Thursday, January 31, 2013

A bad day

"God, I always said I would never bother you about baseball. Lord knows you have bigger things to worry about. But if you could make this pain in my shoulder stop for ten minutes, I would really appreciate it."

That's a quote from a baseball movie I like to watch. And I thought about it today when I was having a very, very frustrating time trying to get my work done.

My quote would've been more like, "God, I always said I would never bother you about page designing and copy editing. Lord knows you have bigger things to worry about. But if you could make my computer not crash until I get the rest of my pages out, I would really appreciate it."

As you can guess, today was rough. It was so rough that I had to step away from my desk on three separate occasions for fear I would just have a breakdown crying fit.

Then I started thinking about the quote above.

Then I remembered a necklace my Mama gave me. It's a pewter sand dollar on a black string. On the back of the sand dollar, it says, "Be still and know that I am God." And I decided to use that as my mantra. I needed to calm down.

Our office is in a sort of chaos right now. We're having computer problems. The jobs in the newsroom are being shifted and rearranged. The furniture in the newsroom is being shifted and rearranged. And today, a big media company bought our paper.

I realize that several months down the line, all this stuff will be sorted out, and everyone will have his or her place, but right now, it just seems like everything is disorganized and out of sorts.

And I don't deal well with out of sorts.

Jeff brought me a bottle of water, and I went into my top drawer to get a drink mix packet. When I reached into the drawer, I accidentally knocked the lid off a little stone box Jeff gave me years ago.

Want to know what was inside? A white rock with the word "calm" printed on it.

That was about as clear an answered prayer as I've ever seen.

"Calm down and get it done."

And I did. My pages were late, but they're done.

And then I met Jeff, Biscuit and my in-laws at the pancake rest-au-rant. And what could be better than family dinner AND pancakes?!?

So as Scarlet would say, "Tomorrow is another day." And let's hope it will be better than today.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When it rains, it pours

A post from The Daddy Man:

I dropped Biscuit off at day care this morning, and as I was leaving, I had to call Kimmy.

She answered, and I said, "There is no dignified way for a grown man to chase a small Spider-Man umbrella across a parking lot as your 4-year-old yells, 'GET IT! GET IT! GET IT!'"

She was laughing before I even finished telling her about it.

Biscuit stepped out of the car this morning with his umbrella. He loves the umbrella and was all excited about using it. But before he even took a step, the wind whipped it right out of his hands.

Then I was on the run ... with Biscuit in tow.

So I was dragging Biscuit with one hand, grabbing for the umbrella with the other hand.

Every time I reached down for the umbrella, the wind blew and it skittered just out of reach. Then I'd get a little closer, reach down ... and the wind would take it just out of reach again.

I finally grabbed the umbrella and folded it down. And of course Biscuit asked if he could have it back. I told him we'd leave it in his cubby at day care, and that seemed to be an acceptable compromise.

We need to get that boy a rain coat with a hood.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

I know I just did an "out of the mouth of my babe" post yesterday, but little man said two things tonight that I just had to share.

Wouldn't it be lovely? I've always loved the word "lovely." The only problem is that I feel pretentious when I say it.

Jeff's Grandma used the word "lovely" quite often. But she was an older lady who had doilies on her end tables. The word fit when she said it.

So I thought it was really funny tonight when I told Biscuit that we were having spaghetti and meatballs, and I made some garlic bread to go with it.

He replied, "Mom, it's lovely when you have bread with spaghetti and meatballs."

My 4-year-old son was suddenly inhabited by the spirit of somebody's sweet grandma.

Pesky pests: We spend a good bit of time trying to keep ants out of our house. Their favorite spot to show up is our downstairs half-bath. It's one room away from the kitchen, where you'd think they'd show up, but nope, they like the bathroom.

Biscuit was going in there tonight to take care of business.

With his pants around his ankles, Biscuit waddled into the hallway and said, "ANTS! There are ants on the floor."

I JUST mopped that floor a couple of days ago, so I was more than a little peeved. I went in, grabbed a wad of toilet tissue and started squishing the ants. I killed maybe eight of them.

"What's going on in there?" Jeff hollered.

"The ANTS!" Biscuit said. "The ants are trying to KILL ME!"

So I guess that means by squishing those ants, I saved Biscuit's life. I'm a hero.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Ocean words: Biscuit and I were looking at a book about the ocean, and I had to stifle at least a couple of laughs.

