Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Conversations in the car, and more

As we were driving Julia to school:

JULIA: Mommy, do you know what an invisible rainbow looks like?
ME: Um, no, I don't. Do you?
JULIA: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. I do. It looks like nothing.
ME: Oh, wow, okay.

After dropping Julia off, Madeleine and I went to the bank, which wound up being more of an outing than expected. The drive-up ATM was not accepting check deposits, so I had to circle back around the bank and park in the street a block or so away. While inside the front lobby, as I was using the ATM that very helpfully only accepts one check at a time for deposits, Madeleine decided to practice her continually developing walking skills. With each check I deposited, I would find her toddling just a little bit further away. "Madeleine," I'd call sternly, and she'd stop and bobble in place, at which point I'd turn my attention back to the machine and deposit a new check. By the time I finished with my fifth and last check, I turned to see her walking directly towards one of the little cubicles in which a bank employee was having a meeting with a customer. Squealing with glee, Madeleine began booking it as fast as her little Pinocchio legs could take her, despite my protests. Luckily, while she's walking quite well now, she's not quite ready to run, so she went kerplop right on her bottom about two steps outside of the cubicle, giving me time to run over and scoop her up.

When we got back outside, I decided to try something that had been one of Julia's favorite activities at this age: "walkin' agether." I let Madeleine walk beside me on the sidewalk while I held her hand, and she loved it. She even drew the attention of an older couple who had to stop and talk with us. Madeleine smiled sweetly at them while wrapping her arms around my leg in a death grip. After that point she was ready to be held, just to be sure she wasn't about to be handed off to some stranger on the sidewalk.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Walking, walking...

Madeleine has really been polishing her walking skills; she no longer needs her arms out like Frankenstein for balance. She still walks a bit as if her legs are made of wood, but she's definitely getting the hang of it. She's much more confident about taking steps now, and doesn't shy away from trying to get from here to there on foot. Here's a video of some of her newfound ambulatory skill (with some attempts at scene-stealing from another member of this household...):

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Things kids say

Julia just said to me: "Mom, I'm really in a big Julia Rowe phase."

I should hope so. I wonder what phase she was in before she got into a Julia Rowe phase.

And Madeleine has picked up a new word this week: "shoe." Now, one would think that after alllll that "sh" practice when she persisted on saying "shit," she'd have no trouble at all saying "shoe." Wrong. "Madeleine, that's your shoe!" "Doo! Doo."

Close enough, for now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Wise Old Eye

So, I can't help but wonder, are other people's kids as weirdly imaginative (and as easily sucked into fantasy pretend world) as mine? Today while Julia was pooping on the potty, she got involved in some made-up game and had to share it with me. "Mommy! Do you want to come see the wise old eye?" "Um... sure," I replied, and Julia flung open the door excitedly, pointing to the little keyhole underneath the doorknob:

"That's the wise old eye. He's a boy," she told me, then pulled the door inward to point to the keyhole on the other side:

"And that's the OTHER wise old eye. She's a girl," she explained.

Lucky for me, it doesn't take much to entertain this kid.

Friday, November 26, 2010


The Rowe household had a nice Thanksgiving yesterday, and everyone is really excited to kick off a four-day weekend. Ethan made the turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and vegetables, while I baked pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie and cooked the applesauce. Julia enjoyed eating apple peels while I prepared the sauce, whereas Madeleine didn't really know what to make of the bites of apple Ethan offered her:

As for the dinner itself, Madeleine gobbled up her turkey and stuffing, while Julia happily ate her applesauce, red peppers, and bread, but said she didn't like the turkey, and the stuffing tasted like someone had cooked a dog in it. To each his own, I suppose. Luckily, the pumpkin pie was a hit all around the table; Julia even had two pieces.

This morning, it seems that despite our big feast last night, Madeleine was still hungry enough, she'd eat a sock:

Happy belated Thanksgiving, everyone! I am certainly thankful for these two sweet little goofballs I've got, and for all the smiles and joy they bring me!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Julia!

I cannot believe Julia is 4 years old already! While in some ways it's hard to remember that there was ever a time without Julia, it's also amazing to me that the little baby who I held in my arms for the first time on Thanksgiving day four years ago is now a galloping, skipping, running, bike-riding, potty-trained, name-writing preschooler. (And not to mention big sister to my 1-year-old!)

There seems to be some element of confusion for Julia as to why she's having "another" birthday. I've tried explaining the difference between a birthday party and an actual birthday, but I don't think it makes much sense to her yet, seeing as she followed up my explanation by asking, "And tomorrow I'm gonna turn five?" She has also responded to everyone's birthday greetings with, "Happy Birthday." As in: "Happy Birthday, Julia!" "Happy Birthday, Auntie Caitlyn." Again, I tried to explain to her that unlike "Hi" or "I love you," "Happy Birthday" does not require a return birthday greeting, but that instead she should say "Thank you."

