Saturday, March 30, 2013

Never again!

Remember last week about this time when I was talking about how the Easter egg hunts around here are way too big, and that's the very reason I had one at our house?

Well, I was crazy enough to get sucked in by a couple of friends to go to one of the egg hunts at a park in town. One of the friends couldn't make it. And the other got there too late for the hunt. Mainly because by the time she got there, she had to park on the other side of the park. And the park is big.

So Biscuit and I were there, waiting with all the other parents and kids. And it was weird.

They marked off a section of lawn, then walked around and threw out plastic eggs and little bags of candy. No hiding, just strowing.

See all those people standing outside the ropes? Well, it was like that on all four sides of the marked off area. And the closer it got to 11 a.m., the tighter the crowds got to the ropes. Biscuit and I were standing behind a family, but there was a perfect little hole for him to go through to get onto the field. 

But when the announcer said, "Two minutes to go!" these two women shoved in front of us with their two little kids. And this is where I struggled.

I want to set an example for my son. And everything I do and say in front of him is setting that example. That's not a conscious thought I have very often, but when things happen, like two rude women shoving in front of us at a kids' egg hunt, I have to think before I react.

What I wanted to do was say something rude and shove right back in front of them.

What I actually did was think some really rude thoughts and moved over to get Biscuit in a better position.

"Mom, they broke in line, and I can't get some eggs," Biscuit said.

"Yes, they did break in line, but we moved over a little bit, and I promise, you'll get onto the field in time to get some eggs."

I hope the women heard that they had been adult and mature enough to break in line in front of a small child. Of course, they didn't seem like they would've cared whether they were called rude or not.

Anyway, the announcer said at least 50 times that no parents should be on the field. The area was roped off and safe, and it would've been great if everyone had followed the rules.

But they didn't. Of course they didn't. Because that would've required common sense and a little bit of sanity.

So Biscuit was picking up eggs and slowly moving across the field. I snapped a few pictures of him, and then I saw the mass of parents invading the field. It was like a wave of grownups moving in from the right side. They covered the field, and I lost sight of Biscuit.

My heart started pounding, and my eyes were darting all around. So I joined the hoard and went out onto the field. I didn't have any other choice. I couldn't see my boy.

I was panicking. And I'm not ashamed to say it. I started calling his name, but it was so loud, there's no way he could've heard me.

I finally glanced up, just in time to see him getting ready to duck under the ropes, in the exact spot we started.

"GRIFFIN!" I hollered. He turned around and smiled at me, proud of all the eggs and candy he had picked up.

"Mom," he said with a little bit of exasperation in his voice. "I was coming back to you."

He had kept his bearings and knew where he was and where he was supposed to come back to.

"I'm sorry I moved," I said. "All those parents went out on the field, and I couldn't see you. I was so scared."

"I'm okay, Mom," Biscuit said. "And I got lots of eggs."

"Yes, you did," I said.

This was fine. Little kids on the field, picking up eggs.

This was the beginning of the parent invasion.

But in the end, Biscuit scored plenty of eggs and
candy. And he didn't seem the least bit fazed by it.

After the hunt was over, Biscuit and I went over to buy tickets to ride the merry-go-round and train. When we got to the ticket booth, there was a sign that said all the rides were free.

And the lines were LOOOOONG!!!

We rode the merry-go-round first. And dang if we didn't run into a rude parent there, too. This woman was standing in the middle of the aisle, blocking the way for me to put Biscuit on a horse.

"Excuse me," I said. "Can I set him up on this horse?"

She stared at me and didn't say a word and didn't move.

I looked at Biscuit and said, "Pick your feet up." And holding him like a javelin, I pointed his feet straight at the lady and walked forward. She gave me a glare and finally took a step back. But I got Biscuit on the horse. There was a bench right behind Biscuit's horse, so I sat down there and had a nice ride.

We hit the train next. Biscuit loves the train. And it does take a pretty little ride around the edge of the lake.

Biscuit said he had a good time today, but it would be fine by me to not go to one of these things again.

I told my friend to go ahead and save the date for the Saturday before Easter next year because we'll be hunting eggs at my house!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter's on its way

Easter is an odd holiday for us. We never know if we'll be home or be at my parents' house.

If my nephew's birthday falls on Easter weekend, like it did last year, we'll be there for his party (I usually make his cakes). But if Easter and his birthday are on different weekends, like they are this year, we stay home.

I struggle with holidays at home because it seems silly to cook a huge traditional meal for just the three of us. But since Biscuit got here, I at least want to try to get into decorations and treats.

After Biscuit arrived, I told my Mama that I wanted to collect some holiday decorations. Well, I only needed to say it once because she was on the lookout.

