Friday, August 18, 2017


Heading into the weekend, here are some Madeleine quotes and musings:

Madeleine has second thoughts about playing a trick on her sister:
MADELEINE: Mommy.  I'm gonna try and scare Julia and say that I saw a mouse!
ME: You are?

a minute later

MADELEINE: Mommy?  You know what makes me feel uncomfortable about kidding?
ME: What?
MADELEINE: It's like LYING in a short time.  You *lie*, then you say "just kidding."

You lost me at the last part...:
MADELEINE: Mommy?  I know there's a FIVE-SECOND-RULE, but in first grade, one of the girls always picked up food she dropped on the ground, and ATE it.  (making a disgusted face) Like, in a classroom?!?  Ugh.  Oh.  Mommy.  I just THOUGHT of something.  (leaning closer towards me and speaking dramatically) FOOT CALLUSES.

Where did this question come from??:
MADELEINE: Mommy?  Would you TAKE a baby that's an orphan holding a sign on the street?
ME: Well, I would take care of any baby that needed someone to take care of it.  What makes you ask that?
MADELEINE: Uh...I don't know.  No reason.

Madeleine has some unusually passionate feelings about her diary:
MADELEINE: Mommy, Julia said to use some writing material, so I thought of my diary!
ME: Okay, good.
MADELEINE: Oh, I just LOVE writing in my diary!  (chanting) To feeeeeeeel like you can flyyyyyyyy.  Oh, it's just the BEST feeling in the WORLD!
ME: What is?
MADELEINE: Writing in my diary!

Glad she can make herself happy so easily, can face moral dilemmas about kidding, and knows not to eat food off classroom floors because of...uh...foot calluses.  In the meantime, I'll let you know if I find any orphan babies on the street to take back to the Rowe household.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dinner Hit

This evening, I made a dinner of pasta, cannelini beans, and peppers sauteed with garlic and seasoning.  It's a real hit within the household.  Ethan at least ate the pasta and peppers, but decided to forego the beans entirely.

Madeleine just had issues with everything but the pasta.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  What are these beans?  Are they beans?
ME: Honey.
MADELEINE: Well, what are they?
ME: You answered your own question.
MADELEINE: Are they beans?
ME: Yes.
MADELEINE: But are they SAFE to eat?

No, Madeleine, I decided to poison the whole household tonight.  Good thing Ethan was too wily to fall for the tainted beans.

Madeleine pushed all her beans to one side of the plate, ate all the pasta, and began inspecting every single slice of pepper before putting it in her mouth.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Is this pepper safe?
ME: Yes, honey.
MADELEINE: Mommy.  Look.  (holding out the pepper on her fork for me to see) Is this black stuff on the pepper safe?
ME: Yes.  It's seasoning.
MADELEINE: (turning the pepper around and around with her fork before finally eating it)  Can I just have more pasta??

Julia might not have loved the beans, but she at least found that eating the pasta and beans in combination was tolerable

JULIA: Mommy, I made this...Three Little Pigs?? that what you call it?
ME: (blank stare)
JULIA: (pointing to a bean inside her rigatoni) Like, this thing?  Like a mini hot dog?

Close, honey.  Pigs in a blanket.

I'll tell you who DID like the dinner, though.  Auntie Shannon's chihuahua gobbled up all the beans the kids decided to drop on the ground for her.  At least I had one fan of my cooking.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sharks Championships

As I mentioned in the last post, the Suburban Swim League held its championships this past weekend, and the Rowe girls had a great time!

The first several hours of the championship meet are trials; for each stroke, all of the swimmers who made the cut-off time at the season's meets face off in heats of 6 at a time.  The youngest age group (8 and unders) go first, going all the way up through the 15-18 age group.  Only the swimmers who log the fastest 6 times for each age group advance to the Finals.  As you can imagine, the trials are a loooong ordeal.  Furthermore, spectators are not allowed on the pool deck, so instead, anyone who wants to watch a particular race must squeeze in amongst the other throngs of spectators to try and peer through the metal fence around the pool deck.  Luckily, I got a prime spot at the fence for both girls' races and was able to wish them luck on their way to the starting line.  Madeleine would wave cheerily and blow kisses, while Julia had on her game face and could not be bothered with her parents' antics.

Julia made finals in her two main events, butterfly and breast stroke, as did her relay team.  Madeleine surprised the pants off of me by making finals in breast stroke; I had figured that a 7 year old swimming against a bunch of 8 years old would not be top 6, but go figure!  Her relay team made it to the finals as well, so Ethan and I accepted that it was going to be an extra long day!

Julia is a veteran at this Championship meet, so she knew all about Finals.  Madeleine, however, seemed more confused than elated.

MADELEINE: Wait, Mommy, what does Finals mean?  I just swim breast stroke AGAIN?
ME: Uh, basically.

Madeleine then busied herself playing Uno with a bunch of 8-and-under girls and I barely saw her for the next several hours.  Julia, on the other hand, was acutely aware of all that was to come and all that had come before.  Last year, she and her relay teammates were dealt a crushing blow when their relay, which, in the posted results, was listed in 6th place, missed Finals when results were RE-POSTED with a previously disqualified team in 6th place.  The rival team had contested the disqualification after results were posted, so the Sharks girls had gotten their hopes up only to discover they were actually in 7th place.  Therefore, despite the fact that Julia's relay finished 1st in trials, Julia was not going to trust those shady folks who posted the results.  She felt the need to walk around to the front of the pool building to gaze at the results over and over and over again.

JULIA: Mommy.  Come with me for a minute.
ME: Where are we going?
JULIA: (taking my hand and leading me) Just come.
ME: Are we going around to the front of the building?  I just came from there because I went to the bathroom.  I don't feel like walking all the way around again.
JULIA: Just come.
ME: But where are we going?  You already saw the results.
JULIA: I wanna see them again!
ME: Honey.  You've checked them more than once.  Your relay is in 1st.
JULIA: I just wanna look again.
ME: Okay, but I'm going to go back to my chair.  I don't feel like going all the way over there again.
JULIA:  (glumly) Okay, I'll come with you.

As we began walking back to the team's tent, Julia encountered the other three members of her relay, walking the opposite direction.

TEAMMATE: Julia!  We're gonna go look at the relay results again.  Wanna come?
JULIA: (delightedly) Okay!  (turning away from me and skipping off with her teammates.)

Rest assured, the results remained the same and the relay team got to swim in finals.

Madeleine held steady in her 6th place spot in the Finals, and her relay defied expectations and placed 5th, ahead of a team that had solidly beaten them in trials.  Julia finished third in butterfly and second in breast stroke, and her relay team pulled off a win!  This was especially exciting because, despite their 1st place finish in trials, their relay was actually seeded 2nd, with another town seeded at a time of 1:04 to rival the Sharks' 1:05.  And that 1:05 was the best the Sharks had ever done, several meets previously, and not repeated again at any subsequent meets.  So we had no idea if the Sharks relay would actually win the Finals, or whether the rival team had been holding back a bit in trials, knowing they'd easily make Finals.  But lo and behold, the Sharks relay managed a 1:03, their best time ever, and a first place finish!  I honestly don't think I've ever seen four happier girls.

Now that the season is over, Julia is heart-broken, and Madeleine is indifferent.  As we got into the car after Championships, Julia was already lamenting.

ME: Okay, everybody buckled?
JULIA: I miss Shaaaaaaaarks.
ME: Honey, you still have the banquet tomorrow.
JULIA: But I miss Shaaaaaaarks.

The banquet was a blast, complete with cake, ice cream, awarding of medals and ribbons, and a slide show of the highlights of the season.  I would like to point out that there was nary a serious picture or video of Madeleine on the slide show.  She clearly enjoyed hamming it up for the camera EVERY TIME the coach was taking pictures.  There was even a montage of Madeleine making goofy faces, one after another, on the slide show, which led to much hilarity amongst the team members.

When the banquet was over, it was back to "I miss Shaaaaaarks" from Julia, and today's refrain has been "I wish Sharks wasn't oooooooover!"  She and her friends on the team have all decided that they're going to swim with the team until they're 18, then they'll all be coaches, so they never have to leave.  So if you have a future swimmer ready to join the team in 10 years, look for Coach Julia!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Early Bedtime Before a Big Weekend

The impending weekend is a big swim weekend for the girls, with both the Regional Championships and the end-of-season banquet taking place.  Julia and Madeleine are both beyond excited, although Ethan and I are certainly not looking forward to the crack-of-dawn wake-up call we face every year on Championship day.  Because the girls have had an evening swim practice and three out-of-town evening swim meets this week, and because we have to be at Championships so early in the morning, I informed the kids that tonight would be an extra early bedtime.  I was thinking 7:30 or so, but I guess the excited anticipation for it to just finally be Championship Day had Madeleine even further ahead of schedule.

At 6:47 pm, Madeleine emerged from the bathroom after brushing her teeth, already dressed in her pajamas.

MADELEINE: Would someone please give me a bedtime snuggle?
ME: You really want to go to bed at 6:47?
MADELEINE: (nodding a bit sheepishly)
ME: Do you really think you'll fall asleep this early?
MADELEINE: Well, I don't really have anything to read...
ME: So why don't you just stay up a teeny bit longer.  How about this?  Why don't you sit and chat with Daddy for 10 minutes or so, and then at 7:00 we can go in and do snuggles.  After all, Daddy just got home from work and you haven't seen him much today.

So Ethan and Madeleine went to sit on the couch and cozy up under a blanket.

MADELEINE: (cheerily) So, Daddy, what did you do at work today?
ETHAN: (absent-mindedly) What did I do at work today?  Hmm.  That's a good questions.

MADELEINE: (cheerily) So, how's the NEWS?
ETHAN: How's the news??
MADELEINE: (turning to me for help) Uh, well, I don't really know what to talk about!

