Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Car

As many of you know, we Rowes recently purchased a new car and traded in our old buddy, the 2001 Toyota that Ethan and I bought shortly after we were married.

Our dear old Corolla

The new Rowe household vehicle

Last night, our brand new car was ready for pick-up, after being transported to the nearby Kia dealership and going through a routine safety inspection. So the Rowe family headed out on an evening road trip to pick up our new car. The girls were SO excited about the whole ordeal. Julia, especially, has been anticipating the arrival of our car, telling everyone she knows, from her Sunday school teacher to our baby-sitter to her friends' parents that we were getting a new Kia. I expected the kids to be sorely disappointed by how unexciting the whole car pickup was going to be; Ethan and I knew we would spend most of the time at the dealership signing paperwork and getting instructions on how to operate the new vehicle. Happily, the girls surprised me with their eagerness over absolutely everything about the trip to the dealership. From their delight at the life-sized, cutout cardboards of various famous people, to their fascination at the idea that there were actual cars inside the dealership lobby (Julia spent a lot of time theorizing the various ways they could have fit the cars through the dealership doors) to the fact that they got to eat bag dinners of grilled cheese and baby carrots while we waited, it was truly a fun and exciting adventure for both kids. Best of all was the fact that Ethan and I brought along coloring books and little mini-marker boxes to keep the kids entertained. Even Madeleine, who, as you know, does not like to sit still, was transfixed in her seat the entire time Ethan and I were in our dealer's office. Every time we would peek out to check on the kids, they were happily coloring away, books on their laps, focused on their artwork. Who ever would have guessed!?!

The biggest moment of excitement was the chance to finally see - and get into - our new car:

From the backseat, the girls joyfully pointed out all the new features that our car has, from book (or coloring book!) pockets on the back of the two front seats to cup holders built into the backseat doors to the CD player (something we have never had the luxury of experiencing in our previous cars.) Madeleine's mood took a temporary turn towards distress when I had to get out of the passenger seat to let our dealer sit beside Ethan in order to teach him how to set up the Blue Tooth feature. Sobbing uncontrollably from the backseat, Madeleine seemed to have come to the dismal conclusion that not only were we getting a new car, but we were also getting a new, male version of mommy who would be my replacement for the drive home. Once I climbed into the backseat to comfort her, she wrapped her arms around my neck in a death grip to make sure I couldn't go anywhere without her consent. All was well as soon as the dealer hopped out and I took my rightful place ("Mommy, can you sit in your OWN seat?") up front in the passenger seat.

Upon returning home from last evening, Julia buoyantly declared, "Mommy, that was SO FUN going to the car dealership!" So fun, in fact, that the first thing she said to me upon climbing into my bed to wake me this morning was, "Mom, do you think everybody at school will notice that we're driving a NEW CAR?" As it turns out, nobody at school did seem to notice, but that didn't phase Julia. "That was SO FUN riding to school in our NEW CAR!" she announced as she hopped down out of her seat. Man, talk about an adventure!

Madeleine, too, has been talking nonstop about the car, although when I tried to take a video of her thoughts, she was too interested in the video camera case to want much to do with me:

I suppose we should be thanking Santa for his very generous gift.

Monday, January 30, 2012


JULIA: Mom, I know you think I would want a pink wedding dress, but did you know that I actually want a different color dress? Because I love that color that's, like, sparkly... uh, is that silver?
ME: I think so. Silver is usually a pretty sparkly color.
JULIA: Wait, but what's gold?
ME: (showing her the band of my wedding ring) That's gold. Gold is more of a shiny color, not sparkly.
JULIA: Yeah, I want a silver dress because I think that's so beautiful.
ME: Okay, sounds good. Do you think you'll get married and have a wedding some day?
JULIA: Yes. But not until I'm a grown-up... because... KIDS CAN'T GET MARRIED!
ME: You're right, you can't get married until you're an adult. It's against the law for kids to live all by themselves without a parent.
ME: Well, can you imagine if you were married right now and you lived alone in a house with the person you were married to and there were no parents around to take care of you?
JULIA: Yeah! Like, imagine if someone was three, and her husband was also three, and she had a baby in her tummy, and they didn't have any grown-ups around! Because, like, kids don't really know how to use the stove, and they can't really read, so they wouldn't even know how to make dinner!

Exactly. The essential functions one needs in order to be self-sufficient are to know how to use a stove and to be able to read. Among many other things, of course.

Meanwhile, Madeleine continues with her potty talk:

ME: Okay, we need to try the potty before we go pick up Julia from school.
MADELEINE: (concentrating, then letting out a stream of pee, followed by a large, groaning gaseous eruption that sounded like a humpback whale singing) Who's TALKING?
ME: Who's talking? Who's tooting!?
ME: I don't know who's talking.
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) I think... my PEE-PEES are talking!

Saturday, January 28, 2012


The girls share various obversations and updates with me throughout the day today:

JULIA: (turning on the hallway light) Mama, did you know I turned on the light?
ME: Oh, you did? Okay.
JULIA: Yeah. Mama, did you know it was me who did it?
ME: Uh, no. I didn't realize you turned it on.

Five minutes later...

JULIA: Well, Mama, did you know what I did after I turned on the light?
ME: What did you do?
JULIA: I smiled CUTELY. That's what I did.

MADELEINE: (on the potty, feeling the need to describe every single action as it occurs) Mommy, I hear my pee-pees!
ME: I do too!
MADELEINE: (explosive sound) Toots. (plopping sound) Poopies. (more explosions) Toots.
ME: Good girl, doing your poopies in the potty.
MADELEINE: (philosophically) Mommy, you don't want to EAT my poopies.
ME: No, I certainly do not.

While Madeleine and Julia are frolicking around the Town Hall green, Julia decides to practically suffocate Madeleine with a hug:

JULIA: (bouncing her body up and down with her arms wrapped around her sister) You're my little sweetie! Did you know that? You're my SWEET SWEET little Madeleine!
MADELEINE: (giggling, looking slightly uncomfortable)
JULIA: Mommy, did you see what Madeleine was doing when I was HUGGING her? She was smiling DELIGHTFULLY!

While I'm doing my routine daily stretches:

JULIA: Mama, do you see me? I'm doing every stretch you do!
ME: Good job, honey!
JULIA: Okay, Mama, now I'll do a stretch, and you try and do it too. (Raising one arm in the air, kicking her leg up, and touching the ground with her other hand, then subsequently face-planting in the middle of the living room floor.)
ME: You want me to fall on my face? I don't think I can do that!
JULIA: (standing up, brushing her hair out of her eyes, looking embarrassed) Uh, hang on, wait, Mama. Let me do that again.

Second time was *slightly* more graceful, in that she kept from wiping out again, that is...

Friday, January 27, 2012


Julia has been very busy over the past few days making Valentines for everyone in the Rowe household. She first set to work cutting out hearts and decorating them, all of which are hidden in her room. Next she drew a super-secret picture for me, which she also squirreled away in her room, and then set to drawing pictures for both her sister and father. The goal of her Valentine pictures was to draw something each person in the house deeply loves. For Madeleine's picture, Julia decided to draw her sister's beloved Cowie:

Not a bad likeness, I must say:

As she set out to draw Ethan's Valentine picture, Julia took a minute to think about what her daddy really loves, then busily got to work. Below, you will see Julia's interpretation of her father's deepest passion and love:

I believe the brown circles are the bagels, and the large green thing is supposed to be our French press -- which is actually silver, but she doesn't have a marker in that color. I truly thought my heart was going to explode over how sweet and adorable this is.

I absolutely cannot wait to see what she drew for me, though I have to wait until Valentine's Day to get it. I will keep you posted!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Frère Jacques, AGAIN

Yet another "Frère Jacques" video for your viewing pleasure. I dare say we have more videos of our kids singing this song than any other song in the universe. Entitled "In which the girls vie for the title of goofiest child in the Rowe household" - OR: "Madeleine sings a demon-possessed version of "Whera Jacques" while Julia dances maniacally in the background:"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dora Gets Pink-Eye

It seems that the recent pink-eye infection in our household has been the inspiration behind Madeleine's latest artwork. Either that, or all of her Dora friends are experiencing Stigmata:

Even Map came down with pink-eye:

While the sight of Dora and friends with bloody eyes is somewhat disturbing, it's definitely better than the demonic Black Eyes of Death that Madeleine had previously given everybody:

Seriously creepy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dora Adventures

The pretend play has gotten really wild and crazy lately, with Dora embarking on all kids of exciting adventures. Even more wild and crazy is the fact that Julia's latest Dora game was acted out with Dora stickers, which she stuck all over the inner front cover of our Dora coloring book. I have said it before: it really does not take much to entertain this child. The stickers alone were enough to spark her imagination and get the adventure going:

While Madeleine obviously loves partaking in her sister's pretend games, she did engage in a bit of solo pretend play as well, combining the olden days of dinosaurs with the olden days of the Bible to make for some pretty exciting dinosaur/human interactions:

Monday, January 23, 2012


My daughters and their freakish long-term memory:

JULIA: My tummy hurts, but water and juice aren't making it hurt, only milk.
ETHAN: Should we even be giving her juice if her tummy hurts?
ME: Well, if she was going to throw up, she would have done it already. Do you remember two years ago when she had the stomach bug and I was trying to get some fluids in her, and I made her drink a juice box and she immediately threw it up?
ETHAN: Oh, yeah, I guess you're right.
JULIA: I remember that, Mama! I remember that the juice box had Grover on it and after I drank it I threw up.

I also remember what kind of juice box it was. Grape juice. I remember the lovely grape juice-mixed-with-vomit smell as she barfed into the trash bin I was holding out to her. And sure enough, the Sesame Street character that is on the grape juice boxes is Grover. We haven't bought grape juice since that incident, in February 2010.

MADELEINE: Mommy, we go trick-or-treating on Halloween and we ring the doorbell and we say TRICK-OR-TREAT!
ME: That's right, that is what we do on Halloween. Do you remember what your costume was?
MADELEINE: A ballerina, and Julia's costume is RAPUNZEL!

While her short-term memory is occasionally challenged in trying to learn a new label, as you will see below, Madeleine proved that her memory is actually better than mine today:

ME: Madeleine, come here. Here you go!
MADELEINE: (running over to me and holding out something in her hand) Mommy! What's THAT?
ME: Oh, that's a coffee bean. Can you throw it in the garbage?
MADELEINE: (wisely) Yeah, that's a GARBAGE bean. It's a GARBAGE BEAN! I got to throw it in the garbage! (running off to throw it out.)
ME: Good girl! Thank you, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: (running back in) Mommy? What's "here you go?"
ME: (totally confused) What's here you go?
MADELEINE: What are you giving to me?
ME: (still blanking, then suddenly remembering how the conversation started) Oh! Here. (handing her the little figurine I had been attempting to give her before the garbage bean distraction.)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sledding Fun

Though it has been an incredibly mild winter so far, we do at last have some snow, so Ethan and I decided to take the girls on a sledding adventure today. We drove down to the golf club in our town, since its main use during the winter is a sledding and cross-country skiing hub for kids and adults alike. In the past few years, we have merely walked down the street to the park near our house to sled down what amounts to no more than a mere lip on the side of a soccer field, leading to the walking path above. Even that was more than Julia could handle in the past; terrified by even the slight downhill we would sled on, she frequently wound up simply playing in the snow, refusing to try a second (or third, or fourth, etc) run down on the sled. Today marked major progress for her, in that she not only had a blast riding over the big bumpy hills at the golf course, but even tried sitting alone in the sled. She was hesitant at first, but quickly discovered she liked riding solo. Or, as she put it, "Mom! That...was...AWESOME!"

As you probably know, Madeleine is the more fearless of the two children, and there is rarely a feat she is hesitant to attempt. We started out pulling her gently along down the golf course hills in a toddler sled, into which she was very carefully buckled:

Not only did she absolutely love the experience, but she proved she didn't need to be handled with such delicate care once it was my turn to tote her down the hill. "As long as you don't go too fast, you'll be fine," Ethan cautioned me as I was about to start the ride. I brushed him off, confidently asserting that I had no intention of going fast.

Except... when you're pulling a 30-lb child along in a sled down a steep hill, it's hard to actually prevent the sled from going fast. I pulled her along, and suddenly realized that the sled was moving faster than I was. It quickly caught up to me and was about to overtake me, but for the fact that I was smack in the middle of its path. I tried to get out of the way but I simply didn't have time, and instead I would up tripping over the sled, falling over directly onto Madeleine's head, then all the way over the other end of the sled into the snow, leaving her to fly down the remainder of the hill without anyone holding the tow rope. Standing up as fast as I could, I dashed over to check if she was okay, horror stories of kids who were badly injured in sledding accidents rushing through my head, and expecting to find her sobbing.

Nope. This is Madeleine, after all. Instead, I came upon her giggling hysterically, like I had just pulled the funniest stunt on earth. She could barely contain her glee as I pulled her up back up the hill, dissolving into even harder giggles once I wiped out trying to tow her up and had to pull on the rope as I was splayed on my stomach mid-uphill. Thanks to her complete dismissal of the collision she and I had had, she was not at all deterred from continuing her sledding runs. In fact, she was even brave enough to try sledding down in the big sled with Julia, trusting that her big sister would keep her as safe as either of her parents would:

The girls reach the bottom of the hill

After witnessing Julia lay on her stomach in the sled and ride down the hill, Madeleine was determined to try a similar pose. After the girls' final sledding run, Ethan towed Madeleine back up the hill in the big sled, in which Madeleine stretched onto her belly. She loved the experience so greatly that she was utterly heartbroken when it was time to get out of the sled and into the car. "I want to go on my TUMMY!" she wailed during the entire drive home. Even once we were in the house and out of our snow clothes, she just couldn't get over her misery. As I put her on the potty before nap time, she sobbed to me, "I want to go sledding, Mommy! I want to go on my TUUUUUUMMYYYYY!!!" I suggested she try going on her stomach in her crib, but she just didn't think it was an equal exchange.

At any rate, two great milestones were reached today: Julia's bravery on the hill, sledding down all by herself, and, even more amazing, the fact that Ethan and I were able to, without anxiety, let our two daughters sled together down the hill without an adult. They grow up so fast...

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Julia's song

Julia sings while she plays, in some sort of made-up foreign language that sounds like a mix of Spanish, English, and Cree:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Busy morning

The morning started off nicely, with Julia benevolently deciding to give her sister two gifts: a plaster circle that Julia had painted at some event or another, and one of Julia's Polly Pockets that she doesn't often play with. Madeleine was so enthralled with the gifts that she played with them all morning, labeling the plastic circle "Moon" and naming the Polly Pocket "Alia."

As you can probably hear from this video, Julia has a bit of a cough and a cold. She has been well enough to go to school all week, and really isn't feeling that under the weather, but I decided to let her watch an extra half hour of tv this morning so she could rest. In actuality, I was hoping to get a little more down time to drink my coffee in peace, but because Julia is such a rule follower ("But, Mama, I already watched my two shows!") I assured her that when you're sick, it's okay to have a little more couch time and to watch a little more tv.

The special treatment caused a bit of a moral conundrum for Julia after her show was finished, however. Not wanting to get herself caught for not being sick enough to warrant the extra tv time, she found a creative way to ask permission for her next activity.

JULIA: Mama, um, sometimes when you're sick, it feels really good to warm yourself up, because when you have a cold, you might need to make yourself warm by, like, moving all around.
ME: Julia, it's okay if you want to do Gallop Time. You don't need an excuse.
JULIA: (relieved) Oh! Okay. (taking off at a gallop through the various downstairs rooms, a look of far-off wonderment in her eyes.)

Her very compliant behavior lasted through the rest of the morning, which was spent at the eye doctor, thanks to Julia's failed eye exam at her 5-year checkup. Fortunately, she passed the exam today, impressing the pants off of the optometrist with her wonderful behavior. Don't worry, I won't get too smug here; Madeleine more than made up for Julia's docile accomodation during the course of the hour and a half long visit. Whether she was crawling around under waiting room chairs, opening other exam room doors and climbing into the examining chairs where she didn't belong, grabbing items off of the examining room counters, or full-out wailing while Julia tried to recite letters and numbers, she certainly made a different sort of impression on the optometry staff. Not that she gave a hoot about making a good impression. An excerpt from her time-out in the waiting room:
MADELEINE: (wailing) I want to get DOOOOOOOWN!
ME: Are you going to be a good listener, then?
MADELEINE: (defiantly) UH-uh!

As the doctor very kindly put it, "Every child is different." Very, very true of my two.

Thankfully, my little Cranky-Pants is now up in her crib getting a much-needed nap, Moon and Alia tucked safely away in her room, awaiting her pretend-play games once she awakens.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


While they are known to engage in many a proprietary fight, Julia and Madeleine are often just the best of friends. Today they have been especially sweet towards one another, playing well and freely expressing their love. In fact, rather than having her customary melt-down about wanting to run off and play at Julia's school, Madeleine instead wanted nothing but her sister when we arrived for pick-up. Bursting into the classroom and spotting her sister, Madeleine ran over to Julia, exclaiming "Juwia!!" in delight, and throwing her arms around her big sis. She has even been so thrilled to be with her sister that she has gone along with every single game Julia has directed this afternoon, easily complying with all of Julia's orders.

Shortly after I arrived home from work, Julia began a game in which she, the teacher, was leading a class project: drawing chicks. Using her chickie stamp as a model, Julia then drew a few exemplary chicks for us:

They quickly grew into an entire chick family, with Mom and Dad included (no eggs for the parents, of course):

She then walked Madeleine and I through the steps of drawing our own chicks.

While mine came out more or less looking like Julia's, Madeleine went for a more abstract representation of the chickie model:

When art class was over, the girls decided to play "hospital," a recurring pretend game that they enact together. The basic premise of hospital is that the patient (always Madeleine) lies on the living room floor, covered with a blanket, while the doctor (always Julia) provides the patient with honey medicine and healthy food:

Doctor Julia tending to her patient

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Two Videos

This morning while I was watching a YouTube video that my former assistant band director had posted on Facebook, Julia came running over to join me. The video was of my high school marching band, performing a field show at the intermission of one of our home football games. Smitten with nostalgia, I began to explain to Julia what exactly she was watching.

ME: Julia, this is my old marching band, and we're performing a field show. Do you see us marching all around and making different shapes and formations?
JULIA: Uh-huh. But Mama? Are you there too?
ME: Yeah, I was there. I used to be part of this band.
JULIA: Oh. (thoughtful silence) Mama, is this what you used to do for your OLD job, be a marcher, before you decided to teach piano lessons instead?

Madeleine did not get to watch the High School band video with us, but she did watch an episode of Dora the Explorer once Julia was off at school. While she usually responds to Dora's questions with enthusiasm, today she decided to be shy. Now, I can understand her and Julia's nervousness at the My Little Pony episode in which Spike the Dragon turns temporarily evil and humongous and runs around bellowing "SPIKE WAAAAAANT!" while grabbing everything in sight. I'm not so sure I can understand being scared of Dora's patient silence after asking the audience a question, but for whatever reason, Madeleine sure got upset today.

MAP: I'm the Map, I'm the Map, I'm the Map, I'm the Map, I'm the Maaaaaap! I know how to get to Star Mountain. First you need to go to the fifteen steps, then the Diamond, then Star Mountain! Step, Diamond, Star Mountain!
MADELEINE: (bursting into tears, running out of the room and into my arms)
ME: What's the matter, honey?
MADELEINE: Mommy, I'm scared to say "Step!"

Yeah. Okay. That is awfully scary, you have to admit. I'm sure the fact that Madeleine skipped her nap yesterday and was very emotionally fragile this morning had NOTHING to do with her reaction.

Thankfully, she is now upstairs in her crib, fast asleep, while Julia tortures herself by watching "SPIKE WAAAAAAANT!" for the thousandth time.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

A Trip to Church

Despite the bitterly cold weather this morning, the Rowe ladies decided to brave the winter chill and head out to church together. It was so frigid that we could see our breath; or, as Julia put it: "Mama? How come when it's really, really cold out and you talk, your voice makes this kind of freezing smoky thing in the air?"

Thankfully, the church was well-heated, so aside from our quick trot from the car into the building, we didn't have to suffer the cold too badly. In fact, I think Madeleine found the chilly air invigorating, because she was bursting full of energy all through today's service. While Julia sat down in the front row like a perfect angel with the other Sunday school children, Madeleine was extremely... um... rambunctious up in the choir loft with me. When she wasn't pulling half-drunk Dunkin' Donuts iced coffees out of the trash or climbing around underneath the pews, she was taking bounding jumps off of the top riser step or standing atop chairs to better see the church congregation below. Best of all, she decided it would be fun to play a game of hide-and-seek in the stairwell outside of the choir loft. Let's see if anyone can find Madeleine:

*Just in case* it's not GLARINGLY obvious where she is, I'll give you a close-up:

After taking her downstairs for Communion, I decided to have a little talk with her before heading back to the loft.

ME: Madeleine, if I take you back up to the choir, it means no more goofing around. Can you behave up there?
MADELEINE: (nodding)
ME: Okay. So can you just sit and eat your bread and look at a book?
MADELEINE: (solemnly and honestly) No.

At least she was truthful.

Thankfully, there was one thing that got her to sit still and quietly for a few minutes. She got her hands on a book. No, not any of the lift-the-flap books I brought along (she shunned those, as well as the My Little Ponies and Polly Pockets I packed). Instead, she chose to sit and flip through the Liturgy book, written in Greek, with no pictures and nothing of particular interest to an illiterate child. But hey, whatever works!

She is now upstairs in her crib babbling and whooping away through her "nap."
It's gonna be a looooong afternoon, folks...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

High fashion in the Rowe household

Julia picked out a super stylin' outfit today because she wanted to look just like the Fresh Beat band. As she put it, "Mama, I picked out a really, really beautiful outfit that's like the Fresh Beat band. Just WAIT til you see it." Here she is, modeling her fashionable ensemble:

Très chic!

She modeled a few dance moves for me as well, whipping off her overshirt (or, more like, "Uh, Mama? I need help taking the WHITE shirt off) and striking some wildly energetic poses:

Madeleine went for a more understated, cat-on-the-forehead look today:

The look was so enviable that it inspired fashionista Julia to incorporate the cat into her cool style:

What can I say? The Rowe household is full of haute couture.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Quotes, Quotes, and More Quotes

The kids have had so many wacky things to say over the past few days, I'm not even sure where to start...

While watching "Max & Ruby:"
JULIA: Mom, wouldn't it be funny if in one of the episodes Max was older than Ruby?
ME: That WOULD be funny.
JULIA: But, wait, Mom? If the little brother grows taller than his big sister, does he become the older one?
ME: No, even if he's taller he would still be younger.
ME: Well, how tall you turn out to be has nothing to do with how old you are.
JULIA: (silent, bewildered.)

I wonder if this means she thinks Auntie Caitlyn is the oldest sister in my family?

While Madeleine sits on the potty, Julia comes into the bathroom to ponder the future with me:
JULIA: Mama, wouldn't it be funny if when Madeleine grows up she has FIVE babies?
ME: Yes, and then I would have five grandchildren! When you and Madeleine have kids, I'll become a grandmother.
JULIA: Well, Mama, do you remember how the plan is that I'm going to marry Wyatt and have FOUR kids?
ME: Yes.
JULIA: Well, how many would THAT be?
ME: That would be nine grandchildren.
JULIA: Yeah, that's how many.
ME: Are two of your kids going to be named May and Elina?
JULIA: They're going to be named: May, Elina... (thinking quickly) uh, Maddy, and Julie.

I can't imagine where she got the idea for those last two names.

While putting Madeleine to bed last night:

ME: (finishing up her snuggle and putting my glasses back on) Good-night, sweetheart.
MADELEINE: (fixated on my glasses) Mommy? Can you put your EYES back on?
ME: You mean you want me to take off my glasses?
MADELEINE: (solemn) Yes.

In the car, driving to pick Julia up from school today:
MADELEINE: (holding out her Polly Pocket) Mommy? Can you take off her dress?
ME: No, I can't, honey, I'm driving.
MADELEINE: Mommy? I need her DRESS off! Can you take off her dress?
ME: No, sweetie, I can't do it right now.
MADELEINE: Of COURSE you can, Mommy!

Duh. Silly me. Of COURSE I should be turning around while driving, trying to grasp the Polly Pocket out of her hand and take its sparkly white dress off. I should have known better. Good thing I had Madeleine there to set me straight.

Madeleine engages in pretend play:
MADELEINE: (playing with Unicornio, née Philippe) Oh no! I see a DRAGON over there! Don't worry. Unicornio will go get him. (turning to me) Mommy! I see a DRAGON over there! (pointing at the invisible dragon.)
ME: Oh, no! I'm so scared! Will you protect me?
MADELEINE: (pausing) Oooookaaaaay. (trotting off to the living room.)
ME: Where are you going?
MADELEINE: I'm going to get a blanket, so I can protect you. (Bringing me a baby blanket, placing it on my lap, and patting my lap.) There you go. I PROTECT you!

Phew. All safe. Good job, Madeleine.

While changing Madeleine into pj's and a pull-up for bed:
ME: Whew! You need a bath! You've got a stinky bum. That is PUNGENT.
ME: Here, let me do something to make you smell a little better (sprinkling baby powder in her diaper area)
MADELEINE: Yeah, that's PUNGENT! But Mommy, you just put some marshmallows on my bum for me.

Yup. That's EXACTLY what I did.

And finally...

Julia changes into a dress-up outfit:

JULIA: Mama, I know exactly what I look like. I look like Cinderella when she's in her WORKING clothes.

Or... more like a ladybug with a scarf on... but maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crack of Dawn

After getting to bed well past midnight last night, thanks in part my overstimulated brain following a late-night chorus rehearsal, I was truly hoping the kids would sleep at least until 7 this morning. In fact, Julia knows that if she wakes up before 7, she should play in her room because it's too early to get up. Unfortunately, lately she has opted to "snuggle" me in my bedroom, eagerly awaiting 7am, instead. This morning, as I heard her footsteps on the stairs around 6:30, I knew there was no hope of getting any more sleep.

JULIA: (opening my bedroom door)
ME: (silent, hoping she'd think I was asleep and leave)
JULIA: (whispering) Mama?
ME: Mmm?
JULIA: (whispering) Can I snuggle you?
ME: Mmm.

So she climbed into my bed, wrapped her arm around me, then proceeded to wiggle and bounce around next to me.

JULIA: (whispering) Mom?
ME: Mmm?
JULIA: Next time you go to Sudbury Farms, I know what we need to buy. We need to get more Band-aids, because I used the last one yesterday.
ME: Mmm.
JULIA: (whispering) Mama?
ME: Hmm?
JULIA: I told Ilana that I love mac 'n cheese, and she said I do too. Then I told her that I had mac 'n cheese for dinner, and she said I did too.
ME: Mmm.
JULIA: Mama? Doesn't it look SO pretty out the window?
ME: Mmm. What time is it?
JULIA: I'll check. (going over to the clock on the cable box, then returning to the bed.) Mama? We STILL have some snuggle time. Aren't you SO glad?
ME: Mmm.
JULIA: (after several minutes) I'm gonna check if it's seven yet.
ME: Mmmokay.
JULIA: (getting out of bed to check, then coming back.)
ME: I hear Madeleine crying.
JULIA: You should go tell her it's not time to get up yet.
ME: Mmm.
JULIA: Mama? I just ADORE you!
ME: I just adore you too.
JULIA: (petting my hair)
ME: I'm tired.
JULIA: Mama, I'm SO tired, I could just fall asleep on your bed! (silent, thoughtful.) Even though I have a lot of things to say.
ME: Me too.
JULIA: When, oh when, is it going to be seven?
ME: Do you want to just get up?
JULIA: (smile spreading across her face, nodding)

Of course, Madeleine was also awake, which was no surprise since she'd been letting out intermittent wails from her crib. Can anyone guess what she asked for as soon as I lifted her out of her crib?

MADELEINE: I want to watch Dora. I want DORA PRINCESS!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dora Princess

Well, today was off to a great start when Madeleine woke up super early and then began requesting something that, I've decided, simply does not exist.

MADELEINE: Mommy, I want to watch Dora Princess.
ME: Dora princess? Which one is Dora Princess?
MADELEINE: Dora Princess.
ME: I don't know which one is Dora Princess.
MADELEINE: Mommy? I want to watch Dora Princess.
ME: (pulling out her new Christmas-gift Dora DVD) Is this Dora Princess?
MADELEINE: No, that's Dora Enchanted Forest. I want to watch Dora Princess.
ME: But what is Dora princess?
MADELEINE: I don't know.
ME: Can you tell me what happens in Dora Princess?
MADELEINE: Because... I want to watch a show!

I then read through every On Demand title of Dora episodes, all of which were refused. Finally, I just chose one that was not named Dora Princess, but whose synopsis had something to do with a castle. Madeleine did not complain when it came on, and watched with rapt attention. Nor did she complain afterwards, when I put on the customary morning episode of Curious George for both girls to watch. It wasn't until Julia turned off the television that I discovered Madeleine was still waiting for Dora Princess.

ME: Honey, we're all done with tv.

That wasn't the end of the melt-down. Unfortunately, it seems that Madeleine has learned a thing or two from Julia when it comes to angry pouting. ("This is NOT a living room!", anyone?)

ME: Sorry, honey, but we're all done watching tv.
MADELEINE: (tossing her empty milk cup onto the ground) FINE! I'm NEVER going to play with my MILKIE!

Boy, way to give it to me, Madeleine.

Meanwhile, Julia has been extraordinarily sweet and cooperative lately, leaving me wondering who came and abducted my child and replaced her with a completely compliant version of herself. She had hoped to come along with me to my piano lessons yesterday, and to her disappointment, I left her at home with our baby-sitter. When I returned home from lessons, early, due to my last student (one of a pair of siblings) having a stomach bug, I told Julia how lucky she was not to have come along and been in the house with stomach bug germs. To my surprise, she responded, full of joy, "It's okay, Mama, I had a WONDERFUL time at home!" Perhaps she is still basking in the post-Christmas, new-toys glow. As she put it today in a random announcement to our sitter, "Christmas was, like, SO AWESOME. My mom said I got REALLY COOL toys."

Like, totally!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lost in Translation

As well as Madeleine speaks for her age, occasionally things still get lost in translation. Luckily, this morning, Julia was able to help decipher the mystery of the "clicker" Madeleine so desperately wanted.

MADELEINE: Daddy? I need the clicker.
ETHAN: What clicker, honey?
MADELEINE: Can you get me the clicker?
ETHAN: What clicker?
MADELEINE: I need the clicker.
ETHAN: Court, do you know what Madeleine is talking about when she wants the "clicker?"
ME: I have no idea.
MADELEINE: Can you get me the clicker?
ETHAN: What clicker do you need?
JULIA: Hang on! I think I know what she's talking about! Madeleine, do you mean the gate?
MADELEINE: No. I need the clicker.
JULIA: Madeleine, can you tell me what a clicker is?
MADELEINE: It's... it's to my toe.
JULIA AND ETHAN: (simultaneously) The CLIPPERS!

It turns out that Madeleine's big toenail had cracked and she was looking for Ethan to clip it for her. Or perhaps I should say click it for her.

Later on this morning, it was Madeleine who seemed confused, as we participated in her weekly Creative Movement class. Although we sing the same songs every week, and Madeleine is well seasoned in the various activities, she felt the need to suddenly pipe up today. Equipped with shakers and jingle bells, the kids and parents rattled and shook their instruments along with the "Stop and Go" song, waiting for the singer to declare "STOP!," at which point the instruments would freeze, waiting for the "GO!" signal to resume their noise.

RECORDING: (singing) Let's play Stop & Go! Let's play Stop & Go!
KIDS, PARENTS: (shaking instruments wildly)
RECORDING: (singing) you never know when you're gonna hear it stop... (spoken) STOP!

Dead silence. Everyone frozen, vigilant.


Back to dead silence.

KIDS, PARENTS: (resuming their shaking)

Personally, I would have gotten an even bigger kick out of it she was still in her "At HAPPOON?" phase...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Balloon bracelet

This afternoon, Ethan, the girls, and I went to the birthday party of a family friend's daughter. Little Zoey turned 1, and Julia and Madeleine had a great time playing with her toys, eating mac 'n cheese for lunch, getting cake and ice cream, and, best of all, taking home balloon animals. Both girls were sporting balloon animal bracelets; for Julia, a pink ladybug, and for Madeleine, a green turtle. True to her nature, Madeleine has refused to take off her turtle, and even now as I type, is wearing it along with her pajamas:

I think Cinderella got jealous at one point, because as I was trying to snap Madeleine's picture, the glass-slippered princess LEAPT off the windowsill onto Madeleine's wrist in a vain attempt to steal the turtle bracelet:

At any rate, as obsessed as she is with her bracelet, Madeleine seems to have a very short-term memory about the origins of said bracelet. Only a few hours after the birthday party, as she showed her turtle off to me for the millionth time, I asked her if she remembered whose party we had gone to.

ME: Madeleine, whose house did we go to today for a birthday party? Do you remember who gave you that turtle?
MADELEINE: Um, the grandma did it!
ME: Uh, no. Remember we went to a birthday party? Whose house was it at?
MADELEINE: Santa Claus!

Not even remotely close.

It does not particularly surprise me that she is more interested in the bracelet than in the actual party itself. As you all know, sporting accessories is Madeleine's thing. It's not abnormal to see her playing around the house wearing things like Ethan's well-worn, slightly sweaty winter hat:

NOW: Just add the turtle bracelet to that ensemble and she will REALLY be stylin'.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


On our way home from the Y, Madeleine had a sudden urge to hear the recurring adventure song from "The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That:"

MADELEINE: Can you sing "Go-go-go?"
ME: Who?
MADELEINE: Can you sing "Go-go-go?"
ME: Who are you asking?
JULIA: Me. She wants me to sing it.
ME: Oh, okay. Can you sing it for her, Julia?
JULIA: (singing) Here we go, go, go, go! on an ackventure, the thing-a-ma-jigger is up and awaaaaay!
MADELEINE: (singing) Here we go, go, go, go! on a dabenture! (speaking) Can you sing it, Juwia?

Julia had a big dabenture of her own once we got home, playing with her princess and fairy figurines and her roll-out kingdom map. From the little snippets I heard of her fantasy game, I was able to get a pretty good sense of what an exciting ackventure it was:

"Wait a minute, guys, we're in the ARCTIC, not in Bittle-Bittle Fairy Land!"

"Why are you guys helping us?" "Because, if we are helping you, we have to HIDE you!"

"I know, Flounder, isn't Bittle-Bittle Fairy Land beautiful? But we have to go home now. Bye-bye, Bittle-Bittle Fairies!"

Man. I wish *I* could visit Bittle-Bittle Fairy Land. I can't say I'd be so keen on going to the Arctic, but at least the princesses seemed to like it just fine.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bedtime interruptions

Things Julia thinks are worth waking me up for, or getting up out of bed for:

Three mornings ago
JULIA: (coming into my bedroom) Mama! I made this for you!

ME: (groggily) That's great, honey! You wrote all of our names.
JULIA: But, Mama, did you even know I know how to do LOWER-CASE?
ME: Wow! I didn't know.
JULIA: Yeah, but I forgot how to do a lower case "E," so I just didn't do that one.

Two mornings ago
JULIA: (coming in at the crack of dawn) Mommy!
ME: (barely awake) Hmm?
JULIA: (whispering) Mama! I just need to tell you something.
ME: What is it?
JULIA: (still whispering) Mama, when you call Maeve's mother to set up a play date, tell her to bring Maeve to (our address) and tell her that she needs to park in the guest spot and then go in the front door and ring the doorbell to our condo.
ME: Okay.
JULIA: Okay. Good-night. (leaving and going back to her bedroom and sleeping until 8:30.)

Two evenings ago
JULIA: (coming into our bedroom an hour past her bedtime) Mama, my finger feels numb.
ME: It does? Where?
JULIA: (pointing to her knuckle)
ME: What do you mean it feels numb? What does it feel like?
JULIA: It feels like hurting.
ME: Well, if it was really numb, you wouldn't be able to feel it at all.
ME: (poking around on her finger) Tell me when I touch the spot that hurts.
JULIA: (silence)
ME: So is it hurting, or not?
JULIA: (smiling sheepishly) Well... it WAS...
ME, ETHAN: Go to bed, Julia.

An interesting side note: Julia should, in fact, know exactly what numb feels like, since we had had a discussion about feet falling asleep earlier that day. As Julia put it, "Yeah, it's so annoying when your foot falls asleep, because then it feels all like there's, like, sugar under your skin."

And finally, moving on to Madeleine, who spent much of the morning as an astronaut, playing with the giant balloon she got at Julia's dentist appointment yesterday:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Unicornio to the Rescue!

Belle's horse Philippe has changed nationalities as he took on the role of the Spanish-speaking Unicornio in Madeleine's pretend play today. Teamed up with My Little Pony's Princess Celestia, as well as Dora and Diego, Unicornio heroically helped save the day many time over. Here, one of his adventures caught on film:

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Morning conversation

Well, you can tell that Madeleine is turning a new leaf to celebrate the New Year...

MADELEINE: (angrily and unwillingly sitting on the potty) I want to get doooooown!
ME: Can you do pee-pees?
MADELEINE: (reaching her foot towards me and brushing it against me) I just KICKED you.
ME: No no kick, Madeleine!
MADELEINE: (smiling impishly, brushing her foot against me again)
ME: NO! Madeleine, do we kick?
ME: No! We do not kick! What do we do instead?
MADELEINE: (blowing her nose all over her bare arm) I just SNEEZED!
ME: We don't kick. What do we do instead?
MADELEINE: (repeatedly blowing her nose all over her arm and giggling) I just sneezing! Mommy, I SNEEZED!
ME: Madeleine. We don't kick. What do we do instead? We do...?
ME: No. We do NICE.
MADELEINE: I just sneezing.

Clearly, she really gets it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

What will 2012 bring for the Rowe household? What crazy things will the kids do this year? Time shall tell...

Meanwhile, in order to take advantage of the beautiful weather today, Ethan took the kids to the playground up the street from our house. It sounds like the kids enjoyed their walk over there and had a fun time running around and playing. Unfortunately, it also sounds like their playtime was cut a bit short, thanks to Madeleine's inherent clumsiness. According to Julia, "Mama, me and Daddy and Madeleine got some good EXERCISE, because Daddy took us to the PLAYGROUND. Except, Mama, we had to leave, because Madeleine WIPED OUT and like, got dirt all in her mouth and was crying, so we decided we better bring her home for nap."

According to Madeleine, "Yeah, I fell DOWN at the playground. I just eat the dirt. Yeah, I eat the dirt. I just put it in my MOUTH! Yeah, I just ate it. It's so yucky! I just fell down and I eat the DIRT."

Looks like 2012 is off to a bit of a stumbling start for Madeleine!