Every Easter bunny we have was something that Mama found and bought for us. Here are some of my favorites:

My Granny gave me a collection of milk glass, and
I think it looks pretty with the multi-colored eggs.

Rabbits, rabbits and more rabbits.

This is my favorite. It's Jeff and me hiding eggs for Biscuit!

Plastic eggs, jellybeans and decorations on the dining room table.

This pretty little trinket is a music box. It plays "Easter Parade."

This little house has a sign over the
front door that says "Egg Factory."

When I was a kid, we had grade mothers at school. The grade mothers' main job was to provide food and treats for the holiday parties. That was back when we had Easter, Christmas and Halloween parties instead of spring, winter and fall festivals.

One of my favorite Easter treats Mama made for my class was Easter basket cupcakes. She made green frosting, then put three jelly beans on top of each one. Then she took pipe cleaners and bent them into an arch, sticking each end in either side of the cupcake. Each cupcake looked like a little Easter basket with eggs in it.

As I got older and got more involved in the kitchen, Mama and I would make chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs and chow mien noodle bird nests. And we often made something lemon. Nothing says spring like a lemon dessert.

So this evening, I decided to carry on some of mine and Mama's traditions. I made the bird nests and some lemon sandwich cookies with vanilla-almond filling. I wanted to make the chocolate-covered peanut butter eggs, but I just didn't have the gumption!

Plus, we've got a package of six store-bought ones on the kitchen counter. Maybe that'll work for this year!

Here are the treats I made:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My ducks are in a row

The biggest part of my new job is organizing and reorganizing and organizing some more. It's quite honestly the biggest part of my job.

I manage two email accounts, two in-house reporters, about 12 freelance writers, social media sites (personal and professional) and a website. Most of the emails have photos attached, and everybody is asking me for something.

But I'm good at organizing. I think that's the main reason they hired me for the job.

When Biscuit was born, I had created some pretty intricate systems for keeping track of his clothes. I had heard how fast they grow into and out of clothes, so I had it all under control. And it's still working.

That said, the very first pediatrician's appointment we had was the day after we got home from the hospital. I got myself ready. Jeff got himself ready. I got Biscuit dressed and bundled into his car seat. Then Mama said, "Where's his diaper bag?"

"Huh?" was my response.

Nobody had told me anything about a diaper bag. We had two of them, one for me and one for Jeff. But they were both still in the closet with the tags on them. After I had a little breakdown and got the how-are-you-ever-going-raise-a-child look from my Mama, I threw some diapers and wipes in the bag, and away we went.

The appointment was fine, and I learned that as soon as you get home, you restock your diaper bag, so it's ready to go as soon as you are.

But that was just cluelessness, not being unorganized.

I love containers and baskets and boxes and anything that will contain things in a neater way. There's a whole store I used to go to that sells nothing but organizational products. I've gotten some really cool things from there, some that I actually needed and some that were just really cool!

One thing that Jeff really likes right now is a day-of-the-week clothes organizer.

It hangs from Biscuit's closet rod, and over the weekend, I can load it up for the whole next week -- pants, shirts, underwear, socks, even pajamas. And when Jeff dresses Biscuit in the morning, all he has to do is grab what's in that day's cubby.

My organizational skills are why I struggle with how my house looks right now. On one hand, I'd love to back a dump truck up to the front door and sweep everything out. But then I look around and realize that aside from the mail and magazines, most everything that's out of place is Biscuit's stuff -- trucks and cars, books and crayons, balls and bats and cowboy and fire stuff.

So for now, I'll put as many ducks in a row as I can and just live with the rest until I can line them up.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Tube Heads

My name is Kim, and I'm a tube head. I love to watch TV. I don't even care if it's good TV. I just like to watch.

Some people refer to people like me as Tube Heads.

And I'm going to start referring to my son as Tube Head Jr.

Biscuit doesn't get to watch a lot of TV. He watches a show in the morning, then two shows in the evening. Altogether, it's about an hour a day (the shows on his channel are 20 minutes long).

Every once in a while, if I'm cooking dinner, and Jeff isn't home yet, I'll let Biscuit watch TV in my bedroom, just to keep him occupied and out of the way of the hot stove. And that's what happened this evening.

But as I put dinner in the oven, I realized that I'd have about 30 minutes of waiting time and thought it would be a good time to play.

Biscuit has been crazy for hide-and-go-seek for the past few weeks (or hide-and-go-seekety-seek as he's taken to calling it lately). So just as I closed the oven door, I turned around and started counting out loud. I got to about 8 before Biscuit caught on, then I heard the patter of his little feet running to a hiding place.

