Saturday, August 31, 2013

When Dad is bad

Jeff took Biscuit to get his hair cut by saying, "Come on, hippy, you need a hair cut."

"I'm NOT a hippy, Dad," Biscuit said, always frustrated with Dad's antics.

They called Biscuit back, and as he got into the chair, he said, "My name is Griffin, and this is my Dad. Mama named him Jeff, but sometimes when she's mad at him, then he's Jeffery."

And he's right.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last game of the season

Tonight was the last home game for the minor league baseball team in town. I knew Jeff would have to cover the game, so I was planning for Biscuit and me to stay home.

But a friend of mine sent me a text message saying she had an extra ticket and wanted to know if I wanted it.

Well I couldn't turn down a free ticket!

Biscuit will get in free until he turns 5, so this was the last season before we have to pay for his admittance. And tonight was Thirsty Thursday, so all drinks are $1.

All in all, we had a fairly cheap trip to the ballpark. And although they usually only have fireworks after the games on Friday and Saturday, since tonight was the last game, they had a nice season-finale show.

Here are some pictures of Biscuit:

Biscuit giggled every time the spray from the water feature would hit him.

Some little boy is sad because the season is over.

Biscuit loves to watch fireworks, but he hates
listening to them. He covers his ears every time.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mr. Clean

Neither of Biscuit's two TV channels show commercials, until recently. I guess one of them wasn't bringing in enough money because they've started running advertising.

Luckily, it's not ads for toys or things that the boy thinks he just HAS to have. They're all about household products. I guess they're assuming that parents are watching the shows with their kids. Don't they know that the reason I let him watch a couple of shows each evening is so I can be in the living room watching something else?!

Anyway, Biscuit was watching a show the other night and came in to talk to Jeff and me about Lysol. Here's what he had to say:

To translate, he said, "Lysol Disinfectant Spray does more. We call it 'healthing' because it kills 99 percent of germs that cause the odors."

He has also asked about Clorox and Hefty trash bags.

If there's a silver lining, it's that despite the fact that it's a commercial that he's quoting, we know that he has really good short-term memory.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carrying a tune

The Seven Dwarfs whistled while they worked, but Biscuit, he sings while he works.

I'm not sure what the song is. It sounds like he was making it up as he went along.

I don't care what he sings, I just love that he does.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Checking in: I realized the yesterday that I need to be more careful about the TV channel before I leave the room.

Biscuit was playing in the living room, and I was flipping channels on the TV. I walked into the kitchen to get something to drink, and as I was walking back, Biscuit said, "Mom, come quick. You gotta see this."

I walked in as a TV reporter was talking about a wildfire in California.

"Mom, that man said the forest is on fire in California, and it's really big," Biscuit said.

"Yeah, wildfires happen sometimes, but we're a really long way from California, so we're safe," I said, thinking he was worried that it was near us. 

"But Mom, are any of my people near California?" Biscuit asked.

"You have a great-uncle and some distant cousins in California, but they're not near the fire," I told him.

That seemed to satisfy him, but next time, I'll make sure the TV is on a different channel.

Field trip: "All these guys are going on a field trip," Biscuit said, while he was lining up some of his action figures.

"Where are they going?" I asked.

"Um, China," Biscuit said. "They're going to ride in the back of this dump truck all the way to China. They all got packed up, and they're bringing their hats because you can bring your hats to China, but only pretend China."

"So they're going to pretend China?" I asked him.

"Mom, they can't go to REAL China," Biscuit said.

Well of course not. How could I even question such a thing?

Toilet tunes: There are many stories I could share about funny - really funny - things that have happened with Biscuit in the bathroom. But I'm afraid they'll embarrass him later.

But every once in a while, I just can't help it.

This morning, Biscuit was in the bathroom taking care of business, and as he often does, he started singing. This is what we heard ...

"Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire

I fell into a ring of fire"

He was singing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" out loud and proud.

He sings along with the song whenever we play it, but this was just him, singing his little heart out. And whether it was from the bathroom or not, Jeff and I just sat, listened and enjoyed.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A warrior

Biscuit has fallen in love with light-up toothbrushes. My Mama gave him his first one, then when it got close to dying, we found some more. The colored part at the top lights up and blinks for one minute, the minimum amount of time he should brush his teeth.

He has red, blue and green, although right now, red and green are the ones in action - one upstairs and one downstairs.

