Thursday, February 27, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

How have I not posted since Monday? Oh yeah, I had dinner with a friend Tuesday night, and I had to bring home a bunch of work yesterday. That's how.

Anyway, here are a few things Biscuit has said recently:

Super powers: Biscuit still loves superheroes. He plays with his superhero action figures. He pretends to be superheroes. He assigns superhero roles to Jeff and me. Most days, it's all superheroes all the time.

So the other day while we were playing, Biscuit came up to me and gave me the following speech:

"Hi. My name is Bruce Banner, and I have a secret ... When I get really mad, I become (looks around to see if anyone is eavesdropping), THE HULK ... You know how I got to be that way? ... This one time, I was BAM-barded by gamma rays."

"You were bam-barded?" I asked him. "Wow. That sounds serious."

"It was," Biscuit said, "but now I can fight bad guys."

Joining in the music: A friend of ours back home made a gospel bluegrass CD and gave Biscuit a copy as a gift. Biscuit loves it and knows the words to several of the songs.

Well, actually, he makes up his own words that sound sort of like the actual words of the song. Despite his lack of correct lyrics, he can carry a tune, and I love, love, love to hear his little voice coming from the back seat.

We were on the way to Biscuit's piano lesson the other night, and he asked if we could listen to the CD. He asked for a specific song, and when it came on, he sang and sang and sang.

When the song was over, Biscuit said, "Mom, did it sound just like I was inside that song?"

"Yes, it did," I said to Biscuit. "I love it when you sing."

His menu: Jeff worked late this evening, so Biscuit and I ran some errands then went out to eat. The hostess led us to our table and gave us menus.

"Mom, I want to find the honey chicken on the menu," Biscuit said. "Can you help me sound it out?"

So I helped him find the "chicken" section, then the Classic Honey Chicken.

Then Biscuit picked up a smaller one-page menu.

"What is this, Mom?" Biscuit asked, holding the small menu.

"That's the 'specials' menu," I said to Biscuit.

"Oh ... well ... I'm special, so I'm going to order off of THIS menu," Biscuit said.

There was not a trace of irony or humor when he said it, either. I had quite a hard time keeping a straight face.

"Yes, you are," I said. "You are special."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Musical composition

Biscuit created his first musical composition at his piano lesson this evening. But don't get all excited. He's no Mozart ... yet!

Last week, Biscuit's teacher said he felt Biscuit was ready to learn notes. Nowadays, teachers start younger kids out playing by numbers. And that's what Biscuit has been doing so far, well, until his last lesson. So during his practices this past week, he and I did note drills. I would tell him to play an E, and he would. I would tell him to play a G, and he would. He really got the hang of it.

So at Biscuit's lesson this evening, his teacher explained to him that to write songs, you take the notes you have available and put them in some kind of order. And that is called a melody. Music notes go A-G, then start over again, so the teacher handed Biscuit two sets of letters (almost two sets, the red F was missing) and told him to write a song.

Here's Biscuit's song:

So while looking at the letters he arranged, Biscuit went to the piano keyboard and played the melody he created.

Biscuit's teacher got a kick out of what Biscuit came up with because it's very orderly. (Hmm. I can't imagine where he got that!) Not only did he make a pattern of repeating the notes, if you look, all the letters are red/blue, red/blue, red/blue. 

And as you can see, the lack of a red F didn't throw him because there were three red crayons in the box that were conveniently shifted into the shape he needed.

It's been fun watching Biscuit learn this stuff because it's such a sense of discovery for him. And it's been fun watching the teacher, too. He really seems to enjoy it when Biscuit latches on to something he's trying to teach.

I hope they both keep enjoying these lessons.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Party wishes

We went to another birthday party this weekend. Thankfully, this one was at the birthday boy's home. Unlike last weekend's adventure, there were no bells, whistles, blaring music or loud video game noises. This one was just like I like them - kids laughing and squealing over treats and party favors.

This weekend's birthday boy is just four months younger than Biscuit. So his Mom and I got to share several months of pregnancy, and Jeff and the boy's Dad went to Daddy Boot Camp class together.

