In July, my extended family had our annual trip together. This year we divided our time between Port Townsend and Olympia, in Washington.
Ari and I took the train to Olympia and spent the first night at my aunt and uncle’s house there. Now that Ari is two I have to buy him a seat on the train, but that turned out to be just a place to put stuff, since he preferred my lap. Eating pretzels kept him occupied for a while, and eventually he went to sleep.
There was a beautiful sunset!
Ari was in a weird mood for the first couple of days. He’d been the same way at home and school for a few days, too – just lethargic and moaning every now and then. He had no fever or other signs of illness. We finally decided that it must be teething, because it looked like his “second year” molars were breaking through the gums. He was having such a hard time sleeping at night, sitting up and fussing constantly, that he was probably just exhausted during the day. Finally with some Tylenol he got a couple of good nights of sleep and then was back to his usual cheerful self.
Lying on the floor moaning the first day:
The most he perked up that day was to look at chickens at the Lavender Festival in Sequim:
The next day, we went on a whale watching trip! That was a fun way to have everybody together on a boat. We saw some whales from a distance. I’m not sure if Ari actually saw them, but he got into the spirit of things by pointing at the water and saying, “I see a whale!” over and over.
In this picture, you can see a bald eagle nest in the top right corner and a tiny bald eagle in a tree to the left of the center of the photo.
Ari on the boat:
We stopped for lunch in the San Juans:
Ari made some amazing strides in his speaking abilities during this trip. A. didn’t join us until later, in Olympia, so the morning after our whale watching day they had a chat on FaceTime. We were headed up to the mountains that day, and when A. asked, “What are you doing today, Ari?” he replied, “We’re going to the mountains!” Then he asked if he’d gone whale watching the day before, and Ari said, “Yes! I see’d a whale!” A. was gobsmacked that he’d just had a conversation with his kid.
We hiked to Marymere Falls in the Olympics. We traded off carrying Ari in the Ergo carrier.
At Hurricane Ridge, he went after this deer, then turned around and ran back when the deer moved toward him:
After the same deer again:
I told him to stay on the path, so he kept heading into the grass and grinning at me (then I would go pick him up):
When the deer started walking around on the path a little later, Ari kept walking toward it saying, “Deer! Stay on the grass…deer!”
The next day there was an afternoon beach walk but I stayed in with Ari so he could finally get a good nap, somewhere besides his car seat – and I was rewarded with three hours of peace and quiet!
In Olympia, several of us stayed in a house on a lake. Ari’s favorite thing there was this guitar! He learned to “strum” and “pluck” it. We were impressed when we told him to “pluck” and he changed the verb by saying, “I’m plucking it!”
Before we went to bed that night, Ari dug around in a toy chest in our room and brought a toy frog out, saying, “I found a frog!” Then he pulled out another one and said, “I found a bigger frog!”
On our first full day in Olympia, we went to Northwest Trek. We did their tram tour through the woods and saw so many animals! Ari sat with his grandma and great grandma.
Here are some photos of animals we saw:
In the other part of the park, we walked through the different animal areas. In a little cabin exhibit, Ari spent some time examining these photos of a wolf, a coyote, and a fox. Then he turned and scampered off, saying, “I’m scared-ing away!”
On our drive back, I gave Ari a small piece of a Cliff bar, and he started loudly complaining that he wanted to hold it or something, until I gave him the whole thing in the wrapper. Then he handed me back the wrapper and said, “Throw this in the garbage.” I said, “Really? Are you going to eat the whole thing?” and he replied, “It’s good!” Then he ate it all! I was so impressed by the way he responded to my question with reasoning about it being good rather than just a “yes I’m going to eat it.” It felt like a very mature exchange.
At the lake house, we did some kayaking! Here are A. and one of my aunts paddling away:
On our last day, we had brunch at my aunt and uncle’s house. One of my aunts got these adorable pictures of Ari:
After we got back home, we went to a block party in a nearby neighborhood and visited the neighborhood’s resident goats (and chicken):
I want Ari to love animals as much as I do, and care about the well-being of species other than humans, so I encourage these interactions as much as possible. So far, so good! Either it’s working, or he was born with a love of animals, or both. (Side note: Twice now, I’ve asked him what his favorite animal is, and he’s said, “A…a zebra! No…a cow!” I also asked him what his favorite color is, and the first time, he said, “Ummm…a rainbow!”)
Some other things we’ve noticed these past few weeks:
He can recite several of his books. One time he went through one reciting each page and then telling me, “Mommy, say (here he would recite the page again)” and I would repeat it. I think that was with his “How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?” book.
He has been doing a lot more imaginary play, talking to his dolls and having them talk to each other and do things. He had a haircut recently and afterward we went to Laughing Planet for lunch. They have dinosaurs on the tables for kids to play with, and for the first time, he was very excited about them! Then he knocked two of them together and said, “Dinosaurs! Fight!” That gave me a little shock, because we haven’t done any pretend fighting with his toys, and I don’t know where he even learned the word! I don’t see the sweet kids at his little hippie school doing any play fighting, either. The only TV shows he’s seen are Peppa Pig and Curious George, and I haven’t seen any fighting on those… Hmm. Anyway, then one of the dinosaurs fell over and he picked it up and asked repeatedly, “Are you okay, dinosaur?”
He’s been mimicking us a lot, including things he hears in the background.
He says some long sentences, up to 7 or 8 words. It’s hard to remember examples, but things like, “Read three books on the big bed,” “I’m putting the books in the living room,” “I’m swimming in the river with Daddy,” “We’re walking this way…in the jungle!”, “I got all the books from the closet,” “I’m using the broom to clean the rocks,” and many more.
He does a lot of disagreeing with me and telling me his own plans. I’ll tell him we’re going outside or something, and he’ll say, “No. I’m staying here to read books.”
The other day, we were walking Andrew and Ari was in the stroller facing me. He grabbed the bar in front of him and said, “I’m holding the rails – you don’t want to fall, Mommy!” Then he started jerking around and said, “Oh! I’m falling!” Then he said, “Crash!” and banged his head against the stroller and laughed. What a goof!
The other day, we went to breakfast and he scarfed down about half of this big pancake and most of my vegetable scramble (full of spinach) with no hesitation. I realized that he eats so well at breakfast, that’s when I should try to feed him vegetables! It’s hard for me to have vegetables ready first thing in the morning, but I think it’s worked at least one other time so far.
Later that day, we went to the river (at the off leash dog park, so Andrew had a good time, too) and Ari did his best approximation of swimming with his hands on the ground. He stayed in the water a long time and loved it!
The next day, we went to the pool and he enjoyed floating on his back in a life vest. He would get a terrified look on his face but when we took it off of him, he asked for it back! He’s been courageously attempting to float on his back in the bathtub, too. He’ll get himself on his back with a look of terror, then quickly switch to a big grin when he makes eye contact with me.
Well, that’s it for now!