This morning my video camera caught my pajama-clad children playing a wonderful firefighter game. Sophie was riding Ben’s firetruck back and forth across the house and Bella and Ben and Anthony were all accompanying her in a wild band. Ben and Bella were also pretending to be firefighters while Bella was reciting from a little rhyming board book about firefighters that we last got from the library months ago. (Incidentally, all my kids refer to them as “firefighters” not “firemen” as we did when I was a kid.)
Because you might not be able to catch all the dialogue, I thought I’d try my hand at a little transcription:
The video begins in medias res with Bella explaining to me that since she gave up driving (she gave up playing with cars and trucks for Lent and I guess that includes driving the firetruck) instead she is telling the story of all the actions. Then she begins to narrate, “Sirens screeches, wee-ah, woooo. Pumper truck comes zooming through.” Ben joins in with his own wee-ah, weee-ah, weee-ah. Bella continues, “Firefighter starts to shout: ‘There may be people to get out!’” As Sophie enters the room Bella is saying, “Bring them down on solid ground.” Bella interrupts her recitation to tell me that she can’t remember all of the story. As she gazes at herself in the mirror she continues, “Hooray, hooray, watchers cheer. Pumper truck is waiting near.” Then Sophie sprays the fire. Then Bella calls an end, “It’s ok, fire’s out. Only ashes swirl about,” and the crew turns to return to their lair in the laundry room. Sophie following very slowly on the fire truck announces that there is no fire to put out as she arrived back in the laundry room. Bella munches on her apple and announces that Spot gets a special treat and the firefighters relax until… clang, clang, clang.”
And now this is properly where the whole thing begins. In the laundry room, which is the firehouse. All crouching next to the dryer. And sure enough, we begin again. The book Bella is reciting from loops. It ends with the firefighters resting and giving Spot a treat and then the bell clangs. If you turn back to the beginning, it fits perfectly as the “firefighters rush, scurry. Down the pole, slide hurry.” Then Bella and Ben slide down the broken lamp post, which is handily standing in for the fire pole. Sophie rides the firetruck back to the bedroom, the others all leading the way, stopping to munch on some apples in the kitchen because I haven’t yet fed them breakfast. I love that Bella and Ben both serve Sophie an apple slice when she starts to whine, “I want an apple.”
Bella tries to convince Sophie to use the beads as another hose but when Sophie is disinterested Bella decides to wear them about her own neck. As Anthony screams at Sophie for blocking his path Bella chants, “Firefighter starts to shout: ‘There may be people to get out!’” Again Bella continues, “Hooray, hooray, watchers cheer. Pumper truck is waiting near.” The next bit is “Swing the hatchet, hit the door,” then Bella forgets the rest of the page. (She remembers it as we are watching the video so she can help me transcribe and recites what should have been there.)
Even though Bella is apologetic about not remembering the whole book, she has enough of it down pat to give a great sense of drama to the endeavor, prancing about in her nightgown and reciting. She directs Sophie and Ben in spraying to put out the fire and in rescuing the people who are stuck. Then the fire is out, “Only ashes swirl about,” and back to the fire station everyone goes with Sophie on the firetruck trailing behind, calling, “No, no, don’t go without me! Wait! Wait!” But she turns to explain to me that, “The firetruck is vrooming to the firehouse.” Then she continues on, “Hey! Hey, wait for me!” Once they are all back in the firestation, they have their little rest and then begin again in a seemingly endless cycle.
I love how Anthony is right there in the thick of it, sometimes almost bowled over, sometimes having to watch as Sophie almost runs over his toes; but always joyful to be a part of the pack now that he can run along with them. I love that Ben is actively imagining now too—even if he does tend to take a secondary role if both his sisters are playing. He often pretends to be a firefighter even when his sisters are not playing the game. Sometimes he even instigates imaginative play with the others, getting Sophie or Bella to ride on a train he’s made of boxes, for example.
Eventually, of course, they do tire of putting out fires and somehow they become an aid station helping people in the midst of a hurricane. Or is it an earthquake? They are getting everyone out of their homes and then putting everyone on a big boat with supplies to ride out the storm. The blocks box has been carted to the bedroom so that the blocks can become provisions for all of their refugees. (Who are from Japan and New Zealand, Bella informs me.)
Then a truck pulls up next door to cut down some tree branches and mulch them and all the kids must rush to get dressed and go out in the front to watch. Poor Anthony is desolate at having to stay inside because he’s not yet allowed out front unsupervised. Then he discovers that Ben’s fleet of trucks in the fireplace is unguarded and he happily settles at the fireplace to push them around.
Just a tiny slice of our morning. It’s what makes me smile and what I cling to when squabbles arise and tempers flare.
Ironically, my cinnamon apples burned while I was taking this video. Two entire apples ruined with burnt taste because I was too caught up in capturing the moment. Oh the sacrifices a mommy blogger makes!