The first one was on a page where an aquarium employee was doing some maintenance on an exhibit.

"Do you know what that is, Mom?" Biscuit asked. "That is a scupa diver. He can go under the water and breathe using his air tanks."

That's not a typo. He said "scupa."

Then we saw a picture of a beach with birds flying around.

"MOM!" Biscuit said. "We saw some of those at the beach! They're called sea dolls."

"You mean sea gulls?" I asked him.

"No," he said, "sea DOLLS." 

Chauffeur: Sometimes when we're getting ready to go somewhere, I'll hand the keys to Biscuit and ask him, "Do you want to drive?"

And he'll say, in a very exasperated voice, "Moooom, I can't drive. I don't know how."

"Well, I'll have to teach you sometime," I'll tell him.

Well, my promise came back to haunt me last week. Biscuit and I were on our way home, and he said to me, "Mom, if you teach me to drive, I can take us all over the place."

"Well, you have to be 16 to drive," I told him.

"Oh," he said, but I could see the wheels turning. "So how far is it to 16?"

"Let's count it," I said. "You're 4 now. Then next you'll be what?"

"5, then 6, then 7 ..." and he counted all the way to 16. "Whoa! That's a lot of years!"

Cool moves: When Biscuit hears a dance-worthy song on the radio, he'll ask Jeff and me, "Do you want to see my cool moves?"

And of course we say we do.

Yesterday evening, I was trying to get Biscuit to show his cool moves to Grandma and Grandpa. But he was stalling.
After Biscuit thought about it for a while, he said, "Mom, I only do it on Saturdays and Mondays." 

"So you won't dance?" I asked.

"I'm just tired to doing cool moves ALL the time," he said.

Biscuit's brother: Sometimes Biscuit will come up with names for his animals or firefighters or other toys, and you always wonder how he comes up with them.

We just recently figured out where his imaginary brother's name came from -- one of the cartoon shows he watches. Of all the names on all the TV shows he's seen, he decided that his imaginary brother's name would be Monty.

Sometimes Monty gets blamed for things (sometimes I think Monty is quite innocent). Sometimes Biscuit goes to visit Monty in the land where he lives. Monty is a very versatile young man. He has had all kinds of jobs, and he knows a lot about a lot of things. 

We're usually reminded how much Monty knows when Biscuit is trying to contradict something we say.

He was talking to Grandma tonight about how many kids a school bus will hold. Grandma said her bus would hold 66 kids. But Biscuit didn't like that answer, even though he's never even been on a bus.

"Well, in the land where Monty lives, the school buses will hold 95 kids!" Biscuit said.

Just out of curiosity, I asked Biscuit if Monty was a real person.

"Um, he's just a pretend person," Biscuit said. "But Monty, he'll be coming to our house in a jippy."

"In a jippy?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "That means he's coming in just a little while.

Icky food: On the way to dinner tonight, we were talking about vegetarians and vegans and how none of us think we could be either one.

My mother-in-law was saying that some people use tofu in place of meat. Biscuit shot me a look then said, "Eeeew! I don't like toad food OR frog food!"

Saturday, January 26, 2013

More pictures

There are a lot of changes going on at work, and I've been really tired and really distracted. So much so that I've been forgetting to take pictures of the everyday activities, like Jeff and Biscuit playing together. Or Biscuit taking a nap.

Things should be settling down soon at work, so I'm hoping to pick my camera up more often.

Here are a few pictures I took last night and today:

Jeff counts Biscuit ribs. For some reason, Biscuit thought that was pretty funny.

Is Biscuit deep in thought or taking a nap?

He's cute when he sleeps!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Biscuit's hands

I went up to tuck Biscuit in last night, and he said I could choose his bedtime book.

I grabbed one off the shelf that we haven't read in a while, and as I turned the pages, the butterfly below fell out.

Biscuit's tiny little hands make this butterfly's body and wings. And these are not current hands. These are 1-year-old hands. And seeing them last night, I teared up a little. His hands are so much more grown up now.

Biscuit is learning how to write. He's struggled with it so far because he still tries to use both hands. He's pretty good with both, but he's just a little better with his right. So as far as handwriting goes, we're going to encourage him to use his right hand.

I've heard horror stories from should've-been left-handed adults who say that their parents and teachers forced them to be right-handed. As a left-handed person, I can't imagine that happening.

Although, one day when I was in the first grade, we were going to cut out shapes. Mrs. Carnes said, "Okay, raise your hand if you're left-handed."

My hand shot up. Then I started looking around the room. I was one of two people with hands raised.

I felt a little self-conscious, so I started lowering my hand.

"Raise your hand high and keep it up," Mrs. Carnes said. "I need to know who needs special scissors."

If I weren't feeling self-conscious enough, that just pushed it right over the edge. And if I can help it, I don't want Biscuit to have to deal with any of those kinds of feelings.

I don't care which hand Biscuit throws with. Or cuts with. Or eats with. But he has to pick a hand for writing. At least while he's just learning.

So far, Biscuit has been tracing dotted letters. And as long as it holds his attention, he's getting better. But when he's not in the mood to do it, you can definitely tell. He scribbles until his teacher says he can go play.

But yesterday, Biscuit made his first letters without any lines to trace. He made freehand Gs.

Check 'em out:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Good sport

Basic parenting is easy. The kid has to be fed a few times a day. We have to wash him and keep him dressed appropriately for the temperature. He has to sleep for a while. And we have to remember to pick him up from day care. Easy-peasy.

But the concept stuff is not easy. It's quite hard. Sometimes you can convince yourself that you just can't win. That no matter which answer you come up with, there's another answer that might be just as right as the first.

We've been working with Biscuit on sportsmanship. The boy likes to win. Or more accurately, the boy doesn't like to lose. And therein lies the problem.

We want to teach Biscuit that it's okay to not win. But we don't want him to think it's okay to be a loser.

See the problem? We want to teach him to be gracious when he loses, but we also want him to try to win. And for a little man, that's a hard concept.

Biscuit has been asking for a while if he could be on a baseball team. So I looked around and found a local T-ball league called Bitty Ball. Signup is in February, and since Biscuit still doesn't have a firm grasp on time, he thinks it's going to take FOREVER before he can play on a team.

One thing that surprised me is that parents of kids who play have to pay $5 and watch a video on good sportsmanship. Parents who are supposed to be teaching their kids how to be good sports have to watch an online movie to learn how to be good sports.

My brother's son is playing on a basketball team, and my brother said he's seen parents misbehaving, too. Apparently, one mom and dad yell out a running dialog of what their son is doing wrong. And they do this yelling from the bleachers. If they yell at him that way in public, it makes you wonder how they treat him in private. Plus, I wonder if it embarrasses that kid when they do that. And does it make him want to quit playing.

My brother was also telling me that during one game, the coach got the roster mixed up. Each kid is supposed to play an allotted amount of time in each game, but because the coach accidentally turned in the wrong roster, one kid only played for about 3 minutes.

The offended parents confronted the coach after the game. The coach apologized and tried to explain what happened, but the parents refused to let it go. So they never brought their son back. My brother said exactly what I was thinking. "So they're saying to their son that when things don't go his way, he should just quit."

I remember being in the stands when my brother wrestled in high school. I would get all stressed out because as hard as I fidgeted and pushed down on the bleachers, it didn't help him win any quicker. And if I felt that way with him, I can't imagine how nerve-wracking it will be watching Biscuit at bat.

One thing that Jeff and I will absolutely do. We will not be those obnoxious people. And we will try to teach Biscuit to strike a balance between what it means to win and lose.

Now if someone will send us a pamphlet on how to do that, we'll get right on it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Parent-teacher conference

Jeff and I had to go to a parent-teacher conference last week. Yep. A parent-teacher for a 4-year-old.

It was actually a kindergarten readiness meeting ... which in Biscuit's case doesn't really matter because he has a late birthday and can't go to kindergarten in the fall anyway. 

And as a side note, I was really surprised by how many parents didn't sign up for conferences. I realize they're only 4 years old, but most of the kids will be going to kindergarten in the fall. Are these parents not even interested in whether their kids are ready or not? The scheduling wasn't the problem. They had appointments during morning drop-off, as well as lunchtime meetings. And the teacher said if parents couldn't make either of those, they would set something else up.

Anyway, as Jeff and I sat at the table, our personalities were clearly on display. I was sitting forward with my elbows on the table, and Jeff was leaning back in his chair with his arms crossed.

Anyone who knows Jeff and me knows that I'm the worrier, and he's the calm one. I'm impatient, Jeff could pass for Job on most days. I analyze everything, Jeff goes more on his gut.

And all these things were evident simply in the way we were sitting at the table talking to Biscuit's teacher.

