Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The chart

At the beginning of each month, Biscuit gets a homework calendar. His teacher doesn't care whether he does one each night. He just has to have all of them done at the end of the month. Her goal is two-part: to reinforce what she's teaching them during the day by having them practice their reading and writing and to get them used to doing homework. Next year, he'll get homework on Monday and turn it in on Tuesday and get homework on Tuesday to turn in on Wednesday.

But I can't worry about that yet. That will be a next August problem!

It's been hard to keep up with going homework, practicing piano and doing chores. So being the list-maker and chart-creator that I am, I went to work. And I wanted to add an incentive just to make it interesting.

Now I have to say that I've read about this kind of thing, and people say it's not good to reward the things that the kids should be doing on his own. And I considered what they said and decided that despite their advice, it would work for Biscuit.

And it has.

It's also a reminder for me. It's taken a long time to get in the habit of homework, piano and chores. It's especially hard if I have to run by the store after I pick him up. Or if it's a piano lesson night. Or if he has baseball practice. The time between him getting home, doing piano or baseball or errands, and dinner, and a bath, and bedtime is tight, not to mention throwing in homework.

Anyway, I print out a calendar each month that says that if Biscuit practices piano, he gets a red star. If he does a homework assignment, he gets a blue star. If he does a chore, he gets a yellow star.

Here's his chart for April.

At the end of the week, Biscuit gets money, depending on how many stars he gets. Biscuit usually falls in the $2 range, but he has gotten $3 once. The other interesting thing is that if Biscuit doesn't ask about it on Sunday, he doesn't get paid.

The chores include things Jeff and I ask Biscuit to do or things outside the normal things he has to do. He won't get a star for picking up his toys or putting his clothes in the hamper.

I had to smile a few weeks ago when we went into a toy store to get a gift for one of Biscuit's friends. I told him before we went in the store that we were not buying any toys for him.

"We're going in to get a birthday present," I said. "No toys."

We were almost all the way around the store when Biscuit said, "Wait! Mom!"

I looked over, and he was messing with a rack of kid-size brooms.

"Mom, I know you said no toys, but this isn't a toy," Biscuit said. "It's something you can use to do chores. Can we get one?"

Biscuit has been asking for a broom of his own for a couple of years. Mama has one at her house, and he loves to sweep. So when I saw that one, and it was reasonably priced, I decided to say yes. It was a package deal. It was a broom with a dustpan and brush.

Sometimes on weekend mornings, I let Biscuit eat his breakfast at the dining room table in view of the TV. On a weekend not so long ago, he got up after eating and said, "Dude! I made a mess!" And he fetched his broom and went to work.

He did get a yellow star for this one.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Field trip

After a really rough week at work, I was able to go with Biscuit's class on a field trip Friday. We went to a children's museum one town over, and I think it's safe to say that the kids had a great time.

The museum staff had divided the museum into zones, and each of the five classes of kindergarten kids alternated through the zones.

Biscuit's class started out with half going to the grocery store and half going to the doughnut factory. The grocery store had cash registers that had lights and money in the drawers. They were on little stands that included hand-crank conveyor belts. The groceries would travel of the end into a shopping basket. There were also cooking stations and an ice cream shop with felt food and treats. In the doughnut shop, the kids put plastic doughnuts in a slot, then a series of cranks sent the doughnuts up a conveyor belt down into bins. Then they put the doughnuts from the bins onto another conveyor belt to send them to the boxing station. The kids quickly found their places, then swapped out jobs with each other. They were so excited, they didn't stay at any one station too long.

From there, they moved into the Enchanted Forest, which included a cabin with beds, a table and chairs and books. There was a boat with oars sitting on a big patch of blue that looked like a pond, a foot bridge that had musical instruments built into it, a giant rocking chair and more.

There was an alphabet room where each kid was asked to stand beside his or her first initial. That room also had a big maze of pneumatic tubes on the wall. The kids could push multi-colored scarves into the tubes, and they would fly around through the pipes then puff out at the top. As the scarves floated back down, the kids would jockey for position to grab them.

There were several more rooms to go through, then there was a program called "Under the Stars." The class leader showed the kids Van Gogh's "Starry Night" on an overhead projector.

"Raise your hand if you've seen this painting before." she said. And several of the kids did.

