Monday, September 29, 2014

A history lesson

Biscuit has learned a new song at school. It's about money.

It goes something like "penny, nickel, dime ... quarter, half-dollar." Then after they learned the song, they added a verse that names the presidents, "Lincoln, Jefferson, Roosevelk ... Washington, Kennedy."

And yep, Roosevelt is spelled wrong. But that's how Biscuit says it, so that's how I'm spelling it!

He was very excited when he heard that Roosevelk was on one of the coins because he learned about Roosevelk on a trip we took this summer.

We went to Warm Springs, Ga., back in July. That's where FDR went to help treat his polio.

Warm Springs is called Warm Springs because they have, guess what, natural warm springs! And when FDR found out about them, he built The Little White House there. And then he built a rehab center around the springs.

When FDR first moved into the house in Warm Springs, he had electricity hooked up. His first bill was four times the amount he was paying for his mansion in Hyde Park. Four times as much!

He spent a lot of time riding the back roads in his custom car. He designed it himself and had hand controls for the gas and brakes. It was on these rides that he realized how many people in the rural areas surrounding the town didn't even have electricity. And it was mainly because they couldn't afford it. So he came up with an affordable electricity project - the Rural Electrification Bill - to give power to farms and other rural buildings.

In addition to touring The Little White House, there's also a really nice museum. I always forget, until I go back there, just how much stuff happened while FDR was in office. There was the electricity project, the Great Depression, the public works project WPA, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the attack on Pearl Harbor, Social Security, the New Deal and the list goes on. They don't sugar-coat him too much, though. They have a pretty extensive e xhibit about the internment camps that rounded up Japanese-Americans after the Pearl Harbor attack.

There's also a lot of information about polio, polio treatments and the braces and wheelchairs and other medical supplies of the era.

FDR actually died at The Little White House, and his body was taken by train to Washington. The people of Warm Springs were really affected by his death because so many of them encountered him on a regular basis.

Here are some pictures: 

There's a big timeline of FDR's life, including the fact that the
polio vaccination wasn't developed until 12 years after he died. 

This was one of the swimsuits FDR wore
when he did therapy at the warm pools.

See the two silver pipes at the bottom of this display? The one
on the left has water from the warm springs flowing through it.
The one on the right has regular spring water running
through it. There was quite a temperature difference.

Jeff reads about FDR's custom car.

Biscuit peeks out the window of an old house exhibit.

With electricity in rural houses, the residents could
listen to the president's Fireside Chats on the radio.

There was a shop in Warm Springs that made braces and other equipment.
FDR had his braces painted black from the knees down so if he was out
and about, and his pants leg inched up, the braces weren't quite as obvious.

FDR also designed skinnier wheelchairs
that could better maneuver around the pools.

An exhibit talking about the electricity project.

People sent one-of-a-kind canes to FDR from all over the
world. There is some beautiful woodwork in these cases.

This is a Marine guard post just outside The Little White House.

The Secret Service also had a station. The Secret Service office had
a nice desk and chair. The Marine station was four walls and a floor.

Here's The Little White House. People are usually surprised at how small it is.
It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a combined living room/dining
room. The basement had a couple of shower stalls for the Marines and Secret Service.
It's built into a hill, and there's a really pretty balcony off the back of the house.

The building on the left is servants' quarters, and the building on the right
is a guest house. Both buildings were actually pretty nice on the inside.

This is a Marine sentry post behind the house. I wouldn't
want to be on guard duty in bad weather or during the winter.

I really enjoyed looking at all the cookware, gadgets and utensils. FDR's mother
sent all kinds of fancy china - Spode, Royal Dalton, etc. - to be used at the house,
but FDR's favorite dishes came from a dime store in downtown Warm Springs.

The kitchen was a lot smaller than you'd probably guess. Of course, not many
people stayed at the house. There were some customized touches throughout,
like 2x4s stacked under the toilet to raise it to the same height as his wheelchair.
FDR slept in a twin-size bed that was also the same height as his wheelchair seat.

FDR died at The Little White House while a painter was still
working on a portrait. The unfinished work hangs in the museum.

The artist was so disappointed, that she decided to finish the
work even after he died. And Biscuit noticed within two minutes
that the only difference is that FDR is wearing a red tie in the
unfinished portrait and a blue one in the finished painting.

There were a lot of things that were over Biscuit's head, but he did seem interested. He asked a lot of questions, and he actually remembers a good bit of what we told him.

Of course, with Jeff's love of history, I think he enjoyed going more than anybody!

There are so many places like this, where you can show history instead of just talking about it. My parents took us to lots of places like this, and I hope to continue to do the same for Biscuit.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Biscuit has practice time

Biscuit is still doing a good job with his piano lessons and practice.

