Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Julia Says...

Some of Julia's random comments throughout the day today:

ME: (pulling the car into the driveway) Okay, girls, we're home. Let's get inside and get Madeleine to nap.
JULIA: Mama, I think I know what "go out of business" means.
ME: What does it mean?
JULIA: Well, like, the person who runs the store has SO many customers coming in and they have to pay all those people so much money that they run out of money and then they don't have any more money to give people so they have to close the shop.

Um... correct, in a way. If by having so many customers you mean not enough customers, and if by paying the customers money you mean paying the suppliers of their product, the owners of their shop building, etc, so much money, then yeah, that's the gist of it.

JULIA: (pausing in her "gallop time") Mama, did you know that I love "Jesus Christ Superstar" SO MUCH that I just keep singing it in my head?
ME: No, but that's great. It's always nice to have music you love in your head.
JULIA: Yeah, and did you know, when I'm galloping? I imagine that my friends and I are all singing, like, Christmas carols, and, like, songs like that together!
ME: Oh, so you imagine singing songs you love with your friends?
JULIA: Yeah, that's what I think about while I'm galloping.

(N.B. "Gallop time" is Julia's routine practice of galloping back and forth between the living room window and the far kitchen wall, crossing through the dining room along the way. She used to call it her "tiptoe time," but I finally had to ask her who she was kidding pretending that what she was doing was "tiptoeing.")

ME: (singing, practicing my chorus music)
JULIA: Mama, do you know what I'm pretending with my baby dolls?
ME: (in between musical phrases) What?
JULIA: That if you have a NEW FOOD, you just have to try it. Because if you try it, you'll realize it's really much better, because then you get to do fun things after, like, you know, have snack and things like that.
ME: Oh, that's a great game to play. Just like in real life you should always try things.
JULIA: Yeah, because, like, the dolls have to realize that if they don't try it, they'll have a WORSER time, because they'll, like, just be sitting there forever, having to just eat one little bit and taking forever to finish it.

Hmm. Julia was forbidden snack yesterday after throwing a fit because I *gasp*! God forbid! - gave her fat free yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt. She refused to even try a bite and had a complete contrary (as in "THIS IS NOT A LIVING ROOM!) freak-out about it. I wonder if her pretend play today was at all influenced by true life experiences...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Madeleine Yaps

Madeleine seems to take after her sister in her need to chatter away to us while she's on the potty. While Julia needs to close the door for privacy as she poops, she shows no need for complete and utter time to herself in the bathroom. Instead, she shouts to us through the bathroom door the entire time she's in there, following up every question we fail to answer because we can't hear her with prompts like "Did you? DID YOU? Mama, DID YOU KNOW THAT?" Madeleine doesn't need the privacy, but she needs the conversation just the same. In the video below, she yapped to me about a family picture we recently found, of a visit to see Yia-yia Megali when Julia was only two and Madeleine was in the womb:

Another subject upon which Madeleine likes to comment, just like her sister at this age, is the movie "Sleeping Beauty." Having recently watched it in a sisters movie popcorn afternoon, Madeleine became hung up on Maleficent and the fact that Maleficent turns into a dragon. Not only is Madeleine constantly bringing up "Alifecimp," but she will often randomly spout out observations about the movie when we're not doing anything Sleeping Beauty-related. Just now, as I put on a CD of Mozart piano concerti, Madeleine was reminded of the Sleeping Beauty score, which uses the music that P.I. Tchaikovsky composed for the ballet of the same name. Hearing the opening orchestral introduction to the Mozart concerto, Madeleine suddenly exclaimed, "Mommy! Dragon music! And she's looking for her crow but he turned into a hop scotch and she said 'Oh NO!' and she's trying to find her WAND and she turns into a DRAGON!"

Side note: "hop scotch" in this case appears to mean "statue." "Hop scotch" is Madeleine's fall back word when she can't recall the actual word. She almost always refers to our little grasshopper figurine as a "hopscotcher," until I remind her of the correct name.

At least, given the fact that she is currently scared of the darkness, the shark and the monster in her room, she was able to watch "Sleeping Beauty" without being scared to the dragon.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Scaly Skin

Madeleine informed me of a big dilemma she was facing as I went into her bedroom to get her up this morning.

MADELEINE: Mommy, I'm trying to get the scaly skin off my cheek.
ME: Oh, really? Do you have mucus stuck to your cheek?
MADELEINE: No, I just have scaly skin on my cheek. Mommy? I'm just trying to get the scaly skin off my cheek.
ME: Okay, well let's go potty and then I can wipe your cheek.
MADELEINE: (sitting on the toilet, pointing to her cheeks, forehead, eyes, and chin) That's my cheeks, that's my head, that's my eyes, and that's my chin. But Mommy, I just have scaly skin on my cheeks.
ME: (trying to distract her from her scaly skin dilemma) Madeleine? Where are your eyebrows?
MADELEINE: (touching her eyelashes and wincing as she pokes herself in the eye)
ME: Those are not your eyebrows. THESE are your eyebrows! (brushing my finger over her brows.)
MADELEINE: Mommy? Where are your eyebrows?
ME: Right here (pointing to them.)
MADELEINE: But Mommy? Where's YOUR scaly skin?
ME: I don't have scaly skin.
MADELEINE: Yeah, you just have pimples. There's your pimples.
ME: Yeah, that's great.
MADELEINE: And Daddy doesn't have scaly skin, Daddy just has whiskers. Mommies don't have whiskers, they just have PIMPLES.

Just in case you haven't picked this up from some of the last few blog posts:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Tooth Fairy Messes Up

Julia lost tooth #5 last night, much to her excitement. Although the tooth did come out on its own, there was a bit of drama leading up to its own natural extraction. I found Julia standing at the top of the stairs outside her bedroom door last night, looking forlorn. "Mama, my tooth is so loose and wiggly right now, I feel like it needs to fall out," she told me. Then I uttered the threatening words that led to complete and utter panic, "Let me see." Yes, I know, what a horrible thing to say. I mean, letting me look at her tooth is akin to torture. How could I? Anyway, fifteen minutes later, after going rigid with fear and anxiety, refusing to let me even look in her mouth or wiggle her tooth, Julia decided she was ready to go back to bed. "I think I just want to swallow it in my sleep," she told me. "But then the tooth fairy won't know you lost a tooth, and you won't get your dollar!" I foolishly informed her, ignorantly assuming she would play along, despite the fact that months ago, when she asked me if the Tooth Fairy is real, I told her the truth.

"Mom!" she chided me. "The Tooth Fairy is NOT REAL! You told me that!"

Since the Tooth Fairy idea didn't entice her to let me gently wiggle her tooth free, I let her go back up to her bedroom. A few minutes later, she emerged with a big gap in her upper row of teeth, triumphantly holding her tooth. She then insisted that we put the tooth in an envelope to put under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy. Hmm. I was tempted to just give her the dollar then and there, but didn't want to spoil the fun. Unfortunately, I let Ethan deal with the dollar under the pillow after she'd fallen asleep, and he made a critical error: I have always removed the envelope, whereas he simply exchanged the tooth for the dollar inside the envelope. This morning, Julia seemed completely let down.

"Uh, Mooooom!" she called from her room. "You forgot to give me my dollar! The envelope is still here." After I encouraged her to check inside her envelope, she found her dollar, and was happy as a clam, and willing to forgive our envelope snafu.

With her missing tooth up top, another very wiggly top tooth, and a big gap in between the wiggly tooth and its neighbor tooth, Julia looks a bit like a vagabond, or at least like someone who has been punched out in a bar fight. I didn't comment on this to her, though I did share my other thought on what she looks like:

ME: Julia, you look just like a jack-o-lantern with your missing tooth!
JULIA: I know, Mama, because you can even sometimes CARVE jack-o-lanterns with a missing TOOTH!

Here is a shot of her grinning jack-o-lantern smile:

Madeleine appears to want to knock her own teeth out, given where I found her attempting to squirrel away and eat her snack this morning:

Needless to say, seeing as she can't even sit up in this tiny space, there were soon tears and "ouchies!" But no knocked out teeth, thankfully.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Clothes and Beds

Like sister, like sister:

Since Julia is clearly old enough to make her own fashion choices and pick out her own outfits, she decided today that she would like to start making her own bed. "Mama, I'm gonna make my bed EVERY morning," she declared, then, re-thinking the situation, addended: "Well, every morning, OR every afternoon, because, like, people are really BUSY in mornings."

