring me something is so much like this…

My two year old daughter had fallen asleep on my lap in my chair, or getting it myself would have been the least painful course of action.

“Honey, can you bring me my phone?”

No response; my young man didn’t even look up.

“Honey?”

“What, Mom?”

“Can you bring me my phone?” I asked again, pointing at it.  “It’s on the end table, by the couch.”

My son, turned in circles, looked right at the couch, not seeing it, and handed me a tissue.  I am Groot.

“No.  It’s on the far end table, baby.”

“What’s an ‘end table’?”  I am Groot.

“It’s–”

He reached down on the floor, found a toy car, and started to bring it to me.

“Honey, that’s not my phone.”

He shrugged and handed me the toy car.  I am Groot.

“Honey! Mommy really needs her phone!”

“Where is it?” he asked, trying to hand me a Parenting magazine.

“On the end table, by the couch.”

“What’s an ‘end table’?”

“The TABLE at the END of the couch.”

“What?” Turned and looked at couch, not seeing or comprehending the word “table.” I am Groot .

“The TABLES. At the END of the COUCH. There are two of them! See, two?” I shook my head at the proffered water bottle.

Blank look, twirling resumed,  “What?”  I am Groot.

“THE TABLES! AT THE END OF THE COUCH! DO YOU SEE THE COUCH?”

He nodded.

“AT EACH SIDE, LIKE THE END, THERE ARE TABLES. ONE IS FULL OF JUNK. LOOK AT THE OTHER ONE. NOT THAT ONE! THE EMPTY ONE!”

Deep breath. My daughter, used to a loud house, slept soundly during this exchange.

“Yes. That thing there. My phone is on it.”

He stopped twirling.

“Please bring me my phone.”

He skipped to the far end table, and brought me a Christmas card from my friend in Canada.

“Right place, wrong object. My phone?” So close.

He returned with my phone.  He is Groot!

Thankfully, he has never brought me a severed toe (no comments on underwear).

Was he playing me, or is five years akin to, “I am Groot”?  What do you think?

 

Five Year Old Musings

Here are a few cute and sweet random conversations from my son this week.  Five years is such a prescious time, on the cusp of being a little boy, but with an imagination that doesn’t stop.  This post was sparked by the following conversation:

“What are you doing, Mommy?”

“I am going to write my blog.”

“Oh, good!  Can I help?”

“Sure.”

“What is it going to be about?”

“How much I love you!”

“Aw, Mommy, I love you, too!”

“Look, I am going to write ‘Mommy’!”

So, I showed him how to type: Mommy

And he carefully considered what I have shown him, and typed: abb3322114455

Nailed it!

 

“I like you in my sight!” is my favorite new compliment.

“I like you in my sight, too!”

“Aw, thanks, Mom!” he answered.

 

I picked him up from daycare the other day, and informed me he had a girlfriend now.

“Tell me about her.”

“She wore pants.”

“What is her name?”

“I really don’t know that.”

Ah, true love!

 

“Mom, before I can go to bed, I have to feed my kittens.”

“Your kittens?”

“Yes, my kittens. There are five of them and they are invisible.”

“Okay, go feed your invisible kittens.”

“Thanks, Mom.” He comes back, “Uh, Mom…”

“Yes, baby?”

“One of them threw up.”

“Is it invisible?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Okay, I will clean it up after you go to bed.”

 

After screams had subsided from the backseat while I was driving is home in heavy traffic: “Mom, sister isn’t my friend anymore. Maybe she can be some day, but not now!”

 

“Mom, I have something important to tell you.”

“Yes, baby?” I stopped what I was doing due to the seriousness of his tone.

“When Poppy asked Branch to share his food with everyone, he didn’t want to.”

“I know. Sharing is nice, but he was worried they would eat all his food.  What would you do?”

“I would make a magic wand so everyone could have food.”

I love this age, as I have loved him since he first kicked from inside.  Every day raising him is a true blessing to me, even when I am tired and he is on fully charged internal batteries. I hope we can always have such great conversations.

 

 

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