Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Biscuit talked me into buying his costume several weeks ago, and since then, he has become a "Star Wars" freak! So he's hinted and hinted about changing his costume to Luke Skywalker.

And as much as I hated to do it, I stuck to my guns and reminded him that he chose to be the red Power Ranger first, and because we had already bought the costume, that's what he had to be.

He asked me what costumes Jeff and I were going to wear, and quite honestly, Jeff and I didn't have any intentions of dressing up. But we've done group costumes with him before. Remember this?

So I tried to come up with something that would be easy and cheap!

On the Power Rangers show Biscuit likes best, the Rangers' cover is a pizza restaurant. When they get a call, they leave the restaurant, go to their lair, change into their fighting gear and go save the world.

Well, I have a ton of aprons, and we have a ton of caps, so undercover Power Rangers was the answer. Throw in the fact that Biscuit and I ordered pizza Wednesday evening when Jeff was working a late shift, and we were good to go.

Here we are as the red Power Ranger (center) and the
pink and purple Power Rangers in their undercover roles.

We went trick-or-treating to our usual places, our cul-de-sac and the cul-de-sac one of our friends lives on in another neighborhood. We like the cul-de-sacs because since they're dead end streets, there's not usually any cars coming through.

The boy got a bagful of candy as usual. And also as usual, he'll eat a few pieces and will then promptly forget that there's a bowl full of his candy on the dining room table.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Offering comfort: Biscuit has gone crazy for all things "Star Wars." I'll share more on this new craze later, but everything at our house is now intergalactic.

Although I'm really pretty tired of everything relating to those movies, Biscuit did come up with a really good analogy the other evening.

I was complaining to Jeff about feeling overwhelmed.

"It's just never-ending," I said. "It's like I accomplish one thing only to realize that there are 15 more things waiting in the wings."

I didn't realize that Biscuit was standing right behind me. And if you're not familiar with the "Star Wars" movies, let me tell you that the good guys are the Rebels and the bad guy (Darth Vader) has an army of soldiers called Storm Troopers.

So Biscuit reached up and patted my back very gently. 

"Mom, it's like when the Rebels fought with the Storm Troopers," Biscuit explained sincerely. "The Rebels took out a few of the Storm Troopers, but there were just more coming. And they took out a few more, but there were just more Storm Troopers. And they just kept coming and coming like it would never end."

I stared at Biscuit for a minute, and I was touched by his sweetness and surprised by his empathy and impressed by his analogy.

"You know," I said, "that's EXACTLY what it's like! Thanks, dude."

Good to go: Biscuit has seasonal allergies that can be quite bad at different times of the year. Sometimes you can just look at him and tell that he doesn't feel well or that his head is hurting.

A few days ago, he had a headache bad enough that he actually asked for medicine. And it was medicine that he hates the taste of. So I knew he wasn't well.

The next morning, Biscuit seemed to be feeling better. Jeff took him to school, and when he got back home, he was laughing.

"What did that boy say?" I asked. That's one of the few things that would have Jeff laughing that early in the day.

"The boy announced on the way to school that he had a headache yesterday and felt pretty bad," Jeff said. "But then he said, 'But today, I am fully functional.'"

Low-tech dining: I usually leave my phone on the desk when we have dinner, but this evening, I was in a texting conversation with my sister-in-law and one of my friends. I also took a call from a friend.

Dinner was on the table while all this was going on, but I didn't realize it was such a big deal until I put the phone down for good.

Biscuit got a look of attitude on his face and said, "Now that we're technology free ..." and then went right back to eating.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Eating some crow

I'm still on restricted lifting since my surgery, and it is driving me absolutely nuts! Everybody who knows me knows that I'm independent and get things done. And when you can't lift much of anything, it's hard to do that.

And let me just add that Nov. 5 will be eight weeks since my surgery and the end of my lifting restrictions. I told Jeff that I want to get up that morning and just pick up something heavy!

Biscuit and Jeff have both been great about helping me. I can't carry the laundry hamper, so Biscuit pushed it from our bedroom closet to the laundry room. He also helps me carry bags into the house when we do the shopping.

Once Jeff explained the restrictions to Biscuit, Biscuit started worrying about it. I explained to him that I was being careful and that it wasn't anything for him to be concerned about, but he said he just wanted to help.

One day, when I picked him up at school, he grabbed his bookbag and held out his lunchbox for me to carry it. As I reached for it, he jerked it back and said, "Wait! Does my lunchbox weigh more than 10 pounds?"

"No, baby," I said. "But thank you for asking."

Yesterday evening, I asked Biscuit to take a small bag of trash to the big container outside. So he grabbed the bag and started walking toward the back door.

"Dude, today was trash day, so the cans are out in front of the garage," I told him.

"I know, Mom," Biscuit said, but he was still walking toward the back door.

Getting a little exasperated because I thought he wasn't listening to me, I said, "The front door. Go out the front door."

Biscuit looked at me, sighed and walked toward the front door.

As he made his way down the hall, he said "Just so you know, I'll be going outside without my shoes on,"

"What do you mean? Get your crocs," I said.

"That's what I was trying to do, Mom," he said holding his hands out beside him. "But my crocs are by the back door, but you just kept telling me to go to the front door."

"Well come on back and get them," I said.

I really hate having to admit I'm wrong to him!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Who ate the brownies?

We took a road trip last Saturday (more on where we went later), and I decided to do a little baking for the trip.

Biscuit and Jeff both love chocolate (WAY more than I do), so I made some brownies.

I made them Friday evening, and as I walked into the kitchen Monday evening, almost all of the brownies were gone.

"What happened to all the brownies?" I asked Biscuit.

"Oh ... uh ... I only had, like, one or maybe two, Mom," Biscuit said.

Then I looked at Jeff.

"What are you looking at me for?" Jeff asked, trying to sound put out.

I'm not sure if Biscuit was feeling guilty or what, but then he said, without me asking again, "Mom ... really ... I only had one."

"Okay," I said and went back to cleaning off the kitchen counter. 

Then out of nowhere, Biscuit said, "Maybe they disintegrated."

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing.

"No. 1, you get points for knowing and using correctly the word 'disintegrated.'" I said. "And No. 2 ... I don't think so!"

I still don't know who ate all the brownies, but I'm betting it was a joint effort.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Big boy Biscuit

Biscuit was just full of gems this evening.

I picked him up at school, and asked him how his day went.

"Mom, this school has just taught me so much stuff that I just couldn't even explain it to you all at once," Biscuit said.

"I'm glad you love school," I told him. "I always loved school, too."

I told him we had to run a few errands, but if he would be patient and let me get my stuff done, we could look around for some things for his birthday party.

I have his invitations made and ready to go and had every intention of mailing them out today. But yesterday, we got an email invitation from Biscuit's best friend who had to move away at the end of school last year. His birthday is on Nov. 6, and Biscuit's is on Nov. 9, and as soon as I opened the email, my stomach sank. His friend's birthday was scheduled for the same day as his.

Biscuit was really disappointed because he hasn't seen his friend in a while.

"Mom," Biscuit said sheepishly, "is there any way we can have my party on a different day?"

"Yes," I said. "I haven't sent out the invitations, so I can just change the date to that Sunday instead of that Saturday."

"REALLY?!" Biscuit said. "That would be so cool, Mom."

I sent an email to his friend's mom, and she was excited about Biscuit being at the party.

She emailed back and wrote, "OMG. He is so sweet. Give him big hugs."

So we got a few things for his party, and while we were shopping, I was asking Biscuit about his day. I've learned that you can't say, "How was your day?" Because he'll say, "Fine." And that will be that. So now I ask him specific questions.

"What special did you have today?" I asked.

"We had guidance," Biscuit said.

"What did y'all talk about?" I asked.

"We talked about respect," Biscuit said. "We learned about put-ups and put-downs."

"What are those?" I asked.

"Well, put-downs are when you say things like, (and he scrunched up his nose) 'That shirt is just weird-looking.' And a put-up is when you say something like (and he got a big smile on his face), 'I really like that shirt.'"

"I think I like put-ups much better," I said.

"Me, too," he said. "I've already had three put-ups just today. My guided reading teacher said I was doing a great job. The assistant principal said she liked my red pants. And mom, you said that you were proud of me for getting a good color on the behavior chart today."

"Those sound like all good things," I said.

"Yep," he said. "You just never know what's going to pop up in first grade."

We got done with our errands, and I had a hankering for some fried rice to go with some chicken I had at home. I called in the order and drove over to the restaurant. I got a parking place right in front of the door.

"Hey, do you want to go in a get the food?" I asked Biscuit.

"Sure!" Biscuit said. I could tell her was excited.

I handed him the money, reminded him about what we had ordered, and he went marching into the restaurant. The takeout counter is right by the front door, and I could see him through the window. Even so, it felt weird having him do something like that. It just felt like he was such a grownup.

He came out of the restaurant grinning.

"Thank you so much for doing that," I said. "You did such a good job, you can keep the change."

"Thanks, Mom," he said. "I went in there and got the food and paid for it and came right back out. And guess what? Nobody snatched me up or anything!"

"That's right," I said. "Good job!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Setting a spooky mood

We have some Halloween decorations inside and outside our house. Just a few spooky things to set the mood.

Outside, we have a hay bale with scarecrows on bamboo sticks stuck in it. We also have these cool lights that you put in your shrubs. They look like different shaped eyeballs blinking off and on.

We also have some foam jack-o-lanterns with lights inside. We light them up through Halloween, then just turn them around to look like regular pumpkins through Thanksgiving.

Inside, we have some pumpkin and ghost candle holders, jack-o-lantern baskets, leaf candle holders and other things.

And then we have a special personalized message from Biscuit.

Biscuit called me into the kitchen the other night and said, "Mom, I've finished my Halloween decoration. Come look."

He led me over to the trashcan and pointed down. He took magnet letters off the fridge and spelled out "Boo" and "Happe Halawen."

Here's hoping everyone has a safe and Happe Halawen!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Different isn't always good: Jeff and Biscuit ran some errands this evening, including a trip to a bookstore. In the children's area, there was a train table, but it didn't have any trains or anything else to go on it.

Not long after that, another little kid and his dad walked by the spot where the toys used to be.

Jeff said the boys has an oddly grown-up conversation about the situation.

"There doesn't seem to be any trains here," the boy said.

"I know! That's EXACTLY what I said," Biscuit said with his hands raised and with much exasperation.

A little perspective: Biscuit loves the paper placemats he gets at a lot of restaurants. One evening recently, he had finished the games and mazes on the front side and turned it over to draw on the blank back side.

Biscuit has art once a week, and I can always tell when he's learned a new term or technique.

I'll just be very blunt and say that Biscuit is not an artist. He likes to draw, but I still have to get hints as to what it is that he has drawn.

The teachers encourage the kids to add details to their drawings. If they have to draw a dog, they're encouraged to draw a house and some grass and a ball or a bone ... details.

Biscuit's picture that evening was an under-the-ocean scene. It had a shark, some fish, a star fish, some seaweed and a few other things that I didn't recognize.

Then he started drawing a vehicle. It took me a few questions, but I found out it was a submarine. The submarine was way smaller than the fish around it, but then I found out why.

"Mom, do you know why the submarine is so small?" Biscuit asked.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because it's far away," Biscuit said. "And that's called perspective. ... I really know a lot about art."

"You sure do," I said.

That hurts: We were ready to eat dinner the other night when Biscuit came walking into the kitchen rubbing his belly.

"Mom, I'm just not sure if I can eat dinner," Biscuit said.

"Why not? What's wrong?" I asked, thinking he might be sick.

"Well, when we were outside playing today, this girl kicked me right in my digester," he said.

"Someone kicked you?" I said, not sure whether to be mad that someone kicked him or confused by what the heck his digester is. "Did you tell someone?"

"Yes," Biscuit said. "I cried a little bit because it really hurt. She had to go sit on the bench near the door, and I had to go sit on a different bench until I was feeling better."

"So tell me again where she kicked you," I said.

"You know, right here, in my digester," he said rubbing his belly again. "Right where my body digests my food."

"OH! Your digester," I said. "There are actually several parts in your belly that help digest your food, but I know exactly the area you're talking about."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Books, books and more books

Biscuit is doing really well with his reading. And luckily, he loves doing it. He has to read for 20 minutes a day, and he has never complained. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he continues to love it.

Last year, they started what they call guided reading. The kids are given short books to read on their level. After they read the books, they have to answer comprehension-type questions about the characters, setting and plot. Then they answer more abstract questions, such as why a character made a decision or how it will affect the plot.

The teachers do a good job of making sure the kids who are behind get books they can handle without feeling overwhelmed. And on the other end, they make sure that kids who are reading above grade level get books that will challenge them.

It's hard because Biscuit's teacher last year and this year have both emphasized that these early years go a long way in deciding how the kids feel about reading and learning in the years ahead of them. They say, and I agree, that if you push some kids too hard, they lose that spark and get discouraged. But if you don't challenge some others, it can have the same affect.

So mine and Jeff's job, I think, is to make sure Biscuit has books at home that he enjoys reading. There's so much required reading that he'll have to do for school that what he reads at home needs to be fun and about things he's interested in. We have a really nice library system here in town, and kids books are a whole lot cheaper now than they were when I was little. 

We also try to find fun books that coincide with what's going on around him. Like right now, he's thinking about Halloween. So we have some fun and spooky books.

The first one is called "The Little Green Witch." It's a take on "The Little Red Hen," except that in "The Little Red Hen," the characters are a little red hen, a cat, a goose and a dog. In "The Little Green Witch," there's a little green witch, a ghost, a bat and a gremlin. And it has a fun twist at the end. No spoilers!

The other one is a book that Jeff and I bought when Biscuit was about 2 years old. We knew it would be a while before we could read it, but we couldn't resist.

When Jeff and I were kids, we learned to read using the "Dick and Jane" book series.


See Dick run. Run, Dick run.
Come and see, Jane. See Dick run.
Spot runs, too. Run, Spot run.

This book includes the original characters - Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, Puff, Mother and Father - and one other character ... a vampire!

Here are a few lines from the book:

"Go, Jane.
Go outside.
Go outside and play.

Oh, oh.
Look, look.
There is something outside.

Run, Jane.
Run away."

Needless to say, we don't read these books at bedtime!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

He did it his way: Biscuit is such a creature of routine and habit. There are some positive aspects of that and some negative ones.

The positive is that once he learns to do something, that's that. He can do it every time. The negative is that he is often SO SLOW! And he can be quite contrary when he isn't able to do things the way he's used to doing them.

And sometimes, it's just funny. Like last week. 

Jeff usually gets Biscuit ready for school in the morning while I make his breakfast and lunch. But Jeff had an early work assignment, which meant I would be taking over his usual morning duties. 

As Biscuit was getting dressed, he felt that he needed to give me a running dialog. He acted as if I had never gotten him dressed or witnessed him dressing himself.

"See, Mom, here's the thing," Biscuit said. "I put my clothes on smallest to largest."

"Okay," I said, really just hoping he would hurry up so we could get going.

"I start with my socks," he said. "After I get my socks on, then I put on my underwear. Then I move on to my pants. The last thing I put on is my shirt. Now I know my shirt is actually smaller than my pants, but I like to put my pants on first because if I put my shirt on first, some of it gets tucked into my pants. And I don't like that."

"Sounds good to me," I said. "Now if you could only put all those things on a little faster ..."

Sensing his way: Biscuit has a guidance class once a week at school, and a couple of weeks ago, they talked about how to handle stress.

It kind of disturbs me that my 6-year-old needs to worry about stress.

His teacher mentioned that some people use yoga and meditation to help ease stress. So that evening, Biscuit came home and asked me if I would teach him yoga and meditation.

"Well, I can teach you some things about meditation, but if you want to do yoga, I'll see if I can find you a DVD," I told him.

Just as I suspected, they have kid yoga DVDs. The one I got him has a space theme to it. It has four sessions and relates everything to outer space.

On the first one, they begin by sitting on the floor with their legs straight out. Then they reach down toward their feet into what's called a seated forward bend. The teacher tells them it's time to put on their space suits, so they grab their imaginary suits and start pulling up their legs until they're in a seated position again. They're doing real yoga poses, but they make it fun and relatable to the kids.

For the meditation, I told him that it was all about him calming everything down, including his body and his mind. I told him to sit quietly, close his eyes and breathe in through his nose and out through his mouth and think about something he really loves.

"I'm going to think about nature, Mom," he said.

His group leader in his after-school class wasn't sure whether to believe him or not when he mentioned it to her.

"I finished my homework," he told her. "Would it be okay if I sat on the floor in that corner over there to meditate?" 

She told him it was fine, but she asked me about it when I picked him up. I explained what was going on, and she was all in favor of it. She told him he could do it any time he wanted after his homework was done.

I told Biscuit that another relaxing thing was to sit quietly and pay really close attention to his surroundings. 

"That can help take away stress, too," I told him.

I'm not an expert at any of this stuff, but I figured if it would help him ease his mind about his schoolwork and other stuff, it couldn't hurt to talk to him about it. I guess he was listening because as I was tucking him in one night, he started telling me about how he wakes up in the morning.

"Mom, when I wake up, I try to use all my senses," Biscuit said. "I use my eyes to look around and see all the things I love in my room. And then I use my ears to see if I can hear any birds outside or maybe rain falling. Then I use my touch to feel my warm covers. Then I use my nose to see if I can smell anything, like bacon cooking or something like that. And then ... well, I actually only use four of my senses. I don't really taste anything until I get downstairs for breakfast. ... Well, unless you count toothpaste."

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I'm Thinking of Anything

Griffin made up a game called I'm Thinking of Anything. And it's exactly what it sounds like.

You think of something then give clues to the other players like, it's red and it starts with an A. Then the other player would guess apple.

Sometimes I'm Thinking of Something has themes. Like I'm Thinking of Something I Like to Eat.

Monday morning, on the way to the dentist, we played I'm Thinking of Something - Things We Like.

Biscuit went first. Because Biscuit ALWAYS thinks he should go first, and I wasn't in the mood to fight it.

His clue was, "I'm thinking of someone who has really good skills, and he's from a movie."

Well, since Jeff and Biscuit recently watched "Star Wars" (the 1977 movie), I knew Biscuit's clues would start with "Star Wars," then move on to his older favorites - cowboys, horses and firetrucks.

I offered up several random clues, and he guessed them all. And then, I said, "I'm thinking of something that you wear, and it can be lots of different colors.

Biscuit started guessing. "Um, pants," he said.

"Nope," I said.

Then he guessed shirt, jacket, shoes, socks and others. And I told him no every time.

"Can you give me another hint, Mom?" Biscuit asked.

"Sure," I said. "It's something I have and you don't."

He thought for a few seconds then said out really loud, "Boobies!"

I started laughing, and I'm really glad we quickly got to a red light

"What, Mom?" Biscuit said. "What's funny?"

"Dude! I don't WEAR my boobs," I said. "They're a body part."

"Well, you said something that you have and I don't," Biscuit said. "You have boobies and I don't."


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Staying safe

People have been spotting copperhead snakes around here. Apparently, this is the time of year for them to have their babies, so they can get more aggressive than at other times of the year. Since leaves are already falling, and copperheads are really good at camouflage, we figured we better make sure Biscuit knew what they looked like and what he should do if he saw one.

I pulled up a picture of one on my phone. The one I found was really hard to see in a pile of leaves, so it was the perfect example. 

We have a resident black snake. Remember? And even though he is harmless (and hopefully controlling pests), we still told Biscuit not to get near him.

"Are copperhead snakes poisonous?" Biscuit asked.

When Jeff was in college, one of his professors told his class to "use the proper word, not its second cousin." So with that in mind, I felt the need to explain to Biscuit the difference between venomous and poisonous.

"Well, snakes are venomous not poisonous," I explained to him. "Poison is ingested like by eating or drinking. Venom in injected, like with fangs or stingers."

"Okay ... then are copperheads venomous?" he asked.

And I love that he understood the difference and corrected himself.

"Yes, they are," I told him. "That's why we want you to be very, very careful when you're in the yard, especially where leaves are piled up."

"Well Mom, here's the thing, I don't want to see a venomous snake," he said. "I want to be a grown man some day."

"That's a really smart thing," I said.