"Raise your hand if you know what this painting is called," she said. And Biscuit raised his hand.

She called on him, and he said, "That's 'Starry Night,' but I can't remember who made it."

I was impressed that he knew what it was called. Then I wondered, "How the heck did he know what it was called?!"

I asked him about it later, and he told me that the art program he has on his kid tablet talks about the painting, and he remembered the name of it but not the painter. So I guess in addition to playing games where he creates funny cartoons and rescues animals in make-believe worlds, he's also learning about art!

After showing the kids the painting, the class leader then asked the kids if they had any emotions or thoughts about it. She wrote down their answers on a dry-erase board, then divided the kids into groups of three or four and assigned a word to each group.

They had blue, moon, castle, wind, yellow, little houses and big houses. Each group had to come up with a motion or pose to describe their word. Then they took turns acting them out. At the end, they put them all together and added music.

It was a really cool activity because she explained how they took a painting and turned it into words, then turned it into a dance. When the kids put together what they had done, they seemed excited. It was definitely fun to watch their discovery.

I had a good time with the kids, and when I got home, I had to change the sweater I was wearing because it was completely stretched out. Throughout the day, the kids would grab my sleeve or the hem of my sweater and say "Griffin's Mom, check this out," or "Griffin's Mom, look at this."

A stretched-out sweater was well worth spending the day with a bunch of sweet and excited kids.

Ringing up a customer's groceries.

This is supposed to be a letter G, but
I don't think it looks much like one.

This is the scarf thing. And it was really
cool. I wish I could've played, too!

The kids perform the dance they created.

Biscuit waits in line
to leave for the day.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Decades Day

School Spirit Week continues, and today was Decades Day. The kids were supposed to pick an outfit from a decade. And see as Biscuit doesn't even understand years yet, it was up to Jeff and me to choose a decade.

About 9:45 last night, Jeff said, "Hey, tomorrow is Decades Day. What's he going to wear?"

I'll admit that it hadn't even crossed my mind!

"Well, the 50s would be easy, but I don't think he will let us slick back his hair," I said. "And he doesn't really have anything like the 60s or 70s."

"How 'bout the 80s?" Jeff asked.

"Well, he has a long-sleeved polo shirt. He could wear it with the color up," I said. "Then we could tie a sweater around his shoulders."

"He would have to wear khakis," Jeff said. "And he has those blue boat shoes with the red laces."

Add in some red wayfarer-type sunglasses (which Biscuit picked out for himself months ago), and he was a 1980s Preppie Guy, ready to go.

Here's Biscuit stylin' and profilin':

"Risky Biscuit" vs. "Risky Business"

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

School Spirit Week continues

Today was Dress Like Your Favorite Book Character as Spirit Week continues.

Biscuit decided he would be Billy from the "Billy and Blaze" books. Leave it to my old-soul boy to pick a book series from the 1940s as his favorites!

In the books, Billy and his horse Blaze get into many a pickle, but of course by working together, the two of them come out every time a little wiser with even more love for each other. I'm only make a little bit of fun of it, but it really is a good book series.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Weekend of Biscuit

It seems like every time I get on a roll of writing consistently, something happens to throw a monkey wrench into my plans!

I was sick and missed a day of work the end of last week, then we had a jam-packed weekend. Griffin was sick today and missed school. Luckily, I can do most of my work from home.

The weekend was dubbed "The Weekend of Biscuit." 

Biscuit was supposed to have his first baseball game of the season Saturday morning. We rushed and got out to the ballpark, only to find that the fields were too wet to play. It was funny to me that the parents were saying things like, "The kids aren't going to care if it's a little wet." And Jeff let them in on the real reason, "I'm guessing they're more concerned about their fields getting messed up." I swear, sometimes I wonder how people function day to day when they're so focused on how everything affect them and theirs.

So we moped back home to hang out until Biscuit's afternoon playdate. It was his first playdate with a school friend. We had spent the afternoon with the boy and his dad at an area park. And I had met and talked with the mom at school.

I have these really cute (but completely obnoxious in that "mommy" way) calling cards that say, "Let's Get Together Sometime," and they have my name, my title (Griffin's mom), my phone number and email address. I almost talked myself out of them because I thought they were just a little too cutesy, but it's really nice to have my contact information on a card that actually says I'm Griffin's mom. I can't remember how many times I've met the mom's of Biscuit's friends, then I get home and can't remember their names. I can always remember the kids' names, though.

After we dropped off Biscuit, Jeff and I ran errands and we may or may not have stopped by the doughnut shop for a treat!

We picked up Biscuit 2 1/2 hours after we dropped him off, and he was mad about having to leave. I think that proves a successful outing.

Then Sunday afternoon, Biscuit had a birthday party. My little calling cards came in handy then, too. So I'm guessing Biscuit will be having some more playdates soon.

After the party, there was shoe shopping for Biscuit and a few more errands. Then home, dinner, bath, bed and starting a new week.

Monday went as usual, except Biscuit's piano lesson was cancelled last minute. His teacher had to take some unexpected training for his real job.

Then last night (or this morning) about 2:30 a.m., I felt a little pat-pat-pat on my arm. How come he never goes to Jeff's side of the bed?!

Biscuit put his cheek against my cheek, and I knew immediately that he had a fever. His temperature was 101.5, and I could tell by how he was moving that he was achy.

He said, "Mom, I don't know if you knew this, but fevers can cause different situations in your body."

"Oh, really?" I said.

"Yeah," Biscuit said. "Things like a foot ache or you feel hot or you just can't get comfortable."

He has quite an insight on things.

This week is Spirit Week at Biscuit's school. Monday was Tacky Day, and today was Twin Day. The kids were paired up with classmates and decided on outfits to wear. Sadly, Biscuit's twin was alone. Tomorrow is Favorite Book Character Day. Thursday is Decades Day. And Friday is Favorite Sports Team Day.

Here's Biscuit in his tacky outfit:

I picked out his pants and shirts. Biscuit picked
out his shoes. And not that you can see them,
but he wanted to wear mismatched socks. And it
was his idea to wear his shirt backwards, too. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Competition day

A few months ago, Biscuit's piano teacher mentioned that he belongs to a local music teachers' association that started in 1964. The local chapter is part of a larger state group, which is part of a national group. Each year, the local group has a conference at one of the colleges here in town where students can compete and get grades for their performances.

I kind of assumed that he was talking about really experienced students, but apparently, competitors can be first-year students all the way through those who have studied for years and years.

So I asked Biscuit if he'd like to do it, and he said he wasn't sure. I think it was because he didn't understand how it would be set up or really what the purpose was. But we started practicing a song, just in case.

A few weeks ago, when the time came to sign up for a competition spot, I sat Biscuit down and explained exactly what would happen. I told him that he would go into a room and play one song, by memory, for one person. Then that person would tell him how he did.

With an explanation like that, he was in and ready to go.

Biscuit's teacher decided that he should play a version of "When the Saints Go Marching In" that he had learned recently for a lesson. It included a good variety of musical skills, and Biscuit seemed to enjoy playing it.

So Saturday afternoon, we got Biscuit in some nice clothes and headed over to the competition.

We got there way too early, and I was worried about Biscuit getting bored and frustrated. His competition time was 3 p.m., and we got there about 2:20 p.m. Plus, they were running about 10 minutes late. But the music building was buzzing with activity, which allowed for plenty of people-watching. And of course, there was my phone. Biscuit has some games on my phone, and I quickly and easily handed it over to keep him occupied until time for him to play.

We signed in and got our room number. And then there was just waiting. Biscuit was completely unfazed, but I was crazy nervous. I'm not sure why. The competition is a good experience, but it's not like it ultimately counts for anything. I wasn't nervous about whether Biscuit was going to do a good job. And I could tell he wasn't nervous about what he was there to do. Quite frankly, I don't know why I was nervous except that it was something we hadn't done before, and I wanted to make sure Biscuit was okay no matter how things went.

There were about 16 or 18 competition rooms. And because we were in the music building, all the rooms were soundproof. So we were walking down a hallway with rooms full of judges and pianists, and we couldn't hear a thing! Each room had a monitor sitting outside with a clipboard. The monitor checked off the participants' names because the judges aren't technically supposed to know the competitors' names.

After 50 minutes of waiting, the monitor told us Biscuit would be next.

"Are you ready?" I asked him.

"Let's do this," he said with a grin.

