Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Project complete!

The big project my father-in-law did this year is complete. And I couldn't be more pleased.

All my cookbooks fit with some room left over. I'm sure I'll probably do some rearranging, but it's really nice to have them all contained in a pretty way. I have two more chef prints that I have to hang (one on each side of the one already hanging), then it'll be done.

Check it out:

Monday, January 30, 2012

A gated community

Remember the pretty gate I made Jeff buy back when Biscuit first started crawling?

Well, a few weeks ago, we took it down.

I had a talk with Biscuit and explained that we were going to take it down, but he was under strict orders to never, ever, ever, EVER go up or down the stairs without letting me or Jeff know.

He's done pretty well with it. I'd say there have been about three or four times since we took it down that he has tried to head up or down on his own. Every time, we've busted him.

At the top of the stairs, there's an open loft area that serves as Jeff's movie room. Biscuit's train table is up there, so he has decided on a couple of occasions that he wanted to go up and play ... without letting us know. Biscuit's room is also up there, so one time, he said he needed to go up and get a book that was in his room.

The first time it happened, I broke poor Biscuit's heart. I caught him about halfway up, and I made him come back down. He wailed like life as he knows it had ended. He pouted. He whined. But I told him that because he didn't tell me or Jeff that he was going up, he had to stay downstairs and play. Ninety percent of Biscuit's toys are downstairs, so if he had thought about it, making him stay downstairs to play wasn't a horrible thing. The problem was that he wasn't getting to do what he wanted to do.

It took me a good two weeks to get used to seeing the naked stairs. It seemed like the gate had been there forever, and because it was so bulky, it being gone has completely changed the look of the bottom of the staircase.

We still use a gate in Biscuit's bedroom doorway. Well, we usually use a gate.

Biscuit fell asleep on my shoulder last night, so I took him upstairs to his bed. It's getting harder to make it to the top with that sack o' taters on my shoulder. He's a lot bigger than he used to be.

I put him in his bed, tucked Puppy under his arm, pulled up the covers, turned on his noise machine (ocean waves), then headed back downstairs to go to bed myself. The one thing I forgot? I didn't put the gate up in his doorway.

Biscuit woke up this morning and was calling for Jeff. I was already awake, so I headed out to get him. I got to to the bottom of the stairs and looked up to say "good morning." Then I saw that the gate was down.

"Biscuit! Did you take that gate down?" I asked him.

"No, Mom," Biscuit said. "I didn't take it down."

It took me a second to decide whether Biscuit was telling the truth or not. Then I replayed my actions last night and realized that I never put the gate up.

I told Biscuit how much I appreciated him staying in his room and calling for his Dad instead of heading down the stairs on his own.

"You say not to go on the stairs without telling you and Dad," he said to me.

I realize the day will come where it's not so easy to get him to mind what I say. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy my sweet boy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lonely is the night

This time of year is a hard time for Jeff, Biscuit and me.

Jeff's parents will be going home soon, after being here since the week before Christmas. We get used to them being here when we get home from work and day care. Plus, my father-in-law always has some home improvement project in the works right up until the day they leave. (Among the projects this year, he's building bookcases and a banquette in my kitchen.) So during January, our house is a bustle of activity.

Add to that the increased number of basketball games Jeff has to cover, which means he'll be gone two or three nights during the week and pretty much all day on Saturdays. The games usually take a couple of hours, then a couple of hours to get his story written and all the work done, then add on a couple of hours of drive time to get to the games.

Both of these things mean lonelier times for me and Biscuit.

Biscuit and I will spend a lot of time together in the next month ... A LOT! And he'll get on my nerves, and I'll get his nerves. And we'll be frustrated with each other. And we'll vie for Jeff's attention when he is finally able to be at home with us.

I've been saying that after Jeff's parents go home, Biscuit and I are going to make a point of getting out and about more, especially on Saturdays. Of course, I said the same thing last year and didn't follow through. Let's hope I can do better this year.

Once Dad comes home, Biscuit is stuck to him like glue. And I can never decide which feeling is stronger, being jealous that Biscuit ditches me to cling to Jeff or being jealous that I have to wait my turn to have time with Jeff.

The schedule is hard on Jeff, too. When he has Saturday games, he's off on Mondays. So Tuesday, he'll cover a game in the evening. Then Wednesday, he'll work a day shift at the office. Then Thursday, he'll cover a game in the evening. Then Friday, he'll work during the day. Then Saturday, he'll head out depending on whatever time the game is. Personally, I like the games that start at 6 or after. That means Biscuit and I have a little more time with him before he has to leave.

I can tell you one thing for sure, during February and March, I get a small taste of being a single mother, and I don't like it. Come on, April.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A rough night

Biscuit sleeps well. So well that when I share his sleeping habits, other moms roll their eyes at me.

Biscuit sleeps so well, in fact, that Jeff and I are spoiled. If we don't get the sleep we're used to, we're grumpy, grumpy people!

So when we heard Biscuit over the baby monitor this morning at 5:45, it was a little startling. He was yelling, "DAD! DAD! I NEED MY DAD!"

Our bedroom is downstairs, and Biscuit's is upstairs. And at 5:45, those stairs seem almost insurmountable. 

So I made Jeff go! Biscuit was hollering for his Dad, after all.

Jeff tried to soothe Biscuit and talk him into going back to bed. But apparently the nightmare was bad enough that Biscuit had no intentions of staying upstairs by himself. He wanted to join Jeff and me in our bed.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings, when Biscuit wakes up, sometimes we bring him downstairs to our bed. He sits in the middle of our king-size bed, we turn on some cartoons, then Jeff and I doze in and out until we're ready to get up. It's great. My whole little family, together.

But it was different this morning. Biscuit was not in a good place. He was half asleep, half awake and ALL out of sorts.