I asked him if I could shoot a video of him playing, and he said yes. But every time I hit that button, he either started making faces while he played or he seemed to be too conscious of me holding my phone and he got too nervous to play.

So finally, I said, "I'm gonna step over here and send a message to Grandmama. You play that new song one more time, okay?"

He agreed, and I stepped behind him to take a video.

There are a few things I'd like to mention. And yes, I am bragging on him. He's just done a great job, and I'm a proud Mama!

1. He never complains about practicing. Actually, he often initiates practice on his own. I never practiced on my own. My Mama always had to poke and prod me.

2. When I look at what Biscuit has learned in just 8 months, I'm just impressed. My first piano teacher was great. I learned SO much from her. But my second teacher had nowhere near the knowledge of my first teacher. And I didn't realize that until years later. And my parents had no way of knowing, either. You know what they say about hindsight. But my experience helped me pick someone for Biscuit that I think will be a good teacher.

3. When Biscuit practices and plays, and he makes a mistake, he always stops and fixes it. You can hear and see him do it on the video. It's a big deal. First of all, he notices that he messed up. Secondly, instead of trying to sneak it by me or his teacher, he stops, goes back and fixes it. That shows that he wants it done right.

4. He had only played that song a few times before I shot the video. It's a new song, and it's the hardest one he's had yet. And I've noticed that Biscuit isn't shying away from the songs getting harder. He actually seems encouraged by it because they're starting to sound like real songs instead of just little-kid melodies.

At this week's lesson, Biscuit got to move from C position to G position. That means he'll start playing on the black notes, too. And he's excited about it. And I am, too.

I feel bad for Jeff sometimes because the piano stuff is definitely something Biscuit and I share. But then, Jeff and Biscuit have baseball and cars and archery and other things. So yeah, maybe I don't feel so bad after all!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Friend time and date night

We had a crazy busy weekend!

Saturday, I met a friend downtown to celebrate her birthday. We started at one end of the main street and walked, shopped and ate our way down one side, crossed over and came back up the other side. We got there at 10 a.m. and left about 5:30 p.m. It was a full day!

Jeff and Biscuit were riding around in the Barracuda when I called to say I was heading home. So I met them at the park. Jeff and I got to catch up and hold down a bench while Biscuit ran and played and ran and played some more.

Then Sunday, two of our friends came over and hung out with Biscuit while Jeff and I had a date night.

Sadly, our date night started with a visitation at a funeral home. We didn't know the deceased, but we know his sister. So we wanted to go pay our respects. Certainly not the usual way to start a date, but it was an important thing to do.

Someone said to me fairly recently, "I HATE going to the funeral home and to funerals, so I just don't go."

And this might sound harsh, but I wanted to say back, "It ain't about you and how you feel. It's about being respectful and doing the right thing whether it makes you uncomfortable or not."

Anyway, after the funeral home, we went to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner. And whaddya know, after dinner a big slice of Carnegie Deli cheesecake found its way onto our table!

We left the restaurant and headed downtown for a concert. I bought the tickets as a surprise for Jeff when I found out the singer was coming to town. The last time we saw him, we had to drive an hour and a half away.

The concert was longer than we told our babysitting friends, so we were a little worried about the time. We hurried out of the theater after the show, and I actually turned my ankle while trying to send a text and walk at the same time! Good thing I wasn't chewing gum, too!

While Jeff and I were gone, Biscuit was on a treasure hunt.

Our friends like to go geocaching. It's where you use a phone app to track down "treasures." A box or other container will be filled trinkets and a notebook. You can take a prize and leave a new prize then sign your name saying you were there. And Biscuit went on three hunts.

Here are some pictures they took:

Biscuit told me all about their adventure on the way to school this morning. I think he had a good time.

So I think except for the babysitters having a later night than they thought they would, the weekend was a win-win for everybody.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Getting to know our boy

I think Biscuit's teacher might have gotten more than she bargained for. She was crazy enough to ask me questions about my favorite boy!

We got these questionnaires called "Partnering with Families" that are supposed to help the teachers and assistants better understand the kids. But the form they sent home was a list of questions with room to write about a sentence underneath each one.

Well that just wouldn't do! I copied and pasted the questions into a document and set to typing!

I told Jeff that I felt a little bad writing so much, but at the same time, I figure the more they know about Biscuit, the better they can teach him and help him learn.

Plus, and this might be selfish on my part, I figured that it couldn't hurt that the teacher sees that Jeff and I are willing to put time and effort into helping our boy learn. And giving her more than she bargained for on the questionnaire was a good way to do that.

So here's what we came up with:

Partnering with Families

What is your child most excited about learning?

Griffin really wants to learn to read. He loves learning new words (the bigger the better!) and what they mean. He also loves rhyming words.

How does your child typically approach new things such as meeting new people or going to new places? 

Griffin is really outgoing and loves to meet new people. We have trouble getting out of Target because he introduces himself and strikes up conversations with the cashiers. 

He loves to talk with adults, but often struggles with kids his own age. He’s an only child and has more than once been shut down by groups of kids at the park. He asked to play with them, but they told him no. It’s made him a little hesitant to approach groups of kids who already seem to know each other.

Griffin loves going new places and always asks lots of questions of Jeff and me and others, such as employees at the science center.

How do you help your child prepare for new experiences?

When Griffin is going to try something he’s never done before, we try to walk him through what the situation will be like, what’s expected of him and what part he’ll need to play. 

He loves Peter Pan, so we took him to UNCG for a production of “Peter Pan.” We explained that he would need to be quiet and sit still during the show, but if he had questions, he could whisper to me or wait until intermission. When we give him instructions, we ask him to repeat them to us until we feel like he understands what’s expected.

What new things would you like your child to learn?  Why are these important to you?

Jeff and I are excited about him learning to read and write. Jeff is a writer, and I’m an editor, so words are important to us. But it’s also a good way to express yourself. Being able to write well and explain your thoughts can provide a great deal of confidence. 

And math is important, too. Griffin loves to create groups and patterns, so I think he’ll find certain aspects of math quite interesting.

How does your child show emotions (e.g. happiness, sadness, surprise, frustration, etc.)?  How do you respond (e.g. when they show happiness, frustration, etc.)? 

Luckily, we’ve seen way more happiness from Griffin than sadness. He’s just a happy-go-lucky kid. We often tease him by saying, “I wish you’d cheer up!” And he thinks it’s quite funny. 

Sadness and frustration are often expressed through tears. He doesn’t like to fail and can sometimes have a defeatist attitude. Like, if he doesn’t get something right the first time, he says, “I just can’t do it, Mom.” 

We try to encourage him and compare what he’s going through with things he’s dealt with before or with things Jeff and I have been through. For example, Griffin takes piano lessons, and he gets upset to the point of crying when he can’t get a song quite right. So I remind him of times he’s heard me mess up while I was playing and also how much practice it took for me to learn to play. 

Sometimes when Griffin is playing with other kids, he doesn’t know how to handle it when they don’t want to play what he wants to play. He will often say he doesn’t want to play anymore or will get upset. We encourage him to take turns. 

Griffin is also extremely routine-oriented. He forms habits quickly and likes things done a certain way. So we try to find the balance between allowing him to have some control over certain situations and learning to be flexible.

What does your child like to do at home or with family and friends (e.g. favorite games, books, toys, activities)?

Griffin loves books. We’re reading the Magic Treehouse Series right now. And he’s really enjoying bringing home library books. He also loves board games and card games. We have Go Fish, Cootie, Hi-Ho Cherrio, Left, Center, Right, etc. 

He also loves to play outside, including baseball and tag. 

He has three also-only-children friends that we meet at bounce houses, parks and other places. He also enjoys spending time with out-of-town cousins. 

Right now with his toys, he’s all about superheroes, pirates, Peter Pan, Ninja Turtles, magnets, Legos, firefighters, knights and cowboys.

What can we do to help your child learn his/her best?

Griffin responds well to praise. We don’t make a fuss over every little thing, but we do let him know when he does something especially well. 

He can depend too much on praise, though, so we’re talking with him about how being proud of himself is just as important, if not more so, than us or you being proud of him. 

He’s eager to learn new things and responds well to explanation about how things work and why things matter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

Tense words: Sometimes Biscuit gets word tenses mixed up. And with good reason. When you start to look at other languages, you realize how hard English is! We have so many irregular verbs.

Biscuit was telling me a story about some ninjas the other day, and he said, "And when they came sneaking around the corner, they were sawing some samurai they would have to fight."

"They were what?" I asked Biscuit. I got every part of the sentence except for the middle.

"They were sawing, Mom," Biscuit said. "You know, like, they could SEE something."

"Oh!" I said. "They SAW some samurai."

"Yes, samurai," Biscuit said and kept playing. He didn't realize I was correcting his speech. He thought I was making sure that the samurai were what the ninjas "were sawing."

It's a big deal: Biscuit is still wide open every evening when he gets home from school. And he immediately launches into play ... right now, he's all about ninjas and samurai.

So I have to start asking him questions. And the first is always about the behavior color chart.

Biscuit's teacher uses a big color-block chart to keep track of the kids' behavior. At the end of the day, they color the corresponding block on the calendar with the color they ended on. 

Each kid has a clothespin with his or her name on it. They start on green, which is neutral, and as they behave or misbehave, the teacher and assistant will tell them to "clip up" or "clip down." Their clips can move  throughout the day depending on their behavior.