But this evening, he decided to use them for something other than brushing his teeth.

Here's my warrior in action with his sword toothbrushes:

(And just so you know, when I post these videos, I have no control over the suggested videos that appear after you watch the one I posted. When you see the suggestions for this one, you'll understand why I'm saying this!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Take me out to the ballgame

I wanted to come home and relax tonight. It's been a rough week, and I pictured myself in my rocking chair reading or watching bad TV.

Jeff, on the other hand, pictured us at a baseball game.

When I picked up Biscuit from daycare, I figured I'd let him decide. And I was secretly hoping he'd say he didn't want to go. I was actually assuming he would. The last couple of times I've asked him about going to a game, he hasn't wanted to go.

But of course not tonight. "Sure, Mom," Biscuit said, "especially if we can go to the playground for a little while."

"Fine," I said. "We'll go to the ballgame."

In retrospect, I'm glad we went. It was a nice night (although the humidity was about 1,000%).

Biscuit got to spend some time on the playground. He sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," and he got two foul balls.

"Hey, boy," Jeff said. "Since you have two balls, why don't you take one to that little girl over there." 

He was talking about a girl about five rows down from us. Luckily, I was watching Biscuit because he drew his arm back with that ball in his hand. He had every intention of throwing that ball to the little girl.

"NO!" I said and scared Biscuit. "Don't throw it. You need to walk it down there."

While Biscuit was walking down the steps to give the little girl the ball, I kicked over my pocketbook, and Biscuit's other ball rolled out. I didn't realize it until Biscuit walked back and asked for it.

I looked at Jeff and mouthed the words, "The other ball is gone."

We started looking all around us, but we couldn't find it. I couldn't believe that Biscuit started with two foul balls, and now he had none.

One of the men behind us got up and started walking down the steps. After walking down about 10 steps, he walked into a row, reached down and grabbed the ball. I honestly thought he might keep it, but he brought it right back to Biscuit.

Biscuit thanked him, and the guy seemed pleased that he had helped out.

One of the men he was with said, "He might want to give that ball to Mom to hold onto."

I turned around and said, "Nope. Mom was the one who lost it to start with!"

Biscuit made it home with his ball. And I'm glad I gave in and went.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Family ties

My brother called me today as I was wrapping up my work for the day. I didn't really have time to talk, but there are two reasons I did.

  1. My brother is not a phone person, so if he actually wants to talk, I don't want to miss it.
  2. When I look back at my day, I'm guessing I won't regret the fact that my work took about 15 minutes longer than it should, but I'm pretty sure I would've regretted not talking to my brother.

I'm close to my family. We all check in with each other often (I talk to my Mama every morning on the way to work). But with four years difference in our ages, my brother and I weren't always close.

When we were kids, I used to torture him terribly. I would throw his shoes out the front door, wait for him to go out and get them, then I would lock him out of the house. We also used to fight and hit each other. We were terrible to each other. 

But Lord help anyone else who ever came at one of us. We could say or do mean things to each other all day long, but if anyone else said or did anything mean to either of us, the other one would be ready to throw down!

We went to a small school in a rural area. It was K-6th grade in one building and 7th-12th in a neighboring building. When I was in 10th grade and my brother was in 6th grade, I drove us to school each morning. I was supposed to leave early enough to drive to the other side of the elementary school to drop him off. But of course that never happened.

I was always running late, and I would drive straight to the high school parking lot and make my brother walk through the high school, across the bus driveway and into the elementary school. He always told on me, and Mama always fussed at me.

But even though I was not doing what I was supposed to do, something cool happened as a result.

As my brother would walk down the main hallway of the high school, my friends got to know him. So by the time he moved from 6th grade to 7th grade, he was already well-known by a lot of upperclassmen. And didn't that make him cool among all his friends!

Of course, if you ask him, it was all in the course of my little brother torture routine.

My brother has two daughters and a son, and they love hearing stories like this. And this past weekend, when we visited with them, one of them said they really didn't like their sibling.

To which I replied, "That's okay, you'll like them later, when you're older."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pictures to share

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Well, I have 3,000 words worth of pictures to share.

The school-agers made paper airplanes for the little kids at day care
one day last week. They drew bird faces on them and wrote the
kids' names on them. The little kids were so excited, and you
could tellthe older kids were proud of what they had done.

Biscuit and I went out for pizza one night last week. He was pretending
the crayons were race cars, and of course the red car was in the lead.

Biscuit and I spend a lot of time at this particular location! He has never asked
to stand on one of those balls until our trip last week. I asked him why he had
never asked to do that before, and he said, "I just didn't." And there you have it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Grandmama's birthday

Biscuit and I had a nice trip to my parents' house this weekend. Mama's birthday is this week, so we went down for an early celebration.

It seems like we crammed a lot of stuff into our weekend, but it was worth it.

I thought Biscuit and I would be driving in the rain, but it seems more like we followed the rain all the way there. Just as we got off the interstate, we saw a rainbow. We followed it for about an hour. Needless to say, a rainbow is WAY better than driving in the rain.

When we got to my parents' house, one of my Daddy's friends were there to play music. He comes over most Friday nights, and he and Daddy sing and play guitars. I've known Daddy's friend since I was 3, and Biscuit knows him now, too, so when we walked in, we just joined in with the music. They play songs Biscuit knows ("You Are My Sunshine" and "This Little Light of Mine"), and they play a lot of old songs that I remember from when I was a kid and some gospel stuff.

Saturday morning, Biscuit and I gave Mama a couple of presents. Biscuit took a liking to the netting I used as a bow on the gift.

Then Biscuit told Grandmama that she should make her bow into a mask like his Ninja Turtle mask. So she did.

Serious turtle warriors.
I like smiling turtles better.

Mama and I went on a date, just the two of us. I dropped Biscuit off at my brother's house, so he could play with his cousins.

Mama is still recovering from back surgery, so I knew she wouldn't be able to do too much. We went to one department store (where thanks to Mama's relationship with the clerk, I got a pair of pants, a work shirt and a tank top for $27!). Then we had lunch. It was nice to get her out of the house, especially with just the two of us.

We went back to my brother's house and hung out for the rest of the evening. It was nice having everybody together. Well, everybody but Jeff. My Mama gives him grief every year. The golf tournament he covered Monday through Sunday of this past week always falls the weekend before Mama's birthday. She teases him about liking golf more than he likes her.

After Sunday lunch (or Sunday dinner as I grew up calling it), we had cake for Mama. Her favorite is a lemon cake I make with a tart lemon glaze.

There was some more music, some card games, some general hanging out and some fishing that took place Sunday afternoon. Biscuit enjoyed watching Papa pull a fish out of the pond.

Biscuit and I were 10 minutes into our 2 1/2-hour trip before he was sound asleep. He woke up about 20 minutes from home and couldn't wait to see his Dad.

Sadly, Jeff was still working when we got home. Poor Biscuit. He was so sad.

It wasn't too long before Jeff got home, though, and then Biscuit was happy again.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

What day is it? "Mom, why are we going to Grandmama's house tomorrow?" Biscuit asked me.

"Her birthday is next week, so we're going to celebrate it with her this weekend," I said.

"But Mom, why can't we go see her on her REAL birthday?" he asked.

"Because it's in the middle of the week," I said.

"Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom ... is it HUMP-DAY?" Biscuit asked, laughing his little head off.

Watch this commercial, and you'll understand.

Research and study: "Mom, there's a boy in my day care who has curly hair," Biscuit said. "Can you believe that?"

"Why does that surprise you?" I asked. "Boys can have curly hair, too."

"But I thought only girls have curly hair," Biscuit said.

I started thinking about it, and none of the men in our family have curly hair, although my brother and my nephew would both have curls if their hair wasn't 1/2 an inch long. So I told Biscuit that if their hair wasn't so short, they'd both have curly hair, and he was very surprised.

"My cousin has a lot of hair, but it's just cut short so you can't see curls," Biscuit said. "But my uncle, he doesn't have a lot of hair. But his is cut short, too, so you can't see curls."

"That's right," I told him.

"Mom, I'm just a scientist for all my people," Biscuit said.

"What?" I asked him.

"A scientist," he said. "When you know all about something, that makes you a scientist. And I know all about my people, so I'm a scientist. Nobody knows they have curly hair but you and me. I'm a scientist, and you can be my helper."

To which I wanted to hunch over and say, "Walk thees way ..."

Marty Feldman as Igor from "Young Frankenstein."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Good and bad at the car show

We made it to the car show Saturday, and it was a good vs. bad day.

Good: My brother, his wife, my two nieces and my nephew came up for the car show.

Bad: They were only able to come for the day instead of coming for the whole weekend (which was what I was hoping would happen).