Biscuit said he needed to go to the bathroom. He was wearing pajamas that zip up the front and have a snap at the top. Stupid me, I unsnapped his jammies before he left the bedroom.

"NOOOOO, Mom," Biscuit whined. "Don't do that 'til I'm in the bathroom. Don't, Mom. Put it back. Put it back, Mom."

So I snapped it back.

Biscuit made his way to the half-bath in the hall, and I asked Jeff to accompany him while I went to the master bathroom. As Biscuit was unzipping his pajamas, he realized Jeff was with him instead of me, and he melted down again.

"NOOOO, Dad," Biscuit whine. "I want my Mom. I want my Mom in here!"

I hurried to take care of business and went into the half-bath. Biscuit was being a real pain. I tried to help him get his pajamas back on, but he wanted to do it by himself. I was sleepy. I was ready to go back to bed. So I got short with him. "Biscuit, stick your arm in your pajamas, right now."

I helped Biscuit wash his hands and sent him on his way back to our bed. He got about halfway there, and I realized that he still wasn't completely awake.

"Griffin," I said to him and held my arms out. Biscuit turned around and ran into my arms. I sat down on the bench at the end of our bed and rocked back and forth. Biscuit had his head on my shoulder, and I realized how tall he's gotten. I had a hard time trying to figure out where to put Biscuit's legs.

I asked Biscuit if he was okay, and in this quiet little whisper, he said, "No, Mom." So I held on closer and rocked some more. I wanted so bad to make Biscuit feel better, but I have to admit that I was really enjoying holding him close. As he's gotten older, Biscuit doesn't like to be snuggled and held. So holding him like that was something that just doesn't happen anymore.

After about 20 minutes, Biscuit pushed away from me and said, "I feel okay now, Mom." He wanted to get back in our bed. I told him to scoot over so I could get in, too, and in no time, Biscuit was sound asleep.

Jeff was snoozing soundly on his side, and Biscuit didn't scoot over quite far enough. I was teetering on the edge of the bed. Sleeping with Biscuit when he's fitful is like sleeping with a small tornado. You doze off, you get kicked in the back. You doze off, you feel a little hand playing in your hair. You doze off, you feel an elbow in your shoulder blade.

I never got to go back to sleep, but Biscuit did. He slept for about another hour or hour and a half, and when he woke up, he was a happy little camper. He was singing and humming and laughing.

I, on the other hand, was not a happy camper. Grumpy, sleepy, tired.

I'm hoping tomorrow morning will be one of those happy cartoon-watching mornings. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Morning logic: As Biscuit and I were getting ready to go this morning, he looked at me with a very serious look on his face.

"Mom, the faster we watch cartoons, the faster you can go to day care," Biscuit said.

"We don't have time to watch cartoons this morning," I said to Biscuit.

"But Mom, I NEED to watch cartoons," Biscuit said.

"No, you NEED to get your coat on so we can go to day care."

My name is Ginger: "Mom and Dad, I'm a puppy. I am Griffin The Dog Named Ginger The Talking Dog," Biscuit said.

A picnic: Jeff wrapped a hand towel around the top of Biscuit's shirt while he brushed his teeth. Biscuit looked down at the towel and said, "Dad, can I spread this out for a picnic?"

"What kind of picnic?" Jeff asked.

"A FOOD picnic, Dad," Biscuit said with a tone that didn't make his Dad sound too smart!

Feelin' fine: Biscuit and I have been dealing with a cold that just won't go away. One night I heard him sounding pretty snuffly over the baby monitor while he slept. So the next morning, I was anxious to see how he slept.

"Biscuit, how are you feeling this morning?" I asked.

"Um, I feel happy, Mom," Biscuit said.

What a great answer!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Today is the three-year anniversary of my Granny's passing, and I've been thinking about her a lot today. 

Granny was the only one of my grandparents who got to know me as an adult. I was 34, almost 35, when I got married, and I didn't have Biscuit until I was 40. Granny never hassled me about getting married and having babies like a lot of other people did. She said everybody had to find what would work for them.

Even so, she was really happy when I met and married Jeff. She LOVED Jeff. She especially loved cooking for Jeff. Of course, he didn't seem to mind the eating part of that deal, either.

When I told Granny that I was pregnant, she seemed really happy for Jeff and me. I think she was a wee bit excited to get another great-grandchild, too.

While I was out on maternity leave, I got a weird feeling and told Jeff that I needed to go see Granny. She lived two states away with my uncle, it was January and Biscuit was barely 3 months old. I don't think Jeff was completely comfortable with the idea of the trip, but he had just taken the college sports writer job at the paper and couldn't get time off to go with me. But when I told him I really needed to do it, he supported me.

I called my Mama and asked her to go with me. She said the weather was too unpredictable in January, and it was too far to be traveling with such a little baby. I basically told her that I was going whether she went or not, partly because I knew if I said that she would go with me, and partly because I meant it. I just had a weird feeling about it.

I carried Biscuit into the house in his infant seat with a blanket over him. As soon as I pulled that blanket off, Granny's face just lit up.

We spent the next day just hanging around the house. Granny spent a lot of time staring at Biscuit. She was too weak to pick him up, but if she sat down, I could lay Biscuit in her arms.

The second night we were there, Biscuit woke me up to be fed. After he was full, I was in the process of getting him back to sleep when I heard Granny calling for Mama and my uncle. I went into her room to ask if she was okay. She said she wasn't feeling well and said she thought she needed to go to the hospital.

I got Granny dressed while Mama and my uncle got themselves dressed. I cranked up my uncle's car and turned on the heater. With Mama on one side and my uncle on the other, they helped Granny out of the house toward the car. When she got to the bottom of the front steps, she turned around and said, "Kim, there are some leftover biscuits in the oven and all kinds of vegetables and stuff in the refrigerator. You make sure to make you some food."

I told her I wasn't thinking about food, I just wanted her to get better. Then they left for the hospital.

