Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Little Pony, and other things

Julia sings the My Little Pony theme song:

When she asked me to sing it to her, she stopped me after I sang "Magic makes it all complete!" to correct me, insisting that the words are actually "Magic makes it occuplete." She would not even entertain the notion that the words were different ones from what she was singing, even though her version uses a word that is not a real word. I finally gave up and let her believe that magic makes it occuplete.

Madeleine has been singing the My Little Pony song as well, but as soon as I tried to video record her, she clammed up. "Madeleine, can you sing the pony song?" "Uh-uh. NO."

While she wouldn't sing the pony song for me, she does still earn her place on today's blog post with her completely random, totally unexpected dinner-time declaration: "No no touch a penis!"


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Julia's feats on the potty and on paper

Julia has made big progress towards making her potty experience less eccentric lately; we had agreed on a change to her poop habits once she turned 4.5. No more taking off all her clothes to use the potty, and she should try to do the wiping herself. I'm happy to report that she has followed both new rules and has had great success. However, she still feels the need to shout things to me from the pot, necessitating that I be within both earshot to both hear and respond. Here is today's urgent message from the pot, which required me to interrupt the lovely foot massage I was getting from Ethan on the couch in the living room:

"MOM! MOMMY! MOM! Um, guess what? Daddy and I are twins because I only know the part of 'Mr. Golden Sun' that goes Oh Mister Sun, Sun, Mister Golden Sun, please shine down on me! and Daddy only knows, um, um, um, um, a little bit of the words to 'It's Alright to Cry.'"

Fascinating. Absolutely necessary information that couldn't wait until she was off the pot.

Changing the subject, Julia recently drew a picture based on her favorite part from "The Bear Detectives: The Case of the Missing Pumpkin" book:

You may remember Julia's obsession with "The Spooky Stranger who can it be?" from one of this blog's earliest videos. She has recently rediscovered this spooky stranger, and decided to draw her own picture of him. I present to you The Spooky Stranger, or, according to Julia, The Stooy Wocan:

In case you are wondering who it can be, the answer is: (spoiler alert!)

A scarecrow. Mystery solved!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bath time composition

Madeleine likes to copy everything her sister does, and this even extends to Julia's spontaneous musical compositions:

Friday, May 27, 2011

Sowwy, Mom.

Madeleine's new phrase: "Sowwy, Mom." Usually used after being caught making some sort of mischief. As in:

ME: Madeleine, no no drink from Julia's cup!
ME: It's okay, honey, but you need to drink from your own cup.
MADELEINE: Sowwy Mom, a Juchie milkie.

Or, in another example:

ME: (from upstairs) Hang on, Jules! I'll be down in a second!
JULIA: BUT MOOOOOOOOMMMMYYYY!!! MADELEINE'S (something incomprehensible here)
ME: Hold on, Julia!
ME: Okay, I'm coming!
JULIA: (sullenly, as I came down the stairs) It's okay. She gave them back.
MADELEINE: Sowwy Mom. Sowwy Mom, a Juchie's goo-goo ga-ga.

The fact that Madeleine calls goggles "Goo goo ga ga" is subject for another day.

On a new topic, Julia had a grand time entertaining herself while I cooked dinner. She told me all about the four girls she knows who know another girl who has a house with sparkly lights and who sings this song:

After that was done, the girls discovered some of Ethan's old cell phones in one of our cupboard drawers, which led to all kinds of fun pretend conversations:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Conversations overheard

This week I've had the pleasure of overhearing little snippets of the girls' conversations with friends. One such conversation was adorably sweet, and the other... well, not so much, but it was still pretty amusing.

While I was teaching piano lessons to the three older siblings of one of Julia's friends, Julia and said friend were off galavanting around the house, and every few minutes, Julia would run into the room I was teaching in, wrap her arms around me, and then run off back to her friend. After one such sneak attack hug, I heard the friends talking in adjacent room.

FRIEND: Why do you love your mom so much?
JULIA: Because! My mommy is sooooo special to me, and I just never ever want a baby-sitter, I only want my mommy!

The girls then lapsed into silence as they resumed traipsing about, then picked their conversation back up as they climbed up into stools at the kitchen counter to eat a snack:

FRIEND: Do you have a dad?
JULIA: Mmm-hmm. He's at work.

Madeleine is obviously not at the same level of sophisticated conversation, but she has a little friend at the Creative Movement center with whom she frequently babbles as they play together. While Julia and the older brother of this little friend are in gymnastics class, the toddlers often gravitate towards each other, and using the mommies as go-betweens when needed, they have been making the first attempts towards conversing. For example, during today's gymnastics class:

FRIEND: (trying to lug a kiddie chair over to the table Madeleine is standing at) I'll get her a chair to sit in!
MADELEINE: (completely oblivious to the whole chair ordeal)
FRIEND: (continuing to lug the chair, somehow hurting herself)
MADELEINE: (running to me) Mommy! Baby a conk a finger!
ME: (to friend) Are you okay?
FRIEND'S MOM: There's honesty for you.
FRIEND: Mommy! I want the baby to sit in this chair!
ME: Madeleine, do you want to sit in this chair?
MADELEINE: Mmm-hmm! (plopping her bum down on the seat.)
FRIEND: (getting another chair and placing it next to Madeleine's.)
MADELEINE: (obviously not getting the fact that her friend is already sitting in a chair, runs off to get another chair and struggles to pull it over.) A help a chair?
ME: We don't need another chair.
MADELEINE: Aunt chair a baby!
ME: You want to get a chair for the baby because she got one for you?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Uh-huh!
ME: (to friend) Do you want to sit in this chair that Madeleine got for you?
FRIEND: Uh-huh.
TODDLERS: plonk themselves back in the chairs and turn to smile at each other.

Yeah. So, as I said before, a little ways to go before reaching the level of sophistication of Julia's conversations with friends...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Busy day

While they both woke up well before seven this morning, the girls had a basically uninterrupted stretch of sleep last night. Good thing, since we've had quite a busy day so far, including a trip to the Y, then another trip to the Y to pick up my cell phone (left behind by accident), preschool for Julia, a trip to the woodwind repair shop with Madeleine, as well as some outside time. Our initial trip to the Y took much longer than expected; I wound up attracting the eye of one of the trainers there, who decided to put me through the wringer with an exhausting kettle-bell and push-up workout on top of the run I had done. While I could see Julia hopping up and down at the child-care window waving at me, I was powerless to escape without making myself seem like a weakling (totally unacceptable, of course.) Once I had finally collected the girls and gotten everybody into the car, forgetting that I had put my cell phone down on the windowsill by the weights, we were ready to head home. As we were pulling into our driveway, the girls and I had a conversation that went something like this:

JULIA: (randomly) But Mommy? Why were you just talking and talking?
ME: What do you mean?
JULIA: Why were you just talking?
ME: You mean to the man in the gym?
JULIA: Yeah, why were you taking so long and talking and talking?
ME: Because he's a trainer and he wanted me to do all kinds of hard exercises over and over again. I'm going to be so sore now!
JULIA: Why are you going to be so sore?
ME: Because of that stinky trainer!
MADELEINE: (Staring at me somberly as I unbuckled her from her car seat) Stinky BUM!

After dropping Julia at school and feeding Madeleine some lunch, we had to zip over to a repair shop to get my flute fixed, and as we drove home I was feeling guilty that so far Madeleine hadn't had any time outdoors, on a really lovely day, because we had been driving around all over the place. I decided to surprise her with a quick stop at DeFazio Park, the wonderland of playgrounds in our town, figuring we'd play for 20 minutes and I could still get her home for nap at a not-unreasonable time.

Wonderland it was, as she traipsed around enjoying all the play equipment - the little slide, the big slide that one must climb about 20 stairs to reach, the wooden house with slats you can peek at Mommy through, the bouncy seahorse and zebra riding toys, the swings, the bus with a wheel you can turn, etc. After making the rounds and then some, with 20 minutes of time elapsed, I told her it was time to go home for nap and then had to carry her kicking and screaming to the car. As we drove out of the parking lot she wailed a lament not unlike "A sheep a hoooooorse!", mourning all the fun things she would have to leave behind. "Fwiiiiiide!! A zeeeeebra!! A house a peek-a-boooooo! A fwiiiiiiing! A fun a plaaaaaaayground!"

At least our early morning was fairly relaxing, playing Little People, doctor, and singing:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nocturnal awakenings

I guess last night's excitement was stimulating enough to keep the girls from settling into a deep enough sleep; both kids had numerous awakenings during the course of the night. After falling asleep for a few hours, Madeleine began suddenly, animatedly babbling to herself at around ten of midnight, chattering away with such volume and velocity that it was keeping both Ethan and I awake. I went into her room to try and settle her, and found her laying on her back in her crib, looking as innocent as can be. I went and stood over her crib, ready to tell her it was time to go to sleep, when she buoyantly proclaimed "SHEEPIE! BAAAAA! BAAAAA!"

"No, no, it's time to go night-night," I told her sternly, popping her pacifier into her mouth and stroking her hair. She looked at me drowsily for a moment, then suddenly her eyes began to twinkle, and she shouted, through her pacifier, "MOOOOOOO!"

I decided it best to just leave her room and let her self-soothe to sleep.

Around 1am, Julia clomped up the stairs and into my bedroom, to give me the very urgent news: "Mom? Daddy put my new undies in my laundry basket."

What can one respond to that, besides, "Don't worry about it right now. Go back to sleep."

This morning, Madeleine is not belting out animal sounds, but she did at least perform a bit of her version of the "Dora" theme song on camera. She was somewhat distracted with the book she was flipping through (also Dora) and needed a little prodding from me to continue singing:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Half-birthday pizza mayhem

Julia was thrilled to learn she is FINALLY four and a half as of today, and was so excited about it that she felt the need to tell everyone we encountered; the child care personnel at the Y, her friend Mary, her baby-sitter Tamara, my flute student who comes to the house on Mondays, you name it. And while she didn't get the presents she had been hoping for ("Mommy, when I turn four and a half, can you PLEASE buy me lipstick for my present?"), she did get to have a fun evening with her friends Nate and Anja, who came over for a dinner play-date and some general ruckus-making. The big kids, in particular, were so off the wall goofy all night long that it kind of felt like we had a herd of animals escaped from the zoo in our house. (Monkeys particularly come to mind.) There was no shortage of loud "FART!" exclamations (Nate), the wearing of pizza on her head like a hat (Julia), a need to revert to sound effects ("Blah! Blah blah blah!" with tongue out - also Julia), pouring of juice boxes onto slices of pizza (Nate), etc etc. In other words, it was the most FUN PLAY-DATE EVER for the kids and was... something else... for the grown-ups. Here are a few pictures of the revelry; can you tell how wound up and giddy they were?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Madeleine news

Both Madeleine and Julia have enjoyed watching for the ice cream truck driving by our house of late. Every time the infamous electronic "Turkey in the Straw" is heard, they both run to the window, Madeleine exclaiming loudly, "Ice Fweam TWUCK!" The first time she did this, I remember being stunned that she could say those words, let alone identify the truck by its sound. However, what I failed to realize until yesterday was that in her mind, ice cream itself is indistinguishable from the ice cream truck. We took the girls to the local ice cream shop after dinner last night, and while Ethan stood in line ordering for the girls, I held a distraught Madeleine in my lap. The whole experience went basically like this:

MADELEINE: Waaaaaaah!! Aunt ice fweam TWUCK!
ME: Daddy's getting your ice cream. He'll be back in just a minute.
MADELEINE: Daaaaadddddyyy!! Ice fweam TWUCK!
ME: Yes, Daddy will bring your ice cream over in just a minute.
MADELEINE: (calming down) Daddy ice fweam twuck.

Once we got our ice cream, we went outside to the nearby town green to eat, and afterwards walked together back to our car. As Madeleine trotted along holding my hand, I remarked, "Wasn't that fun getting ice cream?"
"A fun ice fweam TWUCK!" she enthusiastically replied.

Another misconception she seems to have is that generally any object can function as a phone. Last week it was the Little People picnic basket, and today during the car ride home from church, she began playing with the wild animal toys I keep in the diaper bag, putting the tiger up to her ear and repeatedly exclaiming, "A chicken dough? Chicken dough!" So I now realize that the object doesn't even need to resemble a phone in shape, size, or color to act as a phone in her pretend world.

A phone. (Or chicken dough.)

Finally, this evening the Rowe family had a Skype session with the other Rowe family, namely, our relatives in California. Madeleine was quite interested in Uncle Mike, to the point that she named two of her Little People "Uncle Mike" as she played with them on the windowsill after the Skype session. Interestingly, the two figures she chose to dub "Uncle Mike" are the two favorites Julia had as a toddler: Eddie and Farmer Jed.

ME: (holding up Farmer Jed) Madeleine, who's this?
MADELEINE: Ummle Mike!
ME: (holding up Eddie) Who's this?
MADELEINE: Ummle Mike!

Uncle Mike

Uncle Mike

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Julia's new flip-flops

Julia has been asking for a pair of flip-flops for some months now, so when she spotted these in CVS, she immediately fell in love with them:

And for $4.99, I had no problem buying them for her. She has since practically glued them to her feet, appearing in my room at 7:15 this morning in nightgown and flip-flops. She was even thinking about them in the middle of the night; during a nocturnal meeting in the bathroom, she informed me, "Mom, did you know that I'm just SO excited about my new flip-flops that I had to bring them into my room because I just wanted to look at them?"

Never one to overlook a pretend-game opportunity, no matter how random the object of said game may be, Julia was ready to animate her flip-flops this morning when she handed one to me, saying, "Doctor, doctor, can you take a look at these flip-flops, because they need a checkup?" (Dr. Courtney is glad to report that Snow White was fine, Sleeping Beauty just needed to rest, and both Tiana and Cinderella were given medication which fixed their ailments.)

Madeleine is similarly enchanted by Julia's new footwear, jumping at every opportunity to snatch them and try them on her own feet. "Juchie fip-foooop!" she laments every time the flip-flop owner snatches them back. Seeing as Madeleine is in a big stuffing-foot-in-mouth phase (literally chewing on whatever shoes are on her feet), I think it's probably not a wise idea to let her play with Juchie's fip-fops until her appetite for shoes has waned.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Singing, pretend games, blueberries and stickers

Can you guess the song by the lyrics? (Madeleine's version, that is):

1. Twinkle twinkle, how wonner up a high!

2. Happy to you! Happy to you!

3. Twain is comin' OH yeah, chuh-chuh-choo-choo, chuh-chuh-choo-choo, chillen OH yeah.

4. S'Wainin! A powin! Snowin!

On another note, Julia proved that no toy is to be outgrown in this house, as she set up a wild pretend game with one of the little balls that went to the infant fishbowl both girls played with when younger. Having found this ball under the couch, she quickly set up a narrative about the life of the little spinning fish inside the ball:

"Once there was a little fish, and she was not happy because she was not in the ocean." (Turning to me with a huge, excited grin on her face) "Are you like, oh yeah! This is gonna be an ADVENTURE story!?"

After I confirmed that I was totally excited about the adventure story, she resumed her narrative:

"But she knew a shell, and she knew her mom."

The game then took a more elaborate turn, as Julia decided to fill up a tupperware bowl with water in which to submerge the ball. While I was helping her find an appropriate tupperware, Madeleine decided to pull the blueberries out of the fridge, spill them all over the floor, and then eat them one by one off the floor, squealing "Mmm!" with each bite:

Once the blueberries were cleaned up, Julia was able to resume her game, putting the fishy ball into the bowl of water:

The narration carried on as follows:

"But she's still not happy, because she's in her EGG!"
Julia then swooshed the ball around in the water, providing the following song as musical narration: "She swimmed and she swimmed, but she doesn't know the niiiight!"

When the song ended, she dove back into story-telling:

"And then she JUMPED out of the water and onto the table. 'I'm not suuuuure!!' So she splashed into the water. But she needs some friends!"
Julia ran off to get the following friend:

Despite the happy meeting between the fishy ball and her friend, the birdie puzzle piece, the poor fish was about to encounter some danger:

"And then a man TOOK the little baby fish out! She drinked through her nose, so she jumped back in and Mom! look how she's drinking! Then somebody took her out, took the fishbowl, and she couldn't swim."

Apparently that was the end of the story. I seemed to misinterpret the tone of the ending, though:

ME: Oh no! So it's a sad ending?
JULIA: No! Someone can TEACH her how to swim again!

Meanwhile, as the fish story drew to a close, Madeleine busied herself by covering parts of her body with Julia's princess stickers:

To sum up this entire post: A totally typical morning in the Rowe household.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


As Madeleine develops more and more language capacity, she is ever able to express her wants and desires. One of the most helpful developments over the last month or so is her ability to ask for things again, rather than emitting a non-descript whine and a hand reaching in the direction of the desired item. Although I expect it to be as short-lived as her "At happoon?" phrase (which has long since morphed into the more correct, less amusing "What happen?"), she currently inspires much amusement in the members of the Rowe household with her request of "Ogaime?" when she wants a repeat of a particular thing. Sometimes her requests are somewhat general:

-"Ogaime? Mucus? Ogaime?" (meaning a track has ended on a CD and she wants to be sure more music is coming.)
-"Ogaime? Ice fweam? Ogaime?" (can you feed me another bite of ice cream, please?)
-"Ogaime? Dowa? Aunt tee-tee! Ogaime?" (Why oh why did you turn off the television when I wanted to keep watching Dora??)

At other moments, she is very specific about what she wants ogaime:

-"Ogaime? Cat? Doo-bee-doo?" (She wants to hear the Music Together track "Mississippi Cat," which features scat-like, vocalized rhythmic patterns throughout, over and over and over again.)
-"Ogaime? One? Wait a March Hare ogaime?" (She wants me to read her the Alice in Wonderland counting book for the umpteenth time in a row.)
-"Ogaime? Apple A-a-a? Ogaime? A and B?" (She wants me to sing "Apple, apple, A-a-a. Baby, baby, B-b-b," which is the only part I can remember from some kids' cassette we had at my childhood home.)

As mentioned above, I'm sure this will become "again" before too long; already the word is beginning to evolve from "Ogaime" into "ogain." I wonder if I'll really throw her for a loop if, once she is capable of clearly asking "again?", I request her more humorous pronunciation by saying "Ogaime ogaime?"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Madeleine plays Little People

Madeleine got really into her Little People play today, taking Cartacarizza, Sarah, and Maggie and making them "fly the sun" (in her words), or scoot along on the roof of the Little People Play House (in my words.) After exclaiming "Whee!" as they flew along, the various Little People would either happily descend to the table top, or, in some unfortunate cases, fall to the ground and then cry. All was made better as soon as Madeleine picked up the poor, wounded Little Person and gave her a head hug. As you can see in this video, the falls became more frequent as the game progressed, though Madeleine was always right there with open arms ready to embrace whichever person was in need:

Things really took a dire turn when all of the above-mentioned Little People had wiped out, leaving none standing:

After numerous falls, you might expect that Cartacarizza was in poor spirits, but quite the contrary; ever the optimist, she was quick to leap back on her feet and dance around all over the second story of the Little People house:

Madeleine turning Cartacarizza in pirouette-like circles

After the roof scooting was over with, the Little People needed a rest, as I gathered from the following narration:

MADELEINE: (snoring sounds) She's fweepin'!

Unhappily, the injuries weren't over with for the day; after Sarah woke up, she attempted to climb through the balcony window of the Little People house, and according to Madeleine, "She conked a head!"

In the middle of all the Little People action, Madeleine took a break from playing with Cartacarizza, Maggie, and Sarah in order to put the Little People picnic basket to her ear and have a phone conversation:

Although I think she was pretending to talk to Mommy, I unfortunately couldn't quite grasp what she was trying to tell me. If anyone got anything more out of that conversation than "chicken dough," be sure to fill me in!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Julia's tent

Julia made the dining room table into a tent today by covering it with a blanket. (And then, when it wasn't dark enough underneath for her standards, four additional blankets.) She gathered together piles of food and dishes from her play kitchen, put on one of her Disney princess dress-up gowns, and camped out underneath the table:

Best of all was that I was invited under the table to join in the fun, and Julia shared some of her goodies with me:

Nothing says campfire cook-out like an orange and an apple. Not to mention the lemon, pear, donut and cookies in the background.

After we ate our hearty meal, Julia announced that it was Halloween, and that she was going to the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkin. She brought it back to the tent to carve it:

She then took one of the play-kitchen bowls and filled it with the cookies and donuts to leave out for trick-or-treaters. Something made her think twice, however, and she decided to take the donuts back under the tent so we could eat them. Good thing. I was pretty hungry after my dinner of an orange and apple.

The fun had to end once I was getting sore enough from sitting hunched over (so as to avoid bonking my head on the table top,) but not to worry; I can almost guarantee that we'll be constructing the tent all over again first thing tomorrow. I can only guess what adventures we'll have then!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Whose Nose and Toes?

Madeleine and I read through one of her favorite books, "Whose Nose and Toes?" several times today. Here, we present a video of our joint reading, with a cameo from Julia:

She also spent quite some time playing with Little People today; in fact, when I returned home from a run I was surprised to find Madeleine playing away happily all by herself in the dining room while Ethan was cooking in the kitchen and Julia was on the living room couch watching a movie. My favorite touch was the apparent need to have one of Julia's crocs on and the other foot bare:

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Little People, Oh Yeah!

Julia wanted to play with her Little People, but before she could get started, she wanted to sing me this song she made up about them:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Family Dance Party

The dance party was temporarily put on hold, unfortunately, after Julia got a bloody nose by accidentally kneeing herself in the face as she flopped back enthusiastically onto the couch. Within five minutes or so she was able to rally, however, and the dance party resumed as vigorously as it had left off:

And before long, I put down the camera and joined in too:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lullabies, peanut butter and the farm

Last night after I sang Julia her lullaby, she decided to sing one to me as well, with her own made-up-on-the-spot words, to the tune of Frere Jacques. Random much?:

I love Mommy, I love Mommy
She loves me too, she loves me too
Will you buy me apple cider? Yeeees Iiiiiii wiiiiill
Love you too. Love you too.

This morning she attempted to impress me with her spelling capabilities rather than her poetic lyrics.

JULIA: Mommy, do you think I don't know how to spell "peanut butter?"
ME: Uh, yeah, I bet you don't.
JULIA: Okay, I'm just gonna take a guess and you can tell me if I'm right.
ME: Okay.
JULIA: Okay, I'm just guessing. J-I-F! (waiting expectantly.)
ME: (confused.)
JULIA: J-I-F! (looking at me and attempting to hide her pride and self-pleasure.)

It suddenly dawned on me what must be going through her head:

I hated to burst her bubble and let her know that Jiffy was actually the brand of peanut butter and did not, in fact, spell "peanut butter."

Later on in the day, Madeleine and I got to visit Julia's school and see the animals from the Li'l Folks Farm, who were the special attraction of the day. Both girls had a blast looking at, petting, and brushing the various farm animals:

Madeleine had so much fun that she was heartbroken about leaving. She was so crushed to leave the animals behind that the whole car ride home was filled with her plaintive lament: "A sheep a hoooooorse! A sheep a hooooooorse!"

I wonder if those were her two favorite animals, or if she simply figured they were the easiest combination to cry out about. Maybe she decided "A chicken an alpaaacaaaa!" would be way too much of a mouthful.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Madeleine cleans up

Madeleine, upon noticing last night's spinach all over her booster seat:
"Uh-oh! A wipe your face a spinach!" Then she toddled off to get a fresh wipe, came back, and looked to me for approval: "A wipe your face?" After I confirmed it was okay, she wiped her face, which is to say she wiped the spinach off of her booster seat until she declared it acceptable for sitting in.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Cat in the Hat

Julia and Madeleine watched an episode of "The Cat and the Hat" this afternoon, during which I realized that Madeleine does not actually comprehend the idea that the characters on the tv are not actually in the room with us. After babbling gibberish into our phone for a few minutes, having a pretend phone call, she then attempted to hand the phone first to the Cat and then to a monkey. How to explain to a 19-month old that the Cat can't actually take the phone from her? I had been trying to get a video of her gibberish conversation when this occurred, so at least I was able to get the attempted passing off of the phone on camera:

Julia didn't try and give anything to the Cat during the show, but she did show off the wisdom he imparted to her during this episode about camouflage. After the show ended, she declared that she wanted to try and camouflage herself so that I wouldn't be able to find her. After putting a plastic bag over one foot (for goodness knows what reason), she demanded that I not look for her until she was fully camouflaged.

"Okay, Mom, you have to say 'Where did everybody go?' when you look for me!" she instructed once she was ready. I looked up and was shocked: Julia was nowhere to be found! She did such a good job of camouflaging that she blended right into the room. I even took a picture so you can see how she is nearly impossible to find. It's like she blends right into the room and doesn't stick out AT ALL:

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I have had a wonderful Mother's Day with my girls, despite a fit that Julia had which led to her sitting under the table lamenting that it's not her lucky day because I gave her yogurt instead of grilled cheese for lunch. The day started with a pancake breakfast and home-made cards, then later in the afternoon we took a family trip to the New England Aquarium. Madeleine was fascinated by the sea creatures, especially since she was too young to really grasp what she was looking at the last time we visited. She spent a lot of time loudly and excitedly declaring what she was looking at: "Fishies! Bubbles! Penguin! He's fwimmin'! Penguin!" etc. After hearing Ethan remark to Julia, "Look at that guy!" as we looked in one of the tanks, Madeleine began referring to everything in the various tanks as "guys." As in: "Madeleine, what do you see?" "It's GUYS!"

On our drive home, Julia began singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and when she finished, Madeleine erupted into applause, crying "Yaaaay! Twinkle!" One thing led to another and before you knew it, we were all singing the song in 3-part harmony for Madeleine's enjoyment. Julia's comment afterwards was "Mommy! Were we singing in a ROUND?" She was so excited about us singing in harmony that we carried on with our family singing for the remainder of the car ride, and took a video once we got home:

I'm not surprised Madeleine enjoyed our singing so much, as she has been extremely interested in music in general lately. She continues to ask for "mucus" as soon as we get in the car, and the other night as we listened to a CD of a recent performance Ethan and I were part of, she burst into applause at the finish of the first piece and exclaimed "Yay! Da MUCUS!!!"

On another note, she has continued with her Little People pretend play; today instead of Mommy and Daddy, she played with these two cows:

The cows had a great time trotting up and down along the window glass, while Madeleine provided the dialogue between them:

COW 1: (trotting along the window glass) Up a down! Up a down! (returning to the windowsill) Aunt turn, Cowie?
COW 2: Uh-huh! (trotting along the window glass) Up a down! Up a down! (returning to the windowsill.) Aunt turn, Cowie?
COW 1: Uh-huh! (trotting along the window glass) Up a down! Up a down! (returning to the windowsill) Aunt turn, Cowie?

And so forth.

As Ethan is cooking me a special Mother's Day dinner, I am feeling truly blessed to have my dear family and thankful for the wonderful day we spent together. I leave you with a family portrait we took by the Boston Harbor. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Little People play

Madeleine got into a very involved pretend game with Project Daddy and Sarah (who she referred to as Mommy and Daddy.) The game originated at the windowsill in the living room, but she later moved to the dining room table and had them babble at each other in a language that was unintelligible to me but obviously made perfect sense to her. Here's a video snippet of her pretend play:

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fashion shots and artistry

Julia spent the morning modeling the latest fashion accessories, showing off her looks for the camera:

Here she sports a bubble necklace, princess bottlecap attached to a chain around her neck, a Hello Kitty bandaid-bracelet, and two rings: one with chapstick inside, and one with a faux purple gem. Her hair is styled au naturel to accompany her bohemian chic look.

And now for a more elegant look, she has replaced the bubble necklace with a string of Mardi Gras beads and the band-aid bracelet with a beaded one, and has abandoned the chapstick ring all together. Stylist Courtney "Mama" Rowe has arranged her hair into two thick braids to accompany her more put-together image.

Later on in the day, Julia went from model to artist, presenting the following picture to me:

JULIA: Mommy, what do you think this is?
ME: Umm... a bird?
ME: Umm... oh, is it under water? A whale?
ME: A shark?
JULIA: (giggling) Noooo!
ME: A dolphin?
JULIA: No! Mommy, I'll give you a hint. It has wheels, and it's DELAYED!
ME: A plane?
JULIA: (gleefully) YES! It's delayed!!
ME: I thought it might be a plane!
JULIA: Mommy, do you know why it's delayed?
ME: (studying the picture) Is there a thunderstorm up above?
JULIA: Um, a different kind - a WORSER kind of thunderstorm.
ME: A tornado?
JULIA: Yes! It's a HURRICANE! A tornado tomato hurricane!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My First Animals

Between our trip to the zoo, wildlife we've seen in our and others' backyards, and playing with the pets of people we know, Madeleine has now seen enough animals to be able to identify most of the pictures in her "My First Animals" book. She did have a few interesting reactions to some of the photos, however:

"It's Cwawa! Woof-woof!"

Seeing as she also called Hundley, the doorman's dog from Curious George, Clara the other day, I'm guessing that since Auntie Shannon and her dog Clara visited at Easter, Madeleine has come to the determination that either a) all dogs are named Clara, or b) "Clara" is another word for dog.

When we got to this picture of a hen, Madeleine immediately leaned forward and smacked her head against the photo, leading to an explosion of laughter from Julia and repeated head smacks on each subsequent page of the book.
ME: What are you doing, Madeleine?
I should have known, since hens are so soft and cuddly and so obviously invite head hugs.

And of course, you can all imagine what Madeleine said when we got to this animal:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Swiper no swiping!

Some of you undoubtedly saw the video Ethan posted to facebook in which Madeleine points to the back of her Dora book and exclaims "Focky fock! It's a FOCK!" (And fock would be fox, as in Swiper the Fox.) Today she has even more to say about Swiper: "Fwifer. It's a SNEAKY FOCK." Or, when she doesn't feel like stating the whole sentence, she's content to repeat her favorite part of the phrase over and over again. "Sneaky fock. Sneaky FOCK. SNEAKY FOCK!" Luckily, I'm not the only one who gets to listen to this, as she was happily babbling away about the sneaky fock at the Y, so I'm sure all kinds of other kids got to benefit from her great influence. I guess I shouldn't been surprised; she's been a potty-mouth since infancy, what with her whole "sssshiiit" phase...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Animal sightings and creative moves

The past few days have been really nice, so the girls and I have spent a lot of time outside together. Madeleine spotted her old squirrel friend out in the backyard, this time running after him calling out, "Moo!" We also attended an outdoor birthday party over the weekend, and had the delight of discovering a little toad hopping around in the grass. "Ribbib! Ribbib!" Madeleine squwaked joyfully, following him along his hopping path. This is the first time she has actually ever seen a toad, though I think she was well-prepared thanks to Julia's frog imitation a few months back; neither Ethan nor I recalls showing Madeleine pictures of frogs or teaching her what frogs say, so I give all the credit to Julia's very convincing frog hops.

Speaking of Julia hopping, I have to admit I'm awfully impressed with how much progress she has made in gymnastics lately. You may remember her at-home gymnastics show from last winter; boy, has a year made a huge difference. The girls and I went to open gym time to play on the equipment today, and while a video camera would have been a more appropriate way to capture Julia's moves, all I had on me was my digital camera, so I snapped some action shots while she showed me her skills. Here is Julia in motion:

Jumping on the trampoline

Now THAT'S a straddle jump!

Forward roll on the low balance beam

Completing the roll

Front flip on the bar


Madeleine, for her part, managed to walk all the way across the low beam without falling off, complete with tongue out for concentration and balance:

Too bad I didn't have the girls demonstrate a frog hop across the beam. Next time...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Madeleine's New Musical Obsession

We've been listening to "Free to Be You and Me" in the car over the past few days, which is one of Julia's favorite CDs. It seems to be a new favorite of Madeleine's as well, especially the title song. Every time the song ends and the silence in between tracks is heard, Madeleine seems get nervous that the music is gone forever, and immediately begins pleading to hear it again. "Agaime? Agaime? Aunt tape. Aunt MU-cus. Aunt MUCUS!" Of course, given our musical backgrounds, it's no surprise that Madeleine, like her sister, is showing early signs of being a mucus lover. In fact, I believe Julia was around Madeleine's age when she developed her obsession with the "Hello buddy" song from the Music Together program. In Madeleine's case, it seems to be "Dora the Explorer" and "Free to Be You and Me" neck and neck for favorite song. Keep your eyes and ears out - there may be a family hits album out in the near future: "The Rowe Family Makes Mucus Together!"