Good: There were some really nice cars at the show.

Bad: Instead of having the show on the pretty, scenic end of the park like they have in previous years, they moved it to the large parking lot on the other end, which made it just like all the other car shows. The cool thing about the show has always been that you could enjoy the park and the show at the same time. But this year, it was on a hot, asphalt parking lot. And the temperature was in the 90s.

Good: We packed a picnic lunch, and Jeff's parking spot was right beside a shady median with a picnic table.

Bad: That picnic table was about 1/2 a mile from where we had to leave our car (which held the large cooler with the extra bottles of water). Because all the car show cars were taking up the spaces in the parking lot, we had to park and walk ... A LONG WAY!!

Good: Jeff won third place.

Bad: He should've won second, and the awards ceremony was in direct sunlight, so my face got sunburned.

Good: They gave out the awards an hour earlier than they had originally scheduled.

Bad: The reason they gave out the awards early is that they were watching the weather radar and spotted a big storm heading our way.

Good: We quickly got our ducks in a row and were ready to head home.

Bad: The storm came in quicker than we thought it would, and the heavens opened to pour rain onto all the beautiful cars, including Jeff's leaky convertible (and Jeff wasn't the only one, there were a ton of old convertibles at the show).

Good: Everyone made it back to our house safely, and unlike a poor mid-70s Corvette, a double canopy tent did not turn over directly onto our Barracuda.

Bad: Jeff, my brother and my nephew spent a good while towel-drying the car in our garage.

Good: The cousins all played very well together, and it was nice to visit with my brother and sister-in-law.

Bad: Poor Biscuit did not deal well with them leaving. Luckily, because he didn't get a nap that afternoon, he was worn out and ready for bed not long after they left.

Jeff picks up his trophy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

A helping hand

Biscuit has heard me say more than once "... because it's the right thing to do." But leave it to Jeff to one-up me by practicing what I've been preaching.

Jeff is covering an annual golf tournament this week, and today was the qualifying rounds. One English golfer, who now lives in Florida, scored really well, and he thought he would get to stay for the tournament. So he postponed his flight back home.

But some other golfers had an even better day than he did, which meant he didn't make the cut. He needed a flight home after all. The only problem was that the car he had set up to take him to the airport had already gone.

The golfer asked around for anyone who was going in the direction of the airport, but nobody was going that way ... except for Jeff. We live seven minutes door-to-door from the airport, so of course, Jeff offered the guy a ride.

Jeff drives a Mustang, so there's not a lot of trunk space, and he has a car seat for Biscuit in the back seat. But they managed to get a large suitcase, a full set of golf clubs and a couple of smaller bags packed in.

It was time to leave, and the English golfer walked to the driver's side of the car and started to get in. When he saw the steering wheel, he just laughed, realizing he was on the wrong side of the car.

"I am English," the guy said. And as Jeff was telling me the story, I was wishing I could've heard the golfer's accent.

Jeff said they chit-chatted about golf, family and travel, and next thing you know, they were at the airport.

Jeff called me to say he'd be home for dinner after all, and that he'd write his story from home. And of course, I had to tell Biscuit the story.

"Mom, why did Dad take that golf player to the airport?" Biscuit asked me.

"Because it was the right thing to do," I told him.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Moving on up

Biscuit and I went to an open house at his day care Thursday evening. 

He's been going to this day care since March, so we've gotten to know most of the teachers there. Even so, we wanted to find out more about the pre-K class that Biscuit will be moving into.

Since Biscuit has a late birthday, he won't start kindergarten until next year. So one of the reasons we swapped day cares was because this one has a specified pre-K class. The whole purpose of the class is to get the kids ready for kindergarten.

Kids move into the pre-K class by the school year, not by their age. So Biscuit will be moving up the week after Labor Day.

It won't be a big deal for him because he's already spent some time in the pre-K class. Biscuit is the oldest kid in his current class, so when they get too many kids in there, he gets sent up to pre-K. He seems to handle it well and is able to keep up with most of the activities they do there.

Even so, we wanted to find out more about the specifics of the class.

They have a structured curriculum they go by, but the teachers are allowed to go above and beyond or introduce alternatives to some of the lessons. That is one thing Biscuit's old day care fell short on. The teachers were handed a curriculum, and that's what they were supposed to teach and do. Period.

These teachers teach the lessons, then try to come up with creative ways to get the kids to practice what they learned or at least think about it in different ways. And because every kid is different, I really like that idea.

Biscuit will be practicing more on his writing.

I told the teacher that he still colors with both hands, and that he picks up his eating utensils with whichever hand they're closest to. And although that's great because he's using both sides of his brain when he does that kind of stuff, he still has to have a dominant writing hand. His soon-to-be teacher said she had noticed him using both hands equally, but she hadn't had a chance to ask us about it.

They'll also be keeping journals.

When they finish the lesson for the day, the kids either write or draw in their journals about what they learned. The teacher said it helps them better process what they learned in the lesson, and of course, it helps with writing and drawing skills.

They'll be learning sight words, which are some common words kids should know going into kindergarten.

This one is kind of crazy to me. We didn't even learn our letters and letter sounds until kindergarten, but now, kids are supposed to recognize words on sight. A few of the ones he should know by next school year are: and, big, can, down, for, jump, me, play, see, two, up, yellow and you. There are plenty of others - I think about 100. His teacher said he'll easily know 50 of them by next school year.

Biscuit and I left the open house and ran to the store to pick up a few things. Jeff had to work late and couldn't be at the open house, so he just met us at the store.

"How did the open house go?" he asked.

I told him everything, including the stuff about the sight words. 

"They said he would know at least 50 of the 100 or so sight words on the list," I told him. Then I smiled and in my best uppity voice said, "But of COURSE he'll know ALL of them!"

"Well of COURSE," Jeff said.

We've been really satisfied with this day care, and I hope this next year will continue to be as good as the past few months have been.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Eruption: "Mom, can you show me a volcano on the computer?" Biscuit asked.

"We can look," I told him. "Why do you want to see a volcano?"

"I just thought the latha looked really cool," Biscuit said.

"The what?" I asked him.

"The latha ... you know, the hot stuff that comes out of volcanoes," he said.

I corrected his pronunciation of lava, but not before I laughed to myself and made a note of it to share here.

Let me out! Jeff was working late the other night, so Biscuit and I were hanging out at home.

I decided to clean out the refrigerator, and I had to pour out little bits of leftovers and out-of-date sauces and dressings. I washed out all the containers for the recycling bin, and they were sitting on the kitchen counter. 

I was waiting to have dinner with Jeff when he got home, but I had made something for Biscuit to eat. I sat down at the table with him, and we started to hear a high-pitched squeal. He looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both just giggled. We had no idea what was making the noise.

"What is that noise?" Biscuit asked me.

"I have no idea," I said, then I got up and started walking around the kitchen to figure out what we were hearing. "I think it's coming from one of these jars," and I leaned over the counter to listen closer. "This is the one!" I said holding up a squeeze bottle.

"Mom, is there something in there that wants to get out?" he asked.

Why in the world would that be his first assumption?!

"I don't think so, but just in case, I'll dump it down the disposal," I said.

"That sounds like a good plan," Biscuit said.

It's a secret: We went to a restaurant the other night that gives a chocolate chip cookie with each kid's meal. Biscuit was chatty during dinner, and it was taking forever for him to get finished.

I picked up his cookie, and he was immediately worried.

"Mom, are you going to throw away my cookie?" Biscuit asked.

"No, of course not," I said. "We need to get home, so you can eat it after your bath."

"Oh, okay," he said, clearly disappointed.

We got home, and Biscuit went straight upstairs for his bath.

After his bath, Biscuit asked Jeff if they could watch a cartoon on DVD. They both got so wrapped up in the show, they forgot about Biscuit's cookie.

The next morning, Jeff said to me, "He realized as he was getting into bed that he never ate his cookie. He asked if he could have it, and I told him he could eat it for breakfast."

Biscuit came downstairs and climbed up to the kitchen table. He had a bowl of oatmeal with a cookie right beside it.

"Mom, what's this cookie doing here?" Biscuit asked.

"It's part of your breakfast," I said.

"You can't do that!" Biscuit said. "You can't eat cookies for breakfast!"

"It'll be just this once," Jeff said, "but don't tell anybody." 

Biscuit smiled and started eating his oatmeal.

As I unwrapped his cookie, he said, "Mom, this is the best secret ever!"

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Small talk, literally

Biscuit got a cool fire truck for his last birthday. It came with small several firefighters with very large boots and teeny, tiny, wee, little fire tools, including axes, megaphones and walkie-talkies.