Granny never came home from the hospital, and I was glad I trusted my gut and went to see her.

I think of her often when I'm watching Biscuit play. I wish she could see him. I wish she could hear him talk and see how smart he is. I wish she could see his smile and his pretty blue eyes.

Even though Biscuit won't remember meeting Granny, I'm going to make sure he knows who she was.

Here are a couple of pictures of Granny meeting Biscuit:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

It all comes back

Biscuit has started picking up turns of phrase. And what tickles me most is that once he learns them, he uses them a lot. And he uses them correctly.

I was thinking about that the other night when Jeff was trying to get him to take a bath, and he said, "No means no, Dad." He's heard that from me. I'll tell him no about something, and he'll ask again. And I'm trying to teach him that when I say no, don't ask again. So I've told him more than once, "When I say no, that means no."

Here are a few others:

Is that a good plan? When Biscuit forms a plan on his own, he always follows up with "Is that a good plan, Mom?" Like if I say, "What should we do for dinner, Biscuit?" And he'll say, "Um, we should go to the pancake restaurant and eat pancakes. Is that a good plan, Mom?" 

Good as new: The ladder came off of one of Biscuits seemingly thousands of fire trucks, and he took it to Jeff and asked him to fix it. Jeff said okay, then Biscuit asked, "Will it be good as new, Dad?" I've heard Jeff say to Biscuit so many times that once something is fixed, it will be good as new. Biscuit filed it away and used it exactly the way he should've.

Oh, I get it: When Biscuit asks you a question and you give him an explanation, he'll nod his head and say, "Ohhhhh. I get it, Mom."

It was here a minute ago: When Biscuit can't find something, he repeats what he hears Jeff say all the time, "I can't find my fire truck. It was here just a minute ago."

It's more than a little weird to hear your own words coming back to you like that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Little helper

My father-in-law is building shelves and a bench for me in the kitchen. I hope he enjoyed the peace and quiet he had during the day today because once I brought Biscuit home, Grandpa got some "help" ... whether he wanted it or not.

Biscuit got a tool set for Christmas.

And of course he decided to try out the hammer first!

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Jeff was giving Biscuit a bath tonight when I suddenly heard a commotion. Then Biscuit said, "You're not my friend anymore, Dad."

When I asked Jeff what happened, he said that Biscuit asked if he could play in the tub for a while before Jeff washed him. Jeff said that was fine, then he grabbed a book to read while Biscuit played.

We keep a basket of little-kid washcloths next to the tub where we bathe Biscuit. Every once in a while, Biscuit will help himself to one, which is what he did tonight. He got the washcloth wet and was throwing it against the back wall of the tub. He said it was a "mudball."

Jeff said he saw him out of the corner of his eye, but Biscuit wasn't making too much splash, so he didn't protest. As Jeff was reading, he said the mudballs were going, "WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!"

Jeff glanced back up again when he saw a flash of white out of the corner of his eye. The first mudball was blue, but the mudball Biscuit was throwing at that moment was white.

Jeff started to count and realized there were eight mudballs. Eight mudballs made from all eight washcloths we had in the basket by the tub.

Jeff took all the washcloth mudballs away. That's when the "you're not my friend" comment came in. Biscuit was mad because since he had messed up all the washcloths, he didn't have one to wipe his face.

After the bath, Jeff and Biscuit snuggled up on our bed and watched TV. I guess that means they're friends again.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


A toy grenade exploded. There were no survivors.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mr. Photogenic

My son, aka Firefighter Biscuit, came walking into the kitchen like this:

I couldn't decide which feeling was stronger: Thinking it was cute and funny or worrying that he was going to turn up on a beefcake calendar 25 years from now!

For my sanity, let's just say it's cute and funny!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The house of many hats

They say the hat makes the man. But at our house, the hat makes the Biscuit ... and sometimes the Dad ... and sometimes the Mom.

We have lots of hats.

Here are just a few:

We change hats several times throughout our evenings together. Sometimes I'm the cowgirl, Biscuit is the policeman, and Dad is a cowboy. Sometimes Biscuit is the firefighter, I'm police officer Mom, and Jeff is Police Officer Dad. Every once in a while, one of us is a baseball teamer or the zookeeper.

You change the hat, you become a different person.

I love that Biscuit's imagination is so big. He comes up with names and jobs and situations for all of us. He creates story lines and dramatic scenarios in which we have to rescue the people and find the lost dog and put out the fire and lock up the bad guys.

We ride our horses and tell the bad guys to put their hands on their heads. We call for backup on our cell phones and talk on our "hawkie-talkies." We hit home runs in the living room and run the bases through the dining room to the kitchen to the hall and back to the living room. And of course the fireworks are blasting all the while.

We rescue all kinds of animals and use a vet kit on stuffed animals and plastic horses. We make trips to the doctor where we have to tell the doctor what hurts and have our hearts listened to with a blue and purple stethoscope.

Right now, we have a massive racetrack set up between the living room and dining room. The racetrack starts on top of the dining room table. The first piece of track is clamped to the edge of the table. You let a car go, and it speeds down a hill, around a banked turn, down a short straight-away, then launches off a ramp. The other part of the track starts with a launcher that sends the cars down a straight-away through a loop, down another straight-away, then around a banked turn.

I don't care that I have to pick up all these hats every night. I don't care that there are plastic horses, assorted farm animals and cowboys all around the living room. I don't care that there are 50,000 little cars that always seem underfoot. I don't even care that the race track is bright orange, red and blue and doesn't match any of my decor.

All of these things are part of Biscuit. They feed his imagination and stimulate his creativity.

Plus, Jeff and I really like playing with toys ... especially the race track!

Pizza problem

"Biscuit, why are you picking at your lip?" Jeff asked.

"It's my pizza, Dad," Biscuit said.

"What?" Jeff asked.

