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jannica merrit

humor. honesty. sometimes both.

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Parenting

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.

 

 

Top Ten Reasons Mommy Is Losing Her Mind

 

It’s Tuesday, and already it has been a super-long week.  Overtime hours at work and a house in worse than its usual state of disarray.  I fell asleep early on the couch, watching Transformers (my favorite!) on Netflix (not influenced at all by my five year old son). It started out rather okay. It started out…

I am pretty sure a break down is imminent.

Here is a Top Ten List of the reasons why:

  1. Waking up to puke on my floor
  2. Waking up to a puke covered toddler
  3. Waking up to puke on my couch
  4. Waking up to puke on my pants
  5. Waking up to puke on my t-shirt
  6. Waking up to puke in my hair
  7. Waking up to puke on my floor
  8. Trying not to puke myself at the smell
  9. Carefully taking off puke-covered toddler’s clothes
  10. Cleaning up puke from my toddler’s skin
  11. Cleaning up puke from my toddler’s hair
  12. New jammies and toddler to bed
  13. Cleaning up puke from my couch
  14. Cleaning puke off the remote control
  15. Dragging myself into my bedroom
  16. Finding another sick child in my bed
  17. Carefully taking off puke-covered preschooler’s clothes
  18. Cleaning puke off my preschooler
  19. New jammies and preschooler to bed
  20. Cleaning up puke from my comforter
  21. Cleaning up puke from my sheets
  22. Cleaning up puke from my mattress cover
  23. Washing puke from my pillows
  24. Washing puke off of my hair
  25. Washing puke off of my hands
  26. New sweatpants and t-shirt
  27. Smelling bleach cleaner all over my hands
  28. Washing couch cover, clothes, sheets, and towels at 2 am
  29. Wishing I had never bought raspberries

Wait, I think that is more than ten.  But, I am too frazzled to fix this. I am going to get some sleep before the kids wake me again.

 

The Great Alphabet Battle, Part One

My son likes to hit things with sticks.  My son likes to play video games on his tablet and “kill” bad guys.  My son likes to wear super hero costumes and run around with his friends.  My son likes to go to the park.  My son likes to eat lasagna and ice cream and pizza with only cheese on it.

My son, however, does NOT like to learn anything and is content to look at signs, and make up what he wants them to say, and “read” them to me.

It seemed we were on track at age two, when he learned the alphabet song and sang it over and over and watched Sesame Street.  (Even though when he sang, he said “x” twice and omitted “s”).

But cut forward three years…his two year old sister, a Super Why super fan, knows about two-thirds of her letters, and her brother at five, knows about three.  We were fortunate enough to get him accepted into a top notch school, and he will be evaluated in three months before kindergarten in August.

But, he doesn’t know his letters, and he doesn’t care.  I have tried so many things.  Rubber letter quizzes in the bathtub, where he shrugs his shoulders and says he does not know and his sister behind him will quietly and correctly say, “Q” . 

He refuses to watch Super Why or Sesame Street now.

A month ago, he fixated on a Nerf gun with a ton of accessories at Costco.  It was a bit expensive, but I bought it and told him he could have it when he learned his alphabet.  That darn gun has sat in its box in the living room ever since.  He has tried to trick me into giving it to me, his sister, my friend, and his Grandmother.  I made a Rewards Chart that showed making effort would get him his Nerf gun.

I have tried working with him by my putting the bath letters in order on  a table and singing the song and pointing to them, then working on which one is which.  He sang as fast as he could and laughed.  I made a set of flashcards with the alphabet to go with the bath letters, and asked him to match it to the corresponding card in the bath set.  He played it whole-heartedly two times, did well, and then decided before he could play, he had to stack all the bath letters in piles by colors, and refused to try to identify any.  I downloaded The Letter Factory from Leap Frog. 

I have had had it.

He has lost tablet and television privileges until he learns his alphabet.  And his Nerf gun is going back to Costco.  I am not playing anymore.  Because I won’t fight battles at this level with him for the next thirteen years over homework. 

