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  • Writer's pictureElijah Ricks

Merritt’s May

Merritt turned 3 this week, sparking an existential crisis for us parents. We are a little weirded out to have our youngest be so old. I take comfort knowing that Apollo is 1, so he’s at the right age to fit into our family. Still, he has fewer potty accidents than the kids, and feeds himself pretty well, so I’d say we’re easing out of it pretty nicely. 

Merritt’s birthday came before we were ready to celebrate, as I had to spend my last day in Schaumburg for the semester, and we had so much else going on in the house. Hakan’s tummy was just fine for this week, but Carver’s stuffy nose got worse, and he came down with a fever, keeping him out of school. After a miserable day on the couch, some ibuprofen got him feeling a little better, but when he had the fever the next day, Kira took him into the doctor to find that he had the flu and strep throat. Luckily, his flu shot from last year shortened the symptoms so that the flu went away pretty well, and the antibiotics he got on Tuesday got his strep under control. He was feeling almost normal on Wednesday, but could not yet go back to school as he was still contagious. He basically just played the whole day, but it was so good to see him feeling better.

Thursday was a big day when we all went to Avey’s first choir concert. She’s really enjoyed the choir, and at the concert we could see why. The teacher had chosen popular songs that everybody knows, and so the kids and the audience could enjoy each piece. We all waited anxiously for Avey’s solo in one of the songs, and watched with bated breath as she approached the microphone. She surpassed our wildest expectations when she confidently nailed each note: loud, clear, and beautiful. It brought both Kira and me to tears of joy to see her try something challenging, and to succeed so satisfyingly.

Thursday was also the last day of teaching for me this semester, so that was nice to get through, but also a little bittersweet knowing that I won’t see many of the students again. Still, I’m glad to know they’ll be going onto bigger things. It’s always nice when one or two of them come up after class and tell me how they just got accepted into a graduate program or were just hired somewhere. I’ve just got lots of grading to do now, and I’ll attend graduation on Friday. Aside from a couple of dissertations I’m chairing, I’ll also supervise some undergraduate research projects over the summer.

Merritt’s birthday celebration was officially on Saturday, and he was so thrilled. We started out with a visit to the small petting zoo nearby. The last time we went, it was so cold that it was maybe not worth the trip, but it was beautiful weather this time. He really enjoyed the animals, and then we went home to drop me off (so that I could mow the lawn), and picked up Apollo to all go to a dog park. We then took him to a “cheeseburger restaurant” (Wendy’s) for lunch, and then home to open presents and cake. He wanted a yellow cake, so we made chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, colored yellow.

He has loved all of his presents, and is so excited to be 3. I really saw a change in his maturity when I gave him a haircut last night and he did not freak out at the buzzer. It was the easiest haircut he’s ever had, so I think he has come a long way. Let’s hope it sticks.

Things are going well with Apollo. He’s getting along better with the boys as they continue to figure each other out, and he has become a good excuse to get to a park or go on a walk. One of our favorite things is his nighttime routine. When the four oldest in the house sit down for a movie most nights, he’ll plop down on the couch for some grooming and petting, falling asleep almost instantly. Then, when it’s time for him to go potty outside one more time before we all retire, we have to nearly wake him from the dead. He is so relaxed and comfortable that it’s hard to peel him away.

We had so much rain this last week, that we are really enjoying the sun today. Sometimes it feels like summer will never officially get here. Merritt and Hakan are both chomping at the bit, as it were, to get to the beach, but we’re sure they’d be disappointed by how cold the water still is. At least there’s plenty of other things to do.

We’ll catch you up next week…


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