I had to tell Jeff that Biscuit grabbed his slice of pizza before it was cool the other night and got a little blister on his top lip right in the middle. I first saw it when Biscuit was picking at it the night it happened. 

"Mom, can you get this ball off my lip?" Biscuit asked.

"Ball on your lip?" I asked. Then when I looked at it, I explained to Biscuit that it happened because his pizza was too hot, and it burned his lip. So he remembered the pizza part and tried to explain it to Jeff.

Biscuit picked at that little blister for three days. I honestly thought he'd irritate it so much that it wouldn't heal. I'm so glad it's finally gone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The best laid plans

I picked Biscuit up from day care this evening, and as I was strapping him into his car seat, he asked where we were going.

"Well, we're going to the store, then we're going home," I said.

"Let's not go to the store," Biscuit said. "Let's go to the pancake restaurant and eat pancakes. Does that sound like a good plan?" And let me add that Biscuit pronounces "restaurant" with three very distinct syllables ... rest-a-rant.

"No. That doesn't sound like a good plan," I said. "We have to go buy some things at the store, then we're going to go home to make dinner."

"And dinner will be pancakes at the pancake restaurant?" Biscuit asked.

"No," I said to him. "Dinner will be chicken and beans and sweet potatoes."

"I like chicken and beans and sweet potatoes," he said. "But I like pancakes better."

Jeff was working on a late story, so he called while Biscuit and I were in the store. He said he was done with his story, but he couldn't find his keys. I don't carry keys to his car with me, so Biscuit and I had to take the items in our buggy (about half of what we were there for, I might add) to the cash register. We paid and headed out of the store, with Biscuit asking, "Do we have everything we need, Mom?" the whole time.

As we were leaving the store, I explained to Biscuit that we didn't get everything we needed, but Dad lost the keys to his car, so we needed to go home, get the extra keys and drive the 20 minutes it takes to get downtown. So we drove home, I made Biscuit use the bathroom, I poured some milk in a sippy cup, I poured a little bowl full of crackers, I grabbed my keys to Jeff's car, and we were off.

"Are we going to your work?" Biscuit asked.

"Yes," I said. "We're going to where Dad and I work. That's where Dad's car is."

I thought I had explained every part of our mission, but Biscuit asked about a thousand more questions.

"Where is Dad's car? Is Dad at work? Is Dad coming home with us? Is Dad going to ride in our car? Can I run up the ramp at your work? Can we ride the elevator? Where is Dad? Did Dad find his keys? Does Dad like pancakes? Can we go to the pancake restaurant?"

Needless to say, the whole lost-key thing threw a big, fat monkey wrench into my dinner plans. It was 7:45 before we left the parking lot at work.

And I'm happy (and frustrated) to say that Jeff's keys were down beside the passenger seat in my car. He has a new coat that has very shallow pockets. So when we went to lunch in my car, his keys fell out, and he didn't realize it. I had been driving around with his keys the whole evening.

Jeff and I had cereal for dinner. Biscuit had half a PB&J sandwich and a cup of applesauce. It wasn't gourmet fare, but considering our evening, I think it was good enough.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bath time blues

For some reason, Biscuit did not want to take a bath tonight.

He asked early in the evening if he could watch TV in my bedroom. I told him he could watch a show after his bath, but at the time he asked, we hadn't even had dinner yet.

So as we were cleaning up after dinner, I said to Biscuit, "Are you ready for a bath?"

"No. Not yet," he said. "Maybe later."

Usually, he gets so excited about watching TV that he wants to hurry to the bathtub. But for some reason tonight, he was stalling.

Jeff was folding some clothes on our bed, and Biscuit wandered in there. "Are you ready for your bath?" Jeff asked.

"Dad, when somebody says 'no,' it means 'no,'" Biscuit said. "That's what I say to all your questions about taking a bath."

I was directly in Biscuit's line of sight, and I barely got my back turned before I cracked up. You cannot under any circumstances let them see you laugh. They'll think they've done something wonderful, and they'll repeat the performance over and over, especially in all the wrong situations.

After his comment, Biscuit walked into the living room to play some more. I walked in there and said, "Biscuit, you need to go take a bath."

"I had a bath last week, Mom," Biscuit said. "I'm a firefighter, and firefighters don't take baths. Being a firefighter is dangerous, Mom. They don't take a bath."

"Being a firefighter IS dangerous, but their jobs are also very dirty, so they DO take baths," I said to him. Silly me, trying to rationalize with a 3-year-old.

"I'm kinda tired, Mom," Biscuit said.

"Do you want to go to bed?" I asked him.

"Um, I don't need a bath, so I can just go to bed," Biscuit said.

He would rather skip out on the rest of his evening and go straight to bed instead of taking a bath.

"Because firefighters don't take baths, Mom," he said. It's almost like if he repeated it enough times, he thought I would believe it.

"Listen, I don't care what firefighters do, YOU are going to take a bath. Go see Dad right now," I said.

"Okaaaaay," Biscuit said. "I'll go. But I don't want to." 

But I'm happy to report that Biscuit is clean and ready for bed. Let's hope my pro-bath boy is back tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The beach ... again!

I'm not dead in a ditch. We've been to the beach ... again!

Jeff and I went by ourselves New Year's weekend, but this trip was to a different beach with a different bunch of people -- Jeff's side of the family.

There were 9 of us that stayed in this beautiful oceanfront house that had higher-end features than the house we live in!

We had a good time. We went to the aquarium and the serpentarium (SNAKES!) and spent a whole morning building sand castles on the beach.

Here are a few pictures of Biscuit from the weekend:

A cool bubble window at the aquarium.

"Hi, jellyfish," Biscuit said.

Sand castles!

Sittin' on the dock of the bay

Jumping on the "blocks" otherwise known as cobblestone streets.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My big boy

Biscuit's outfit today featured his "fire shoes," his new skinny jeans and a shirt that Jeff and I just couldn't pass up.

