Word Play: A Dictionary for Seattle Parents

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Like any specialized group, parents have a lingo all their own. When parents talk about a “blow out” they don’t mean an epic party, or even a real big sale (wink, wink). And Seattle parents are no exception. We have our own language, specific to our favorite haunts and hangouts in the Emerald City. So whether you’re new to parenting, new to Seattle or new to both, this dictionary will help you parent like a pro in “R Town.”

Rainier Sign 2014

 photo: Mark Grantor

The Rock
Everywhere else: Dwayne Johnson, former football player turned WWE wrestling star, turned action movie hero.
In Seattle: Mercer Island, a beautiful scenic island located in the center of Lake Washington.

mercer island

 photo: Derrick Coetzee via Flickr 

The Clink
Everywhere else: Jail
In Seattle: Century Link Field, where we take our littlest sports fans to cheer on the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks or Sounders FC.

Centruy Link Field Calandra Childersphoto: Calandra Childers

The Eastside
Everywhere else: The place to which George and Wheezy moved on up.
In Seattle: The land across the bridges, where families extend their Big City playground with hikes, farm visits, trendy classes, and lots of shopping. Also, home to two of Seattle’s most famous parents, Bill and Melinda Gates.

bellevue downtown park

photo: Hina S. via Yelp

Easy Street
Everywhere else: Living large and easy, usually because one is financially independent.
In Seattle: An ultra-cool, indie record store where parents can pick up the latest Caspar Babypants’ release right next to Macklemore’s or Arcade Fire’s newest album.

Easy Street Records West Seattlephoto: Allison Sutcliffe 

Pill Hill
Everywhere else: A hill made out of pills.
In Seattle: First Hill, the current home of three major health care facilities and where many, many, many Seattle babies are born!

swedish hospital

photo: Richie D. via Yelp

Everywhere else: A massive snowstorm barreling toward any city in the Midwest or on the East Coast, where accumulation is measured in feet, not inches.
In Seattle: Any amount of snow that sticks (usually half an inch or less) and causes school and work to be canceled, leading to impromptu family snow days!

Snow Day Emily Williamsphoto: Emily Williams 

Everywhere else: A duck or swan, usually any animal with webbed feet.
In Seattle: A born and raised Seattleite. We’re guessing your mini me fits the bill (see what we did there?).

Rainy day parks Jana Ablin shot

photo: Jana Ablin

Everywhere else: Of or belonging to Beth.
In Seattle: An iconic greasy spoon in Green Lake, where parents can take their early risers for a 12-egg omelet and lots of coloring and doodling all around.

Beth's Cafe from the FB Pagephoto: Beth’s Cafe Facebook page 

The I.D.
Everywhere else: A form of identification.
In Seattle: The International District, where parents and their foodie minis can nosh on some of the best pho, sushi, dim sum and banh mi in town. Delish!

dim sum

photo: Melinda Wong

The M’s
Everywhere else: The letter smack dab in the middle of the alphabet.
In Seattle: The Seattle Mariners. And while a game with the fam is always exciting, it’s even more so on family days when kids (and their grown ups) get to run the bases. Home run!

 photo: Ben VanHouten, Seattle Mariners 

What Seattleisms did we miss? Add yours in a comment below so other parents can be in the know.

–Allison Sutcliffe

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