Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Capturing memories

I finally broke down and got a smartphone. I've had been fighting it for years, but I caved in early June and upgraded. 

The phone part hasn't been that different, but I've really enjoyed the camera and video camera, especially how easy it is to send photos and videos to other people.

I've enjoyed being able to take spur-of-the-moment photos of Biscuit, like the one below.

Or Jeff wearing a combo moose hat and scarf.

Or Jeff wearing a Moon Pie hat (can you tell that Jeff has a thing for hats?!)

So when we were at the beach this weekend, I really enjoyed using the phone's features.

Like when I happened upon a fiddler crab on the beach. He would crawl out of his hole, see me, then fly right back into his hole. He did it three times before I remembered that I had a phone in my pocket that would shoot video.

The video is only 9 seconds long, and I guess he didn't want to be on film because after I caught him on tape one time, he didn't come back out.

Then the next morning, I was up just after sunrise and caught some pelicans gliding across the water. It's amazing to me how close they are to the water, yet I've never seen one get caught by a wave.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I won't miss you

When I was getting ready to leave on my trip Thursday morning, I asked Biscuit if he was going to miss me.

"Nope. I won't miss you," Biscuit said. "You know why?"

"Why?" I asked him.

And he sang me a song. Who says you can't break into song in everyday life? I had a mini-musical in my own living room!

Biscuit sang,

"You'll see the same moon, 
Same sun, same stars,
No matter where 
in the world you are.

"When you look up in the sky
You can wave and say hi
'Cause I will be waving to you
My darling, too."

Friday, July 26, 2013

On coastal time

I'm at the beach. And Jeff and Biscuit are not.

It's weird to be here without them, but I'm on a much-needed girls' vacation.

I keep seeing things that I want to show Biscuit. And I keep taking pictures that I want to show Jeff.

But I'm going to try to relax and enjoy my time without them, and of course, give them great big hugs Sunday evening.

Here are some pictures I took today:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A little meat with his beans

"Do you want sweet potato, apple sauce or beans to go with dinner?" I asked Biscuit.

"Hmmm," Biscuit said. "I think I'd like some beans, but I want them like we have them at day care ... with meat!"

"With meat?" I asked. "What kind of meat?"

"Sliced meat," Biscuit said.

"What kind of sliced meat?" I asked Biscuit.

"You know, Mom," he said. "It's sliced in circles."

"Are you talking about beanie-weenies?" I asked him.

"YES! Mom! That's it," he said. "Can you make me some of those?"

"I don't have any weenies," I told him.

"Why not?" he asked, like I should be able to just produce them out of thin air.

"I just don't have any," I said.

"What about ham?" Biscuit asked. "You could just put some ham in them."

"Are you a chef now?" I asked him. "We don't have any ham, either."

Biscuit sighed, like he could not be more outdone.

"I do have some baked beans that have been flavored with ham," I said. 

"Okay," Biscuit said. "I guess that'll be okay."

I'm so glad I could accommodate his wishes.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hunger pangs

Thursday morning, I'm leaving on a road trip with two girlfriends. Well, two of us are riding together, and the other one is meeting us at our destination ... THE BEACH!

Our vacation plans include junk food, Kindles, magazines ... and that's about it.

So when I picked up Biscuit from day care today, I hit a couple of stores to stock up on our favorite treats.

Biscuit was in a really good mood. He got an invitation to a day care friend's birthday party, complete with a character theme that he really loves. We went into two stores, and he was great in both stores. He asked if he could get some salt and vinegar chips at one of the stores, and despite my repulsion for his taste in chips, I told him he could get them.

Biscuit was excited about that and wanted to carry the canister around the store and all the way to the car. He even introduced himself to the cashier and asked if he could have the canister back when she was done with it. She smiled, scanned it and handed it back to him. And he thanked her. 

Then she told him that salt and vinegar chips are her favorite, too. Then he told her that they're not his favorite, but he liked them a lot.

All his usual charms.

Jeff was off today, and when I called to tell him that Biscuit and I were running a couple of errands, he suggested that we go out for dinner.

So Biscuit and I were on the way to our house to pick up Jeff, and Biscuit got really weepy.

"I'm just so sad, Mom," Biscuit said, crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.

"I ... um ... I ... I just ...," Biscuit whined. It was like he couldn't come up with a reason for why he was upset.

I was in such a rush that it didn't occur to me to ask him what he had for lunch. Believe me, it's connected.

Biscuit is a picky eater, and he often only eats one of the things they serve at day care. Like maybe he'll have peaches and drink his milk, and that's it. They have an afternoon snack, but even so, as much as he's running around playing, he burns that small amount of food off in no time. I've started carrying peanut butter crackers in my pocketbook in case we need to shop or run errands after day care but before dinner. A couple of crackers is enough to hold him over.

So if I hadn't been so distracted by my own plans, I would've asked Biscuit what he had for lunch. And he would've told me pineapple and milk, and I would've given him a snack until we got to the restaurant.

Instead, we drove to the restaurant while Biscuit cried.

"Mom, I forgot to bring a car," Biscuit wailed.

"Dad brought cars for you," I said, and Jeff handed Biscuit two cars.

Then Biscuit cried some more, "But I didn't WANT two cars. I only wanted ONE car."


"Then pick the one you want, and give the other one back to Dad," I said.

That didn't satisfy him, either. 

We considered just heading back home, but when I asked Biscuit if he wanted to go back home, he thought I was doing the "I'll turn this car around and take us home" thing, and he got even more upset.

Finally ... FINALLY, it occurred to me that the child was hungry. And of course, we had a server who was new to the restaurant. And that means she was slow.

Ordinarily, it wouldn't bother me at all, but we needed to get some food in the kid. And since he ate my stash of peanut butter crackers at the movie the other night, I didn't have anything to give him.

He tried to order his drink, but with tear-filled eyes and a shaky voice, he couldn't even say it loud enough for the server to hear him. He wanted chocolate milk, and she thought he said Dr Pepper. She asked if we wanted bread, and Jeff and I said in unison, "Yes!"

So we got some milk and bread into the boy, and I kid you not, in less than 5 minutes, Biscuit was a new man. He was his usual self, laughing, hanging all over me and asking a thousand questions.

It's funny because when Biscuit was wee tiny, I was so aware of his eating and sleeping and everything else. But as he's gotten older and become so independent, it's getting harder to keep track of him.

I need to remind myself that as grown up as he acts sometimes, he is still a really little kid who, at least for the time being, still needs his Mama.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Commercial memories

I saw a diaper commercial the other day that made me smile.

It started with a man driving very carefully down the road. Then they panned to the backseat where a woman was sitting beside an infant car seat.

You quickly figure out that it's a new Mom and Dad bringing a new baby home from the hospital.

The Dad looked into the rearview mirror and said something like, "Am I driving too fast?"

And that's when I smiled. I remember Jeff asking that exact question as we brought Biscuit home. That trip from the hospital to our house was one of the longest trips of my life.

We live 7.5 miles from the hospital, and I swear, it seemed like it took us an hour and a half. And of course, I was convinced that every bad driver in town was out to get us!

I'm always more aware of traffic and other people's driving when Biscuit is in the car. I think it's just a given for any parent. But having him in the car that first time, that was probably the most careful driving Jeff has ever done.

Biscuit was born three weeks early, so he was a tiny little man. He weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces, and even the newborn-sized outfits we had were way too big for him. And other than preemie, NB (or newborn) is the smallest size they make!

Here's Biscuit looking so, so tiny on his way home.

The volunteers at the hospital knit little hats for new babies. The Dad's get
to pick them out. I just noticed that you can't even see Biscuit's right hand
because his sleeve it too long. I know he'll hit a growth spurt one of these days,
but he started small, and he's still small for his age (the statistics from
Biscuit's doctor show that 90% of kids his age weigh more and are taller than him.)
And yes, those pinstripes are on a New York Yankees outfit.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe - movie night edition

A few things Biscuit has said about our movie outing:

Ticket taker: As Biscuit and I walked up to the ticket window at the movies the other night, I automatically said, "Two, please." 

And the guy said, "You  mean one adult and one child?"

"Oh ... yeah ... sorry," I said. 

The last time I took Biscuit to the movies, he was 2, almost 3, so it took me a few minutes to remember that it was basically a new experience for him. He went to the movies with his aunt and cousins a couple of weekends ago when we were at my parents' house, but with me, this was only the second time. And I don't think he remembers the first time.

Anyway, Biscuit leaned down and moved his head around, trying to peek into the little window where you trade money for the tickets.

"Excuse me," Biscuit said. "My name is Griffin. What's your name?"

I hope the guy didn't hear him because he just slid the little board back in front of his window without speaking to Biscuit. I would hope someone wouldn't be that rude to a little kid who just wanted to chat.

"Mom, he didn't talk to me," Biscuit said.

"I don't think he saw you," I told him. "Don't worry about it."

Concession stand: I told Biscuit we could get popcorn, so we walked up to the counter to order.

"Whoa!" Biscuit said.

In between where the cash registers are, the counter has glass inserts that they fill with popcorn. When you order a bag, they scoop it out of the those containers. Biscuit watched her fill our bag with wide eyes.

"Ma'am, you sure do have a lot of popcorn in there," Biscuit said.

"If you think THAT's a lot, you should see how much we have in back!" she said. I love it when people play along with him.