I have a closet in my kitchen that is under the stairs. My father-in-law, as one of his yearly projects, built shelves in there for me, and it left just enough room to walk in there and stand. And that's one of Biscuit's favorite hiding places. The funny thing is that I was standing about 6 feet away from him when he scampered into the kitchen, opened the closet door, walked in, turned on the light, and closed the door.

Nope. No way I could tell where he was!

So I made a big fuss about going into the bedroom to look for him, then walking into the dining room to look for him, then finally coming back to the kitchen to look for him. I looked under the table. I looked on the other side of the counter, keeping an out-loud running monologue the whole time. And finally, I said, "Oooo. I didn't think about the closet. I wonder if he's in there?" And as soon as I opened the door, he had this huge grin on his face like he had really pulled one over on me.

So then Biscuit said it was my turn to hide. He ran into the bedroom and started counting.

I thought it would be funny to hide in the same closet where Biscuit was. I figured either that would be the first place he looked, or he'd think that there's no way I'd hide in the same place he just came out of.

I was beginning to think the second part of that statement was true.

There I was, standing in the dark. Waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting ... and waiting.

The oven timer went off, and I finally had to come out of my hiding place.

I took dinner out of the oven, then walked into my bedroom to find Biscuit sitting on the end of the bed watching TV.


Tube Head Jr. got so wrapped up in whatever show was on, he forgot that we were playing.

"Hey!" I said, startling Biscuit. "Why didn't you come look for me? I was hiding from you!"

"But Mom," he said, "I thought we were done playing. I was watching TV."

"Well, you told me to go hide, and you counted to 20, so I thought you were looking for me," I said to him.

"Oh. Sorry Mom," he said.

And that was it. See if I play hide-and-go-seekety-seek with him anymore!

Monday, March 25, 2013

He's S-s-s-s-s-scottish

Biscuit's teacher is doing two weeks of lessons on culture and diversity. She sent home a paper for the parents to fill out about ethnic heritage, holidays, food, language, etc.

At first, I looked at the sheet and thought, "Well, we don't have anything out of the ordinary. We celebrate all the regular holidays. We don't eat anything special. We don't speak any other languages. Yep, we're plain jane."

The only thing I could think of was the Scottish stuff on my side of the family.

About 25 years ago, my uncle tracked my Mama's side of our family all the way back to the Scottish Highlands. The bigger families were called clans (my family is Clan Ross), and there were smaller families that were septs to the clans. Septs were families that were too small to stand on their on in battles, so they joined up with clans that lived near them for protection.

Each clan has two tartans -- one dress and one hunting. And they're worn just as you'd think -- dress for when nicer clothes were appropriate and hunting for everyday work and hunting.

There are also special clothes for special occasions, like the outfits worn by bagpipers or Highland dancers.

So because I'm a big dork, and I always loved school projects, and because other than taking Biscuit to the Highland games this past year I haven't taught him anything about Scotland, I decided that I would gather some photos and music to send to day care with Biscuit.

His teacher was really excited to get the CDs I sent. I think she was just excited that a parent was interested in what she was trying to do. You'd be surprised by how many parents don't participate in the kids' projects.

Anyway, I put some bagpipe music on one CD, then I made another CD with the photos below.

So Biscuit took notice of all of this information, and the other night, when he was in the bathtub, I could tell he had something on his mind.

"Mom, that music that you sent to my day care ... what was that called?" Biscuit asked.

"You mean the bagpipe music?" I asked.

"Yeah, bagpipe music," Biscuit said. "Bagpipes." He said "bagpipes" like he was trying to commit the word to memory.

"Mom, where did that music come from?" Biscuit asked.

"Well, do you remember your uncle that plays bagpipes?" I asked him, and he nodded. "He had a CD of bagpipe music, and he let me borrow it."

"But Mom," Biscuit said, "where did it COME from?" Biscuit asked.

"Oh," I said, finally realizing what he was asking me. "It's music from Scotland."

"Yeah," Biscuit said. "Scotland ... SCOTland ... Sssssscotland." He kept saying it over and over, stretching out the S sound at the beginning.

"Mom, can we go to Scotland sometime?" Biscuit asked.

I laughed. "Well, Scotland is a really, really long way away," I told him. "We'd have to get on an airplane and fly across the ocean."

"I'd like to fly on a plane, Mom," Biscuit said.

"It also costs a lot of money to go to Scotland, and we don't really have that much money right now," I told him. "Hey! Do you remember Ms. R, Mama's friend at work?" 

Biscuit nodded his head.

"She's going to Scotland in April," I told him.

"And we're going to meet her there?" Biscuit asked.

"No," I said. "We won't be meeting her there."

"But Mom," Biscuit said. "I bet Scotland is beautiful!"

