Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Soccer Dad

A post from The Daddy Man:

You've probably seen the post and pictures about Biscuit playing soccer, and I'd like to set the record straight.

I hate soccer. Hate is a strong word, I know, but I mean it. I've watched and covered it. I understand the game. But I hate it. 

But with that said, I would never discourage Biscuit from playing.

He never even mentioned being interested in soccer until Kimmy asked him about it. Then his answer was, "Dad doesn't like soccer." She was quick to tell him that it didn't matter what I like, it matters what he likes. And I backed her up on that.

So just to show the boy that I'll support him, I've been practicing with him in the backyard. You can tell that he doesn't have much experience, but he's trying real hard, and that's all I'll ask of him.

One evening a couple of weeks ago, I told Biscuit that while he put on his soccer cleats, I would set up the little net that his Grandmama gave him. Biscuit got his shoes one and carefully tied the laces. Then he jumped up and ran out into the yard.

Biscuit started "dribbling" the ball. That's what the soccer people call it when you kick the ball back and forth as you travel down the field toward the goal.

He was making a really good drive toward the net, and I was excited to see him going for it.

But just before he got to the net, he tripped over his own feet, knocking one shoe off in the process and face planted right on the ground. He hit hard! I was a little nervous for him to turn over, not knowing if he had done any kind of damage.

Biscuit rolled over and looked stunned for just a second or two. And while he was still lying flat on the ground, he looked up at me and said, "I lost my shoe."

That was it. "I lost my shoe."

No crying. No drama. Just "I lost my shoe."

I realized that even though he got his shoes tied, he hadn't made the laces tight enough. So I helped him up and told him we would tie his shoes a little tighter so they would stay on his feet.

We played for a little while longer until it started raining, and we headed in to get Biscuit showered and ready for bed. Once I read him a bedtime story and came downstairs, I called Kimmy into our bathroom and told her what happened.

Things are often funny when they happen, but they're always funnier when we can share a laugh after the boy is in bed.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

In sickness and health

You might have remembered all the posts I wrote earlier in the year about Biscuit being sick. 

And now that we're on the back side of it (fingers crossed, knock on wood and any other lucky things you can think of), I can fill in some details. It was a rough time for all of us!

From February through late July, Biscuit got sick every 18 to 21 days (a couple of episodes came even quicker than that). It always started with a fever, and it got to a point that Biscuit could tell us when he had a fever. He knew how it felt well enough to be able to tell his teacher or me and Jeff or whoever he was with.

He missed 23 days of school because of it. Luckily, we had doctor's notes for almost all of them which made them count as excused absences. And Biscuit's teacher was so, so helpful. She made sure that he didn't get behind, and she kept an eye on him. When he would tell her he felt feverish, she would get him to the office and call us in no time. We gave her a nice gift card for a restaurant she likes at the end of the school year because we just couldn't have asked for anyone any better to be watching over our Biscuit baby.

He also missed several piano lessons, baseball practices and games, play dates and more.

I don't remember which illness tipped us off that we should start tracking, but we kept a list of high temperatures, the diagnosis (if there was one) and of course, the date. Jeff actually created a spreadsheet, so it would be easy for the doctor to read.

I kept this shorthand list with me all the time. He had three or four more episodes after this list ended.

June 10 was the scariest. His fever went up to 106.2 and we ended up in the emergency room!

Waiting to be seen by a doctor at the emergency room.

And as you can see, the diagnoses were varied - flu, strep throat, virus, tonsillitis. There was just no answer for it.

There was one early-June trip to the pediatricians' office where Biscuit's doctor wasn't available. So we hesitantly saw someone else. And the guy was a real jerk! He said it was just a virus and basically accused of us trying to make something out of nothing. He even questioned why I was keeping track of it all. I was so stunned that I couldn't respond. And of course, when I was telling my mama about it, I thought of a million things I wish I had said to the man, including, "You can question it if you want, but we'll be right back here in 18-21 days."

Sometimes he would only sleep if I was holding him.

For the next trip, later in June, we were able to see Biscuit's doctor. And he had gotten worried, but didn't want to freak us out. So he said we could just wait it out like we usually do or we could have some blood taken and do some tests. Without much thought at all, I told him we'd like to do some tests.

Between my own brain and other people's questions, I had convinced myself that Biscuit had some terrible, awful disease, and the blood tests were going to prove it. I can't explain to you how scared I was to see the results.

I had a job as a phlebotomist to pay my way through college, so I was very familiar with the whole blood-drawing process. I was torn about whether to share the details with Biscuit in advance or just explain it as we went along. But of course, Biscuit immediately realized that taking blood meant at least one needle. He was petrified!

We had to go to a lab because the doctor's office didn't have some of the tubes they would need for certain tests. And if you're not familiar with the process, each of the tubes has a different chemical in it. The chemical mixes with the blood and allows the techs to run the appropriate tests. People used to freak out all the time, saying, "You're gonna take all my blood!" And I would have to explain to them that even if I took six tubes of blood, it was less than the Red Cross would suck out at a blood drive.

We got to the lab, and the tech saw Biscuit curled up in my lap and said, "Is he really sick?" And I explained that he was more scared than anything else.

So poor Biscuit was dehydrated and cold, two of the worst possible things for an easy and good blood drawing!

As the tech tied the tourniquet around his arm and started feeling for veins, I could tell by the look on his face that he wasn't finding anything worth sticking.

I waited until he had checked both arms, then I said, "I used to be a phlebotomist, and I could tell by the look on your face that you didn't find any good veins. If you need to use his hand, he can take it."

Biscuit and the guy both looked at me with surprise.

Then I explained to Biscuit what was going to happen.

"It's going to hurt when the needle first goes in," I explained, "but if you hold perfectly still, it won't hurt after that. But you HAVE to hold completely still, even if it hurts, okay?"

Biscuit nodded, and the tech got Biscuit's hand ready.

When he put the needle in, Biscuit said, "Ow! Ow! Ow!" but he didn't move a single millimeter. I was hugging him and telling him what was going on and that everything was going to be okay.

The blood was coming slowly, which added even more drama to the situation. And at one point, Biscuit said in a tiny little voice, "I can't take this anymore, Mom."

"Yes, you can," I told him. "You can do this. I know you can."

I started telling Biscuit about some of the patients I had stuck in the past.

"Do you know that some of the biggest babies were these big ol' men with gigantic muscles?" I asked Biscuit.

"Really?" he asked.

"Yes," I said. "They would suck in their breath and make all these noises like I was chopping their arms off with a chainsaw! But YOU ... you are being super brave. WAY braver than any of those guys. I can't wait to call Dad when we get finished and tell him how brave you were."

I was so impressed with how well Biscuit handled the whole thing. I thanked the tech when he was done, and he said, "You're welcome."

But then I reached out and put my hand on his arm, made eye contact and said, "No, seriously. Thank you. I know how hard that was."

He pointed at Biscuit and said, "You should thank him. He did a great job, better than some adults."

The good news and bad news was that the blood test results came back perfectly normal. Knowing just enough to be dangerous about the tests the doctor ordered, I immediately looked at the ones that would hint at things like leukemia or lupus. But everything was completely within normal range.

Poor Biscuit would toss and turn so much when he
was feverish. He'd try to sleep in his bed, on the couch, in
mine and Jeff's bed, in my lap, wherever he could think of.
Sometimes, it took hours before he would finally crash.

After that appointment, Biscuit had three more episodes, then it just went away. We counted days and were prepared for the next fever. Even Biscuit knew when it was supposed to happen and noticed that he was still doing okay.

I kept count of the days for a while. At one point in August, it was up to 48 days. I realized that I was going to drive myself crazy if I didn't stop counting, so now I just know that it's been 48 days plus a whole bunch of other days since Biscuit was sick.

We have no idea how the whole thing started, and we have no idea how the whole thing went away. But we're just going to enjoy the fact that our boy is healthy and continue to keep our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Is that a sign?!

I turned 48 in July. Lots of women fret over their age and worry about wrinkles and all that other stuff, but I'm proud of all 48 of my years. I've done a lot of stuff in my time here on Earth, and I have a lot to show for it.

I have an amazing husband who is absolutely the person I love most in this world. I have a beautiful son who is funny and kind and just crazy smart. I have family and friends and a job and a house and loads of good stuff.

I'm very, very thankful.

I'm so thankful, that the day after my birthday, I bragged on social media, saying, "Well, I didn't wake up with any new aches and pains, so it looks like 48 is going to treat me just fine!"

The next evening, we came home to find THIS on the deck railing, just outside the kitchen window! That's what I get for bragging!

Jeff and Biscuit named him Victor the Vulture.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Biscuit on wheels

We went to a birthday party for one of Biscuit's friends this weekend. It was at a roller rink, and Biscuit has never been skating before.

He asked if we could go to the rink before the party so he could get some practice in, but our week was so busy, we just didn't have time to get over there.

First of all, the birthday party was for a girl. And that meant I got to wrap a present in pretty pink cupcake paper with a big, fluffy white bow. She and Biscuit got to be friends in kindergarten. They were in the same reading class last year. They haven't assigned reading classes this year yet, so I'm not sure if they'll be together or not. But they see each other at recess.

We got to the rink and went over to get Biscuit's skates. They have him florescent orange skates, so I told him at least we wouldn't lose him in the crowd.

We got him all laced up, and I wish I had a picture of Biscuit's face when he first stood up on them!

Biscuit did well on the carpet. But once he hit the rink floor, he was quickly on his butt.

He never made it around the rink without holding on to me, Jeff or the wall, but he enjoyed it enough to ask if we could come back sometime so he could try again.

The birthday girl's mom said she was really glad Biscuit got to attend the party. Biscuit was only one of two boys who were there. She waited until the kids were around and told me that her daughter and one of the other little girls had told her they thought Biscuit is, and I quote, "dreamy!" I couldn't help but laugh because the girls are so in tune to stuff like so early, and the boys, definitely including Biscuit, are clueless.

I got a good laugh later that evening when Jeff pulled me aside and said, "A little girl's mom at the party told me that a couple of the girls are saying that Biscuit is 'dreamy.'"

He asked why I was laughing, and I said, "Well, the birthday girl's mom told me the same thing."

So we'll have to take our dreamy boy back out soon for some more skating practice.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Out of the mouth of my babe

A few things Biscuit has said recently:

Flossing skills: Biscuit has been brushing his own teeth for several years now, but he's just never gotten the hang of flossing. And since I wanted it done well, I've still been doing it for him.

But I figured it was about time for him to step up and learn to do it for himself. So I talked to him about it.

"You need to be able to floss your teeth yourself," I told him. "That way, when you're spending the night at somebody else's house, you can floss your own teeth."

Biscuit made a face at my suggestion, so I got a little more stern.

"Dude," I said. "It's something you're going to do, so you might as well get started learning."

I could tell by the look on his face that Biscuit was prepared to spout out a string of excuses. But instead, he took a different approach and tried to flatter me.

"Mom," Biscuit said in this sweet little voice, "I haven't learned to do it because flossing is your experty." 

He meant to say "expertise," but I wish I could've taken a picture of his face. And if he uses that face on any future girlfriends, I'll have to kill him!

Making friends: When Biscuit started summer camp this year, I asked him if he'd be okay not knowing anyone there.

And in typical Biscuit fashion, he assured me that it wouldn't be a problem.

"I'll just make some new friends, Mom," Biscuit said.

"So how do you plan to do that?" I asked him.

"Well, you just walk up to somebody and introduce yourself," he said. "Then you give them some niceness. Then you ask them if they want to be your friend. If they say yes, then BOOM! you have a new friend. And if they say no, you just try again on somebody else."

"That's a very good process," I told him.

Ready to go: Biscuit spent two different weeks with my parents this summer. I've mentioned it before, but they live in the country, so he gets to do things there that he can't do where we live.

We got everything together and started taking his stuff to the car. 

He got to the front door with his arms full and realized that he couldn't open the door. Jeff was standing right there, so in a completely serious voice, Biscuit said to Jeff, "Can you be a dear and get the door for me?"

"Sure," Jeff said, biting back a smile.

"At least he was polite," I told Jeff.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A new sport

Biscuit knows that Jeff doesn't like soccer, so he's never shown any desire to play. But when we got the fall sports bulletin from the YMCA where Biscuit plays baseball, I thought it couldn't hurt to ask if he was interested.

"Well, Dad doesn't like soccer," Biscuit said.

"Well, Dad won't be playing," I said matter-of-factly.

When Jeff got home that evening, I told him what Biscuit said. And Jeff decided to set the record straight.

"Dude," Jeff said. "It doesn't matter what sports I like. If you want to try it, do it."

"Are you sure?" Biscuit asked.

"Yes," Jeff said. "We're going to support you no matter what."

So the next week, I signed him up for soccer.

His team is the Lil Tigers, which is perfect because tigers are his favorite animals right now (they also have gold jerseys, and he already had gold socks). It's a co-ed team, and there are kids with and without experience.

Actually, there are kids with experience, and then there are three kids who, I'm convinced, learned to kick soccer balls before they learned to walk!

Biscuit has mostly taken a defensive position. That means he and another kid stand in front of the goalie to help keep the other team from scoring. Since Biscuit isn't that good at moving the ball around yet, it's a perfect position for him.

We asked the coach how he was doing, and he said that he could tell that Biscuit was eager to learn, but that he needs to be more aggressive.

They've had two practices, and tonight was their first game. They won, but only because of a couple of those kids I mentioned earlier. But I think Biscuit enjoyed being on the field. Well, except for when I had to make a hand motion at him for acting silly just to make the goalie laugh!

The most unbearable thing that we endured this evening was some of the other parents. They can be SO obnoxious! And their special little angels should have the ball at all times, despite the fact that there are eight other players out there.

We watched a little bit of the game before ours, and there was one dad who stood by the goal and instructed his son. Nevermind that the coach was also trying to tell the kid what to do. The dad was yelling instructions about how the kid could do the best for himself. Meanwhile, the coach is trying to teach them about teamwork. I asked Jeff if I could go over and at least tell him to shut up and sit down. But he said no.

Here are a few pictures of Biscuit from tonight's game:

Standing guard.

Not sure what this fancy move is.

Nice pass to the other kid.

Trying out some footwork.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Lesson unlearned

You know those things that you say over and over to your kid, thinking that there is absolutely no way he could forget it? Well they CAN forget and WILL forget it.

A few years ago, we were at the science center here in town, and we were out in the animal discovery part checking out the meerkats. They have these short little tunnels kids can crawl into with a big bubble window on the end, so they can look at the meerkats on their level.

Biscuit was about to crawl into one of the tunnels when a pretty red-headed lady said (loudly enough for him to hear), "Griffin! Come over here. You can see them better from over here."

And what did Biscuit do? He walked straight toward the stranger without a second thought. She was actually calling HER son, who shares Biscuit's name.

The day before ... THE DAY BEFORE ... I had talked to Biscuit about strangers and how he could talk to anyone he wanted if Jeff and I were with him, but he should not talk to anyone he doesn't know if we aren't around.

But of course, it's not black and white with him.

"But mom," Biscuit said, and I could see the wheels turning in his little head, "What if we're talking about the animals, and I have an animal fact I can share?"

His other exceptions included:

- How can I get to know somebody if I don't talk to them?
- What if my grandparents are with me? Cousins? Aunts or uncles?
- What if it's a police officer or firefighter? Or doctor, nurse, etc.

The gray area is always the toughest hurdle because you cannot possibly think of all the exceptions to such a thing. I want to say to him, "Just use your common sense," but his common sense is still in development.

I try to be as clear as I can during these talks, but after that, I just have to hope that I've imparted some kind useful of knowledge.

A friend of mine won four tickets to a local water park last week, and Labor Day was the last day the park was open. My friend only has one child, so she asked if Biscuit would like the fourth ticket. Biscuit has never been to a water park before, but when I asked him, he jumped up and down and yelled, "YES!"

We've been promising him a play date with that friend for a while and haven't been able to work it out, so I don't know if the excitement was more for the water park or that he was finally going to get to play with his friend.

That morning, we got Biscuit dressed in his bathing suit and shirt and his water shoes. We packed him a towel, change of clothes and sunscreen. I'm telling him that he can say no if any of the rides or slides are too scary for him. You know, all the usual safety stuff.

And speaking of safety, Biscuit has memorized mine and Jeff's cellphone numbers. I had written our numbers on the back of one of my business cards and put it in the outer pocket of his school backpack. He decided on his own that he should memorize them. And of course, I made a big fuss over his effort.

So before he left for the water park, I asked Biscuit, "Now what happens if you get separated from them or if you get lost?"

I was absolutely convinced of what his answer would be. But I was wrong!

Biscuit sort of looked around the room with a blank look on his face and said, "Um ... panic?"

"NO!" I said, trying to keep a straight face. "That is the absolute LAST thing you should do."

I swear, I wanted to shake him. After all the times we've had this discussion, and his answer is to panic!

He quickly realized his mistake and tried to pretend like he was joking.

"Oh ... Mom ..." Biscuit said. "I was just joking about that. I know what to do. I remember, Mom."

"Then what do you do?" I asked him.

"I find someone who works there and tell them your phone number, right?" he said.

"That's exactly right," I said. "And DON'T PANIC!"

Biscuit has a treat after a hard day's work at the water park.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Out of the mouth of my babe

Where in the world did the rest of the week go?! 

Biscuit seems to be getting settled back into a routine at school. He's met a couple of new friends and has gotten reacquainted with a few old ones (a couple that Jeff and I think he could do without!).

I'll share more later about school, but for tonight, here are a few things Biscuit has said recently:

What's in a name? Biscuit was playing with some of his action figures. I think he was playing Indiana Jones, but he switches and swaps between that and Star Wars and superheroes and all those other things that it's hard to remember who belongs with whom and what's going on!

So last week, he was explaining a character, and here's what he told me:

"Well, this guy's name is Shotgun. He has a pistol and a machine gun and a rifle ... but oddly enough, he doesn't have a shotgun."

He was dead serious. I had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing, and chances are, he wouldn't have even realized what I was laughing about.

Then and now: When Biscuit was at my parents' house this summer, he and his Papa were watching one of the funny video shows. He was telling me how funny it was when this guy was climbing on something and fell.

Biscuit always loves hearing stories about when he was younger, so I had to remind him about how he used to feel about those video shows.

"When you were little, you didn't like those shows at all," I told Biscuit.

"Why not?" he asked.

"I don't know," I told him, but when someone fell or got hurt, you would start crying, saying, 'No hurt. No hurt.'"

"Mom, I think I was just crazy when I was younger," Biscuit said.

Trick question: I love and hate when Biscuit asks weird questions out of the blue. I love them because it means he's thinking about things. But I hate them because sometimes the questions I have to answer are too hard!

But as we were driving home from school the other day, he asked one that wasn't too bad.

"Mom, do computers know everything?" Biscuit asked

"They know a lot, but no, they don't know everything," I told him.

"But what if I asked Siri what 1 million times 1 million is?" Biscuit asked.

"She could tell you the answer to that, but that's just a math problem," I explained. "There are lots of things that computers and Siri don't know."

"Can you give me an example?" Biscuit asked.

"Hold the button down on my phone until Siri asks if she can help you," I told him. "Then say to her, 'Siri, what is my middle name?'"

"Mom!" Biscuit said. "That's a silly question."

"You might think it's a silly question, but I bet you a dollar that if you ask her, she won't know," I told him.

So Biscuit held the button down and asked the question.

Siri answered, "Here is the contact information for Kim."

"See?" I told Biscuit. "Not only does she not know your middle name, but she thinks you're me!"

And Biscuit giggled.