She said that academically, Biscuit is doing really well. He needs to work on his writing (which we knew already). And she said he sometimes has a hard time focusing, especially when it's something he doesn't want to do (writing, cleaning up toys, doing art projects). She said that would come with age, and it's not something we should worry about. (Clearly, she wasn't talking to me!)

His teacher said Biscuit is always great during story time. 

"He listens to the story, and afterwards, he can repeat the story," she said. "And he can always answer the questions about the story. Oh, and he tells the other kids when they don't get the questions right."

(Yay for the reading comprehension. Boo for the obnoxious correction of the other kids.)

The teacher explained the curriculum she has to use for the 4-year-old class. She's not happy with the curriculum, but she can get in trouble if she doesn't teach it. She doesn't feel that the curriculum prepares the kids for kindergarten. And after looking through this month's lessons, I agree.

These kids need to be learning to write numbers and letters. And they need to be sounding out simple words. Instead, this curriculum has them dealing in critical thinking, often times on things that are too simple for them.

So as much as I hate to say it, we're thinking about finding a new place for Biscuit to go. He's been going to his current day care since he was 12 weeks old. And we've been very satisfied ... until now.

His teacher is really nice. She loves Biscuit. She was actually his teacher in the 1-year-old class, too, so she knows him very well. But as far as teaching him what we feel he needs to be learning, her hands are tied. And she so much as said so. She has a son in second grade, so she knows what the kindergarten teachers expect.

And since the 4-year-old class is the highest all-day class at Biscuit's day care, he'd end up repeating the same class until the 2014 school year started.

So Jeff and I are going to visit a Montessori school next week. And I found out that a day care just a mile from our house has a kindergarten prep class for kids like Biscuit who won't be quite old enough for kindergarten this fall.

I didn't think we'd have this much worry about school until college. Who knew it would start even before kindergarten?

Monday, January 21, 2013

A day for the grownups

Jeff, my in-laws and I went to the movies today. Jeff and I were off work for the holiday, and without any guilt or bad feelings, I dropped Biscuit off at day care, then did a few errands, then went to see a movie. A grownup movie. With grownup actors in it. A live-action movie that didn't involve any cartoon characters at all!

On Friday, I told a friend at work that I was taking Biscuit to day care today so I could go to a movie.

She said, "So much for the new mama who cried every day for the first two weeks he went to day care."

And she's right.

When Biscuit was 12 weeks old, he started going to day care. And I did cry every morning for about two weeks. I couldn't stand the thought of leaving him with people I didn't know. I couldn't stand the thought of not being with him all day.

But this morning, I had no problem at all dropping him off and doing exactly what I wanted to do.

That doesn't mean I love him less than I did when he first started day care. As a matter of fact, I think I love him more because I've gotten to know him as a real-live little person with his own thoughts and quirks and ideas. 

I love the person he is. He's sensitive and smart and great with words. He makes us laugh all the time -- sometimes WITH him, but mostly AT him. He has a great imagination and loves to learn new things. He gets really excited over the simplest things, and his excitement is totally and completely contagious to anyone around him.

I could go on and on ... but that's my job. I'm his Mama.

But even after listing many of the things I love about him, I can still say that I had no problem dropping him off this morning to go have some fun.

I think having time to myself every once in a while makes me a better parent. It's sort of like how the flight attendants tell you on the plane to put your own oxygen mask on before you put a mask on the kid. You can't help the kid if you pass out from lack of oxygen.

The same goes with having time to myself. If I don't have some time to myself to watch a TV show or go to a movie or have dinner with a friend, I find myself on edge, more impatient and generally not as fun to be around. I have to take care of myself to be able to take good care of Biscuit.

This is very much a work in progress because there's a lot of guilt involved in taking time for yourself. But I'm working on it. And some day, I hope I can look back and feel that I did the best I could.

Oh yeah, the movie was really good, too.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Words and meanings

Biscuit is good with words, and he's getting even better.

Now, he is starting to understand when words have more than one meaning.

The other day, he said to me, "Mom, there's lots of meanings for 'right.'"

"Really?" I asked. "Tell me."

"Well," he said, then paused for a second. "When you are telling somebody where to go and you say 'right', that tells them which direction to go. Then you can tell somebody they knew the answer when you say they were 'right.' Then when you want to make letters, you 'write' them."

"That's really good," I said.

But on some things, he's still a little cloudy.

We were on the way to dinner tonight, and I asked Biscuit what he wanted to eat.

"Um, I want chicken tenders and french fries," Biscuit said.

"I was thinking we could go have some lizard tail hamburgers," I told Biscuit.

"Eeeeeewwwww!" Biscuit said. "You can't eat lizards! Mom! You don't eat animals."

"What about chickens?" I asked him.

Then his tone changed like he was speaking to a complete idiot. "Mom, there are chickens that are animals, and there's chicken that you eat."

"Where does chicken come from?" I asked him.

"It's not the kind of chicken on a farm," he said. "It's the kind of chicken you eat."

So even though Biscuit is good with words, there are some concepts we still need to work on.

Friday, January 18, 2013

But what about the snowman?

We got a few inches of snow last night, but Biscuit almost didn't get to play in it.

By the time the snow started to accumulate last night, Biscuit was in bed. Then we got up this morning and got ready to go to day care and work. (Day care opened a couple of hours late.) It was looking like Biscuit wasn't going to get to play in the snow.

As Biscuit and I were walking out of his bedroom, he said, "Mom, I want to go watch it snow."

"It's done snowing," I told him. 

"But I wanted to watch the snow come down from the sky," Biscuit said.

"There won't be any coming from the sky, but there's still a lot on the ground," I said.

"Can we go see it?" he asked.

"Sure," I said.

As we looked out the window, he saw snowflakes drifting down off the tree limbs.

"It's coming down, Mom!" Biscuit said. "It''s snowing again!"

He was so excited, I didn't feel the need to tell him it was coming from the trees, not the sky.

"Come on," I told Biscuit. "We need to get ready for day care."

"But Mom, how will I make a snowman if I have to get ready for day care?" Biscuit asked.

I felt bad because Biscuit didn't get to play in the snow last night. And we were in the process of getting ready to go to day care this morning. And by the time we get home in the evening, it's dark. We don't get snow that often, so I really wanted to find a way for Biscuit to play.

"Get your jammies off ... quick!" I said to Biscuit.

I ran upstairs and grabbed his ski bib (size 2T that still fits perfectly, I might add) and ski boots, then I ran back downstairs and got him dressed in about 10 seconds.

Biscuit and I went out and played for about 15 minutes. Well, he played while I cleaned off my car.

I hadn't put up Biscuit's bucket and shovel from our beach trip, so I grabbed the shovel for him to use in the snow.

I was using Jeff's snow brush to clean off my car. And Biscuit decided to "help." His efforts ended with me asking him to clean the tires with his shovel instead of the part where there's paint.

Jeff came out and finished cleaning my car while I got ready. Then we took Biscuit to day care.

He said he was sad because he didn't get to play outside long enough. But luckily, they went outside at day care. The little kids got to throw snowballs at the school-age kids. Sounds like a good idea to me. After they were pelted, the school-agers helped the little kid build snowmen.

Most of our snow is already gone, but here are a few pictures from this morning.


Thursday, January 17, 2013


We're getting the first snow of the season, and I thought Biscuit would be excited. He didn't seem to care that much.

That might change tomorrow if he gets to go out and play in it.

It was weird earlier in the evening because we had some thunder and lightning. I don't think I've ever seen that happen before in a snow storm. It was cool and creepy all at the same time.

I'm not sure how much we'll get, but the good news is that if Biscuit's day care is closed tomorrow, Grandma and Grandpa are here to take care of him while Jeff and I work. That's one drawback about working for a newspaper -- people don't care whether there's snow or not, they want a new paper on their doorstep the next morning. So that means Jeff and I have to get to work no matter what.

Here's what we have so far, and it's supposed to keep snowing until at least midnight.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Family beach trip

We decided to take another long weekend trip with Jeff's side of the family again this year.

We went to a different beach than we visited last year. This beach was really pretty, but it was different from any beach I've visited before.

First of all, the beach was about 20 steps down from our house. And when high tide was in, there was only about 3 feet of sand left showing at the bottom of those steps.

Jeff and I stood out looking at the stars after dinner Saturday night, and I said to him, "This would be a perfect night to lay a blanket down on the beach and just look at the stars. The only problem is that we'd wake up drowned!"

The stars were beautiful, though. The island is almost all residential, and with it being January, a lot of the houses were empty. So at night, it was pretty dark. But that made the sky just light up. I told Jeff that the sky looked like something you'd see in a movie.

And speaking of movies, have you seen the previews of the movie about the kid who survives a shipwreck and shares a lifeboat with a tiger? Well, I've seen the previews, and at times, the beach looked a lot like those previews. The colors melded together, and you couldn't tell where the sky stopped and the water started.

The weather was very random. It was cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon and the nighttime temperatures were all over the place. The first night, I wore a scarf and gloves. The second night, I didn't even wear a jacket. There was fog, and one afternoon, we got some rain. But for January, we had no complaints at all.

There's nothing to do on this island in the off-season. Actually, there isn't a whole lot of stuff to do when it's in-season. But I was quite fine with that. After having a hard time at work for quite a while, it was nice to sit back and do nothing ... absolutely nothing.

I'd love to go back to the island during the spring or summer, just to see what it's like. Sounds like another trip is on the horizon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Beach trip

So instead of the sunburn most people bring home from the beach, I brought home a nasty cold.

So I'll share more details of our trip, but since I still don't feel great, I'm just going to share some photos.

There were about 20 steps up to our house,
so we had great views of the beach.

Grandpa and Biscuit walk down the beach in the fog.

Time to throw shells into the ocean.

No hotels in sight. The town was all rental houses
with only a few mom-and-pop-type motels.

Pretty colors at sunset.

We saw a good bit of fog while we were there. It made the beach look pretty creepy.

Family self-portrait. And guess what? Biscuit has gone
from a fake smile to a smirk. Hmmm. I wonder what's next?

Grandma and Grandpa walk down the beach under a pretty but menacing sky.

The town had a nice park on the Intracoastal Waterway.

He's gone from a crazy fake smile to a smirk.
Hmmm. I wonder what will be next?

The water was so clear, you could see the plants, oysters and clams.

Boys always have to throw things. He picked up a handful
of rocks and couldn't wait until we got to the end of the pier.

See that rock flying through the air?

Jeff and Biscuit check out the drawbridge.

My tired boy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe -- beach edition

We spent Thursday through Sunday at the beach with Jeff's side of the family. We rented a house that we couldn't have afforded in the summer, and there was plenty of room for all nine of us. (Pictures and more details to come.)

Here are a few things Biscuit said while we were there.

Multitasking: One night during our trip, Biscuit was getting a little antsy. Everyone seemed to be doing something not kid-friendly -- playing cards, watching TV, playing video games. So I set up Biscuit's DVD player and put a movie in for him.

He seemed quite content, until whoever had the remote flipped to a show he likes on PBS.

"Can I watch that?" Biscuit asked.

"You're watching a movie," I said. "Do you want to watch your movie or the TV show?"

"I can watch both," Biscuit explained. "I have two eyes."

Good logic, bad plan. I turned off his DVD player, and he watched the show on TV.

Direct and to the point: Grandma was having a conversation with Biscuit one night about what he was going to do the next day. His big plan was to dig in the sand.

"What are you going to do if they roll up the sand?" Grandma asked.

"I guess I'll fall in the ocean," Biscuit answered.

That pretty much sums it up.

Sweet dreams: Biscuit has been talking in his sleep ... well, since he could talk. That's actually how Jeff and I decided to quit using a baby monitor. 

When Biscuit was 2, I said to Jeff, "Very few nights go by when that child doesn't wake me up just chat- chat- chatting while he's sound asleep!"

I tend to forget about it until we go somewhere and Biscuit sleeps in the same room as Jeff and me.

I was sound asleep one night during our trip, and from the foot of the bed, I hear this little voice say, "Mommy! When I closed my eyes, I couldn't see the pictures in that book. (pause) You're always supposed to read me a book. (pause) Every. Single. Night. (pause) That's when you read me books, Mom ... at night. (pause) Every. Night. (pause) Mom, do you promise to read me a book every night?"

I didn't know if he could hear me or not, so I just answered him. "Yes," I said. "I will read you a book every single night." I kept reassuring him, then he finally went back to sleep.

I asked him this morning and again this afternoon if he remembered talking to me, and he didn't. And I might be in trouble because Jeff read him a bedtime story tonight. Not me!

A sign of home: Our drive home from the beach was about 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Biscuit always does really well in the car. We play games and tell stories and sing songs. Every once in a while he'll ask if he can watch a movie, but more often than not, he just likes to check out the scenery.

About 45 minutes from home, Biscuit said, "Mom, is it going to take FOREVER to get home?"

"No," I said. "It's going to take about 45 minutes." 

Biscuit doesn't really have a concept of time, so that didn't mean too much to him.

