Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Irrational Fears


#1. Clowns

JULIA: (running inside from playing on her swing in the backyard) I had to come inside because I was afraid there's a clown in the shed and it was gonna come out and get me!

#2. Clowns, again

JULIA: Auntie Shannon came into my room to say good-night and I thought she was a clown and I *freaked out.*

#3. Madeleine's Halloween fairy costume

MADELEINE: (as we lay snuggling in her bed at bedtime) Mommy?  Sometimes when I see the shadow of my costume hanging, I get scared that it's Earl.
ME: That's silly.
MADELEINE: I know.  (silence) Mommy?  Can you please turn on my light and put my costume somewhere I can't see it?
ME: Why?
MADELEINE: Because I'm afraid it's Earl.
ME:  Honey, you know it's your costume.  It can't turn into Earl.
MADELEINE: Please Mommy?  I'm really scared.
ME: You don't need to be scared.
MADELEINE: But I am!  I'm afraid it's Earl and it's gonna come to life and start moving.

#4. A Flashing Light

JULIA: (coming into our bedroom with bedhead at 10:30 pm) There's a FLASHING LIGHT in my room and I don't know what it is!
ME: Maybe it's your watch.
JULIA: No, my watch isn't even in there!  Is it lightning?!?
JULIA: But I saw a flash and I'm scared.
ME: Honey, whatever flashed can't hurt you.  Just go back to bed.  It was probably a car driving by and its headlights flashed.
JULIA: But I saw it TWICE!
ME: I think you might have dreamed it.
JULIA: No, I saw it!
ME: Just go back to sleep, honey.  There's nothing to worry about.
JULIA: But I'm SCARED of it!

An hour later Julia re-emerged from the bedroom, looking even more disheveled, and began trying to go downstairs to the basement.  When Ethan asked her what she was doing, she told him she can't find her exercise bike and she was going to look for it.  He gently steered her back to bed.

Forget clowns, costumes, and flashing lights.  The thing I'm most scared of is what unpredictable thing Julia the Sleepwalker is going to do next!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Church Talk

Discussion on the way to church this morning:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  I think that in families with THREE children, it's best to be the MIDDLE, because then you know what it's like to be...
ME: To be older AND younger?
ME: Yeah, I've never known what it's like to be a little sister, because I'm the oldest.
MADELEINE: Oh.  I can teach you!
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: (after a thoughtful silence) Uh, Mommy, it would probably be better to do it when we get home from church.

Darn it.  I was hoping she was going to teach me while I was driving through Harvard Square.

Madeleine was certainly not acting very little in church today; in fact, she paid way more attention than usual.  I had the girls with me in the choir, and Madeleine spent the beginning of the service happily drawing pictures of witches on the pieces of blank paper I'd brought for her.  Then suddenly her conscience must have kicked in because she put the papers away and began standing up, looking at me with baleful eyes every few minutes.

ME: (leaning down to whisper) Honey, you can keep drawing if you want.
MADELEINE: (whispering vehemently) No, I can't!  I have to stand!
ME: (whispering back) It's okay if you want to sit down.
MADELEINE: (whispering vehemently) No it's NOT!
ME: (whispering back) It's okay with me.
MADELEINE: (whispering with fierce vitriol) I'll get KICKED OUT into the PARKING LOT!

Yeah.  That's the punishment for sitting.  Banishment to the parking lot!  Maybe God will smite you, too.

Meanwhile, Julia, who complained of being tired from the moment we set foot in church, happily sat her butt on the pew next to me without reservation.  I think my children have swapped bodies.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Home Response Journal

I think I'm in love with this Home Response Journal letter from Madeleine to me:

It's simply EQUSQUISIC, do'nt you think?  Here.  I'll make it esier.  Some things I think about this letter: Madeleine is adorable and her letter is STUPENDIOUS!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Traffic Light Magic

Driving Julia to swim practice tonight, starting to push on the gas as the traffic light turns green.

JULIA: (with awe) How do you and Daddy always KNOW when the light is about to turn green??
ME: Uh...because I saw it turn red on the lights on the other side of the intersection?
JULIA: (with wonder) Oh!!  I never thought of that!  Daddy did it yesterday and now you just did it and I was like...
ME: You were like "Gasp!  My parents are amazing!"
JULIA: I thought you had some power to, like, predict the lights changing, or, like, you could see the light turn a special kind of shade of red before it turned green!

I should've gone with special powers instead of giving her the real answer.  That would be way more exciting.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Foot to the Face

Julia has had her fair share of accidental swim collisions while at practices, the worst of which was at a swim clinic at Harvard.  The lane coach hadn't realized that Julia was still swimming back to the wall and let the next swimmer dive in; that swimmer subsequently dove right into Julia's face and broke her goggles in two.  Madeleine, unfortunately, had her turn tonight at swim practice, getting kicked in the cheek right where a very loose tooth is.  The tooth didn't come out, but it started to bleed, and Madeleine approached the wall in tears.  I went out onto the pool deck after her coach beckoned to me, and I gave her a little TLC and cleaned up the tooth.  She was able to get back in and finish the practice, but her little brush with danger brought a lot of concerned swimmers over to check if she was okay.

When practice was over, I got more details from Madeleine about what had happened.

ME: Did the person who kicked you say sorry?
MADELEINE: I don't think he even knew he kicked me.  I don't even really know who did it!
ME: Well, he probably didn't realize what happened either.  I saw a lot of kids asking if you were okay, though.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  One boy asked if I was okay when I got back into the pool, and another boy asked if I was okay after I did my "Underwater SOB," which is what happens if I have to cry when I'm at swim team.

