Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A day at the science center

Last week, I went on another field trip with Biscuit's class. I know, I know. I'm a glutton for punishment!

Although, I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I don't know whether his teacher has put the fear of God into those kids or if she just lucked into having a great class, but they were just so well-behaved. Just like they were on the two previous field trips I chaperoned.

This trip was to our local science center. We love the science center. We're members there and enjoy visiting whenever we can. But I have to say that the field trip was pretty disorganized.

The last trip we went on, the teachers and chaperones got an hour-by-hour chart as soon as we walked in the door, and we stuck to it. At this place, it was more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants. There was one timed event. Everything else was just played by ear.

You know me. I am not good at playing by ear. So I was a little frustrated. It's hard to help keep track of the kids when you have no idea what's going to happen next.

And something really weird happened while we were there that day. Biscuit got jealous.

My boy actually yelled at me. Guess how well THAT went over?!

There's this metal sculpture thing that, if you slide your arms along it, will simulate the flight of a bird. But all the kids saw were monkey bars! They started climbing on the thing, and it's not really meant to be climbed on.

Biscuit and I were the caboose of our group for most of the day. We helped count to make sure all 12 of the kids were still with our group (the class was divided in half when they arrived).

So Biscuit was the last one in line for the bird flight simulator. About six people in front of him, this tiny little girl looked like she was on the verge of breaking her entire body, so I walked up to get her down.

Those who know Biscuit know that every situation requires a back story. So as he was waiting in line, Biscuit was coming up with some elaborate scenario in which he would navigate his way through the bird flight simulator. The only problem was that he wanted to tell me all about said scenario right that second, but I was trying to help the other kids.

"Mom," Biscuit said.

"I'll be back there in a minute," I said. "Let me help her get down."

"MOM," Biscuit said a little more urgently.

"Griffin, I'll be back there in a minute," I said with a little more tension in my voice.

"MOM!!!" Biscuit yelled.

I cut my eyes at him as if to say, "I know you didn't just raise your voice to me, especially in front of your classmates." But I knew better than to actually open my mouth for a minute. I was nowhere in the vicinity of happy.

"Do not raise your voice to me," I said. "I am here as a chaperone, and that means I'm here to help every kid in your class."

Well, he didn't like that one little bit. So the pouting started.

With Biscuit being an only child, he rarely has to share Jeff and me. So he really didn't know how to handle all the other kids vying for my attention. Or when I had to help other kids do things.

We had a long talk about it when we got home. I tried to be careful about what I said to him because it was clear that he was freaked out about not having me all to himself. But I explained to him that me helping those other kids had absolutely nothing to do with how I feel about him.

We'll probably have to have the same talk again at some point. There's one more field trip this year, so it might come sooner than you think.

Here are some pictures from our day at the science center:

I could sit in front of this aquarium for hours.

Time to feed the penguins.

A pile o' otters. It was naptime, and they all snuggled together to sleep.

In the Meet the Animals class, Biscuit got to pet a ferret. The kids met a
bunny and a ferret in the mammals category. They met an Asian chicken
for birds, and they met an Eastern box turtle and ball python for reptiles.

He petted an Asian chicken that has black bones, skin and feathers.

Petting a python. The class leader showed the kids which
direction to rub. Apparently, it's not comfortable for snakes
if you rub against the grain on their scales. And if you've never
touched a snake before, I can tell you that they feel like leather.

Who looks meaner - the kid or the T-rex?

A video that makes it look like dinosaurs are roaming
around the science center caught their attention.

This tunnel has a big bubble on the end that lets you see into the meerkat habitat.

I can't remember the kind of primate that was in this habitat, but they
chased each other all over the place through the trees and on their swings. 

Time to go back to school. Biscuit sat with the teacher's assistant
both ways on the trip. On the way there, she said she and Biscuit
traded jokes. "Some of his were really funny, but some of them just
didn't make any sense," she said. Yep, that sounds about right.
But on the way back, she said, "He was so exhausted that he
said, 'Would it be okay if we just looked out the window at nature?'"

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Rain delay

This season is turning into more baseball than we bargained for. Well, not actually MORE baseball, but a longer season for sure.

We signed Biscuit up with a different baseball league this year because last year's league left a lot to be desired. There were no practices, just five games that were supposed to serve as practice and games. The kids didn't seem to learn a whole lot. Also, our coach sent out an email the night before the last game saying, "Something has come up, and I won't be able to attend the last game. But you parents know what to do." Are you kidding me?! We parents did handle it, but that just left a bad taste in my mouth.