About 10 minutes down the road, Biscuit said, "MOM! We're almost there! We're almost home!"

"Why do you think that?" I asked him.

He answered me in a sing-songy voice, "Because there's McDonald's!"

There is a McDonald's 1 mile from our house at an intersection we drive through every day, twice a day, so when he saw the golden arches, he thought we were a mile from home.

Poor thing. I felt so bad when I had to explain that there are 50,000 other McDonald's restaurants around.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Who's on first? Which one is John Hess and which one is John Wayne? Jeff asked.

"What?" Biscuit asked.

"Which one is which?" Jeff asked.

"No, Dad," Biscuit said. "There's no witch. Just cowboys"

He can count: Biscuit was walking around the living room sniffling, so I told him to go get a tissue. He came back with two tissues.

"Why do you need two tissues?" I asked Biscuit. "You only have one nose."

"Yeah, but it has two holes," Biscuit said.

He has a point, I guess.

He has his standards: Biscuit and I were in a store the other evening as it was getting close to dinnertime. And Biscuit was getting whiny.

"Mom," Biscuit said in the most exasperated tone you can imagine. "Is this going to take FOREVER?!?"

"Yes," I said. "This is going to take forever. We will never, ever leave this store."

"Mooooom," Biscuit said.

"I'm going as fast as I can, but you're going to have to be patient," I told Biscuit.

He started to cheer up when he realized we were heading to the check out.

As I put my stuff on the counter, I realized that Biscuit, feeling a little more playful, was making faces at me. The cashier saw him, too.

"Are you being a Silly Billy?" she said.

Biscuit looked at me then turned his head away from the cashier.

It was really unusual for Biscuit not to talk to the cashier, especially because she was asking him questions. Usually, that's his cue to launch into a full-fledged conversation.

I finished my purchase, then as I was pushing to buggy away from the counter, I asked Biscuit why he wasn't talking to the cashier. "Are you being shy?" I asked.

I think ... or I should say I HOPE ... that the buggy was far enough away from the cashier that she didn't hear what Biscuit said.

"Mom, there are people I like, and there are people I don't like," Biscuit said.

"Why don't you like her?" I asked, very surprised.

"She called me silly," Biscuit said in a very serious tone. "I might be funny, but I'm not silly."

Alrighty then!

I honestly had no idea what to say, so I just stumbled my way through what I hope was an appropriate response.

"Well, you're not always going to like everybody, but you have to like people until they give you a reason NOT to like them," I said. "Okay?"

"Okay, Mom," Biscuit said.

That woman shouldn't have called him silly!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Techno Biscuit

Biscuit got a kid-related computer tablet for Christmas, and it has been a big hit.

I haven't let him do much on my computer, but after seeing how much other kids his age already know, I figured we better get him started learning about technology.

It has absolutely amazed me at how natural the whole learning process has been for Biscuit. It seems like this generation of kids is born with some computer knowledge already in their little heads.

For some of the games and programs, I've walked him through once, then he just gets it after that.

The cool thing is that the games are educational. To get through levels on the games, you have to do simple math or sound out words or draw letters, numbers or shapes.

In one of the games, a town has been damaged, and Biscuit has to help put the town back together. It goes one building at a time, and Biscuit has to do tasks like draw an arc to restore the fountain. Then he has to figure out which two colors go together to make green to color the fountain.

Since Biscuit only recently decided that he's right-handed, the games where he has to draw have been really beneficial for him. He's gaining more control over that hand.

Here's Biscuit playing one of his games:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Fire stuff EVERYWHERE!

Jeff had to work late tonight, so one of my friends and I took Biscuit to a firefighter-themed sandwich shop.

Biscuit spotted a big firefighter mural on the wall before he ever got out of the car.

"I wish I could go look at that picture, Mom," Biscuit said.

"You can," I said. "That's the restaurant we're going to."

"WHAT?!?" Biscuit said. "That's so exciting!"

I ordered my sandwich, then order Biscuit a kid combo, which comes with ... A FIREFIGHTER HELMET!!! Biscuit loved it, of course.

So he was wearing a firefighter helmet, eating a meal that he liked a lot and staring around the restaurant at all the firefighter pictures and gear.

Yep. Biscuit had himself a nice little night.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Weekend at home

We haven't left our house since Friday evening. And we are perfectly fine with that.