"From the pictures I've seen, you're right," I said. "Would you like to see some pictures of Scotland on the computer?"

"Yeah," Biscuit said. "That would be good, Mom."

A little time passed, then Biscuit asked, "Mom, do they make bagpipes for kids?"

"I don't know, baby, but I'll check into it," I told him.

Sounds like Biscuit is enjoying having a connection to his heritage.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Easter egg hunt

I enjoy living in a city. There are lots of things to do. The closest grocery store is 1 mile from my house. There are lots of restaurants and shopping places. Lots of choices.

But sometimes, there are things I miss about being from a small community outside of a small town.

Like the Easter egg hunts we had growing up.

There were about 150 people in the church I grew up in. Everybody knew everybody, and I was called down by more than of the ladies there. Back then, in a small community, when a church lady called you down, it didn't matter whether it was your Mama or your Granny or your Aunt or somebody not even kin to you, you did what she said.

And it was those same ladies that threw the best Easter egg hunts.

The hunts were broken down by Sunday school class, so you were hunting eggs with kids your very same age. There was no pushing or shoving or bigger kids knocking down smaller kids. If that happened, you knew one of those ladies was going to yank you by the arm and remind you quite sternly of your manners.

Those ladies also always had candy for us. Some of them gave it to us in bags. Some of them doled it out into the baskets we brought. But my favorite was when the Sunday school teachers would collect a bunch of the little plastic baskets that strawberries came in and make pipe cleaner handles for them. They'd add some green plastic grass, then fill them up with candy. The last touch would be when they opened the marshmallow Peeps and tore off a couple for each kid. I always ate mine right away because I don't like them stale.

Those Easter egg hunts were what prompted me to have one at our house Saturday. 

In the size city we live in, there are a lot of hunts to choose from, but they're just too big for my taste. So we invited several of Biscuit's friends to come to our house.

And it was also a chance for me to feed people -- something I really enjoy. I decided to bake a ham for ham biscuits, but have you ever tried to buy a ham two weeks before Easter? It's like they don't exist until the week of Easter.

Naturally, I called Mama to ask where to get one, and she had the answer for me.

I got to the store, and there were about eight different kinds -- spiral sliced hams, picnic hams, smoked pork loins, whole bone-in hams and more. Another lady was there staring at all of them like I was. "How do you know what kind to get?" she asked me.

And like I had known her 40 years, I said, "Mama likes butts, but I didn't see any. I called her to see what the second choice would be, but she isn't home."

While I was telling her this, I was rambling through the hams they had. Just as I said Mama wasn't home, I leaned down and saw two butt hams way in the back. I grabbed them both, then handed one to the other lady. She thanked me, then just like that, she put it in her buggy and rolled away.

That felt like something that would happen in the small town I grew up in, not the bigger town I live in now.

Anyway, I finally got my ham.

So Biscuit and three friends played while the Dads hid the eggs in the back yard, then it was time to hunt. Two of the boys are 3 and Biscuit and the other boy are 4. So when the Dads asked how hidden the eggs needed to be, the Moms had to remind them who they were hiding for.

The boys seemed to enjoy the hunt. I'm pretty sure they found all the eggs. I used plastic eggs (each egg had a piece of candy inside), so if they did leave any behind, we won't have a stinky yard next week!

The hunt didn't last too long. It was actually the shortest part of the day. Once they figured out that the eggs had candy inside, there was no getting them back to hide them again. If we do a hunt again next year, I think we'll hide eggs in the front yard and the back yard. Then they can hunt at least twice.

After the hunt, the boys played on the swingset and played baseball. I think they all had a good time.

When the time came for everybody to start leaving, one of the Moms overheard Biscuit ask me, "Mom, is it close to my naptime?"

I assured him that he could take his nap as soon as everyone left. What can I say, my boy has his priorities.

I didn't check with the other parents to see if I could post their kids pictures here, so here are some pictures of Biscuit:

Don't walk away! You're leaving two eggs!

Two times ... TWO TIMES ... he fell out of this swing onto his head.
Shouldn't he have figured out it was a bad idea after the first time?!?

Is there anything sadder than a kid alone on a see-saw?

I'm not sure what the cheering was
about, but who cares, he's happy!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Good find

This is the best consignment find EVER!

I paid $5 for this jacket at a local church consignment sale last fall, and it still fits Biscuit.

If there's anything good about Biscuit growing at such a slower rate, it's that he gets to wear cool things like this jacket for a long time.

The body of the jacket is wool, and it has leather sleeves. The words on the front and the picture on the back are embroidered. It's quite impressive. 

We don't usually let Biscuit wear this jacket to day care, but I drove off to work with his coat in the back seat of my car. So Jeff pulled out this jacket, and poor Biscuit was terribly upset because it doesn't have zipper. He's finally mastered the art of the zipper, and this dumb ol' jacket doesn't have one!