And yes, there is such a thing.

Daddy Boot Camp is a crash course in helping new dads figure out what to do with their newborns. The teachers show them how to pick up and hold the baby, how to change a diaper, how to feed the baby if you're using a bottle and more. They even encouraged the dads to have their own diaper bags and told them what to put in them. A dad who had completed the course a year earlier, dumped out his diaper bag to show the soon-to-be dads what he carried in his own bag.

While the guys were in their class, the birthday boy's Mom and I went shopping. We walked. A lot! As a matter of fact, that night was when I went into labor with Biscuit. So I've always told her that she's the one who sent me into early labor with all that walking we did!

Anyway, the party was fun, and we hung around for a while after everyone else left.

Biscuit and the birthday boy get along really well, so we just let them play in the boy's room while we adults sat around chatting. We like this other couple a lot, and with their son being so close to Biscuit's age, it's fun to compare notes with them.

If it were my birthday, I'd wish for way more parties like this one and way fewer at that loud place!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

At the party place

Biscuit has been invited to several birthday parties for his friends at day care - boys and girls. But until this past weekend, he hasn't wanted to go to any.

And of course, he had to pick the one party at Chuck E. Cheese's.

For the lucky souls who haven't been exposed to this place, it's like a wild west town for the 4- to 10-year-old lot. There are video games, animatronic animal musicians, flashing lights, loud music, cardboard pizza, soft drinks and plenty of room for the kids to run amok.

When we arrived, we went to the table to shed coats, claim a spot and grab a cup of game tokens for Biscuit. And in talking with the others, we realized that Biscuit was the only one who hadn't visited this place before.

I wish I could've videotaped Biscuit's face the whole time. He didn't talk a lot. And he had this look of concentration, like he was just taking it all in.

We walked over to the game area just as one of Biscuit's day care friends was coming in with his mom. She was as white as a sheet and said she had been sick all morning. So she asked if we could keep an eye on her son while she went to her car and took a nap.

The little boy and Biscuit have known each other since Biscuit's previous day care. And although they have completely different personalities, they seem to get along well.

They both enjoyed these simulator rides where you sit in a chair and watch a video screen, and the chair moves in reaction to whatever is on the screen. One of the programs was a runaway mine car, and when it turn hard to the right, the chair leaned. And when the mine car ran over a bumpy spot, the chair shook. Both boys loved it.

We also found a game where each boy could hold a fire hose and try to douse the fire on the game's screen. It looked like the boys were firefighters walking through a mansion that was on fire. They had to put out the flames in the entry way, then the living room, the the dining room.

Biscuit's friend said, "I never liked firefighters before, but this is really cool!"

He might be converted to a new career aspiration.

For the party part, the kids sit at long tables for pizza and soft drinks. Biscuit doesn't like soft drinks, so when I saw one of the cups with water in it, I swapped out his cup for that one. 

But I was wrong. Biscuit took a big sip, made the worst face, and said, "Mom, that is NOT water!"

It was Sprite. And now I know that Biscuit doesn't like Sprite, either! Jeff got him some tea, and everything was fine after that.

A guy in a big mouse costume came out to sing and dance with the birthday kids. And it was plural. There were four other parties going on at the same time as they one we were attending.

Biscuit was still just staring, soaking it all in.

I walked over to him and said, "Are you having a good time?"

"Yes ma'am," Biscuit said.

"You know you can smile if you're having fun, right?" I teased him.

He gave me a half-smile and said, "Mom, there is a lot going on in here. It's REALLY loud."

"If you want to go home, just let me know," I said. But apparently, it wasn't THAT loud!

Jeff said, "You know he's going to talk about this for three days, don't you?"

But surprisingly, he hasn't said a single word about it. I'm not sure if the whole experience was just too overwhelming or if the just the opposite and the whole experience was underwhelming.

I'd be fine never having to return to Chuck E. Cheese's, but it'll be interesting to see if Biscuit mentions it again.

One thing that was funny ... as I looked around at the other parents, I realized that Jeff and I are old. The parents of Biscuit's buddies are all at least 10 years younger than us.

"We better get used to it," Jeff said.

Here are some pictures:

On the simulator ride, the chair moves to make you
feel like you're doing whatever is on the screen.

If we stood behind the chair, we could look at the
TV screen on top and see their facial expressions.

Look at my monkey up in the cage.

This boy was born to be a firefighter!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

He's got the music in him

Biscuit had his third piano lesson last night, and he still seems to be enjoying it.

After last week's lesson, we let him pick out a backpack just for his music books and papers. He was really proud to show it to his teacher last night.

We got to the teacher's house early, so he started Biscuit's lesson at about 6:25 p.m. (His lessons are usually from 6:30 to 7 p.m.)

I had told the teacher before the first lesson that Biscuit can be very focused and attentive, but only for about 30 minutes. That's how long the group time is at day care, when they read books, talk about their sight words and do their general book learning. So Biscuit is used to sitting still for that long ... but no longer.

So last night, I was assuming that since the teacher started 5 minutes early, he would end 5 minutes early. But he tried to push it until 7 p.m.

The teacher has made a big fuss about how well-behaved and attentive Biscuit is during his lessons. I don't know the teacher well enough yet, but if I knew him better, I would say, "Yeah, he is well-behaved 90 percent of the time, but as for the attention, you got about 32 minutes, and that's it."

So sure enough, at 6:57 p.m. last night, Biscuit's concentration was broken.

The teacher played with one hand a section of Beethoven's "Fur Elise." And that set Biscuit off.

"Heeeeyyyyy!" he said. "They play that song on 'Tom & Jerry' cartoons. Did you know that? It's very funny because Tom was chasing Jerry, and Tom thought he was going to eat Jerry for lunch, and he was running across a piano and ..."

And then he went on to talk about the Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoon where Bugs fixed up Elmer in the barbershop to the tune of "Barber of Seville."

The teacher just looked at Biscuit, then looked at us.

I wanted to say, "Welcome to Minute 32!"

You remember how Cinderella turned into a pumpkin at midnight? Well, at Minute 32, Biscuit turns into a typical, chatty, running, jumping, bouncing, noise-making boy.

As we were leaving, I asked Biscuit, "Did you have fun at your lesson?"

"Yes ma'am," Biscuit said. Then a few seconds passed by and he said, "Mom, will there be a fourth lesson?"

I'm not sure why it was so funny, but I almost choked trying not to laugh. I guess it was just the phrasing of the question.

"If you want a fourth lesson, then we'll do it," I told Biscuit.

"Mom, how many lessons CAN I have?" Biscuit asked.

"You can have as many lessons as you'd like," I told Biscuit.

"Then I want to do this until I'm a grown up!" Biscuit said.

"Sounds good to me," I said.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dashing through the snow

Snow is not common around these parts. We usually have snow for 1 or 2 days, then it goes away. And that's how I like it.

Mainly because even a couple of inches of snow can just paralyze everything around here. Snow is so uncommon that our city just doesn't have the equipment to deal with it. And I certainly wouldn't want my kid on a school bus with a driver who might drive in snow and ice maybe once or twice a year, if that. Especially on the neighborhood streets and secondary roads.

So we knew the snow was supposed to start Wednesday. The meteorologists said if the storm stayed on track, we would get 10 to 12 inches. Or if the storm shifted, we could get 1 to 2 inches. That's quite a difference.

Lucky us, we got the 10 to 12 version of the storm.

The snow started about lunchtime.

Here's the parking lot about 2 p.m.

By the time I was leaving at about 4 p.m., here's what the roads looked like.

Oh boy! Doesn't that look like fun?

I had barely made my way through downtown, when I looked up and saw the street blocked with cars that couldn't make it up a hill. The police were directing us through a parking lot to avoid the mess. The problem with that was that the road on the other side of the parking lot went right back downtown, exactly where I started.

So I was heading back downtown, and all the cars in front of me started to slow down.

"No, no, no, no, NOOOOOOO!" I was yelling at them. We were heading up a steep hill and the traffic light at the top turned red. And people were stopping! The cross street was a tiny little one-way street that is hardly ever used, and everyone just stopped.

The light turned green, and I tried to go up the hill. No luck. My back tires just spun and spun and spun.

I was almost in tears from the sheer frustration ... oh, and the fact that Jeff had left half an hour before me and still wasn't at day care to pick up Biscuit. From work to day care is usually 20 minutes. It had already been close to an hour, and neither of us was anywhere near there. Jeff was stuck on a well-traveled four-lane road. As people tried to use the on and off ramps, they got stuck. And that backed up traffic into a big ol' mess!

As I was sliding around on that hill, I looked into my rearview mirror to see a friend from work. He and his wife (and a couple of random guys who were walking down the street) pushed my car until I got enough traction to get up the hill. Once I started going, I didn't slow down. I rolled down my window and yelled, "THANK YOU!" and kept on going.

I finally made it back downtown and started on a completely different route home.

I was making decent time until I got about halfway home. The road that had been moving right along came to a standstill. It took me 20 minutes to go about half a mile.

I started driving up a hill, and another red light got me in trouble. Again, I was halfway up the hill when everyone stopped. And when the light turned green, I couldn't go. My tires were just spinning.

A police officer came over to talk to me. Now, I know the police were probably dealing with all kinds of idiots that day. But there was nothing about me or my driving that should've made him think I should be included in that group.

"Ma'am, you're not going anywhere if you keep spinning your tires," the officer said.

Really? Did he really just say that to me?

"I've got it in first gear, and I'm not stepping down hard on the gas," I told him.

But then he got an attitude.

"Where are you trying to go?" he asked.

"Well I'm certainly not out joyriding, if that's what you think," I told him. "I'm trying to get home. I want to get to the end of this street, take a right and go home!" 

I don't usually make it a habit to yell at cops, but he was really pushing my buttons.

This guy walking his dog came over and suggested that I turn around, go back down the hill, then drive up through a grocery store parking lot. The grade of the hill was lower, and when you exit the side of the lot, you're at the top of the hill.

That guy was a genius. I did exactly what he said, and although there was plenty more slipping and sliding around, I got home safe and sound.

For our usual 20-minute trip, it took Jeff 1 hour and 50 minutes. And it took me 1 hour and 40 minutes. See what I mean about snow paralyzing the city?

Anyway, the few plows we do have hadn't made their way around by Thursday morning, so Jeff and I both worked from home. Of course, come 5 o'clock, we called it quits and went out to play.

This is going to sound terrible, but Biscuit had never built a snowman or made a snow angel before this snow. When you work at a newspaper, bad weather or not, you have to get the work done. People won't excuse not getting their paper just because the weather was bad. So normally, even in the snow, we're at work.

This was the first snow in my 14 1/2 years that kept me away from the paper. And quite frankly, if I was still doing copy editing and design, I probably would've found a way in anyway.

Biscuit loved playing in the snow. We bundled up and stayed out a couple of hours. We made a firefighter snowman. Biscuit made snow angels. We threw snowballs. The works!

Last time it snowed, I took a good many pictures. But this time, I took a few pictures with my phone and never even brought my nice camera outside. I love, love, love having pictures, but sometimes, I just want to be in on the snowball fight, too!

Here are a few more pictures:

The accumulated snow Wednesday evening.

We used to have doorsteps. Now, we have a ramp.

The backyard BEFORE we played.

The backyard AFTER we played.

Frosty the Firefighter snowman. He looks very surprised.
Like he's saying, "OH NO! Look how big that fire is!"

Biscuit stands with his very first snow angel.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Holidays are hard

We had a big snow Wednesday (well, it's big for us), and it threw off all our schedules. Jeff and I worked from home Thursday, and day care was closed. (Snow pictures to come.)

Biscuit's day care had planned to have a Valentine's Day party Friday, and Biscuit said he wanted superhero cards. I asked if he wanted store-bought cards or if he wanted me to make some on the computer. And as I suspected he would, he said he would like for me to make them like I make his birthday invitations - on the computer.

This is the Spider-Man version, and there was an Iron Man version, too.

I planned to print them on my lunch break Wednesday, but I forgot to take my flash drive with me. And it was snowing so hard on the way home, that I couldn't go by the printer.

Then Thursday, we weren't able to get out of our neighborhood. So of course, my main thought was about Biscuit's valentines.

Biscuit's day care was delayed until 10:30 a.m. Friday, so Jeff said, "Doesn't the printer open early?"

"Yes," I said, "but let me call to make sure they're open." But they were not.

We have a drugstore about a mile from our house, so we called to make sure they were open, and Jeff got dressed and headed out. He had quite a time getting out of our neighborhood, but once he hit the main road, it was a lot easier. They had sent plows through Thursday evening.

Jeff got to the drugstore and called me. "They have one Spider-Man Card and Pop Kit left. Should we get it?" 

Sadly, I said, "Yes, bring it home."

So I quickly filled in all the To: and From: information, and Biscuit picked out stickers to put on the back of each one. We punched out the perforated holes and inserted the heart-shaped "pops" into each card. And I was pouting.

We all road together Friday since the roads were still not completely clear. When we got to day care, I walked Biscuit in. I let his teacher know that Biscuit's valentines were in a bag on top of his cubby.

"Oh, we decided to postpone the Valentine's Day parties until Monday," the teacher said.


I got back in the car in a huff.

"I could've waited," I told Jeff. "I should've figured that there would be lots of kids still out, so they would want to postpone the parties, but I was so worried about him showing up without any valentines to give out."

I realize now that it was a ridiculous thing to worry about, but I swear, it seemed like a big deal at the time. I didn't want Biscuit to feel left out.

Jeff said I should print the others and let Biscuit give out two sets of valentines.

"Those other little kids will go home to their Moms and say, 'He had TWO valentines to give out and one of them had his PICTURE on it. Why can't I have two valentines and one with my picture on it?'"

I appreciate Jeff using a little cattiness to make me feel better, but I think since the Spider-Man Card and Pop Kit is done, we'll just make our own next year.

Biscuit was practicing piano tonight, and as he finished, he said, "Mom! Guess what?"

"You seem excited," I said. "What's up?"

"Well, I was thinking ...," Biscuit said. "Today is Saturday. And tomorrow is Sunday. And then it'll be Monday. And do you know what Monday is?"

"What?" I asked.

"At day care, we'll have our Happy Thanksgiving party, then after day care will be my piano lesson. Lesson number 3."

"Well, you got the piano lesson number 3 part right, but the holiday is Valentine's Day, not Thanksgiving."

"Oh, yeah," he said. "But that's still a party."

Way to find the silver lining, Biscuit.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

All in the timing: I put a frozen pizza in the oven this evening and set the timer. While it was cooking, Biscuit and I were playing with his knights. It was time for a jousting tournament. 

I started to smell the pizza and second-guessed myself about whether I had started a timer.

"Biscuit, can you run into the kitchen and tell me the numbers on the little screen beside the stove knobs?" I asked.

When Biscuit is wearing socks and no shoes, for some reason, he runs on his tiptoes. You've heard people talk about the pitter-patter of little feet? That's what it sounds like.

So he pitter-pattered into the kitchen, but before he could read the numbers, the timer went off.

"Nevermind. I got my answer," I said.

"Mom, the answer is YES!" Biscuit said.

Guess he was more excited about frozen pizza than I was.

Nekkid boy: Biscuit was getting ready for a bath, so he started stripping.

"Mom! I took my socks off, so I'm barefooted," Biscuit said.

So of course I had to tease him. "Boy! You better put some socks on those feet!"

"Oh Mooo-ooom," Biscuit said in a sing-songy voice. "I took my pants ooooooffff. Now I'm bare-pant-ed."

I wanted to keep teasing him, but I was laughing too hard.

And nowadays, when Biscuit realizes I'm laughing at him, he just looks at me and says, "What? What, Mom? What?"

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Practice time

I'm happy to say that Biscuit's second piano lesson was as good as the first. And that makes me more excited than it should!

I asked Biscuit the morning after his second lesson if he wanted to take more lessons, and he said, "Mom, I want to keep doing this 'til I'm a grown up!"

And twice this week, he's walked over to the piano, sat down and started practicing. All by himself. With no poking or prodding.

We'll see how long the new-ness and novelty lasts, but for now, he's doing a really good job.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sounds like a plan

I met a friend for a movie tonight. It was not an Oscar-nominated, classy, well-done film. It was a kitschy fun didn't-take-itself-too-seriously popcorn movie. Oh, and that's what we had for dinner - popcorn!

So Jeff and Biscuit were on their own. They had plenty of leftovers to choose from in the refrigerator, and I was quite sure they could entertain themselves.

And they did.

Apparently, when I called and said I was coming home, Jeff looked around and said, "We've got to get this place cleaned up before Mom gets home. You need to pick up your toys."

"All of them?" Biscuit asked.

"Yes," Jeff said.

"But Dad, I don't think I can get all these toys picked up by the time Mom gets home," Biscuit said.

"I tell ya what," Jeff said. "You start picking up your toys, and I'll help you."

"Dad, I have an idea," Biscuit said. "You pick up all the toys, and I'll keep Mom busy until you're done."

Hmmmm. I wonder how that worked out?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Hair today, gone tomorrow

A post from The Daddy Man:

I've never claimed to be trendy. As a matter of fact, except for a few long-haired years in college, I've had the same hairstyle since I was a kid.

Biscuit's first hair cut was with Kimmy's stylist. She wanted it to be a big deal, and it was. We got the lock of hair from the first snip, and the stylist wouldn't let us pay her. She said she was honored that we asked her.

Kimmy wanted to keep taking Biscuit to see her, but it was just too hard to make appointments and get Biscuit there. So I suggested we try one of the walk-in places. I know they don't always give the most stellar cuts there, but it was cheap and convenient. We found one stylist we liked and whenever possible, we'd go see her. We stuck with her for a couple of years.

A couple of months ago, Biscuit was in need of a haircut, and I, too, was looking shaggy. So I decided to take him with me to my barber shop. My barber shop is a barber shop. It's old men, shaving cream, straight razors, chrome and vinyl chairs and TVs featuring that day's game. There's talk of sports, cars and all things male. No appointments. First-come, first-served. And unless you ask for something different, you'll get a shorter version of the hairstyle you came in with.

Kimmy was worried when I called her on the way home from that first trip with Biscuit.

"How short is it?" she asked. She likes it when Biscuit's hair is a little longer.

"It's cut like mine," I told her.

"NO!" she said. She always thinks I get my hair cut too short.

I was teasing her just a little bit because I had told my barber to leave Biscuit's hair a little longer than mine. When we got home, Kimmy wasn't overjoyed, but she said it wasn't something she felt strongly enough about to raise a fuss.

So that's been our routine for the past few months.

It's becoming routine for Biscuit, too. You know how I know that?

Biscuit hopped up in the chair Saturday morning and said to the barber, "I'll have the same haircut my Dad got."

Friday, February 7, 2014

Telling tales

Biscuit loves to hear stories about when he was younger - things he said, things he did, etc. And after you tell him, he remembers the stories. And then, at random times, for no good reason, he'll say, "Mom, remember when ..."

  • Like one time during a bad thunderstorm. It was the middle of the night, and I was worried that Biscuit might be scared. So I went to the bottom of the stairs and called him several times. He never said anything back, so I walked upstairs to check on him. He was sound asleep. A huge crack of thunder rattled the house, but Biscuit didn't even twitch.
  • Biscuit has always been good in the car. He rides well, and he always finds ways to amuse himself. While playing firefighter, he decided that overpasses were not overpasses, they were "tunnels of fire." So every time we got to an overpass, I would have to say, "Tunnel of fire! Everybody duck!" (I had to say it because I was always the captain ... as it should be!). So we would duck until we were past the overpass. Then I would have to say, "All clear!" and we would raise our heads again. So during one trip, Jeff and I were talking, and I interrupted my own story to say, "Tunnel of fire! Everybody duck!" And we ducked our heads. "All clear!" I said. Just then, I looked in the rear view mirror, and Biscuit was fast asleep.
  • When Biscuit was a little baby, he had this really intense stare. And quite honestly, it would often creep me out. He would just stare without blinking and without changing his facial expression. I would try to distract him or make noises or get Jeff to call his name, but nothing could distract him. He just kept his eyes on my eyes.

