Reflections on Friday Harbor


To Everett a significant portion of the world is made up of treasures or containers to hold them. During our four weeks in Friday Harbor he assembled quite a collection.

And by the time we finished cleaning the apartment we found many more treasures that didn’t make it into the picture. One thing in particular was a rubber spatula that Everett calls “my chewy”. A few weeks ago he has started chewing on his shirts. When we discouraged this behavior he was honest with us (“Ok, I will try not to, but I’m not sure if I can.”) and reflective (“I don’t know why I am always chewing on my shirt.”). We gave him the spatula as an alternative, which he kept it in the fort that Chris built next to his bed so he could chew on it during the night instead of his pajamas.


This is the first trip where we didn’t bring the stroller. Everett has reached the age where it is helpful but not required, so we decided to try without it. For the most part it went really well – he only asked for it once in four weeks. Could we have done more with the stroller? Maybe, but still not as much as we wanted to do. We never did go kayaking or even venture very far on the rowboat. We didn’t see any orcas on this trip. One adjustment Chris has yet to make is to realize he needs to scale back his expectations of the length and frequency of adventures with a three year old, even one who is a great traveler. And one adjustment Chris and Melissa both need to make is to pack less stuff on trips. In fact, for our next trip we agreed on the following exercise: each of us gets one small bag that must hold everything we need.


One thing Everett is fearful of is toilets that flush automatically. We think the major issues are the noise and the unpredictable timing of the flushes. As a result, his first choice is the bathroom at home, second choice is to go outside and last choice is bathrooms away from home. For the last month we have been doing the second option a lot, but while traveling the third option is inevitable, and at these times he asks “Is this safe?”, meaning is it a manual flushing toilet? If it’s automatic then he wants us to hold a hand over the sensor. This is quite a challenge while simultaneously wrangling a three year old in a space made for one person, and trying to touch as few surfaces as possible. Often in this situation he will look us in the eyes and say “I love you.” It’s touching, but also hard not to laugh given the circumstances.


Our primary discipline method with Everett has been timeouts, which are usually preceded by Mom or Dad counting to three. As he has grown older these have become more symbolic than anything because we can’t force him to stay in one spot, so at this point we will just sit him down wherever we are and tell him he is in timeout, which he intensely dislikes. He has tried an evolving set of methods to avoid them. He started by saying “Stop counting!” or “No, stop talking” when we were counting to three. When Gabby tried counting during a recent trip to her and Grandaddy’s house Everett said “Mommy doesn’t count,” which obviously isn’t true. Now he interrupts us with “Let me tell you something…”. In this regard it is interesting to observe how children find innovative solutions to problems. Another example is that we recently put a digital clock in his room, and in an effort to increase parental sleep we taught him to read it and told him he couldn’t call us or get up until it said 7:00. His solution is to wake up when he feels ready and change the time to 7:00, which is technically what we asked for.


The night after we returned from Friday Harbor Everett made the following painting which he entitled High Tide. Perhaps this trip will have lasting memories for him?

To close this blog entry, here’s a video of a sea urchin waving goodbye with all 500 arms.

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