Biscuit had a pair of fire shoes in size 6 and loved them. We tried to find them in a size 7, but no luck. So when we saw a size 8 AND they were on sale, there was no discussion. We bought them.

As for the jeans, they're a pair of Biscuit's new jeans. A friend recommended a store that offers toddler jeans in skinny, boot cut and carpenter. Part of me is bothered by fashion and fads being thrust on toddlers, but another part is glad someone makes skinny jeans that will fit my boy.

Someone along the line came up with an ingenious feature on toddler pants. You never know if kids this age are potty trained or not, so pants have to be big enough to go over a diaper or pull-up, but not so big that they'll fall off of kids wearing underwear. So nicer toddler pants have an elastic band on the inside of the waistband. There's a button near the front of the waistband and the elastic has button holes in it. So you just cinch up the elastic and hook it over the button.

Biscuit's pants fit perfectly with the button in the sixth hole on either side.

Jeff and I were shopping one night and found a rack of shirts that hit every nostalgic nerve we have. There were logos for video games we had as kids, card games, candy, TV shows. We had a hard time narrowing it down to just a couple. We decided on "Wax on. Wax off." I think it was a good call. And if anyone disagrees with me, I might have to sweep the leg!

Here's what Biscuit looked like today:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The remote for Jeff's remote control car has recently become a walkie-talkie for Firefighter Biscuit. Except we had to take it away tonight because Biscuit started bending the antenna so far down that we were afraid it would snap off.

A friend of mine sent me an email the other day saying she had found a firefighter set for $4 that included a helmet, hatchet, fire extinguisher, badge, whistle, vest and ... guess what ... a walkie-talkie. She wanted to know if she should buy it. Um, of course!

She brought it to work today, and we swapped money for merchandise. And after seeing Biscuit handling that remote control, I'd say the swap off happened just in time. I've decided that I'm going to parcel out his new fire set, one piece at a time, starting with the walkie-talkie.

I asked Biscuit if he had any calls over his walkie-talkie, but he quickly corrected me.

"No, Mom. It's hawkie-talkie. That's how you say it. It's hawkie-talkie," Biscuit said.

Well, that's just so cute, of course I'm not going to correct him.

Here he is with his hawkie-talkie:

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dad pushed me!

Jeff walked into the living room the other night with Biscuit on his back. It was a rare sight. If Jeff carries Biscuit, it's usually on his shoulders or in his arms. Biscuit is still so small that Jeff can't get a good grip on him when he's riding piggy-back.

Once they were in the living room, Jeff hunched over a little bit, thinking that Biscuit would slide down his back onto the floor. But what happened was that Biscuit let go and fell hard, right on his rear end.

Whoa! It was not pretty.

Biscuit cried and cried and cried.

When he calmed down just a bit, I asked him what happened. 

(Note: This is one of the joys of parenthood. Even if you saw what happened, ask the kid anyway. You won't believe the explanations and/or stories you get.)

"What happened?" I asked.

Biscuit replied through tears, "Um, Dad pushed me off, and I fell on my booty, and it hurt, and I'm crying about that."

Jeff apologized and told Biscuit it was an accident, and after some hugging and loving and squeezing, everything was fine again.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Say what?!?

A post from The Daddy Man:

Our living room looked like a toy grenade had exploded in it the other night, so I started picking up some of Biscuit's toys.

Biscuit walked into the room, and I said to him, "Hey, boy. Help me pick up some of these toys."

Biscuit looked at me and said, "Um, that's not my job."

It took me a minute to process what he said, but I let him know real fast that yes it is his job to help pick up toys he strowed out all over the place.

That boy best just be glad his Mama wasn't in the room.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No good choice

I went with a friend to see an exhibit about the Titanic today, and I really enjoyed it.

There was a lot of history about the boat and passengers. There were also some tour guides there in costume and character, including a man who was in the role of Captain Smith. Apparently, the captain was getting ready to retire when they talked him into taking one last cruise.

There were a lot of artifacts that have been salvaged from the wreckage. I wasn't surprised to see some metal tools and dishes. I was, however, surprised to see a piece of sheet music, a ride ticket for Coney Island and a perfectly preserved wooden carpenter's ruler. You would think all of those things would be the first stuff to disintegrate. It was all about where certain items were stored. Like the ruler. It was kept in a leather case that had been tanned using chemicals that ended up acting as a preservative for the wood on the ruler.

One thing that surprised me was all the little things that could've changed the outcome. As it was leaving port, Titanic almost hit another ship. What if it had hit that ship and had to stay in port for repairs? The telegraph operator turned off the telegraph at one point. What if he had left it on and had gotten the notification that could've altered the course of the ship? Because they were convinced nothing could happen to the ship, they didn't even put red flares on the ship. Red flares were the ones used as S.O.S. signals. Titanic shot white flares, but a nearby ship saw the white and thought they were fireworks. What if they had been able to shoot red flares?

But by far, the passengers faced the worst dilemmas.

When they started loading the lifeboats, it was women and children first. How could you possibly get on a lifeboat if your husband couldn't come with you? 

The staff members tried to get one woman to get on, but she refused. She said to her husband, "Where you go, I go." That brought tears to my eyes right there in the middle of the exhibit. I couldn't imagine getting on the lifeboat and leaving Jeff behind.

Then it got even worse. I read about how one woman was married AND had sons old enough to be considered men. Leave your husband and sons? No way!

One woman was holding her baby when someone grabbed the baby and basically threw it to someone in a lifeboat. Then they threw the woman into a different lifeboat. When they were rescued, another woman tried to claim the baby as her own. It took a whole day to get the baby back to the mother. So you survive such a tragedy only to have something try to steal your baby?

I think by far the worst decision would have to be if you were a wife and mother of boys and girls. Do you get on a lifeboat and save your girls? Or do you keep your family together, knowing you'll all perish?