Biscuit gets great joy out of repeating these stories. There are some others, but these three are his favorites. And he just laughs and laughs when he tells them. He usually will end the story with something like, "Mom, I was just CRAZY when I was a little baby."
It makes me long for the days when I can tell him lots more stories about himself and others. Of course, some might have to wait until he's about 10!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Girls are dumb!

I had dinner tonight with three ladies I used to work with. The four of us were a great team. We looked out for each other, and we always helped each other. When jobs were reorganized in the newsroom, our team was broken up. I miss them very much, so it was good to catch up with them this evening.

Jeff and Biscuit were on their own, so they went out for dinner, too. I'm guessing they went to a fast food place because Biscuit shared a tale from the play area.

Jeff sent me a text message at dinner to tell me about the drama. Apparently, Biscuit went into the play area, but shortly thereafter, he came back out to Jeff.

"Dad, can I tell those other kids that it's not fair to keep me out of the ladybug?" Biscuit said. "They say it's girls only, but it's not. I was in there last time. It's not fair."

When I got home, I asked Biscuit about it. He told me the same story. Then I asked him what happened next.

"Well, that one girl left, then I went in and played with the other girls," he said. "They were nice, and we pretended we were all animals, not people."

And thus endeth the lesson ... some girls are nice, but some girls are dumb!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

One of these things is not like the others

Biscuit is very orderly about things. And when I say that, I don't mean that he doesn't create one heckuva mess on a daily basis.

But Biscuit likes lines and groups and patterns. They work a lot on those things at day care, too, which only reinforces his inborn sense of order.

So sometimes, when he sees things that aren't the way he thinks they're supposed to be, he just can't get past it.

Like in the grocery store today.

"Mom! Look at that!" Biscuit said.

"What?" I said, thinking I was going to see something shocking.

"SOMEbody left a pineapple in the melon bucket!" Biscuit said with much contempt. "There are watermelons and those other melons and one pineapple. It doesn't even go there!"

What kind of crazy person has the nerve and audacity to leave a pineapple in the melon bin?! What kind of world do we live in?!

The boy fretted over the misplaced pineapple throughout the rest of the store.

"Mom," Biscuit said, "I just don't get it."

"No telling," I told him. "You can't ever tell what people are capable of."

He just nodded his head.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Piano lessons

Jeff and I asked Biscuit about a month ago if he'd like to take any kind of lessons or be on any kind of team.

The first thing he said was, "I'd like to take karate lessons!"

So I got on the computer and looked around to see what I could find ... which was plenty of karate teachers with lousy hours. I guess they're set up for stay-at-home moms because all the classes for kids his age were long before I get off work every day.

I was dreading telling him that he couldn't do the one thing he asked to do, but leave it to Jeff to come up with a way out.

"Watch this," Jeff said, and he called Biscuit over to talk to him. "Do you know that when you take karate lessons, the other kids get to hit you back?"

"But Dad," Biscuit said. And anytime he says that, you know some big explanation will follow. "But Dad, I'll move really fast so the other kids won't be able to get me."

"That's not how it works," Jeff explained. "Part of learning karate is learning how to get hit without getting hurt."

"Weeell," Biscuit said, "maybe I'll just wait until I'm bigger, like 7 or 8, to take karate lessons. Would that be okay?"

Jeff just looked at me and smiled.

So the next week, I asked Biscuit if there was any kind of musical instrument he'd like to play.

"DRUMS!" Biscuit yelled.