Play time: When Biscuit got up the next morning, we had to act out what he saw in the movie.

"Mom, I'm drinking apple juice, but we're going to pretend it's milk, but it's actually going to be that blue liquid that the slow snail drank that made him fast. Okay?"

Sometimes you just smile and nod. "Okay," I told him.

He took a big gulp of his juice, then jumped up from the table and ran down the hall, through the living room, through the dining room, back into the kitchen and back into his seat.

"Mom, I ran so fast that you didn't even see me move, did you?" Biscuit said.

"You moved just then?" I asked.

"Yes!" Biscuit said. "But I was moving so fast that you couldn't even see me go. I am so fast!"

We've been playing different versions of the plot since then. With cars and plastic animals and firefighters and more. I'd say the price of admission was well worth it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Movie night

Jeff had to cover a swim meet that went late this evening, so I asked Biscuit if he would like to do something fun.

"Like what?" Biscuit asked.

"Like going to the movies," I said.

"REALLY?!" Biscuit said. "A movie on this night?"

"Yes," I said. "This night."

"LET'S GO!" Biscuit yelled and ran toward the front door.

We had just come in from day care, so I had to reel him back in.

"Whoa, dude!" I said. "We have to eat dinner first. The movie doesn't start until 7:30."

"What time is it now?" Biscuit asked.

"It's only 6:30," I told him. "We have plenty of time to eat dinner and get to the theater.

I rounded us up some leftovers, and we headed out.

Biscuit and I walked into the theater and saw three other moms and sons and a whole row of kids sandwiched between two adults. 

Then came the previews. Every one of the previews was an upcoming cartoon movie. And all the kids would watch intently, then say something like, "I want to see THAT movie."

I wondered if Biscuit would sit still through the whole movie. Sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn't. It all depends on whether it's something he's interested in or not.

Apparently, this one caught his attention.

He watched the whole movie, and in the process, he consumed most of a small bag of popcorn and a whole pack of peanut butter crackers I found in my pocketbook. And that was after having a sloppy joe and chips for dinner.

As Biscuit and I were walking out of the theater, I asked him what he thought of the movie.

"This is my FAVORITE new movie," Biscuit said.

The first time I took Biscuit to the movies,
he wasn't heavy enough to hold down
the seat. I had to sit with my leg
hooked over the corner of his seat.

The movie had fun music. Biscuit and I were the last
ones out of the theater, so Biscuit decided to bust a move.

Biscuit saw the poster on the way out and asked if I would
take his picture. I'm not sure what the pose is about.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Everything has a place: "Where is your harmonica?" I asked Biscuit.

"I don't know," Biscuit said.

"Did you look under the cushion on the couch?" I asked Biscuit.

"No, Mom," he said. "That's not where it goes."

"Well, it wasn't in the spot where it goes," I told him. "It was under the cushion on the couch."

"Hmmm." Biscuit said. "Strange indeed."

A special sword: "Mom, I'm a knight, and this is my shield," Biscuit said.

"What do you use your shield for?" I asked him.

"If someone like a bad guy swings his sword at you, you can use your shield to protect yourself," Biscuit said.

His shield, by the way, is a lid with a handle from a bucket o' rescue heroes.

"And THIS ... this is my sword," Biscuit said, pulling out a padded mini baseball bat.

"Wow," I said. "That's a cool sword."

"Yeah," Biscuit said. "It's a big deal ... it's a big, big deal."

Monday, July 15, 2013

In one ear ...

Biscuit's ears don't work like they used to. And before you get worried, let me tell you that there is absolutely nothing physically wrong with them.

They hear cartoons just fine. They hear music just fine. They even hear some of what we say just fine. Things like, "we're having pizza for dinner" or "let's go outside" or "which cartoon do you want to watch."

But things like "pick up your toys" or "turn off the TV" or "don't touch that" just disappear into thin air before they make it into his little head.

I can be talking straight to him, and I can tell that he's not paying attention. I'll even tell him to look at my eyes, and he won't hold contact more than a few seconds before his attention is gone.

And heaven forbid I should ask him to repeat what I just said to him.

Last night, I said - and these were the exact words I used, "You need to come pick up these cars. You can't leave your toys on the living room floor. It would be really easy for someone to trip over them and get hurt."

"Okay, Mom," Biscuit said, but he kept playing with whatever it was that he was playing with.

"Did you hear me?" I asked.

"Yes, ma'am," Biscuit said.

"What did I say?" I asked him.

"Um, you said that sometimes people get hurt," Biscuit said.

"Really? That's what you heard?" I asked him.

Biscuit nodded his head.

I looked at him for a few seconds with my lips pursed. He could tell I wasn't pleased, and he kept glancing back and forth between my face and the floor. It was like he was waiting for whatever I was going to say next and wondering whether I'd be mad and yell at him or not.