When you enter the exhibit, you get a boarding pass with the name and information of a real passenger. At the end, you can look on a manifest to see if your passenger survived or not.

My passenger survived. And because she was a first-class passenger who stayed in the most expensive suite on the ship, her adult son was able to get on a lifeboat pretty early in the process, too.

I hope I never have to make such a terrible decision. I want to keep my boys with me as long as possible.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Parents is plural

If there's one thing I've learned for sure in my 3 years and 2 months of being a parent, it is that parenting isn't all about the big life-altering decisions, it's the 1,000 little decisions you have to make every single day. 

You usually have a good bit of time to think about and worry over and plan the big decisions. But the little decisions have to be made in the spur of the moment, on the fly. 

Do I help him put on his jacket or let him do it by himself? I like helping, but is it more important to let him be independent? If I let him have a snack before dinner tonight, will he expect one every night? Should he be learning to use scissors? Should I buy scissors just in case?

Throw in all the books, articles, TV shows, blogs, message boards and advice-offering moms, and you can spend a whole lot of time questioning your own parenting skills.

Then throw in the fact that women seem to be such control freaks these days (myself included sometimes), that they don't trust their husbands to do anything, mainly because they're afraid that their husbands aren't going to do what needs to be done exactly the way they would do it. 

All of this means that the burden of parenting falls to one person, the worried, stressed-out, insecure mom.
Well, I call bull on that.

I'm not perfect, but I know my son better than anyone else on the face of this Earth. AND, my husband is a good father who is very involved with our son. He feeds him and bathes him and picks out his clothes and takes him to day care and does all the other things that parents have to do. And he may not do things the way I would do them, but if I ask him if he can give Biscuit a bath and get him dressed for bed, Biscuit will be bathed and ready for bed.

There's no reason for moms to put all the pressure on themselves. You can't do everything, nor should you try. But if you're going to ask for help, you have to back off and let things get done. In this case, the end does justify the means.

Parents is plural, and that means that two of us working to make things happen.

The hard part is accepting that things may not be done exactly the way you want them done. But in the long run, does it matter that you wouldn't have put that shirt with those pants? Or that you wanted the child to have milk and the dad gave him juice?

Jeff and I want Biscuit to be a confident, kind person who is happy in his life. We will gladly listen to any advice we're given. We'll read books or articles that we think are beneficial to what we're trying to accomplish. But in the end, we're going to trust our instincts and each other.

And I believe with all my heart that we can help Biscuit become the person he's supposed to be.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New pants

I once heard of an elaborate practical joke where every night this guy's roommate would hem up his two pairs of uniform pants just a tiny bit higher than the night before. The roommate did this for a week, and needless to say, the guy who wore the uniforms thought he was going crazy.

Well, I think someone played that joke on Biscuit over the weekend.

I sent him to the beach with three pairs of jeans, and he came home with the same three pairs of jeans, but each pair was about an inch and a half shorter than they were when I packed them. 

It has to be a version of that practical joke because my Biscuit baby cannot possibly be growing up so fast!

I called my brother today to ask him what in the world they did to Biscuit over the weekend.

"What did you feed him?" I asked.

"It wasn't the food," my brother said. "What happened was that his cousins were fighting over him, so they each grabbed one end of Biscuit and pulled. They stretched him out the whole weekend."

So, Biscuit got new pants this evening. Three pairs of new pants. Buying those pants was weird on several levels:
  1. I've only had to buy Biscuit a few pairs of pants during his 3 years. And most of what I've bought has been just because it was something so cute or so inexpensive, I couldn't pass it up. We've been so lucky with hand-me-downs, that I was a little surprised that I was actually going to have to go shopping for clothes for him ... on purpose.
  2. Biscuit is so narrow through the waist and hips, I can't just go into a store and buy 3T pants. So this was the first shopping trip where we went into the dressing room to try things on.
  3. KID CLOTHES ARE EXPENSIVE! When you're used to having the majority of your child's wardrobe given to you, it's hard to spend that kind of money, even when the clothes are on sale.
I asked Biscuit tonight how tall he planned on growing to be. He stretched his arms up as high as they would go and said, "Thaaaaaat tall, Mom."

"Taller than Dad?" I asked.

"Yes. Taller than Dad," Biscuit said.

So I guess this means our pants shopping trip this evening won't be our last outing of the sort.

Laundry lessons

New rule:

All pants pockets shall be thoroughly checked before the pants are put into the washing machine. Otherwise, as you're swapping clothes from the washer to the dryer, you'll find things like this little roadblock.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Out of the mouth of my babe

Here are a few things Biscuit has been saying recently:

Almost full: When Biscuit is having dinner, and he's ready to go play or he's had enough of whatever is on his plate, he'll say, "I'm eating. And eating is hard time work."

Are these for big boys? Biscuit has some new pajamas that were made by a well-known baby namebrand. The label has a baby's face on it. 

So when Biscuit saw his new jammies, he immediately looked at the tag and said, "Mom, are these jammies for big boys?"

"Yes," I said. "They are definitely for big boys."

"There's a baby right there," he said, pointing to the label.

"Yeah, but that's just the label," I said. "Check out this truck on the front of them. That truck is definitely just for big boys!"

Christmas Lights Face: Biscuit really enjoyed driving around looking at Christmas lights this year. Even if we just went to the grocery store, he ask, "Can we look at Christmas lights on the way home?" And luckily, there were a few houses on our way home from the store that we could cruise by.

One night, right before we got to this one house that was covered in lights, Biscuit said, "Mom, when you see Christmas lights, make this face."

First of all, it was dark. Second of all, I was driving and couldn't see his face. So of course, I said, "Okay."

Apparently, he enjoyed us making the Christmas face because from then on, we had to do it every time we saw lights.

Remember this? Well, THIS is the Christmas tree face.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sitting and staring

I feel drawn to bodies of water. The ocean, with its smell and the mesmerizing sound of the waves. Rivers and streams, as they flow over rocks and fallen tree limbs, just to send the water to whatever bigger body of water they're flowing into. Even the pond at my parent's house, as fish make bubbles at the surface that expand in perfectly round rings all the way to the water's edge.

All this, despite the fact that I am terried of water. A real-live paralyzing fear.

It's only been a handful of years since I've started putting my face under the shower. I use to wet a washcloth to clean my face. Yep. That's how bad it is.

Even so, I want desperately to dive in. But instead, I just sit and stare at it, wondering what it would be like.

A few years ago, on a whim and some encouragement from a co-worker who had done the same thing, I signed up for a swimming class. It was called "Chicken of the Sea" and was billed as a class for women who are afraid of water.


It was just a beginner adult swimming class. There was no discussion of how to overcome a fear of water.

I try to live by the "you won't know until you try" idea (which has gotten me into trouble more than once), so I figured, what the heck. Just be brave and do whatever they tell you to do.

So I did.

I put my face in the water and I glided across the water using a kickboard, learning to turn my head in and out of the water. Nobody in that class knew how scared I was. And I felt a huge personal accomplishment to get as far as I got.

Then came streamlining. We started at the side of the pool. No kickboards, no noodles, no nothing. Just us and the water.

We were supposed to place our dominant hand on top of the other with our arms extended straight out in front of us. When the teacher gave us the signal, we were to take a deep breath, put our faces in the water, then push off the side of the pool and glide. When we ran out of breath or stopped gliding (whichever came first), we were to surface, take a breath and start kicking our feet and pulling ourselves forward with our arms.

Wait a minute! That last part is actual swimming. This occurred to me as I pushed off. If I can do this, I can swim.

So I took my breath, pushed off the wall and glided. It was wonderful. As small as it might seem to some, it was truly one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.

My breath started to run out, and I started to panic. I tried to surface, but instead of going up, I went down. If I'm sitting on a chair, I push down with my arms to stand up, right? Well, you don't so much do that in the water. If you push down, you go down.

And that I did.

I pointed my little gliding hands straight down so I could theoretically push myself up to the surface. Only I was going deeper and deeper. We were in 4 feet of water. It was one of the worst feelings of my life.

I started flailing and my teacher rushed forward and grabbed me. He was this huge guy with shoulders about time and a half again as broad as mine. I should've felt save in his arms, but I didn't.

I was coughing and sputtering and crying. As he turned me around to take me back to the wall, all the other ladies in the class sort of looked away (at the ceiling, at each other, anything but me, really). I got a lot of encouragement, but I was done. I had made it through four lessons in a six-week class.

I share this to say that I have no idea why I'm drawn to water yet so deathly afraid of it. I spent a good bit of time this past weekend sitting on the balcony of our hotel room, listening and watching as the waves of the ocean rush in and out. It's incredible. And if we hadn't had to check out at 11 a.m.  yesterday, I'd still be sitting there.  

I do intend to learn to swim before my life is over. I definitely want Biscuit to learn. 

We never really had access to a pool, but once I hit my teenaged years, I missed out on a lot by not being able to jump into a pool.

So until I get brave enough to take some more lessons (I'm planning to go private next time, so if I flail, nobody but me and the teacher will see it!), I'll just sit here on the sidelines and enjoy the wonder of it all.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Can I send him back?

Remember all that whining I was doing about missing my boy? Well, after about an hour with him, I was ready to send him back to my brother!

The boy was a wee bit excited to see Jeff and me.

"MOM! MOM! MOM! I was so worried about you." That's what Biscuit said to me when he met me at my side of the car.

"DAD! DAD! DAD! Are you my family again?" Biscuit said to Jeff.

We heard all about how he "digged" in the sand and made a sand castle. Then they "digged" a hole big enough for him to get in. Then they took my nephew's new skateboard to the skate park at the campground. Then they went to the playground and there were slides and swings and he got to slide down the fireman pole.

Let me tell you about this campground. It's a gated community, and the only time you can drive your car or truck is to come and go from the place. All the traveling around the grounds is done in golf carts, or something under your own power, like bikes, scooters or skateboards. They have a store and a couple of restaurants and a stocked fishing pond and several pools, including an indoor, heated one. They have a church, a couple of playgrounds and several basketball and tennis courts. The whole thing sits oceanfront, so you can walk from your site to the sand in no time. There's a real sense of community there, and every time we're there visiting, I'm always a little jealous that we don't have a camper.

Anyway, Biscuit talked non-stop for what seemed like forever. He had to tell us everything that happened, and everything his cousins said and everything he ate and, well ... everything.

My brother and sister-in-law said he minded well, short of a couple of "I didn't get my way" moments. They had never heard him say that, so I was a little amused to hear their retelling.

My sister-in-law said, "He told me to turn the TV on. And I told him that first of all, he would have to ask nicely and say please, and second of all, we weren't going to watch TV right then."

Then apparently, Biscuit said, "I don't like that. I don't like that at all."

To which my sister-in-law replied, "I'm sorry you don't like it, but that's the way it's going to be right now."

At which point Biscuit started crying. My sister-in-law asked Biscuit why he was crying, and he said, "Um, because I didn't get my way." I think she had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Other than that, everything went well, and here are a few of the pictures they took of Biscuit this weekend.

We sent Biscuit's new trike. He had the hang of it in no time.

The hole Biscuit and his cousins "digged."

Check out the motor-boat lips. I can just hear the noise he's making.

I did it!

I've survived a weekend without seeing Biscuit. Well, unless you count the photos my brother sent me of Biscuit and two of his cousins sitting in a hole they dug in the sand.

I've been told that there will be times in the future when I can't wait to get away from Biscuit, but this first time was kinda hard.

