The weekend after Zane's birthday we went to Viking Days at the Nordic Heritage Museum. I put a nifty horned helmet on his head, armed him with a foam sword, and we were off with Michael and our neighbor Gavin. I posted some pictures of the event on my Facebook page. I had hoped Zane would get to see some mock fighting, but that didn't happen while we were there. He did get to try hammering wooden pegs with a huge mallet. I really enjoyed the displays and the food, but Zane was way more interested in the playground there that he's been to many times before. Oh well! This playground has sand on the ground rather than mulch, and I don't know if that's the reason, but the slides here really work up a super electrical charge! It's dangerous to touch your child before they put their feet on the ground!
A few days later I took Zane to Bellevue for his first fall harvest experience. We went to pick blueberries! This was way different from my Maine experience of raking and picking blueberries on low bush plants on a rocky hill ala Blueberries for Sal. The bushes were even taller than me! Zane called it a blueberry forest. I had never been to this place, but it was great. You park at a produce stand where they provide you with buckets, and then you walk through tall blueberry fields with wide grassy roads and paths, and the whole field is surrounded by trees. The blueberries were copious and sweet, and it felt very bucolic.
The picking area was also about 1/4 mile away from the bathrooms. Zane was pretty recently toilet trained, but I had learned he could really hold his pee. He also only poops every 3 or 4 days, so I had no worries. Before we walked down to the field I asked Zane if he had to pee, and he said no, and he didn't look like he needed to. Of course, as soon as we got allllll the way down, he suddenly grabbed his crotch and said "Mama, I need to pee!" I looked back up the path we had slowly walked down. I looked around and saw no other people. I decided to be naughty, and I showed Zane how to pee at the very base of a very bushy bush. I figured no one would be walking or sitting or picking anything there. I also told him this was kind of naughty, and it wasn't a good solution as a general rule. Phew, dodged that bullet. But then about 15 minutes later, he said he had to poop! I wasn't too worried since he'll get that feeling off and on for a bout a day and a half before he actually goes. But after a few false alarms, he said he really had to go now! I'm not naughty enough to leave poop under a bush. Well, had lots of wipes and a plastic bag full of dry clothes just in case he had an accident, so I took out the plastic bag and had Zane poop right in the bag. I couldn't believe how well it worked! Then I had to carry it around, but, oh well, so do dog owners!
We ended up having a fantastic and relaxing time, and Zane said he really liked it. On the way back to buy the blueberries Zane ate all of the ones he had picked and some of mine, too. We didn't take very many home, but that wasn't really the goal. I also picked up some yummy corn, and some peaches that Zane had poked holes in.
After such a nutritious and wholesome outing, I had to balance things out with a trip to the Evergreen State Fair. I had been telling Zane about cotton candy, and he wanted to try some right away. When he opened the bag and felt it, he looked at me dubiously and said "What's this?" I said it was actually food, and it melted in your mouth! He was instantly convinced once he tried it! The bags are enormous, and I ended up tossing it at the end of the day, explaining that it was just a treat for that day. It was so hard for me to let him eat such crap! But I didn't stop there! I let him have a sno-cone, some pretzel, and a corn dog. He was pretty pleased! I ended up eating the apple I brought for him.
I had hoped to show Zane draft horses pulling things, lumberjack skills, chainsaw carving, pig races, and animals, but we spent 3 hours on the kiddie carnival rides and 20 minutes on animals at the end when he was getting pretty tired. I decided the day was for him, and that was OK. Especially since we'll be going to a fair in Maine with no rides and lots of animals!
When we got to the fair the rides hadn't quite started yet, so Zane tested his strength with a hammer and won a blow-up hammer. Then we waited for the roller coaster to begin, and Zane was introduced to the fine art of hanging around by some other, more experienced boys. I am not a roller coaster fan, but I figured the little Wiggly Worm couldn't be too bad. It was about as much as I could handle, and Zane was a bit scared on the downhill parts, but mostly he liked it.
Next we went through a couple of obstacle courses. And went through them again. And again. And again ... Zane is just tall enough to go on these "rides", but not tall enough to go alone, so I did all of the climbing and slithering and crawling right along with him! Some of those tubes are really not meant for adults, but luckily I'm a skinny bean. Next we tried a water pistol shooting game and eventually won a small orange elephant. After a break for more icky fair food, we went on these whirling bear things. Not a great combo for my stomach, but Zane didn't seem to mind at all.
Then we went to an area of the rides where little kids could go on things alone. There was a beautiful multicolored train that chuffed around a mini track. A bunch of kids got into the engine and Zane liked that a bunch. I saw him talking with another boy, and captured this photo on the right that seems to me a glimpse of future Zane. Doesn't he look older there? We took a ride together on some circling swings, and my butt barely fit into the seat. I don't know how other parents with their big American butts fit could in there! Next we hopped over to some boinging dune buggies, and the boy Zane sat next to in the train ran over and jumped into his buggy, too. They seemed to have a great time together. It was kind of odd to see him doing something by himself and talking to another kid! A preview of his upcoming school career.
The weather at the end of this summer has been fantastic. All of August and half of September have been dry and sunny, with only a few uncomfortably hot days. We've been spending some nice time in the backyard, and now that the fence is fixed up JoJo can come out, too. Zane and JoJo found they had something in common in their love of digging!
We've had a very nice sunflower growing in our backyard, and one day Michael got a number of nice pictures of all of us enjoying its grand yellowness.
I've been trying to cram in so many adventures, because school would be starting soon for Zane, and we wouldn't have so much free time anymore. He had his 3 year checkup and the doctor's, and for the first time he wasn't freaked out by being weighed or measured or poked. He had his blood pressure checked for the first time, too. He was 28 pounds and 3 feet 1/4 inch tall. He is still smaller than average, but staying on the same curve he's been on for awhile. I also took him for another developmental assessment with the awesome Marni at Parent Trust. It's always fun to go there! He's right on target for all of his social, emotional, and physical skills. If anything, a bit ahead in verbal, and a bit behind the curve in gross motor since he's a bit small.
Zane has been eating a lot lately, and he's started to think about philosophical matters, too. He has been asking about monsters in his room, and plying us with lots of questions about death and dying. I'm not sure how much he understands since he doesn't seem upset, but he definitely stresses that he doesn't want to die and he doesn't want us to. I try to be honest without telling him all of the possible worst case scenarios out there.
I recently read an article about math for kids, and I instantly felt guilty that I had been reading to Zane all over the place, but never asking him math problems. Then I got more realistic and felt better. Still, that night I asked him some very simple questions about apples, and he got it! "If I have one apple and give you another, how many do you have? If you have three apples and I take two, how many do you have?" I was pretty impressed with him. I hope to maybe try some Bedtime Math problems with him.
Well, the beginning of the school year finally came! I was so excited for Zane to have a new environment filled with kids his own age, sunshine, new things to do, and access to the outside all day long. He was not worried about it at all, and immediately loved it! In fact, the first day when I cam to pick him up to bring him home for lunch and the rest of the day, he got angry that he couldn't stay for lunch! So the next day I packed him a lunch and he was disappointed he couldn't stay to nap with the others. So now I make him a lunch every day, even if he isn't staying for more than the morning. But, on Mondays he comes home for lunch so I can visit with him since I work until past his bedtime.
He has been happy every single day that he has been there so far, and Michael and I are so pleased. We can even see updates online that the teachers post about what skills they have introduced him to. Pictures will be going up throughout the school year. I love having a peak at his day. I also love that the school is about a 30 second walk from our house (for adults -- several minutes for dawdling boys).
Zane has really amped up his desire to do things by himself now that he is at school, too. Mostly that is nice at home, but it also has made him think he gets to decide not to do things we ask him to. There has been an uptick in time-outs and other consequences. Just a phase, just a phase I remind myself. All of this stimulation will make his neurons explode, and that's worth it!
Our next adventure is a trip to Maine next week, so look for a big post about that in a couple of weeks.