We started the birthday off with some chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, which both girls devoured:

We spent the mid-morning enjoying the 60+ degree temps by taking a walk to the playground, then went home for lunch and afterwards brought Julia to school. I had a special birthday surprise for her after Madeleine and I picked her up; instead of driving home, I took the kids to:

Kids Fun Stop, an indoor play place in West Roxbury.

"Happy Birthday, Julia!" I said as we pulled into the parking lot.
"Happy Birthday. Thank you," she replied.

The kids had a blast playing inside, and I can't really blame them, since it's kind of a kiddie wonderland:

Some pictures of our afternoon:

Julia understood the concept of going home to meet up with Daddy and go out to a restaurant of her choice for dinner (anyone want to wager a guess on which one she chose?) Madeleine didn't, so it was like pulling teeth to get her out of there. She was writing around in my lap as I tried to put her shoes on, and continually crawled (or walked - hooray!) off to play everytime I let go of her. When we pulled in our drirveway, Madeleine began kicking her legs delightedly, which Julia interpreted as: "Mommy, Madeleine is happy of JOY because she thinks we're back at Kids Fun Stop!"

We are off soon for the birthday dinner, followed by family gifts to round out the evening. Happy Birthday, Julia!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Julia's musings

Two conversations with Julia:

#1, while eating Honey Wheat Pretzels for snack:

JULIA Mommy? Where do honey wheat pretzels grow?
ME: They don't grow anywhere. They're made out of wheat flour. They're baked in an oven.
JULIA: Oh. So they're whole wheat?
ME: No, they're made out of regular wheat. White wheat flour.
JULIA: Oh. Mommy? I know a special kind of Honey Wheat Pretzels that are made out of whole wheat sugar.

#2, as we were coloring in Julia's new princess coloring book:

JULIA: Mom, I know a pretend movie about Mary and Joseph, and it's called "When God Lived in the Castle" but it's really called "The Sign of the Cross" and it's about the castle where Mary and Joseph chose to live.
ME: What did they do there?
JULIA: Well, they went in a dragon statue's mouth, and they found all these jewels, that cheered them up.
ME: Where was Jesus?
JULIA: Jesus was still in Mary's tummy. And they called him Jesus Falastay, as his nickname.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Birthday girl

Julia had a great time at her birthday party today; I mean, really, what's better than having all your friends over, getting to watch one of your favorite movies, eating popcorn, then two pieces of cake, AND getting a bunch of presents? And I have to say, as much as I found humor in the fact that, instead of renting a space like Creative Movement or the play room at the Y, Julia preferred to have all her friends over to watch "Dora Saves the Mermaids," the movie really was a hit! The kids were totally engrossed in it for the 45 minutes that the movie ran, making noise only to shout out the friendly commands Dora asks for help with ("SWIPER NO SWIPING!") So, after all my worry about cramming 15+ kids into our small condo, it turns out Julia's idea was a great one and the kids had a blast.

Madeleine spent a lot of the day getting into mischief, which is really to be expected considering the adults were being boring and cleaning the house all morning. At one point, while I was in the kitchen checking on the cake in the oven, I heard noise in the hallway. Since I knew Madeleine was playing in the living room, I assumed it was Julia, who had been playing in her room, and called her name. After I didn't get a response, and called a few more times, I peeked my head into the hallway, only to see this:

Wait a minute. She was playing in the living room, and the gate between the kitchen and hallway was locked. I was confused. I couldn't understand how on earth she got in the hallway. Then I looked up and saw this:

Apparently she has figured out how to open the door between the living room and hallway.

Furthermore, while the kids watched "Dora Saves the Mermaids" in the living room, Madeleine decided to wreak havoc on the set-up I was doing in the dining room. As I put out plates and napkins to get ready for cake, Madeleine decided to do this:

She climbed up onto the little table, which was set for four kids, considering the big table could only fit about 10 at most. Then she proceeded to pick up each plate and napkin individually and drop them on the floor, proclaiming, "Uh-oh!" after dropping each one. Luckily she wasn't big enough to climb up on this one:

At any rate, party is done, Julia is playing with her presents, Madeleine is crawling around eating things off the floor, and in a few hours, parents can (finally) relax!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Baby Dashiell's birthday

Yesterday was Baby Dashiell's birthday, and Julia had a big party for her. All of the other babies came, but interestingly, Dashiell was the only one of the sextuplets who turned one. Here are some photos of the festivities:

Today the girls have been playing house. Since the big box house was starting to fall apart (thanks to all the climbing on it and sliding down it), I had to throw it in the recycling bin, so Julia decided to make a new house:

This is her new favorite game; putting a blanket over her art table, turning off the dining room lights, and hiding out underneath with a flashlight:

It wasn't long before Madeleine decided to join her. There are few things she loves more than climbing around under tables, after all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cartacarizza's castle

Last night Julia and Ethan built a castle out of wooden blocks, and it became the palace of Cartacarizza, Project Daddy, and their daughter, Princess Maggie. Despite the magnificence of the architecture, they preferred spending their time outside of the castle:

Maggie tried to get adventurous and go inside, but she was scared of the spooky dark in there, so she didn't want to linger:

Then Cartacarizza had to go looking for her daughter, because she was concerned:

After which she reported back to project Daddy:

In Julia's own words, "Maggie went into the castle, then got out, Cartacarizza got up to see if Maggie FINALLY went into the castle, but she didn't. She went off to the North Pole."

Phew. Good thing Maggie was in the North Pole and not the castle when this happened:

And on a new topic, Julia, Madeleine and I took a trip to the Party Store shortly before school today to buy goody bags and party favors for her upcoming birthday party. Afterwards, I suggested we swing by the nearby toy store to get a gift for a party she's going to tomorrow. After sitting in traffic at the very first light we hit, I began to rethink things, leading to this conversation:

ME: Julia, I don't know, I'm starting to think we should turn around and go home because I'm afraid we won't make it to school on time if we try to go to the toy store now. What do you think, honey?
JULIA: Um, I think... if we all work TOGETHER, we can make it really quick!

We were late for school.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Astronaut Madeleine

I had intended to post these pictures days ago, but I think I got swept up in the whirlwind of croupy kids, and forgot all about it. So, now that life has settled down a little bit, I present to you Astronaut Madeleine:

It was Julia's idea, of course.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Storage bins

I've grown tired of Madeleine getting her hands all over our stack of DVDs every day and scattering both the cases and discs all over the living room rug, so I asked Ethan to pick up some plastic bins this weekend to use as storage cases for the DVDs and loose CDs we have. I should have known that solving one problem would just open the door for another one. Here's what the girls think about the new bins:

Hours of fun to be had trying to touch things that were formerly out of reach!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekend activities

Julia had a surprise visitor yesterday, which just about made her entire week:

After a week of missing preschool, multiple play-dates, and her good buddy Nate's birthday party, Julia was pretty desperate for some kids to play with. And when her beloved former next-door neighbor Jovina walked into our kitchen, Julia was so delighted that she immediately threw her arms around her friend. I dare to say I was just about as happy to see Jovina's mommy after a week of quarantine as she was to see her pal!

This morning, ready to finally brave an outing in the real world again, the Rowe girls decided to go to church. It was an important service, as the Bishop was visiting, and as a choir member I was supposed to be there early to rehearse the special, additional music we were singing. Never before has a morning gone so badly...

8:10am - Ethan comes in to wake me up. I had not intended to sleep so late, but had been up much of the night tending to Julia's cough. He tells me what time it is, and realizing I need to be driving him to church in 5 minutes, hop out of bed. We grab the kids out of their rooms, and all pile into the car in pj's (except for Ethan) to drop him off at his church choir rehearsal. We then drive back to our house to begin the scramble to get ready for church ourselves.

8:30am - I put on a show for Julia (per her request), give Madeleine some Cheerios in her high chair, and jump in the shower. Madeleine screams for me the entire time, so when I get out, I give her a bagel half to keep her occupied, then run upstairs to get dressed in my church clothes. I come down carrying the girls' dresses and take Madeleine out of her high chair to get her dressed. I start the bath for Julia, who hops in, and put on Madeleine's tights and shoes, only to discover I had somehow dropped her dress en route downstairs. As Julia is hollering for me from the bath asking me to soap her up, Madeleine starts gagging, then vomits all over the dining room floor and herself. I see chunks about the size of a quarter bagel in the puke, realizing she had stuffed such huge bites into her mouth to the point that she induced vomiting. As I'm trying to clean her up and keep myself from gagging from the stench, Julia is screaming to me that she needs me to do her soap.

9am: I soap up Julia with one hand holding my bagel, taking frantic bites, then get her out of the bath and help her get dressed.
JULIA: Mommy, when are we leaving for church?
ME: Um, probably in about 15 minutes.
JULIA: Nooooo, Mommy, I want to go to church RIGHT NOW!
ME: Well, I'm not ready right now. I still have to dry my hair and print out the order of music for today.
JULIA: Nooooo, I want to go NOOOOOW!
ME: I need you to go up to your room and get your black dress shoes. Can you do that please?

Julia stomps up to her room, slamming the door over and over, then comes downstairs and says, "Mommy, I CAN'T go to church. I don't DESERVE to go to church."
ME: Well, we are going to church.
JULIA: No, I CAN'T go to church. I'm too sick.
ME: Okay. (Walking off and ignoring her.)

