Sunday, December 27, 2015

Catching up

We hope everybody had a Merry Christmas! We did.

We were home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Then yesterday, we drove to my parents' house for a quick trip. We came back home today.

We left Biscuit with my parents, and we'll swap him out later in the week.

It seems like I should feel sad or worried about Biscuit when I leave him there, but frankly, he feels safe and always has a great time. And it's nice to have a break. As long as it's a short break! Those things make it easy for me to drive away. I'll miss him of course, but it's fun to talk to him on the phone and find out what he's been up to.

I'll try to add some pictures and some funny stories soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Picture-perfect presents

I can't remember where I saw this idea, but instead of name tags on our gifts this year we decorated black-and-white photos with glitter glue, sequins and snowflakes.

Some of them were really pretty. Some of them were really silly. And some of them I'd rather not be seen by anyone but family! We can't all be great artists!

My favorite was one I did of Biscuit. It was a picture I took of him at the beach last January. He was looking out over the sand and sea, and I snapped a picture of him in his sunglasses. You can see the reflection of the sand in the lenses.

The only bad thing is that we printed and decorated more pictures than we have presents to put them on.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Another science project

Since Biscuit was so excited about the science project his class did at school, I thought it would be fun to do another project at home.

And since wintertime is upon us, we decided to make snowflakes.

First we made pipe cleaner snowflake shapes.

Then we tied the snowflake shapes to pencils and suspended them in glass containers.

Then we boiled water and added borax and food coloring and poured it into the containers.

Then we let them sit overnight. They started to firm up around the edges. As the jars sat, the liquid turned into a jelly-like consistency.

We let them sit overnight, then pulled them out of the goo. We had crystallized snowflakes.

Biscuit was a little disappointed because he chose red food coloring, but the snowflakes came out pink. But he still thought they were cool enough to tell his doctor at his checkup appointment Friday morning.

I really enjoyed seeing Biscuit get excited about how the process worked, and if I tell the truth, I enjoyed seeing how it worked, too.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A good report

Biscuit had his annual checkup Friday morning, and he got a good report.

We really like Biscuit's doctor because he's very thorough. We spent about 45 minutes with the doctor. Nowadays, that's forever!

They checked his eyes. The said they were 20/20, although we saw Biscuit cheat a little bit. When he had his right eye covered, and the nurse asked him to read the line of letters, Biscuit slid his right hand over a little bit and helped out his left eye. We'll keep an eye (no pun intended) on it.

They did a hearing test and said he passed. Of course, that doesn't explain how I can talk and talk and talk, and he never hears me.

He weighs 53 pounds and is 46.75 inches tall. He's gained 4 pounds and almost 3 inches in the past year, and our checking account has the dent to prove it! I told him that he's not allowed to grow again until it's time to wear shorts.

And as he says every time I tell him that, "Moooom, I don't have any control over how much I grow!" 

Biscuit is around the 50th percentile for weight and the 25th percentile for height. That means that he's right in the middle for weight, and 75 percent of other kids his age are taller.

The doctor asked him a thousand questions, including how he likes school and what he's learning, about extracurricular activities, what he likes to eat and more.

Biscuit told him that he likes playing "Star Wars" with Jeff, and the doctor asked if he was planning to see the new movie.

Biscuit held his hands out and said, "Well, here's the thing. It's rated PG-13, so we have someone going to see the movie, and then she's going to tell Mom if I can go see it or not."

And sadly for Biscuit, my friend did indeed tell me about the movie, and I told Biscuit I wasn't comfortable with him seeing the movie. He didn't complain or protest, so I said, "Maybe when the DVD comes out, you and Dad can watch it together at home. That way, if you decide you can't finish watching it, you can just turn it off."

"That sounds like a good plan, Mom," Biscuit said.

The doctor made Biscuit stand one on foot and touch his nose, then swap to the other foot. He asked Biscuit what he wore on his head when he rode his bike. Then he asked him to share at least one way to stay safe from the sun.

The American Cancer Society came to Biscuit's school last year and gave each kid a T-shirt, hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. They also taught them a little slogan to remember for sun safety.

"Well, first you slip, then you slop, then you slap," Biscuit said.

The doctor gave him a funny look, and Biscuit explained.

"You slip on a dark-colored, long-sleeved T-shirt. Then you slop on some sunscreen. Then you slap on a hat and sunglasses."

The doctor said he hadn't heard that before.

He explained to Biscuit everything that he was going to do. He asked us lots of questions. And I was just impressed with how much time he spent with us.

As we were getting ready to leave, the doctor said, "He has an incredible vocabulary for a 7-year-old."

And what I wanted to say but didn't was, "Yes, and he uses it ALL. THE. TIME. NON-STOP."

But it's good to know that Biscuit is in good health and right on track to keep learning and growing.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Sickness ... again!

Well, illness has brought our house down once again!

I swear, our boy chooses the most inopportune times to get sick. And much less, he shares it with the rest of us. Luckily, this one hasn't hit Jeff, and fingers crossed, it won't.

It's the weirdest thing because this seems to be the same pattern as last year. The first quarter was perfect attendance, then he started to pick up every germ and bug that passes through.

Biscuit got to his piano lesson Monday evening, and less than halfway through, his teacher stopped and asked, "Are you feeling okay today?"

Biscuit confessed that he wasn't feeling well, and by the time we got him home, his temperature was 102.5. So he missed school Tuesday and Wednesday. I hate that he misses school, but he's not supposed to be there within 24 hours of having a fever.

"Mom, you know what I hate most about being sick?" Biscuit asked.

"What's that?" I asked him.

It's definitely missing school," he said. "I REALLY hate missing school."

His fever finally went away, and he was able to go back to school today. And he was a little too excited about being back.

When he got home, I asked him what color he got on the behavior chart today.

"Well, Mom," Biscuit said, shifting his weight and not looking me in the eye. "I had a bit of a ... umm ... well ... a complication today, and I got yellow."

That's one step down from where they start each day. The category is called, "Think about it."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Well, Natalia ..." Biscuit started.

"Nope. Stop right there," I said. "I don't want to hear about the other kids. I want to hear only about you."

"But Mom," Biscuit continued. "Kiernan was ..."

"No," I said. "Tell me what YOU did."

"Well," Biscuit said, "I was playing in the centers, and everybody was misbehaving. And I was going back and forth between two centers because I didn't hear the teacher say we had to choose one and stay there."

It wasn't a big deal at all, but his hemming and hawing and trying to blame everybody else irritated me.

"Listen," I told him. "What you did to get clipped down was not that big a deal. But you not coming straight out and telling me makes me upset. You need to be straight up with me."

"I'm sorry, Mom," he said. "Next time, I'll tell you as soon as you ask me."

So he says. I guess we'll see.


So I just read this post to Jeff, and he said, "Now wait a minute. That's not what he told me."

"You got a different story?" I asked.

Jeff said yes, and that here's how the conversation went: 

"I was copying other kids," Biscuit said. 

"Were you copying someone else's work?" Jeff asked.

"No!" Biscuit said. "I would never copy anyone else's work."

"Then what do you mean?" Jeff asked.

"Well, I was copying other kids' behaviors," Biscuit said. "And that's something I need to work on, not being influenced."

Jeff said to me, "You could just hear his teacher's words through him."

Well, his teacher does have a point. And I hope Biscuit learns it!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Growing up

Despite me telling him not to, Biscuit just keeps growing!

He's learned so much since he started school. I was impressed with his progress in kindergarten, and that barely touched what he's doing in first grade.

But lately, his physical growth has been the most noticeable thing.

It's little things ... like when you see him sitting at the dining room table and realize that his legs don't stick straight out on the chair anymore. Or when he's standing right beside you, and you try to put your hand on his head, and you have to reach a lot higher than you used to ... or smack him in the forehead (yep, it's happened!).

I think I mentioned earlier that when it got to be long-pants weather, we started trying on his clothes and had to clean out his entire dresser. And most of it was because his legs and arms got longer.

So when we started replacing his pants, I realized that they wouldn't fit well in his drawer anymore. If you fold them in half, they're too long from front to back to fit. And if you turn them sideways, you can only get a few pairs in there.

So we swapped some of his clothes from the dresser to his closet. And boy do they look like big-boy clothes in there.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Old friends: Biscuit was ready to go to bed last night, but he couldn't find Stripes, his stuff tiger. 

His main-squeeze stuffed animal changes every so often, but nobody ever gets left behind. Even though he occasionally changes who he cuddles closest, all the others occupy the other side of his queen-sized bed.

It was bed time, and Stripes was nowhere to be found. 

"I'm sure Stripes is downstairs somewhere," Jeff told him. "We'll find him tomorrow."

Biscuit grabbed his bear and squeezed him tight. 

Then he said, "Come on, Teddy, it's just like old times."

Throat problems: Biscuit suffers from seasonal allergies and some sinus problems, so he often wakes up with a scratchy throat.

"I feel something weird in my throat," Biscuit said one morning. Then he held up his hand and said, "And before you say it, Mom, it isn't a frog."

"How do you know it's not a frog?" I asked him.

"Because I never put live pieces of nature in my mouth," he said quite indignantly.

A new word: Biscuit was eating his dinner tonight, and he said, "Mom, this is scrumptious!"

"What?" I said, wondering where on Earth he learned that word.

"My food is scrumptious," Biscuit said. "It's an adjective."

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The science project

Biscuit's class is learning about science projects. I don't recall doing science projects in first grade, but if you wanted to know what he's doing in first grade that I didn't do until second or third grade, it would take a lot of typing!

So Biscuit was excited about the project, and he wanted to tell me all about it.

"Mom, do you want me to tell you how to perform a science experiment?" Biscuit asked.

"Yes," I said. "Tell me all about it."

"Well," he said, "here are the steps. ... First, you ask a question. Then, you form a hypothesis. Next, you perform a test. Then you collect your results. And the last step is that you reach a conclusion."

"Dude!" I said. "I don't think I knew the word 'hypothesis' until, like, third grade! What was your experiment?"

"Well, we wanted to know if the color of a drink would affect the taste of it. That was our question," he explained. "So we each had three cups with something to drink in them. One was blue. One was green. And one was plain. We tasted the drink from each cup, and you know what?"

"What?" I asked. I could tell he was enjoying drawing out his explanation.

"All three cups were apple juice," he said. "The color didn't change the taste at all!"

"That's a really cool project," I said.

"So our question was whether different colored drinks taste different. Our hypothesis was that we thought they would taste the same. Our test was that we drank them. Then we wrote down what each one tasted like. That was our results. And our conclusion was that the color of the apple juice didn't make them taste any differently."

I was very impressed.

I dialed my brother's cellphone and handed the phone to Biscuit. 

"Tell your uncle about your science project," I said.

Biscuit took care of the pleasantries then told my brother about his project. And my brother, being my brother, said, "Well tell me this ... Is a hypothemus kin to a hippopotamus?"

"Noooo," Biscuit said. "It's a hy-po-the-sis."

"That's what I said," my brother said. "Hypothemus. It at least has to be a cousin of the hippopotamus, right?"

Biscuit let out a big sigh (something he does to my brother quite often) and said, "You're just picking on me, right?"

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Seeing Santa

Our annual tradition of taking Biscuit to see Santa while my parents are here for Thanksgiving continued again this year. But I was a little nervous the night before we went.

"Okay," I said to Biscuit. "Grandmama and I are going to go shopping tomorrow morning. Then about lunchtime, you, Dad and Papa will meet us for lunch and a visit with Santa. You do want to see Santa, right?"

I was surprised by his answer.

"Um, I don't think I want to go see Santa," Biscuit said.

Well, my mind flew back to last year when we had to talk with Biscuit about Santa and Santa's helpers. Remember this?

So my first thought was that he was freaked out about last year and didn't want to see Santa because of it.

"Why don't you want to see Santa?" I asked, pretty nervous about his response.

"Oh," Biscuit said. "I just haven't thought of what I want to ask him for."

Whew! I let my imagination go too wild!

I told Biscuit that all he had to do was to think of two things he wanted to ask for. That Santa is always good about engaging the kids, asking about what they like and don't like.

There wasn't a line, so we walked right in. The whole process is so fast, that last year, I didn't even hear what Biscuit asked Santa for.

So this year, I asked Mama to go stand near Santa and Biscuit to eavesdrop while I dealt with the photographer.

Mama told me that evening what he had asked for, but I did get distracted from the photographer when I heard Biscuit tell Santa, "And I can give you a hint about finding that one ..." Because clearly, Santa can't find toys on his own! And besides, don't the elves make all the toys?!

Throughout his seven years on this Earth, Biscuit has gone back and forth about liking to have his picture taken. He used to grab for the camera and ask me to take his picture. But now he's gotten really weird about it. He likes it when I take pictures of him in poses in costume. He liked the pictures I took of him playing baseball. He also liked me taking his picture at Tweetsie Railroad. 

But if you look at those photos, you'll notice that he doesn't offer up a full smile. As he's lost his teeth, he won't smile big for pictures. He gives this little crooked half smile with no teeth showing.

I asked him about it, and all he said was, "I just don't like to show my teeth when I smile."

I don't push it because I don't want him to get upset about it, but I sure do miss his sweet, full smile!

Here he is on his visit with Santa.

And just as a side note ...

Last year, we saw this Santa a day before he was going out for medical leave. I wondered why he would work just a few days, then leave, but I figured he must've hurt himself. A back injury or something.

Well, it turns out that he had a really rare kind of cancer that they found by accident while they were checking out something else.

His cancer was so rare that the hospitals here in town wouldn't even touch him. They sent him to a big university hospital about an hour and a half away from here.

They had to take one of his kidneys, and he had to endure all kinds of radiation and treatments.

He said he was feeling really good now, and we were all glad to see him back and looking like the Santa we've loved for the past seven years.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

No good deed

Jeff didn't get home from the basketball game until about 2 a.m. last night. So since he gets Biscuit ready every morning, I figured it would be a nice thing if I took over those duties this morning.

And as they say, no good deed goes unpunished!

I went up and roused Biscuit. I washed his face and combed his hair. He brushed his teeth and got dressed. Then we headed downstairs.

I didn't turn on any downstairs lights, so as we were walking back down the stairs, I thought I had reached the last step. But I hadn't. I fell down the last three steps.

It hurt so bad!

I was sprawled out on the floor, and I started moving everything to make sure nothing was broken. I could tell that my wrist was hurt. I could move it around, but I know it's going to be bruised and sore tomorrow.

Biscuit was freaked out. He came running down the rest of the stairs.

"Mom! Mom!" he said. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," I said. "Calm down. I'm okay. But I need you to do me a favor. Can you go and very gently wake up Dad and tell him I've fallen down the stairs? Be gentle. Dad didn't get home until really late last night."

"Okay, Mom," Biscuit said. "I'll be right back."

I sat on the floor for what felt like forever. Finally, Jeff and Biscuit came up the hall.

"Kimmy, are you okay?" Jeff asked. And by this point, I had turned from freaked out to scared to mad and grumpy.

"I'm fine," I said. "Can you just fix his breakfast and lunch so he won't be late for school?"

After a few minutes, I got up and joined them in the kitchen. I grabbed an ice pack and sat down at the kitchen table.

I tried to do something nice, and there I was, sitting at the table while Jeff was having to do all the things I didn't want him to have to do.

Jeff got Biscuit out the door and took him to school.

When Jeff got back home, he said, "Did you hear how your boy told me what happened?"

"There's no telling," I said. "But no, I didn't hear him."

"He came running into the bedroom and said, 'Dad! Did you hear that really loud noise just now?"

"No," Jeff said. "What happened?"

"Well, it wasn't me," Biscuit said. "It was Mom. She fell down the stairs."

Really? He thought it was more important to address the noise it made when I fell over the fact that I at first thought my wrist was broken?!

We've clearly got to talk to that boy about his priorities!