Jeff has a cold and hasn't felt well, so he didn't feel like doing anything. I have this coming week off from work, so I didn't feel pressed to do any shopping or errands. And Biscuit, well, Biscuit was fine with whatever. He was just happy when he realized it was Saturday and that means that he stays with Jeff and me all day.

I did get a little productive today. I cleaned out the cabinets in my kitchen. I've been meaning to do it for a while, but I never seem to have the time. Plus, I got two new pots and some other stuff for Christmas, and instead of packing it in on top of the stuff I already have, I figured I'd start fresh.

I'm definitely not a hoarder. I do sometimes hate to get rid of things I like, but sometimes even your favorite bowl gets chips in it. And as hard as it is to let go, at that point, it's time.

So I was a little surprised to find a plastic cup with a lid from a restaurant we like at the beach. I don't usually  keep stuff like that. As I pulled it out of the cabinet, I realized it wasn't empty.

Check out what was inside:

I guess I put them in there as a hiding place when we were trying to wean Biscuit off of them.

Jeff and I had a good laugh about them, and Biscuit wanted to know all about them. I told him that he used to call them "pa-pires." And he thought that was pretty funny.

While I was getting the kitchen sorted, something pretty big was going down on the couch. I only heard part of the story, but it was something about a big brush fire, and a puppy and a horse were stuck up on the mountain and couldn't get down. The airplane came over and dumped water on the fire, but it didn't put out all the flames. Backup firefighters were called in, and even the dalmation showed up. 

Although, now that I look at the picture, I'm not sure what the deal is with the cowboy hat.

The firefighters were working well together. Biscuit said they were "doing teamwork."

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A snake story

This is a favorite story of mine. It includes a creepy creature, a very large dose of fear, some words I shouldn't have said and a very understanding Grandmother.

I shared it with a co-worker the other day. I don't even remember how we got on the topic of snakes, but I showed her the picture below and told her the story below.

This beauty's name is Aquabella. She's a python, and she was very gentle.

My Daddy's Mama lived right down the road from us. Actually, she lived at the end of our road.

To get to her house, you turn onto a small dirt road off of a bigger dirt road off of a secondary paved road. Our small dirt road ended in Granny's front yard. So even though her house was a half a mile away from ours, my brother and I were always free to walk or ride our bikes to her house because there wasn't any traffic on that road. Anyone out that far knew where they were going. You got to our house and Granny's house on purpose.

Needless to say, there were lots and lots of trees where I grew up. And one year, my parents and my Granny decided to sell the timber on their land to a paper company. They came in and cut all the trees they could use and replaced them with rows and rows and rows of pine trees. The company also gave us bluebird houses with report cards. They wanted to see how their deforesting and replanting affected the birds. 

Each bluebird house had a flip-top lid with a hole drilled in the front and was mounted on a metal pole. We kept track of when birds were living in the houses, when they laid eggs and when the little birds left. Then we mailed in the postcards to the paper company.

One day, I was at my Granny's house. I was in my early teens, and by then, I was a little bit taller than Granny. I'm only 5'3" if that gives you any idea about Granny's stature.

She asked me if I would check on her bluebirds because she was too short to look over into the box. Somebody had checked it a few days before and told her there were eggs inside.

I went out to the box and tapped the side of it. If the mama bird was inside, this would be her cue to leave for a few minutes. No mama bird came out, so I tapped the box again, just to make sure. No bird.

I reached up and flipped the latch on the top of the box and lifted the lid. I took a deep breath, then blew it out. Granny always told us not to breathe inside the box. I had always heard that if you did, the mama bird wouldn't come back to the babies. I don't know if that's true or not, but I never took any chances.

So I blew out my breath, stood on my tiptoes and peeped over into the top of the box.

A black chicken snake popped up and just about grabbed my nose!

I staggered back and muttered a few words that my Granny had never heard me say. And it's amazing to me now that saying those words in front of her freaked me out just about as much as having a snake jump up in my face.

Granny was just as calm as she could be. She said, "The snake must have got inside and ate the eggs. Then he was too fat to get back out. Go inside and call your Daddy. He'll come take care of him."

I did as I was told, and Daddy did the dirty work.

Granny never mentioned my sailor's mouth to my Daddy. I guess she figured that if a snake jumped in your face, you deserved a break.

Granny always seemed unflappable. She was a steady woman who had a strong faith.

And I have to say that my faith was boosted that day, too. It wouldn't have killed me if that snake had bitten me, but being spared the pain of a bite was more than fine by me.