We were at the store the other night, and I saw a pack of extra firefighters - complete with two fire dogs - and several tools marked down to $1.78. They must be discontinuing them or something. I showed them to Biscuit, and he said, "WHOA! Those are really cool." Then he handed them back to me.

Biscuit has fallen into that little kid trap of walking through the toy department saying things like, "I wish I had ..." or "I want ..." It's really annoying, and we've had several discussions about it.

On our trip the other day, I had told him that he could look through the toys, but we weren't buying anything. So I was very impressed with him not asking for those firefighters.

"Hey, I forgot about the money that Grandma sent you last week," I told him. "Do you want to spend some of it on these firefighters?"

"We can do that?" Biscuit asked.

"Yep, we sure can," I told him. Of course, I had already put the money from Grandma away to go into his savings account, but Biscuit didn't have to know that.

Anyway, Biscuit and I were playing with the firefighters and their tools, and I was handed the walkie-talkie below.

Here's how our conversation went:

"Chief, come in chief," Biscuit's firefighter said.

"This is the chief," I said into the radio that's smaller than my thumbnail.

"Mom, you forgot to say 'inside out' when you were done talking on the radio," Biscuit said.

And then he got mad at me because I laughed at him.

"Why are you laughing, Mom?" he asked, quite exasperated.

"I just thought of something funny," I said.

"No, you didn't," Biscuit said. "You're laughing at me."

"Okay fine," I said. "I AM laughing at you. You said, 'inside out' instead of 'over and out,' and it was funny."

"I did?" Biscuit said. Then he started laughing, too.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Bad start, good ending

Biscuit was a weepy mess this morning. He had a hard time going to sleep last night, and it was very clear that he hadn't had enough shut-eye.

Jeff had to wake Biscuit up, and that's never a good start to the morning. They came downstairs, and Biscuit crawled into my side of the bed. I was getting ready in our bathroom and actually walked right past Biscuit and into the kitchen to ask if Biscuit was up yet.

"Yeah," Jeff said. "He's on your side of the bed."

So I went creeping back into the bedroom and with a silly voice said, "What are you doing in my bed? I don't let little boys sleep in my bed."

"Mom," Biscuit whined. "I just can't talk to you right now. I'm really tired, and it just makes me a little bit sick."

"Come on," I told him. "You and I are going to the kitchen to eat breakfast."

"Eating breakfast would make my stomach burn," Biscuit said. (Where does he come up with this stuff?!)

Then he got to the table and realized that Jeff had made him oatmeal. And it was bad. Major tears started streaming, and his face was as pitiful as I've seen it.

"Mom," he said. "I didn't want oatmeal. I wanted cereal." And of course with all the snubbing, each word was about four syllables.

"Dad didn't know, so just have oatmeal this morning, and you can have cereal tomorrow morning," I told him.

"Can I have the oatmeal AND cereal?" Biscuit asked.

So Jeff grabbed a little bowl and poured Biscuit 16 pieces of cereal. You know how I know how many pieces were in there? Because Biscuit had a big ol' meltdown about it.

"Mom, I only wanted SIX cereals, and Dad put more than six in there," Biscuit whined.

I counted the pieces of cereal. "There are 16 in the bowl. Eat what you want and leave the rest," I said.

"But Mom, there are WAY too many cereals in the bowl. I only wanted six," Biscuit said.

The conversation inside my head was going back and forth between the part that was trying to be patient and the part that wanted to shake him by the shoulders!

"Eat the cereal or don't eat the cereal," I said, "but don't sit here and whine about it. Dad was kind enough to make you breakfast, and you should say 'thank you' to him instead of crying about the fact that he didn't know how many pieces of cereal you wanted."

As soon as I said it, I wished I hadn't. But I was near the end of my rope.

"Is Dad mad at me?" Biscuit said with even more tears streaming.

"No, baby," I said, "Dad is not mad at you. Just eat your food so we can get you ready for day care."

One of Biscuit's day care teachers learned about this method of calming kids down when they're upset. The acronym is STAR, and it stands for Stop, Take A Deep Breath and Relax. And Biscuit responds to it very well.

"Take a deep breath," I said to Biscuit.

He sucked in a deep breath and breathed it out, "Shhhhhhhhhhh."

"Take another deep breath," I said. And he did.

He was finally calm enough to eat his breakfast. And he ate six pieces of cereal and left the rest.

Jeff dropped off Biscuit at day care this morning, and when he got to work, I asked him how it went.