The monitor escorted Biscuit into the room. At this age, the songs he plays are really short, so it was no time at all before Biscuit was back in the hallway.

A couple of teachers stopped right
in front of me, so I couldn't get a good
picture of Biscuit coming out of the room.

A few minutes later, the judge handed out her judging form to the monitor. And the monitor passed it on to us, making sure we didn't any questions.

He got a superior score. That's the highest you can get.

The judge said, "You have a beautiful hand position. You produced a great tone for the melodies line. Your left-hand staccato was not too heavy. You're doing great work. Keep it up!"

(Staccato notes are played quickly and sharply as opposed to the smoothly as usual. That's not easy for a beginner, but Biscuit worked really hard on them for this song.)

And although the score and the comments were wonderful, the best score came when we made our way out into the lobby.

"How'd you do?" I asked him.

"Mom, I did great!" Biscuit said.

And for me, that was the most important comment of the day.

We found Biscuit's teacher to let him know how it went. He was really excited for Biscuit. He gave him $5 to get ice cream and said, "I can't do that for everybody, so keep it quiet."

We went over to the check-out table to get Biscuit's certificate, and after Biscuit told them his name, he immediately said, "Guess what? My teacher gave me $5 for ice cream!"

"And your teacher also said not to tell anybody," I said to Biscuit.

"Oh, um, nevermind," Biscuit said to the ladies at the table.

It just so happens that there's a really good ice cream place near the college, so we headed over for a treat.

This was a kid-size cone. Guess how long it
lasted before we had to get a cup to put it in?

When we got home, I made Biscuit pose with his certificate.

Then I asked him if he would play his song and let me video it, since I couldn't be in the room when he played it.

"Ughhhhh ... okay," Biscuit said.

I could tell he was tired and ready to play, but he relented. It took him three times to do it to his satisfaction, but he was excited when I told him we got it.

Here's Biscuit playing his song, along with his disclaimer.

"Mom, can you just let everybody know that I played it a lot better for that lady?" Biscuit asked.

"I will let them know," I said.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Getting back to normal

What a week!

I've talked to people about what it's like to raise a child, and I've assured them that despite what they might think, the big decisions are not that hard.

When we picked what school Biscuit was going to attend, I did the research. I read about the tons of school options we have here. I visited a handful of them. I talked to people whose kids attend those schools.

But when you run into situations like Biscuit's trouble this week, there's no research available. It's all gut instinct. And THAT's what's hard about raising kids.

And the worst part is that no matter how you handle it, you're going to second-guess yourself, wondering if you were too easy or too hard. Or maybe you said the wrong thing. It's hard!

So Thursday morning, Biscuit was very quiet. And everything was "yes ma'am" and "no, sir." He knew that Jeff and I were still upset with him.

I had told him Wednesday evening that I was going to walk into school with him Thursday morning to make sure he apologized to his teacher. But it didn't work out for that to happen.

Jeff talked to him that morning about trust and how it was wrong for him to try to use an orange crayon when he was supposed to be using pink. Jeff explained that if Biscuit thought it was okay to lie about that, then we have to figure he would like about other things, too. And that kinda surprised Biscuit. Jeff did a good job of putting it into Biscuit's terms.

"If you would lie about what color you really got, why would Mom and I believe you if you told us that you brushed your teeth," Jeff said. "We would have to just wonder if you were telling the truth or not. But if you can trust somebody, you believe they're telling the truth. And that's what Mom and I want. We want to believe what you tell us."

"I'm sorry, Dad," Biscuit said.

"Do you understand what I said about trust?" Jeff asked.

"Yes, sir," Biscuit said.

I was running late that morning, so Jeff said he would take Biscuit to school. I walked into the kitchen to talk to Biscuit.

"Listen, Dad is going to take you to school, so that means I won't be able to walk into class with you," I said. "I heard you and Dad talking about trust, so I'm going to trust that you will walk into your classroom and apologize to your teacher. To interrupt her class by talking and playing rough is very disrespectful. Can I trust you to apologize to her?"

"Yes, ma'am," Biscuit said.

I emailed Biscuit's teacher to let her know what we had talked to him about and to let her know that he would be apologizing to her. Then I asked her if she could let me know whether he did apologize.

I didn't tell Biscuit that I was going to check behind him with his teacher. I figured that would defeat the purpose of telling him that I was trusting him to do it. But seeing as this is the first time he's gotten in trouble like this, I just wanted to make sure for my own peace of mind.

I emailed the teacher at 7:30 a.m., and at 7:50 a.m., I got an email from her that Biscuit had walked straight into their classroom and before he dropped his lunch, backpack or jacket, he walked straight to her desk and apologized.

I don't think I mentioned in the original post that as soon as I sent Biscuit to bed, I immediately called my Mama. Then the next morning, I had an email from my mother-in-law. Then a mom friend of mine at worked peeked over the top of my cubicle to ask if I was okay. Then I got a nice email from another friend. So my advice to moms (especially ones with younger kids) is to use the resources you have around you - whether it's your mama or just a friend whose instincts you trust. Having that support circle is so very important!

I had a terrible sinus headache this afternoon, so I decided to take a nap. Jeff and Biscuit had been outside playing, and when they came in, they saw that I was covered up on the couch.

"Let's go upstairs and watch TV," Jeff said to Biscuit.

"Dad, I can't, remember?" Biscuit said. "Right, Mom?"

Every ounce of me wanted to say it was okay if he watched TV with Jeff, but I figured if Biscuit was willing to hold up his end of the punishment, I certainly needed to.

"Oh, yeah," Jeff said. "Sorry."

I wonder if I over-reacted about any of it, especially because Jeff wasn't here, and I didn't have his input. But we both feel very strongly about raising Biscuit to be kind and thoughtful to other people. And hopefully, this week will be a reminder of that.

Friday, March 13, 2015

We made it through

We made it through the drama mostly unscathed. Then we made it to the first baseball practice of the season.

Biscuit is doing really well with hitting and throwing. But catching? Not so much! 

But I guess that's what practice is for.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A rough day

I don't mind saying that I'm crying as I type this. It's been a very rough day, and it's all just been too much!

Work was hard and overwhelming today. Jeff will be out of the picture through Sunday because of the big college basketball tournament here in town. And Biscuit is in big trouble!

I can count on one hand the times that Biscuit has really been in trouble. He's just a good, laid-back kid, so when he gets in trouble - like he did today - it's just really surprising. It throws me for a loop.

I was driving from work to Biscuit's school to pick him up, and I was just thinking, "Man, I'm glad work is done, and Biscuit and I can head home, make some dinner and just hang out."

I turned the car off, and because I had sent someone an email and was waiting for an answer to a question, I checked my email. Bad move!

I had an email from Biscuit's teacher saying that he was already in trouble for talking when he wasn't supposed to be talking. Then he and one of his friends decided it would be fun to hit each other over the head with their lunchboxes.

I might have talked about the behavior chart before, but basically, there's a rainbow chart on the wall in Biscuit's class that tracks how they behave each day. Each kid has a clothespin with his or her name written on it. They all start on green.

From top to bottom, the chart is:
Red: Outstanding day
Orange: Great day
Yellow: Good day
Green: Ready to learn
Blue: Think about it
Purple: Teacher's choice (the teacher decides how to handle the situation)
Pink: Parent contact

There are two levels above red, but they're pretty rare. Top of the Chart is if the kid is on red and does something good, he/she gets to move the clip up to the hanger that holds the chart. And if someone moves up one more spot, the clip can be moved to the teacher's I.D. lanyard.

To put this in perspective, Biscuit got Top of the Chart yesterday. He was one step above Outstanding. And today, he was the very bottom color. He got pink!

Each kid has a calendar page in his binder, and at the end of the day, he has to color that day to correspond with the behavior chart. So as the teacher walked around the room this afternoon, she saw Biscuit take an orange crayon out of his box.

So he talked out of turn and got to purple. Then he hit another kid and moved down to pink. And then, because he was scared to be in trouble with me, he was going to color his calendar block orange instead of the pink he should've been using!


So as Biscuit and I walked out of school, I said, "Guess who I got an email from?"

"Um, who?" Biscuit said. And I could tell by his sheepish demeanor that he knew dang well who I was talking about.

I didn't give him any details about the email, but I did give him the silent treatment all the way home. 

Just as we pulled in the driveway, he said, in the most sullen voice I've ever heard, "I'll just go sit on the couch and not do anything."