I gotta say, I give Madeleine props for attempting to start up a conversation with Ethan.  I should have remembered that Ethan is basically brain-dead by Friday evenings before I suggested she sit and chat with him.

Madeleine did indeed fall asleep at 7:30, so we've got one kid down, one to go!  Sweet dreams, little swimmers!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pearls of Wisdom

Pearls of wisdom from Madeleine, on various topics:

On shapes:
MADELEINE: Mommy?  Don't they make ALL SHAPES really weird?  Like, for example: a heart.  It looks NOTHING like the real shape of a heart!  And a star.  A star is really a CIRCLE.

On Sleep-Mates:
MADELEINE: Mommy!  Come and see what I did in my room!
ME: Okay (entering Madeleine's room, to see she had cleaned up) Wow!  It's clean!
MADELEINE: And also, Mommy.  See?  I moved my garbage can.  But I did NOT move my Sleep-Mate, because if you move it even the TINIEST little bit-
ME: I know, it can loosen the plug.
MADELEINE: If you move it even the TINIEST little bit, it will be a CATASTROPHE.

On abstract art:
MADELEINE: Mommy, isn't it weird that people can just make a SHAPE, but with other things on it, it looks like a thing?  Like, that circle is JUST a circle, but with things ON it, it looks like a CAT!  And that squiggly like is the cat's tail.  And then it looks like disconnected teeth, with a mouth over it, and then there's a bottle of hairspray!

Take a look.  Can you see all of the objects that Madeleine sees in this painting?:

On time travel:
MADELEINE: Mommy?  You can't say "we have everything we need," because...there could be something we're GOING to need in the FUTURE.  So if you say we don't need that thing, it might mess up the future.  And if you mess up something in the FUTURE, it will make all KINDS of problems.  Mommy?  You *literally* can't do anything about the past or the future, because time will keep going.  So, say it will be, like, TWELVE-O-CLOCK where you are, and, like, EIGHT-OH-ONE where you are in the past.

Okay, my mind is blown.  I need to go absorb myself in a nice piece-of-fluff beach read after all those philosophical musings.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Julia has had a whole slew of bizarre dreams lately, and she never fails to tell us all about them, in detail, the following morning.  Among some of the main plots and happenings of her dreams are:

-"I dreamed that my coach from Sharks won the freestyle at A Championships, and they gave him a TREE."

-"I dreamed that there was a kidnapper in the garage, and I told Auntie Shannon, and she put on all this detective gear, and was like, 'let's look around!'  And when we were looking around, the garage was really different, and we thought he was hiding behind all these trash bins and shelves, but we couldn't find him.  And I thought he must be there but he was just breathing really quietly and not moving."

-"I dreamed that someone from my class was on the Natick swim team, and he was being all friendly with the Natick swimmers, and they were, like, hanging out and talking and stuff, and they were making these really weird faces, and we said hi to each other, and he was supposed to be fast, so I wanted to beat him so he could see I could swim faster than him and stuff."

-"There's a Hamilton song called 'Stay Alive,' but in my dream, instead of it being usual, it was about Eliza singing about how much she needs Hamilton to stay alive, and she was doing this really weird dance like stomping around and it was a really weird stage and she was wearing this blue and red and plaid cow-girly dress."

-"I had a dream that I took this Hamilton workshop, and Lin-Manuel Miranda was reading a passage from the book that inspired the musical, and he read, 'The death of Eliza's husband and son Philip was a dilemma.  Yes, dilemma.  That's the word."

So, basically, Julia's dreams are variations on Hamilton, swim team, with the occasional "let's catch a kindapper" romp thrown into the midst.  I wonder what Freud would say this means about her psyche.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sharks, Again

In the car, on the way to the Boston Sports Club pool, Julia was chattering about the upcoming swim championships and her fellow Sharks teammates.  She discussed everything from her freestyle relay team to a butterfly swimmer from a rival team to the best times of herself and her friends, until Madeleine interrupted her with an important question.

MADELEINE: Julia, which Shark is your favorite?
JULIA: You mean, like, which PERSON on the Sharks team is my favorite?

No, Julia.  Not those Sharks.  These Sharks:

Why *wouldn't* Madeleine mean the "Death to Sharks" characters??  We're going to the pool, after all.

JULIA: Deep Blue.  I've already told you that.
MADELEINE: Mine's probably...Gray-Gray. Still.  Who's your second favorite?
JULIA: Gray-Gray.
MADELEINE: Then who?
JULIA: Torpedo.
MADELEINE: Torpedo's probably my least favorite.  I just kind of got TIRED of Torpedo.

I wonder what Torpedo did to turn himself into such a lamer.  

Madeleine, at least, seems to have some use for Orange, despite him not being top of her list.

MADELEINE: Julia, I came up with a new use for Orange!
JULIA: What?
MADELEINE: He has the power to control Halloween.  He can make anything Halloween or Halloween-ish whenever he wants!

Man, with powers like that, I can't even imagine what Gray-Gray must be able to do in order to rank #1!