This year's league seems to be more stable. The only thing that would make it better is if we could have some Saturdays without rain.

The season officially started back in March. We've had baseball practice every Thursday night since March 12 (except for spring break week). The season is supposed to be six games long, and we should've had four games by now. But we've had so much rain that we've only had one game. One game!

They've already scheduled two makeup games, including one on the night of Biscuit's big school play. He'll have to miss that one because he has a part in the play, and I've already bought supplies to make his costume. No spoilers. The program is May 14.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures from Biscuit's one and only baseball game so far this season.

Elbows up. Hands together. Feet shoulder-width apart. Good stance, boy.

I wonder if closing his eyes gives him more power?

He has to learn to pick up the pace a bit when running from base to base.

Looking good and ready. Nothing will get past him!

The kids get four pitches from the coach, and if they don't hit it, they hit it
off the tee. Biscuit hit it the first time and used a tee on his second at-bat.

Lookin' like a pro. And apparently, I'm not allowed
to call it an "outfit." It's a very manly uniform!

Hanging out on second base,
waiting for someone to hit him in.
Good game! They don't keep score yet, although they do
count outs. Each team hits until they get three outs or six runs.

Biscuit seems to be enjoying playing this year more than he did last year. And I'm glad because apparently, we'll be playing for quite a while!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Report card time

It's still weird to me that kindergartners get report cards. Biscuit's third-quarter report card came home in his binder today.

Here's a rundown of what he got:

Some things are judged by numbers. Biscuit's scores included 3's and 4's.
4 = consistently exceeds grade level expectations
3 = consistently meets grade level expectations
2 = Needs support to meet grade level expectations
1 = Below grade level expectations with support

And some things are judge by letters. Biscuit's scores included S's and I's.
S = Satisfactory
I = Improving
N = Needs improving
U = Unsatisfactory

The first chart is simple.
Reading: 4
Math: 3
Science: S
Social Studies: S
Writing: S
Music: 4
Art: 4
P.E.: 4
Media/Technology (library and computer lab): 3

And then they get specific.

Personal and Social Development - 
Demonstrates confidence in self as a learner: S
Demonstrates interest and participation appropriately in classroom activities: S
Demonstrates increasing independence: S
Cooperates with and respects adults: S
Cooperates with and respects peers: I

Work Habits - 
Observes school and class rules: S
Uses time wisely: I
Listens carefully: S
Follows directions: S
Completes class assignments: S
Completes homework: S
Handwriting is neat and legible: S

Physical development -
Demonstrates the ability to use pencils, crayons and scissors appropriately (fine motor development): S
Demonstrates the ability to walk, run, jump and throw (gross motor development): S

Strengths: Griffin is, as always a pleasure to have in class! He is a hard worker and always tries his best. Your support at home is what makes all the difference, so I thank you for that!!

Areas Needing Improvement: Continue to complete guided reading assignments, answering questions in complete sentences. Also, you can begin (if you haven't already done so) practicing addition facts up to 10 using flash cards, so he can commit those to memory.


All of this for a kindergartner. Can you believe it? I don't remember ever getting a report card this detailed in ANY grade.

Biscuit's teacher thinks highly of him, and that means a lot to us. She's really good about keeping in touch. If I email her, she emails me right back. It's going to be hard if we don't get a comparable teacher for first grade!

But the bottom line, though, is that Biscuit is doing well in school. Let's hope that continues.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sick boy

Biscuit will occasionally get a fever with no other symptoms. It's frustrating because we don't know what's causing the fever, and if we break down and take him to the doctor, they always say it's viral. 

So now, we wait. We wait until he's had the fever for at least two full days before we take him to the doctor. It's a little scary because he still can't recognize or explain symptoms. Like, for example, when we were on the way home from my parents' last weekend.

We were about half an hour into our trip home when Biscuit turned off his computer tablet and announced that he was hungry. It was about lunchtime, so it was a valid feeling.

We had just hit the city limits of a small town, so I knew there would be dining options a couple of miles down the road. But before we could get anywhere, we heard Biscuit make a weird noise in the back seat, and he threw up. It was on his shirt, shorts and car seat. I was able to yank the car over into an empty parallel parking spot, and we carefully got Biscuit out of the car and started cleaning.

My bet is that Biscuit had car sickness. He was playing his computer games, and the roads between my parents' house and this little town are twisty-turny and pothole-laden. He felt action in his belly and assumed it was hunger, when it was really, REALLY not!

So yesterday evening, when I noticed him dragging around, I checked his temperature, and he had a low-grade fever. I asked him how he was feeling, and as usual, he said, "Oh, I'm fine."

He says he doesn't have a sore throat. He's not sniffly, except for his usual seasonal allergies. He's moving around just fine. He says he has a little headache, but that's it.

If he's not feeling better by lunchtime tomorrow, we'll call the doctor.

Meanwhile, as long as the acetaminophen is in him, he's fine.

Here's proof (and thanks Grandmama for the punchball ... really!):

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Fun time for Biscuit

Biscuit's Spring Break started with Easter weekend and ended with his cousin's birthday party. Biscuit refers to my brother's backyard as his "uncle's playground." 

And that's pretty much what it is. There's a trampoline, a swingset that my brother built, including swings a trapeze, monkey bars, a fort with two slides and a sandbox underneath. And there's a seesaw and a tire swing, too.

Everything a boy needs to have fun.

Here are some pictures of Biscuit enjoying himself.

Somebody has discovered video games. And
somebody has to have time limits on how long he
plays. Otherwise, he would've been sitting in this chair
having no idea that his cousin just blew out the candles!

He tickled me pointing that left arm in the direction he wanted the ball to go.

Good follow-through. Biscuit.

I'm not sure what he's explaining here, but it looks important.

This one is a little blurry, but when Biscuit is trying to accomplish
something, his tongue spends a lot of time outside his mouth.

I sure wish this boy knew how to have fun!

Monday, April 13, 2015

He's baaaaack!

The boy has been retrieved. He is safe and secure back home. He's currently tucked into his very own bed, which he said makes him very happy.

I love that Biscuit has no issues about spending a week with his grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins. He didn't get homesick. He didn't cry. He didn't have a single care about any of it.

I don't think he missed us. And as weird as it sounds, I feel very good about that. He knew he was safe. He knew he was surrounded by people he loves and people who love him. And he knew that we were a phone call away.

Now of course I missed him like crazy. I found myself listening for him and being quiet at night so I wouldn't wake him up. And mine and Jeff's schedules were just all out of whack. We went to work late and stayed WAY too late each night. We only had one real date night, so when Biscuit goes back in the summer, we'll have to fix that!

It was really weird having Biscuit gone for Easter, but believe me when I say that he didn't miss anything. He came home with an Easter basket FULL of candy. He went to the Easter egg hunt at my parents' church, and Mama said he fit right in.

They had the event set up in stations - a story area, the egg hunt, the candy-getting area, egg-dying and games, including using plastic spoons to flip marshmallow chicks into buckets.

Mama said Biscuit thought it was a little odd that everybody knew his name, but he didn't know theirs. You know how he is about introducing himself, so I'm sure it freaked him out pretty good.

Mama said that didn't hold him back, though. He jumped right in and took part in all the games and activities. I love his independent spirit.

Anyway, Mama took some pictures for me. And of course Biscuit told me all about it.

The kids had to use a folder to guide their eggs through an obstacle course.

Every time I smell vinegar, I think about dying eggs.
They mixed things up and made some pretty colors.

The candy-getting area seemed to be
more Halloween than Easter. The adults
sat in a big circle with bags of candy, and
the kids walked around with their
baskets. Biscuit came home with
more candy than he'll eat in a a year!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hangin' with the cousins

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Biscuit has always been close with my brother's kids. And each of the three of them has a different kind of relationship with him.

My oldest niece, who is 16, seems to always be amazed at what Biscuit knows. She's always asking him questions and talking to him. She doesn't remember how smart she was when she was his age!

My youngest niece, who is 12 (she'll be 13 in June), has always treated him like a real-live baby doll. When he was little, she wanted to carry him and play with him. She just loved his baby years. She's struggled a bit as he's grown up more, but she still loves to play with him.

My nephew, who turned 11 on Wednesday, is probably closest to Biscuit. They play boy stuff. Although sometimes we have to remind my nephew that Biscuit is still little! We also have to remind him that Biscuit looks up to him, so he needs to be very careful about the things he says and the decisions he makes around Biscuit. He's a good kid, though, so there's not too much to worry about there.

But it's been fun hearing stories about them hanging out this week.

The other day, my oldest niece started asking Biscuit questions about the presidents. I think she was a little taken aback at how much he could tell her. She doesn't know that his teacher at school LOVES presidents and has shared a lot of facts with them. And because Biscuit knows that Jeff loves presidents, too, he's retained a lot of that information to share with Jeff.

She asked him who the first president was and who the current president is. Then she asked him what number the current president is, but he couldn't remember.

One of them was talking about Black History Month, and Biscuit started telling them everything he learned about it. His teacher did a whole lesson plan on it in February. I'll have to share more about what he learned later, but he was able to tell the kids who MLK Jr. and Rosa Parks were.

Biscuit wanted my nephew to go outside to play, but my nephew told him that he had to do his homework.

Biscuit realized that the sooner my nephew was done with homework, the sooner they could go outside.

"Oh, then I'll just help you do your homework, then we can go outside," Biscuit said.

My nephew was very sweet and let Biscuit help. He had to write his vocabulary words three times each, so he let Biscuit spell them out to him the first time.

Since Biscuit doesn't have any siblings, I'm glad he's got a close relationship with his cousins.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe, grandparents edition

A few things Biscuit has said lately.

Catch of the day: Biscuit tells me that he's having a great time at his grandparents' house. He's hunted eggs, played baseball, played basketball, shot pool, watched TV and caught three fish (two Sunday and one today, including a catfish).

"Mom, do you know how I caught those fish?" Biscuit asked.

"How?" I asked.

"With a cricket," he said. "Those fishes LOVE crickets."

I asked him if he was going to eat any of them, but he said they put them back in the water.

"Mom, I didn't touch the first one," Biscuit said. "But I did touch the second one."

"How did it feel?" I asked. "Well, it was wet ... and it was ... um ... gooey."

"That's a good word for it," I told him.

After they fished yesterday, they went back inside just in time for dinner.

"You smell like fish," Biscuit's aunt told him. "Go wash your hands."

"Fish don't stink," Biscuit said. "They take a bath in that water all the time."

While his logic was good, it didn't fly. He had to go wash his hands before dinner.

Here's a picture of Biscuit with one of his fish.

What's for lunch? I asked Mama how Biscuit has been eating, and she gave me a rundown. 

It sounds like he might be headed for another growth spurt because he's been packing away the food. He's not much of a snacker, but he's making up for it at dinner. One night, he had three tacos. Then for lunch the next day, he ate two and a half slices of pizza. 

For dinner Sunday, my brother cooked out hamburgers for everybody, and Biscuit ate a whole hamburger plus two servings of shells and cheese.

Well, Mama said "shells and cheese" and Biscuit said, "Actually, Grandmama, where I live, we call it 'mac and cheese.'"

"And today for lunch, he had PB&J," Mama said.

"Actually Grandmama, I had PBJC&T," Biscuit said.

"What?" Mama asked.

"You know, PBJC&T," Biscuit said, like it should be as plain as the nose on her face. "Peanut butter and jelly and chips and tea."

Play ball: Biscuit told me all about how he and his cousin played baseball this afternoon.

Except, at one point, the ball slipped, and it hit Biscuit in the midriff.

"Mom, that ball hit me in the belly, and it made my belly go in some, and it bothered my digestive system a little bit," Biscuit said. "But don't worry, it's all better now."

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everybody!

Biscuit's class at school had a Spring Celebration on Wednesday. His teacher always says, "Our Spring Celebration (and then whispers, "Easter Party") is coming up." I guess they're not allowed to call it an Easter Party anymore.

Their party was set up in stations. There were craft stations, an egg hunt station and a game station, all followed by a snack.

Here are the cute crafts Biscuit made:

I think Biscuit's teacher lays claim
to all the big cans in the cafeteria.

This was a bucket used
for the Easter egg hunt.

They did the painting with sponges.

Mr. Bunny Rabbit.

This was supposed to be a bunny mask. But the
cotton balls on the ears were too heavy. They wouldn't
stand up when he held it up to his face. It's awfully
cute, though, especially the cattywampus whiskers.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Break

I woke up this morning and rolled over to look at the clock. I saw the time and thought to myself, "I can't believe he isn't up yet."

We try to keep Biscuit's schedule the same all the time, even on weekends - although he does get to stay up a little later on Friday nights. So the fact that he wasn't up before 7 a.m. was definitely unusual.

And then I remembered. Biscuit isn't here. He's at my parents' house!

It was hard trying to figure out his Spring Break time off because Friday was a holiday, then Spring Break was supposed to be the following Monday through Friday. But we had several snow days to make up, and they decided that the Friday of Spring Break would work okay for one of them. Jeff and I went round and round trying to figure it out. We finally decided that we were not the only family struggling with this and that we would bet money that there would be many, many kids who skipped school that day.

We already had plans to go down for my nephew's birthday next weekend, so it all just seemed to fall into place. Then we realized he'd be gone on Easter. We've never had a holiday apart, so that was a hard one. But we knew he'd be in good hands. And hey, the Easter Bunny can visit anywhere.

So I worked until 2 p.m. yesterday, then Biscuit and I hit the road to meet the grandparents.

The. traffic. was. awful!!! 

"Everybody else must be going to their grandparents', too, Mom!" Biscuit said.

What should've been an hour and a half at most took more than two hours. And much of that was sitting still on the interstate. Biscuit took a nice nap, and when he woke up, we could see our exit, but we couldn't get to it. We watched that exit get closer and closer and closer for about 15 or 20 minutes. And as we finally drove up the ramp, I said, "Bye, bye, traffic!"

Then I glanced up into the rearview mirror just in time to see Biscuit throw up his hand and yell out, "SO LONG, SUCKERS!"

If I hadn't seen him wave at the traffic, I might've thought he was saying that to Jeff and me. The boy loves time at Grandmama and Papa's house. He also has an aunt, uncle and three cousins close by, and that doesn't hurt the situation!

I talked to him on the phone about 1 this afternoon, and he told me all about how he went to an egg hunt event this morning. They hunted eggs, made crafts, had a snack, played games and got lots of Easter candy.

I had a hard time letting him go on this trip. I guess maybe it's because it's been so long since he was away from me. I know they'll take good care of him, and I know he'll have a great time. But especially this time of year, when Jeff is so busy with his work (and stupid basketball!), Biscuit and I spend a lot of alone time together. And when your buddy is missing, it's just not the same.

I'm sure the time will fly by, and we'll be heading down there ourselves. And hey, maybe Jeff and I will even go see an R-rated movie!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools'!

I was excited about April Fools' Day this year because I knew Biscuit was old enough to get it. 

We started our day with Biscuit and me playing a joke on Jeff. It was orchestrated by Jeff and me ahead of time, but before you call us lame, let me explain.

We had mentioned to Biscuit that April Fools' Day was this week, but he wasn't sure which day. So I told Jeff that if we played a prank at the very start of the day, it would kick off things nicely, and Biscuit would understand the gist of the day.

When it was time for Biscuit to get up, I went upstairs and our plan unfolded.

"You get down beside the bed, and I'll crawl under the covers," I explained. "Then when Dad comes up here to wake you up, he'll find me in the bed instead of you. Then you jump up and yell 'April Fools', Dad'."

Everything went according to plan, and Biscuit jumped up and yelled, "April Fools' Day!"

He almost got it.

"You don't have to say, 'April Fools' Day,'" I told Biscuit. "Just say, 'April Fools', get it?"

"That was fun," Biscuit said.

I was glad he thought so because I had a couple of things planned for him.

It was time to go to school, and Jeff brought over Biscuit's shoes. As he sat down in the floor and reached for the first shoe, I grabbed it before he could get it and started to put it on his foot.

"Push your foot in," I said to Biscuit with pretend exasperation.

"I'm trying, Mom," Biscuit said, "but something isn't right."

Here was Biscuit's problem. SOMEone shoved wads of newspapers in the toes of his shoe.

"There's something in my shoe!" Biscuit said, reaching in to pull out the paper.

"April Fools'!" I said to him.

"Moooom," Biscuit said.

And guess what happened when he tried to put on the other shoe?

"There's paper in this one, too!" Biscuit said.

Off to school he went, not knowing that there was a plan for his lunch, too. There were bugs everywhere!

After I put the bugs on his sandwich, I wrapped it in cellophane to keep the them in place. Then I wrote him a note to explain what was going on.

Biscuit got stuck on the words "aren't real," but he knew all the others.

I was excited as I drove to pick him up. I wanted to know if he thought it was funny or weird or whether he even remembered.

As we were walking out to the car, I said, "Hey, how was your lunch?"

"Mom, there were bugs everywhere," Biscuit said. "But you know what was the funniest part?"

"What?" I asked. I was figuring he was going to name a specific bug or mention the ladybug that was out on its own.

"Well, Mom," Biscuit said. "I saw the bugs and reached down to pick one up. And then I realized that my sandwich was covered in weird paper. And all the bugs were under it. I couldn't even get the bugs off until I got that weird paper off my sandwich. How crazy is that, Mom?"

So I went to the craft store, looked through three different sections of the store, dug out my coupon, stood in line behind a lady who wanted a price on every single stem of artificial flowers in her basket and bought the little bag of insects. Then brought them home and carefully washed and dried them. Then carefully placed them on his sandwich and wrapped them so they'd stay put.

And Biscuit was most excited about the cellophane around his sandwich.

Oh well, he figured out that I was playing a trick on him and thought it was funny. So we'll call that a success.