"Um, no," I said. "You can play drums later, but if you want to take lessons now, I'd like you to play a different instrument. Would you like guitar or violin or piano?"

"Okay, I would like to take piano lessons," Biscuit said.

We signed him up through a website that acts as an agent for music teachers. It's a great idea. The website handles the appointments and the money, and the teacher does what the teacher goes best ... teach.

The only problem is that the people who run the website, well, let's just say "they ain't from 'round here." They were pushy and relentless. I said to Jeff, "Are we buying piano lessons or a used car?"

I was impressed with the teacher's credentials. He's been teaching kids ages 5 through adult for 24 years. His college degree was in music education. And I knew that if we could get past the used car salesmen, we'd like the teacher.

And we did. He was personable and showed lots of patience with Biscuit.

He said Biscuit is "extremely teachable," and that he has good hand-eye coordination, which helps when you're reading music with your eyes and playing the notes with your hands.

The teacher has a baby grand piano and a pipe organ in his music room. A PIPE ORGAN!

I think it's pretty funny because I had my first piano lesson on a baby grand, too. I was in third grade, and it was the fanciest piano I had ever seen. I was so excited when I played those first few notes, and it was fun for me to see Biscuit have that excitement tonight.

The teacher started with Biscuit's right hand and numbered his fingers from the thumb as No. 1 through the pinkie as No. 5. If you play the first part of "Mary Had a Little Lamb," the finger numbers would be 3 2 1 2 3 3 3, 2 2 2 , 3 5 5. And although he was doing it slowly, he remembered which finger went on which note. 

And then, the teacher let him play it on the pipe organ. He started out with all the stops pushed in. (Stops are knobs on the panel of the organ that change the sound of the instrument.) After Biscuit played it the first time, the teacher told him to pull out a couple of stops. The sound got bigger. Then Biscuit pulled out more stops. And the sound got bigger. Then Biscuit pulled out all the stops (and yes, that's where the old saying comes from), and it was a HUGE sound. Biscuit's grin was so big!

I was so proud and had a very hard time keeping my mouth shut! I did wink at him a couple of times.

We signed up for two lessons to start with, just to make sure Biscuit has the attention span, that he likes the teacher, that Jeff and I like the teacher, etc. But if things go as well next week as they did this week, I think we'll be signing up for more lessons.

Here's Biscuit getting ready to play the pipe organ:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A play date

"When is he getting here, Mom?" Biscuit asked me. "Will it be a long time or just a little while? Will it be 7 hours? This is taking for-EVER!"

Biscuit had a date at 2 p.m. today, and he was so excited that he couldn't take a nap. He asked me a thousand times what time it was and how much longer he had to wait.

One of mine and Jeff's friends has a son who's a year younger than Biscuit (even though they're the same size and look to be the same age), and our friend asked if Biscuit would be interested in joining him and his son at a bounce house this afternoon.

He was concerned because Biscuit had never spent any time with him and his son without Jeff and me around. I assured him that wouldn't be an issue.

I put Biscuit's car seat in the car, and our friend said, "You know I'll take care of him like he's my own."

And I said to him, "I know that. Otherwise, he wouldn't be strapped in your car right now."

And away they went.

While they were gone, Jeff, his parents and I went shopping. I traded a couple of text messages with our friend.

Here was one funny message he sent me:

"They're having fun. Goldfish and water break. God bless parents with twin boys. Holy smokes. Also, this place is packed!"

Apparently, the boys didn't always want to play on the same inflatable, so our friend was trying to keep up with both boys in two different places.

In response to his text, I sent back, "You're a good man!"

Our friend said there were a couple of crying spells. Biscuit and another little boy collided at one point. Then on one of the slides, a couple of bigger boys pushed by Biscuit to get to the top quicker. A little consoling, and Biscuit was on the go again.

Our boy is brave, but he is not tough. He'll try anything, but when it goes badly, there will most definitely be tears.

Biscuit talked and talked about how much fun he had and how he'd like to go again. And maybe if our friend wasn't too overwhelmed, he'll invite Biscuit to go again sometime.

What playdate is complete without ice cream?