Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exercises and fist bumps

Julia has perhaps been inspired by the stretching and strengthening regime I've embarked upon over the last few months, and she created her own exercise routine that she'd like to share with those of you ready to do some at-home workouts. Simply follow the steps she leads us through below to get great full-body fitness:

When not working out, she and Ethan have been teaching Madeleine how to do a fist bump, complete with a declaration of "Respect!" as the two fists meet. Here you can see Madeleine in training:

Finally, some quotes from the girls over the past few days:

JULIA: (waking Ethan up in the middle of the night) I had a bad dream!
ETHAN: What did you dream about?
JULIA: That there was a shark in my room.
ETHAN: Julia, do you know what would happen if a shark was in your room?
JULIA: (smiling nervously) Eat me?

MADELEINE: (pointing at my coffee mug) Atzat?
ME: That's my coffee. Can you say coffee?

JULIA: (after we made "snow castles" using sand buckets outside today) Okay, Mommy, now let's play a shovel game.
ME: Okay. How do you play a shovel game?
JULIA: (pushing the shovel as deep into the snow as possible) You just hide a shovel, and then you find it, and then you make a nice walky place!

Duh. I should have known that's how you play a shovel game.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The statue

Yesterday, on our way home from a play-date, the girls and I stopped at a wine emporium to buy a bottle for our old neighbors, who planned to come over for dinner in the evening. As we were waiting in line to pay, Julia suddenly and loudly announced, "Mama, I'm just gonna go look at that African American over there." Luckily the African American was not an actual person she was going to stare at, but neither was it an African American. She went running over to a life-sized, carved Native American statue, complete with feathered headdress, and began circling around it in fascination.

I'm starting to wonder if she is ever going to understand the correct use for the term "African American."

I'm still trying to figure out if she called it an African American because a) The statue had brownish skin, b) The statue looked like a mannequin to her, or c) She knew it was a Native American replication but got mixed up and said African American instead. I'm hopinig it's c...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Madeleine and the too-tight boot

Both Julia and Madeleine seem to have gone through growth spurts recently, and have found their shoes to be a little too tight for comfort. I've been particularly baffled by the fact that Madeleine's boots, a full size up from the current size she has been wearing, actually seemed to be tighter on her feet than any other shoes she wears. Because they have been so difficult to get on, I usually just throw her sneakers on instead, even if the weather is snowy, for the sake of time. Yesterday, however, we were heading out to pick Julia up from school in the middle of a snowstorm, and I decided to give the boots another try, thinking I probably just wasn't pushing the tongue up and heel back enough. I managed to get the left boot on without too much trouble, but again, in putting the right boot on, I experienced resistance. Madeleine screamed and wailed as I persisted in trying to shove her foot in, completely unable to accept the fact that size 4 boots would not fit my daughter's size 3 foot. When I finally got her foot in, the screaming didn't abate; in fact, it got worse. No degree of distraction seemed to work, no degree of comfort would soothe her. She had a few attempts at "Atzat?" before breaking back into a high-pitched wail. I was at a total loss, not understanding what was so terrible about wearing these boots, and incredibly confused as to why they seemed so tight. Racking my brain to figure out what the problem could be, I came up with the following possibilities:

-Her right foot is slightly larger than her left foot, making the boot uncomfortably tight on that foot
-The boot size was mislabeled and they were really size 3
-Madeleine was coming down with something and was falling apart at the drop of a hat
-The fall she took on Monday, giving herself a black eye, was worse than I thought and she was suddenly showing signs of a concussion (after all, the dr did tell me to look for inconsolable crying about 24-48 hours after the incident.)
-Madeleine did not want to have anything on her feet and was having an incredible tantrum about it

Here is the possibility I did not consider:

-There was a chocolate chip cookie stuffed into the toe of the right boot, making it cramped and painful to have her foot shoved in there.

What finally tipped me off was an attempt to feel her toes inside the boots; the left side had plenty of room between toes and top of shoe, while the right side felt hard as a rock. I took her boot off, expecting to find a toy in there, or maybe a tissue, but after reaching in and encountering something stale and rock hard, and pulling my hand out to find it covered in chocolate stains, I realized our situation. The last time we had all gone sledding, Julia had requested we make chocolate chip cookies and have hot cocoa upon returning home. Apparently Madeleine didn't gobble up her cookie as I'd thought. So for two weeks that cookie has been sitting in the toe of her boot, and for two weeks I've attempted to shove that boot on her little foot, wondering what on earth was the problem. Never in a million years would I have guessed correctly. After jabbing a fork into the toe of the boot over and over to break the cookie into rock-hard crumbs, I was able to free up the space and get the boot back on; not surprisingly, this time it elicited no tears, and we were on our merry way.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Gibberish phone conversations

Two videos of Madeleine joyfully (and squeakily) having pretend phone conversations:

Or, to sum up the videos for those who may not have a chance to watch them:

"O? Blwaierengaqkjeangias. Aaaaahhh! Aweafjafoinwe. Bye."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ponies and princesses

Here is the conversation I overheard between Julia's various My Little Ponies:

-"Elena! Elena! Where's Sand?"
-"She's in the backpack."
-"Why'd she want to go there?"
-"Witch put her there. But I made sure she didn't put us in there."
-"We have to SOLVE the MYSTERY!" said... this pony. The Great Rainbow-Heart Pony.
-"No problem! See ya later!" (as an aside, to me): They're gonna go by themselves because they know where that girl lives.
-"There's the backpack of treasures! She must be inside! Oh, Mackansione, Mackansione, we're coming!"
-"See, see, she's the twinkling pony that's the last unicorn."
(Mackansione, or Sand, or the last unicorn, or whoever she is, and her rescuers rejoin the other ponies.)
-"We found her, we found her!" (Some made-up 'Spanish' words)
-"Oh, to eat her!"
-"Oh, we don't eat friends!"
-"No, we don't eat friends!"
-"Yeah, we don't eat friends!"
-"We love friends!"

Julia and ponies

I tried to take a video of Julia engaged in another play conversation yesterday, this one with her princess dolls; they were having some sort of competition and Julia had them all talking to each other explaining the rules and complimenting each other on their performances. Unfortunately, I wasn't sneaky enough, because Julia immediately saw me taping and started talking at me rather than having the dolls "talk" to each other. I did get her to reenact the events of the competition, though, so at least you can see some of their fancy moves:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

More Julia says...

Some recent conversations with Julia:


ME: Julia, can I have a hug?
JULIA: Uh, here Mom, I'll give you one quick hug, then I want to play with my ice cream set!
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: Okay, Mom, I'll get the ice cream, and you can be the patient. What flavor would you like?


ME: sitting on the floor in the dining room playing with Madeleine.
JULIA: (pointing at my computer over on the table) Uh, Mom, don't you want to finish your Word Twist game?
ME: My Word Twist game? I finished that this morning.
JULIA: Oh. Uh, um, Mama? Well, this is my walking space.

Well, excuse me for daring to sit down in her walking space...


JULIA: (handing me her Sleeping Beauty Polly Pocket) Mommy, can you take off her dress and put on this other dress?
ME: Sure.
JULIA: (singing) Hail to the Prince, hail to the Prince, hail to the Princess Auroraaaa!
ME: (taking the dress off of Aurora.)
JULIA: Uh-oh, she's NAKED!
ME: That's okay. I'm putting on her other dress.
JULIA: Naked to the Prince, naked to the prince, naked to the Princess Auroraaaaa!
ME: Julia, that's potty talk.
JULIA: But they just play it as a game. Sometimes they play naked body bathtub bone.

Um... yipes.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Madeleine on video

A not-terribly-riveting attempt to capture some of Madeleine's many words on video:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More hats

Last week's hats are so last season. They don't hold a candle to this week's style:

When Madeleine is not rocking the fashion world with her stylish hats, she is busy accumulating more and more vocab words. I have been surprised over the past few weeks just how many words she will unexpectedly repeat, as in the following example:

ME: Julia, Daddy watched that video we liked, and he cracked up.
JULIA: He did?
MADELEINE: Cracked! Cracked!