And if I wasn't mad enough already, that just pushed me right over the top! No! He does not get to punish himself. That's my job, and as mad as I was, I was dang-well gonna punish him!

Jeff saw the email at the coliseum and immediately texted me. We traded messages, then he called me. I think he could tell how upset I was. We hashed it out on the phone. Then I went in the living room and yelled at Biscuit. I'm not proud of it, but I yelled at him. Quite frankly, I didn't know what else to do.

Well, I did take away TV and the Wii for a week.

I made us some dinner, then I gave him a bath. Then - and this was the hardest part of the whole evening - I said, "Go to bed."

I didn't walk up with him. I didn't read him a book. I didn't tuck him in. I didn't hug him goodnight. 

And then I came downstairs and cried about it. And then the second-guessing started. Maybe I should've at least hugged him. Maybe I should've tucked him in and just left off the story.

It's so, so hard! I just can't explain how awful it is to make him sad on purpose, but I'm afraid that if I don't stick to my guns, he won't get that this is a big deal. Nowadays, you can get kicked out of school for hitting another kid - even if you're playing.

So now I have the fun task of trying to sleep tonight. Then I have to figure out how to handle things in the morning.

Man! I wish kids came with instructions!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

And modest, too: I picked Biscuit up from his afterschool program today, and we headed straight to piano lessons. After that, we ran to the store to buy bread, peanut butter, cereal and a few other things. Then Jeff called to say he was leaving work, and we picked the restaurant where we'd have dinner. 

Mondays are jam-packed. And this particular one was harder than it needed to be because my dear son decided that he knows everything and doesn't need to bother listening to anyone else ... including his piano teacher ... and me ... and Jeff.

So we didn't roll through the toy department to look around like we usually do. And we didn't go down the book aisle. And he didn't get to ride in the buggy. And he didn't get to pick the restaurant.

None of these will have a great effect on Biscuit's life, but for this evening, they proved my point! You don't listen, you don't get to do fun things.

As soon as Biscuit figured out that I was disappointed with his lack of listening, he started sucking up.

And the kicker came as we pulled into the driveway and started to unload the car.

I grabbed my pocketbook, lunch bag, phone, keys and water bottle and walked to the mailbox.

As I came back up to the car, Biscuit was holding my sweater, my jacket, his school backpack, his lunch bag and his piano backpack.

"Mom, I'm carrying all my stuff and some of your stuff, too," Biscuit said. "Am I doing something nice?" 

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

I grabbed my sweater and my jacket from him (both of which I had planned to leave in the car, by the way).

"Thank you for getting my sweater and jacket," I said.

"Mom, I just want you to know that I'm a really helpful kid," Biscuit said. "I just really know how to do nice things to help out."

Wow! Imagine if he had put that much effort into just listening in the first place?!

Added emphasis: Biscuit is learning to pepper his speech with extra little exclamations. And I'm not sure where some of them came from, but they are too funny when he throws them out there.

Biscuit and I were leaving school this afternoon, and as we walked out toward the car, Biscuit said, "Mom! It is stinkin' hot out here!"

And then, just to make sure I had noticed what he said, Biscuit said, "Mom, did you hear me stay stinkin'? My teacher told me that I was 'stinkin' smart,' and I just liked how it sounded. So I decided to say it, too."

The other day, Biscuit and I were leaving school, and as we walked through the multipurpose room, we saw some mini chocolate chip cookies on the floor.

"Watch out for the cookies," I said to Biscuit, not thinking too much about it.

"Mom! Who in the daggum world dropped cookies in the floor and didn't clean it up?" Biscuit said. "Just who in the daggum world, Mom?"

"I don't know, baby," I said. "There's just no telling what people are thinking sometimes." 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Play ball!

Well that was quite a week!

Monday we had a parent-teacher conference with Biscuit's teacher (more on that later).

On Tuesday, Biscuit and I had to run a bunch of errands.

Wednesday was for catching up on homework and piano practice.

On Thursday, Jeff did a little freelance work at the basketball tournament, and I met with Biscuit's guided-reading teacher (more on this later).

Then Friday, we had movie night. And today, we had a meet-and-greet for Biscuit's baseball team.


Last year, Biscuit played for our city's rec league. It was an okay introduction to baseball, but our coach wasn't great. He taught Biscuit some good throwing mechanics, but that was pretty much it. The weren't any practices. The games counted as practice and games. And it was quite chaotic.

