I'm sure it's some sort of developmental phase, but Soren is constantly comparing things: size, height, strength, speed, age, toughness. He talks about it all the time. He can rank everyone in our family according to age or size, and does so frequently. The comparing also comes out in his story-telling. For example, last night Soren told me a lengthy story about a monster whose feet were the size of six houses and whose teeth were each as big as a skyscraper. The monster swalloed him and Liam whole but then pooped them out into a fragile toilet that didn't flush. Tonight he told me a story about a "minivan minivan minivan bus car" that was longer than a train and so tall you couldn't even see a monster truck semi truck from the windows. Soren's stories generally consist of lengthy wide-eyed, spittle-flecked descriptions of objects of incredible size ("Bigger than DADDY! Big enough to hold TRILLIONS of people, Mommy! Bigger than THIRTY SIX ELEPHANTS! Bigger than the WHOLE EARTH!" ) or speed ("Faster than a CHEETAH! Faster than WIGHTNING MCQUEEN! Faster than WIGHTNING!") These descriptions are generally repeated over and over, particularly if I don't give a sufficiently enthusiastic response the first five times. "Mommy! Mommy! Are you wistening? I said it was FASTER THAN WIGHTNING!"
Side note: Possibly the happiest moment of Soren's life occurred when we googled "biggest truck in the world" and he discovered that Monster Truck Semi-Trucks really DO exist.
My daddy was over for dinner one evening when Soren ran over and asked if I wanted to hear something. "Mommy! Do you want to hear blahblahblahblblbah?" What the something was, I didn't really understand, but I enthusiastically replied, "Sure, honey!" Soren then burst into an ear-splitting scream. I could literally feel the pressure on my ears. It was at that moment that my auditory memory processor flashed back to our prior exchange (imagine rewind sequence here) and I realized that he had said "Mommy! Do you want to hear the loudest scream in the world?"
The scream was painful, but look of utter consternation on my father's face was priceless.
(Unfortunately, Soren also utilizes the World's Loudest Scream when he's frustrated or angry or overtired or experiencing any form physical discomfort. At least one of these circumstances arises at least once daily; hence my inability to hear his request in the first place.)
Soren has lately become very interested in adding and subtracting numbers. We were sitting in sacrament meeting one Sunday when he randomly whispered to me, "Mommy, twelve and twelve make twenty-four." He'd figured that out from counting the numbers on the hymn board. One day he told me, "Mommy, Daddy has five more years than you. He's firty free and you're twenty eight. That's five years apart." And he can tell you how old Liam will be when Soren is any age up to twenty.
One evening Soren informed me that mice were poisonous.
"Ummm, no they're not," I said.
"Miss Misty says they are," he countered.
"Welllll," I said. "Sometimes if a mouse is sick its poop can make you sick. That's called Hantavirus. But mice all by themselves aren't poisonous."
"Or," added Daddy, looking up from his book, "Sometimes a mouse can have rabies, and then if it bites you it will make you sick. But mice aren't poisonous."
"But mice are poisonous," insisted Soren.
"No," I said.
"No," Daddy said.
"Wook," said Soren. "I know you beweeve they're not poisonous, but some people know that they are."
(This is a rhetorical technique he's been utilizing in other settings as well: "I know you fink that's true, Briar, but I know you're wrong.")
Soren's been exploring his relationship with Liam, trying on different perspectives to see how they fit. For a while he had it all figured that Liam was a naughty kid and he was the good boy. Liam would commit some minor indiscretion and Soren would be like, "That Liam. He is so naughty. Mommy, you're always mad at Liam, aren't you? It's a good thing I never do naughty things." (Just for the record, I think by the time Soren was Liam's age I had contemplated killing him TRILLIONS of times. I don't think I've considered killing Liam even once. Liam at two is the sweetest cakewalk in the world compared to the holiest of holy terrors that our two-year-old Soren was. Which isn't to say that Soren hasn't bloomed into an extremely sweet if somewhat emotionally volatile and loudly expressive five-year-old, nor is it to say that Liam is perfect. I'm just trying to point out that, while I may have lost double digits worth of IQ points through the sleep-deprivation torture of motherhood, the irony here wasn't lost on me.)
More recently, though, he's been trying out protector/protected roles for himself and his brother. Today the boys woke up from a nap and, instead of finding Daddy, they went into the kitchen where Soren microwaved them some hotdogs for a snack. Tonight he said, "Mommy, I would like to take care of Liam for four days while you and Daddy go somewhere nelse."
One Sunday morning I sat down on the couch and--exhausted-- burst into tears. Soren rubbed my back, got me a pillow and blanket, and had me lie down. While I was napping he very carefully decorated the house with his collection of silk flowers. (It looked like a hurricane had hit the Macy's Day Parade, but Abe, who watched the whole thing, said he was extremely careful about the placement of each flower.) When I woke up I felt much better. "I heawed you, Mommy," he said.
Soren loves his stuffed animals. Bucky (a stuffed rabbit left over from my own childhood) is his favorite. "Bucky is very special to me," Soren will say. Bucky is, according to Soren, six years old. But he's small, according to Soren, like a baby, so sometimes he gets carried around in a bucket baby carrier. Sometimes Bucky comes with us places in the car and has to be buckled in. Sometimes we have to make Bucky paper food. The other stuffed animals get in on the action too, though. Occasionally the stuffed animals will have birthdays and we'll have to have a party. Sometimes they attend a school that Soren teaches. Occasionally they sit around for hours and read a book together, as pictured below.
Soren, like his mommy, has a very active dream life. One night he woke up screaming and Abe went in to comfort him. "Daddy! I dreamed that Briar chopped mommy up into little pieces and I was trying to talk to the pieces but Briar put them in the crockpot and cooked her! Briar cooked Mommy! In the crockpot!" (He later climbed into bed with me ...I think just to make sure I was still alive.)
Here are some delightfully quotable things he's said recently:
"Mommy, I'm nicer than you."
"Oh yeah? What makes you say that?"
"Because you get food on your clothes like a baby without a bib. And I don't."
"Dear Hevnwyfather, Fankyoufrthsday. Fankyoufr Mommy and Daddy and Liam. Please help us to worship our bodies. And fank you for Jesus (that's you, Jesus)!"
"Briar, we're pretty much the same size, except that you have wonger arms and eat more candy."
"Mommy, I was just wying still and finking. And I was finking about how I will eat lots of healthy food and get a lot bigger than Koen so he can't push me anymore."
"Mommy, does Jesus live on a cloud in space?"
"There are three kinds of people: good guys, bad guys, and old people."
And what would a Soren update be without pictures of some of his latest creations?
A Christmas wreath. Materials and patience supplied by our friend Pam.
Snowman complex, complete with visiting Creepy Santa.
A Christmas hat, inspired by the book Christmas with the Mousekins.
A better angle.
A cottonball glitter snowman, made at my sister's house.
A "pillow puppet," also courtesy of Auntie Clee.
This is one of my favorites. It's an airplane.
He wrote and illustrated this book. It's bound with yarn.
And here are a couple of random snapshots: