Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Concepts are confusing

When Biscuit asks questions like, "Mom, why do we brush our teeth?" it's a no-brainer. That's really easy to explain.

Some questions are a little harder, like, "Mom, are all snakes mean or are all snakes nice?"

"Most snakes won't usually bother you unless you bother them," I said.

"Mom, will all snakes try to bite you?" Biscuit asked. "Would it hurt if they bite you?"

"Yes, it would hurt if a snake bit you," I said. "Some snakes are poisonous, and if they bite you, it will make you really sick. But again, if you leave them alone, they usually won't mess with you."

Not the simplest of conversations, but not too bad.

But then there are tougher things to explain.

"Mom, what do soldiers do?"

"Mom, what happened to the dinosaurs?"

One interesting question from the other night was "Mom, is bluegrass real?"

Our town has free concerts every Sunday night at parks around the area, and this past Sunday night featured two bluegrass bands. We packed a picnic dinner, grabbed our chairs and away we went.

But that afternoon, when I told Biscuit where we were going, he asked me if bluegrass is real.

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"Well, you said that the cartoons aren't real, and they're on TV. And bluegrass is on the radio, so it's not real either, right?" Biscuit said.

"Bluegrass is real," I told him. "We've seen people play bluegrass before, remember?"

But he didn't.

"How do they play it on the radio?" Biscuit asked.

I simply cannot get into a conversation about sound waves and whatnot with a 4-year-old. First of all, I'd have to study up on it. Then I'd have to try to break it down to his level. Nope, not gonna do it.

"Well ..." I said. "Real musicians record the music, just like I record you singing sometimes. Then radio stations play music just like I play music for you on the computer. And the music comes out in everyone's radios."

"Oh," Biscuit said. "Okay."

And that was it. I guess all he needed was me making an effort to explain it to him.

Biscuit has been really fascinated with what is real and what isn't. And I get it. It's a hard concept. Newscasters are real, but TV show characters aren't. The people buying houses on the channel I like to watch are real, and the guys refurbishing cars on the show Jeff likes are real, but talking animals and superheroes are not.

The answers used to be more black and white, but now, there's a lot of gray area.

And his gray area questions are causing me gray hair!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A new song

Now is the time when we get to learn fun new songs and rhymes and games.

Just today, Biscuit taught us how to play "Mama may I." And he learned a new song.

Here's Biscuit singing about "Speckled Frogs."

Here are the lyrics:

Five green and speckled frogs, sat on a speckled log,
Eating the most delicious flies. Yum! Yum!
Then one hopped in the pool, where it was nice and cool.
Now there are four freckled frogs.

Then you sing it over and over until all the frogs are gone.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Big boy, small horse

Jeff and I found Pinto the horse on one of the online "for sell" sites for $20 in June 2010. The woman selling it lived on the other side of town, and she was getting rid of it because her kids didn't take to it like she thought they would.

Well, we got her money's worth out of it. Biscuit has ridden miles and miles and miles on Pinto - sometimes at a nice slow trot, and sometimes at break-neck speed.

Jeff and I have considered finding a farm for Pinto to go live on, but because we know how much Biscuit loves it, we just haven't had the heart.

But I know the time is coming soon. It's starting to look similar to an adult trying to ride a tricycle.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Grooming and gabbing

A post from The Daddy Man:

Biscuit likes getting his hair cut, but I don't think it has anything to do with personal grooming. I think it's more about having a new conversation companion.

I took Biscuit for a haircut yesterday evening. We go to the cheap place near our house, and we always ask for the same stylist - Casey. She always does a nice job.

The only time she gave him a questionable cut was the last time, and that was his own fault. Casey was trimming his sideburns, and Biscuit jumped. Zip! His sideburn was gone. So of course she had to cut off the other side, too. But even with that little snafu, it was still a good haircut.

Yesterday, Biscuit's usual stylist went on break just as we got there, so we took the next available stylist. I didn't catch her name, but Biscuit didn't need an introduction to start up a conversation.

"What toys do you have?" Biscuit asked. The stylist giggled, but before she could answer, Biscuit started telling her about his own toys. 

"I have two helicopters - a big white one and a small blue one. I also have some cowboys. I got those for my second Christmas. First Christmas was at Grandmama and Papa's, and my second Christmas was at my cousin's house." 

Biscuit says he had three Christmases, one at Kimmy's parents' house, one at my brother's house with my parents, and one at home.

"I think I might still have some Barbies around," the stylist said.

"Guess what? You know what one of my cowboys' name is? John Wayne. I have his house. The roof's broken, but it still works."

"Okay. I might have some bears, too," the stylist said.

"Guess what?" Biscuit said. "You have to stay away from brown bears, but Dad has a golden bear on the back of his shirt, and golden bears are nice." The golf shirt I was wearing did have a little bear on the back.

And then he totally switched gears. He looked up and saw the stylist's belt in the mirror.

"Hey. Why is your belt shiny and big like that?" Biscuit asked. She was wearing a wide belt with rhinestones on it.

She laughed and said, "I just think it looks good with this outfit."

"It's shiny, and it sparkles, too," Biscuit said. The stylist turned the chair around, so Biscuit could see it better.

She was pretty much done with his haircut by that point. We walked up to the cash register, she rang us up, and I paid her and gave her a tip.

"Thank you," she said, "but I would've cut his hair for free. That's the most fun I've had all day."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

He's got mail

Every time Biscuit and I walk to the mailbox, I reach in and pull out the sales fliers, bills, magazines and other stuff, and he always asks the same thing, "Mom, is there mail for me?"

My Mama mails holiday cards to Biscuit, complete with a couple of dollars. My mother-in-law sends him cards. And a friend of mine sent him a letter back in April, complete with some fun jokes, including this one:

Two muffins were in the oven. One muffin said, "Wow. it's really hot in here." The other muffin said, "Oh my gosh! A talking muffin!"

And even though he STILL doesn't get it, he cracks up laughing and said, "Mom, that's SO funny!"

And he is still fascinated with mail.

This week has seen numerous notes in our postal portal.

A couple of our friends took a recent trip to Alaska, and since they know how much the boy loves mail, they sent some postcards.

The Alaskan Railroad provides both passenger and freight
service from Seward to Anchorage and all the way on to Fairbanks
in the interior of the state. One popular destination for many
passengers is Denali National Park, seen here in the background.

Two Dall sheep rams battle for dominance.
And while we were in the mountains, Mama picked up a postcard from a place called Bat Cave. That's the real name of the town. And of course Biscuit was thrilled because he thought Batman lived there.

Bat Cave community is near Bat Cave Mountain in
Henderson County, N.C., which got its name for a fissure
cave under the mountain home to thousands of bats.

"Mom, I love getting mail," Biscuit always says.

I almost want to say to him, "Enjoy it now because one you're a grownup, all you get is credit card offers and bills!"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mountain house

I forgot that there were pictures of the house we rented on the rental website. I "borrowed" them so you could see the interior of the house.

I loved this kitchen. I wanted to bring that stove home with me!

This is where we spent most of our time at the house. The views were great.

Mama and Daddy slept in this room on the first floor.

Jeff, Biscuit and I slept in this room on the 1.5th floor.
Biscuit has a great little cot that collapses and goes into a sleeve.

My brother and sister-in-law's room on the second floor. It's still hard
to believe that Jeff and I were between the first and second floor, and this
room was on the second floor, but we shared an easily accessible bathroom.

My nieces slept in this room on the second floor.

My nephew slept in this room on the third floor.
Despite the snakes, we would definitely stay in this house again.

Don't tread on me

We took our annual long-weekend family trip to the mountains this past weekend. We rented a house that I actually found last year, right after I had booked the house for last year's trip.

It looked like a really cool place with enough beds for all 10 of us.

The house was built in 1931, and you can tell because there are weird stairs and steps to get to the rooms, and there are light switches all over the place. The switch for the upstairs hallway? It's down the stairs and through three rooms, in the kitchen. 

I'll try to describe the layout.

The front door is literally steps from the busy street that runs through the little touristy town. So the door to get in and out of the house is on the upstairs covered deck.

Walk in the door into the living room. Walk straight from there into the dining room. Take a right and walk down three steps into the kitchen.

Back at the door, if you turn right, you go into a bedroom with an en suite bathroom. That's where my parents stayed. In front of that room, is a staircase. Here's where the weirdness begins.

Walk halfway up the stairs and take a right. That's where Jeff, Biscuit and I slept. From our bedroom, you have to walk up four steps to get into a small room with a shower, vanity table and big mirror. Walk through a door on the other side of that room into the rest of the bathroom - big corner jacuzzi tub, toilet, bidet and sink.

If you leave the bathroom through another door, you walk straight into my brother and sister-in-law's room - no stairs to go up or down. There's another bedroom with two twin beds on that level. Then there's another set of stairs that goes up to a room with one twin bed where my nephew slept.

So I guess my parents were on the first floor, Jeff, Biscuit and I were on the 1 1/2th floor, my brother and sister-in-law and nieces were on the second floor, and my nephew was on the third floor. It seriously took the first day or so to figure out how many stairs to go before you got to each person's room!