From the top of the chart, it's:
Red - An outstanding day
Orange - A great day
Yellow - A good day
Green - Ready to learn (where they start each day)
Blue - Think about it (usually a kid talks when he's not supposed to or misbehaves in a really mild way)
Purple - Teacher's choice (a more serious offense in which the teachers decides how to handle it)
Pink - Parent contact (the teacher calls the parents and makes the kid explain what happened)

Green or above is okay. But today, Biscuit was blue. And his mama was seeing red.

"Why did you get blue?" I asked.

"Well, I was really excited about things, and I think I was talking when I wasn't supposed to be talking," Biscuit said. "But really, I'm just not sure why I was on blue."

"Well, I'm okay with you getting green, yellow, orange, red or off-the-chart, but I am not okay with blue," I said to Biscuit.

Biscuit HATES to be in trouble, so he will immediately start trying to explain to me why being on blue isn't that bad.

"But Mom, three, and I mean three persons were on purple today," Biscuit explained. "And this is serious. It's real school. Big school."

"I know it's big school," I said. "And you're a big boy. But you're also a well-behaved boy, so I want you to work hard to be on green or above. Okay?

"Okay, Mom," Biscuit said. "I'm sorry. I'll do better."

A table is a table: When Biscuit goes to bed, he likes to have a cup of cold water on the nightstand by his bed. So when it got to be bedtime the other night, Jeff was going down the list, making sure Biscuit was ready.

"Where's your cold water?" Jeff asked him, as they were walking up the stairs. "Do you have some?"

"Yes, sir," Biscuit said. "It's upstairs on that coffeetable beside my bed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The string section

See this picture? Any normal human would say, "Oh yeah, that's the cheese from the edge of the pizza crust."

Is that the answer my Biscuit would give? Of course not.

"Mom, I don't like the strings on my pizza," Biscuit will say. And then he peels off the "strings" and lays them on the side of his plate.

And you know how you will occasionally get a hair in your mouth? Those aren't hairs.

"Mom, I have a string in my mouth," Biscuit will say. "Can you help me get it out?" 

Bananas have strings. Quesadillas have strings. Grilled cheese sandwiches can have strings. Oranges and clementines have strings. And Biscuit will not eat the strings!

And speaking of strings ... I was trying to find some things for Biscuit's lunch box.

"Do you like string cheese?" I asked him.

"Ew. No." Biscuit said. "Mom, I don't think it's even real cheese."

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"Well, it tastes sort of like cheese," he said. "... But get this ... you can pull it off ... in STRINGS! Can you believe that?"

Remember that movie where the woman had the issue with the wire hangers?

Well Biscuit's line would be, "NO MORE STRINGS EVER!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

Two down, a bunch to go

About two weeks ago, Biscuit discovered that he had a second loose tooth. And I think he remembered how it felt when he yanked out that first one, and he decided that this one could wiggle and jiggle for as long as it needed, but he was not going to mess with it!

And he hasn't.

But Biscuit was walking down the hall this afternoon, and something felt weird in his mouth. And he realized that his tooth had finally let go.

As soon as they got to their classroom, he told the teacher's assistant, and she went to get him a zip-top bag for it. His teacher heard them giggling and went over to see what was going on. Biscuit held up the bag, and she let out a big gasp. I'm really glad they made a fuss over him.

When I picked up Biscuit this evening, he told me there was a surprise for me in his lunchbox. Biscuit's piano lesson got moved up to 5 p.m., which will work better with our schedule, but that means that we go straight from school pick-up to piano. So I was rushing us right along and told Biscuit that I would check out the lunchbox surprise when we got home.

I could tell he was disappointed, but if we didn't keep moving, we would've been late.

Jeff had a night assignment this evening, so Biscuit and I were on our own for dinner. And guess what Biscuit wanted?! Yep. Pizza.

So we stopped by a takeout place and ordered. While we were waiting, we played Rock, Paper, Scissors. We talked about what he did at school today. I had to tell him a story about my childhood that he has latched onto and makes me tell him EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 

Then we had a lull in the conversation.

"Hey, let me see your nasty wiggly tooth," I said to Biscuit.

"Weeeell," Biscuit said, "I can show you where my nasty wiggly tooth USED to be."

"WHAT?!" I said, like I couldn't be more shocked.

"Check it out, Mom," Biscuit said. And he opened his mouth to show me this.

So we made sure to put the tooth under his pillow tonight.

"Make sure you call the Tooth Fairy, Mom," Biscuit said, "because last time, I was at Grandmama's, and she came to see me there. I just want to make sure the Tooth Fairy knows where I am ... and where my tooth is, of course."

"I will," I told him. "Don't worry."

So I guess I need to go make a phone call!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Go Fish: Biscuit wanted to buy a present for his Grandmama's birthday. I already had her presents bought and wrapped when he made this decision, so I suggested he pick out a game the two of them could play together. He decided on Go Fish.

