Sunday, February 28, 2016

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Tablet training: Biscuit got a tablet for Christmas. It has fun games, educational games, music and more. He's done pretty well with not being on it all the time, but we do have to remind him sometimes that homework, piano, reading and chores come first.

He almost always remembers to charge it each night, and he has a cloth to clean the screen. But sometimes his common sense doesn't kick in - like when he was watching a cartoon on it while eating a snack and having some water.

"If that water gets on it, that's the end of it," I said.

"Oh yeah," Biscuit said and put it down until he finished his snack.

Or one time when he was eating a piece of chocolate.

"Don't play the tablet with chocolate fingers," I told him. "You need to make sure your hands are clean before you use it."

"Okay," Biscuit said. "Thanks for the info."

I almost expected him to salute and say 10-4!

Bad news: Biscuit was upstairs playing a video game. He and Jeff usually play it together, but Jeff was busy downstairs.

"Dad!" Biscuit yelled. "I'm gonna need some help up here."

"What's going on?" Jeff asked.

"Well, there are some new guys, and they have weapons," Biscuit said. "And their weapons are just dreadful!"

You're dismissed: I went to pick up Biscuit from school the other day, and when I walked into the multi-purpose room (cafeteria, auditorium and gym combined), I noticed that his after-school group leader wasn't there.

"Where's your group leader?" I asked him.

Apparently, he didn't feel like answering questions. He ignored me.

"Hey!" I said. "I just asked you a question."

Biscuit threw his hand out to the side and said, "Errands ... sick ... I don't know. Of course, some girls like to go shopping."

I wasn't sure what to address first, his attitude or his chauvinism!

Friday, February 26, 2016

A trip to the doctor

There are noises that are really creepy during the night. And then there are noises that just scare you half to death. Such as when you're sound asleep and you hear a loud, "thump! thump! thump!" on the ceiling of your room.

Biscuit's room is directly above mine and Jeff's room. If he called for us in the night, we wouldn't be able to hear him. So we came up with the plan for him to stomp on his floor if he needs us during the night. And it's usually for a nightmare.

It's kind of funny, actually, because I just said to Jeff that it had been a long time since we heard that thump in the middle of the night.

Jeff had to cover a basketball game that started at 9 p.m. last night. He didn't get home until around 2 a.m. So at 4:15 this morning, when the thump on the ceiling came, Jeff didn't even budge. Meanwhile, I sat straight up in bed, already out of breath.

I know that it's usually just a nightmare, but it's still scary because you're not expecting it when it happens.

Anyway, this morning, it wasn't a nightmare. I got up there, and Biscuit said he couldn't sleep and wondered if I would stay with him for a little while. I sat on the edge of the bed and reached out to rub his head. And I realized his head was really hot.

I came downstairs and grabbed the thermometer, the Tylenol and a sports bottle of water.

His temperature was 102.9, so I gave him some Tylenol. Then he said he had a headache and a scratchy, sore throat.

Once the doctor's office opened, I called and got an appointment. We were lucky enough to get Biscuit's regular doctor. Biscuit loves him, and his doctor seems to think a lot of Biscuit, too.

Turns out it's strep throat. Biscuit has never had it before, but he got an antibiotic, and he should be fine. Although he will have to stay out of school tomorrow. which means he can't do the monthly movie night. He was actually just as disappointed about missing school as he was the movie night. I don't know if that will continue to be the case as he gets older, but right now, at least, he really loves school.

At the doctor's office, it was kind of funny because I didn't say a whole lot. They know how talkative Biscuit is, so they usually ask him all the questions.

"So what's going on?" the nurse asked.

"Well," Biscuit said, "I've had a fever since 4 a.m. I have a bad headache. And my throat is sore and scratchy."

She took his temperature and said, "It's not high right now."

"Mom gave me more Tylenol just before we left home, so it's probably kicking in and making my fever lower," Biscuit said.

The nurse then said, "Okay, let's check your muscles."

But she wasn't fooling Biscuit. "Doesn't that check for blood pressure? And it squeezes really tight?"

She smiled. "Yes it does. And yours looks good."

The nurse asked, "Are you allergic to anything?"

"Well," Biscuit said, "I have seasonal allergies, but I'm not allergic to anything."

She did the strep test which made him gag. Then she did a flu test by sticking a swab up his nose.

The doctor walked in and spoke to Biscuit. Then he opened his laptop.

"Well that was quick," he said. "The strep test was positive. So that means you have strep throat, buddy."

"I've heard of that," Biscuit said, "but what is it?"

The doctor explained what strep is and checked to make sure he didn't have a rash of any kind. Then he asked Biscuit more questions.

He asked when the fever started, and Biscuit told him. 

"And then you called out for Mom and Dad?" the doctor asked.

"Actually," Biscuit said, "they can't hear me if I call out." And then he explained how his room is right above ours and told him about stomping.

"So you just jumped out of bed and stomped on the floor?" the doctor asked.

"Well, I was feeling pretty bad," Biscuit said, "so I didn't JUMP out of bed. I got up pretty slowly."

During the whole visit, I said very little. I confirmed our pharmacy and a few other details, but I swear, Biscuit could've handled the appointment as I sat in the waiting room!

As the doctor was leaving, he said to Biscuit, "I hope you start to feel better really soon, okay?"

"Me, too," Biscuit said.

Then the doctor looked at me and said, "Compared to most 7-year-olds, he is a delight."

I smiled and thanked him. I mean, I think he's a delight, too, but I think I might be biased!

Jeff and I will have to finagle our work schedules again, but I sure hope Biscuit feels better soon.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A lesson learned ... hopefully

I had to teach Biscuit a hard lesson last night. Some people might say I was mean to him, but I hope I actually got through to him.

Biscuit and I went to his piano lesson, and he did a really good job, so I told him he could pick the restaurant for dinner.

"Mom," Biscuit said, "I'm not really in the mood to go to a restaurant. Can we just get some takeout and eat at home?"

"Sure," I said. "Let me call Dad and let him know."

I called Jeff, and he said he would pick up the food, and Biscuit and I could go pick up a few things at the store.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I explained the plan to Biscuit.

"Listen," I said, "we need to be quick about this. I have a list in my pocket of the things we need. We're going to go in, get our stuff and come right back out, okay? That means no books, no toys, no nothing except exactly what we need. Got it?"

"Yes," Biscuit said. "I understand."

We walked in a grabbed a buggy. I pulled out my list and a pen, and off we went.

Our list led us to the back aisle of the store, right between the books/movies section and the toy section. But I had explained the plan to Biscuit, so he knew we didn't have time for either, right?

Um, apparently not.

I was halfway past the toy section when I realized that Biscuit was not beside me anymore. I glanced back to see him walking down the Legos aisle.

Needless to say, I was not pleased.

I started to turn back and get him, but then I realized this could be a good teaching moment.

I started walking faster, and about three aisles away from Biscuit, I took a right onto the aisle with the computer printers. I stood there and stewed a couple of minutes, then decided to go back and see where Biscuit was.

When I turned back onto the main aisle, I saw Biscuit talking to two employees in red shirts. Then he turned his head, and I saw that he was crying. Man, that broke my heart. But my hope was the he realized how easily and how quickly we can get separated.

I got to where Biscuit and the two employees were standing, and Biscuit grabbed me around the waist.

"Where did you go?" I asked him. "You were right behind me."

He was crying, which made him stutter. "I-I-I got l-l-lost, M-m-mom."

"Well, you did the exact right thing by finding someone who worked here and asking for help," I told him.

I thanked the store employees, and Biscuit and I started walking toward the grocery section.

When we rounded the corner, I pulled Biscuit to the side so I could talk to him.

"We talked about this before we came into the store, remember?" I asked him. "I said no toys, but what did you do?"

"I went to the toys," Biscuit said, still crying.

"And what happened?" I asked him.

"I got lost," he said.

I hugged him against my side and said, "What would have happened if we had been somewhere really crowded? What if we were at a big music show or at the park and you walked away? How hard would it be for me to find you then?"

Biscuit nodded.

"I have no idea what I would do if I couldn't find you," I told Biscuit.

I really hated upsetting him, but I hope it was a lesson learned.

I came home and told Jeff about it. I mainly needed him to reassure me that what I did was okay.

"It was fine, Kimmy," he said. "It was a controlled environment and a good place to teach a lesson."

And it's a lesson that I hope sticks with Biscuit.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

At the table

I think kids need more education than reading, writing and 'rithmatic. I think they need to know about the world around them. I think they need to be exposed to music and history and art. And I think they should know how to behave in restaurants, from fast food to white tablecloth.

Jeff and I love to eat out. So we decided when Biscuit arrived, that although some parts of our lives would have to change (bye-bye all movies not rated G or PG!), we were not going to quit going to restaurants. Instead, we started training Biscuit in the manners and etiquette he would need to behave himself properly.

We started with diners (remember the panacake rest-a-raunt?), then we worked our way up to multiple forks with cloth napkins. Biscuit does a good job. Well, most of the time. He has his moments. If we have to wait for a table or if the food gets delayed for some reason, he gets antsy. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm not at all above whipping out my phone to keep him amused with some kid games.

But lately, he hasn't been just taking my word for how things should be. He's starting to ask questions about why things are done a certain way, and sometimes, the answers I have are either really antiquated or because-that's-the-way-it-is.

Biscuit has noticed that Jeff and I put our napkins in our laps, but I always leave his folded up on the table. He asked recently why he couldn't put his napkin in his lap.

"You can," I said, "but when we first started teaching you these manners, your lap wasn't big enough to hold a napkin."

He got a kick out of that. And promptly put his napkin in his lap.

Biscuit and I went out to eat one night recently when Jeff had an evening assignment. The restaurant has the silverware (two forks, knife and spoon) wrapped in cloth napkins. So we unwrapped our silverware, and Biscuit followed my lead: two forks on the left side of the plate and knife and spoon on the right side. But Biscuit's knife was facing the wrong way. The knife blade should face the plate, not the person sitting beside you.

"Your knife blade needs to face the plate," I said.

"I know you've told me before, Mom," Biscuit said. "But why?"

"Well, back in the day, if you turned your knife blade out, it was seen as a threat because you could easily use it to stab the person sitting next to you," I told him.

"Whoa!" Biscuit said. "I'll make sure nobody thinks I'm going to stab them." And then he flipped over his knife.

The server brought our food, and Biscuit reached over to get his fork. Just as he picked it up, he put it right back down.

"I don't get it," Biscuit said.

"What?" I asked.

"Well, you're left-handed, and your forks are on the left," Biscuit said. "They're easy for you to reach. But I'm right-handed, and I have to reach all the way across to get my fork."

"Well, technically," I told him, "you're supposed to hold your fork in your left hand and your knife in your right hand. You use your knife to cut your food and use your fork to scoop it up and eat it."

"Well ... would it be okay if I just put my forks on the right side of my plate?" Biscuit asked. "It's so I can reach them better."

"Of course," I said. "The only time you shouldn't move the silverware is if the table is already set when you sit down. Then, you should just start with the outside silverware and work your way in toward the plate. Rules and manners are nice, but the most important thing is to enjoy the people you're with and the food you're eating."

"Well, Mom," Biscuit said, "this food is really, really good, and I love hanging out with you."

Talking like that, he could have the worst manners in the world, and I'd still want to have dinner with him!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I'm glad I still say y'all

One of the goals on my employee evaluation for this year was to write more columns for the paper - at least one per quarter. My boss said for me to look at posts I write on this blog and either repurpose some of them or use them as a jumping off point for ideas.

Here's the latest one I wrote.


Y’all know what it’s like to have a Southern accent.

Some people assume you’re a stupid racist, and others want you to talk more so they can picture you on a veranda wearing a hoop skirt.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my accent for years. And now, I have a 7-year-old son who is becoming aware of speech patterns and accents.

Our household represents two areas of the country. I’ve lived in Georgia, South Carolina and now North Carolina. My husband grew up in upstate New York.

He mows the lawn. I cut the grass. He wears sneakers. I wear tennis shoes.

Growing up, I didn’t realize I had an accent. I knew that my cousins from California and Illinois did. But everyone around me spoke like me.

It wasn’t until college, when I was surrounded by people from across the country that I started to think maybe my accent was a hindrance. I don’t remember a specific incident that prompted my insecurity, but I was growing more aware of how people might perceive me when I spoke.

My first job in a newsroom was in the town where I grew up, and Southerners outnumbered the people from other places. But my second job was near Atlanta. Spending time in that Southern city, I very rarely met anyone who was from Atlanta — or even Southern, for that matter. The friends I met had come for college or jobs, and when I got to know them, I wanted to sound like them.

I started to change the way I spoke. I dropped idioms I had grown up using. I changed my vowel sounds. I even tried going by Kimberly instead of Kim.

Had my Granny known about what I was trying to do, she would’ve said I was gettin’ above my raisin’ or gettin’ too big for my britches.

And she was right.

It took a few more years before I was able to appreciate my accent as part of my heritage and family history. I started to realize that it didn’t matter what other people thought about how I sounded. I knew where I was from. I sounded like my people. And what better connection can you have than that?

My son, now representing the next generation of our family, seems to have a good ear for accents. When he visits his grandparents in South Carolina, he immediately switches to saying supper instead of dinner. And sometimes, when his Grandmama talks to him, he imitates her exactly. I hear pure Georgia coming out of his mouth.

I asked my husband how he would feel about our son having a Southern accent.

“It would be fine,” he said. “It’s representative of where he’s from.”

I didn’t tell him how long it’s taken me to be at peace with that sentiment.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy (late) Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year was last Monday, and Biscuit's class at school had a parade, sang a song in Chinese and learned how to say, "Gong Hey Fat Choy," which is what people say to each other on that day. I've seen different translations of it, and best I can tell, it's a wish for a prosperous year.

All the other students were allowed to step out of their classrooms and line the walls while the first-graders brought their parade through. And parents were invited, too.

The kindergartners seemed amazed by the whole thing, and it was hard to imagine that Biscuit was that little just last year. The first-graders seem so much more mature this year. And the older kids, make a big fuss over the little ones, which is really nice.

Here they come. No chance of seeing Biscuit here. His class was last.

They wore dragon hats and carried instruments they made. The glued
together two paper plates with beads and strings on the side. When they
twisted them back and forth, the beads banged on the plates like drums.

I liked the little curls on the back of their hats.

We were able to take him home with us after the parade.
I thought he would be excited, but he was disappointed because
he wouldn't get to see his friends in his afterschool group.

Since it was a Monday, Biscuit had a piano lesson, then we went to one of our favorite restaurants where they were celebrating, too.

You might remember from last year, but this guy with a large full-head mask came walking into the restaurant with a big staff. After him, a couple of guys with traditional drums and cymbals came in. Then a dragon/lion creature that danced around the restaurant.

The lion costume had two people in it. The front guy was able to stand up. He operated the head, complete with blinking eyes and a mouth that opened and closed. The guy in the back had to walk stooped over as the back part of the animal. Every once in a while, a different couple of guys would trade places with them, and I was impressed about how seamless it was. 

The performers were from a local kung fu business, and they were doing a lot of fancy moves. It was fun to watch them.

The guy with the mask on came around and stirred up trouble. He would use his staff and lift little kids' jackets off their chairs. He lifted a woman's pocketbook off her chair. It was fun to watch him.

And the lion played with the kids, too. It was moving, moving, moving, but when they saw someone trying to take a picture, they would stand perfectly still and tilt the head. It was a cute little pose. When it got to our table, it propped its head on the back of the booth and acted very coy while I took a couple of pictures.

And speaking of pictures, here are a few:

This guy was a troublemaker. He
went around messin' with people!

This boy was waiting quite impatiently for the lion to head our way.

We got little red envelopes we could use for a tip for the lion.
Then it would come around and take it out of your hand.
Biscuit was a little tentative and kept pulling his hand back.

It nodded its head and blinked in thanks for the envelope.

This is not a great picture, but can you see how long this thing is?

Dancing, bobbing, swooping and generally getting down.

Hello, lion. It's posing for a picture.

A little blink for me. Very sweet.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently: 

Fun Friday: Biscuit is a good sleeper, and it's rare that he will complain about having to go to bed. He's very practical-minded about it.

"I know I have to have a bedtime because I need good rest so I can play well the next day," Biscuit has told me.

But one recent night, I looked up at the clock and had a start. It was 9:30, and Biscuit's bedtime is 8:30. 

"Hey! You've got to get in bed!" I said to Biscuit.

"Mom," Biscuit said. "I can go to bed at any point. You know, it's Fun Friday."

And I assure you that we've never used the term "Fun Friday" before. Don't you wonder where they come up with these things?!

Winter wonderland: When the snow started here last week, Biscuit wanted to call his Grandmama to tell her. We live about 130 miles north of my parents, so our weather is always just a little bit different than theirs.

Mama answered the phone and Biscuit said, "You'll never guess what's going on outside my house. ... SNOW!"

I could hear Mama talking loudly, making a fuss, but I couldn't tell exactly what she was saying. Then Biscuit replied in a sweet little voice.

"It's just a wonder, Grandmama," Biscuit said. "This whole January, we've never had any snow! It's just a wonder!" 

Solid reasoning: Biscuit was playing upstairs this evening and sneezed. 

Jeff and I said "bless you" at the same time.

And Biscuit replied, "Well, it is allergy season."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mom week

It's Mom Week this week at Biscuit's school, and if I may say so, it's quite inconvenient for the moms.

Monday morning was Muffins with Mom. It sounds nice, but it meant getting up almost an hour earlier than usual and being at school 40 minutes earlier.

Well, that was what was supposed to happen. But it didn't.

I completely forgot about it. I went to bed Sunday night and set my alarm clock for the usual time. It never even crossed my mind.

When Biscuit got to the breakfast table, I explained to him that I completely forgot.

"Awwww," Biscuit said, looking disappointed.

"Well, I was thinking," I said. "To make it up to you, what if we had 'doughnuts with mom and son' one afternoon this week?"

"Ooo!" Biscuit said. "That sounds really good."

Well, that was easy.

Next, it was Lunch with Mom. Tuesday was the day for the first-graders, but I wasn't sure if I could go or not. I had to see how much work I could get done before his lunchtime. And since they eat at 10:50, I didn't have long to do what I needed to do. I didn't mention it to Biscuit on the chance I couldn't get there. 

I arrived at the school and went to the office to sign in. All the doors at the school are locked. You have to push a buzzer to be admitted into the foyer, which leads into the office. Once you've shown your driver's license and had your picture taken for your visitor's sticker, you can make your way into the main hall. It's quite a process, but nowadays, I don't guess you can be too safe.

So I made my way down the hallway toward some other moms. We all waited in the hall outside the cafeteria for our kids. Biscuit should have been approaching me from the right. But all of a sudden, I hear, "Hey, Mom," and I watch as Biscuit walks past me from the left. He had been in his reading class, and they were late getting back to their homeroom classes to line up for lunch.

So much for a fun surprise. He could not have been more nonchalant.

He joined his classmates and came back up the hall. He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the cafeteria where he sits. I helped him unpack his lunch and tried to do all the talking so he could eat.

Sometimes Biscuit brings his lunchbox home, and he has food left in it. He always says he ran out of time. I just assumed he was chatting with his friends.

But today, I found out that even though they told us that they're at lunch from 10:50 to 11:20, they don't actually get to spend the full 30 minutes eating. They leave their classroom at 10:50, then line up in the hallway. Once everyone is single file and quiet, they march down to the cafeteria. Then they have to wait in line for the kindergartners to come out.

I looked at my phone to check, and Biscuit's class didn't even walk into the cafeteria until 10:55. By the time we made our way to a table and got settled, it was 10:58. Then at 11:10, they got a four-minute warning. And at 11:19, we were heading out the door. He had a little less than 20 minutes to eat. He shoveled his food down and barely talked to me. And I have to imagine that on any regular day, he'd be chatting with this classmates. It makes me reconsider some of the more time-consuming lunches I've made for him.

Anyway, while Biscuit was eating, he reached over a couple of times and just kind of stroked the upper part of my arm and smiled. I could tell he was glad I was there. And that's what really matters.

So as inconvenient as it was, I'm really glad I went.

Here's Biscuit and me at lunch:

Biscuit sucks down his pouch of applesauce. Maybe if I put
everything in pouches, he could get all his food sucked down in time.

I love this boy!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It says so right on the box

Biscuit got several board games for Christmas, and of course they're still stacked up on the dining room table.

It seems like it takes forever to get all the Christmas decorations down, not to mention finding homes for all the presents. Case in point, Santa brought Biscuit a set of golf clubs in a stand bag, and they're still just sitting right in front of the fireplace.

When I'm shopping for Christmas, I never stop to think about where the new things will go. And clearly Santa doesn't think that way, either!

Anyway, Biscuit was having lunch at the dining room table, right beside his stack of board games.

"Mom!" Biscuit said, sounding really excited. "I'm not sure how Santa did this, but we got the very first game EVER of Connect 4."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"It says right here on the box, 'The ORIGINAL Game of Connect 4.' How cool is that?!" Biscuit said.

"That is VERY cool," I said.

And he's right, it does say so right on the box.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Olympic trial and error

Biscuit saw Olympic athletes compete tonight, and you'll never guess what sport it was.

Table tennis! 

Yep, we went to our local sports arena and watched a Ping Pong competition this evening.

Jeff has been covering the event all week because it's the Olympic trials. This event will pick the U.S. table tennis team. Then they go to one more competition (North American qualifying) to decide who actually goes to the Olympics.

Biscuit and I don't know too much about the sport or the athletes, but I was amazed at how fast we got sucked in. The girl in blue was our pick. I'm not sure why, but she just grabbed our attention early on. We must know more than we thought because our blue girl won!

It was crazy to me that they started out hitting the ball back and forth slow and low enough to barely clear the net. Then as they got to going, they stepped farther and farther away from the table. We found out that those balls can fly back and forth up to 60-something miles per hour.

After the women, we watched a men's match. Well, if you can call 14-year-old boys men.

I picked my guy early on (because he was wearing a red shirt, and red is my favorite color). And Biscuit picked the same guy. But then the guy in the gold shirt scored two points, and Biscuit decided he wanted to change his pick.

"You can't be a fair-weather fan," I told Biscuit.

"What does that mean?" Biscuit asked.

"That means that you can stop cheering for the guy in the red shirt just because the other guy scored," I told him. "When you pick who you're going to cheer for, you have to stick with him."

He didn't like the idea of that.

"Well, maybe I'll just watch and not cheer for them," Biscuit said.

Man! You try to teach a lesson in good sportsmanship, and it blows up in your face!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

When they learn to read

There's a costume jewelry shop I love at a local mall. I guess I do a good bit of shopping there because for the past two years at Christmas, they sent me a coupon for $10 off of a $10 purchase. And for the past two years, I've given Jeff the coupon and asked him to take Biscuit there so he could pick out a Christmas gift for me.

The store has color islands that feature accessories in every shade imaginable of each color — pocketbooks, scarfs, jewelry, watches, glasses cases. You name it, they have it.

Jeff gets a kick out of Biscuit's shopping trip because he's been in that store enough with me to know the process. So when he walks in, he makes a beeline for someone who works there and tells them exactly what he needs.

"I'd like to get a Christmas present for my mom," Biscuit said last year. "Her favorite color is red." Jeff said that Biscuit said pretty much the same thing this year except that he wanted to get me something purple.

After Biscuit picked out his present for me, they walked over to a bookstore to look around. As Biscuit has gotten better at reading, he reads out loud every word he sees. We walk into the grocery store, and he's naming all the products. We drive down the road and he reads billboards and street signs and business names.

So as he and Jeff walked down the sale aisle at the bookstore, Biscuit started reading titles out loud. Jeff thought it was funny until Biscuit got to one big photo book.

"Bad ... Bad Ass ... Bad Ass Bikes," Biscuit read.

Since Biscuit has never heard a swear word from Jeff or me, he doesn't yet know what they are. Well, except for that one that he heard from a kid at school. Remember this?

Jeff was a little taken aback and thought it was pretty funny. But of course he couldn't laugh because Biscuit would've asked why, and that would've gone down a path he didn't really want to deal with inside the bookstore.

Although Jeff held his laughter, a lady walking behind them couldn't do it. She snorted and started laughing at what Biscuit said.

Jeff turned around and smiled at her and said, "It's nice when they learn to read, isn't it?"

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sharing the music

Biscuit and I decided to surprise my parents by having him play at their church the Saturday after Christmas.

I was the pianist at that church for 11 years, so I've been there and done that, and I explained the whole process to him.

I called the music director to ask if it would be okay, and somehow, she talked me into playing, too. Instead of Biscuit playing one song, he and I ended up playing the whole prelude.

It's been 19 years since I played there, so I was nervous from the time I said yes until the second I stopped playing and went down to sit with my family!

Biscuit was cool as a cucumber. I was jealous!

Biscuit and I got there early to get a feel for the piano. The pressure of the keys is different on every piano, so even though the notes are the same, each one is different to play.

As we warmed up, one of my Daddy's friends walked by, patted me on the back and said, "You're right back where you should be." It was really sweet.

Mama didn't see us when she first came in. She was walking up toward the front of the church before she realized we were up there. And of course, she started crying.

About 150 people were there that morning, and the one thing I didn't explain to Biscuit was how loud it was as people were coming in. Some were coming from Sunday school, and some were just coming in, and everybody was chatting and saying hello.

Biscuit got so distracted by the noise that he looked out into the congregation. Then when he looked back, he couldn't find his place on the music. I heard him take a quick breath, so I just reached up and pointed out where he was.

When we finished, we walked down from the piano and went to sit with my family. 

As we walked up the aisle, a lot of people spoke to Biscuit and me. And he got several high-fives. I was really glad people made a fuss over him.

My brother and his family were there, along with my niece's boyfriend. They took up a whole pew. Then our pew was Daddy, Mama, Jeff, me and Biscuit.

Daddy said, "I can't believe we take up two pews!"

My hands were shaking even as I, and I'll admit that I made a couple of mistakes. I actually used it for a teaching moment, though.

Biscuit and I were on the way back to my parents' house, and I asked him, "Did you hear me mess up twice?"

"I heard you mess up once," he said. "And I messed up once."

"Well did you notice what happened when we messed up?" I asked.

Biscuit just looked at me and shook his head.

"Nothing," I said. "Did anybody point and laugh at me?"

"No," Biscuit said.

"Did our hands burst into flames?" I asked.

"No," Biscuit said.

"Did anybody jump up and yell 'BOO!' to us?" I asked.

"No," Biscuit said, giggling.

"The thing to remember is that the people out there listening can't do what you can do," I told him. "They're not going to judge you or make fun of you if you make a mistake. They just enjoy the fact that you're using your talent."

I looked over at Biscuit and he had tears in his eyes. I felt like I needed to lighten the mood, so I held up my left hand and said, "Hey! I forgot my wedding rings. I guess I don't have to be married to Dad today!"

"Mooom," Biscuit said. "Wedding rings are just a symbol of being married. You're still married to Dad ... all the time."

"Aw, man!" I said. "I guess I'm stuck with him, huh?"

"Yep," Biscuit said. "You're stuck with Dad ... and me, too!"

"I'm glad to be stuck with both of you," I said. And it's true.