If she can't quite tackle the entire word, she'll at least give us the first syllable, somewhat reminiscent of her old "uh" days when prompted to say "uh-oh." The best example of this concept is at snack time every day, when I ask her if she wants a biscuit. "Biss! Biss!" she replies, frantically trying to open the cupboard and pull her biscuits out.

And even if she's not yet capable of saying a word, she'll still give it a valiant effort:

MADELEINE: (pointing at my coffee cup) Atzat?
ME: That's my cup. Cup. Can you say cup?
MADELEINE: (smiling gleefully) Butts!
ME: Close!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Photo montage

Various goofy photos from the past few days, divided under the following headings:

#1: It's only logical to put on an astronaut costume before sitting down to a tea and play-fruit party.

#2: Can you guess what Mommy baked today?

#3 Even though we look really cute eating breakfast together, one of us is determined to foil Mommy's attempts to capture the aforementioned cuteness on camera:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Max and Ruby observation

In honor of Martin Luther King day, I'm pleased to report that Julia seems to have a much better understanding of the term "African-American" - at least in the sense that she no longer believes an African-American to be a headless mannequin. She has a little ways to go in her comprehension, but the basic idea is now clear to her. As she was watching an episode of "Max & Ruby" this afternoon (which, for those of you not in the know about current kid tv shows, is about bunnies), she announced, "Mom, um, Mrs. Huffington and Baby Huffington are African-American, because they have brown fur."

Closer. Right??

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Julia and Madeleine dressed up as ballerinas this morning, as part of an elaborate pretend game Julia had us all acting out with her:

Though their costumes look similar, Madeleine's had an extra special addition to hers; a velcro banana tail. This was unbeknownst to Madeleine, as she traipsed along the house dragging her banana along behind her.

When you see this fashion on the spring runways, remember that it all originated in the Rowe household, and Madeleine was the first to premiere it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Happy half birthday, Baby Julia!

Today was Baby Julia's birthday party. She turned one and a half. Babies Boo-boo, Dashiell, Aria, Caroline, Madeleine, and the as-yet-unnamed Baby were in attendance. The party consisted of play-time, appetizers (or "free samples" as Julia called them when she gave me my free sample of play-food butter), a donut cake, and finally, the collective gathering of babies under the table to get their goody bags. If you think under the table is an interesting place to convene, you should see where the babies chose to hang out when the party first started:

Our family actually went to a real party this afternoon, as well. Ethan's company had a belated holiday party, so we got a chance to meet the various people he works with and their families. Because this event had lots of food, the kids had dinner there, and because all the food had cheese, I did not. When we got home, Ethan zipped out to pick up take-out for my dinner, and when we heard his car pulling back in the driveway, Julia went running to the back door to greet him. After doing so, she marched back into the living room to report the following to me: "Mommy, do you know what? I heard a noise and it was Daddy bringing the trash into the garage so I went running over to him with laughter and I said 'Hi Daddy!"

Friday, January 14, 2011

Rocking Horse fun

I brought Julia's old toddler rocking horse up from the basement today, thanks to Nana's great suggestion that Madeleine might enjoy climbing up and down on it in lieu of our dining room chairs. Sure enough, Madeleine was immediately delighted with this new-to-her toy. Can anyone guess who else suddenly and desperately wanted a turn too?:

When Julia finally got her turn, she insisted I take a video of her as well:

I think singing Ariel may have a little competition from Cowgirl Julia.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Girls in hats, girls in shoes.

Julia and Madeleine pranced around in sunhats this morning:

While Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty rode around in "Shoe-Cars:"

And what did I do today, you may wonder? I received the following:

It is, according to Julia, a "deal." A deal means "to give out to someone so they know what to do." This particular deal tells me to go to stores, it tells me to go to Blue Rocks Ring, it tells me to go to testing, and it tells me to go to Chesternut Forest. Can you all see that? The instructions on the page are very clear, wouldn't you say?

Okay, gotta run, I'm off to Chesternut Forest...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ariel sings again

Ariel seems to be over her jealousy and no longer needs to try and sing louder than all the other bath toys, but she is still singing nonetheless. She debuted a new song this evening, "I Wish That I Could Be In The Human World." (Not to be confused with "Part Of Your World.") Lucky for you all, I got this debut on video:

I believe the inspiration behind this song was the fact that Julia watched "The Little Mermaid" this afternoon, as part of our snow day fun. After playing outside for a short while, we came indoors to make chocolate chip cookies, then she settled down on the couch with her cookies and movie. Whatever the inspiration, Ariel has definitely changed her tune since the last bath, although I do have to wonder why Ariel doesn't just use her magic POWEEEEEERS to change herself into a human.

Although Julia had fun out in the snow, Madeleine seems to be ready for summer:

Wishful thinking!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Memorable dinnertime quotes

Last night, as we were all sitting quietly around the dinner table, eating, Julia spoke up out of the blue to inquire, ""How about Princess Dodo?" While we were all contemplating what this was supposed to mean, an even better idea dawned on her. "No, how about PRINCE Dodo, and Princess Egg?"

Um, okay.

Then, to add further sense to what she was saying, clarified "And Princess Egg is Sleeping Beauty."

Within the very next minute, she switched gears, and pointed to Ethan's plate of meatballs, announcing "That's the Daddy meatball, that's the Mommy meatball, that's the Grandpa meatball, and that's the Grandma meatball!"

Featured, from left to right: Daddy, Mommy and Grandpa meatballs. Grandma meatball is hiding under a pile of veggies and pasta in the back row, apparently camera shy.

As I've said before, it really takes very very little in the way of outside props to stimulate this child's imagination.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Madeleine sleeps and eats

Here's the especially classy sleeping pose I found Madeleine in at naptime today:

And here is a picture of one of her brand new crayons, purchased because she is suddenly displaying an enthusiastic interest in coloring, but showed us she's not yet ready to use markers after deciding to taste one and turning her mouth and tongue yellow. Turns out she's even more interested in tasting the crayons, as she ate the entire tip off this one. Maybe it looked a little too much like a brownie or a piece of chocolate cake for her to resist:


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sleeping Beauty's new song

Julia's Ariel doll seems to have gotten over her need to oversing, and is once again accepted by the rest of the Disney princesses. In fact, it was Sleeping Beauty who was doing the singing this morning, repeatedly intoning something that sounded like "Come on Yosta," to the tune of "Jolly Old St. Nicholas." Curious about what "Come on Yosta" means? Here, Julia both sings and explain

And speaking of Sleeping Beauty, Julia informed us this morning, while watching an ad in between Curious George episodes, "I'm seeing commercials of scarier Sleeping Beauty. Because, do you know why? There's bats."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Toes, Ears and Nose

Yesterday afternoon, after playing outside and getting her pants soaked by sitting on the melting ice in her sled, Madeleine turned into an enormous crank. I brought her inside to change her into dry pants, and figured she'd enjoy playing up in her room. She usually loves sitting with her pile of books and flipping through them, not wanting to come back downstairs with me, and since I had some stretching and strengthening exercises to do, I thought I could do so on her bedroom floor. Unfortunately, she wasn't in the mood for independent book-reading, but instead wanted to sit in my lap while I read the same book - "Toes, Ears and Nose" - over and over and over and over again. Each time I would read the final page, she would grab the book in frustration, indignant that it was finite rather than a never-ending, re-looping story, and throw it on the ground. After which she would be inconsolably sad that she was no longer holding the book, so she would climb out of my lap, making her toddling, pathetically crying way over to the book, pick it up, and plop down in my lap, waiting expectantly for the story to begin anew. I attempted to do some of my stretches while reading, but she grew impatient if I took too long to turn the page, due to sitting in a certain pose for the requisite amount of time. After reading it for about twenty minutes straight, with the same angry fit followed by sobbing re-acquisition of the book, I decided we were going to just have to nip things in the bud and go downstairs. I took a screaming Madeleine down with me, and brought her into the living room, where I resumed my stretching and set her down with a bunch of toys. She couldn't recover from the unfairness of being taken downstairs though, and she got up and started toddling around, wailing. At that point, I had to just choose to ignore the crying, assuming she would eventually wear herself out and decide to start playing with something. While I was stretching, head-down, she toddled off and I suddenly heard her crying from upstairs. I went to the bottom of the stairs and found her at the threshold between her room and the top of the stairs, holding "Toes, Ears and Nose," waiting for me to help her down the staircase. I brought her - and the book - down, closed the stair gate, and put her down with her book on the living room floor, returning to my stretches. Nope. Not good enough. I had to be reading it to her in order for her to feel like her life was complete. So I began flipping pages with one hand and saying the text from memory, all the while continuing my straddle stretch, head down near the floor. Still not good enough. She began struggling with all her might to pull my head up and worm her way into my lap. It was sit in my lap and have me read the story over and over or BUST.

While I was cooking dinner last evening, Julia decided to make my day a little more temper-tantrum-filled by freaking out at the end of her bath. (Yes, the bath during which Ariel bellowed about her magic POWEEEEERS! ad infinitum.) Happy as a clam for the vast majority of her time in the water, Julia suddenly discovered she was freezing, and her feeling of cold apparently prevented her body from working like that of a normal human being.
"Julia, why don't you do your soap then, so you can get clean quickly and then get out and get warm?"
"Noooooooo, Mommy! I neeeeed yoooooooou to do it! I'm toooooooo cold!"
"Julia, I'm cooking dinner. I can't really leave the kitchen right now." "Moooooooomy! I'm freeeeeeeeeezing! I neeeeed you to do it!"
So I went in and got her clean as quickly as I could. I tried to get her out of the bath similarly as quickly, but she had to slowly and meticulously put all of the millions of bath toys away, one at a time, for fear they would get sucked down the drain. Meanwhile, I had Madeleine toddling around, alternating between walking near the hot stove, and trying to climb into the bathtub with Julia. When Jules had finally put away all the toys, I got her dried off, then attempted to put her warm clothes back on.
"Noooooo, Mommy! I want my pajaaaaamas!"
"Well, that's fine, but if you want your pjs YOU have to get them yourself. I'm cooking, and I can't run upstairs right now."
"Noooooo, I want yoooooou to get them!"
"Julia, why don't we just put your regular clothes back on? They're right here, and then you can get warm quickly."
"NOOOOOOOOO! Pajaaaaaaamas!"
"Okay, then you're responsible for getting them yourself."
So she went up the stairs to her room, then stood at the top, outside her door, crying,
"I can't get my door open! My hands are too wet!"
"Dry them off on your towel! Then try again!"
"I can't do it! I need yoooooou to open it! Mommy! I can't do it!"
Madeleine decided to add insult to injury by choosing that moment to come sobbing into the kitchen holding "Toes, Ears and Nose" out towards me.
Long story short (too late, I know) I managed to get Julia into her pjs, dinner cooked, and Madeleine distracted from her book, after much wailing and sobbing from both kids.

Now, onto a completely unrelated subject: here is a photo of the picture Julia made for me at the YMCA today. See if you can guess what it is? (Answer below)

ME: Julia, I LOVE your picture!
JULIA: It's South America!
ME: It's beautiful.
JULIA: But Mommy, did you think it looks like a hurricane?
ME: Uh, yeah, it does look a little like a hurricane.
JULIA: It's not a hurricane. It's South America.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jealous Ariel

While Julia played in the bath this evening, I began preparing dinner in the adjoining kitchen, listening to her fantasy world conversations with her Ariel bath doll. Ariel seemed to be getting into some kind of a throwdown with another, invisible character, over the fact that Ariel sings too loud. I then heard, over and over again, Julia (as Ariel) belting and bellowing the following: "My maaaagic POWERS!!!"

"Mommy?" she called to me. "Do you hear Ariel singing so loud? Do you think you can even hear it all the way up in the bedroom?"
I assured her that Ariel's voice was likely carrying all the way up to the bedroom, and she explained to me, "They call her Jealous Ariel. Do you know why they call her that? Because she always has to sing so loud, and all the other sea animals sing quiet, and Ariel doesn't know why everyone is singing quiet, and she wants to sing loud, so she's JEALOUS."

Makes perfect sense, eh?
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you: JEALOUS ARIEL!:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A few videos

Madeleine seems to have exaggerated her favorite sleeping position to a new extreme; her little bum is often up so high in the air it looks like she fell asleep while executing a yoga position:

When she is awake she's still as active as ever, though. She spent the morning "talking" on the Little People suitcase that came with the Little People Traveling Grandparents (a Christmas gift for Julia.) Apparently the suitcase resembles a cell phone to her, because she loves to open it up, put it to her ear, and toddle around babbling into it. I attempted to capture this on video, but she decided she preferred walking around panting for most of the video, and when she did finally resume her cell phone conversation, a certain someone else decided to cut the moment short:

After giving up in my attempts to record Madeleine chatting, I asked Julia for a hug and kiss, and while I had her on my lap I exclaimed, "I just can't believe you're my big four-year-old girl now!" She corrected me, saying, "No, THIS means four," followed by a random facial expression, whatever that was supposed to mean. In case any of you can translate Julia's kooky thoughts into coherent ones, I had her repeat the gesture on video:

Sometimes I'm just at a loss for words

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Madeleine's vocabulary grows

Madeleine has accumulated many new words over the past few weeks; in fact, at her 15-month checkup, when the doctor asked me how many words Madeleine has, I was unable to give an accurate answer because there are too many for a quick head count. With the accumulation of new words, she seems to have dropped some old words from her vocabulary. "Shit" is long gone, thank goodness, but she has also ceased to use "Mama" as her all-purpose word/substitute for any other word she is not yet able to say. When she wants someone to read her favorite book, Peek-a-Who?, she no longer holds the book out crying, "Mama!," but instead hands it to the intended reader, saying, "Boo?" Additionally, she's increasingly capable of repeating words we say to her, so that many of our conversations go like this:

ME: Madeleine, are you ready to take a bath?
MADELEINE: (toddling towards the bathroom door) Ba! Ba!

ME: Let's take off your socks.
MADELEINE: Soss. Soss.

ME: No no touch the stove, Madeleine, it's hot!
MADELEINE: No. No. Ha! Ha!

Unfortunately, this principle does not seem to apply to the word Mama. Replacing "Mama" with other, more contextually correct words seems to have erased it from her vocabulary altogether, meaning she longer uses the word to refer to me, either. Attempts to revive the word results in something like this:

ME: Madeleine, can you say Daddy?
ME: Can you say Julia?
ME: Can you say Mommy?
ME: Can you say Mommy?
ME: Can you say Mommy?
ME: Can you say Mommy?
MADELEINE: (pointing at some random thing) Whatzat?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Peksie Girls

JULIA: Mom? What does "peksie" mean?
ME: "Peksie?" I've never heard of it. Why, where did you hear that?
JULIA: There's a kind of a puppet show, and there are these girls, and they sing, "Dunna Nunna Nunna Nunna, Peksie Girls! Peskie Girls! Dunna Nunna Nunna Nunna, Peskie Girls!"
ME: Oh, I see. Well, there's something called "Pepsi" that's a kind of soda, but I've never heard the word "peksie." I don't know what Peksie girls are.
JULIA: Peksie girls are these kind of girls who cut down a tree and put the tree in another soccer ball place in a soccer field and hang them up.

Aha, I see. For those of you wondering who it is hanging up a tree on a soccer field, now you know. It's the Peksie Girl.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Argry Banargry

ME: Here, Jules, let me button your shirt.
JULIA: (laughing) Why did Daddy forget to button my buttons?
ME: Because he's a goofball, what can I say?
JULIA: Yeah. He's an Argry Banargry.
ME: He sure is.
JULIA: Do you know who Argry Banargry is?
ME: No, I don't.
JULIA: He's a person on a tv show.
ME: Oh, really? What show is he on?
JULIA: Um... the Day of Christmas Day.
ME: Is it a real show, or are you making it up?
JULIA: Well, um, it's just on a tv show. It's a show that's not on our tv, it's just on a different person's tv.
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: Argry Banargry is a silly goose because he thinks that Christmas will never come. But it DID come.
ME: And what did Argry Banargry say when it came?
JULIA: He said nothing!

Somewhere in the middle of this conversation, not sure whether this was really a show she had seen a snippet of, I googled "Argry Banargry" to see if he was indeed a true television character. When my google search provided me with results for "Angry Bannerjee" instead, I had my answer.