Jeff and I had fun, and I didn't really realize how much we needed this time together.

We've had uninterrupted conversations. I've been able to eat meals without cutting up someone else's first. Jeff and I played golf. We saw a movie. We've strolled around stores without a buggy or a stroller, and without having to worry if it was nap time or food time or bathroom time.

As I often tell people, I never planned on doing the whole husband/family thing until Jeff came along and ruined all my plans. But now, I can't imagine not having Biscuit in our lives.

Even though Jeff and I said we were going to try not to talk about Biscuit during "our" time, of course we did anyway. Jeff said he never really noticed child obituaries until Biscuit came along. Now if he sees one (and it never matters if it's a disease or an accident or whatever), Jeff said he stops and takes a moment for the parents, praying they'll find some kind of peace in such a horrible situation.

Last week, when Jeff, Biscuit and I were shopping, we ran into a guy Jeff works with. Jeff introduced me to the guy and his wife, and I didn't realize it at the time, but it was the couple he had told me about a few months ago who had been trying to have a baby for a long, long time only to lose triplets during her eighth month of pregnancy. She had other miscarriages, too.

I'm almost glad I didn't know that when I met her. I think I might've had to hug her or something.

I used to get really bitter when I heard about high school girls getting pregnant or women who had no intention of getting pregnant and "it just happened." Some of us aren't that lucky. It takes a whole lot more work to get babies.

How in the world did I just get from Jeff and me spending time together to infertility. Jeezy Pete! 

We're meeting my brother and his family for the Biscuit trade-off at noon. Three more hours, and I get my Biscuit baby back.

Or as Jeff would sing (mocking a restaurant commercial), "You'll get your baby back, baby back, baby back." The jingle is talking about ribs, but I think I'll just grab onto the whole thing. And hold him and love him and pet him and squeeze him.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New day, new year

Jeff and I are at the beach. Biscuit is at the beach, too, just not the same beach.

I figured that since Biscuit did so well spending the night with my brother and his family a few weeks ago, we should try a longer stay ... say, a weekend.

So I told Jeff about a month ago that I wanted to drive to my parents' house (my brother lives 5 minute away from them), drop Biscuit off, then head to the beach.

Being the helpful creature he is, Jeff suggested, "Well, my folks will still be here, why don't we get them to keep Biscuit."

"I don't WANT them to keep Biscuit," I told him.

I obviously didn't mean it the way it sounded, but I could see Jeff getting a little defensive ... something you don't usually see from him.

"Don't you think that I have thought and considered and worried and prayed over this decision, and that I've come up with the best possible solution that won't have me so freaked out for the entire trip that we won't have any fun?!?" I said to Jeff.

Deer in the headlights. That was the look Jeff gave to me.

The beach we're at is 2 1/2 hours from my brother's house. The closest beach to where we live is about 4 1/2 hours away. My thought process is that if I'm going to be away from Biscuit for 3 days and 2 nights, I would rather have him 2 1/2 hours away than 4 1/2 hours away.

"What if something happened, and we have to go home early? Do you REALLY want to be in a car with me for an extra 2 hours as we drive back to our house?" I asked Jeff.

"Um, probably not," he said.

"Definitely not," I said.

Plus, my brother has three kids (13, 9 and 7) to keep Biscuit entertained (and to wear him out enough that he'll sleep well while he's with them).

Last week, my brother almost broke my heart. He called me and said, "Hey. What are y'all doing next weekend?"

With a dumbfounded look on my face and a big ball of lead suddenly sitting in my stomach, I said, "We were planning to go to the beach. Did you forget you were supposed to keep Biscuit?"

"Oh ... yeah," he said.

"Well, that's okay. We'll just take him with us. It's not a big deal," I said to him.

Turns out, my brother was doing what lots of mean younger brothers do to wonderfully loving older sisters. He was messing with me. 

He remembered all along that he was keeping Biscuit. He just wanted to see how far he could string me along. Mama and Daddy should've let me beat him up more when we were kids!

He was actually calling because he had checked out the weather for New Year's weekend at the beach and saw that it was going to be nice and pretty warm for this time of the year. So he figured he'd take his camper and his family to the south end of the beach Jeff and I are at. He was calling to make sure I was okay with Biscuit traveling with them.

Well, let's see. If we had left Biscuit with Jeff parents, he would've been 4 1/2 hours away. At my brother's house, 2 1/2 hours away. In the camper at the south end of the beach we're at, about 20 minutes away. I really don't think there's a question there.

So for the first time, Jeff and I are spending the weekend away from Biscuit.

I'm happy to say that Biscuit is doing great. I'm a little embarrassed to say that I am not. I miss my baby.

My brother and sister-in-law have raised three great kids. There is absolutely no reason I should think that my son would receive anything other than exemplary care while he is with them.

But I worry anyway. Isn't that what Mamas do?

Jeff and I went to a great restaurant last night. Shrimp, scallops, crab legs. Tasty-yummy-licious! Then we went to see a movie ... something we don't get to do a lot of at home. I was truly amazed at all the little things that reminded me of Biscuit. Things that made me think of him.

Before we all left yesterday morning, my brother said to me, "It's not like you're leaving him with total strangers, you know."

"I know," I said. "But you have no idea what I went through to get that baby, and unlike that comedian who says, 'I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out, then make another one just like you', Biscuit is my only shot. I can't make another one!"

And of course he DOES know what I went through to get that baby. He rolled his eyes and said, "Just go to the beach."

So we did. We're in an oceanfront room on the sixth floor. Just high enough to get a good view without being so high that we can't watch the people (and dogs) walking and playing on the beach.

We're planning to play golf today, and I've found us another seafood restaurant to try tonight.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting impatiently for Jeff to wake up.

I woke up just in time to catch the sun rise (and a few pictures, too).

The first sunrise of the first day of a new year.

Happy New Year. I hope it will be a good one for everyone.