Wish me luck…

 

Momming Everyday

 I love my life as a parent.  I love my kids.  I love the thought processes of my children, and I love our everyday life together. Some of the every day things, that really are extraordinary, melt me with joy and pride at these amazing little humans (“I am NOT little! I am a big kid!” my son would say if he could read this).

The living room dance offs.  When I bought an Alexa Dot, is was mostly to use the timer to try to help me stop burning things I cooked in the oven, and extract some fun information from her.  But, her access to music—specifically, Alvin and the Chipmunks songs—has started off a whirlwind of dance parties, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

The sleeping positions no one over ten would ever think of.  Head dangling off a chair cushion, chest stretched out backwards, a leg in each direction, and my son fast asleep.  My daughter has been observed sleeping in a position which indicated she was standing next to the couch, and basically fell over, face forward, sound asleep with her feet still on the floor.

My two year old spends time plotting to get to do her favorite activity: taking a bath.  She will take my hand and try to lead me to the bathroom, saying, “Come, bath.”  And when I am already in the bathroom, she will grab the bottle of bubble bath and wave it enticingly, dancing around because surely, if I just think about it, I will want her to have a bubble bath. 

My five year old explains things to his two-year old sister, so she can understand life concepts such as that we can’t get a new car because ours already has a back seat.  He is working his master plan constantly so we can get a more acceptable house.  Our house is not acceptable, not because he shares a room with his sister but because we do not have a staircase.  Indoor or outdoor, he is not picky, but to really be a home a house needs a staircase. 

My daughter last night mastered the art of making Lego towers, and beamed with pride as she made tower after tower and carried the precariously tall towers wavering around the living room to show off to her visiting Grandmother and myself.

My son has recently graduated to a big boy bike, and hand brakes. The training wheels aren’t quite off yet, but he no longer stops Fred Flintstone style by sticking out his feet.

I love every moment, except how fast it is all going. No cure for that; I just have to enjoy every bit I can get.

Keeping It All Together for the Holidays

I Kept It All Together For The Holidays!

For the holiday season, with good organization and time management skills, I kept up our usual schedule, all the while creating Pinterist-worthy cards and home decorations.  The kids enjoyed a myriad of holiday-related activities, baking cookies from scratch, and helping decorate our house.

I wanted to share all, but I can’t.  I pride myself on writing an honest blog.  The reality is I really tried but I sunk to a few new lows this holiday season.

The good news?  We all made it through, despite my son wanting three (yes, three) Christmas trees, making nice enough personalized cards with my adorable children (and actually sending them out), and presents for everyone were bought (and not shopped for at the Circle K on Christmas Eve, as I have heard some people have done).

A few new lows:

I never found our Christmas stockings, so pretended that tradition didn’t exist and was glad my kids forgot about it as well.  (It’s amazing what an overabundance of sugar can do; I won’t say “sugar coma”, but “sugar forgetfulness”).

I utilized spraying Febreeze in place of cleaning when company was coming over.  I was out of money from gift buying and couldn’t afford my cleaning lady, but didn’t step in to cover for her.  My kids are sadly too young to be forced into child cleaning labor, so I was glad the health department never checked the germ levels on my kitchen counters.

We actually ran completely out of clothes.  My children have too many clothes, and at their sizes, everything looks adorable.  On the days they weren’t too stained and different people watched them from one day to the next, I left them in the same clothes two days in a row because I didn’t have anything clean to put them in.  For Christmas Eve, their Godmother gave them each two new outfits and I was so excited because not only were they cute, that was two more days of clothes for them to wear.  As I write this, tomorrow’s work clothes are in the dryer, carefully calculated to have just enough outfits until my next day off when I will surely tackle the seven or so unwashed loads.

Some Most All of my presents underwent an Un-Martha-Stewart-like treatment as I didn’t have the time or energy to wrap or even buy gift bags.   I relied on an old tried-but-true method of wrapping called, “Close your eyes and hold out your hands.”  Santa was on the same page, but managed to put a bow on his unwrapped present (and he enjoyed a peanut butter cup as that was what we had on hand was a nice change of pace from the cookies).

In retrospect, I only had the bandwidth for so many things, and prioritized the holiday things over the routine things.   But, in January, I do hope to raise those standards back up.

Did anyone else lower their standards temporarily for the holidays?

 

For Wherever Christmas Finds You

This time of year can be fraught with so many emotions, joy, sadness, hope, grief, love, and spiritual blessings and drama.  Some people find so much joy…and some people are left behind.  I have had so many different emotions for the holidays over the years.  

I remember the excitement of Christmas I felt as a child, and the loneliness I often felt before I became a Mom.  I had years after growing up as the fifth wheel at other family’s  gatherings and years alone and years with other single friends celebrating an “anti-Christmas”. 

Motherhood changed Christmas for me as well.  Now, I bounce around between my children’s excitement and my reformed curmudgeon status.

I want to wish everyone a peaceful, joyful day, wherever they are.   Whether with family or friends…or alone or at work, remember that this, too, shall pass.  Please keep in mind that things are heightened right now, and if you are sad or feeling despair, there is always another day to make a new start.

The expectations that we set for ourselves and others can lead us to frustrations and disappointments.

If the day is hard, if family isn’t getting along, if you have no family; just do your best to get through it.  Do what you need to, within reason, and muddle your way through.  It will be okay. 

Take a walk outside if you can or watch a funny movie. 

Start a new tradition that makes your heart smile!  Our family is still finding ours, and you can, too!

What are the holidays like for you?  What traditions bring you peace or joy?

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving the House Pre and Post Kids

Is my life really so different since having my children?

In college, I would get up about two hours before I needed to leave the house. I would shower, because starting a day without taking a fresh shower was just nasty. I would shave, and not just to the knees, a full on “going-to-the gynecologist”. I would towel dry, apply mouse, and partially dry my hair. I would apply lotion all over, so my skin would hydrate in the dry climate I was living in. I would put on my make-up base, and allow it to set. I would dry my hair a bit further, then apply blush, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, and set it with a dusting of powder. I would finish my hair styling with a hot iron, curling brush, or crimper, depending on the style I was going for that day. I would then use some hair spray, to ensure my style would last for the day.

I would go to my closet, and if I hadn’t already thought of a theme for the day, I would pull out a number of different outfits to try on. I would match something to my hair style, or to what classes I had, and if I had a date for lunch or coffee that day. I had two closets full of stylish clothes, and stayed up on all the current trends. It might take five or six different attempts before I found “the one” that fit my vibe for that day.  I would then coordinate a lip color to accentuate.

Then I would go to my shoes. Some outfits had shoes I usually wore with them, but that didn’t mean I would always stick with them. My black pumps were a favorite, but I had shoes or boots for every occasion, and they all were worn.

Then, I would go to my jewelry box and determine if I needed earrings, a necklace, a bracelet, or rings. Some days all, some days just one or two. I tried not to always accessorize my outfits exactly the same every single time.

Two hours (or so) later, I was looking fabulous and ready to meet my day.

In motherhood, I get up about two hours before I need to leave the house. I give medicine to our elderly cat, and I let our dogs out to pee. I breastfeed my daughter, and try to get my kids to eat something solid and healthy (something solid). I clean up their faces, if they did eat.

I brush my teeth and hair. I pull my hair into a pony tail, or spray it as is if it looks ok–try to remember to, anyway. I wash under my arms and apply fresh deodorant. I find a clean(ish) pair of yoga pants, and try to find a clean t-shirt that doesn’t clash too badly. I then apply some Chapstick.

I change my daughter’s diaper and try to check that my son hasn’t put his outer clothing on backwards again. I check that both his shoes are from the same pair, and on the correct feet. I brush both their teeth and hair.

I chose between my tennis shoes and my black flip flops (which have stylish wedge-type heels).

Two hours (or so) later, I am ready to face the day.  So similar…same lead time…

 

Transforming A Christmas Curmudgeon

BAH HUMBUG!

Since I found out the horrible truth about Santa, I have always been a huge Christmas Curmudgeon.  I had been concerned as a small child, as our house didn’t have a chimney.  My parents explained that Santa was not only wise but clever, and could crawl through the opening of our swamp cooler on the roof.  Year after year, I would diligently wait for the jolly old man, only to just barely miss him after falling asleep, and one year after going out for ice cream, I missed him by a reported only five minutes.

But somewhere, Christmas became less about Jesus (and presents) and family (and good food), and more a time of year when I would get sad, depressed even.  If I decorated at all, it was with an eighteen inch “tree” made out of bare branches, with one or two gifted ornaments.  (Think Tim Burton’s house). 

I hated the lights and decorations, because they just reminded me what time of year it was.  I was annoyed at the wasting of electricity.

I would send cards to the people who had sent them the previous year, and made a list of family members and friends who hadn’t reciprocated and made sure never to send them anything again.  I called it my “Christmas Grudge List”. 

Then came two beautiful children. 

A two year old who gets excited by an honorary aunt’s Elf on the Shelf, calling it, “Santa! Santa! Santa!” and a five year old who was beside himself last year riding around looking at the lights.  Yes, we deliberately got in the car with no purpose other than to actually drive around and seek out people’s houses with Christmas decorations.  And he loved it. And I even enjoyed myself.

As my son grew from infancy, I bought a pre-lit tree and cursed quietly under my breath every time I scratched myself on its branches walking past it, as it stuck out too far in our smallish great room.  I bought hard-to-break plastic ornaments, and stockings that repeatedly fell off my mantle (though Santa does have a chimney to slide down in my house).

This year, I found the most wonderful thing; a “pencil tree”!  I put it together while my children slept one morning after Thanksgiving.  It looked beautiful and didn’t stick out.  My kids were utterly unimpressed.

My son, “I want the other tree.  Can we get the other tree down from the attic?”

“But we have this tree.  Isn’t it beautiful?”

“We can have two trees!  Let’s have two trees!”

Big sigh.

And later, my son asked, “When are we putting our lights up on our house, Mommy?”

When designing our custom family cards, I bought an extra package of twenty so we wouldn’t run out. 

In our yard is our brand new projector light to put reindeer dancing on our house.  We were the first house on our block to get lights up.  Both Christmas trees stand guard over a singing and dancing Santa that my daughter found, contributing in her own way.

Bah humbug?  Not in this house!

 

 

Grateful for the Strangest Things, Part Two

We have a wonderful Thanksgiving planned this year, but I still find that while I am grateful for the usual things, I am also grateful for some of the strangest things.  Some of them have changed since last year, and new ones have cropped up:

I am writing this with one hand and at a thirty degree angle while my daughter plays with a retractable tape measure and laughs at a deafening level with her legs across my stomach, and my son is “making a salad” for a monkey on a cooking app on his tablet, and squeezed in a space of approximately six inches between me and the arm of my couch.  Spending time with them is my happiest time; and I am grateful they want to be with me.

When my son said he had his sister’s “co-opulation” he didn’t know what that sounded like to my adult ears.  He just meant that she had finally been persuaded to get out of the driver’s seat in my car and come in the house from the garage.  (I now have two would-be back up drivers).

My kids are still scared of what happens at “three”.  I can count, with or without the demonstration of the numbers on my fingers, and they will listen to my directions. They usually aren’t happy, but as long as they comply.

And now, my son is cooking an elephant a dish with pumpkin, even though the elephant shook his head, “no” to the pumpkin.   “He doesn’t want it, but I am going to make him try it.”  Where has he heard that before (spinach at dinner)?  My children make me laugh!

Speaking of which, grateful that my Alexa Dot has a full cadre of Alvin and the Chipmunk songs, because even though it is a tad bit strange to hear the Chipettes sing, “If you like it, then you better put a ring on it” the songs start some of the best dance parties in the history of my home.

Even though he does it with the hugest put-upon attitude, my son will go to the fridge and get me a diet soda if I ask.  (“Train them young,” I say).

My son is generous enough to find the Amazon app on my phone and find wonderful toys and presents for his friends, his sister, and me.  I am glad he is generous and wants to give.  I am even more grateful that he does not know my password.  I am also grateful that the folks at Amazon were understanding when during a brief moment that the parental controls were off of my daughter’s tablet and she ordered ninety-nine dollars’ worth of children’s shows on Prime, that they reversed the sale.  Amazing work for an hour for a two year old!

Wishing a wonderful Thanksgiving to everyone!  What “strange” things are you grateful for?

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