Grandmama unwrapped the gift, made a fuss, then taught Biscuit how to play. We must have played 15 games while she was here.

These cards are a little different than the way we played Go Fish. We always played with a regular deck of cards. But the ones Biscuit picked out have different kinds of sea animals on them, and you ask the player next to you for a suckerfish or a dolphin or a sea turtle or a sea snake or a crab or a blowfish, etc.

Biscuit loves to learn new words and phrases, and it's really fun to hear him either use them correctly or attempt to use them correctly. And of course the attempts are what bring the laughs.

For at least three turns, Biscuit had been asking Jeff, "Dad, do you have a crab?"

And every time, Jeff would say, "Nope. Go fish."

On the fourth time Biscuit asked, Jeff handed over a crab he had picked up when he had to draw a card.

Biscuit was so excited. "FINALLY!" he said. "Finally, I got what I deserved."

Who's the boss? I'm always interested to hear Biscuit talk about the roles of everybody in our house (and sometimes the people in other houses, too!).

It's definitely true that I make all the mundane daily decisions ... what's for dinner, our social calendar, the household, grocery and clothing shopping, etc.

But it was pretty funny to hear Biscuit describe it. And also to explain what happens when Jeff might not go along with the plans.

"Mom, did you know that Moms are the boss of the house?" Biscuit said.

"Is that right?" I asked him.

"Yes," Biscuit said. "And Dads, they just argue with the Moms all the time. And then they get in trouble with the Moms."

"Do Moms love the Dads even when they're in trouble?" I asked him.

"Yes," Biscuit said. "And sometimes they even want to hug and kiss them."

"I guess you're right," I told him. 

Except that the kissing and hugging have to wait until the Moms are done being mad at the Dads. But that's a lesson for another day.

Just get it over with: Jeff, Biscuit and I were playing on our bed yesterday. We're very physical with Biscuit, and he loves it. We make him turn flips and roll over and pile pillows on top of him. And Biscuit just giggles with delight. I think that's the time I feel closest to Jeff and Biscuit both. 

So we were playing, and I was making threats to Biscuit.

"Okay, if you don't come back over on my side, you'll live to regret it," I said.

"Why? What are you going to do?" Biscuit asked.

"You'll just have to come over here and find out," I said. "Come take it like a man."

Finally, Biscuit let out the big sigh, "Okaaaaay," he said. "Why don't you just get it over with and beat my butt?"

I started laughing, and Biscuit just stared at me. "What?" he said. "What, Mom?"

But I was laughing so hard, I couldn't even do anything else to torture him!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Parents' Night Out

Well, Biscuit's first solo social outing was a big success! He's just now winding down.

I picked up Biscuit at 4:30, the had to take him right back at 5:30. Kids could get dropped off as early as 5:20, but since it seemed like we had just gotten home, I waited and got us there right at 5:30. Big mistake!

Many parents hadn't paid in advance, so there were two huge lines of people waiting to sign up. Luckily, this guy stepped out and said, "If you prepaid, come into the middle line."

We still had to wait about 10 minutes, but it was nowhere near as long as the not-yet-paid line.

I had to give Biscuit's name, his teachers name and his grade. While I was checking him in, I told Biscuit to walk around and see if he could find anybody he knew. And before I could get him checked off the list, he was trying to spread out his blanket next to a boy from his after-school class.

I walked over and Biscuit and the boy were already involved in conversation. So I helped him spread out his blanket adjacent to the other boy's blanket, and Biscuit crawled on. I couldn't even get him to say goodbye to me.

That's always good and bad. Good because he's independent, and he isn't at all nervous about me leaving because he knows 100% that I'm coming back to get him. Bad because he's growing up too fast and doesn't need me as much anymore.

Biscuit is sitting on the red firefighter blanket. It's one of those
tie-together blankets with firefighters on one side and horses on the
other side. His aunt made it, and he used it as his everyday blanket at
day care. I think he's been missing it because he pulled a long string up
on the side, and said, "Check it out, Mom. This is snakey." I think he
knows it pretty well if he can point out a particular strand of fabric.

So I was later leaving than I had hoped. I didn't get away from the school until about 5:45. I met Jeff at the fancy kitchen store to spend my gift card. Jeff did a really good job of pretending to be interested!

If you read the paper they sent home about the event, you'd see the time listed as 5:30 to 8 p.m. But if you put it into real time, you'd see that I didn't leave the school until 5:45. I didn't get to the shopping center until close to 6 p.m. I spend some time walking around the store, until about 6:45. We had to wait a little bit at the restaurant, and we knew we'd have to leave the restaurant at 7:40 to get Biscuit. So Jeff and I had about 40 minutes together for our "date."

We did have a really good dinner, though. We went to a Japanese restaurant we like. We've only eaten there at lunchtime, and we were quite surprised to find a whole different menu for dinner.