"Pick up your toys," I said and kept staring at him.

"Oooookkaaaaaay," Biscuit said with a huff.

So the rules are that I still can't shake him, right?!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A birthday outing

I told Jeff and Biscuit that I wanted to go to the new addition to our science center as part of my birthday weekend. I knew it would be a little crazy because they just opened the addition on June 29, and it has been packed since then.

My patience was truly tested while trying to find a parking place. Biscuit was excited, and he was asking a thousand questions. And people were driving like maniacs. People had parked all over the place with their cars hanging out into the driveways. People had parked at the end of rows, so if you went down a row and didn't get a spot, you had to do a three-point turn to get back out. It was crazy.

I finally drove up to the front of the building and asked Jeff and Biscuit to get out and get in the admission line, which reached around the building.

As they were getting out, I saw a couple of grandparents with a small child in a stroller, and I decided I'd just stalk them. I gave them plenty of room, but I followed them to their car, then sat and waited while they loaded up. The grandfather looked nervous as he tried to break down the stroller. He looked up at me, and I gave him a hand signal to take his time. I knew I would have a spot, so it could've taken them 5 minutes to get out of the space, and I wouldn't have cared.

I pulled into the spot and started getting out, and of course, it started raining. Could the day get any better?!

But then it actually did. I got a text message from Jeff saying that because we're members, we could skip the line, walk up to the front, get our membership cards scanned and walk right in.

Things were looking up.

We saw an African fishing cat, otters, penguins, stingrays, sharks, a moray eel and more. There's also a stingray touch tank and an Amazon exhibit with fresh-water rays (I didn't even know there were fresh-water eels). They have some exhibits that show how they got all the animals into the tanks and habitats and how they keep the water circulated and clean. It's quite a process.

Of course there were party-poopers. I overheard a lady in the bathroom saying, "I was looking for another room, but I guess this is it." I guess some people just can't be satisfied.

Biscuit was excited and wanted to spend about 5 seconds at each spot, so I had to keep reminding him that we were there to see everything, and we were going to take our time doing it.

The inside wasn't quite as crazy as the parking lot, thank goodness. I was torn between being frustrated with the crowd and being glad the place was drawing so many visitors.

Biscuit had a good time and asked when we could go back.

I didn't take my camera, but I did snap a few pictures with my phone.

The blurry brown things are two otters. They were playing and moving
so fast that I didn't get a single in-focus photo. See the girl in the
purple shirt in the background? They have a bubble you can stand in
that puts you in the exhibit. The otters will run right around your head.

Penguins! They were so cute waddling around.

Three penguins taking a walk together.

Stingrays in the touch tank.

The outside of the new addition.

We had a late lunch of pizza, and Biscuit got crayons and a
coloring sheet while we waited. He still colors with both hands.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Check your tone

During my birthday festivities yesterday, Jeff and I stopped to get lunch at a place that lots of people use as an Internet café. We thought it was funny that we were eating and chatting, and every other person in our sight was glued to a laptop screen.

All of a sudden, this woman (probably in her early 20s) jumped up and started walking around frantically. She was holding her laptop, dragging the power cord behind her.

She walked up to a table occupied by a girl, probably in her late teens and with no introduction or even greeting, she said, “Do you have wi-fi?” and just stared at the girl. The girl looked up at her and said, “Yes, mine is working fine.”

The frustrated girl continued to ask several other people in the café, using that same exasperated tone of voice with every one of them.

If she had asked me about wi-fi in the tone of voice she was using with everyone else, I don’t know if I would’ve answered her. Clearly, if never occurred to her that 1. she was interrupting whatever these people were doing, and 2. even though she was frustrated with her loss of Internet, she should’ve checked her tone of voice when she talked to these people.

A restaurant employee walked over, took our her own cellphone and said, “It looks like our service is working okay because I can get it on my phone.”

And again using a hateful tone of voice, the frustrated girl said, “Well I can get it on my PHONE. I want it on my COMPUTER!”

Well if all the other computer users aren’t having problems. And everyone can get it on their cellphones, doesn’t that mean that this girl’s computer is the problem, not the restaurant’s wi-fi?

She asked to see a manager, then when he came over, she said, “You guys need to reset your modem. The Internet is running slow on my phone and not at all on my computer.”

The manager told her that their cash registers and credit card machines run on the same modems, so if they were working (which they were), the wi-fi was fine. The girl did not like that answer.

I looked at Jeff incredulously, and he said, "You know, the way I was raised, you don't complain about something when it's free."

He had a point. 

I don’t know what she did after that because I finally pulled my attention away from her and started talking to Jeff about something else. But I kept thinking about how she talked to everyone. It was just rude and not at all nice.