Once he saw the picture on the back, he changed his mind.

Jeff took Biscuit to day care this morning, and he said once they got to Biscuit's class, this little boy came running over to Biscuit. There was a slight misunderstanding because Biscuit thought the little boy was excited to see him. When actually, the little boy was excited to see that jacket.

So Biscuit turned around to face the boy, and the boy ran around behind Biscuit's back. And Biscuit turned around to face the boy, and the boy ran around behind Biscuit's back. You can see where this is going! 

Biscuit finally took off the jacket and shoved it into his cubby. The little boy looked at Jeff and said, "I was trying to see that duck." 

I'm not sure if he got to see the duck or not, but with the jacket featuring these characters that have been familiar for generations, Biscuit gets a lot of looks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A weekend at home

Part of my new job is writing an occasional column. And this past week, it was about all the things Biscuit and I could do while Jeff was covering the basketball tournament.

It was basically a list of things anyone in town who doesn't like basketball could do.

But Thursday afternoon, Biscuit's day care called to say that he was running a fever and had thrown up.

Oh joy!

The woman who called made it sound like Biscuit was having a puke party. But when I got there, I found out that he had only thrown up once. And his teacher said from its appearance, she thought it was just sinus drainage. (I know how gross this is, but if you're already a parent, you get it. If you're not a parent, trust me when I say that you can have full conversations about all kinds of body processes and functions!)

Anyway, I scooped Biscuit up and brought him home.

One good thing about my new job is that I can do some of the work from home. I have access to websites and email and other things that mean I can sit in my rocking chair while Biscuit lies on the couch under a blanket watching cartoons. And that's exactly what happened.

After his medicine kicked in, Biscuit started feeling a little better. At least good enough to play a little and make a complete mess of the living room.


Biscuit's day care has a 24-hour rule that says a kid who has a fever can't come back to day care until it's been 24 hours. So that meant that Biscuit couldn't go to day care Friday.

Jeff had to cover basketball games Friday, so his schedule was non-negotiable.

Since I had an event to attend for my job Friday evening, I decided I would take care of that, then head into the office Friday night to finish up my week. It's been almost 7 years since I worked on the night shift, and I can tell you that it's not like riding a bike. I was so sleepy as I was driving home that I had to call Jeff and get him to talk to me during the whole drive.

Biscuit had been invited to a birthday party that was happening Saturday morning, but the event was an hour from our house. He was still running a fever Saturday morning, so we didn't get to go. Even if he hadn't had the fever, though, I would've been nervous about him riding that far and possibly getting sick. I could live happily the rest of my life without ever having to clean up another car seat after a barf attack!

So Biscuit and I stayed home together ... THE WHOLE WEEKEND!

Firefighter Biscuit is ready for action.

Biscuit was feeling well enough Sunday to play and be more active. But by then, he had passed his cold on to me. So I was grumpy and having quite the pity party. And Jeff was still working.

I considered trying to get us out of the house, but I just didn't have the gumption to get up and get us ready to go. So we just hung out.

Then, Biscuit said something to me that was worse than if he'd walked up and punched me in the gut.

"Mom, what is the day of the week?" he asked.

"It's Sunday," I said.

"Oh," he said, sounding very deflated.

"Why do you ask?" I asked him.

"If it's Sunday, that means I have to stay here," Biscuit said with his head hanging down.

He knows that he stays home with Jeff and me on Saturday and Sunday, but he usually says, "I GET to stay home with you and Dad." Sunday, he said, "that means I HAVE to stay here."

Thanks a lot!

I realized that when you're dealing with a 4-year-old, you don't get to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. You have to suck it up and be a parent.

"Hey!" I said, trying to muster up some excitement. "I've been meaning to look through your books and see if there are any that aren't big boy books. If there are some you don't like anymore, we can give them away."

So Biscuit and I sat down in the living room floor and looked at a bunch of books. We stacked them according to size, and we read a bunch of them, and we weeded out some that he doesn't like anymore (and Biscuit weeded back in a few that I had tried to weed out).

Biscuit was asleep by the time Jeff got home Sunday night, but things improved on Monday. We were back on our regular routine, Dad was home, and things were a lot better.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

You gotta have friends: Some afternoons at day care, the director or assistant director will pick a couple of the 4-year-olds to go into the school-agers room in the afternoon.

It's a big deal for the 4-year-olds because they're getting to hang out with big kids. And it's a big deal for the school-agers because they get to dote on these younger kids.

Yesterday, it was Biscuit's turn to go. The assistant director told him what was going to happen, but Biscuit told her he didn't want to go.

"Why don't you want to go?" she asked him.

"Because if I go, I'll have to leave my best friend here by himself," Biscuit said.

The assistant director eventually talked him into going, explaining that Biscuit's best friend would have the chance to go on another day. But when she told Jeff about it, she said, "He can be such a little old man sometimes, but I like the 'no man left behind' attitude he has." 

Poor Dad: Jeff and I tease Biscuit sometimes just to see what he'll say. But Jeff didn't expect to hear Biscuit's response recently.

Biscuit will occasionally show off a defeatist attitude when he doesn't get his way. He'll flop down on the floor, cross his arms dramatically and say, "I'm just gonna sit here and do NOTHIN'!" And depending on what caused the drama, we'll either tell him to get over himself or talk to him and figure out what the problem is.

Jeff was doing a pretty good impersonation of this behavior one day, and he was addressing it to Biscuit. Biscuit's response surprised us both.

Biscuit turned around, clearly exasperated and said, "Dad, you're just gonna have to deal!"

And the bad part is, Jeff couldn't call him out about his attitude because he started it!

Turn lessons: Biscuit has always had a good sense of direction. He pays attention when we're in the car.

Not long after we turned his car seat from rear-facing to forward-facing, Biscuit and I were coming home from day care, and I remembered that we were out of milk and some other things. So instead of going straight, which would've taken us toward home, I veered off to the right to go to the store.

From the back seat, I heard a tiny little voice say, "Not home? Don't go home?"

I explained to him that we had to go to the store, so no, we weren't going home. But I was so impressed that he knew when we turned that we weren't heading for home.

Now, he loves to give driving directions to Jeff and me. We'll tell him where we're going, and he'll tell us how to get there. Or more often, we'll be driving, and he'll say, "Mom, this is the road the pancake restaurant is on," or "Mom, this is the road Station 21 is on." (He knows the numbers and locations of at least four fire stations.)

So when Jeff's parents were down for the winter, Biscuit told them that he wanted to give them "turn lessons." They weren't sure what he was talking about, but he explained that turn lessons are when he tells them how to get somewhere. My in-laws trusted him, and they got to where they needed to be.

His turn lessons have been updated a bit since he started his new day care, but it makes me feel better that he knows the way home.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm still here

I'm not dead in a ditch. Dead tired, maybe. But not in a ditch.

I have a new job at the paper. I'm the entertainment editor. This means I'm in charge of gathering content for our weekly entertainment section. We have stories about movies, music, theater, art, dining, etc. Most of the stories are local, written by our arts reporter or freelance writers that I assign the stories to.

It's very different from what I was doing before.

In my previous job, I was on the tail-end of the process. I had stories, pictures and graphics and a blank page. I figured out how everything was going to fit together -- whether the main headline was going to run all the way across the page, or if the biggest photo was going to be at the top. I wrote headlines, photo captions and did the final edit on stories. I worked on a daily deadline where my pages were released at the end of my work day.

Now, after more than 15 years on a daily deadline, I have one weekly deadline. Sounds easier, right? Well, it isn't really.

The pace isn't as frantic as it was in my last job, mainly because of the weekly deadline. But there's a lot more juggling and multitasking involved. I have many, many irons in the fire, and it's taking a little bit of time to get any sort of a routine going.

In my previous job, on Mondays, we did the Tuesday section. On Tuesdays, we did the Wednesday section. But in this job, I might be working on this week's section, next week's section and a random section in April, all at the same time. It's using a completely different set of skills.

I'm also the first person to edit stories. Luckily, I have some talented freelancers to work with. I also work with one in-house reporter who is just about as particular as I am about how things get done. So that's good. I couldn't imagine doing this job without having some talented people at my disposal.

Along with the new job came a new position in the newsroom. And I mean a new physical position. I used to be tucked in a corner with a window at my back. Now, I sit dead-center of the newsroom. And I'm surrounded by people. I have people walking back and forth behind me all day. It's quite unnerving, especially when you're editing a story, or looking at a website, or typing an email and someone stops to make a comment about what's on your computer screen. It's enough to make somebody paranoid. It's also hard to have phone conversations because everybody within a three- or four-desk radius can hear you.

I think I'm finding some rhythms to the job, but I'm not adjusting well to my new physical position. It's just so hard to concentrate. And if there's one thing that is absolutely necessary in my new job, it's concentration.

One other thing about my job is that I have to write a lot more. It seems like I get 50,000 press releases every day, and any that I decide to run have to be rewritten and boiled down to the facts and only the facts. I also have a column to write. The previous editor of this section wrote occasionally, but I'd really like to try to write each week. This is my third week, and I've written a column each week so far.

Which brings me to why I haven't been writing much on this blog.

By the time I've spent my day writing and rewriting and editing, I'm sort of written out. I'm hoping this is just an adjustment phase because there's still plenty to share about Biscuit.

Like today ... Biscuit and I had back-to-back dentist appointments. Biscuit went first. He did great, as usual. I usually read to him while they're cleaning his teeth. I think the combination of my voice and the plot of the stories tend to calm him down. It also keeps the hygienists from having to keep up with him in conversation. You know how Biscuit likes to talk.

So after Biscuit was done, it was my turn. I teased him a little and said, "If I get scared, will you hold my hand?"

Biscuit grabbed my hand, tilted his head to the side, and with the sweetest, most sincere look, said, "Mom, you shouldn't be afraid of the dentist. The dentist is a friend to our teeth."

The dentist and hygienist got a kick out of it. Biscuit might get a new job, too -- working PR for the dental association!

Anyway, Biscuit is still learning and growing and doing and saying fun things. And hopefully, it won't be long until I'm back on a regular schedule of sharing it all.

For now, here are a couple of pictures of Biscuit in one of his favorite spots:

I'm not sure why, but Biscuit has taken to
saluting us when we tell him to do something.

Jeff calls Biscuit his little parrot.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Oozing with charm

This is a warning to anyone who is even the slightest bit vulnerable to charming men.

My son is becoming one of them.

Don't buy it. He's only turning on the charm to get what he wants. Or to get out of trouble. Or to try to make you not mad at him anymore.

I've been seeing signs of it, but this evening, I got the full-on treatment.

Jeff is covering a basketball tournament in town, so Biscuit and I were on our own for dinner. We decided to go out, and Biscuit was really excited because we went somewhere we haven't been in a while. In his excitement, he was jumping up and down and almost knocked a tray full of food out of my hands. I scolded him, and ... are you ready for this? ... he winked at me.


I almost bit my tongue in half trying not to laugh, but I kept a stern look on my face.

"Don't try to be cute," I said. "When I tell you something, you listen. Got it?"

"Sorry, Mom," Biscuit said. "I'll listen better now on." (I love that he doesn't say "from now on." He just says "now on.")

I've seen him pull out this charm in other situations, too. He'll give you a compliment. Or he'll talk about something you like (instead of talking about firefighters and cowboys). Or he's even been known to give you a hug or kiss.

So keep your guard up. Prince Charming is watching you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Taking one for the team

A post from The Daddy Man:

Today was the first weekday since the time change, and Kimmy promised Biscuit this morning that we could play outside when we got home.

We got home later than usual, which seems to happen a lot these days, so I took Biscuit outside while Kimmy cooked dinner.

Biscuit rode his scooter. Then he rode the coolest tricycle ever. It's more like a metal Big Wheel than a tricycle.

After that, Biscuit said he wanted to play baseball. So we got our gloves, Biscuit's t-ball bat and a wiffle ball, and we walked around to the backyard to play.

I was pitching the ball to him underhanded, and he was making some pretty good hits. Then he said he wanted me to throw it overhanded like the real pitchers do.

I should've trusted my gut. Wiffle balls don't fly straight.

I threw the ball overhanded, and it beaned him right on the left cheek, right near his eye.

And he cried and he cried and he cried.

I'm pretty sure it scared him more than anything else. He's never been hit with a pitched ball before, and he didn't know enough to get out of the way.

Biscuit cried for a few minutes, then he was fine. He was ready for me to pitch to him some more. Not long after that, Kimmy called us in for dinner, and all was forgotten.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

Here are a few things Biscuit has said recently:

Safety first: Biscuit got a remote control dump truck with a construction site for Christmas. It's a very cool set. You can drive the truck onto a lift that takes it up to the second floor. Then it follows a track back onto another lift that brings it back down. There's a dump site where you can flip a lever and load up the truck with big rocks, too.

Anyway, when Biscuit plays with this set, he always talks about safety gear.

"Mom, you want to play construction workers with me?" Biscuit asked.

"Sure," I said. "What do we have to do?"

"Well," Biscuit said in the tone he uses when he's about to explain things to his poor old stupid mother. "The first thing you do is put on your safety goggles."

"Okay," I said, as I put on my imaginary goggles. "Then what?"

"Then we put on our heart attack hats," Biscuit said. "Those protect your head in case something falls on you."

I wanted to correct him, but I was trying too hard not to laugh. We'll address it on another day.

Bad guys: There's a new cartoon on one of the two channels Biscuit gets to watch on TV. It's about a little boy who is a knight. So we've had to use plastic golf clubs as swords, and we have to be careful when we ride our hoses so we won't fall into the moat.

But today, we faced even bigger problems ... the bad guys.

"Mom," Biscuit said with a scowl, "the knights have to be very careful because there are some bad guys out there."

"Are the bad guys trying to hurt the knights?" I asked him.

"Yes," Biscuit said. "They'll try to ching us with their swords."

"Who are the bad guys?" I asked.

"They're a special kind of kings," Biscuit said. "They're bad kings. And you know what they're called?"

"What are they called?" I asked.

"VIE-kings," Biscuit said. "The Vikings are bad, bad guys."

Easter's here: I have no desire to fight the crowds at all the big public Easter egg hunts around here, so I decided to have one at home. I invited several kids Biscuit's age, and I'll serve some lunch, and we'll all be able to relax and let the kids enjoy the hunt.

So Biscuit and I ran by the store to pick up a few more plastic eggs. (Once I got home and dug out the container of plastic eggs I already had, I realized that I could have skipped the trip to the store!)

Biscuit asked about the eggs, and I said, "Do you remember going to the Easter egg hunt at Grandmama's church last year? Where the adults hid the eggs and all the kids found them?"

"Ooo, yeah," Biscuit said. "That was fun. Can we play hide-and-go-eggs here at home, Mom?"

I smiled and looked at Biscuit, trying not to laugh.

"What?" Biscuit said. "What is it, Mom?"

"Nothing," I said. "Do you want to hide them or find them?"

"You hide them, and I'll find them," Biscuit said. "Hide-and-go-eggs is the best Easter game EVER!"

Change of season: Jeff was watching cartoons with Biscuit the other night. It was a show about an animal rescue worker who came upon a lost baby bear.

The animal rescuer found out that the baby grizzly bear work up and couldn't find its family. The bear said his whole family had been asleep for the winter, and he woke up and didn't know where he was.

"Hey, boy," Jeff said. "Do you know what that's called? When bears sleep all winter and wake up in the spring?"

"Uh-huh," Biscuit said. "That's called hide-a-neighbor."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ride 'em, cowboy

Biscuit still has a great love of cowboys, and ever since Jeff took him to the rodeo, he's been a bronco-bustin', bull-ridin' cowboy.

Sometimes when he's riding his stick horse Jake, Biscuit will run beside Jake, then hop straddle of him. That's his trick riding.

But mostly, he rides broncos and bulls.

And because he was in the mood, he let me "take a picture" of him while he was riding.

In the video, I ask him, "What kind of rodeo is this?" He didn't answer me like he usually does. He usually says, "This is the try-again rodeo. If you fall off your horse or bull, you get to try again." 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What's my name again?

Biscuit has somehow or another learned about the Ninja Turtles (which he calls Minja Turtles).

We blame his former day care. It got to where they were watching about an hour of TV a day, and it was mostly shows and movies brought in by the kids. That's all we can think of because we've never mentioned or watched the turtles, and when I asked my Mama if he might've seen them at her house, she said she didn't even know they were back in style. They first came out in the 1980s.

So Biscuit told Jeff and me that we were Minja Turtles like him. But he couldn't remember their names. He asked me if I would use my computer to look up their names, and I reluctantly gave in. I was thinking that if I remembered correctly, those turtles were pretty violent and used some pretty serious weapons.

Each turtle has a belt buckle with his initial. Their names are (from left)
Raphael (Raph),
Donatello (Donnie), Leonardo (Leo) and Michelangelo (Mikey).

And once I looked them up, I found that yes, they do use serious weapons.

So I asked Biscuit what these turtles do, and he went into this long discussion of how these turtles use their swords to ching the bad guys, and sometimes when they ching the bad guys, they fall down dead.

And here's where I struggle.

I want Biscuit to use his imagination and to play and pretend, but does he have to be so violent about it? My guess is that he still doesn't even comprehend what "dead" means, but I have no idea what to say to him when he talks about beating up bad guys or using guns or chinging swords or whatever else he comes up with.

And that's very common among all the boys his age, more so by far at his old day care (another reason we moved him).

Despite all the pretend violence, Biscuit was pretty cute and funny when he put together his Minja Turtle outfit. He still couldn't remember our character names, so he would come running into the living room and say, "Hey! I'm here!" Then he would whisper out the side of his mouth and ask, "Mom, what's my name again?" I would tell him, then he would start his speech over.

"Hey! I'm Mikey! Have you seen any bad guys around here ..." And again with the whispering, "Mom, what's yours and Dad's names?"

"We're Donnie and Leo," I said.

"Yeah, yeah," Biscuit said. "Hey! I'm Mikey! Have you guys Donnie and Leo seen any bad guys around here?"

This was not smooth role playing.

Here he is as a Minja Turtle (although I'm not sure how he thought he could see with no holes in his mask).