Then our coach completely skipped the last game. He sent out an email the day before the game saying he had a scheduling conflict. So we decided that we'd rather try for something a little more structured this year.

And cross your fingers! We hope we made the right decision for this year.

He's playing for a branch of the YMCA near us. And I'm sorry to say that as big of a Yankees fan as Jeff is, his son will be a Red Sox player this season.

I believe Jeff's response was, "I'll just hold my nose and get through it." 

I told Jeff that he needed to practice some with Biscuit this weekend. They haven't played much this winter, so I figured he needed to brush up.

It was funny to watch them because Biscuit remembers the exact mechanics of his throw.

"Mom, you just point your shoulder toward your target," he explained. "Then you take a step, form a T with your body and throw. That's all you have to do."

I'm glad he thinks it's easy and fun. And I hope he has a fun season this year.

Here are some pictures of Biscuit and Jeff practicing:

He's still a little afraid of the ball, but he's getting there.

Good catch, Biscuit!

Monday, March 2, 2015

On display

Until Biscuit started school, he almost never wanted to draw or color or make crafty-type things. He's always been more hands-on, wanting to race his cars or fly his planes (and now superheroes) around everywhere.

But once he started bringing home pictures and artwork he had created, he wanted me to hang them up so we could see them. I have the house pretty much decorated, including some of the large photo collage frames that feature members of our family. So there isn't a lot of wall space left. Plus, to be quite honest, I don't want to put tape on my walls.

I know a lot of people use the fridge for artwork, but our fridge is covered in family and friend photos. So our only option was the glass on the French doors in the kitchen. And they get full fast.

So I started looking around for ideas online. And I quickly became overwhelmed with possibilities. Some of those crafty websites are just overwhelming!

But I kept looking until I found a quick and easy way to display Biscuit's artwork. I had everything I needed except paint. So I ran to the craft store (on the way to pick up pizza for dinner ... I can't do crafts and cook on the same night!) and picked out a pretty light blue.

It's basically a strip of wood with clothespins glued to it. You can't get much easier than that.

And here's how it turned out.

There still room on either end, so I might add another clothespin
on either side. We can display even more pictures.

When we moved into the house, and I saw this triangle
wall under the stairs, I knew it would be a good place to
display some of the photos Jeff has taken for sports stories.
And Biscuit's artwork display fit perfectly right under it.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

Madam President: Biscuit's teacher loves history and the presidents. She has shared of lot of facts and stories with the kids.

Biscuit struck up a conversation with me about some of it the other day.

"Mom, did you know that Obama is first black president?" Biscuit asked. And he always uses this tone like I couldn't possibly know anything he ever talks about.

"Yes, I did know that," I said.

"Has there been a woman president?" Biscuit asked.

"Not yet," I said.

"Mom, do you think a woman make a good president?" Biscuit asked.

"I think so," I said. "But not just any woman. It would have to be somebody who makes good decisions and thinks about what's best for everybody."

"Someone like you, Mom?" Biscuit asked.

Whoa! My boy thinks I could be president. I think I'll print this one out and have it laminated, so when he gets to be a know-it-all teenager, I can show it to him!

Animal facts: "Mom, giant squids hunt at night and swim around in the ocean during the day," Biscuit said. "Do you know what that means?"

"What?" I asked.

"That means that they're nocturnal and DAYturnal!"

I had to bite back a grin. I don't want Biscuit to ever think I'm laughing at him, but when he comes up with a word like "dayturnal," it's really hard not to giggle.

Favorite pasttime: Jeff was giving Biscuit a bath the other night, and out of nowhere, Biscuit started talking to Jeff about his favorite pasttime.

"Dad, you know what I really like to do?" Biscuit asked Jeff. "I love to talk. I like to chat-chat (instead of chit-chat)."

Then there was a pause. 

"You know why I like to talk, Dad?" Biscuit asked. And before Jeff could answer, he said, "I just have so many exciting things to tell people. And I have so many questions I want to ask, too."

"Well, you do talk well," Jeff said. "And it's always important to ask questions. But it's important to listen, too, boy. That's how you learn things."

Sometimes Biscuit seems quite self-aware for a kid his age.