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  • Elijah Ricks

Merritt Turns 6

Updated: May 8

Saturday was the celebration of Merritt's birthday, and so I had his cake baked in the morning, and then Merritt's best friend from his class came over to play. His name is Ben, and he and Merritt got along swimmingly. He was a fun little kid, and clearly a genius because he played with my Lego table for a good long time. He joined us through cake and presents.

Merritt requested chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, but of course all he really wanted was the frosting. He had one slice, ate mostly the frosting, and then didn't want any more the rest of the time it lasted. Maybe next year we'll just spread some frosting on graham crackers.


Merritt loved all of his presents. He got new pajamas that he wanted to take for show-and-tell at school, got a map of the world so that he can know where places are (he mostly asks about where Disneyland and Disney World are), and with the cash he got, he told everyone how rich he is. He even told his teacher at school that he's rich. He also got a little Zen sand garden and a personal fan he can use in the summer (he's needed one for some time). One of his favorite gifts was a big bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. This guy is pretty easy to please.


The clear winner this year was a mini-trampoline a relative gave. Merritt bounces around on our couches and beds like his life depends on it, so this little trampoline is exactly what the doctor ordered.

In no time at all, the boys discovered its full potential. Not only can one jump on it, but they can also use it to dunk on the basketball hoop:

By the afternoon, Jesse devised a plan to build a tower of objects next to the trampoline, get a running start, and then bounce over the tower and see if he could not get seriously injured. He and Merritt had great fun with that, and we narrowly avoided the emergency room, so I think it's safe to call this the best birthday ever.


After Ben went home, Kira took the boys to an indoor play place, and then I took Avey to join in a little bit later. I got into the action by using their large foam blocks to build towers, but of course they would last a few seconds before a kid came by to knock it down. I knew it would happen, so I just kept building them and kids kept knocking them down.


We came home for dinner and showers and bedtime. We older kids watched a movie that night, during which there was heavy rain.


Sunday was Merritt's official birthday, but he was in a bit of a mood in the morning. He didn't want to go to church, but eventually got on board as I reminded him that they would probably sing to him and he might get a treat or something. While they were gone, I made Merritt's favorite treat at home, and prepared to make his favorite meal, pancakes, for lunch. Kira was a little later coming home because they picked up a mood ring that Jesse had purchased earlier in the week. He couldn't wait to get it, and he's enjoyed it ever since.


After the pancakes, Kira and I were both wiped out, so we napped. We then had a short family night about Merritt and how wonderful he is. We watched a few family videos of a younger Merritt to remember just how far he's come. For example, here was his first birthday:

It was a rather rough night when Kira was up with a headache and then Merritt was having trouble with a stuffy nose, so he wanted an extra pillow to elevate his head. Kira was up with him for a while, so I let her sleep in while I got the kids ready for school, but then she got up to say goodbye to them. I then got to my mountain of grading during finals week. That kept me busy all day.


Merritt came home from school wearing his birthday crown, and he got right into his new jammies.

He had a good day at school as they celebrated his birthday. I had a dumb meeting as soon as the boys were home, so I did that and then came down to get the kids going on homework while Kira was with clients. She was home at bedtime, and then we older kids went to bed a little later because the following day was remote learning.


Kira had another rough night, and so I got up to feed everybody and let her sleep. I then got back to my grading mountain while she started the kids on their tasks for school. I hadn't left the house in a couple of days, and so I ran a brief errand to the grocery store. It was then even more school stuff until dinner and bed. Hannah came over, but Kira and Avey wanted to get out and do a little something, and so they ran for a little snack.


Kira let me sleep in on Wednesday. Carver had the stuffy nose that Merritt had, but also complained of a sore throat and some aches, so we let him stay home. He acted mostly normal, although his nose was clearly stuffed up. Kira and I both worked on our tasks. I cut the grass after getting to a stopping point with grading, and then Kira left to take Avey to a doctor's followup about a chronic sore throat she's had. They came home very optimistic.


I had a phone call from the department chair, asking if I would be the interim director of the industrial/organizational psychology master's program. I really didn't expect that, because I know very little about that subfield of psychology, but I accepted, thankful that it's only until December. I will find out more about the position tomorrow when I meet with the guy who is leaving the job.


Avey took Apollo on a walk so he wouldn't lose his mind. It was sunny and cool outside, at least. That night I had the TV to myself while Kira worked on stuff for church and Avey worked on a self-portrait for art class.


Kira tried to let me sleep in again on Thursday, but my brain was buzzing about all the grading I had left to do, so I got up and got going, too. Once the kids were gone, I did almost nothing but grading all day. I ran a few errands in the afternoon once the boys were back home. We heard from Jesse's teacher that his standardized test scores greatly improved since last time, and so that was really cool to find out.


Hannah came over a little later, and then told us the saga. She had been in the backyard and seen several young bunnies, but she noticed that one hadn't moved in a while. She investigated and the bunny still didn't run when she got close.

She inspected further and didn't see any injuries, but she called some rehab places and veterinarians to see what she could do. She finally got through to a place that was about to close, so she took right off to see if she could get there in time. She made it, but just dropped the little hairball off. They don't exactly give updates on these random drop-offs, and so we are left to wonder.


Friday was a busy day. Kira signed up to join Jesse's class at the zoo, and I needed to go to commencement in Chicago. I got the kids to school and then Kira left to join Jesse's class. I took a later train to the city, grading the entire way, and then calculating grades in the afternoon. It was gray and rainy all day, so we wondered how their zoo trip would go, but they had a good time.

Kira had to keep track of a few kids, but it wasn't too bad.


When the time came, I got all dressed up in my regalia, and then went to find where we faculty were supposed to line up. The ushers told me where to go, but I eventually realized they had told me the wrong place. Long story short, I missed the faculty entrance, and so then I just went back to my office for a bit and then caught an earlier train home. It's fine - the chair and dean had both seen me in my regalia, and that's really the important thing - they thought I was there.


Once home, Kira had the kids mostly fed, and she and Avey were getting ready to go and see a production of Cats put on by the group with which Avey had done Sister Act. They said it was pretty good, for Cats. I had the boys in bed and Hannah came over for some TV.


Kira was surprised by a package that afternoon with some roses for Mother's Day.

I'd love to take credit, but they were from one of my relatives who recognizes just what a gem Kira is. That was sure a nice way to brighten her day!


Today, Saturday, is finally sunny, although still cool. Avey has a field trip to a choir concert and then she is going to Six Flags for the rest of the day. Kira got up very early to take her to the school, and then came back to sleep while I got the boys fed.


Merritt is chomping at the bit to go to a park, and Jesse has been playing at a friend's house for a while now. Carver's got a play date set up with his good buddy for this afternoon, and so we are likely to spend the rest of the day chasing kids around.


Tomorrow is Mother's Day, of course, so we hope that you are all remembering and thanking the wonderful women in your lives. We know we will!

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