On our way out of the locker room, a swarm of girls came over to ask Madeleine if she was okay, and as we left the Y, Madeleine proclaimed cheerily, "They're so NICE!"

In the car on our way home, Madeleine asked me if I was going to write about this on the blog, then deduced, "Probably NOT, because it's more SAD than funny, and I get the feeling that your blog is about FUNNY things."  I told her that I do usually try to write about funny things that happened, but that I could write about her foot-to-the-face incident if she wanted.  Madeleine then had another thought about what absolutely MUST be included on the blog.

MADELEINE: Wait, did you put "Refrigerated Veggies" on the blog??
ME: Uh...what?  No...what?
MADELEINE: You *have* to put it on!  It's so funny!
ME: What is it?
MADELEINE: Julia  sings it!

So, for your viewing pleasure, I now have a recording of Julia singing the world's most beautiful, not-at-all-likely-to-get-annoyingly-stuck-in-your-head jingle:

Yeah.  You're welcome.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Visit from the Grandparents

Auntie Shannon and Clara are away for the weekend, but we Rowes were joined by Nana and Gramps, aka the Vermont Rowes, for a weekend visit.  The girls had a blast with their grandparents, with Julia lending a beloved book she read to Nana and Madeleine setting up her "Museum" of puzzles.  This involves Madeleine doing every puzzle she owns and displaying them on the play basement rug, then donning a faux fur vest because that's just part of her Museum costume.

MADELEINE: (shouting up from the basement Friday afternoon) When are the grandparents coming?
ME: Tonight.
MADELEINE: Okay, good.  I *really* love this game, and we play it every time they come!

Nana and Gramps, we thank you for being such good sports and enthusiastic Museum visitors! ;)

Julia split her time between hanging with her grandparents and, alternately, galloping.  Gramps even commented to us, "Do you think one day in the future, Julia will be in a serious relationship, and when her boyfriend proposes, she'll say, 'There's one thing you should know about me.  Every day I have to stop what I'm doing and gallop for fifteen minutes or so?"  I mean, I'm guessing her boyfriend will already know about her galloping habit; if he spends any time with her, how can he not be aware of it??

Our guests just recently left, and they had not been out the door more than thirty seconds before Madeleine lamented their leaving.

MADELEINE: Don't ya just miss Nana and Gramps already?  And NOW I'm missing Auntie Shannon!
ME: You always get sad when people leave.  Remember you were sad when Yiayia left this summer too?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  YOU know what happened there.  TEARS.

I get it, Madeleine.  It's hard to live states away from your loved ones.  It's never easy saying good-bye!

While our guests were here, The Rowe household had an ongoing game of Hearts with Madeleine, Julia, Ethan, Gramps and I all vying for the win.  Julia ultimately ended up losing the game by going over 100 points, with Gramps and Madeleine neck and neck for the win.  I guess Madeleine just isn't ready for the Hearts fun to be over with, because she set up a four person game and dragged Ethan into it.

MADELEINE: Okay, Daddy, you're passing to Massager, and I'm passing to Mirror.
ETHAN: Wait.  How many people are playing this game?

Take a look: it's Ethan, Madeleine, a Bath & Body Works Happy Massager, and a Princess Mirror, all going at each other in a cut-throat game of Hearts:

I'm overhearing various game moves as it goes on.

ETHAN: Okay, well, Mirror took it.
MADELEINE: Wait!  It's Massage-it's massage- (changing to an affected speaking voice that I guess is supposed to be Massager's voice) It's my turn, right!
ETHAN: Mirror's like, "I'm gonna play a three."
JULIA: (galloping by) Is this game actually fun?
MADELEINE: (giggling) Not really!

I never quite understand what is going on in Madeleine's brain...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Walking into the house at 4:45pm after I picked up Julia from Honors Chorus

JULIA: I'm SOOOOOO hungry.
ME: I'm gonna feed you girls in 15 minutes because you need to eat early before swim.
JULIA: (sighing in bitter disappointment about having to wait 15 minutes)
MADELEINE: Wait!  Mommy, I never had snack! (scampering off to the kitchen and emerging eating a granola bar)
JULIA: Can I have some cinnamon bread?
ME: No, not right now.
JULIA: Then can I have some chips?  I'm so hungry!
ME: Honey, I'm going to feed you in nine minutes.
JULIA: I can't wait that long!
ME: Fine, I'll heat up dinner for you right now.
JULIA: How come Madeleine got to have a granola bar???
ME: She never had snack.  You had Goldfish for snack before chorus, remember?
JULIA: (sighing again in frustration)
ME: (heating up leftovers for both girls)
JULIA: Can I eat downstairs while I watch a show?
ME: If you're careful.
JULIA: I will be! (taking her plate downstairs and turning on "Full House.")
ME: Madeleine, there's dinner on the table for you.
MADELEINE: Uh...okay...(not moving an inch from her American Girls and their gymnastics set)
ME: Your dinner is ready, honey.
MADELEINE: Okay. (still not moving)
JULIA: (from downstairs) UGH!  Mommy!  I spilled my dinner!
ME: Pick it up!
JULIA: I'm trying to!  Clara.  Clara!  No!
ME: How much spilled?
JULIA: Uh...a LOT!

I ran downstairs to find Julia's dinner in her lap and Clara gobbling it up.  Meanwhile, Madeleine had finally clued in to dinner and was bringing her own plate downstairs.  Julia ate the little bit she'd been able to salvage and put back on her plate.

JULIA: Mommy?  Should I have a cupcake or ice cream??

Sigh.  At least Clara got a nutritious dinner.