Saturday, April 21, 2018

My Little Weirdos

Right now, Madeleine is dressed in a Harry Potter robe, talking softly in a British accent to an invisible imaginary person in the kitchen, and Julia is ecstatically carrying out "Gallop Time" through the living room and hallways.

It's hard to say which kid is the weirder one.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Trip to the Office

Today was "Take Your Child To Work" Day at Ethan's office, so the girls got to ride the train in with Daddy in the morning!  Julia wore her usual outfit: a swimming tee-shirt and athletic leggings.  Madeleine picked out her clothes with great care so that she would look "professional." Behold her looking chic in her Sequin Flip tee-shirt over a black long-sleeve top, with her outer space skirt over black leggings.

The kids had a fun time, although Madeleine was not a fan of the lunch option.  Apparently the pizza was "too saucy."  (Julia, of course, had no problem with it.)  The girls got to meet lots of other kids, and while Julia can recall the names and ages of the various children at the office, Madeleine remains oblivious.

MADELEINE: I made a friend!  She's 8 like me!
ME: What was her name?
MADELEINE: Ummm...I don't know.
ME: You can't remember?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Well, she's my friend, even though I can't remember her name!

That's the way the whole world should be, Madeleine.

I greeted the girls warmly upon their return, and learned just how much of a second fiddle I am in Madeleine's eyes.

ME: I missed you!
ME: But not me?
MADELEINE: (sheepishly) Sorrrryyy.  I was missing Clara because I was petting another doggie there!

Yeah, I know, it's to be expected.  Who is any child expected to miss more: their own mom, or their aunt's dog?  Duh!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Rainy Day "Fun"

It's a cold and sleety school vacation day.  The kids and I are stuck in the house.

Madeleine is writing a book called "The Ghost of Music Mansion."

Julia is sitting at the table, literally reading the phone book.  Like, cover to cover.  And then exclaiming in delight when she finds the names of people we know.

JULIA: (gasping) WE'RE in here!  I found US!
ME: Well, we do live in this town, honey.

I can understand her wonderment.  Imagine that, finding the names of people we know in our town while looking through a town-wide phone book.  What felicity!

I guess since she's already obsessively and repeatedly read through the school directory and the heat sheets from the YMCA Districts and New Englands meets, the phone book is the next logical step, right?

What's next, do you think?  The dictionary?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Animal Shelter

Madeleine has decided that she wants to open her very own Animal Shelter.  She plans to raise money in order to buy a building.

MADELEINE: Wait, Mommy, what's more expensive?  A building, or a HOUSE?
ME: A building.
MADELEINE: Okay.  Well, maybe if we can't raise enough for a building, we can just buy a house for the animals.

Her method of raising this money is simple: she wants to have a bake sale.  Not a lemonade stand, because that never really raises much money, but a bake sale is sure to do the trick.  Let me tell you: if she is able to raise enough money to BUY A BUILDING from holding a bake sale, she will be the most successful fund-raiser on the face of the earth.

In the meantime, however, Madeleine is constructing her shelter out of a cardboard box.  Because, same diff, right?

Madeleine asked me to help decorate her shelter, "with lots of BRIGHT COLORS, because we need to attract the animals!"  She has been very resourceful with recycled materials, even finding styrofoam on which to make an OPEN/CLOSED sign.

The plastic bags full of air are the dragon.  I'm not really sure what the dragon has to do with the animal shelter, but I do know that I was given the option between being a princess or dragon.  I chose princess, and had to battle it out something FIERCE against those puffy plastic bags in order to even get close to the animal shelter.  So maybe it's a sort of guard dragon??

I can see that this idea of Madeleine's is BOUND to be a success!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Second Grade Assembly

Today was Madeleine's 2nd Grade Assembly, and she has been preparing for the big day for at least a week.  She wasted no time this morning getting all her accoutrements together.

Fancy church dress ?  Check.
Sparkly shoes? Check.
Necklace? Check.
Bracelet? Check.
Plastic ring? Check.
Fingernails painted one color with a sparkle dot in another color over them?  Check.
Regular hoop earrings exchanged for special occasion earrings?  Check.

For the last bit of her ensemble, Madeleine needed my help.  She fantasized about a hairstyle that was a bun with two little braids.  Then she decided the little braids needed to be colored with Hair Chalk so that it was different colors weaving together.  She then required these little braids to be butterfly-clipped to the sides of her head.  Initially, she attempted to use clips she had made using clothespins and tissue-paper butterfly wings, but I convinced her that she'd be a lot more comfortable with small plastic clips.

Last but not least was an apron, because, after all, she had Art today and didn't want to ruin her outfit:

Of course, I wouldn't dream of missing such an important assembly, so I showed up in the afternoon to sit in the audience.  I got the pleasure of seeing Julia in the audience and sitting with her and one of her friends, who were much more sensibly dressed for the day:

Throughout the assembly, Madeleine sat still as a statue with a smile plastered on her face:

I made sure to video any part of the assembly that she took part in, so that none of you have to miss out on seeing it:

BRAVO, Madeleine!  So glad you had such an awesome performance experience!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Easter Weekend

It has been a busy weekend for the Rowes!  Yesterday, the girls had their swim banquet, and were delighted to both receive a trophy for their age group!  Madeleine got the MVP award, and Julia got Most Improved:

Despite getting a trophy for being the most valuable part of her age group, Madeleine decidedly opted to act like a toddler and set a great example for all her teammates by doing this with her cupcake:

After the girls went to bed last night, I agonized over where to hide their Easter baskets.  I was out of fresh, new ideas, and wanted to make my hiding spots challenging enough to merit a search but not so challenging that I would need to guide the kids along the whole time.  Julia is a ridiculously good hider in "Hide and Seek" and also tends to find hidden things *really* easily.  Madeleine is less able, as recently evidenced in her game of "Three-Digit Scoot."  I finally settled on hiding Julia's basket in Shannon's room, underneath her clothes rack and behind her row of shoes.  I hid Madeleine's on the window sill, behind the curtain in the play room.

This morning, nice and early, the kids burst into my bedroom to wish me a Happy Easter.  They were bright-eyed and bushy tailed and ready to hunt for their baskets.  I took a moment to get myself out of bed and then went downstairs, to find them both snuggling with Auntie Shannon in her bed.

ME: Are you gonna look for your Easter baskets?
JULIA: We're just really cold, so we had to get in bed.
ME: Well, Julia, I'll tell you one thing: you're definitely getting WARMER in here.
JULIA: Why?  Because I'm in bed?
ME: I'd just say that if you're looking for your Easter basket, you're getting WARMER.
JULIA: Why?  Because we're under the blankets?
ME: If you want to look for your Easter basket, you're pretty WARM already.
JULIA: What? Why am I warm?
ME: Where you are right now, you're definitely WARM.
JULIA: What?
MADELEINE: (speaking slowly, as if to a child) I *think* what Mommy's trying to say is that YOUR EASTER BASKET IS IN THIS ROOM, Julia.

Despite that super obvious hint, Julia proceeded to follow Madeleine and I out of the room as Madeleine went to search for her own basket.

JULIA: Mommy?  Can you just tell me whether my basket is hidden upstairs or downstairs?
ME: Honey.  I just gave you a HUGE hint.
JULIA: You did?  What was it?
ME: Oh my God.  Madeleine, can you please tell Julia where your Easter basket is?
MADELEINE: It's in Auntie Shannon's room.
JULIA: It is?  I didn't know that!

Seriously?!?  So much for expecting her to be a whiz at finding her basket.

At long last, both girls came across their baskets, and were able to peruse their loot:

Later in the morning, Julia, Madeleine, Yiayia and I headed to church for the Easter Vespers service, whereat I discovered the secret behind keeping Madeleine quiet and still.  Apparently, all it takes is a lit candle:

She sat and stood so erect and without a murmur that I was shocked.  At one point, I leaned over and whispered to her.

ME: (murmuring to Madeleine) You're showing me SUCH good behavior today.
MADELEINE: (whispering back without moving her head in my direction) This is TERRIFYING.
ME: Why??
MADELEINE: What if we light something on fire and burn down the entire CHURCH?

Luckily, nobody burned down the church, and we got out of the service and off to the following Easter egg hunt without calamity.

When we returned from church, we played the traditional Greek egg-cracking game called tsougrisma.  My family had grown up calling this game by a much simpler term: "Chingety-Mingety."  Hence, this is what my daughters also refer to the game as.  I displayed the carton of decorated eggs to all the players, allowing them to pick a color:

You'll notice the dark red egg in the bottom left slot; red eggs are a traditional part of Orthodox Easter, and are given out at the end of the service on Saturday evening and Sunday morning.  Madeleine had asked me to hold hers after the service so that she could go on the Easter egg hunt, and I promptly dropped it and cracked it on the pew floor.  Madeleine allowed me to put the egg in our carton to replace a previously eaten egg so that we had a full set.

MADELEINE: Oh, my red egg is in here, but I'm not gonna use it, because it already got Chingety-Minged!

This year's Tsougrisma champion was Julia, much to Madeleine's chagrin.  I was out on my first two attempts, cracking both ends of my egg, but both Rowe girls held strong until the very end.  Julia just edged out Madeleine by a hair (or hairline fracture,) and she is probably as proud of her victory as she was by yesterday's trophy.  Hey, it takes a lot of talent to be BOTH a fast swimmer AND a champion uncracked egg-holder!

Happy Easter to my fellow Orthodox blog-readers!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Talent Show

So, Madeleine came home from school today jubilant over her idea for the school talent show.  Apparently, she and her classmate, a new student from Australia, are going to sing a song together.  The song is one made up by Auntie Shannon that she sings with the kids as a joke.  It's to the tune of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and the words are:

Kookoo-Head Deluxe once said
Go to bed, wash your head.
Kookoo-Head Deluxe once said
Go to bed and wash your head.

I told her she needs to pick another song or another talent, and she burst into bitter tears.  

She also went to school wearing two coats today, one right over the other, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that she thought singing "Kookoo-Head Deluxe" would be a good idea for a talent show.