So of course I started thinking about my own behavior and how it’s perceived by Biscuit.

Jeff and I were arguing about something a couple of weeks ago. I don’t even remember what it was.

Jeff is terrible at arguing. And I’m really good at it. So I have to make a conscious effort to play fair when we’re having a “discussion.” But sometimes, the heat of the moment takes over, and I’ll say something in a not-so-nice tone or just something I don’t even mean. And sometimes, Biscuit is a witness to those things.

Biscuit’s view of marriage is going to come from watching Jeff and me. And although no couple can be on their best behavior every step of every day, we do need to keep in mind that we’re setting an example for him and his future.

So back to Jeff and me arguing. Jeff said something, then as I was making my comeback, I was also walking toward the dining room to put something on the table. I said whatever it was that I was going to say and glanced up to see Biscuit staring at me wide-eyed.

I don’t know what was going through Biscuit’s head. For all I know, he could’ve been wishing Jeff and I would be quiet so he could hear his cartoons better. But the look on his face definitely got my attention. I immediately toned it down and went back in the kitchen where Jeff was. Seeing that look on Biscuit’s face, I honestly lost a lot of the steam I had built up during mine and Jeff’s argument.

It’s hard to remember in the heat of the moment, but aside from what we say to people, HOW we say it matters, too.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A birthday present

Poor Jeff. He has great intentions, but sometimes, things just don't happen the way he'd like.

Today is my birthday. And although I am 45 years old, the number doesn't really mean anything to me. I don't worry about how I should be feeling or what I should be doing because after many, many years of being completely off the "normal" timetable of life (nine years of college, a baby at 40 etc.), I have finally decided that stuff will happen in my life when it's supposed to happen.

Wow. That was a whole little paragraph of philosophy!

But celebrating birthdays DOES mean something to me. Birthdays are special. Birthdays are the one day a year when you can be the most important person. And you can think about who you are and what you've accomplished so far in your life. And you get presents and cake. And everyone makes a fuss.

I like birthdays.

One year, long before Biscuit was even thought of, Jeff and I were staying at a hotel for an out-of-town car show. It was July 11, about 11:15 p.m., and I said to Jeff, "Let's stay up 'til midnight so you can wish me a happy birthday."

"Okay," Jeff said and turned back to finish watching a movie.

Midnight came and went, and Jeff hadn't said anything to me. My feelings were hurt. I had even told him what I wanted him to do, and in only 45 minutes, he had forgotten to make an appropriate fuss.

But of course I didn't say anything about it. That would be too grownup a way to handle the situation. Instead, I turned over, yanked the covers up around my shoulder, pouted for a while and went to sleep. Then the next morning, I gave him the silent treatment.

"Are you okay?" Jeff asked.

To which I just rolled my eyes.

"Kimmy," he said.

"No, I'm not okay," I said to him. "I wanted you to wish me a happy birthday after midnight, and you forgot. And we've been up for over an hour, and you haven't wished me a happy birthday today either!"

Poor Jeff learned his lesson that year. Even though birthdays aren't that big of a deal to him, they're a REALLY big deal to me.

Jeff gives good gifts. He puts thought into them, and I'm always impressed with his efforts. And now that we have Biscuit, he likes to let Biscuit help.

But so far, every time he's let Biscuit "help" pick out a present for me (Mother's Day, birthday, Christmas), he was come away wanting to do bodily harm to our sweet baby boy.

The difference in how Jeff and I let Biscuit "help" is that I narrow down the gift then ask Biscuit simple questions like, "red or blue?" or "big or little?"

Jeff, on the other hand, takes Biscuit into a store and says, "What would you like to get Mom for her birthday?"

And because Biscuit is still in a stage of soaking in everything, he wants to buy me everything he sees.

Jeff took Biscuit into a costume jewelry store I like (nice stuff, cheap prices) and told him they were going to buy a present for me. Biscuit immediately walked over, grabbed a red pocketbook and said, "This is Mom's favorite color, let's buy it."

Jeff said, "I was thinking we might get her a necklace." But still, there were way too many choices, and Biscuit was not focused. And Jeff got frustrated.

Finally, Jeff realized that he should narrow down the choices. He picked out three necklaces and let Biscuit choose among them.

"He picked the one I liked least," Jeff told me after I opened the necklace.

I really like the one he picked, so even though Jeff was ready to kill him, I think Biscuit did a good job.

Hopefully, as Biscuit gets older and his attention span grows to longer than 30 seconds, these shopping trips can be fun for the two of them.

But hey, let's get our priorities straight. Whether they're on each others' nerves or not doesn't matter as long as I still get great birthday gifts!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Biscuit has a pretty good vocabulary. He knows lots of words, and he's good at figuring out how to use them properly.

Since Jeff and I are both reporter/editor types, I guess he gets his word skills honest.