I can count on one hand the amount of times I've taken a picture of my dinner, but tonight, I couldn't help it. It was pretty, and it smelled great, and it tasted even better.

It's called Tendon (pronounced 10 Don). It featured shrimp tempura with a teriyaki sesame sauce, broccoli, carrots, zucchini and yams. All over rice.

The shrimp made a little teepee, and the circle around the top is a
big onion ring. The rice and veggies are under the shrimp structure.
We finished just in time, and I dropped Jeff off at his car with exactly enough time to get to the school by 8 p.m.

When I pulled into the parking lot, a PTA member was directing traffic. It was basically curb service for kids. You pull up and give your kid's name, then on of the volunteers stuck her head into the multipurpose room and yelled the kid's name.

Biscuit came right out, and he talked excitedly all the way home.

I'm really glad Biscuit had a good time. Biscuit is pretty open to trying new things, but if he doesn't like it the first time, he doesn't want to do it anymore. But since tonight was as fun as it was, I think he'll want to go to the next thing, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

His own social life


Tomorrow evening, Biscuit's school is having Parents' Night Out. And Biscuit is SO excited about going.

We got a letter about it Monday, and I read it to Biscuit. Before I could even finish reading, he said, "Mom, can I go?"

The PTA is holding the event to raise money for the fifth-grade trip to Washington. We'll drop off our boy at 5:30 p.m. and pick him up at 8 p.m. For $7, the kids get two slices of pizza and a juice box, then they show them a movie.

It won't really be a parents' night out for Jeff and me because Jeff won't be home by 5:30. But I still have a gift card from a fancy kitchen store that I got for my birthday ... in July! So I might just do a little shopping.

When Biscuit said he wanted to go, I said, "You know this isn't a class event, right? You might not know anyone there."

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

I wasn't trying to scare him, but I wanted to make sure he knew that there might not be people there that he knew. "Well who will you talk to if you don't know anybody there?" I asked him.

"Mom," Biscuit said in his most condescending voice. "On the first day of school, I was pretty shy, and I didn't talk to anybody. But on the second day, BOOM! I just started talking to people. I realized that if you just start talking to people, then BOOM! you'll make new friends."

I'm very proud of his independence (although I could do with the BOOM exclamations). I guess he's just excited because this is his first social event without Jeff and me. And Lord knows I hope he has a good time. If I had to put money on it, I would be that he'll love the pizza and be so wrapped up in the movie that it won't matter if he's the only one there!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Way too early

We're still trying to get adjusted to our new schedule, but it does seem to be getting some better.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. I laid in bed and read for a while, and about 7 a.m., Biscuit came walking in and crawled up on my side of the bed. I hated that we were both up so early on the weekend, but it does seem like a sign that our new wake-up time is starting to take hold.

"Good morning," I said.

"Good morning, Mom," Biscuit said.

"Do you want to crawl in bed and sleep some more, or are you wide awake?" I asked him.

"Mom, I am wide awake and ready to start the day," Biscuit said.

So we quietly went into the living room and played for a while until Jeff got up. And when Biscuit is wide awake and ready to start the day, it's awfully hard to keep him quiet so Jeff can sleep some more.

Jeff has still been getting up each morning to help us, but when we leave, he goes back to bed for a little while.

So all three of us are on slightly different schedules.

Biscuit has been getting up in a fine mood, way better than he probably should for such a drastic change in his sleep patterns. But physically, he seems to be doing just fine.

But he knows the whole situation is just plain weird. You shouldn't be getting out of bed when it's still dark outside.

We accidentally started a ritual of things we have to say to Biscuit when we put him to bed.

Me or Jeff: Good night.
Biscuit: Good night.
Me or Jeff: I love you.
Biscuit: I love you, too.
Me or Jeff: See you later, alligator.
Biscuit: After while crocodile.
Me or Jeff: See you in the morning when the sun comes up. (Something Biscuit started saying when he was wee tiny.)
Biscuit: See you in the morning when the sun comes up.

But as Jeff was tucking Biscuit in tonight, the exchange was a little different.

Jeff: Good night.
Biscuit: Good night.
Jeff: I love you.
Biscuit: I love you, too.
Jeff: See you later, alligator.
Biscuit: After while crocodile.
Jeff: See you in the morning when the sun comes up.
Biscuit: No, Dad. See you in the morning BEFORE the sun comes up.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A super out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently (with super powers):

Verbatim: Every once in a while, I'll have my laptop in my lap, and Biscuit will start telling me a story or the plot to whatever mission his action figures are taking part in, and I'll just start typing what he says.

Ever since we spent time on an airbase when we went to see our family at the end of July, Biscuit has been incorporating airplanes and the Air Force in his adventures. And superheroes are always included.

So here's what he told me the other day:


When someone shoots at you, it will directly reflect off of you and will go back to the shooter.
Because I am indestructible. Ching! Did you hear that? That was them trying to destroy me, but they can't. And they never will.

I also have super hearing. The sound comes in through a tiny little hole. If a sound came all the way from New Mexico and my armor was on, I could hear it straightaway. I would be like, "Wait, I heard a roar from New Mexico."

And I can fly. These boots, they contain invisible air jets. That's what I use to fly.

I always have my armor during rescues. It's what protects me and let's me save other people. You could even try to explode my armor, but it wouldn't work.

I also can shoot repulsor blasts (he has trouble making plurals out of some words, so he pronounces it blastis).

My air jets can go faster than an airplane jet. And the armor helps me breathe when I'm that high, almost in space.

And I can survive any amount of shoots at me. I'll do a dodge right out of the way, and I'll be just fine.


There was a lot more to it, but he asked if I would put my computer down and participate. And yes, he did say "participate."

The babysitter: Last week, Jeff and I had to go to curriculum night at school, and we asked a friend to hang out with Biscuit while we were gone.

She likes Biscuit, and plus, we promised to take her out for dinner after the meeting.

Biscuit doesn't get to see her that often, so he talked her ear off about school, superheroes and lots of other topics.

She asked Biscuit a question, but Biscuit didn't answer right away.

"Did you hear me?" she asked him.

"Of course I did," Biscuit said. "I have super hearing."

Then he was telling her about some boo-boo he got on the playground at school.

"But it's better now," he explained to her, pointing to where his boo-boo was fading away.

"Well it didn't take too long for it to get better," she said to Biscuit.

"Of course not," Biscuit said. "That's because I have super quick healing just like Wolverine."

I hope Biscuit will remember to use his powers only for good.

Eat your fruit: Biscuit has wanted to take a sandwich (ham and cheese, turkey and cheese or PB&J) and some chips or pretzels for his school lunch each day. But I told him he needs to eat some fruit or a vegetable along with his other stuff. But seeing as Biscuit seems to think that his whole body will burst into flames or something equally horrific if he even considers eating a veggie, I've been including fruit.

The first couple of days, he didn't eat his fruit. He claimed he didn't have time. Their lunch break is tight, but he has plenty of time to eat his fruit.

They have 25 minutes for lunch. They play classical music for part of the lunch time, and when the music is on, the kids aren't allowed to talk. And that's good. Because they get so distracted with each other so easily, and the music requires them to concentrate on their lunches.

One morning before school, Biscuit was in the half-bath taking care of business ... with the door open, of course! And Jeff and I were around the corner, sitting at the kitchen table. I've been including a note in Biscuit's lunch each day (which is quite a feat considering the kid can't read too much yet), and I whispered to Jeff that he needed to help me come up with some notes that Biscuit could figure out.

"I've got one," I said to Jeff. I motioned for Jeff to come closer because I wanted to whisper it so Biscuit couldn't hear me. "I'll write, 'Batman is a bat, and bats eat fruit!'"

"Mom, I heard that!" Biscuit said from the bathroom.

Now I think the kid really DOES have super hearing.

So I finally made a deal with Biscuit. Actually, it was a straight-up bribe.

"If you eat your fruit at lunch, you can have two chocolate chip cookies after dinner," I said to Biscuit.

And seeing as chocolate chip cookies are his favorite, he's been holding up his end of the bargain. But get this, every night so far, he eats one cookie, then says, "Um, Mom, I think I just want one cookie tonight."

I'm not even sure he realizes that he's done it every night. But hey, I'm not going to mention it. It's better for him, and it'll be a while before I have to buy more cookies!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Not too bad

Today was not bad. Not bad at all.

In the grand scheme of things, I would like to say that our goal is to have great days! But for now, "not bad" is plenty good enough.

I managed to pull myself out of bed on time. Biscuit got up in a good mood. Jeff got up to help out, too. I'm trying to wean myself off Jeff's help because his schedule can't change like mine can, but he said he'd help out any way he can for as long as we need him.

We got everything packed up and were out the door on time. Biscuit and I talked and laughed on the way to school. The traffic wasn't bad, and he walked right in with no hesitation when we got there.

The quickest way for me to get to work from Biscuit's school would require turning left out of the parking lot. And although the traffic has gotten much better since the first day, the left turn lane has been about four times as long as the right-turning lane. So despite having to backtrack a little, I've decided that will be the best bet.

I make my way to a four-lane highway that takes me all the way into downtown. And here's where it goes bad.

I got to one specific exit, still a long way from downtown, and the traffic was bumper to bumper. I couldn't believe it. I've never seen that many cars on that road before. It was crazy, and my patience wore quite thin in a very short amount of time.

So when I got to work, I asked a friend how she avoids the traffic. She gave me a couple of suggestions to try tomorrow. She, like me, would happily go a couple of miles out of the way to avoid sitting still on the highway. So we'll see how that goes.

I was a little later leaving work than I wanted, but I think that was just because I was behind from being off last week and the holiday yesterday. I'm going to work very hard to leave exactly when I've planned to leave.

When I picked Biscuit up this evening, he was SO excited to tell me that they went to the school library today ... or media center as they now call them.

"And guess what, Mom?" Biscuit said. "And just know that this part is REALLY AWESOME!"

"What?" I asked.

He looked around like he wanted to make sure nobody could hear him. "They let us check ... out ... books ... to bring HOME! Can you believe it?" And there were plenty of exaggerated hand gestures.

I'm not sure where the excitement came from. He has a county library card. Remember this?

But we read the book as soon as we got home this evening. And he was excited that he picked a good one.

We practiced piano, then had a fun dinner of pancakes and bacon. Then after dinner, it occurred to me that it had been a long time since I played the piano for Biscuit.

His teacher wants to introduce some of the big boys of piano - Mozart, Beethoven and the like - so I figured he might enjoy hearing some of it. And surprisingly, he did.

Jeff gave Biscuit a bath, then Biscuit came running into the living room and said, "Okay, I'm ready for more."

"More what?" I asked him.

"More piano music," he said. I think he's starting to figure out that what he's learning will allow him to eventually play the stuff I played for him. It was very sweet and very intuitive on his part.

He's in his bed now, and I'm heading to my own bed soon. And I hope that our "not bad" days start moving toward "great" really soon!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Out of the mouth of my babe ... the first school edition

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

Politically correct: Many of the books I read as a child are still good options for Biscuit. We've read "The Little Engine That Could," Dr. Seuss, all the Little Golden Books and more.

But some of the books might not have been quite politically correct enough.

Take "I Knew An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly." It used to be that when she swallowed a fly, "perhaps she would die." I guess that was a little too rough for modern-day kids because now, when she eats a fly, "perhaps she will cry."

Biscuit's class read the book the other day, and when they went to music, they learned a song, too.

If you aren't familiar, the old lady swallows a fly, then a spider to catch the fly, then a bird to catch the spider, then a cat to catch the bird and on and on until she swallows a horse.

The verse about the bird is:

"I know an old lady who swallowed a bird. How absurd to swallow a bird!"

Well, Mr. Biscuit latched onto the word "absurd" and has used it quite proficiently several times since then.

The other night, I said, "Hey, you want to play Goldfish?"

And Biscuit said, "Mom, how absurd! The game is Go Fish, not Goldfish!"

I love that Biscuit values words. With two writer/editors as parents, I guess he gets it honest.

Some other words he's tried out lately include straightaway, indestructible, eventually, harmonic and melodic from piano lessons. And right now, he's on a kick of using actually and seriously.

"Seriously?" Biscuit will say. "Did you see what he did? Seriously?"

And as he learns to read this year, I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty more.

New kid in town: I was gearing up Biscuit to start school by telling him all the things he'd be learning and doing, and then I said, "And you'll meet lots of new friends, too.

Well, Biscuit came home telling us all about his first few days. And right in the middle of his details, he said, "Mom, you were wrong about that thing!"

"What thing?" I asked him.

"You said I'd meet LOTS of new friends, but I've been going for two days, and I only know three new friends," Biscuit said. "I don't think three is lots."

"Dude!" I said. "It's the first week of school. If you know three new people already, and it's just the first week of school, you're way ahead of the curve! It won't be long until you know everybody in your class."

"Well, I did learn the name of one of the persons in my class," Biscuit said.

"A boy or girl?" I asked.

"A boy," Biscuit said. "And you won't believe what his name is."

"What?" I asked.

"Mom, get this," Biscuit said. "His name ... is DENTIST!"

"His name is what?!" I asked.

"Dentist! His name is Dentist," Biscuit said.

Now, I don't know this for sure, but I'm guessing the kid's name is Dennis and Biscuit just heard it wrong. But in this day and age, there's no telling.

Make a note of it: I thought it would be fun to put notes in Biscuit's lunch each day. Of course, I had this thought before I remembered that he can't read!

I've bought some fun stickers to use, and I try to write things he can understand, like "Mom and Dad love you." He knows all those words.

Or one day, I drew an eye, then a heart then wrote his name. He was all excited when he figured out that his picture message said, "I love Griffin."

I asked him if he liked his notes, and he said he did. And just out of curiosity, I asked if the other kids got notes in their lunch boxes, too.

"No, just me," Biscuit said. "But I guess that just means that I'm lucky and you love me."

He explained how he shows his notes to all the other kids. And I think it's sweet that he wants to share with them. At least I hope he's sharing for that reason and not saying, "Ha ha, you didn't get one!"