She then decided it was more exciting upstairs, so stomped back up to her room.

9:15am: I went into the bathroom to quickly dry my hair, while Madeleine opened and closed cupboards in the kitchen. As I was drying the back portion of hair, I turned to peek at Madeleine only to realize she wasn't there.
ME: Madeleine?
JULIA: (from upstairs) Uh, Mommy, um, Madeleine decided she wanted to play in MY room.
ME: Did she go up the stairs herself?
JULIA: Yeah, she just crawled in here.

I then ran upstairs to get Madeleine, and figured while I was upstairs I would change her diaper, despite my half-wet hair. I got her onto the changing pad and whipped off her diaper, only to discover an unexpected poop. As I was wiping it, the pretty, lacy, billowy sleeve of my fancy sweater dipped into the diaper. Shoot. Had it made contact with the poop? Sniff... yep. I ripped the sweater off over my head, changed the poopy diaper, then went into my bedroom to throw on another outfit. Madeleine crawled around my bedroom floor and decided to start unwrapping Nate's birthday present, which we had not been able to give him yesterday, seeing as we had to miss the party.

9:30am: I brought the kids downstairs, packed up the diaper bag, handed Julia a sippy cup of water (I'm not thiiiiiirsty Mooooommy!) and started hauling everything and everyone down the stairs and into the car. I had just locked up the back door (whose lock is warped and doesn't open by key anymore) when I realized Julia was not holding her water.

ME: Julia, you didn't bring your water with you?
JULIA: solemnly shaking her head.
ME: *Sigh.* Oh well.
JULIA: (frantically) Get it!!!
ME: Julia, I can't get back in the door now, I locked it.
JULIA: (bursting into tears) But Mommy! How will we get to church?
ME: Julia. I have my keys with me. We can drive to church. I can also go in the front door and get your cup if you'd like.
JULIA: Nods tearfully.

So I run in, grab the water, zip out to the car and we're on our way. Not until we're partway there do I remember the order of music with special changes that I'd diligently printed out, sitting on our dining room table. At this point we were late enough, so I had to let it go. One thing I must always keep in mind: try to go ANYWHERE with kids, and be prepared to be totally unprepared.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dancing and walking

Madeleine has been on her feet a lot lately, both dancing and - finally! - walking. While she kind of walks like Frankenstein, bobbling around drunkenly with her arms out for balance, she has at last decided she feels secure enough to try and get around on foot. Out of nowhere, she suddenly seemed to feel ready yesterday, and since then has been toddling her way here and there, undaunted by her wipe-outs. (In fact, she seems to enjoy exclaiming, "Woah! Woah!" after a spill.) While I wasn't able to get a lot of walking on video, due the gigantic mess of toys all over our living room floor preventing Madeleine from getting very far without tripping, I was able to take videos of both her boogying-down and toddling:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Doctors, doctors and more doctors

The girls and I spent a very long morning at the doctor's office and hospital, since Julia spiked a fever again overnight (after a full day of being fever-free) and spent much of the night kept awake by her wretched-sounding cough. The kids were troopers despite the long waits in various rooms, and after several hours of exams and tests, Julia was diagnosed with croup and possible bronchitis. Luckily, pneumonia was definitely ruled out, so it looks like she should be on the mend before long. Because she was such a good sport about having things poked down her throat, taking off her shirt and holding her breath and standing still for x-rays, and so forth, she received some very exciting rewards from the nurses: three princess stickers (one of which she decided to give to Madeleine, who was curious about dropping things in the waiting room garbage can and threw it away), a lollipop, and two little figurines. She has been excitedly engaged in pretend play with her two figurines since we got home, and has made the following comments about these two guys:

"Mommy, these two are the same. They're kind of like twins. Do you think their shoes are the same? Mommy, they DO have eyes, they're just wearing a mask. I think they're Star Men. It looks like they might be astronauts, because they're wearing suits. Mommy, they think they're brothers, but their mother said they're really girls, because they ARE girls."

With Julia being sick, I have been unable to divide my attention between the two kids as well as I'd like, so Madeleine has had a lot of self-entertaining to do. Thankfully, she has been GREAT about it, whether in the waiting area of the doctor's office or at home. And luckily, she's got Kitty as a fun play-mate so she's not lonely. Today they drove matchbox cars around the dining room together:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Madeleine and Kitty go for a stroll

Madeleine has been really into pushing the baby doll stroller around back and forth between the dining room and kitchen. Today she decided to take Kitty along for the ride, though he didn't get to actually go in the stroller. Instead, he was once again hanging out of Madeleine's mouth.

She got momentarily sidetracked by the dishwasher:

But was quickly on her way again: