Saturday, December 31, 2011


I sometimes wish I could get inside Madeleine's brain and understand the thought processes behind some of her comments. Like when I went into her room early this morning to see what she was crying about, only to have her tell me over and over again, "I just need my top." Despite my best attempts, I was unable to produce whatever "top" she imagined she needed, but I was able to give her binky and Cowie and urge her to go back to sleep.

Sometimes, I think I can understand the thought process that led her to say something seemingly random, although it doesn't render her comment any less humorous or unexpected. Yesterday while we were all in the car together, Julia told me how much she loves the various ways Madeleine has pronounced "Julia" over the years, from "Jou-wee" to "Juchie" to the current "Juwia." I thought that perhaps if I prompted Madeleine with a question, I could get her to put a smile on her sister's face by responding, "Juwia!" Instead, Julia got a smile on her face for an entirely different reason.

ME: Madeleine, what's your sister's name?

Yeah. No. That's the answer to a different question.

Last night, as I put Madeleine to bed, I asked her about our family trip to the Needham Bowlaway, which she had seemed to enjoy when she wasn't having a melt-down over needing to wait her turn. Obviously the waiting of turns was still weighing heavily on her mind when I asked her about bowling.

ME: Madeleine, did you have fun bowling?
MADELEINE: Yes, it's my OWN turn. It's Juwia's turn, and Daddy's turn, and Mommy's turn, and it's my OWN turn.
ME: Yeah, it was fun, wasn't it? Well, tomorrow is New Year's Eve, so we're going to go do MORE fun things!
MADELEINE: Yeah, SANTA'S COMING! He going to bring me PRESENTS!
ME: Well, Santa's not coming tomorrow. Tomorrow's not Christmas, honey.
MADELEINE: (wisely) Yeah, it's not Christmas. Santa's not coming! He's not bringing me presents! Yeah, it's NOT Christmas.

Glad to know she's got things straight.

And then of course, there was her request today, after she got her face painted at one of the New Year's Needham events we went to.

ME: Madeleine, do you want to see what your face looks like? (showing her the picture I had just taken.) Do you see that heart on your cheek? Doesn't it look so cute?
MADELEINE: Mommy? I want to get my NOSE painted?

Maybe she thought that if she had her nose painted red, she could get Santa's attention and convince him to come bring her presents tonight after all...

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Tent

To celebrate the upcoming holiday, Ethan took today off from work so that we Rowes could have a four-day weekend together. Julia was wildly thrilled to have her daddy around to play with this morning, and quickly got to work setting up a fun and exciting game for them to play.

"Daddy, let's make a tent with blankets and chairs!" she exulted, not pausing to wait for his assent. Taking meticulous care in her set-up, she periodically checked in as Ethan and I sat lingering over our coffee and bagels. "Okay, Dad, are you ready to come in the tent yet?" she would inquire, eager to get her game going. When Ethan could finally put her off no longer, he went into the living room, where he and Julia had a wild and crazy party underneath their "tent." With all her careful tent preparations, I would have expected a more elaborate construction than what I saw, but I guess Julia put the majority of her energy into what fun things she and Daddy would do in the tent rather than the actual making of the tent itself.

Materials needed: brown blanket, two kiddie chairs

To make the tent: drape one end of blanket over two kiddie chairs. Put the other end of the blanket over your head. Voila! You are now sitting inside your tent.

It must have been a smashing good time inside, because Madeleine was itching to participate as well. As soon as Julia had finished up the tent game and gone up to her room, Madeleine ran to Ethan and asked, "Daddy? Is it okay I can go in the ghost?"

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Last night, in the middle of dinner, Julia decided to suddenly transform into a mermaid.

"Mommy, I can't walk, because I'm a MERMAID!" she informed me, slithering her body along the dining room floor.

Julia the mermaid made her slow, slithery way from the dining room to the kitchen to announce to Ethan, "Daddy, I can't walk, because I'm a MERMAID!" and then back through the dining room. Tiring from her army crawl, she hoisted herself up into a chair, declaring, "But I can do THIS!"

"Ooh, you're a mermaid on a rock!" I exclaimed, eliciting a radiant, beaming smile from my mermaid daughter. Hungry for more reactions, she slid back down to the floor and began her slow mermaid slither once again.

"Julia, come and get your bread," Ethan said, buttering her newly-toasted bread. Several minutes passed. Then several more. He just didn't get it.

"Daddy, she can't walk because she's a mermaid," I informed him. "So we need to bring her bread to her."

As we carried out our traditional post-dinner story time on the couch, Julia simply couldn't keep still enough to listen to the stories with us; the sea beckoned her, and she just had to succumb to its call. Slithering around the living room carpet and occasionally climbing up to a rock (the couch arm), she awaited commentary and attention from the rest of us on the couch.

"Ooh, look, a beautiful mermaid!" I cried as she sun-bathed on a rock. Hearing my remark, she quickly leapt off the rock and slithered into the dining room, awaiting my lament.

"Oh, I just saw the most beautiful mermaid, but she disappeared. I sure hope I get to see her again!" Rewarding me, Julia slithered back into the living room and right up to the couch I was sitting upon.

If I had an attention lapse and failed to comment on her amazing mermaid ways, Julia was quick to set me back on course. "Mama, can you keep ackmiring me?" she asked after I had been remiss in my lavish compliments.

It wasn't long before Madeleine was desperate to join in the game too. We soon had two mermaids making their way back and forth along the dining room, kitchen, and living room floors, occasionally getting into each others' way and trying to awkwardly slide their bodies around each other. Madeleine the mermaid appeared to have knees, as she opted to crawl rather than slither around on her belly:

When they're not being mermaids, the girls have been very busy coloring in their array of brand new Christmas coloring books. Julia's coloring experience is quite long and involved, as the My Little Ponies on the coloring page actually talk to each other AND to Julia, requesting certain colors for various parts of their bodies, then chatting delightedly with the other ponies on the page about how excitedly they anticipate their new colors. Julia the stylist has certainly done a great job; check out two of her pony models:

Madeleine, however, is not quite so refined in her color choices:

As I type, the girls have sat down to color together, so we will see what masterpieces today will bring...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's memorable quotes and convos

While getting out of the car and walking towards the Y:

ME: Come on, girls, let's hold hands.
JULIA: Hold my hand, Madeleine!
ME: (heading to the front door) This way, girls.
MADELEINE: Mommy! I have a BUMBLEBEE on my nose!

In the middle of lunch:

JULIA: Mama? Do you know what my plan is for decorating my room?
ME: What?
JULIA: Well, since Madeleine has her room all decorated with stickers, I really want MY room to be decorated with stickers, so I'm going to use my Christmas stickers to DECORATE it!
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: (abandoning her lunch and running upstairs) Okay, Mama, so I'm gonna go figure out how I want to do it!

Several minutes later...

JULIA: (frantic) MAMA! MAMA!
ME: (shouting up the stairwell) What's the matter?
JULIA: Mama, the stickers I got for Christmas DON'T stick on walls!
ME: Well, that's okay. You really need special wall stickers to do that, so why don't you just come down and finish your lunch?
JULIA: But Mama! I want to decorate my walls just like Madeleine's room!
ME: Well, maybe we can get you some special wall stickers. Come on down and finish your lunch.
JULIA: (stomping down the stairs) Mama, I'm just going to be jealous for the REST OF MY LIFE.

While engaging in our pre-nap snuggles:

MADELEINE: (whispering) Mommy? Can you put me in my crib?
ME: Don't you want to do snuggles?
ME: (pretend crying) Waaah! I want snuggles!
MADELEINE: What's the matter, Mom?
ME: I need some Madeleine snuggles!
MADELEINE: (giving me a brief, impersonal head hug) Mommy? Can you put me in my crib?

A half hour later...

MADELEINE: (bellowing songs from up in her room)
ME: (going into the bedroom) Do you want to do some snuggles and I can help you fall asleep?
ME: Come on, let's snuggle. You need to go to sleep. (picking her up out of her crib)
MADELEINE: Mommy? Sometimes I just love Daddy, and Shannon and Caitlyn.
ME: Well, I love you. Come here, let's snuggle.
MADELEINE: (bolting up out of my embrace) Mommy? Can you CRY?

Sigh. My kids are so kind to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas trip

The Rowe family returned home last night from a quick trip to Connecticut to have Christmas dinner with my mom, sisters, grandmother, aunt and uncle. The girls had a great time, although Julia spent the first few hours paralyzed with fear of Auntie Shannon's teacup chihuahua, Clara. In fact, just the sight of Clara's little body trotting towards her was enough to elicit a blood-curdling scream which sent everyone in the house running to Julia's aid. Madeleine, however, was delighted by Clara, getting herself nipped twice in her ill-advised attempts to touch Clara's mouth in order to make friends. Madeleine also knew to stand her ground and command Clara to leave her alone when she wanted space: "No, no, Clara. Go see Auntie Shannon!" she would coax in her pipsqueak little voice. It's truly baffling as to why Clara didn't seem to understand those orders...

Unfortunately, Madeleine decided to skip her nap both on Christmas Day and on the day afterwards, so the cranky-pants in her began to come out by day two. After nearly two hours in her pack 'n play that afternoon, she still had not fallen asleep, and was belting out songs with all her heart rather than even trying to get sleepy. I went into her room and sternly told her, "Madeleine, you need to go to sleep," to which she chirped cheerfully, "I just trying to SING!" Needless to say, even a snuggle with Mommy wasn't enough to stifle her excitement at being in Connecticut with a dog and lots of relatives and a bunch of new toys.

On our way back home to Massachusetts, we stopped by the house of some family friends to say hello and exchange Christmas gifts. The biggest surprise of all was a visit from Santa Claus, aka the white-bearded next-door neighbor who owns a Santa suit. After some prodding, Julia was willing to sit on his lap and even put in a request for next year's Christmas present: nail polish. (Whew. I think that one can be accomplished.)

Madeleine, who by this point had started to unravel from lack of sleep and general overstimulation, did not do so well on Santa's lap:

Of course, Madeleine immediately conked out upon getting back into the car around 5pm, meaning she would likely be wide awake and ready to play as soon as we arrived home around bedtime. Julia, on the other hand, was completely wound up and wired and chattered away incessantly like someone who had just received an IV of caffeine. This generally sums up what the next 3.5 hours of driving were like:

JULIA: Mama?
ME: Yes?
JULIA: Do you know what I have in my head right now? Like, the second Fresh Beat Band song, where it goes, "When the tale is mean, and you're unhappy..."
ME: Oh, really?
JULIA: Yeah. Mama? Do you know I used to think they said "When the tale is ME," but then I realized they're saying "MEAN."
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: But, Mama? Did you know that in "A Muppet Christmas Carol" the mean Scrooge sees three ghosts JUST LIKE in "Mickey Christmas Carol?"
ME: Well, that's because it's the same story. Those movies are both based on the book called "A Christmas Carol."
JULIA: But Mama? Do you know that I wish that story was REAL, because I wish I could act it out with Mary and Simi?
ME: (putting on a CD) Julia, why don't you sing along to the music?
JULIA: Well, Mama? Do you know why I'm not singing?
ME: Why not?
JULIA: Because there's something I really need to tell you. Uh, Mama? Do you know that before I tried wearing shoes with no socks, I thought it wouldn't be comfortable, but then I tried it and I realized it IS comfortable. Because, Mama? Do you know that Mary wears shoes with no socks, and I want to be just like Mary, because we're BEST FRIENDS.
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: Mama? Do you know how tired I am?
ME: How tired are you?
JULIA: I'm INFINITY tired! That's how tired I am.

She was certainly acting tired with all her blabbering, that's for sure.

Madeleine is, thankfully, napping today, and Good Lord does she need the rest. She was so overtired and crabby when we got home from a play-date at noon today that she decided to have a melt-down in our foyer and flop her body down on the floor by the front door. Neither Julia nor I could convince her to get up and come inside to have lunch, so we decided to ignore her and go in ourselves. Madeleine laid on the floor flailing around and screaming angrily, then learned her lesson the hard way when the mailman, not expecting there to be a 2-year-old child lying prone on the ground in the entryway, opened the front door right into her. We'll see if she tries pulling that one again anytime soon...

Anyway, happy holidays to all, and hope you are all enjoying some rest and relaxation much like I am dreaming of over here!

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Merry Christmas to all those readers who are celebrating today!

Julia has been eagerly anticipating Christmas morning for about a month now, and woke up full of excitement and joy. Madeleine had no idea what was going on and didn't understand why her usual morning routine was being disturbed. They could not have acted in a more idiosyncratic fashion if they had tried.

JULIA: (coming into our bedroom) Merry Christmas!
ME: Merry Christmas! So, did you see if we got presents or not?
JULIA: We did! (looking a bit perturbed) Well, actually, Mama, I thought that maybe I wasn't SUPPOSED to look yet, so I, like, kind of covered my eyes when I walked by the living room.
ME: Oh, okay. We'll, let's go see if we got presents, then!

MADELEINE: (upon being carried downstairs from her crib) We going to watch a SHOW!
ME: No, we're going open presents!
MADELEINE: (bursting into tears) I wanna watch a SHOW!
ME: Today is Christmas, Madeleine! We're going to open our presents!
MADELEINE: (angrily) No! I don't want to open PRESENTS!

Lucky for Julia, there were presents aplenty under the tree

While she delightedly helped me separate the gifts into piles according to their recipients, she surprised me by showing the spirit of giving was more important to her than receiving. She actually waited to delve into her own pile until she presented her sister with the Madeleine Wow Car that she had picked out:

Once the unwrapping was under way, Julia tore through each present, kindly stopping to thank Ethan and I for the gifts that were labeled from us. Madeleine, on the other hand, was still stuck on her Wow! Car, refusing any other gift passed her way and repeatedly, urgently asking Ethan to take it out of the box for her. While we managed to coax her into opening a few other gifts, it was the same story with each; she had absolutely no interest in moving onto the next gift, and instead just wanted to play with whatever she had most recently opened. Julia and I finally resorted to opening the rest of her gifts for her because at the rate she was going, we were truly going to be celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Julia's favorite gift of all were the American Girl Bitty twins, which I got for her after she drooled over them in the American Girl catalogue we received. In fact, she has already given them names: May and Elina, and May is the younger of the twins. Madeleine also got an American Girl Bitty doll, one of their newborn babies, but she dropped it on its head when I tried to give it to her while she was absorbed with another toy.

May and Elina

After Julia moved all her new gifts up to her room, stopping to say, "Mama, thank you for all the presents you gave me," Ethan and I decided to put on one of the brand new DVDs the girls had unwrapped so that we could have a quiet, relaxing breakfast together. The girls are currently happily absorbed in "Barbie: Mermadia," and Madeleine is of course watching it while sitting in a box:

Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas carols

A little holiday music from the Rowe household:

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Play-date fun

Julia is not the only Rowe child to put on a fantastic show this week. Madeleine entertained us today with her rendition of "Little Drummer Boy," sung into a maraca masking as a microphone. Inspired by this performance, Madeleine's friend Anja quickly jumped up next to her and began a simultaneous execution of "Frosty the Snowman":

After such an exuberant play-date, which included Anja's older brother Nate playing with Julia, and a wild romp over at Creative Movement's open gym time together, Julia seemed ready for some down time. As she and I began cleaning up the aftermath of the play-date while Madeleine napped, Julia turned to me and said, "Mama? Don't you feel like it's just a little bit PEACE now with just you and me down here?"

She then got to work being extremely helpful: "dusting" her entire play kitchen with a baby hairbrush. She extolled her virtues as she worked, exclaiming, "Mama, aren't you so thankful that I'm getting my play kitchen so clean before Auntie Shannon comes over? Because I know that you and me BOTH want it clean when Auntie Shannon comes."

I wonder if my recent discussion about various ways to use a toothbrush inspired this creative method of "cleaning" her kitchen...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Typical Kid Stuff

Julia explains Christmas to Madeleine:

MADELEINE: We're going to the Christmas!
JULIA: No, we're going to the Y, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: We're going to the Christmas!
JULIA: Here, Madeleine, I'll explain it to you. We don't go to Christmas. Christmas comes to us. Christmas is all about celebrating the day Baby Jesus was born, and we get lots and lots of presents.

Julia interrupts my piano lesson to tell me something really urgent:

JULIA: Uh, Mama? I picked out an outfit for tomorrow that's a shirt and pants and a skirt, because do you know why I picked that out? Because I want to look JUST LIKE the Fresh Beat band, and for the next day, I picked out a dress and pants and do you want to see the outfit I picked?
ME: Not right now, honey. I'm teaching.
JULIA: Okay, well, it's a really cute outfit so that I look just like the Fresh Beat band because I decided I wanted to look like them.

Julia acts upon her desire to be part of the Fresh Beat Band:

True to her word, she wore her cute outfit today, and to top things off, she put on a whole music/dance show for me. But be warned, she is not ACTUALLY a Fresh Beat band member; rather, she has started her own Fresh Beat band-like group.

ME: Julia, can I take pictures of your show to put on my blog?
JULIA: Yeah, and Mama, can you also send the pictures to Auntie Shannon? Because I want Auntie Shannon to see them, and also, Mama, you can just send them to WHOEVER you want! But Mama, don't say on your blog that I'm in the Fresh Beat band, because I'm not. I pretend that MY band is called MATONIX.

So, as promised, here are pictures of Julia, so far the lone member of Matonix (but don't worry; when she does her "gallop time," she imagines that she and her friends Mary and Simi are in this band together, so she is soon to recruit new members.) All are welcome to share these pictures with WHOEVER you want!

I present to you MATONIX, live:

Madeleine continues to do what Madeleine does:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Madeleine sleeps

Upon waking up this morning, Madeleine's first words to me were exactly what you'd expect a child to say first thing in the morning: "Mommy, the gophers are scared of me!" She then proved that she is truly no longer scared to the dinosaur, because she has something new to be scared of: "And I'm scared of the gophers!"

I guess she is not SO scared of the gophers that she's afraid to go back to sleep, however. As I walked into her room at lunch time to see what she was up to, I found her in classic Madeleine mode:

Just hanging out in her pajama drawer, no biggie. Or, as she put it, "Mommy, I just sleeping with the jammies."

If there is an opening ANYWHERE, no matter how small or cramped, she just cannot resist stuffing her body into it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Driving and bedtime

Now that my six-month driving restriction has come to an end, I am finally able to drive the girls around town again. Although I do resolve to try and continue going on foot to places that are within a reasonable walking distance, I have been able to bid adieu to the sixxy-nine bus and all the carpool arrangements for Julia's school drop-offs and pick-ups, which is a weight off my shoulders. The kids seem to have mixed feelings about me being back behind the wheel. Julia has decided to play "59 Bus" whenever I'm driving, in her wistful remembrance of our six months of bus adventures.

JULIA: Mama, you see this black thing right here? Well, when you're driving, did you know that I pretend to push it like it's the stop button on the 59 bus?
ME: Oh, you do?
JULIA: Yeah. Like, I pretend it's our stop button, and you're the bus driver! And Mama, I just pressed the stop button, because I know we're almost at the Y, and that's our stop, so I pushed the button so that you know I need to get off there.

Madeleine, on the other hand, seems completely baffled by the whole concept of me driving the car. I suppose if you think about it, a six-month period of time is a much more significant chunk of a two-year-old's lifespan than it is of an adult's. Not to mention that her memories of life before she was roughly one and a half are probably pretty fuzzy. Whatever the explanation, she clearly does not think I belong behind the wheel. She felt compelled to ask me, as I drove to church yesterday morning, "Mommy, can you read this to me?" She appeared to be utterly devastated by the fact that I couldn't read her a My Little Pony book because I was driving the car. Furthermore, about every five or ten minutes of our car rides, we wind up having some version of the following conversation:

MADELEINE: Mommy? Can you sit in your OWN seat?
ME: I am in my own seat, honey. I'm in the driver's seat because I'm driving the car.
MADELEINE: Mommy? But can you sit in your OWN seat?
ME: Which seat would you like me to sit in, honey?
MADELEINE: (pointing to the passenger seat) That one.
ME: I can't sit in that seat, sweetie, because I need to drive the car. I need to sit in THIS seat.
MADELEINE: Mommy? Can you sit in your OWN seat?
ME: This IS my own seat, honey.
MADELEINE: (pause) Mommy? But can you sit in your OWN seat?

She's going to be one of those kids who completely flips out when some kid at school sits outside of his or her assigned seat, I can already tell.

On an entirely different subject, last night as Ethan and I put Julia to bed, she gave him a kiss, then asked for "Nosies." "Nosies" has been going on since Julia was a baby, a basic nose nuzzle that at some point she labeled with the above name. What's new, however, is the branching-out to a different body part that is nuzzled. As she told me some weeks ago, "Mama! Daddy and I made up 'HEADIES,' which is like 'Nosies' but you do it with your FOREHEADS!" So after they exchanged "Nosies" last night, Julia asked for "Headies," and attempting to add some comedy to the routine, I then asked her for "Earries" and rubbed my ear against hers.

Squealing with delight, she turned to me and decided to take the comedy a step further. "TONGUIES!" she shrieked, reaching out for me.

Yikes. Yeah, no thanks.

"Oh, well, we can't do tonguies, because then we would be sharing our mouth germs with each other," I told her, then was able to fulfill her requests for "eye-ies," and "eyebrowies" before we headed out of her room.

Sadly, I won't be able to stop her from trying out tonguies someday when she's older, but at least for the moment, grossness averted.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More bags

Madeleine's need to cram her body into weird spaces has become increasingly more ridiculous. I knew when she brought me the object below and asked, "Mommy? Can you put me in it?" that she has reached a whole new level.

While she was not allowed to go inside the plastic bag, she continues to enjoy her LL Bean bag as a cozy space in which to stuff her body. In fact, she's gotten really wild and crazy with the Bean bag. Can anybody find Madeleine?:

Julia must have thought it looked like a lot of fun, because she decided to join in the Bean bag fun too:

The contortionist attempts continued once we were at church this morning; Madeleine not only squeezed her body into the narrow space between an open door and the wall, getting herself stuck and needing me to heroically rescue her, but she decided it was appropriate to try and crawl around under the pews in the choir loft. Thankfully, she also took a break from her gymnastics act and decided to join in the choir singing. Pulling my music stand down to her eye level, she began bellowing out "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "ABC" while the choir carried out one of our hymns. Whenever the choir stopped to breathe or rest in between phrases, Madeleine resolutely persisted with her singing, so that snippets of her songs would suddenly ring through the air: "Q-R-S, T-U-Veeeeeeeeee!" Yeah. It wasn't distracting AT ALL.

Even a wildly active child like Madeleine needs a little break now and then, however. During one of the morning's few quiet moments, she decided to settle down with binky and Cowie on the floor of her sister's room:

And speaking of her sister, Julia informed me, after we'd returned home from church, that she believes her Little People horse's hair to be real human hair. "Mama? I think that maybe somebody who's old had to get a hair cut, and they used that hair on my horse, because don't you think this feels just like REAL hair?":

If any of you readers are interested in earning money for your hair, perhaps you can contribute to other plastic kiddie figurines in need of manes...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last night's fun

Last night after dinner, Ethan left to perform as a soloist in a nearby Messiah sing, and Madeleine, who has woken up dry the past few mornings and who has been faithfully and regularly using the potty, waited until I was the solo parent on duty to poop in her underwear.

I immediately put her on the toilet to get the rest of her massive load out, and while I sat with her, she showed me her true remorse for pooping in her underwear.

MADELEINE: I just poop in my undies.
ME: Yes, you did poop in your undies. Where do your poopies go?
ME: Do your poopies go in your underwear?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Yeah!
ME: No.
MADELEINE: Yeah, you just very ANGRY. It's not okay. It's not okay poopies in your underwear.
ME: Right. Poopies go in the potty. Do they go in your underwear?
MADELEINE: (cheerfully) Yeah!

Because she had already let loose the first bit of poop in her undies, once she was done on the potty, she had poop smeared down her legs that needed pretty immediate wiping, and regular toilet paper just wasn't cutting it.

"Touch your toes," I instructed, and she dutifully bent her body into a downward-dog pose, awaiting wiping. Now, I must point out, Madeleine has developed a really unhelpful tendency to frog-hop around the bathroom while in her downward-dog position, exclaiming "Quack! Quack!" as I attempt to wipe her bottom. Given her inherent klutziness and propensity towards face-planting, I usually wipe her in a frenzied and panicked fashion, trying to clear off the last of the poop before she falls onto the floor and spreads the poop all over the place. Last night I was especially frantic, and finding the regular toilet paper insufficient on the cakey, smeared leg-poop, I began shouting to Julia to bring me some wipes.

ME: Julia! I need some wipes! They're right by the diaper bag! Can you bring me some?
JULIA: (pattering around) Uh? Mama? Do you need a diaper?
ME: NO! WIPES! I need some wipes! Quickly!
JULIA: Uh? Mama? Well, I don't see any wipes.

I left the downward-dog Madeleine in the bathroom and began searching for wipes like a wild woman. Apparently they had grown legs and up and left, because they were not where they usually are. I ran back to the bathroom and began wetting wads of toilet paper and scrubbing at the smears of poop on Madeleine's legs. As she frog-hopped around the bathroom and each bit of toilet paper dissolved without doing much clean-up, I ultimately lost my cool and screamed. Which caused Madeleine to spasm in terror and begin wailing. There is nothing worse than watching your terrified child sobbing and knowing you can't pick her up to comfort her because she is naked and covered in poop. After I managed to scrub her clean, I took her into my arms and apologized profusely for scaring her.

ME: I'm so sorry honey. Did I scare you? Mommy just screamed. I didn't mean to scare you.
MADELEINE: Yeah, you just really scared me.
ME: I'm so sorry. Are you okay?
MADELEINE: Mommy just really SCARED me.

I got her into pj's and started the bedtime routine. After her books, I sang her a lullaby and did the ritual snuggling on the futon in her room before putting her in her crib. The whole time we snuggled, she whispered incoherently from behind her binky.

ME: (removing binky) What, honey?
MADELEINE: (whispering) Yeah, you just really scared me downstairs. (frantically latching back onto her binky.)
ME: I'm sorry, honey.
MADELEINE: (incoherent whispering.)

Repeat all of the above conversation.

In fact, as I put her into her crib and said, "Mommy loves you, sweetheart," she responded with a whispered, "Yeah, you just really scared me downstairs."

Mother of the year, all right.

Next was Julia, who asked me, as usual, to stay for one minute after her stories, prayer and song. As I cuddled her, she began whispering to me.

JULIA: (whispering) Mama?
ME: Yes, honey.
JULIA: (whispering) Do you know why I'm whispering?
ME: Why?
JULIA: (whispering) Because I'm sleeping.

Her "sleeping" did not last for long, however, because as soon as I had finished clean-up downstairs, had taken out my contacts and was ready to go up to my room to read and relax, Julia came down, asking me to come snuggle her in her bed. And that is where the evening took a really ridiculous turn.

After snuggling her nearly to sleep, I began to feel around her bed for my glasses, which I had taken off at some point in order to snuggle close to her. I failed to find them with my hands, and by this point Julia was wondering what I was doing. I asked her to help me, since I was nearly blind, and she made a half-hearted attempt to look around her bed before telling me she couldn't find them.

Fast-forward fifteen minutes, and the lights were on, I had lugged the whole futon mattress off the bed frame, and I was blindly crawling around under the bed frame feeling for glasses.

ME: Julia, you're the one who can see, so please tell me if you see some glasses.
JULIA: Well, Mama, I found THIS! (holding up an old goody bag from a long-ago birthday party)
ME: I need you to help me find my glasses.
JULIA: Here, Mama, I know what to do. I'm writing you a NOTE that says "Mommy can't find her glasses."

So helpful.

The good news is that I found my glasses, at long last. On the kitchen counter downstairs. I had not even worn them up to Julia's room. And I had kept her up late, tearing her room apart, trying to find them. (ME: I just wanted to relax! JULIA: Well, Mama, I just kind of wanted to go to sleep.) Again, Mother of the Year.

Thankfully, the kids do not seem scarred for life this morning. In fact, Madeleine is back to her usual antics:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In which Madeleine climbs into and under various objects

Pictures of Madeleine enjoying her favorite past-time; stuffing her body into spaces that aren't necessarily made for a human being:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Julia's school

Julia is in two different classes at her preschool; the three-day-per-week Dinosaur class, and the once-per-week Rainbow class. Yesterday, while at Rainbows, Julia and her classmates were asked to name one item they especially want for Christmas, then they drew a picture of their wish-list item. The wish-list is now posted at the school, filled with requests like a robot and more practical items like shoes. And then, of course, there is Julia's answer: "A colorful picture of me and my sister."

Hmm. If only I had known that before I went and bought her many of the *other* items on her wish list like American girl twin dolls and My Little Pony Twilight Sparkle... I could certainly have saved a little money and tried to hone my very poor artistic skills at the same time. At any rate, I am now convinced that Julia is a secret genius, because she figured out that she could fulfill her very own wish by choosing an item that she was then required to draw.

In all seriousness, I am truly touched that she decided to forgo wishing for any of the toys she has been drooling over in lieu of a more sentimental, homemade item. I guess all her drawings that she has insisted on wrapping and putting under the tree inspired her desire for a homemade gift as well.

This morning, as we got ready to go to school, Julia excitedly announced which class she would be attending today:

JULIA: Madeleine, are you ready to go bring Juchie to school? We're going to DINOSAURS!
MADELEINE: Yeah, I want to go to the dinosaur! Mommy, I want to go to the dinosaur?
ME: Okay, come on, let's get ready to go.
MADELEINE: (with jubilant cheer) Mommy, can we get my coat? We're going to the DINOSAUR BONES!
ME: No, honey, we're not going to the dinosaur bones. We're going to Julia's school.
MADELEINE: (bursting into tears of bitter disappointment) I want to go to the DINOSAUR BOOOOOOOONES!

Well, the good news is that I guess she's no longer scared to the dinosaur.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chatting with Julia

Julia chastises me for my shoddy job of washing her hair today:
JULIA: Mom! You keep pouring the water in my eyes!
ME: I'm sorry, I don't mean to. Tip your head back.
JULIA: And Mom, two times you poured my hair into my mouth, and it tasted RIDICULOUS!
ME: It tasted ridiculous, huh?
JULIA: Yes. Ridiculous, is, like, my word. It's, like, my new word now.
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: (silently thoughtful) Well, Mama? Does ridiculous mean silly?

Yes, I suppose it does. Or it can be a word to describe your behavior when you're giving me a hard time as I try and wash your hair...

Julia comments on the temperature of her water at dinner time:

JULIA: (taking a sip of water) Mom, is this, like, ICE CREAM water? It's so chilly!

Yes, it's dessert and dinner all in one! Ice cream water!

Julia tells me about her fantasy birthday party:
JULIA: Mama, I was wondering if we can have a night when we don't go to bed and we don't sleep and you have to be eight, six, and seven. Because me and Mary PLANNED that.
ME: Uh, okay. What else would you do besides not sleep?
JULIA: We'd just do fun things and also, kind of, clean up messes and do fun things and play.

Well, as long as she'd do fun things and like clean up messes AND do fun things, then, I'm in.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rhode Island adventure

We spent yesterday afternoon and a good part of the evening visiting friends in Rhode Island, and the kids loved every moment of it. From camping out on the living room floor with snacks to watch a video:

to listening to live Christmas carols, it was an evening full of kiddie excitement.

Our lovely kiddie audience was so full of energy over our performance that they could hardly contain themselves. I mean, who DOESN'T hear stalwart Lutheran chorales and tender renditions of traditional carols and just want to get up and shake their booties?:

Leaving Rhode Island a good hour past the girls' bedtime, Ethan and I optimistically assumed they would fall asleep in the car, and prepared accordingly by getting them into pajamas and providing Madeleine with binky and Cowie, her faithful bedtime companions. Unfortunately, the kids were of their own mind, and had no interest in going to sleep. Every time I would turn around to glance at Madeleine, she'd smile broadly at me and exclaim "I see you!" I resolutely determined not to turn and look at her, and hoped that the boredom of the car ride would put her to sleep. The silence coming from the back seat was extremely promising, and as we turned off the highway and, shortly afterwards, onto our road, I began mentally preparing how I would transfer her sleeping body from carseat to crib. That is, until I heard a delighted cry of "I see some SPARKLIES!" as Madeleine pointed out Christmas lights decorating the hair salon near our house.

So, needless to say, the kids were a bit on the cranky side this morning. Madeleine seems to have dimmed her wits a bit too with her lack of sleep, as we had the following conversation:

MADELEINE: (pointing at a girl in her book) Mommy, that's a GIRL!
ME: That IS a girl.
MADELEINE: That's a girl, and I'M a girl! And Julia's a girl!
ME: How about Daddy? Is Daddy a girl?
MADELEINE: (delightedly) Yeah!! She's a GIRL!
ME: No, he's not.
JULIA: (condescendingly) Daddy's a BOY, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: Yeah!! She's a BOY!

After her afternoon nap, Madeleine was thankfully less cranky and back to her usual playful self. What better way to show it than by deciding to hang out in an LL Bean bag?:

She's still sitting in it, by the way. Watching "Dora Christmas Adventure" in the living room. Must be comfy.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Not only is Julia on a huge Christmas music kick, but she is also on a huge present-giving kick. After stopping in the toy store with Ethan over the weekend, she came home with a Christmas gift for Madeleine; a pink version of the Wow! Car that Julia got as a birthday gift from her friends Ben and Adriana. Julia is SO excited for Madeleine to receive her gift. She must have told everyone she knows at least four or five times that she got a Wow! Car for Madeleine. She has specifically asked me if I can hand out that present first on Christmas morning, and in case I forget, placed it front and center under the Christmas tree. And further unable to suppress her joy at giving this particular gift, Julia decided she can't even wait for Madeleine to unwrap the gift to see what it is:

Thank goodness Madeleine can't read yet.

In a similar spirit of giving, Julia came home from school today bursting with excitement over the Christmas gift she had made and wrapped for me during class. Each year, the teachers help the kids construct a hand-made gift to put under the tree for the parents, but this year, Julia absolutely couldn't wait for Christmas morning for me to open it. As she hopped around and squealed with excitement, I unwrapped my lovely new Christmas decoration:

"It's for you AND Daddy!" she exclaimed in delight.

She apparently decided, while at school, that it was only fair to make a gift for her sister as well, because she also brought home the following project:

The absolute perfect gift for Madeleine. A piece of cardboard with lots of little tiny things glued onto it that Madeleine can rip off and stuff in her mouth...

Once she was on a roll, Julia couldn't bear to stop. She also drew a picture for Daddy, which she insisted on wrapping and putting under the tree:

"Okay, Mama," she instructed me. "If you see something FLAT under the tree on Christmas morning, give it to Daddy, because I made this SPECIAL PRESENT for him, and I know he'll LOVE it, because, Mama, I know that Daddy loves spending time with me."

I can 100% guarantee that he will love it, because crafts made with love and care from children are the absolute best.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Angels We Have Heard on High

Julia tackles a pretty challenging Christmas song on the piano, starting off with explosive, hammering energy, taking a more leisurely pace filled with pauses in the middle, and finishing up with voluminous confidence and a very savvy bow:

This is one of many, many Christmas songs she has been playing over the past few weeks. I am proud to say she takes after her mother, going on a full-out Christmas music kick during the holiday season. She not only loves to listen to our Christmas CDs, but is eager to learn as many piano versions of the songs as possible. Sorry, Ethan. Christmas is in DA HOUSE!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Morning fun

Madeleine decided to start the day off wearing her new hat from Nana. This child's got STYLE:

To make the morning even MORE special, the girls got to watch a Christmas "Max & Ruby" while they ate their breakfast. As we watched Ruby helping Max to hang his stocking, then supervising him brushing his teeth and getting to bed on Christmas Eve, I began to wonder why this bossy 7-year-old bunny was in charge of such things.

ME: Julia, where are Max and Ruby's parents?
JULIA: They never have any parents.
ME: Oh, really?
JULIA: Well, maybe their parents are just always LAZY. Because, Mama, I saw a picture on their wall with parents in it, so I guess the parents just must lay upstairs in their bed all day.

Ahh. I see.

Following the tv show, we Rowes piled into the car to take Julia to school. (Ethan drove, of course; don't get too excited. I am not quite driving yet.) Madeleine had her usual sobbing melt-down when it was time for us to leave Julia's school; it's just so unfair, in her eyes, that just as she's getting herself settled with a toy or crafts, we have to yank her up into our arms and leave. In order to distract her from her despair, I picked up a construction paper bell that was in Julia's art pouch and asked her if she wanted to hold it.

ME: Here, look, we need to take home Julia's artwork. Do you want to hold onto it?
MADELEINE: (delighted) YEAH! Daddy, I made this for Julia!
ETHAN: You made it, huh? When did you make that?

Madeleine's Christmas tree. Or Julia's bell. Interpret as you like.