Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sweet Potatoes

Madeleine seemed to like her sweet potatoes this evening, panting frantically in between bites if I wasn't fast enough with the next spoonful. Then upon finishing she suddenly started giving me this face:

Nice expression.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Play-dates and potties

Yesterday (the real yesterday), Julia had a friend from preschool over for a few hours to play. Natalie's mom dropped her off at our house, and the girls had lunch together and then spent the next couple of hours playing with Julia's kitchen set, dancing to music, doing play-doh, driving Matchbox cars around, and so forth. All and all it was a successful play-date, although I think it may have been about a half hour too long. Towards the end, Julia especially seemed to tire out, and started moving into cranky-mode. While both girls had their bouts of storming off pouting over something, Julia actually got visibly angry at one point. Most kids would lash out with something like, "I don't like you" or "You're not my best friend" when feeling upset, but Julia decided to go with something far less commonplace and far more disturbing. Instead, she pointed her finger vehemently at Natalie and spat out, "I want to eat you!" When Natalie was understandably shaken by this, I assured her that Julia was just kidding, to which Julia responded hotly, "No I'm not kidding. I want to eat Natalie." Where would she get such a notion? Well, last night I overheard Julia squealing and giggling in half-amusement, half-terror as Ethan pretended he was coming to gobble her up, so I think that answers that... I told him it might be time to curb the "eating Julia" games for awhile...

So, for those of you who don't like reading about poop (c'mon, honestly, who doesn't?), you may want to stop right here. Many of you know that for a long time, Julia could only poop on the potty if she took all her clothes off and shut the door for privacy. We had a rule that when she turned 3, she had to start wearing at least her shirt to go on the potty. With a little resistance at first, she finally complied, and now she proudly "stays" her shirt on while she's on the potty. However, she wouldn't be Julia without getting completely obsessed and hung up on the idea of having her shirt on to poop. The past few mornings, in the middle of breakfast, Julia has suddenly, desperately announced that she wanted to go pick out an outfit and change out of her pj's. Once returning from her room with her outfit, she announces that she needs to poop. On one such morning, I suggested she just try and poop with her pajama top on, since that's a shirt of sorts, and she replied, slightly panicked, "No, we don't wear pajamas to go poop!" Ethan and I have been thinking we need to start insisting she stop with all the ridiculous rituals surrounding poop on the potty (in addition to the shirt issue, she has to have the potty training seat on the potty - which she DOESN'T use to pee - and have anything that was in the toilet, including whiskers from Daddy's razor, a dead spider, or someone else's pee flushed down, plus have the stool by her feet and the door closed) and just go without any preamble. In order to prove our point, Julia actually had an accident this morning because she took so long trying to get her outfit picked out and get everything all set. It took two parents to try and deal with the aftermath - one parent to gather up all the soiled clothes to run to the laundry, and the other to try and clean up Julia and the toilet seat (upon which she sat while still covered in poop.) To add insult to injury, while we were all in the bathroom dealing with this, Madeleine decided it was time to master a new skill and got herself out of her car seat (into which I had plopped her to go deal with the Julia issue) and was hanging out on her tummy on the floor when we came out of the bathroom.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Potential suitors

Tonight at dinner, after Julia mistakenly interpreted Ethan's comment about his marinade as a comment about marrying, I asked Julia who she plans on marrying. Her response? "Um, I fink, Daddy." Whoa, slap in the face for Ethan - a few months ago her choice was always unequivocally Daddy. When he asked about the potential new candidates for the job, she thought for a minute, then gave us a huge, coy smile and said, "Fad." (For those of you who don't speak Julia, "Fad" would be Thad, Neva's husband.) Ethan then asked if there were others threatening his position as future husband, and it turns out Charlie and Mark are on the short list too. Which Mark? "Um, the Mark that's with Loula." Why not the other Mark? "Because I love the Mark that's with Loula." A few people we inquired about got a big fat no. Patrick was nixed - the reason being that "he already lives with Auntie Shannon." (Apparently not an issue with the other candidates, though, all of whom already live with their wives and children.) And when I asked her if she was going to marry Nate, who in my opinion is the best candidate of the bunch, seeing as he's almost exactly her age, one of her dearest and oldest friends, and currently unattached, her answer was an emphatic no. Why? "Because he's not a daddy!"

Hmm... all I can say is that Neva, Jen, Amy and I had better watch out...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Morning babbles, and a new skill

Madeleine started the morning off in a very chattery mood:

And aside from babbling, her newest trick is that she figured out how to operate the push button on one of her toys to get it to spin around. She's not quite the picture of grace as she does this; rather, she likes to flap her hand around spasmodically as hard as she can, but she probably makes contact with the button about 90% of the time. It's pretty neat to see that she's learning cause-and-effect, and also pretty amusing to see the ferocity with which she goes after that yellow button. She would have probably made a good candidate for Desmond's replacement on LOST, except for the fact that if she looks away from the button she tends to lose her bearings and whack the air instead:

Friday, March 26, 2010


Julia, like most 3 year olds, has a relatively limited understanding of time. In her view, anything that happened before the present day was "yesterday," whether it was a year ago, a few weeks ago, or literally yesterday. Since this can sometimes cause alarm in people (like when she told the baby-sitter "Yesterday I threw up in my bed," when it had really happened a month prior), I've tried explaining that yesterday is actually just the day that came right before this one, and if she wants to refer to a different day in the past, she can just say "The other day." This caused even more confusion, and before I knew it, Julia was saying "tomorrow" instead of "yesterday." (As Ethan put it, there are two options for describing anything besides today; "yesterday," or "tomorrow." So of the two choices, tomorrow would be the "other" day.) Julia just referred to three different "yesterdays" as we ate lunch this afternoon:

JULIA: Mom, are you eating leftovers for lunch?
ME: Yes, this is the tofu leftover from dinner on Wednesday.
JULIA: Mom, do you remember that yesterday when we were eating the tofu I thought it was too spicy and I just wanted bread instead?
ME: Yes, I remember you thought it was spicy.
JULIA: (eyeing the banana she's eating) Mom, do bananas grow in the ground like carrots?
ME: No, bananas grow on trees.
JULIA: Does basil grow on a tree?
ME: No, basil is like a plant that grows up from the ground. We pick the leaves off and cook with them.
JULIA: And do we cook with lettuce?
ME: Well, we don't usually cook with lettuce. We use it in our salad.
JULIA: Yesterday when I was at Katie's house Katie's mommy was pretending to be a doggie and she said, "Lettuce is disgusting!"
ME: (not bothering to point out that said incident happened about 3 weeks ago) Oh, really?
JULIA: Mom, do you know what I think is disgusting? Dasparagus.
ME: Well, asparagus is really good for you, so I hope that someday you'll like it.
JULIA: Do you remember yesterday when I was eating my dasparagus that I said I don't think I really like it?
ME: Yes, I remember that last week you didn't like your asparagus.
JULIA: Well, maybe when I'm bigger like 7 or 8 I'll like my dasparagus. Because I think that girls who are 7 or girls who are 8 like dasparagus, but I think that girls who are only 3 don't really like to eat dasparagus.

Perhaps when she's 7 or 8 and starts to like asparagus, she will ask me, "Mom? Do you remember yesterday when I thought dasparagus was disgusting?"

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Madeleine tells it like it is

Madeleine has been babbling a lot lately, often seeming like she really intently wants to tell us something, and getting especially righteously indignant if we don't comply with her request. To give us some credit, however, it's often hard to know exactly what she wants when most every request comes across as: "A bay bay bay bay," or sometimes "A day day bay bay." True, here and there we get "A day day boo goo" or something more varied, but we really haven't gotten the translations down pat. My guess would be most of the babbles mean, "Pick me up," but since we are not yet fluent it's really hard to say. We managed to get some of her chatter on video over the past few days. Here she is letting me have it:

And here she is telling Ethan like it is, though she gets temporarily distracted from her tirade by a couple of "A-boo"s:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


So, here's what Julia said to her beloved baby-sitter last night right before Ethan and I were set to leave:

(Running over to Jeannie and stopping right in front of her, so that her head was right at crotch level.) Loud chomping noise. "I ate your penis."

Um. Wow. And do I even need to point out that Jeannie is in fact female? Seeing as Julia asked me randomly a few weeks ago if Jeannie is human, it's hard to know what she really thinks Jeannie is. And seeing as she once asked Ethan about his vagina, I can't help but wonder if she *really* has the hang of male/female anatomy yet.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yes, please, and other Julia-isms

Lately, in lieu of stating her wants as a demand, Julia has been attempting to use her manners, probably realizing that we're a lot quicker to satisfy her request immediately if she asks politely. We've been working on manners for what seems like forever, and some days it feels like it's all in one ear and out the other; however, clearly she has been absorbing all of the different polite phrases we're trying to teach her, to the point where she's gotten herself confused. Her newest thing is to say "yes please" after requesting something, rather than after being offered something appealing. As in the request she put forth this morning when going into living room to play:

"Mommy, can you turn the light on in here yes please?" (beaming at me proudly, waiting to be acknowledged for remembering to use her manners.)

I'm just so thrilled that she's asking politely rather than screaming, "Mom! Turn the light on!" that I don't want to risk trying to explain the difference of use between "please" and "yes please" for fear of losing the manners all together... at least not until the use of manners is more ingrained!

Some other random Julia quotes from the past few days:

"Mommy, would you like me to flashlight you and make you into God, and Mary and Jesus?"

"Mom, I'm so happy I have a nice mommy, not a mean mommy like Cinderella has."

"Mama, I can help you feed Madeleine when I'm bigger, when I grow up and I get breasts, I can feed her too." (Somehow I don't think Madeleine is going to go for that.)

"I love you, Mama. Sooooo much. I love you all the ways of yes." (I wonder if she loves me all the ways of yes please, too.)

And finally, two new imaginary characters have joined the house. They're invisible so I can't take their picture. Their names are Youcawanna and Mashannon.They're the friends of Laurie and Scott (two of her Little People figurines), and they're coming over in the morning. I'll let you know if I get the chance to meet them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Ever since witnessing my tummy grow big and seeing Madeleine as a newborn, Julia has been interested in how different animals have their babies. I've explained to her that mammals grow their babies in their tummies just like people do, which prompts her to ask about most every animal she encounters, "Mom, is a (fill-in-the-blank) a mammal?" If I answer in the affirmative, she'll assert, "Oh, so they have a baby in their tummy?" A few days ago she started asking me why people have hair on their arms and legs, which led to another discussion of mammals and how they have hair on their bodies, whereas reptiles, for instance, have scaly skin. She began classifying different animals as mammals and others as reptiles, and I was amazed at how well she understands the concept. Or so I thought... this weekend, we had a visit from Auntie Shannon, Patrick, and Clara the chihuahua, and when I tried to show Auntie Shannon my brilliant daughter's amazing understanding of mammalian properties, the following conversation ensued:

ME: Julia, what do you think dogs are if the mommies have the babies in their tummies?
JULIA Um, to a DOG hospital!
ME: no, what kind of animals are dogs if the mommies have babies in their tummies?

This led to me re-explaining the idea that mammals carry babies in their tummies, while reptiles lay eggs. She then held up Butt Crocodile and asked me if he's a reptile. I told her that yes, indeed he is, although in retrospect I probably should have told her that no, he's an amphibian, seeing as Butt Crocodile is really a tadpole:

Butt Crocodile

Friday, March 19, 2010


And now, time to share another conversation, this time with Madeleine (which admittedly means it was rather one-sided.) First, a little background: for whatever reason, Madeleine derives immense pleasure from hearing someone say "A-boo!" to her. I find this really fascinating, since it seems to me that she's actually associating that particular phrase with something humorous; if we make the same facial and bodily gestures but say something else, she just stares at us like we're too embarrassing for her to waste her time with us. But if we say "A-boo!" she'll flash us one of her winning smiles, and if we repeatedly say "A-boo!" she'll usually start giggling.

MADELEINE: fussing because I left the room, even though I'm still in eyesight.
ME: It's okay, Madeleine! (looking at her and smiling): A-boo!
MADELEINE: smile forming around the edges of her pacifier.
ME: A-boo!
MADELEINE: Wider smile, almost loses pacifier, latches back onto it with a vengeance.
ME: A-boo-boo!
MADELEINE: Clearly overwhelmed by the magnitude of her joy, smiles widely, flaps arms ecstatically, loses balance and flails around, nearly toppling over, regains balance, and resumes serious, I'm-about-to-fuss expression.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Another two conversations


JULIA: Mom, I said "A-boo!" to Madeleine and she was cracking up!
ME: She loves you, Julia. She thinks you're SO funny.
JULIA: Mom, I bet when you were a baby, Daddy said "A-boo" to you.
ME: Actually, Daddy didn't know me when I was a baby. He was a baby too. But I bet MY Daddy said "A-boo" to me a lot.
JULIA: And what was your Daddy's name?
ME: His name was Gary, but you knew him as Grandpa.
JULIA: (thoughtful for a few seconds.) Mom? And was your mommy still Yia-yia?


Ethan, in an attempt to join in some of Julia's fantasy play, started the following conversation:

ETHAN: Julia, we should give you a different name. How about we call you Esmerelda?
JULIA: (laughing) NO! My name is Julia!
ETHAN: How about Josephine? Or Calliope?
JULIA: No! I'm Julia!
ETHAN: How about we call you Cracky?
JULIA: No, I don't like to be named after my pets.
ETHAN: I know. We can call you Butt Julia.
JULIA: (cracking up.) Butt Julia! Hahahaha! Butt Julia!
ETHAN: Or Bum Julia.
JULIA: That would be funny if I was Bum Julia!
ETHAN: But I don't think we really want to call you that, because we don't want people thinking you're a bum.
JULIA: But I have a bum.
ETHAN: You do? You have a bum?
JULIA: Yes, and you have a bum too!
ETHAN: No, I don't have a bum.
JULIA: Yes you do! You have a bum, because you're my daddy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Once Upon a Dream

Julia's rendition of "Once Upon a Dream:"

And here you can see we have our own Sleeping Beauty:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Two conversations with Julia


JULIA: Mom, have you ever eaten a viperfish?
ME: No, I've never eaten viperfish before.
JULIA: Have you ever eaten a whale?
ME: Nope, I've never eaten a whale.
JULIA: Did you ever eat cats?
ME: No, people don't eat cats.
JULIA: But, I did when I was a baby.
ME: No, I don't think I ever fed you a cat when you were a baby.
JULIA: Well, when I was a baby, I ate myself!


JULIA: Mom, when I wake up tomorrow, will it still be a weekend?
ME: Yes, tomorrow is Sunday.
JULIA: Oh, so it's Sunday tomorrow.
ME: Yes, Saturday and Sunday are the weekend days. Then on Monday, it's back to the work week.
JULIA: Mommy, I don't like the work week.
ME: You don't? Why not?
JULIA: Because I like it when it's Mommy, Julia, Madeleine, and Ethan!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Madeleine's new hat

Julia gave Madeleine a new high fashion look this morning:

Friday, March 12, 2010

Creative moves

Julia started a gymnastics class at Creative Movement a few weeks ago, and she has been learning all sorts of new moves and terms (like "chasse" - I had never heard that one before) and showing them off at home for us. I took a video of her going through the whole routine in our living room. My favorite is her "straddle jump," which looks more like some sort of spasm than an actual straddle:

After Julia put on her show, I tried recording Madeleine for a few minutes, and you can see how well Julia shared the limelight:

The Rowe girls have had a very nice (but tiring!) week - Ethan was away on business, and we did a bunch of fun "girls" activities, including going out for a pancake breakfast, going to Open Gym time at Creative movement, baking chocolate chip cookies, and having dinner at my friend Emily's house (which meant my two kids could play with her two kids...) It's definitely nice to have Ethan back home though, especially since he was here to help out with the bedtime routine last night. He seemed to enjoy the conference he was at yesterday, although you'd think a bunch of intelligent, technically proficient people could have done a better job with his name tag:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Birds, bones, and butts

The lyrics to Julia's newest made-up song: "Homie homie, dead bird dead bird, homie homie, dead bird dead bird..."

The dead bird fascination comes from a recent afternoon out in the back yard. Ethan and I saw her poking at something on the grass that we both swore was a bird. We freaked out, and when Ethan ran over to her to tell her not to touch dead birds, it turned out the bird was really just a big stick. Since then, she has been talking non-stop about dead birds and has asked me probably a thousand times "why did you and Daddy fink the stick was a dead bird? Mama, what does dead bird mean?"

In an equally morbid vein, last night I was putting Julia to bed and when I went to give her a big snuggly hug good-night, her response to my affections was: "Excuse me, I'm just eating your bones."
Oh. Okay.

And finally, I'll share with you the conversation we had while cleaning up Julia's toys the other evening:
ME: Julia, can you please bring your tadpole up to your room?
JULIA: Uh, no, Mommy, that's Butt Crocodile.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Feeding the babies

Yesterday Julia's friend Nate came over to play, along with Nate's little sister Anja (who is two months younger than Madeleine.) I guess the big kids have seen a lot of feedings going on because they both decided to nurse their baby dolls together:

Julia feeding Baby Dashiell

Nate feeding Baby Julia

My favorite exchange between the two kids was hearing Julia say, "Okay, now let's try the other side," followed by Nate announcing, "I already did the other side!"

Monday, March 8, 2010

New pretend friends

So... for those of you who missed it on facebook:

Julia's now has a "pet" elephant. She named it Cracky. And her pet crocodile (which is actually really a tadpole stuffed animal) is named Butt Crocodile.

Hmmm. Can't wait for her to bring those into preschool for show and tell.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Julia got a glimpse of one of my favorite movies yesterday afternoon when Ethan was browsing through channels and came across "O Brother Where Art Thou?" He had it on in the background while stretching after a run, and before we knew it, Julia was practically glued to the tv, filled with a million questions and observations about what was going on. Until, that is, she got scared of the scene where the siren-like women are washing clothes in the river and singing "Go to Sleep My Little Baby." She was, in fact, so terrified of this part that she needed to leave the room. I think it's probably my fault she got scared - she asked me what they were doing, and in an attempt to explain things as simply and cleanly as possible, I said, "They're putting a spell on the boys so the boys will fall asleep." I guess that must have been a little too reminiscent of Maleficent and Sleeping Beauty for her and freaked her out. She spent the rest of the afternoon randomly asking me questions like: "Mom, why did those girls need to wash their clothes in the river?" "Mom, where did those girls live?" "Mom, were those girls mean?" I fear a new obsession may have been born.

Lest you think we spent all of this absolutely gorgeous day in front of the tv, I did take the girls out to the playground this afternoon and Madeleine had a great time in the bucket swing. Since she starting sitting unsupported unusually early, I think she's a little smaller than the usual size of baby that sits in these things:

As you can see her head barely peeps up above the top of the bucket.

I think she was pooped after being out and about this afternoon, because she fell asleep a good hour earlier than usual last night:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Disney princesses get violent, and Julia "reads"

As you know, Julia is BIG into pretend play lately. One of the most amusing things about her play is that she is often overheard narrating what's going on between her play characters. Examples: "You were being mean to me, Princess Courtney,' Emma said sadly" or "I'm exploring all over the place!' Ariel exclaimed to her new friend." I managed to capture some of this on video; no small feat, seeing as she usually becomes very self-conscious once the camera is on. The following is an excerpt of the Disney princesses getting violent on poor Snow White:

Perhaps her narrative-style play comes from the fact that she has practically memorized all her Disney princess books:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Boys, diapers, and losers

Julia has made a lot of new friends at preschool this year, yet for some reason she has exhibited a crippling shyness in regards to the boys in her class. I find this surprising, seeing as the vast majority of her play-mates before starting school have been male, due to the large number of friends and family members giving birth to baby boys the year she was born. She refuses to even say the names of any boys in her class, claiming she doesn't know their names; however, she's not fooling anyone. She slipped up with me one day when we were looking at pictures of her classmates. In one picture, twins Lilly and Matthew were dressed up in their Halloween costumes; when I asked Julia who was in the picture, she responded, "That's Lilly and Matth-" then caught herself, turned her head away from the picture and said, "I don't know who he is." After being invited to a birthday party for classmate Cooper, Julia finally allowed herself to talk about him to us, but the rest of the boys remained nameless. Yesterday after school Julia told me, "Mom, today at snack I sat with Cooper and nobody else." Since I used to work at her preschool and I know that each snack table seats 5-6 kids, I was skeptical. I asked her if there were other boys at her table, and she admitted there were. After asking her if she would be willing to say their names if I said them first, she managed to shyly repeat each boy's name after me, and seems to have finally gotten over her obstacle; she is now openly talking about all of the boys at school without any issue. Why that happened to work I don't know, but I'm glad at least that she seems to have "unstuck" herself and has decided that the boys don't have cooties after all.

Speaking of cooties, I put Madeleine down on her play blanket, surrounded with baby toys, for a minute to run to the bathroom. When I got back into the room I found that she had maneuvered her body around and had gotten ahold of a new toy to rub her face against and chew on:

In case you can't tell, it's a dirty diaper. One that I apparently forgot to throw away after last changing her. Clearly it was much more interesting than her toys. Off to the left you can just make out the snout and foot of poor, spurned Dickie Dragon.

And finally, Julia just showed me the following picture in her Disney princess coloring book:

and commented, "Mom, I think this is Sleeping Beauty's wedding dress! Hey Mom, it's kind of like a loser!"
I'm sure Ethan would not object to his daughter associating the word "loser" with a Disney princess...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A question from Julia

Random question of the day: "Mama? Why do princesses need to have a neck?"

(Perhaps I should have answered: "Because if they had no necks, their heads would fall off, and then they would be losers.")

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sleeping and eating

Given that I need to be laying on my side with a quilt and a Moshi pillow underneath my arm, with my head on two pillows (not just any two pillows - two specific pillows that I even travel with because I can't sleep on any others) with two comforters over me in order to sleep, I'm not surprised that both my girls are very particular about their sleep environment. Since she was a newborn, Madeleine has needed to press her cheek against something soft in order to fall asleep, to the point where she would turn her head all the way to the side in order to have her cheek laying against her crib mattress at night. This method of comforting herself has become more extreme lately; she seems to need something soft against her whole face for maximum soporific effect. I've started giving her a cow taggie to hold to her cheek while she falls asleep, and it's a pretty regular occurrence to find her in her crib like this when I go to check on her:

Or, sometimes she's wearing it on her head like a hat:

And on a different subject, I tried feeding Madeleine peaches for the first time today. They were a big hit:

I think we'll hold off on those for awhile and maybe try bananas or some sort of blander fruit instead...