"Well," Jeff said. "The teachers forgot to remind the kids about Splash Day, so only a few of them remembered to bring their bathing suits. So they decided to cancel it for this week."

My heart dropped because if Biscuit was still in the very bad place he was inhabiting at the breakfast table, I could picture a pool of sobbing Biscuit on the floor.

"How did he take it?" I asked Jeff.

"Oh, he was fine," Jeff said. "We went into the 'rain room' in the back to change from his bathing suit to his regular clothes, and he was excited about showing me around the room."

The rain room is actually the room for the school-agers for after school care. But when it's raining, the younger classes use it as a recess destination because it's the biggest room at the day care, and they can still get some physical activity.

But the main point is that Biscuit was fine.

I picked him up this evening, and he was in a good mood. I told him we had to do some shopping, and he seemed fine with that. So all three of us were in the car together when we got to the store and saw a safety festival going on in the parking lot. They had a bouncy house, two miniature horses and a rabbit from a local farm, snow-cones and face painting for the kids. There were adult things, too, like an area offering makeover tips, a home alarm system demonstration, a class doing Zumba and some other businesses.

Biscuit asked nicely if he could do the bounce house, so we took him over. And of course he had to see the horses. 

As we were walking into the store, I was explaining to Biscuit why we needed to wash our hands before we did our shopping.

"Any time you touch an animal, you have to wash your hands," I said to Biscuit.

"Kim?" I heard a voice say behind me. I turned around to see the P.R. person at a local theater. "I thought I recognized your voice," she said. "And that's a great explanation about the hand washing after touching animals. I've had the same conversation with my little girl."

We got our shopping done then cashed in a restaurant gift card for dinner.

The rest of the evening went well, and there was not much drama at bathtime or bedtime.

Here are some pictures I took at the safety event:

The woman from the farm was very good
with showing the kids how to hold the rabbit.

I'm opposed to the miniature cowboy hats the horses
were wearing, but other than that, they were sweet animals.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Playground playboy

I had dinner tonight with my former editing and design team. The rearrangement of the newsroom ripped apart my team, but luckily, the four of us have kept in touch with each other.

One member of our team got a job somewhere else. Two of us are still at the paper, and the fourth retired last week. And I'm so happy for her. She's 66 years old and has worked her entire life, so it's high time she has an opportunity to do the things she wants to do instead of the things she has to do.

So Jeff and Biscuit were on their own tonight.

Biscuit asked if they could go to a fast food restaurant that Jeff doesn't really like, and Jeff gave in.

"But Dad, you don't even like that place," Biscuit said. Which begs the question of why did Biscuit ask to go to a place he knows Jeff doesn't like. But despite that, Biscuit has a great dad, so he got to go where he wanted to go.

"Well," Jeff said. "It's a trade-off. Sometimes we go to places you like, and sometimes we go to places I like."

The funny thing is that Biscuit doesn't even like the food that much. He just likes the play area.

When I got home, Jeff told me about their evening.

"Your boy gets around in the restaurant play area," Jeff said.

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"Well, first, he was playing with a little girl named Emma. She was there with her Dad. They played real well together, but she didn't get to stay very long. Then there was Olivia. Her Mom called her Livvy, and she and Biscuit played real well together. Livvy's Mom said she was not always that outgoing and that she's picky about who she will play with. But Biscuit was talking to all the parents, too, so that might have helped. Livvy and Biscuit raced on side-by-side slides and when her Mom said it was time to go, they hugged, and Livvy whispered something in Biscuit's ear."

Jeff continued, "Then there was Autumn. They played okay together, but Autumn was shy. She would play for a little while, then run back to her table to eat some of her food. Biscuit wasn't deterred. When Autumn went to eat her food, Biscuit would say, 'When you come back, we'll play some more.' We left before Autumn was done eating, but he said goodbye to Autumn and her Mom, and we headed home."

I love when Jeff and I each have alone time with Biscuit. Well, actually, I really love the time when we get to trade stories with each other about our alone time with Biscuit. That's what's really fun!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Birthday basics

It was a day of celebration at our house, but unfortunately, we didn't know about it until late this evening.

Today is Monty's birthday. He was 4 3/4, just like Biscuit, but today, he turned 5.

We still only have one child. Monty is Biscuit's imaginary friend.

I'm not sure how this birthday came into being, but around dinnertime, Biscuit said to me, "Mom, do you have a birthday cake? Today is Monty's birthday."

"I don't have any cake," I told Biscuit.

"Pssst," Biscuit said motioning me to bend over to his level. "Let me whisper something in your ear."

"Okay," I said, and leaned over.

"Mom, Monty is not real. He's just pretend," Biscuit explained. "So you just need to give him a pretend cake, okay?"

"Oooohhhhh," I said. I walked into the kitchen and moved my hands around on the kitchen counter. "Here you go, Monty. Here's a cake for you. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"

"That's good, Mom," Biscuit said.

"Do you want to sing to him?" I asked.

"He just wants me to sing to him," Biscuit said. And he did.

I didn't hear Monty complain, so I guess his birthday cake was okay.

As we were eating dinner, Biscuit gave me an explanation about how birthdays work for imaginary people.

"Mom, when you have a pretend birthday, you stay the old you are," Biscuit said. "If you're real but you have a pretend birthday, and you're 9 years old, you don't turn 10."

"So how old is Monty?" I asked him.

"Monty was 4 3/4 just like me, but today he turned 5 years old," Biscuit said. "But on my pretend birthday, I'm still 4 3/4. See?"

Oh, I get it. I'm just wondering how something that involved occurs to a 4 3/4-year-old!

Friday, August 2, 2013

First Friday

On the first Friday of each month, all the downtown shops, galleries, restaurants and other businesses stay open late and have special events, like artists, musicians and special food items.

I've been wanting to go for a long time, but we just never had the first Friday free ... until tonight. We had dinner with a couple of friends, then walked down to the park.

We have a really nice park right in the middle of downtown. It has really cool fountains and several pathways around the area. There's a stage, a big grassy area and benches around the perimeter. There are some sculptures and stone engravings around the park, too. It's just a fun place to hang out.

Tonight, there were a couple of bands playing music, with a belly dance troupe performing in between the music acts.

When Biscuit saw the dancers, he said, "Mom, where are those dancers from?"

"They're from here," I told him. Then I realized that he was probably asking because of their traditional Middle Eastern costumes. "Are you asking because of their outfits?"

"Yes ma'am," Biscuit said.

"Well, people do wear those outfits in some other countries, but the dancers are wearing them here because that's what belly dancers wear," I explained to him. That seemed to satisfy him.

I worry about Biscuit being an only child sometimes when I see brothers and cousins playing together. But Biscuit is very outgoing and won't hesitate to ask kids if he can play with them. I hope he stays that way.

But the heartbreaking part, and the part that's hardest for me to see, is that sometimes the other kids shoot him down. They say they don't want to play with him. Or even worse, they'll say something rude to him. Despite the fact that I want to kick their little butts for being rude to him, Biscuit doesn't seem to be bothered by it at all.

He found several kids to run under the fountains with, and then he found a little boy to play tag with on the big grassy area. So tonight, he was successful more than he was shot down, which always makes for a good time.

Check out my ghost baby. See those eyes?!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Car show ... hopefully

We haven't done any car shows this year. The weather has been so unpredictable, and work has taken up so much extra time for Jeff and me both, that we just haven't had a chance to get out to shows.

But barring all catastrophes, we're hoping to be at an annual show on Aug. 10. It's sponsored by a Chevy club, but we'll set that aside because it's such a nice show. So keep your fingers crossed that the weather and work will both cooperate to make this happen.

Last year at that particular car show is when I took the picture that's at the top of the blog. It started pouring rain, and Biscuit and I ducked under the awning of a building near where we were parked. Biscuit was getting antsy, so I started taking silly pictures of him. To get the shot at the top of the blog, I turned my camera around and snapped the photo without even looking at Biscuit. Of course I probably couldn't have gotten a photo that good if I had been trying!

Because the Barracuda has old-style seatbelts, Biscuit's car seat won't work in it. So Jeff drives the Barracuda, and Biscuit and I take my car and meet him there. I try to time it so we don't spend quite the whole day there because there isn't a ton of stuff for kids to do. And it's a looooong day, usually from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The best part is after the show is over, they open the back gate to the park, and all the cars file out. It's like a parade. There's a long straightaway that leads back to the main road, and as the hot rods are leaving, they all do burnouts and go screaming down the road. That's the part I love best.

This will be Biscuit's fourth year at the Chevy club show.

Here's a picture of Biscuit in 2010, his first year at the show: