life with Seth

Fire Extiguisher
Story dictation, LEGO building, and art direction by Seth

fire extiguisher
Fire Extiguisher by Seth

fire extiguisher p1

The firefighters were at the station, and then the bell rang! They threw on their fire coats and helmets, and then they were to the rescue!

fire extiguisher p2

And then they came to the burning house. The fire chief and the fire girl helped hold the hose. The main firefighter sprayed water on the roof where the blaring flames were.

fire extiguisher p3

They were going to go back to the station. One fire fighter gave another fire fighter a high five. The fire chief yelloed, “Great job, everyone! Let’s get in our cars.”

fire extiguisher p4

They were driving, driving to the station. The end.

Back when summer started, we made a “Summer Fun List,” inspired by this Mudpie Mamas post. Here’s our list:

summer fun list
(click on the picture to go to what is hopefully a readable version on flickr)

With one week until preschool starts back up again, we only have one item left to accomplish…Mt Rainier, which is where we are headed *sometime* within the next 10 days. In the meantime, we have made some wonderful summer memories, both on and off-list:

leopard piano
these pianos were part of a public art & music project in a nearby city

kangaroo cuddles
visiting the kangaroo farm

jetty island
enjoying Jetty Island with friends

rock candy
making (and eating!!) rock candy

growing a sunflower

Dear Sweetpea Seth,

You are four years old today! I still remember the excitement we had in meeting, holding, kissing you for the first time on your Birth Day, but at the same time, it’s hard to believe you were ever anything other than the walking, talking, arguing, sensitive, imaginative, smart boy you are today.

Your current favorite thing is anything dinosaur-related. We have read through many dinosaur books, and you love watching Dinosaur Train, and also playing it on the computer or with your imagination. Your memory far exceeds ours when it comes to dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, so we often have conversations like this:

S: what is that prehistoric bird called again?
B: hmm, are you thinking of archaeopteryx? (FEELING RAD FOR REMEMBERING THIS NAME)
S: no, it was flightless, and swam, and was sort of purplish with a big beak
B: …
S: I think it’s called hesperornis
B: oh right, hesperornis (NO CLUE WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT)

It’s also cute to me that “micropachycephalosaurus” rolls off your tongue, but you still say “breskass” (breakfast), “aminal” (animal) and “emeny” (enemy). You have even gotten in arguments with friends on how, say, “ankylosaurus” is pronounced. Being a paleontologist (or some other kind of scientist) is definitely in the running for a career choice, along with the ever-favorites of Raffi, a Seattle Seahawk, and working with Dada at his work.

You have been busily testing boundaries the past month or two. “Be kind” are two words you have been hearing a lot of, but I’m reminding myself as much as I’m reminding you. And while sometimes you drive me up a wall with your selective hearing, I know that being persistent and spirited are just some of the great qualities that make you Seth. Along with the challenging times come the amazing, heart-bursting times. Just last night, you somehow got your whole long-legged self onto my lap while we read stories. I said, “Did you know that some day you will be too big to fit on my lap?” to which Seth replied, “Mama, I will always fit on your lap.”

You love preschool! Teacher P told me of this conversation a while back:

S: Teacher P I want to tell you something.
P: Yes Seth, I’m ready.
S: I want to tell you I love coming to preschool every day!
P: You do!?
S: Yes I do! Every day!

Upon further questioning, you said you loved it because the sensory table changes every week. You have also asked me some weekends if preschool was open so you could go play. It’s interesting to watch what and how you play at preschool. You don’t have a best friend at preschool, but rather, enjoy interacting with any and all the kids.

Your favorite phrases lately are:
I have an idea!
Let’s do this thing!
Speaking of which…
Can I have a treat?

Your favorite foods are treats (you will eat any and all sugary things), bacon and other meats, and popcorn. And though you sometimes take a stand with something like, “I don’t like yellow peppers anymore,” you continue to eat them. The other night, our vegetarian friend was really impressed with your “I want salad! I want salad!” chant (btw, this was in regard to raw KALE salad. win!).

You’re always excited to learn, to play, to visit the library or zoo, to go outside and play in the dirt; eager to snuggle, listen to music, eat a snack, read “one more!” story. You are stretching your parents in unexpected and sometimes uncomfortable ways, but we love you wholly and fiercely, Seth.

Volcano Book: a story told and illustrated by Seth, transcribed by Mama

Once upon a time there were four volcanoes. Then one of them stayed dormant (Mt Rainier). And then one of the volcanoes, Mt Rainier, erupted! Then Mt Rainier became dormant again. And then one of the volcanoes started to smoke because it was about to erupt. Then the volcano, Mt Etna, erupted. Then it rained. Then lightning came. And then one of the volcanoes started to erupt — Mount St Helens! And the Mt Etna started to be dormant. Then Mt Baker erupted. Then it rained some more.

Volcano Book
Volcano Book
Volcano Book

Just a quick update to record Seth’s current interests:

Canada. This one stemmed directly from Raffi, Seth’s favorite musician, given that he lives on Mayne Island, BC. We’re going to try to visit Vancouver this summer, both because Seth has never been, and ever since I brought up the possibility, I can’t stop thinking about La Casa Gelato, which has at least 218 flavors on site at all times.

Raffi love
dueting with Raffi

Other countries in general. Seth will usually just bring it up with, “Tell me about other countries.” This also probably stemmed from Raffi, with his wonderful song, ‘Like Me and You.’ I love that Seth is interested in this, but while I can’t speak for Todd, my responses feel lame. I often pick a country whose food I can talk about, but I would love to be able to tell him more about any given country’s geography and culture. We have been getting some great books at the library with photos of kids and people around the world, though: Ann Morris‘s books and One World, One Day, among others.

Garbage trucks. Seth has always been pretty interested in vehicles, but he has a sudden love of garbage (and recycling and compost) trucks. He plays with his recycling and garbage trucks, and also pretends that our couch is a garbage truck, using his various musical instruments as “controls.” (I am so impressed with how he thought of sticking a bunch of kazoos, chopsticks, maracas, etc, in the couch crack to look like a bunch of levers.) We have also spent a few early mornings in the backyard, waving to the drivers and watching the automatic side loaders at work.

jack hammer
using a jackhammer on his garbage truck (the fallen willow tree in Grandma & Grandpa’s backyard)

Volcanoes. This is the most recent interest, which came about from a lot of coincidences. Within the past week, we went on a hike next to the White River gorge (a river that runs off of Mt Rainier), got Seth his first bottle of bubble bath, and checked out O is for Orca from the library (which has photos of both the White River, and Mt St Helens). So now he’s been having a bubble bath every day, in which he uses a funnel to act as a volcano shooting bubble lava up in the air. The couch cushions are turned into a volcano, and he’s the lava bursting out. Today we got a few volcano books, and we spent a happy afternoon making a vinegar & baking soda volcano erupt — nearly every eruption Seth laughed like crazy and shouted “St Helens! St Helens!” We’ll see how long this interest lasts, but it also has me thinking that we should go down to Mt St Helens this summer, too.

Deserving of honorable mention: Spanish, roadrunners, tidepools…

Three weeks after the big snow, we went to the beach in sandals (well, and sweatshirts – it was windy simply because we were on the lake). We have also been spending loads of time outside in the sunshine, which has been putting us in fantastic moods. And who knew how fascinating taking a pair of scissors outside can be for a toddler? While our little friends were over, Seth started playing “cut the willow tree” (cutting the littlest twigs off our honeysuckle bush) – casting himself as Grandpa, me as Grandma, and Lisiebear as Seth. She was happy to play along, and they played it for probably an hour, before moving on to cut “medicine” in our herb garden for another good long while.

Pruning the honeysuckle

Pruning the honeysuckleCool sunglasses not required…

Pruning the honeysuckle…but sticking one’s tongue out is.

Here’s a Christmas present for you from our newly-three(!), Raffi-obsessed, budding musician:

Seth is at that sticky age where he’s only napping every few days. I haven’t quite figured out the flow of it, which is hard. And on the days he doesn’t nap, we had been doing “quiet time,” which was even harder. It is important for both him and me to have some down time, so I was trying to have him stay in his room (while I stayed in my room), doing anything quiet – reading, playing, resting… But it was hardly “quiet,” didn’t end up being down time for either of us, and was really bumming us both out. I may be speaking too soon, but yesterday, we changed three things:

1) I halved the time I expected it to last
2) I renamed it “siesta,” hopefully to get out from any negative feelings associated with quiet time
3) I set up my 14 year old discman with headphones and a Raffi CD

and it was super successful! Seth was REALLY into simply sitting on the floor listening to the music; at one point I thought he might be asleep, he had been quiet for so long! Nap/quiet time has been a months-long struggle for us, so I will be so pumped if this is how it goes every day.

I came home from work a little early on Friday, and had about 2 hours to play with Seth before it was time for dinner. During that short window of time, our couch cushions were:

  • An airplane
  • A car
  • Train tracks
  • A tunnel
  • A house for a scarecrow (Seth) to hide in before it jumped out to scare the crow (Dada)
  • Dirt in which we planted popcorn seeds and harvested the corn that “sprouted” from underneath
  • A campfire, over which we roasted a big marshmellow (Seth, dressed up in his big fluffy snowsuit)

His imagination is awe-inspiring, fun to collaborate with, and exhausting to try to keep up with. I hope it never slows down.

Seth, when singing the ABCs: Q – R – S – you and me…

The other day I said I needed to put on deodorant, and he asked me what it was for.
Me: it’s so my armpits can stay smelling nice all day.
Seth: You should have a whale lick them instead.

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