But sometimes, it's not just about him knowing the words, it's how he uses them. I swear, I think the child was supposed to have been born in the 1940s. I can see him in a little trench coat and fedora saying, "Here's lookin' at you, kid."

It's the tone of voice, body language and the touch of confidence he has.

Like the other night.

"Biscuit, we need to pick up some of these toys," I told him.

"We can certainly try," Biscuit said.

He said "we can certainly try," and as he said it, he sort of gestured with his hand. Something about it just sounded like a grownup, not a 4 1/2-year-old.

But I treated him like a 4 1/2-year-old when I said, "There's no trying, just do it."

Then this evening.

Biscuit couldn't find his firefighter shoes this morning, so he had to wear another pair to day care. Jeff was off work today, and I guess he ran across Biscuit's shoes at some point and put them near the front door.

When we walked in this evening, Biscuit looked down, saw his shoes and said, "HEY! There's my shoes. How did they get there?"

"Maybe they walked there all by themselves," I said.

"If they walked there by themselves, I would be awfully impressed," Biscuit said.

He'd be awfully impressed.

I'm awfully impressed, too.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Water world

We're getting ready to sign Biscuit up for swimming lessons. Unlike me, he shows no signs of anxiety around water (thank goodness!), so I hope he likes it.

We've talked to him about it, and he says he's excited (except for when he says he already knows how to swim, which entails him lying on his stomach in the bathtub moving his arms and legs around).

So I started thinking about Biscuit's first few times in a swimming pool. And I looked back at a 2010 blog post.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Look how much I've grown

We got Biscuit's pool out last weekend and saw just how much he's grown since last year. I found a bigger pool on markdown this week, so he'll have more room to play now.

Here he is last July (2009) and this July (2010). Check out the difference.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A brave man

About a month ago (I know ... I've been slack!), I was brushing Biscuit's teeth on a weekend morning, and I noticed a black mark on his hand.

It was a small straight line, and I brushed over it with my hand to try to wipe it off. But it didn't come off. I took a closer look and realized that he had a long splinter in the fleshy part of his hand under his pinkie finger.


I used to be a phlebotomist, so I know my way around a needle. But I've never had to point one at my precious baby boy.

Until that day.

I showed Biscuit what it was and told him that I had to take it out.

"We can't just leave it in there, Mom?" Biscuit asked.

"No, baby," I told him. "We have to take it out or it could get infected. Then we'd have to go to the doctor to get it out."

"Will it hurt?" Biscuit asked.

"Yes," I told him. I didn't have the heart to lie about it because having had 58,000 splinters removed during my lifetime, I honestly don't recall a single one that didn't cause me pain.

"I'll try to be brave, Mom," Biscuit told me.

"I know you will," I said.

We have the best light in our newly remodeled (thank you very much) bathroom, so I grabbed a small pillow, laid it on the counter and told Biscuit to lie down on the counter with his head on the pillow. I turned my back toward his head so he couldn't see what I was doing, and I started to work on his hand.

I had already sanitized the needle and tweezers, and I was just dreading, dreading, dreading having to hurt him.

I picked and picked and picked at his hand until I could finally grab the splinter with the tweezers and gently wiggle it out. Luckily, it came out in one whole piece.

Other than raising his knee on one particularly deep stick, Biscuit had remained perfectly still. I couldn't believe it. He was more of a man than many men I've put needles in!

I showed the splinter to Biscuit, and he said, "Whoa! That was in my hand?"

"Yep," I told him. "I dug that right out of your hand. Did it hurt?"

"YES!" Biscuit said. "It hurt a lot, but you told me to be still, and it would be over quick. And Mom, you were right. I held still, and you hurt me, and I was brave, and now that splinter is out. You did a good job, Mom."

Sometimes I wish scientists could perfect the cloning process!

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Y chromosome

About 4 1/2 years ago, I gave birth to a boy. And he just keeps getting more and more boy!

He's rough and tumble. He plays hard. He likes cars and balls and superheroes and cowboys and firefighters and knights. He will show you his muscles and tell you that he's the strongest boy in the world.

But along with that bravado comes a love of weapons and a need to defeat bad guys and a desire to wallop anything that gets in his way.

And I find myself in a difficult spot. 

Do I write it all off as "boys will be boys" or do I crack down now in an attempt to dial back the aggressiveness?

I'm trying to find a happy medium, but that's often hard to do. There's so much violence out there nowadays, it's impossible to keep kids from seeing it. So how do you help them navigate it and figure out what's real and what isn't?

And the older I get, the less of it I can handle myself.

I used to go see horror movies when I was a teenager. Now, there are TV shows that depict as much violence as Rated R movies. I don't know if it's my age or being a mother, but I can't handle that much gore and violence myself, much less think about my young son being exposed to it.

Jeff and I talk a lot about our own childhoods and how our parents dealt with things. We were both lucky enough to grow up with both parents and strong family ties. So oftentimes we trade stories, then figure out our parenting approach.

Biscuit got some mail last week that included some spending money for him. We talked about what he might want to do with it, and he said he wanted to buy something to do with Ninja Turtles. So when we were shopping this evening, we went to the toy department to see what they had.

We narrowed it down to an action figure or a costume. And the costume won out.

My only hesitation ... the costume came with weapons.

The turtle he likes best uses sais (pointed metal prongs with handles). These are made of plastic of course, but even so, we had a nice long talk about how they could and could not be used. As in, if you point them at another person, you don't get to play with them for a while.

Another big concern is that the rules at day care don't allow shoot-em-up or other weapons play. And from what I hear, elementary schools are strict about that, too.

But I'm hoping that with some coaching from us, Biscuit will be able to rescue the victims, defeat the bad guys and have everybody live happily ever after.

I'm not sure what the rules are about
mixing a firefighter shirt with Ninja Turtle gear,
but Biscuit didn't have a problem with it.

Striking a pose! Biscuit shows how his favorite
turtle posed on the cover of a comic book.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

An effort at manners: Jeff and Biscuit played baseball in the backyard while I was at work today.

"He did a good job playing ball today," Jeff said to me as Biscuit was playing with some cars.

Biscuit paused for a second and said, "You're welcome, Dad."

Building bridges: Biscuit was lying on the couch with his legs stretched over to the coffee table.

"Look! I'm a bridge," he said.

"Can I walk over you?" Jeff asked.

"Only if you're a toy person, Dad," Biscuit said.

Appreciation: We sit with Biscuit as he says his prayers at night. I never liked some of the memorized prayers, so I told him he just needed to say thank you to God for anything he was grateful for.

Sometimes his list gets a little long, but we try to be patient.

One night, he said, "And thank you God for baseball ... and basketball ... and soccer ... and rugby ... and ... oh yeah, football." We take the boy to one rugby game, and suddenly it outranks football in his prayers.

Jeff got new tires put on my car last week, and they made a big difference in how the car handles. I guess Biscuit had prayers on his mind as I was thanking Jeff for getting my new tires. 

"Thank you for getting new tires on my car," I said to Jeff.

"Don't thank Dad, thank God," Biscuit said. And he was serious. He stared at me until I folded my hands, closed my eyes and said, "Thank you, God, for my new tires."

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Seeing old friends

We had dinner tonight with a bunch of people we used to work with, and it was really nice to catch up. It was also really nice to realize that even though we met all of these people through work, nowadays, we think of them as friends instead of former co-workers..

The main reason for the event was because two of our friends who moved from here to Los Angeles a few years ago were back in town for a visit.

If you've ever watched any episodes of "Emergency" or "Adam-12," you'll remember that both shows are set in Los Angeles. So when I told Biscuit that we were having dinner with a bunch of friends, including two who live in Los Angeles, he said, "WHAAAAAAT?! Los Angeles?"

Then we got into one of the real vs. make-believe conversations.

"Mom, Firefighter Ronnie Gage works in Los Angeles," he said. "Is he real?"

"No," I said. "Remember? He's just a character."

"Yeah," Biscuit said, sounding disappointed. "I remember. He's not real."

"But you know what?" I said to him. "The city of Los Angeles IS real. So all the places you see Firefighter Ronnie Gage driving to, those places are real. And I bet my friend has been to some of those same places. If you ask him about it, I bet he'll tell you."

"Whoa!" Biscuit said. "I'll ask him for sure."

Biscuit ate his dinner, which occupied about 20 minutes. Then he got bored.

I gave him my phone, and he played a matching game and a puzzle game. That lasted for another 20 minutes. Then he was done.

"Mom, can we go home now?" he asked.

Jeff took Biscuit home, and I stayed for a while longer.

The party adjourned to the outside of the restaurant, where it started to rain. Everyone stepped under an awning, but lucky me, I had Biscuit's little Spider-Man umbrella. I popped it up and stayed nice and dry. Well, almost. The umbrella is made for a kid, so I was a little damp around the edges.

I got home, and Jeff had given Biscuit a bath and had him ready for bed.

"Biscuit, I know you were bored, but you did a good job at the restaurant tonight," I said.

"Yeah, I did a good job, Mom," Biscuit said.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Scattered to the winds

Jeff, Biscuit and I haven't seen much of each other for the past few days.

Jeff was at home. Biscuit was with his cousins. And I was with my parents.

My Mama had back surgery Thursday morning. I couldn't be there, but luckily, my brother could. He stayed with for the whole day. Biscuit and I left Thursday evening to drive to my parents' house. Jeff had to work over the weekend, so he couldn't go.

My parents built their current house after my brother and I were grown. But it sits on the same  piece of land I grew up on. They live in the woods. Woods so thick that you can't hear cars on the highway.

Here's what you see when you look out from their front porch.

It's beautiful. And it's peaceful. And I hate to admit it, but it's kinda creepy at night!

I grew up in this exact spot, and I don't ever recall having any fear walking into the house at night by myself. There are no streetlights, so if the moon isn't shining, it's dark. REALLY dark!

But for some reason Thursday night, I was really uneasy until I got Biscuit and myself in their house and locked up. It was ridiculous. There was absolutely nothing out there, but I still felt nervous and scared. Sadly, I think I've become a city girl.

Once we were locked into the house, Biscuit and I got settled in for a good night's sleep.

Well, HE got a good night's sleep. That little rascal talked in his sleep all night long. I think he was dreaming about getting a shot. Then when he woke up Friday morning, he sat straight up, held out his hand and said, "Here's your ice cream, Mom."

Friday morning, I dropped Biscuit off at my brother and sister-in-law's house. The plan was for him to spend the whole weekend there while I helped take care of Mama.

Not only did he have a few days of playing with his cousins, he got to see a movie, and he played in the pool, where he dunked his head completely THREE TIMES. And if you ask him about it, he gets wide-eyed and says, "I put my head under the water THREE TIMES!" With big emphasis on the "three times" part. Oh, and he was wearing Spider-Man goggles that he got to keep. Bonus!

I think if he could spend a few more weekends there, we wouldn't have to worry about signing him up for swimming lessons.

The hospital was a little over an hour from my parents' house, so I hit the road to drive there. Mama's surgery went just as they had hoped, but for some reason, the nurse pushed her into taking heavy-duty pain medicine Friday morning.

Mama told the nurse that she doesn't do well with pain medication and asked if she could just have some Tylenol. The nurse told her that she would start physical therapy that morning and really needed to take the pain pills. Mama asked if she could just take one, but the nurse was pretty pushy about her taking two.

So Mama ended up throwing up all day. The doctor told her that if she could walk enough to impress the physical therapist, she could go home, even though the original estimate was a three- to four-day hospital stay.

But of course if you're throwing up all day, you can't very well do any physical therapy.

It was hard to watch her so sick.

My sister-in-law took the kids to a movie, then brought them by the hospital. You'd be surprised how fast Mama's facial expression changed. From sick to Grandmama in five seconds flat. Biscuit clung to me -- arms around my neck, his cheek to my cheek. He just stared at Mama.

"Is she okay?" he whispered.

"Yep," I said. "Do you want to give her a very gentle high-five?" Biscuit nodded his head, and Mama held up her hand. He barely touched his palm to hers. She smiled, then he smiled. And then he was fine.

Saturday morning, Daddy said something to Mama, and she came right back at him. She slammed him good. And I thought to myself, "She's baaaaack!"

Daddy looked at me and said, "Well, I guess she's feeling better."

The physical therapist came in to get Mama. They walked all the way down the hall (twice as far as she asked Mama to walk). And they practiced some steps, since Mama would have to walk up steps to get into their house.

We got her home Saturday afternoon.

Then Sunday, I cooked a big lunch and invited everyone over.

Daddy and I helped Mama get a shower and changed her bandages, and I could tell she felt better. I had been trying to do things to help out all weekend, like vacuuming, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. And Mama kept fussing at me. "You don't have to do that." "You're going to wear yourself out." "Don't worry about doing any more."

I finally got so upset that I cried. "You know EXACTLY how I feel," I told her.

Mama lived 5 1/2 hours away from Granny, so whenever she was down there for a visit, she always tried to cram in as much as possible, including cleaning or errands or whatever she thought she could do to help. And that's exactly what I was doing.

Mama realized how I was feeling, and she didn't say anything else about my efforts. I know she appreciated everything I did, but I also know that as my mother, she was worried that I'd be tired driving back home Sunday or that I'd be too tired to have a good week at work.

I'll admit that I was exhausted today. Biscuit and I drove home in sheets of pouring rain yesterday. Well, I drove while Biscuit slept. His cousins wore him out. And my shoulders were tense from the drive. The rest of me was tense with worry about how this week would be for Mama and whether she'd keep progressing as well as she has so far.

So I'm going back there this coming weekend. I talked to my boss today and asked if I could work Thursday and take the July Fourth holiday on Friday. That way, I could have an extra day with Mama. She said of course it was okay, so that's the plan.

Jeff will most likely have an assignment on Saturday, so it will probably be just Biscuit and me again. I don't like it when my little family is scattered to the winds, but I know that come Monday, we'll all be back under the same roof.