The kids absolutely loved it. They ran and played well together the whole weekend.

My Mama has to have back surgery in a couple of weeks, so we purposely planned a low-key weekend. We didn't have much on our agenda except to hang out and relax. And that's what we did.

Relaxing wasn't the only reason we stayed at the house, though. We were held hostage by snakes. Yep, snakes!

We saw four snakes on the property, one of which we had to walk right past to get to our cars.

The first one was spotted by my sister-in-law out the kitchen window during breakfast Friday morning. He was just a black snake, and we didn't really need to use the door in the kitchen anyway.

The second one was another black snake that my brother saw as he was walking from the car to the house. Again, it was a black snake, so no big deal.

Then I walked down the two flights of exterior steps to get to a pretty grassy area near the river and saw what I believe was a copperhead. I wasn't really sure until I talked to a local lady at a store, and she said that copperheads and water moccasins, two snakes they don't usually see a ton of there, have been spotted more often since the winters have been milder. The climate has become more agreeable, so the snakes are moving farther west than they usually go. Lucky us!

And it just so happened that I saw Mr. Copperhead right near the fire pit. There went our Saturday night ritual of building a fire and roasting marshmallows.

It wasn't a total loss, my Daddy and brother got out their guitars, and we did our singing on the covered porch, safe and sound away from the creepy crawling critters. And I made s'mores for everybody in the fancy oven.

I forgot to mention that even though the house was built in 1931, everything in it has been updated. There's a a French door-style fridge and a huge six-burner, double-ovened stove in the kitchen. I sure did hate to have to cook on such a thing!

The fourth snake was the one we had the most contact with.

As you walk from the parking area to the house, you pass a stone chimney (it might have been usable at one time, but now it's just decorative), then go through a gate to get onto the covered deck. They drilled a hole into one of the chimney rocks for the gate latch. And we saw the fourth snake at the base of this chimney, sunning himself. Then as the sun moved, he crawled into the rocks to hang out for a while. He would also slide under the edge of the porch.

He wasn't aggressive at all, so we tried to leave him be as much as we could. But the problem was that to get to our cars, we had to walk right past him. And he didn't seem to be bothered by that fact one bit. He just laid there and watched us pass.

I think we were all a little creeped out by the snakes. The only one we were truly afraid of was the copperhead (and I didn't bother getting close enough to him to get a picture!), but with one on either side of the house, we sorta felt surrounded.

We still had a good time, though. The kids all got along really well. Saturday night, while the adults were hanging out on the deck, I stepped inside to check on the kids. All I could hear was giggling from my nieces' room. They were putting on sock puppet shows with silly voices for Biscuit, and he was loving it. I started to go up and talk to them, but I figured if they were all getting along that well, I wasn't going to tempt fate and meddle.

We all visited the ice cream shop a couple of times and did a little bit of shopping.

We also took the kids to the beach. There's a man-made lake near where we were staying. They basically dammed up either end of a valley to make it, and one end has been set up like a sandy beach. It's weird to see the kids playing in the water and building sand castles with the mountains in the background.

Here are some other pictures from the trip:

We could see Hickory Nut Falls from the porch.

Another friend we saw in the backyard.


There was also a sprayground at the lake that had
water coming out of all sorts of pipes and hoses and
holes. The kids just ran around getting wet.

I took this off of a coat rack in the discount room of this
store. Can you believe nobody has snatched it up?!
And no, I didn't buy it!

Jeff found this multi-functional hat/mittens combo.
And it's quite stylish to boot!

This is the real-live welcome sign to a real-live town.

Jeff is ever-so-stylishly sporting a Moon Pie hat.
And no, he didn't buy it!

We thought about getting the top shirt
as our theme shirt for the weekend.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said lately:

Volcano vocabulary: Biscuit heard something about volcanoes and suddenly became fascinated with them.

Well, fascinated for a couple of days, which is about how long his fascinations last.

He wanted to know if there were pictures of volcanoes on my computer. I looked around and actually found a video of a volcano erupting.

"Mom, what's that red stuff?" Biscuit asked. "Is that the latha?"

"LaVA," I said.

"Yeah, latha," Biscuit said.

"No," I said. "It's with a V."

"Vatha?" Biscuit asked.


"No, l-a-v-a, lava," I said, like it's going to help him if I spell it.

"OH! LAVA!" Biscuit said.

Maybe spelling it DID help.

A busload of fun: Someone in town took an old school bus, ripped out all the seats, covered everything in padding and created a tumble bus for little kids. Each month, they change out the equipment in the bus. Like one month, they'll have a tumble mat with some barriers the kids have to flip or climb over. Or they'll have a zip line that goes from the front to the back of the bus. Or they'll have a mini-trampoline.

On our way home from the mountains, we stopped at a restaurant that served its kids meals in cardboard psychedelic microbuses. The top of the vehicle is cut out (that's where the food was).

Biscuit brought his bus home with him, and tonight, he was pretending it was the tumble bus that comes to his day care.

"These cars are my friends from day care," Biscuit said, explaining that he had named each car after one of his day care friends. "They're all here to play on the tumble bus."

The boy's imagination just kills me.

Dear old dad: Jeff and Biscuit have been playing a lot of baseball in the backyard. Jeff has helped Biscuit progress from a thick, little kids' plastic bat to an aluminum T-ball bat. Jeff said Biscuit is doing a pretty good job at hitting.

The boys were playing Sunday evening while I was unpacking from our trip. Jeff pitched the ball to Biscuit and "Tink!" the ball came flying right back at Jeff and hit him hard in the belly.

"Boy! What kind of Father's Day present is that?" Jeff asked Biscuit.

Biscuit laughed and laughed, then said, "WHAM! Happy Father's Day!"

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A few days away

We're in the mountains on our family trip. I'll share more details later, but for now, here's what we can see from the deck of our rented house.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The scam artist

Jeff and I are raising a scam artist. He's smart and cunning, and he isn't afraid to use those traits to skew things to his liking.

This morning, Biscuit was watching cartoons while Jeff and I were getting dressed. So when it came time for Biscuit to get dressed, he was not pleased with the fact that Jeff turned off the TV.

He pouted, and he cried.

Jeff and I are on the same page about Biscuit's crying. If he's hurt or sick or sad or if his feelings are hurt, we don't see anything wrong with him expressing his emotions with a few tears.

But if Biscuit cries because he didn't get his way, he will be quickly reminded that things aren't always going to go his way, and he might as well suck it up. We don't use those exact words, but that's the point we're trying to make. Whining ain't allowed!

So Biscuit was crying as he left the living room this morning. Jeff stopped off in the kitchen, but Biscuit walked into the bathroom where I was brushing my teeth.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.

Biscuit still has a stutter (although it has improved some), so it took him a few tries to get it all out.

"We didn't say my prayers or give me my allergy medicine last night, Mooooom," Biscuit wailed.

He was really upset, and I felt so bad for him. I couldn't imagine why he was so upset about not saying prayers or getting medicine.

I scooped him up and hugged on him for a few minutes and told him everything was okay.

"It's not a big deal," I told him. "We'll give you your medicine tonight, and you can say your prayers, and everything will be fine."

I was holding him and rocking back and forth.

He finally stopped crying, and we started having one of our usual morning dance parties to a song on the radio.

Jeff was taking Biscuit to day care, and I was heading out for work. I remembered a question I meant to ask Jeff, so I gave him time to leave day care and called him.

Somehow or another, the topic of Biscuit's crying this morning came up.

"He was so upset," I said to Jeff. "I wonder what made him even think about his medicine and his prayers?"

"Kimmy, I hate to tell you this," Jeff said, "but you got played."

"What?" I asked him.

"He was mad because I turned off cartoons, and he was crying about it," Jeff said. "I told him that he was just crying because he didn't get his way. Then he came running to you with a different story, so he could get some sympathy."

So if our boy offers you any oceanfront property in Arizona, don't buy in!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A mama's proud moment

My baby boy got his first tattoo today!

He stared at the pack of rub-on tattoos off an on all morning. After his nap this afternoon, he brought them over to me and said, "Mom, would you put a tattoo on me? I'm ready."

I had a hard time not laughing because he was so serious. It's like he had put a lot of thought into this thing that would go on his arm and last for a few days.

"Of course I will," I told him, and we headed into the kitchen.

They come on sheets, so I cut out the one he wanted, then put it design-side down on his arm. I rubbed a wet papertowel over the top as we counted off 30 seconds. Then I carefully peeled off the backing paper. And my boy got a HUGE grin on his face.

"Check it out, Mom!" he said. "It ... is ... SOOOOO ... cool!"

Here's my boy's new tattoo:

There's a glare on it, but it's
Spider-Man striking a pose.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lollipop vs. sucker

"Mom, this is a lollipop, but some people call it a sucker," Biscuit said. "But I call it a lollipop, but if you want to call it a sucker, you can, because some people do call it that."

Here are some pictures of Biscuit enjoying his lollipop/sucker: