Sunday, July 31, 2011

Water fun

Our weekend has been full of water play, beginning with a trip to Woods Hole on Cape Cod for some ocean fun with Ethan's cousins and their kids. Julia got a chance to try some very tame Boogie Boarding:



while Madeleine and her 2nd cousin Megan were engrossed in an attempt to fill a sand bucket with water:



Not yet sure of her 2nd cousin's name, but wanting to provide a compliment on a particularly good water-pouring that Megan had completed, Madeleine pointed straight at Megan and told her, "Good job, that!"

Our next big water adventure took place out deeper in the ocean, where we joined Ethan's family on a houseboat and got a chance to swim more freely. While Julia enjoyed watching the bigger kids (and adults) jumping from the docks - and even from the roof of the houseboat - she was a bit tentative about jumping in herself. Instead, she preferred I lower her gently into the water into the arms of a waiting adult, despite the fact that her life jacket allowed her to float without being held:



At one point, in a moment of utter stupidity, I thought she might actually enjoy being tossed into the water, seeing as she really loves jumping from the dock at swim lessons. WRONG. I picked her up and threw her into the water, right to where Ethan was swimming. I'm sure you can all just imagine her reaction after dunking completely under the water and then bobbing back above the surface. Our attempts to clap and cheer and congratulate her on going under water were to no avail. I was not going to be let off the hook that easily.

Meanwhile, Madeleine had no issues with throwing herself into the water. Back at Ethan's aunt and uncle's house later in the day, Madeleine and Megan engaged in dizzying game of "Ring Around the Rosie" in the kiddie pool, delighting in the splash they created whenever they would "all fall DOOOOWN!":





In fact, with each subsequent fall DOOOOOOWN, Madeleine would arch her back more and more, to ensure she would get her entire body into the water as she achieved impact. I have a feeling that when she's four and a half, she will be one of the people plunging off the houseboat roof.

We continued with our water adventures this afternoon, taking a trip to Rosemary Pool, and the big news is that Julia can now swim several strokes all by herself without sinking. Big progress! - and I am so glad I have not scarred her for life with the whole tossing-into-the-ocean thing.

On a totally different topic, while the girls were listening to a CD this morning, Madeleine, being her mischievous self, started touching buttons on the stereo, one of which was the volume button. After making the music so quiet the sound disappeared, she ran into the kitchen to tell me, her eyes wide with alarm, "Oh no! I turned a off a TV! I stop a MUCUS!" Luckily, I was able to help her out. Phew. What would we do without a MUCUS!??

Friday, July 29, 2011

Outfit choices, and more on the concert

Madeleine decided to wear dress shoes and gloves while she played this morning:




What? There's nothing unusual about my choice of accessories.

While I briefly mentioned the "mucus" I played last night in the Needham Community Band concert, I was awfully tired and didn't go into great detail. To sum it up, the summer band I have been playing with gave a concert last night at the town field, and family, friends, and general audience members could come enjoy the music, get some fresh air, eat a picnic dinner, etc. The girls were apparently so excited about it that they decided to take naps during the performance:




In all seriousness, though, the girls were wild with excitement at the chance to eat pizza on the grass and then run rampant outdoors with live music playing. Madeleine spent most of her time trouncing around the field with Daddy chasing her, while Julia wound up running around with a group of boys she doesn't even know (uh-oh! It's starting already!), although she did spend some time running races with some friends from preschool.





Julia also seemed enthusiastic about the music, so taken by one of the marches we played that she was compelled to flamboyantly dance around right by the bandstand. So all in all, I'd say the concert was a hit and that both kids thought at was fun a MUCUS! (Maybe not as fun as wearing gloves and dress shoes around the house, but really, what can top that?)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quotes of the day

In which Julia delivers a real zinger and shows me who's boss:

JULIA: Mom, fine, you and Daddy are fair, and I'm the one who's wrecky EVERY DAY.


In which Madeleine opines upon her experience in the audience of my Needham Community Band (outdoor) concert:

"At was fun a MUCUS!"

My kids sure know what they're talking about.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomorrow

Today we had Tamara come baby-sit while I went to a doctor's appointment, and the kids were really excited to play with her. Madeleine seems to have reached the end of an era: Tamara is no longer "Snow-no," but has now become "Tomorrow."

When Tamara arrived, Madeleine immediately began serving her from the play kitchen, then, in her giddy excitement about our guest, climbed into the play oven, waiting to be noticed.

"A shut a door? A shut a door?" she asked repeatedly, and Tamara closed the oven door, then put her face up close to the plastic see-through window on the oven, cracking Madeleine up. Tamara's face was still close to the oven when Madeleine decided to forcefully kick open the door, slamming it into Tamara's head. Tamara was fine, but I insisted Madeleine apologize. "I sorry, Tomorrow," Madeleine dutifully replied, then resumed her request of "A shut a door? A shut a door?" Tamara wisely moved her face way out of range of the oven, and Madeleine once again kicked it open, this time avoiding any collisions. "I sorry, Tomorrow," she persisted in repeating, despite not having hit Tamara this time. The game continued, with Madeleine asking for the door to be closed, then kicking it open, and apologizing to Tomorrow for not hitting her with the door. It's interesting what sorts of things are entertaining to a 21 month old.

When I returned home from the doctor, Julia and Madeleine were playing a "puppet show" with Tamara up in Julia's room, both dressed in costume (Julia as Snow White, Madeleine as a ballerina.) Julia insisted on showing me the puppet show after Tamara had left, which involved no actual puppets but instead was a meandering narration from Julia with interjections of harmonica music. Once the story was done, Julia turned to Madeleine and said, "That was a good job waiting your turn, Madeleine. I know that's hard to do when you're just a toddler." After praising her sister's patience, Julia began Madeleine's "puppet show": "There once was a ballerina... (blowing a few harmonica notes..." etc. etc.

In other pretend play, Julia presented me with a rigorous quiz regarding which Little Person was intended to ride in which vehicle. In this video below you can see my sub-par performance answering the quizzers:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MADCLINE

I have been casually introducing Madeleine to the letters of her name for some time now, though lately she seems to be truly catching on. She often attempts to recite the letters herself, and despite a few mix-ups, she's starting to get the hang of it. When we were out to dinner a few nights ago, I wrote her name on the kids menu (which doubled as a coloring page) and she read the letters back to me: "M-A-D-E-L-E-I-nut-E! Madeleine!" Obviously she had forgotten the name of the letter "N" but remembered the picture of the nut from her alphabet book; it reminded me of the time Julia read the letters on my "San Fransisco" shirt as "S-A-N-F-R-A-N-S-Iguana-S-C-O! JULIA!"

Today while she colored at the art table, I wrote her name on the paper she was decorating, and she began making very careful little lines all over her paper, labeling each one with a letter. "M...A...D...C...L...I...N...E..." I took a few pictures of her studious endeavors at writing "Madcline"; if you look closely, you can see the individual little lines she drew all over, each representing one of the letters of her name:



When she wasn't coloring this afternoon, she was busy looking cool in her shades and playing with Little People:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Random acts of goofiness

Julia's first words to me upon coming out of her bedroom this morning:

"Mom, I was like, so delighted in my bed! I was standing up, or maybe I was sitting down, like this!" (big crazy smile plastered across her face.)

Another instance in which Julia has been, like, so delighted is in showing me her affection. As she throws her arms around me to hug me lately, she is compelled to squeal, "Ohhhhhhhh!" And then to make sure there's no mistaking her intentions, she continually clarifies: "Mommy, do you what 'ohhhhhhhh' is? That's my LOVING sound." It goes perfectly with her loving face.

Madeleine doesn't like to sit still for snuggles all that often, so she hasn't come up with her own loving face or sound yet. But she did sit in one place long enough for me to take this video of her talking to a dinosaur on the air conditioner remote:



STOMP, STOMP!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weekend update

A recap of the past few days:

Friday, to beat the 100+ degree temps, I took the girls to our town library for a special showing of "The Little Mermaid 2." Definitely not an Oscar-worthy production, but it was nice to sit in the air conditioned library community room, and the movie seemed perfectly acceptable to the girls. We started out sitting in the chairs that were set out, but once other kids started filing in and sitting on the special pod-seats that were set up right in front of the big screen, Madeleine got the I-wants. "A sit a bouncy? A sit a bouncy?" she asked repeatedly, clearly noticing that the other children sitting on the pods had a habit of standing up and jumping down onto the soft seat over and over again. I finally relented and let both Madeleine and Julia move to the front of the room and sit on pods, and they behaved in typical fashion. Julia sat quietly and rigidly on hers, watching the movie with captivated attention, in contrast to all the other children in the room who thought it was more fun to flip their pods upside down and jump on them than to view the movie. Madeleine alternated between sitting on her pod and watching the movie and running around the room throwing herself on empty pods with a squeal of excitement. During her movie-watching moments, she made sure to provide loud commentary throughout: "Oh no! The BABY!" "Where shark go?" "Yeah, dat's a WHAAAALE!" She also continued with her commentary at points while marching about the room, and was even so taken by one of the songs that as Ariel and her daughter Melody sang together in the climactic moment, "Here we go!", Madeleine felt the need to immediately, vociferously bellow, "Heeeeeeere weeeeee goooooo!" And then do it again. And again. Over and over as she marched about the room, which led to her sitting on my lap (unwillingly) for as long as I could keep her there, shushing in her ear.

Saturday we took a family trip to the Children's Museum in Boston, which was a raging hit with both girls. Julia's favorite parts were "following the Yellow Brick Road and shopping," which undoubtedly doesn't make a lot of sense unless you were there. The entire reason we had made the trip was because of the Wizard of Oz exhibit that is currently showing, since Julia has recently fallen in love with the movie. Upon entering the museum, we got to follow a little path with yellow bricks drawn upon it up three flights of stairs to the exhibit:


We're off to see the Wizard!

The "shopping" refers to the Boston Black exhibit, in which children got the chance to walk through replications of various ethnic Boston neighborhoods and enter shops like the fruit market shown here:



Since she has been begging me to take her back to Georgia to go to the Children's Museum and pretend to food-shop with Auntie Shannon again sometime soon, I'm pretty sure this experience truly hit the spot.

Madeleine's favorite exhibit seemed to be the hands-on bubble room:



In fact, upon leaving the museum, Madeleine answered my question of "Was that fun at the museum?" with "A fun a bubbles!"

Following an out-to-dinner extravaganza, complete with ice fweam twuck for dessert, the girls were wiped out enough to get to sleep with relatively little stalling, although they made up for it by waking up at the crack of dawn this morning. Today's exciting activity was Wyatt's birthday party, which featured a slip and slide down the hill in their back yard, tie-dye t-shirt making, face paint, dinosaur chicken nuggets for lunch, chocolate birthday cake, and goody bags. The party took place from 12-2, so my plan was for Madeleine to take a (very late) nap during the car ride home, but instead she was so excited over her goody bag (or "wasket" as she insists on calling it, a label which likely comes from her "Cat in the Hat" flap book, in which the flap for "basket" has the rhyming nonsense word underneath.) She finally conked out during the last ten minutes of the car ride, only to be woken up for good once we returned home, and no amount of snuggling, head scratching, or lullaby-singing was going to get her back to sleep. When she finally got her hands on her wasket, all of her longings seemed to be fulfilled:




Julia is also enthralled with her goody bag, nor only because of the water bottle, markers, and bubble gum inside, but also for the bag itself, which she has used in a variety of pretend games already this afternoon. She spent most of the afternoon with the goody bag - filled with her ice cream play set - around her wrist, pretending to be a delivery girl bringing us all the scoops of our preference:



All in all, a pretty exciting weekend for the Rowe family!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Walking and bussing

While I have been disenchanted by my forced hiatus from driving, Julia and Madeleine certainly don't seem to mind all that much. In fact, I actually think they prefer our alternative forms of transportation to riding in the car. The most exciting mode of transport continues to be the 59 bus; apparently it is still an adventurous wonder for both girls. Yesterday as the bus approached and we were ready to board, Julia asked me eagerly, "Hey Mom! Do you ever want to try going all the way to the BACK of the bus to sit with me sometime?" What an exciting idea! How could I resist?? After paying my fare, I headed all the way to the row of seats in back, the girls already forging their way ahead of me. As we took our seats, Julia exclaimed with delight, "Oh! So THIS is what it's like back here!" It clearly exceeded her expectations. Who would have thought sitting in the back row of seats would amount to such an amazing, fulfilling experience.

Although we have been making our way around town by stroller (or, in my case, on foot, pushing the stroller) much more often than by bus, we have obviously ridden it enough time that it has become a familiar routine. So much so that my 21-month-old is now calling out, "Bye, fiffynine bus! Bye-bye!" as it pulls away after dropping us at our bus stop. I guess the fiffynine bus has become her good old buddy.

As I pushed the stroller along to swim lessons this morning, Julia began to reflect on my driving restriction, and we had a discussion about it:

JULIA: Mom? After six months is over, THEN can you drive again?
ME: I sure hope so.
JULIA: Why do you hope so? You mean, unless you have another seizure?
ME: Exactly. As long as I don't have another seizure, then after six months I can drive again. Actually, it's already been one month and a half, so in four and a half more months, I should be able to drive.
JULIA: Wait. But I'm four and a half.
ME: Yes. You're four and a half years old. I have to wait four and a half months to be able to drive again. I'll be able to drive in December. So when it's getting near Christmas time, that's when I'll be able to drive again. Can you believe I have to wait that long? Hopefully I'll remember how to drive by the time I'm allowed to do it again!
JULIA: Why hopefully you'll remember how to drive?
ME: I was just kidding.
JULIA: But Mommy, why did you say "hopefully I'll remember how to drive?"
ME: I just meant that it will be such a long time since I've driven, hopefully I'll remember how. But I'm sure I'll remember how. I was just kidding.
JULIA: Well, don't worry, Mom. If you forget how, I'll just tell you, "Put the right key in the car." If you can't remember how to do it, I'll tell you "Put the key in, and turn it and turn the car on."

Good thing I know Julia will have my back. I don't have to worry about losing my driving chops as long as I have her to remind me how to start the car.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More fashion shots

Wow. If you thought yesterday's fashion statements were incredible, just wait until you see today's haute couture:




Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Madeleine models and plays

Madeleine has shown off some cutting-edge fashion over the past few days; catch these soon-to-be trends first at mistercausecause:


Notice the pink headband with matching pink croc. Especially avant garde is the choice of a croc four sizes too large, paired with one bare foot. Fashion reviewers will soon be referring to this as the "Cindewedda" look.



Take note here of the one long horse bang over her right eye. Long side bangs have been in fashion for awhile, but this new look of the long, unruly bang over one half of the face is soon to catch on.


While not as controversial as her previous fashion statements, the pairing of the ruby red dress shoes with her casual sweat-shorts and onesie is definitely a bold fashion move.

When she's not modeling her super-cool looks, Madeleine is often found couch-jumping. (Similar to Chumbawumba's "Tub-Thumping" - "I get knocked down, but I get up again...") She and Julia are still fascinated with acting out scenes from the "Courtney & Shannon" movie of our childhood, and since Madeleine is not allowed to really try and "fall" from the edge of our couch, the best I can offer her is a soft flop from her little red chair onto the couch (or, in this case, onto a "pilloooew.") She doesn't seem to mind her limitations, though: here she is joyfully flinging herself from chair to pillow (which later became a soccer ball):



,
She eventually abandoned this game to play with her sister, and the two girls worked together to clean up Julia's box of princess books. Never one to abandon her creative fantasy world, even when doing chores, Julia informed me of the "game" they were playing as they cleaned up:

"Mom, It seems like we're playing 'Big Kid,' and these are the big kid books, and that Ariel one is just a little kid book."

Thanks for clearing that up, Julesie.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More quotes, and a video

Madeleine expresses her love:

Petting my head: "I sooooooo much, Mommy!"


Madeleine assumes I can read her mind and understand which book she's looking for:

MADELEINE: Where book go?
ME: I don't know. Look for it!
MADELEINE: Where book go?
ME: Where do you think it went?
MADELEINE: Ida know!
ME: Why don't you look for it?
MADELEINE: (distressed) Find the book?
ME: Which book do you want?
MADELEINE: (pointing vaguely into the air) Dis one.

Unfortunately, since I was not able to see the vision in her head as she pointed at nothing, I was unable to help her find the book she so longed for.

Madeleine attempts to clean up her mess:

MADELEINE: (gazing at her Golden Grahams spilled all over the floor) Uh-oh! I get a bacuum?
ME: You're gonna vacuum?
MADELEINE: (grabbing her popcorn popper) A bacuum! (beginning to roll the popper over the Golden Grahams) I clean up the CHEERIOS!


Madeleine and Julia play Little People:

MADELEINE: I want Project Daddy, Juchie?
JULIA: Oh, you want Project Daddy? Here you go, Madeleine!
MADELEINE: Project Daddy goin' in the BARN!

I am particularly amused by the fact that Madeleine has picked up on many of Julia's names for the various Little People; although, of course, Madeleine has a few names of her own. Here, in this video, she shows us who's who in the Little People world:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Church with the girls

The girls and I went to church yesterday, thanks to our chauffeur Ethan, and I was really glad for the chance to go to a place that gives me so much internal comfort after such a physically and emotionally exhausting month. I was amazed by how well the girls sat through the service, without Madeleine attempting even once to run out of the pew and take off through the church. In fact, she seemed perfectly content to flip through the liturgy books, play with the Little People I had brought along, and point out the stained-glass window icons. "Ooooh! Look! I see it!" She would repeatedly exclaim. "Oh, it's so pretty, the ike!" "Yes, that's the icon," I would respond. "Oh yeah, ike!" she'd confirm. She also enjoyed pointing up at Jesus on the ceiling, usually with loud exclamations about what she saw. Since she is usually up in the choir loft with me during the service, I think actually being down in the pews and getting to see all the decorative color was enough to keep her rooted to her seat.

I can't complain too much about the fact that the girls went a little off the wall down in the church hall after the service, since they had sat so well for me during the liturgy. Giddy with pleasure at getting to eat a giant chocolate chip cookie during the coffee hour, Julia decided it was of utmost importance to exclaim to the priest's wife, who had kindly sat down to ask me how I'm feeling, "How about I wear a DIAPER ON MY HEAD for a hat??" A very appropriate comment delivered at a very opportune time, I tell you.

When I was putting Madeleine to nap later in the day, we had a short conversation about our church outing:

ME: Madeleine, did you have fun going to church today?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Uh-huh!
ME: Do you remember what we saw at church?
MADELEINE: Julia!
ME: Yeah, Julia was there too. What else did we see?
MADELEINE: A Uncle MIKE!

Big surprise...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saturday morning quotes and conversations

#1
JULIA: Mommy, it's pulling when you brush my hair!
ME: Well, I sprayed tangle spray before when I was trying to do your hair, but you decided you wanted to eat your snack first, so now the tangle spray is dry.
JULIA: I just mean that I want you to do my hair a different way, with less hurting!


#2
MADELEINE: (discovering one of my winter gloves and bringing it into the living room, laying it down on the floor, and pointing at the fingers.) One, two, fee, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. TWENTY fingers!
(On a related note, she counted to seventeen yesterday, which was pretty cool.)


#3
JULIA: (sitting across from Madeleine at the little art table) Okay, Madeleine, you're at school, and here's your lunch that you're eating at school. (Handing Madeleine some plastic play fruit.)
MADELEINE: (grabbing the plastic cantaloupe) Mmmm! It's a TOMATO!


#4
JULIA: Mommy, can I play with my race horses all day, even at lunch and snack time?
ME: Uh... sure.
JULIA: I'm going to tell Jovina all about these horses. (Holding up the gray horse.) This is the SUPER SAVING horse! (Holding up the black horse) And the black horse is really gentle and sweet and kind, and when she's almost falling to the ground, the gray super saving horse SAVES her. And these horses can never leave their sister unless they try to find each other. If one of these horses goes too far, and doesn't see her sister, and goes the wrong way, then that's a problem. Do you want me to tell you what their next problem is? Well, the gray horse tries to run as fast as she can, and the black horse does too, so they can try to win the race, because I'm gonna pretend some of the horses like winning the races, and some don't, and sometimes... they might all get turns.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yummy

I don't want to jinx anything, but I think Madeleine may have finally gotten past her vegetable strike. The last two nights she has eaten her veggies with no complaint, although I kind of relied on brain-washing to get her to eat her spinach on Wednesday (in other words, I spoon-fed her dinner while she sat on the couch watching tv.) Last night, however, she bypassed everything else on her plate in favor of her broccoli, gobbling it up with exclamations of delight as she ate it. When she was finished, she gazed warily at her ham, then assessed the rest of our plates to see she had not been given the cornbread stuffing the rest of us had.

MADELEINE: I want cous-cous?
ME: You want some stuffing?
MADELEINE: A cous-cous?
ME: Okay, I can get you some stuffing, but eat your ham too, please.
MADELEINE: (stuffing pieces of ham in her face.) Cous-cous?
ME: Okay, I'll get you some. (Scooping some stuffing onto her plate.)
MADELEINE: (immediately grabbing a handful of stuffing and shoveling it into her mouth.) MMMMM!! Yummy cous-cous!
JULIA: Madeleine, that's stuffing.
MADELEINE: (nodding with certainty) Yeah, it's a COUS-cous!

Today she enjoyed taking bites of something else; here is a video of Madeleine and Ethan in a full-on demonstration of their weirdness as they sniff and take pretend chomps of each other. Madeleine started it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Madeleine and the box of Life

Some of you may remember that when Julia was younger, she pointed to the dad on the box of Life cereal and asked me, "Mom? Is that Gordon from Sesame Street?"

Madeleine had a difference of opinion over who this cereal box model actually resembles. Yesterday, as she studied the box, she suddenly pointed to him and announced assuredly, "Dat's ETHAN! Oh yeah, it's a ETHAN!":



Perhaps as all princesses are "Cinderella," all dads, in her mind, are Ethan. All babies continue to be "Baby Gaga," although after being corrected by Julia many times, she has started to get the hang of which baby doll is Baby Dashiell. In fact, she has shown a preference for Baby Dashiell lately, perhaps because she seems to think she herself is privy to all of Dashiell's baby doll accessories. It's not uncommon to find her walking around with the baby doll pacifier in her mouth, or sucking on the pretend milk bottles, or even hanging out in Baby Dashiell's bassinet:


Nice and cozy!

I know, I know, it must sound totally out of character. Putting things in her mouth? What? Cramming her body into weird spaces? What can I say. It's a shocker to me, too.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chaos

The Rowe/Carlson quartet performs one of their latest, greatest hits:



According to Madeleine, she and Nate were singing into lollipops.

I'm fairly surprised Julia had so much energy today, as she had some trouble getting to sleep last night. In fact, when I returned home from a doctor's appointment at 9pm, she was still awake, despite having been put to bed over an hour earlier. She made absolutely no attempt to hide the fact that she was still up, coming downstairs shortly after I'd walked in the door holding a snowflake wand she had constructed and decorated at an arts and crafts event this winter. Here's a general recap of the conversation Ethan and I had with her:

ETHAN: Julia! What are you doing?
JULIA: (holding out the snowflake wand and a sticky decoration) I'm feeling really terrible about this. I'm trying to make it better and it's not working!
ETHAN: What are you supposed to be doing right now?
JULIA: Uh... sleeping.
ETHAN: But you're doing arts and crafts?
ME: Julia! You're doing arts and crafts?
JULIA: Well, I can't fall asleep.
ME: Julia. You know what to do if you can't fall asleep. You can either lay down and think about things, or you can look through some books in your bed. Arts and crafts is not one of your options. It's nine o' clock at night. It's not time to be doing arts and crafts.
JULIA: Well, I'm just trying to make this better...
ME: Not tonight. Go put the wand away and get into bed.

Okay, Julia. Here's a big tip: If you're going to be getting out of bed and playing instead of sleeping, be sneaky about it. Don't come downstairs and broadcast what you're doing when you're supposed to be sleeping. I can only hope her utter inability to be clandestine continues into her teen years!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Singing girls

Madeleine performs some of her favorite songs for the camera:



The girls also put on a more elaborate acting and singing performance later in the afternoon, which was inspired by a recent viewing of an old home video Shannon and I had "starred" in at the ages of 3 and 5. Julia was especially drawn to the scene in this movie in which I "fall" out of a tree (or, in other words, jump off the side of the couch, screaming dramatically and collapsing in a crumpled heap on the rug). Before long, both Julia and Madeleine were re-enacting the fall; Julia from the couch, just like me, and Madeleine from a low-to-the-ground chair, both girls breaking out into giggles as they lay crippled on the living room rug. For those of you who have seen the riveting Courtney & Shannon home movie, you'll be glad to know that neither Julia nor Madeleine thought the other was a wasp and attempted to step on the other.

Another scene from the old home movie that made a big impression on Julia was the scene in which Shannon and I perform made-up songs by singing into metal whisks (our "microphones.") She and Madeleine had a grand old time waltzing around the living room singing into our own whisks:



I think their musical talent is far superior to my own in my home video. Or, at the very least, their lyrics are a lot less repetitive. Go Rowe girls!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Books

Ethan caught Madeleine "colorin' a PAPEW!" yesterday, and I was heart-broken to discover the artistic addition she made to the photo book I had given the girls for Christmas:



Now that she has given herself and Ethan goatees, Julia a mud facial, and me some nice chocolate smears, I think I will be designating this book Madeleine's copy, and ordering a new copy for Julia to keep safe in her room. Even though she had been caught in the act, she didn't actually fess up to having colored a papew when I asked her about it. Instead, in response to my exclamation of "Madeleine! What happened to this picture?", she felt it was more appropriate to point to my face and proclaim, "A Mommy a SUNgwasses!" Big, long sigh.

She was much more respectful with our books this morning, thankfully, asking me to read to her rather than attempting to color in them. As we read through "Aladdin," she had some astute remarks to make about the following pictures:


MADELEINE: (completely interrupting my reading of the story) It's a MONKEY! (squealing) Oooh-oooh-ah-ah!


MADELEINE: (pointing at Aladdin) Daddy! Daddy wearin' a HAT!
ME: Is that Daddy?
MADELEINE: (pointing at Jasmine) A Cinderella wearin' a TOWEL!

Um, close.

At least she seems to get the separation between books and coloring books today. After we read the non-coloring books together, she and Julia sat for awhile with their markers and respective Sesame Street coloring books:



Well done, Madeleine, with your colorin' a PAPEW!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Yucky Song

Goofiness galore:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Julia develops a conscience

So, Julia has been especially obsessed with good behavior lately, to the point that she is filled with remorse if she thinks she has done anything that's "not nice." The positive side of this: I have never heard her use her manners or speak more politely than she has this past week. The negative side of this: in typical Julia fashion, she has become absolutely OCD about being "nice." And it's getting really old, really fast.

It wasn't too bad the first time; in fact, Ethan and I were both touched to discover how filled with empathy Julia can be for her fellow humans. It all started on the Fourth of July, when she had a sudden fit of remorse in the backyard, refusing to tell Ethan what she was so upset about, despite the fact that something was clearly eating her up inside. She finally fessed up, and it turns out that during the town parade that morning, she had seen one of the dancers and admired her shoes, but thought she was not a very good dancer. Julia was absolutely torn up about this, filled with tears, insisting that she needed to say sorry to this girl for thinking such a thing. After countless, completely ineffectual explanations about how it's actions that matter, not words, we were finally able to move past the whole crisis by relying on the religious upbringing I have been giving her. (Basically, me telling her that she could tell God she's feeling sorry and that she will always be forgiven.)

The next night, Julia couldn't sleep because she was once again full of remorse over another not-nice thing she had thought. This time wild horses couldn't drag the secret out of her, which of course made me act like a middle schooler ("Pleeeeease pleeeeeease tell me which boy you like! I promise I won't tell anyone! Pleeeeeeease!") As curious as I was, I never actually found out what her big sin was, and she eventually got over it.

The next day, as we were walking to the pool, I was quite vocal in my irritation at some SUV-owner who had parked his vehicle in the middle of the sidewalk, leaving no room to go around him, and giving me no option but to heft the stroller over the high lip of the sidewalk into the road to get by. As I complained about the situation, rhetorically moaning, "Why would somebody park like this?", Julia turned and asked me, "Mom? Were you thinking an idiot?" I basically told her that was what I had been thinking, but that I hadn't said it out loud because it's not a nice word.

Big mistake.

That evening, Julia was suddenly in tears at the dinner table, telling me how sorry she felt for having said that word.

"Julia, you were just asking me if that was the word I was thinking. You weren't calling anyone an idiot. You didn't do anything wrong. I'm the one who was thinking the not-nice word!"
"No, but Mom!" she wailed. "I was thinking it too!"

Well, whoever parked there was being an idiot. I tried to find a child-appropriate way to explain this. It didn't matter. She began perseverating on the idea that she needed to apologize to the driver of the SUV. And that I did too, since I had thought the not-nice word as well.

Fast-forward to today. This is how ridiculous it has gotten:

JULIA: Mommy, um, I thought a not-nice word, but I'm not going to say it.
ME: Oh, okay, well that's smart of you.
JULIA: But Mommy, I feel like I need to be sorry.
ME: It's okay, honey. You didn't say anything mean.
JULIA: But Mommy, I don't want to tell you what word it was, but can you guess?
ME: Ummm.... was it "hate?
JULIA: No.
ME: Was it "idiot?"
JULIA: No.
ME: Was it... "dope?"
JULIA: No! Mommy! Try and guess it!
ME: Can you give me a hint?
JULIA: No, I don't want to say it!
ME: I don't know, honey, I can't think of what it could be.
JULIA: Okay, Mommy, guess it with me!
ME: Okay. You start saying the word and I'll see if I can figure it out.
JULIA: Say it with me!
ME: Okay. (waiting)
JULIA: Mom! Say it!
ME: Julia, I have no idea what it is.
JULIA: Mom, I'm not going to say "aggravated," but that's how I'm feeling!
ME: Is that the word you were thinking that you're upset about?
JULIA: No!
ME: Honey, "aggravated" isn't a mean word.
JULIA: Oh. I thought it was.
ME: No, it's just a word to describe how someone is feeling. It's like angry, or sad, or frustrated. You use those words to describe your feelings.
JULIA: Okay. Well, Mom, I'm just feeling a little bit frustrated that you're not guessing the word.
ME: Was "aggravated" the word?
JULIA: No! Mom, try and guess it!
ME: I have no idea.
JULIA: I have an idea. Let's play a game where we each try and guess what the word is, and whoever guesses it right is the winner!
ME: Okay. You go first.
JULIA: Is it... "not nice?"
ME: Is that it?
JULIA: No! Now it's you're guess.

This went on and on. I still haven't found out what the word is, despite her pleas for me to keep guessing. Fortunately, we are leaving soon to go teach some piano lessons at a house down the street, so hopefully the whole not-nice thought will soon be forgotten. At least for a little while...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Imaginary play

Today was an exciting day in the Little People world: Cartacarizza and Project Daddy got married (again):



They spent a long, laborious time picking out their outfits for the affair, which is interesting, seeing as their clothes are stuck to their little plastic bodies. Project Daddy was especially pleased to have found the perfect pair of pants. Or, as Julia said, "Oh, I found the PERFECT... uh... Mommy, what are these called?" "Um, pants?" I replied, then added, "Or I guess you can call them trousers." After a moment's thought, Julia responded, "I'm just gonna call them pants, because I don't really know how to say that other word."

Unfortunately, it seems to have been a kid-free wedding, so many of the Little People were not able to attend. "Mommy, look!" Julia exclaimed, showing me the following scene:


"Laurie, Patrick, Michael and Scott are all at home with no mommy because their mommy went to the wedding to be a guest!"

The mommy of these four kids left with their noses against the wall is Princess Mia (sometimes known as Cinderella), who also happens to be the daughter of Cartacarizza and Project Daddy. Why the bride and groom wouldn't want their own grandchildren at the wedding is something of a mystery to me, but perhaps Princess Mia just chose not to bring them so she could get wild and crazy at the big event:


Too much champagne, perhaps?

Madeleine has also done a fair amount of pretend play today, starting the day off with the following greeting, in a faux deep voice, to her bath-toy pelican:


"Hello, Duck! How are doing?"

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Piano-playing and bracelet-wearing

I don't know whether it's because of my recent student recital, or just a sudden new desire, but lately Julia has been begging me to teach her how to play the piano. I finally got a chance to sit down with her, and yesterday we had our first official piano lesson:




I'm guessing that either a) opening her mouth while she reads the music somehow helps with her concentration, or b) she is so used to seeing Ethan and I sing while accompanying ourselves at the piano that she assumes the proper way to play the piano is with mouth wide open.

Unsurprisingly, she took to the piano with genuine delight and interest; however, I wasn't quite prepared for how much interest she would truly show. I'm well aware that it could just be the thrill of a new skill and it may wear off before long, but she has probably sat down to practice about five or six times today, going over everything we had done in yesterday's lesson. She seems to be feeling pretty confident about her increasing familiarity with and ability to play the music, because after asking me if she sounded even better today than she did yesterday, she then asked, "Uh, Mom, so do you think I'm better than you now?"

Here is a video I took during one of her practice sessions today; we had worked on learning the notes B, C and D, so in this song she plays some of those notes. I'm sure that after hearing the song you will want to know which striking composer is behind this astonishing masterpiece. I must humbly take all the credit.



Madeleine, meanwhile, has been busy revolutionizing the fashion industry with her beaded headbands-turned bracelets:



As she said, after putting them on, "Bracelets! It's so pretty!"

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dancing Queen

Madeleine was not the only one to show off her dance moves this weekend. Julia boogied down to some good old New Orleans jazz yesterday afternoon, and her dancing spirit was so infectious that Yia-yia and Auntie Caitlyn even joined in:



But it was Julia's solo movement that made the biggest impression of the afternoon. Here, she shows us the full and extensive range of her dancing skill:



Bravo!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer day

We Rowes have been celebrating summer this weekend with our visitors, Auntie Caitlyn and Yia-yia. In order to enjoy yesterday's beautiful weather to the max, we spent most of the day outdoors, beginning with a trip to the pool:




Afterwards we headed over to field day at the town High School, which offered such kiddie entertainment as a bouncy house, various field games, and live music. Julia and Madeleine were literally jumping for joy in the bouncy house:



When their turn was up, the girls exited the bouncy house in complete accordance with their personalities; that is, Julia immediately and obediently, and Madeleine not at all. As we held up the entire line of children waiting to get in the house next, Yia-yia and I called for Madeleine to come to the little door so we could pull her out, while Madeleine had a better idea: she had the whole bouncy house to herself, so why on earth would she come out? She ran around in dizzying circles, completely ignoring our pleas, then commands, then very stern commands to come out. I had the pleasure of squeezing my adult-sized body through the child-sized "door" (really just a flapping opening in the netting) and flopping myself around the bouncy interior chasing her until I was able to grab her and pull her back out the door. She sat, completely unphased, in her time-out on one of the yard lines of the high school field while I apologized to all the families waiting their turn in line.

Following the bouncy house, the girls danced to some of the live music, then we all sat down to cool off with Italian Ices. I hadn't ordered one for Madeleine, figuring we could all share with her and she'd never consume a whole ice herself, but all it took was one sip of Auntie Caitlyn's and she was hooked:



"Mmmm!" she squealed. "So yummy!" Then, deciding she was privy to the entirety of Caitlyn's ice, she began asking, "So yummy? Ogaime? Aunt so yummy?" Before long, I had given her the rest of my ice, and she plopped herself down to devour it:



We finished the day off with dinner out, followed by ice cream at the town center green.



Madeleine did quite well spoon-feeding herself, although at one point she had pretty much the entire scoop of ice cream on her spoon, exclaiming to Auntie Caitlyn, "Oh my! It's GORGEOUS!" The amusement she generated with this comment was enough to inspire her to declare that each subsequent scoop was also GORGEOUS.

Once the ice creams were finished, the girls spent some time running and galloping around the green, with Madeleine occasionally running over to one of the old historic murals to point out Uncle Mike to the rest of us:



"It's a Uncle MIKE!"

Whether the Uncle Mike she thought she saw was the real Uncle Mike, or instead either Uncle Dave or Gramps was not clear. However, she was inconsistent on which historic band member was Uncle Mike each time she pointed him out, so I suppose it's possible she thought she saw all three.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Videos and a visit

The girls are excited to have their Auntie Caitlyn here visiting for the long weekend, and apparently to Julia it has been so long since Caitlyn was last here (Easter) that she felt the need to ask such questions as "Auntie Caitlyn, do you remember our house? Do you remember what the inside of our house looks like?" Auntie Caitlyn, you may be surprised to learn, is not "Uncle Mike" according to Madeleine, although she is "Auntie Shannon." After many corrections and loud, exuberant cheers every time she gets Caitlyn's name right, we seem to have set her straight, as you can see in the following videos. Here, Madeleine performs some interpretive dance, as well as some drumming and chanting with the dentist balloon:



Friday, July 1, 2011

Adventures in teeth

Julia is now another dollar richer, as she lost her third tooth last night!:





The even crazier part is that the dentist told us, at her check-up yesterday, that she has three more loose teeth. Just think of all the houses she can buy once she gets the money for those guys!

I think the girls had as much fun at the dentist as they would have had at the children's museum or someplace of that sort. The fish tank in the waiting room was like some kind of hypnotic kaleidoscope for Madeleine, who sat staring at it in ecstasy, occasionally pronouncing, "Fishies!" in delight. Julia got to pick her new toothbrush (pink, of course) as well as the flavor of paste used in her cleaning, and the best part of all was that the girls both got balloons to take home at the end of the visit. Keeping in mind that since I am on car restriction at the moment, just take a moment to imagine pushing a double stroller the mile and a half back to our house with these ginormous balloons in the girls hands:




Anyone want to guess how many times traffic along Highland Ave was at a standstill due to giant pink balloons floating around in the middle of the road?

And on a completely different topic, Madeleine and I had the following conversation this morning:

ME: My Maddie-Moo!
MADELEINE: Silence.
ME: Are you my Maddie-Moo?
MADELEINE: Silence.
ME: Who's my Maddie-Moo?
MADELEINE: Silence.
ME: What's your name?
MADELEINE: A Uncle MIKE!