Thursday, March 31, 2011

Questions from Julia, actions from Madeleine

A couple of recent conversations with Julia:

JULIA: Mommy? Are me and Madeleine twins?
ME: No, you're not twins. You're older than Madeleine.
JULIA: But when Madeleine and I are the same age, THEN will we be twins?

ME: Madeleine, no-no in your mouth! Yucky.
JULIA: What did she put in her mouth?
ME: A piece of wicker.
JULIA: What's wicker?
ME: It's a kind of material that's used to make things like baskets.
JULIA: (thoughtful for a minute) But Mom? Why is the wine and beer store called the Wicker Store?
ME: It's called the L-l-l-liquor store. Liquor begins with an L. WICKER begins with a W.
MADELEINE: Wicker. Wicker. Wicker.

(Whether she is saying "wicker" or "liquor" is unclear, since she pronounces her w and l the same way at the moment. A great new word for my toddler to be walking around saying.)

Along with her continued verbal growth, Madeleine has become more and more independent lately. She once again decided to take matters into her own hands and get the milk out of the fridge, then get a little cup from the play kitchen. Had I not intervened, I'm pretty sure she would have figured out how to take the top off the milk gallon too:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Madeleine's favorite new phrase: "Uh-oh. Happoon?" Usually she is well aware of what happooned, as she frequently knocks random items over or drops things just for the pleasure of asking "Happoon?" Some variations of this particular phrase include:

"Oh, no! Happoon?"
"Uh-oh! At Happoon?"
"Uh-oh! 'S goin'?"
"Uh-oh! Doin'?"

Any of the above may be punctuated with "Baby Gaga?"

Sometimes what happooned doesn't even need to be an object falling or getting knocked over. Sometimes, even a person disappearing under a blanket will suffice. Monday night as Ethan lay resting on the couch after coming home sick from work, Madeleine toddled over to him and pulled the blanket over his face, then turned to me, eyes wide, gesturing towards the couch, saying, "Uh-oh! Happoon?" She then turned back to Ethan and pulled the blanket off his face, smiling winsomely at him and exclaiming, "Boo!" Probably just the game he wanted to be playing as he attempted to take a much-needed nap.

Here's a short video of Madeleine trying to figure out what was happooning as she played in the living room:


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The train ride

Q: What do Disney princesses, ballerinas, mermaids, bunnies, and the folks from the Nativity have to do with each other?
A: They were all riding the train together today. Here they are, en route to various destinations:

While it seems that Emily the mermaid passed the time by reading through a Vivaldi flute concerto, the other passengers conversed amongst themselves. Here are excerpts of what went down with the train gang:

ME: Where are all those people going?
JULIA: They're going to lands.
ME: What kind of lands?
JULIA: Like, Storyland.

She then turned her attention back to her game and to the show-down that was about to occur between Belle and Ariel and their jealous mother:

BELLE AND ARIEL: Mother, what are you doing on this train?
JASMINE (aka THE JEALOUS MOTHER): I just got on this train. I was worried that you'd be scared without your mommy!
JASMINE: And look at all these other people, they look so happy!

The happiness was disturbed, however, when Jack and his mother Reela tried to get on the train. Thinking they had found the perfect seat, they had no idea what kind of mischief they were about to cause:

JACK: Here's a nice spot!
REELA: No, we sit over here. (accidentally knocking Jasmine off the piano)
JASMINE: Hey! You knocked me off, little fool!

So poor Jack and his little fool of a mother had to move to different seats, but thankfully, Jasmine's stop was coming up and she would be out of their hair:

JASMINE: Get off MY stop!
BELLE: Because we're leaving the train to go to Storyland.
Here are Jasmine and her two daughters at Storyland:

Next to depart the train were Max and Ruby, who were on their way to see their grandma. Here they are having fun at Grandma's house:

The next two to leave were Fauna and Ballerina. :
FAUNA: Get off the train, Ballerina! It's your stop to go to Ballerina's Best Take-Shot!
ME: Ballerina's Best Take-Shot, huh?
JULIA: Uh, Mommy, it's really called Ballerina's DANCE and SING.

Here they are at the dance and sing:

The manger people were amongst the last to depart. I became curious about their destination:

ME: Where are the manger people going?
JULIA: Uh... to Jack-o-lantern land.
ME: What do you do in Jack-o-lantern land.
JULIA: Um, well, you learn how to carve a Jack-o-lantern.

I'll bet they loved it.

Meanwhile, Madeleine must have decided that there weren't enough toys out and about during the hubbub of the train ride, because she seemed set on pulling out every single book from the bookshelf to flip through:

Hey, at least the kids are good at entertaining themselves!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Baby Gaga

Madeleine is quite the nurturing Mommy today, taking good care of Baby Gaga (aka Baby Julia; can you guess which child came up with which name?) Here she is getting ready to take Baby Gaga for a walk in a shopping carry-cart:

Baby Gaga must not have been happy with this arrangement, because Madeleine then stopped and cried, "Uh-oh! Happoon? Baby Gaga!" Here she is pausing to check on Baby Gaga and see what happooned:

She then picked up the baby and rocked her back and forth, whispering "Shh! Shh!":

I'm assuming Baby Gaga's problem turned out to be hunger, because the next thing Madeleine did was break up a tortilla chip that she found on the floor into little pieces and "feed" them to the baby:

And finally, Madeleine caringly laid her baby down on the art table to join the My Little Ponies and other toys in their bedtime. "Nigh-nigh!" Madeleine called to Baby Gaga as she put her to bed:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Questions, questions


1. (while on the toilet; note that I was actually standing at the back door since I had been outside with the girls when Julia suddenly needed to run in and poop): Mom! Mom! When I'm four and a half, will I still go to preschool?

2. (holding out her hand to me while I was trying to cook dinner) Mom? Which finger do you think is the PRETTIEST?

3. (in the middle of dinner): Mommy? After Cinderella got married to the prince, did she keep her hair curled into a bun forever?

Urgent inquiries, all.


Last night during dinner, Julia and I realized how many words Madeleine actually knows when we started holding up various objects for her to label. Here's a synopsis of her various vocab words:

OBJECT------------------- MADELEINE SAYS
Brita container---------Wa-wa!
Julia's plastic cup------Cup!
Spoon------------------------A spoon!
Fork--------------------------A spoon!
Graham cracker-------A cockoo!
Various books----------Buck!
Tortilla chips------------Ship!
TV remote----------------Tee-ee!
Diaper----------------------Elmo? (he is on the diaper, after all.)

We also played the "Can you say..." game with Madeleine. She was able to say a lot of different words we didn't even know she could pronounce, plus get a lot of family member's names pretty close on:

Auntie Caitlyn-----------------Cait-cait
Auntie Shannon--------------Shannoh

Friday, March 25, 2011

Madeleine learns some new tricks

After a fun gymnastics class yesterday, Julia was enthusiastic about turning household objects into gymnastics apparatuses. Look what a safe and toddler-friendly thing she taught Madeleine:

Not that Madeleine needs much teaching in order to do goofy, somewhat reckless things with her body. Here she is fooling around after dinner; in this case she was relatively mild, but her spinning often leads to her losing her balance and crashing into various large structures in her vicinity:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Milk, church, and garbage

Do you think Madeleine wanted some milk?

Yes, she actually opened the fridge and pulled the milk out all by herself. Then she insisted on wearing her coat while she drank it:

She's becoming too aware for her own good. Speaking of, I took the girls to a Lenten church service last night; we were 3 of 13 people in attendance in a very small chapel. Madeleine decided to add a more boisterous mood to the otherwise very peaceful and beautifully meditative atmosphere. Feeling the need to comment on everything she saw around her, she would loudly interject things like "CWOSS!" and "HOT!" (candles), or when she didn't know the label for what she was pointing at, "WOOOOOH!" Fortunately, I had thought to pack snacks to keep her mouth busy, so I handed over a piece of cheese, looking forward to the silence that would ensue. Wrong. "CHEESE! CHEESE!" So I moved on to the books I had brought in the diaper bag. Silence? Nope; instead what followed were strings of very audible babbling as she "read" her books aloud. The best part was when she randomly got all charged up and excited and began delightedly squawking things like, "DADDY DOODY! DOODY DADDY! GOO GOO GA GA!" After communion, when she received her bread, I hoped to finally have a respite from the loud exclamations, but I should have known better. "MMMMMM!" Sigh. Well, at least she enjoyed her experience pretty thoroughly.

And on a final Madeleine note, here is an exchange she and I had the other day:

ME: That's the garbage.
MADELEINE: Oh. Dis is the TWASH!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Conversing with the girls

Conversation at the table during snack time:

ME: That's an animal cracker.
ME: Yes, that's right, cracker!
MADELEINE: (holding out a particular animal cracker) Atz Dat?
ME: That's a kitty.
ME: Yes, meow!
MADELEINE: (holding out another one) Atz Dat?
ME: That's a buffalo.
ME: Good job, honey!
ME: I think that's a cow.
MADELEINE: (smiling radiantly) Mooooo!

Conversation in the car:

ME: (as we drove by our town's new Greek restaurant) Julia, look, that new restaurant is open!
JULIA: Oh, Mom, maybe when it opens again we can GO there!
ME: You know what I think we should do? I think we should invite Loula and Will and Mark and Amy to have dinner with us there, because Amy is Greek just like me.
JULIA: She is?
ME: Yes, that's why her mommy and her aunt go to our church, because her family is Greek.
JULIA: But I'm not Greek.
ME: Well, you are. Yia-Yia Megali came to America from Greece, so all her children, and her grandchildren and her relatives are Greek. Where a person's family is from is called their ethnicity. Your ethnicity is Greek, because your older relatives came from Greece.
JULIA: Yeah, and Daddy's family came from Vermont.
ME: Yes, Daddy's family has been in Vermont for a long time, and I think one of Daddy's older relatives was Native American. So your ethnicity is Greek, but also American.
JULIA: And, I'm also English.
ME: Well, yeah, that's true.
JULIA: And Mommy, I think that soon I'm going to be Spanish too, because I'm learning so much Spanish from Dora.

Good logic, honey!

Monday, March 21, 2011

An overuse of paper goods

We've been going through an awful lot of tissues around here, and believe it or not, it's not so much because of Julia's current cold, but instead because of the sudden popularity of tissues in imaginary play. For Madeleine, this has meant pretending to use the tissues as she sees Julia use them; she made a game of taking a tissue out of the box and either putting it to her own face or holding it out to Julia, saying "Hee go!", then toddling off to the garbage to dispose of the (not really used) tissue. Afterwards she would head back over to the tissue box to pull the next one out and start the routine all over. Now, I'm loving the fact that she has learned to pick up after herself, disposing of a tissue after using it, but I'm not necessarily wild about throwing away tissues which didn't actually get used to wipe a runny nose.

Julia, on the other hand, decided to use a bunch of tissues in her My Little Pony game this afternoon:

They're all sisters, so each of her dozen or so ponies had to lay down with a blanket and go to sleep at the end of the game. BTW, I got to play this game along with Julia. I know you're jealous. I had to use a different voice for each of my three ponies, and I had to actually hold the pony who was speaking and move it around or Julia was not satisfied. Neither was she satisfied with my voice for one of the ponies, whose country twang must have sounded too much like one of the other ponies (who appears on Julia's favorite My Little Pony movie, but whose plastic toy equivalent we do not have.) The ponies weren't the only ones who were worn out by the time they laid down under tissues to go to sleep.

Finally, while this did not require a bunch of tissues, we definitely wound up using a fair number of paper towels and fresh wipes last night cleaning up our little chili-eating toddler. I had the foresight to take her pretty church dress off before sitting her down to dinner, but I didn't expect her to be shaking her head - and fork - around vigorously during dinner, with a few breaks to play "Where's Madeleine?" by hiding her eyes with both of her chili-covered hands...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


One of Julia's favorite things to play at the moment is her self-created game of "Doctors." This is very much unlike your typical child game of doctor, in which the doctor examines a patient (clothing optional) and gives a full check-up. Instead, Julia's game of doctors involves putting alphabet and number stickers all over her face (and the face of whoever else is the doctor,) then taking care of the patients, who can range from baby dolls to actual other people in the house. The stickers that the doctors wear are called "intillegy stickers." For those not familiar with the term: "They're doctor stickers that doctors use in the hospital. They put them so they know who they are. So the patients know who they are." Still confused? Julia has a very logical definition of the word intillegy: "[Intillegy means] so important contracts and we shall come."

When she is not concocting and defining new words, Julia is often using words that are new-to-her in sentences, though not always quite correctly. Today on the way to church she told me, "Uh, Mom, did you know that the book Jeannie brought to read to me is by the same composer who wrote my princess and fairies book?"

Madeleine, similarly, continues to ever-expand her vocabulary. She even has a new multi-word combo - "Hee go!" As in: after rummaging around in the bin of binders up in the church choir loft and scattering a big pile of loose sheets of music all over the floor, she began picking up one individual sheet at a time and handing it to me, cheerfully exclaiming, "Hee go!" with each new page she held out for me.

At least she was willing to clean up her mess!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another Three Conversations with Julia


JULIA: (coming into our bedroom in the middle of the night) Mommy! I had a nightmare!
ME: You did?
JULIA: I was crying and crying.
ME: Oh, honey, come here. What was your nightmare about?
JULIA: Uh, the scary tree from "My Little Pony." But you know what? I told myself it's NOT REAL. Because I know that talking ponies can't really talk, so I knew it wasn't real.

I'm glad she was able to apply such good logic and calm herself down from the nightmare so well. It makes perfect sense. Talking ponies can't really talk, so it must have been all in her head.


JULIA: Mommy, did you know that Karen has a baby doll and it's a DORA baby doll?
ME: No, I didn't know that. Is Karen one of the friends you made at the Y?
JULIA: No, Mom! Remember?
ME: No, I don't remember. Who's Karen?
JULIA: (exasperated) Mom! Don't you remember? We talked about this two days ago!
ME: No, I'm sorry, I can't remember. Is Karen one of the baby-sitters at the Y?
ME: Oh, okay. Which one is she?
JULIA: Mooooom! We talked about this! The one with all the makeup?
ME: Oh, yeah. Now I remember.
JULIA: Mommy, I'm feeling frustrated at you.
ME: You are? Why?
JULIA: Because you're not remembering that we already talked about this!

Yikes. Between all her imaginary friends, her real friends at school, the Y, and gymnastics, plus the various teachers and baby-sitters she has at the aforementioned places, there are a lot of names for me to keep track of. How dare I forget who Karen is??


JULIA: Mommy, at school Erin was being really funny, because Miss Marisa said, "Erin, what are you doing?" and Erin said, "I'm putting my foot cream on my face!"
ME: She was putting FOOT CREAM on her face? Yuck!
JULIA: Why yuck?
ME: Well, foot cream belongs on your feet, not on your face.
JULIA: No, um, her foot cream that was from her jello.
ME: She put foot cream on her jello??
JULIA: No, she put the foot cream from her jello all over her face. We had jello with foot cream.
ME: Are you sure it wasn't WHIPPED cream?
JULIA: (thoughtful) Oh, yeah. Maybe I think it was whipped cream.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Madeleine reads

Madeleine is big on reading to herself lately, which essentially means she flips through various books pointing at things and reciting random words she knows (not necessarily correlated with the pictures she's pointing at.) While we were at Julia's gymnastics class, Madeleine spent some time looking through a pile of books they have at the movement center, and the whole activity went something like this:

MADELEINE: (flipping through a book) Goo goo ga ga! Goo goo ga ga! Backpack, backpack! Map! I'm Map! (discards book, picks up another one.) Daddy, Jouwee, Daddy, Jouwee, Daddy, Jouwee, Daddy. (discards that book, picks up another.) Train. Train. Chu chu choo choo. Chu chu choo choo. Chu chu choo choo. (Tosses that book aside, picks up another.) Is a nose. Dat dit nose. As at a nose. Dis a nose. Atzat as a nose.

This is vastly preferable to her other reading habit, which is to toddle towards me exclaiming "MAAAma?" as she holds out a book towards me. She then plops in my lap with the book and I begin reading to her. As soon as I'm on the last page, she again implores, "MAAAAma?" and flips the book back to the first page. This seemingly has no stopping point, at least in her mind. If I try to put the book down after the umpteenth reading, she literally pries open my fist with her fingers and shoves the book back into my hand, all the while pleading, "MAAAAma?" These reading sessions generally always end in tears when I finally tell her "All done book," and get up and start doing something else. Maybe if I were reading the words more like she does, she would be okay with just one read through. "Daddy, Jouwee, Daddy, Jouwee, chu chu choo choo, is a nose, Backpack." BAM! Done - book tossed aside, moving on...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Madeleine sports size 10 sandals

Madeleine insisted on wearing Julia's new sandals around the house today, despite the fact that they're a good two times too large for her feet. Consequently, she had a little trouble walking, but that didn't deter her from trying:

When she's not clomping around clumsily in two-sizes-too-big sandals, Madeleine has been adding even more words to her vocabulary. Today she started saying "Anja," who is the daughter of my friend Neva. She also began saying "car," although it sounds an awful lot like "cow" so sometimes I can't tell which she's trying to say. Furthermore, the following new words have recently entered her vocabulary: "rain," "school," "nap," and "hands." And perhaps most exciting of all is that a few days ago she had a nearly successful attempt at saying the name of our baby-sitter:

ME: Madeleine, can you say Tamara?
MADELEINE: (thoughtful for a moment) Tamar.

Unfortunately, the positive reinforcement had no effect, because she has inexplicably changed from "Tamar" to "Snow-no." As in:

ME: Madeleine, can you say Tamara?
ME: Can you say TAMARA?
ME: But can you say TAMARA?
MADELEINE: Uh-oh. Snow-no. Snow-no.

Who knows.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dramatic play

Julia and Madeleine have been engaged in a lot of dramatic play together lately, and although Madeleine won't always cooperate with Julia's grand ideas for whatever imaginative scenario she has concocted in her head, there are times when all goes smoothly and the girls are able to play creatively together. Some examples of their recent pretend games include:

Riding in the Car

This game involves a jump rope, which the girls wear across their lap as a seatbelt while they ride on the couch-car. Not to be confused with:

Riding the Bus

This is a recurring game the girls play, in which the little red chairs always represent the bus. Sometimes they sit side by side, as seen above, and other times they sit one behind the other, putting one girl in the role of bus driver and the other as passenger. This game is common enough that Madeleine even initiates it at times; which usually leads to Julia saying, "We're not doing the riding the bus game right now, Madeleine." (Of course. It's the role of the big sister to insist that the little sister play any pretend games she wants to, but she is in no way obligated to reciprocate.)

Baby Birthday Party

The baby whose birthday is being celebrated varies; today it was Baby Julia (not pictured above) who had the big day. You can see from the picture that Babies Madeleine, Caroline, Boo-boo and Aria were in attendance, as were the real Julia and Madeleine. These birthday parties generally consist of everyone sitting around the table and being served play food from the play kitchen; you may recall prior posts covering other baby birthday parties. Madeleine took care to feed the babies from their plastic bottles before deciding she would rather stick the bottles in her own mouth. Julia "wrapped" a bunch of presents with baby blankets and wore a Snow White dress to add to the festive atmosphere.

The Night-Night Game

You can try this game at home; it's very easy to play. Simply lay down on the floor with your head on a pillow and cover yourself with a blanket. If there are two of you playing, you can cuddle together under one blanket, or each use your own. One of you can repeatedly say, "Nigh-nigh. Nigh-nigh," throughout the course of the game. The game is over when one person gets tired of laying on the floor and decides to get up and toddle away.

Of course, Julia was the brainchild behind all of the above pretend games. Occasionally, however, Madeleine gets to devise a fun method of playing together, as in the following:

The Screaming Door Game

Players stand on opposite sides of a closed door. One player initiates the game by screaming loudly. The other player responds by screaming back. The more delighted and excited each player gets, the more force (s)he may choose to give each subsequent scream. This game is very noisy. Not recommended for those who don't love the sounds of shrill, repeated shrieking.

And finally, while I can't always see exactly what the girls are doing together in their pretend play, there is always the opportunity to overhear things one would never imagine to hear four-year-olds saying. As in: "Okay, Madeleine, you're a little hooker, so go hook!"


This was another game involving a jump rope, but as stated above, I was in a different room, so all I gathered was that it was Madeleine's job to hook the rope around something. Making for a really memorable quote from Julia. Yikes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lady Gaga

Julia drew the following picture today:

How does she know who Lady Gaga is, you might wonder. It all started a few weeks ago when she announced that her friend Emilia sings the song "Lady Gaga" at school. Despite my limited knowledge of current popular music, I was able to tell Julia that Lady Gaga is actually a singer, and to show her pictures of some of the outlandish outfits Lady Gaga has been photographed in. Today when we were in the checkout line at the grocery store, I noticed a pink-haired Lady Gaga on the cover of a magazine, so I pointed it out to Julia. I guess it made quite an impression on her.

After drawing her version of the magazine cover and showing me the picture, she exclaimed, "Doesn't she look like a real party girl?"

And while it is apparently not a stretch for her to believe that a little fairy went into her room last week and put a dollar under her pillow, I guess a person with pink hair seems just too bizarre to be true, since she asked me, "Mom? Is Lady Gaga real?"

The best part of all of this is that Madeleine has been toddling around the house for the past hour babbling, "Gaga. GAGA! Goo goo gaga. Gaga!" I knew there was a chance my daughters would become Lady Gaga fans at some point in their tween or teen years, but I certainly didn't expect it to happen this early!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ball skills

As a long-distance runner who married a former ski racer (turned long-distance runner,) I don't really have a lot of experience playing sports that use equipment of any sort. Specifically balls. While I had a 2-year stint as softball player in middle school, that was the extent of my team-sports-that-utilize-balls endeavor. I had mentioned to Ethan recently that I should probably be doing more throwing, catching, kicking, etc with Julia to help her develop at least some skills in those areas. She does a lot of walking and running, just like her parents, and she loves her gymnastics class, so it's not like she's lacking sport or exercise, but since neither Ethan nor I have much interest in ball games of any sort, we have been somewhat remiss in introducing such sports to our daughters. The extent of my neglect in this area has been made clear to me over the past few days.

For example, I took the kids outside to play the other day, since our backyard is now finally snow-free. I decided to try a one-on-one game of kickball with Julia, so I briefly explained the rules, then pointed out where the bases would be. (Home plate: the folded-up green lawn chair. First base: the little toddler house. Second base: the other green lawn chair, standing up. Third base: the slide.) Julia managed to kick the ball when I rolled it to her, then I guided her from base to base, throwing the ball and deliberately missing her each time she was en route to the next base. After she reached home plate, I told her it was my turn to kick and her turn to roll.

"Okay, Mommy. First you have to run to that bouncy house, then you have to run to the tree, then you have to run over to the sandbox, then you have to run to the picnic table, then you have to run to the slide..." she rambled, unaware of the fact that this was not intended to be a game in which each player completely makes up the rules upon her turn to pitch. However, she's 4, and has a great imagination, so I followed her zig-zag path between bases, and watched her throw the ball straight up into the air over and over in an attempt to tag me out. Rules of kickball: not absorbed. Fun while playing a made-up ball game: achieved.

Then, this morning, Ethan and I took the kids to the church nearby our house to attend their fund-raiser carnival. Julia had a great time in the moonbounce, getting her face painted, and playing the various carnival games. One of the games was kiddie basketball toss. She was told she would get three attempts to get the ball in the hoop. First try: she stood directly underneath the net and threw the ball up through it, from the bottom. Second try: after I explained that she was supposed to get it up and over and through the hoop, she backed up, then threw the ball straight up into the air and slightly behind her. Third try: same thing. Fourth and fifth try (she was given a few extra turns): same thing.

"Great job! You get a prize!" the person running the game kindly and enthusiastically exclaimed.

Julia did prove where her athletic strengths lie, however, on our way home, during which she was required to walk (or usually skip), since Ethan had taken Madeleine home in the stroller earlier. Julia does a great job keeping up with her parents on foot and quite enjoys walking to various nearby locations. Her creative, imaginative spirit is still at the forefront whether she's playing kickball or walking, though. Today's walk home was accompanied by the following: (while flapping her arms and skipping along gleefully): Cutie patoots PIIIIIIIIIIIIIE! Cutie patoots PIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE! Cutie patoots PIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Multi-word constructs

While Madeleine is not at the point of putting together subjects and verbs, she has been stringing together multiple words (or nonsense syllables.) Sometimes it's clear to me where she picked up these phrases, although I'm not entirely sure where others come from. Here's a summary of the various multi-word constructs she utters on a regular basis:

-"Atzat" - which has now become more of an "Atz Dat?" (We already know this one, of course. We have all heard it maaaaany maaaaaany times.)

-"No no touch." (That one is obvious. As commented upon in a previous post, it comes from me, since I'm constantly telling her not to touch the things she wants to get her hands all over.)

-"Goo goo ga ga!" (That comes from Dora the Explorer "Super Babies." Dora's baby brother and sister can't talk yet and can only say "Goo goo! Ga ga!" Now Madeleine says it all the time.)

-"Say 'backpack!' Map!" (Again, from Dora. Seeing as pediatricians recommend that children under 2 watch zero hours of television a day, I'm scoring points as supermom here with my 17-month old who can repeat whole phrases from Dora the Explorer.)

-"Ding dong, ding dong!" (I have no idea where she picked that one up; possibly from hearing Julia's pretend play?)

-"B! Buh!" and "D! Duh!" (She got that from me, since I always name the letter and then demonstrate the letter sound when I read her the ABC book that has recently become her obsession.)

-"Oh no!" (Not sure about this one, but she could have learned it from any of us.)

-"Apples train." (????)

I tried to get her to say some of the above on camera, without tremendous success. She either repeated phrases so quietly it was hard to catch, or she was so interested in the camera she would respond "Mama?" or "Atz Dat?" to everything I asked her to repeat, or she was too busy trying to jam a Disney princess magic wand down her throat to speak clearly. But you may be able to hear some of it; at the very least, I think there's a pretty clear "bapboom" in there:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Three Conversations with Madeleine


JULIA: Mom, Madeleine is making a huge mess at the table! Look!
ME: Madeleine, did you make a huge mess with your graham cracker? I'm gonna have to vacuum this all up, you little stinker.
ME: That's right! Stinker!
ME: Yup, I have to vacuum because you made a mess.


MADELEINE: (pointing at the tv, which was airing "Dinosaur Train") Atzat?
ME: That's a dinosaur. Can you say dinosaur?

JULIA: (reading "My First ABC Board Book" to Madeleine) R! Ruh-ruh-ruh. Uh, Mommy, what's that?
ME: Rose.
JULIA: Rose, ring, ribbon, uh... (pointing at a rabbit) Is that a bunny or a rabbit?
MADELEINE: Woof-woof.

Good thing we had Madeleine there to clarify things for Julia.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Tooth Fairy's first visit to the Rowe household

A big day for Julia!:

Actually, it was a big night for her, since the tooth seems to have fallen out while Ethan and I were at rehearsal and our baby-sitter was here. Unfortunately, the exact whereabouts of the tooth were unknown (as was the time at which the tooth actually fell out), but rest assured, the Tooth Fairy was still able to deliver. According to Julia and our sitter, during the bedtime story last night, Julia suddenly asked if her tooth was missing. Sure enough, it was, but Julia had no recollection of it actually falling out, coming to the conclusion that she must have swallowed it. This morning Julia was delighted to discover a dollar bill under her pillow, which she wisely decided to keep in her room so that Madeleine doesn't get her hands on it.

And speaking of Madeleine, she had an exciting experience yesterday afternoon when she and Julia accompanied me to my piano lesson. The house we were at has a pet guinea pig, and Madeleine was absolutely enthralled by it, continually toddling off to go point at it and say "Woof-woof." At one point, my student's mother gave Julia and Madeleine a handful of Romaine lettuce to feed the guinea pig. Can anyone guess what Madeleine did with her lettuce?

Yup. She ate it. The whole of it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Have a Sword!

At dinner this evening:

JULIA: (thrusting her arm up into the air as she holds her fork) I have a sword!
ETHAN: You do?
JULIA: Yeah, see? Daddy, hold your fork up now and say "I have a sword!"
ETHAN: (raising his fork up into the air) I have a fork!
JULIA: No! I have a sword!
ETHAN: But I don't have a sword. I have a fork.
JULIA: Well, you could pretend ya have a sword.
ETHAN: I don't know how to pretend.
JULIA: Well, I know how to pretend.
ETHAN: I know you do. That's very apparent.
JULIA: Here, Daddy, you just do it like this: (holding her fork up high) I've got a sword!
MADELEINE: Raising her arm up into the air and breaking into a smile like she's in on the joke.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The time-out chair

Madeleine has entered a phase that Julia also went through as a toddler: smacking herself in the face when she's angry about something. I remember that this was when we began time-outs with Julia; I would pick her up and place her bum in her pink Disney princess chair, which eventually became known as the "time-out chair." I have similarly started putting Madeleine in the time-out chair when she hits, although unlike Julia, Madeleine usually immediately gets back out. At this point, I'm not terribly concerned that she won't stay in the chair; the main issue is that she is being removed from whatever activity she's taking part in as a result of inappropriate behavior.

Their response to the actual time-out is not the only thing that's different, though. Their methods of hitting contrast each other, and are as distinct as their personalities. While Julia would typically show her anger by glaring at me insolently and then giving herself a defiant slap across her cheek, Madeleine abandons all self-control and just starts smacking her face wildly with both hands. As soon as the haphazard smacking begins, I pick her up and plop her in her time-out chair. Today this required carrying her out of the living room and putting her in the dining room, where we've placed the chair, and then returning to the living room and the book I was reading. A moment later, Julia nudged me, and I looked up to see Madeleine sitting in her time-out chair right by my feet; she had carried the chair into the living room and then sat herself back down. You can see by these pictures how fazed she was by her time-out sentence:

These time-outs really seem to be working.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hot oil and mashed potatoes

Yesterday, while I was cooking dinner, I managed to splatter my face with hot oil from the cast-iron pan. As I sat with an ice pack on my cheek, Julia very helpfully had the following observation: "Mom, I guess you're NOT the smart one, because you keep doing silly things like whacking your head and burning yourself, so I guess Daddy is really the smart one. You thought you were the smart one, but I guess you're not." She just wanted to make sure she set the record straight on that one. How sensitive and caring of her.

She has also been talking a lot about the idioms used in one of her favorite books, "The Big Orange Splot." She wanted to understand what sayings such as "he lost his marbles," "he has bats in his belfry," and "he slipped his hawser" mean. After I explained, a few nights ago, that they are all ways to say that someone is acting crazy, she has been coming up with her own idioms to express the same sentiment. I think my favorite was: "Mom, if I wanted to say that I was acting crazy, I would say I mashed my potatoes!" Another of her ideas was to say "I dropped the ice cream out of my cone onto the ground." Maybe next time I whack my head or burn myself, she can tell me, "Mommy, I think you've mashed your potatoes."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Now it's time to play our game...

One of these things is not like the others, one of this things just doesn't belong. Can you guess which thing just doesn't belong here, before I end my song?

Bonus points if you can guess who put the misfit item there.

In some ways, however, Madeleine is getting a better understanding of where things belong. Today, after helping herself to some graham crackers from the cupboard, she managed to leave little pieces of cracker all over the floor, which inevitably got stepped on and crushed. At one point, I heard her exclaim, "Uh-oh!" as she pointed to a mess of graham cracker crumbs all over the dining room rug. She then picked up a handful of the crumbs, toddled over to the garbage, and dumped the crumbs in the bin. Afterwards, she proceeded to toddle back to the pile of crumbs once again and carry on with their disposal. We even had a conversation (the exact same conversation, in fact) each time she returned for more crumbs.

ME: Those are crumbs.
MADELEINE: Uh-oh! (scooping up a handful of crumbs and toddling off to throw them in the garbage.)
ME: Good job, Madeleine!
MADELEINE: (toddling back) Atzat?
ME: Crumbs.

And so forth. Smart kid. (If a bit on the obsessively repetitive side.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pony play

Julia had a long, elaborate pretend-play session with her My Little Ponies this morning. She has been obsessed with My Little Pony ever since viewing an episode of the tv show a few weeks ago. In her game, the ponies, who sadly no longer bear such imaginative names as Sand and Selena (thanks to her pony books and movies teaching her their actual, commercial names) fell down into a cave. Not to fear; they were all rescued, but things got a little tense as one last pony remained stuck in the cave. Here is a transcript of the game as the plot thickened:

NARRATOR: Pinkie Pie fell back into the cave.
STARLIGHT: You're gonna stay in the cave?
PINKIE PIE: I am! Because I am Refusing Pony!
STARLIGHT: Do you think that's ever the way to go? To refuse a pony and stay in jail because you refuse a pony?
BUTTERCUP: Let's go ask the other ponies.
STARLIGHT: (Approaching the group of ponies who are no longer in the cave.) Rainbow Dash, who can go down in the cave by getting on her back, let me do.
RAINBOW DASH: All right. (Down in the cave) I'll save you! Jump on!
NARRATOR: (musical interlude, which sounded something like a series of ascending scales as Pinkie Pie was flown up and out of the cave) Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun!
SCOOTALOO: I want Starlight to be the one to fly us all around the world and get prizes. (To Starlight): Use your heart inside your body, okay?
NARRATOR: Musical interlude, hummed by Julia.
STARLIGHT: (flying through the sky)
NARRATOR: Minty! Go up and you will get a prize.
MINTY: I will?
NARRATOR: Scootaloo! For Scootaloo, the kindness of a grown-up.
SCOOTALOO: (goes up and gets her prize.)
NARRATOR: Snowdrop's turn.
SNOWDROP: I don't want a prize.
STARLIGHT: Do you think that's nice? To not take a prize when you're supposed to go get your prize?
BUTTERCUP: I don't want a prize, either!
RAINBOW DASH: I'm flyiiiiiing to get a prize. I don't wanna not get mah prahze!
NARRATOR: And the last one, Pinkie Pie, who was brave enough to just go down in the cave, but couldn't get down without her friend Rainbow Dash! The two winners have been. And their friends to be together!
PINKIE PIE: And my best friend is gonna go away, to be in Ponyville? But... but... but...
RAINBOW DASH: I know it's hard when your best friend is going to a new house. But I know that we'll have play-dates again.
(Rainbow Dash falls off the table) Pinkie Pie! You're knocking me off the cliff!
RAINBOW DASH: Just use this, so we're always in touch with each other. You always use hearts.
PINKIE PIE: But I don't have my heart! So we can't be in touch!
NARRATOR: She blows her air and sprinkles a heart on her, a blue heart.

So after the drama of being stuck in the cave, Pinkie Pie wound up with a heart, and we had a happy ending after all.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Julia had a little lamb

What do you think? Opera singer in the making? Julia gives "Mary Had a Little Lamb" her all:

And two conversations with Madeleine today:

ME: Good morning, pumpkin!
ME: Good job! Pumpkin!
ME: Pumpkin!
ME: Yeah! Pumpkin!

Close enough, right?

MADELEINE: (pointing at the garbage can) Atzat?
ME: That's the garbage. Can you say garbage?

I had no idea she knew the word 'trash.' Good job, my little poptoom!