Getting ready to begin her new chore, she ran upstairs this afternoon to make her bed, then came down some time later. "Mama," she informed me, "it was, like, so cozy in my bed after I made it, that I was, like, just rolling around back and forth thinking it felt so COMFORTABLE."

I went upstairs to see her hard work. Are you ready to see the impeccable job she did?:

Like mother, like daughter.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cecilia, Spiders, and Cars

Ever since I bought some Simon & Garfunkel CDs to play in our new car's CD player, the kids have been obsessed with the various songs we've been listening to. Not only do they request specific songs every time we get in the car, but they're also singing the music around the house. Julia's current favorite is "Cecilia," which she frequently has in her head even when we're not in the car. As she put it: "Mom, did you know that I always have 'Cecilia' in my head and I feel like I'm listening to the REAL MUSIC? Like, I feel like I went inside my body, and I can hear the REAL song!" She is so enamored with this particular song that she asked me yesterday, when our baby-sitter showed up, if I can bring in the CD from the car the next time our baby-sitter comes over so that Julia can play "Cecilia" for Tamara. And, this being Julia, she of course needed to plan out every single detail: "And, Mama, I want to DANCE along to it, and I want to wear two big braids and a skirt, because I want my skirt to swirl around when I'm DANCING." Got it. It's a PLAN.

Meanwhile, since Tamara is not coming today, Julia decided on a non-skirt outfit. In addition to her obsession with "Cecilia," she continues to be obsessed with Halloween, and is heading off to her winter vacation camp dressed in a very spooky, Halloweeny outfit:

Seeing as one of the only bouts of snow we received in the past few months was days before Halloween, I suppose her outfit is more appropriate for "Snowflake Camp" than is the near 60-degree weather we're having today...

After getting dressed, Julia ran over to me and pointed to the spider descending on his heart-shaped spider web, inquiring, "Mama, this is kind of weird, but can you guess what this makes me think of?":

"Uh," I though, trying to imagine what was on her mind, "Valentine's Day?"
"Nope!" she exclaimed, "You have to guess what it is!"
"Um..." In trying to figure out what she might be thinking about, I decided to go with the old standby. "Cecilia?"
"YES!" she affirmed gleefully.
"Oh, I see," I said, finally catching on. "The heart is like, 'Cecilia, you're breaking my heart', right?"

Turns out Julia is way more astute than that. "Well, it's even like, this spider is moving down away from the girl spider, and I know that's a girl because she has a bow, so the other spider is going far away from her but he's sad because he loves her."

I got up to spin a web, when I come back to bed, some spider's taken my place...

Madeleine had other bugs on her mind. After watching a Curious George episode about an ant infestation, she was frantically certain that we had ants crawling all around our house.

"ANTS!" she shrieked, pointing at the white baseboard of our dining room, covered with little black smudges.
"Honey, those aren't ants," I reassured her.
Julia stepped in to explain: "Yeah, we watched the Curious George where there are LOTS of ants. I think there were, like, infinity, or maybe, like, one hundred ants." She paused to reflect for a moment, then modified her statement: "Well, I guess there must have been more than one hundred."

Madeleine may be scared of ants, and monsters, and sharks, and darkness, and the dinosaur, and the vacuum, and what not, but she sure shows her fearlessness when it comes to parking lots. After we dropped Julia off at camp this morning, Madeleine broke free of my grip and started a mad dash towards the parking lot. I was thoroughly relieved - and proud of her - when, after hearing me shout "STOP!", she ground to a halt right at the bottom of the ramp leading to the lot. I thought maybe if I explained the danger of running free in a parking lot, she would understand, so I told her, "Honey, you know what could happen if you're not holding a grown-up's hand in the parking lot? The cars might not see you, and a car could hit you and you'd get really hurt."

The word she zeroed in on was "hit." "Yeah, and we need to do NICE. Those cars are NEVER doin' nice. They're just HITTING. Those cars just HIT us. We need to BE NICE."

I can see that we're really on the same page here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Some of today's highlights...

Curious George Potty Break:
While watching our usual morning "Curious George" episode, Madeleine had to go the the bathroom, and wanted to make sure George understood why she was running off.
MADELEINE: (pointing at the screen) George, I need to go poopies! (hurrying herself off towards the bathroom.)

CVS Frog Hop:
After dropping Julia off at her February vacation "Snowflake Camp," Madeleine and I made a quick run to CVS to pick up some essentials. As I finished paying, she disobediently dashed off towards the automatic glass double doors. I stood there signing for my purchase, shouting to her to wait for me. When I finally got to the doors and started walking out, calling for her to follow me, she decided to change speeds and deemed it an appropriate time to get down on hands and feet and frog-hop her way out the doors. As she took each minuscule hop forward and I beckoned, "Come on, Madeleine, hurry up," I wondered what the rest of the CVS patrons made of the whole spectacle. Once outside on the pavement, she felt the need to clarify what it was she had been doing, just in case her actions hadn't made it abundantly clear: "I just HOPPED."

Naptime Love Gazing:
After we picked Julia up from camp, Madeleine and I went up to her room to get ready for nap. Since it was past her usual naptime, she conked out within a few minutes of me snuggling her on the couch in her room, and I was about to get up and put her in her crib when Julia tiptoed in. Seeing her sister asleep in my arms, Julia quietly crept over to the side of the couch and gazed lovingly at her sister, whispering to me, "She looks so cute sleeping!" After staring reverently at Madeleine for a few minutes, Julia then turned her adoring gaze to me, proclaiming in adulation, "Mama, your pimples are so BEAUTIFUL!"

The Grumpy Old Troll:
And finally, the girls sing the "Grumpy Old Troll" theme song from "Dora the Explorer;" Madeleine was WAY more into it on our stroller trip to pick up Julia from camp, but alas, after arriving home and finding a package at the door, the girls were too distracted over what might be inside to fully engage in some good old Dora role-playing with me:

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Little Mermaid

After an exciting sisters movie afternoon last weekend, in which the girls watched Disney's "Cinderella" with the living room lights off and bowls of popcorn in their lap, Julia has been itching to recreate the movie adventure. Today's choice: "The Little Mermaid." She has been eagerly awaiting the chance to show this movie to her sister, partly because Madeleine loves Ariel, but primarily because Madeleine assumes that every single Disney princess love interest is named Prince Eric. For example:

MADELEINE: Mommy, look! Rapunzel! Mommy, Rapunzel gonna hit Prince Eric with that! Yeah, she's gonna do TIME OUT! We don't hit! We do NICE!

At any rate, since Julia is always quick to correct Madeleine's misnomers, she was more than ready to set her sister straight on which prince is the real Prince Eric. ("Will the real Prince Eric please stand up, please stand up, please stand up...") So it was that the girls settled in with popcorn and "The Little Mermaid" this afternoon after Madeleine woke up from nap. Madeleine loved her first viewing of the film, at least, that is, until the end. After Ursula was defeated and Ariel and Eric were forced to (very temporarily) separate as Ariel, once again a mermaid, returned to the sea, Madeleine became unexpectedly distressed. "Mommy! It's breakin' my HEART!" she exclaimed from her position by the arm of the couch. As I ran into the room to see what was wrong, she lamented, "Poor Prince Eric!"

Madeleine viewing "The Little Mermaid" with broken heart.

Now, for someone capable of expressing such empathy, you would think she would be a little more remorseful when it comes to understanding nice behavior.

15 minutes later...
ME: Okay, Madeleine, we're going to the Y, so let's get on the potty and then get your shoes on!
MADELEINE: (whining) Noooooo! I want to COLOOOOOOR!
ME: You can color at the Y. Come on, let's get on the potty! (lifting her up and putting her on the toilet.)
MADELEINE: (staring at me with stubborn anger, whacking her hand towards her face to smack herself, then catching herself and instead giving her head two gentle pats, all while glaring at me.)
ME: Be gentle, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: Mommy, I just HIT you!
ME: Do we hit?
ME: No, I mean, is it okay to hit?
ME: No. Where do you go if you hit?
MADELEINE: Um, do nice.

I must point out that my usual question at that point in the conversation is "What do we do instead?" I guess she was on autopilot...

ME: Yes, we need to do nice, but where do you go if you hit?

I guess she used up all her kindness of heart for Prince Eric.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another Church Adventure

At church today, the kids were on Sunday school vacation (thanks to it being the start of school vacation week all across Massachusetts), so not only did I have my impish little Madeleine up in the choir loft with me, but I also got to bring Julia up there. Thankfully, Julia spent her time quietly coloring, looking through books, or listening to the service, not causing any distractions. Madeleine spent a fair amount of time quietly coloring as well, although she did feel the need to have some loud vocal outbursts like, "Are you KIDDING me?" and "Mommy, I see a JESUS ON THE CEILING!" Add to that her whacking Julia on the head with a Polly Pocket because Julia dared to look through a book that Madeleine wanted, or her opening the door to the storage closet and going inside to explore, and she was still active enough to keep me busy. However, all in all, the girls really enjoyed getting to play together up in the choir loft today, and Julia was so delighted by the whole experience that as she skipped to the car afterwards, she felt the need to express her heart full of joy to me.

JULIA: Mama, did you know that when we were in church, I thought I smelled your FAVORITE kind of pumpkin?
ME: (racking my brain... did she smell the incense? The pumpkin bread I had packed in tupperware for the choir coffee hour? Someone's perfume?) Uh, maybe you were smelling my pumpkin bread.
JULIA: Well, Mama, I think that maybe I was just SO HAPPY to be up with you in the choir loft that I thought I smelled it. Because, Mama, I was just so COMFORTABLE laying on the floor and coloring!

To top it all off, we got to drive home listening to the newly-received Simon & Garfunkel CD that I ordered, hearing many of Madeleine's favorites: "Whicher Cordy," "Song of Silence," "Kappy's Song," and "The Island."

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Who's Hiding?

Madeleine asked Ethan to read one of her favorite books this morning, "Who's Hiding" by Satoru Onishi. For those unfamiliar with the book, it starts off with two pages of animals lined up in rows, with a label underneath each animal:

Following this introduction, each subsequent set of pages features the same animals in the exact same spots, without labels. In each pair of pages, some small variation has occurred, and a question is posed at the top of the left-hand page, addressing the variation. Roughly every other page, the color of the backdrop changes, and the question posed is "Who's hiding?" Depending on the color of the backdrop, certain animals will blend into the background color and "disappear."

Other questions asked in the in-between pages are "Who's crying?", "Who's sleeping?", "Who has horns?" and "Who's backwards?"

The final page features a black backdrop, with only the eyes of each animal showing, and asks the child, "Who's who?"

Madeleine has been a fan of this book for a long time, and never had a problem identifying the various animals by name in the past, but today she was either too excited to get to the next page or had temporarily forgotten which animal was which, because her answers were a far cry from her usual responses.

ETHAN: (reading) Who's hiding?
MADELEINE: (energetically pointing to each camouflaged animal) Um, dat one, dat one, dat one-
ETHAN: Yeah, but what ARE they?
ETHAN: Yes, but what animals are they? What's that one?
MADELEINE: Um, I don't know what dat one is.
JULIA: Madeleine, ell---, ell---, ELE--
ETHAN: Good job. Who has horns?
MADELEINE: (again, energetically pointing) Um, dat one, dat one, dat one...
ETHAN: (stopping her at the sheep) Who's this one?
MADELEINE: Um, I don't know who dat one is.
ETHAN: Baaaaa, baaaaaa.
MADELEINE: The giraffe don't have HORNS!
ETHAN: The giraffe does have horns, honey, but that's not a giraffe. That's a sheep.
MADELEINE: (pointing to the pig) Dat one doesn't have horns, dat one just have EARS.

On the final page, "Who's who?", Madeleine seemed off to a good start, but quickly went downhill.

ETHAN: Who's that?
MADELEINE: Um, a rhinoceros.
ETHAN: Good job!
MADELEINE: (pointing at the pig) And dat one's the DOG!
JULIA: That's not the dog, Madeleine, the dog is up here.
ETHAN: (pointing to the sheep) Who's that?
MADELEINE: Um, a rhinoceros.
ETHAN: No, you already got the rhinoceros. It's over here. This is the one you can never remember. Baaaaa! Baaaaaa!
ETHAN: Sheeeeee-
JULIA: Sheeeeee-
ETHAN: Sheep. Okay, who's that? (pointing to the hen)
ETHAN: (pointing to the kangaroo) Who's that?
MADELEINE: Um, a rhinoceros.

And so forth. At one point, Ethan even resorted to singing a song from "Go, Diego, Go!" to jog Madeleine's memory.

ETHAN: (pointing at the hippo) Madeleine, what's this one?
MADELEINE: Um, a rhinoceros.
ETHAN: Nope, you already got the rhinoceros. This one is the...
MADELEINE: I don't know what dat one is.
ETHAN: (breaking into song) Because we're SYMBIOTIC!
ETHAN: Madeleine, do you remember what animal that song is about?
ETHAN: Yes, it was from Diego, but do you remember what animal it's about?
JULIA: I do! The hippo and the bird!
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine, it's the OX PECKER, not the AQUA PET.

I thought it was the rhinoceros, myself.

Friday, February 17, 2012


After Madeleine made a desperate plea this morning: "Mommy! Can you help me color Boots GREEN head?" I realized it was time to buy some new markers. Pressing as hard as she could with her green marker, she was barely able to get even a streak of color across Boots' face, proving the current set of markers to be utterly dried out. I used the marker-buying outing as a reason for her to get dressed and get her hair done, since every morning she has a huge melt-down about having to change out of her pajamas. After some initial resistance, she warmed to the idea of getting her clothes on so that we could head out to buy new markers, and was quickly dressed and raring to go:

She is truly IN LOVE with her new markers. She has spent a significant chunk of the day coloring with earnest attention:

She went to town in her Dora coloring book, Ariel book, and even got over her fear of Snuffleupagus and colored page after page in her Sesame Street book. Here is a sampling of her prolific artwork:

I think the caption should instead be "King Triton gets gangrene and vomits blood all down his beard."

"Burp spends a little too much time in the sun and suffers melanoma of the nose."

"An albino Oscar the Grouch comes down with chicken pox."

"Ernie and Burp get in a fight and wind up with bruised ears and noses and bloody fingernails. Oh, and it's Oscar's birthday, but he's hiding because he has chicken pox."

"Classic Madeleine, without the pinkeye."

Not only did Madeleine color pages in her books, but she did a bit of free art as well. Her imagination was in full swing as she colored, with each subsequent circle representing some other image that she described to me as she drew:

MADELEINE: Mommy! That's a hippopotamus. Look! It's a RHINOCEROS. That's his HEAD! Look, it's a WALRUS! That's his NECK!

(Just in case you needed her explanation of what it is she drew. In my mind, it's all PERFECTLY clear.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Return on the Shark Car

Well, Madeleine may be scared to the dinosaur, as well as being scared of the vacuum, the darkness, the lousy train, and the monster, but at least she stands brave in the face of Julia's old nemesis, the shark car.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Looking Stylish

Julia's Fresh Beat band-inspired fashion sense has rubbed off on Madeleine:

Yes, Julia went to school in her stylish outfit. And lest you think it can't get any more fashionable than what you see above, I assure you, there is so much more she can do to rock this look:

All I can say is: the fashion model world better look out!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Julia's eager anticipation has finally come to an end. Bursting into my room and leaping onto my bed this morning to give me a full-body hug, she exclaimed, "Happy VALENTINE'S DAY, Mom!" She was so excited about the holiday that she wanted to exchange Valentines right away, before even having breakfast. And so it was that I finally got to receive my hand-made Valentine, which she decorated, cut out, and wrote on all by herself:

AND... not to brag, but I also got me some bling... I am the lucky recipient of a bottle-cap Disney princess necklace, formerly owned by Julia, stuffed into an empty Icebreakers container and wrapped especially for Valentine's Day:

"Mama, do you think that you need to give me the necklace back because it's mine?" Julia asked me, then announced, "No, you DON'T! I'm GIVING it to you!"

Have you ever known of a luckier mother??

Now, as you know, Julia has been making Valentines for the past month and stowing them away in her room to keep them hidden from us. Unfortunately, she did such a good job hiding them that not even she herself could find all of them. So, we had a little teary spell this morning, but she was able to get over it, especially when I called her downstairs to come receive the gifts I had for her.

Madeleine showed her complete understanding of all that was going on this morning, exclaiming excitedly, "Yeah, we going to open PRESENTS! Santa gave us PRESENTS and we going to OPEN them!" I think she's a little bit lost on the whole Valentine candy idea. I don't think she gets that there's candy inside the wrapper. She keeps begging me to open her presents for her. Tonight she will be in for a big-time treat when I finally do open them and let her eat some of the candy...

Nonetheless, she and Julia were so in love with, and so territorial over, their candy from me that they felt the need to keep their candy piles by their sides as they watched their morning episode of "Curious George" and ate a special breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes:

After breakfast, Madeleine at long last received her gift from Julia, the hand-drawn picture of Cowie:

"It's an ANGEL!" Madeleine declared upon seeing it.
"It's not an angel, Madeleine, it's COWIE," Julia quickly corrected her.

Despite her initial confusion over what was actually on the paper, Madeleine suddenly seemed to think it was Cowie in the flesh (in the material?) and was over the moon. "It's COWIE! It's Cowie and I love it so much! I'm going to play with Cowie. (grunt, grunt) Mommy, I can't get him OFF the paper! He's STUCK! Mommy, can you get Cowie out for me?"

Thankfully, she came to terms with the fact that this Cowie doesn't actually function in 3-D, and has taken to carrying the picture around with her everywhere she goes.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Church talk

Yesterday afternoon, as I snuggled Madeleine before her nap, we talked a bit about the fun she had at church, especially once she was down in the Sunday school classroom decorating Valentines and receiving a goody bag of Valentine gifts. Not that she doesn't enjoy being up in the quiet with me, but clearly she has outgrown her need to be sitting by my side during the service. Another thing she has clearly proven is that she TOTALLY gets what church is all about, as shown by our pre-nap conversation:

ME: Did you have fun at church today?
ME: Do you know what we learn about at church?
MADELEINE: Um, singing.
ME: Yes, we do sing, that's true. But we also learn about God, and we learn about Jesus.
MADELEINE: Yeah, we learn about God!
ME: And do you remember what you did at church today?
ME: Yes, you're right, we sang music.
MADELEINE: And I ate my GOLDFISH! My BROWN goldfish!
ME: And did you get to have a cookie at Sunday school?
ME: Did you get to color in Sunday school?
ME: And what did you make?
ME: You made a Valentine, remember?
ME: Do you remember where God lives?
MADELEINE: At church!
ME: Well, kind of. Remember how God lives in Heaven? And Jesus is in Heaven with God.
MADELEINE: But, we just say "hello" to Jesus.
ME: Yeah, we can say hello to Jesus. We can say "Hi, Jesus, we love you!"
MADELEINE: Yeah, we can just say "Hello, Jesus!"

The conversation then veered away from church talk to various other topics, bringing us to a discussion of where various people we know live.

ME: Madeleine, do you remember where Auntie Shannon lives?
MADELEINE: She lives at the MOVING.
ME: She lives at the moving? No, she lives in Atlanta.
MADELEINE: Yeah, she lives at the Santa! She lives at the SANTA CLAUS!

I wonder if next time we visit Auntie Shannon at the Santa Claus we can buy a new car at the North Pole.

Following Madeleine's clear understanding of where Shannon lives, the conversation took a turn for the very weird.

MADELEINE: (putting Cowie between her toes; strangely, this is one of her soothing techniques that helps her fall asleep, even though it involved flapping her foot up and down and flailing Cowie around with it) Where's COWIE?
ME: Cowie? Where did you go?
MADELEINE: I think DORA got him. Because... Dora's all SILVERY. I think Dora's eating Cowie.
ME: No, no, Dora! Don't eat Cowie! Cowie's SPECIAL!
MADELEINE: Yeah, and TAMARA'S coming! Mommy, Tamara is DRINKING Cowie!
ME: No, no (or perhaps I should have said "Snow no;" if you get that reference then you have proven yourself a long-time, loyal blog reader) drink Cowie! Cowie's SPECIAL!
MADELEINE: Yeah, I think my foot is EATING Cowie!
ME: Okay, honey, time for nap.
MADELEINE: Mommy? Can you say "No no eat Cowie?"
ME: Yeah, okay, we're done with that game. Time for nap.

I have come to the conclusion that Madeleine lives in her own, weird little world; but, then again, what 2-year-old doesn't??

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dressing up

After watching "The Worst Witch" for days on end and rekindling her obsession, Julia decided she wanted to dress up like the witches in their school uniforms. She put together her own Worst Witch attire last night, and then assigned roles to the rest of us in the house so that we could ALL reenact the show together. What do you think? Does she look like the spitting image of Mildred Hubble or what?:

Which one is the real Worst Witch? Can you tell?

And, of course, wherever Julia goes, so goes Madeleine:

The girls were equally excited to get into their church dresses this morning, eager to head out to Sunday school and choir. As Madeleine put it, "Yeah, we can go up to the QUIET!" Ironically, she was the absolute opposite of quiet while I was up singing with the other "quiet" members. As much as Madeleine loves coming up to the choir with me, she is becoming rambunctious enough that I think it's time to hand her over to the Sunday school teachers. (In fact, during the past two services, I did send her down to the Sunday school classroom so she could play with the other kids.) Today was possibly the loudest and most disruptive she has been, although the rest of the choir seemed to find amusement in her shenanigans. Unfortunately, all the toys I so carefully selected and packed along to keep her busy only served as fodder for her exclamations. Prancing her two Polly Pockets around on the heater while the choir sang, Madeleine was happily entrenched in her own fantasy world, and suddenly, we choir members were sucked into her world as well, as the singing came to a pause just as Madelene's Cinderella Polly Pocket shrieked, "I should get more BANANAS!"

Oh, yeah. Hi everybody. Hi congregation. Hi, brand new Priest. We're not being distracting at ALL...

Once down in the Sunday school classroom, however, she was so interested in the snack, project, and Valentine's gift the class received that she was apparently on wonderful behavior. So I think from now on, I'll just send her on down there rather than taking her up to the quiet with me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Madeleine Explains It All

Today Madeleine has proven her total awareness of all that is going on around her. As we walked through the Trader Joe's parking lot this morning, we heard the commuter rail pulling into the nearby train station. Madeleine had some really insightful comments on the whole situation:

LOUSY TRAIN: Choooooo-chooooooo!
ME: Madeleine, what do you hear?
MADELEINE: The train!
ME: Is it still a lousy train?
MADELEINE: Yeah, that's just the lousy purple train!
ME: Oh, it is, huh?
TRAIN: Choooooo-chooooooo!
MADELEINE: Mommy, what's that sound?
ME: You tell me. You know what it is.
ME: It's an owl? I thought it was the train.
MADELEINE: No, that's an OWL! It's an owl HOOTING!

Oh. Huh. Okay.

When we got home from errands, Madeleine asked me to resume reading a book we had started earlier in the day. As she trotted over carrying "Disney's Aladdin," my stomach filled with dread. Madeleine's latest trend is to ask unanswerable questions throughout the entirety of any book we read her, and long, wordy books like Aladdin take FOREVER to get through. Here's just a small portion of her endless questioning and commentary as I read to her today:

pg. 1
ME: "When Jafar fit the two halves together, thunder rumbled. In a fl-"
ME: Uh, you can't see rumbled. "In a flash of-"
MADELENE: Mommy? Can you just HEAR rumbled?

pg. 3
ME: "The next morning a poor, hungry young man named Aladdin and his pet monkey, Abu, were sitting on a rooftop. They were looking down on the marketplace of Agrabah. Sudden-"
ME: This whole marketplace is Agrabah. "suddenly Al-"
MADELEINE: (pointing) No, THAT'S Agrabah.


pg. 9
ME: "Aladdin took the old lamp and tried to rub off some of the dust. Poof! In a flash of swir-"
MADELEINE: Mommy? Where's POOF?
ME: Uh... I don't... you can't see it. "In a flash of swirling-"
MADELEINE: (pointing) No, Mommy, THAT'S Poof.


pg. 10
ME: "Jafar had used his serpent staff to hypnotize the Sultan. The poor-"
MADELEINE: (pointing at page 9) Mommy? Is that his FINGER?

The genie and his finger.

pg. 16
ME: "The moment had come for the Sultan to announce the wedding of-"
MADELEINE: Mommy? Did Jasmine get CLOTHESED?

Jasmine wearing her clothesed.

pg. 18 (almost done!!)
ME: "Jafar was busy enjoying his newfound power when Ala-"
MADELEINE: Look, Mommy! Another GENIUS!

Jafar, turned genius.

I think the REAL genius here is Madeleine, wouldn't you say?

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Girls Play Beach

I guess all it takes is a beach towel and a little imagination to turn ballet dresses into bathing suits. The girls had a blast on their trip to the beach this afternoon:

They came up with this whole idea while I was on the phone. I was periodically interrupted to help them strip out of their clothes, and next thing I knew, I had two ballerina beach bunnies lounging on their towel. Madeleine decided to add to the ambiance by donning some sunglasses:

Nothing like a good old romance novel for some light beach reading:

I'm glad they enjoyed celebrating summer in winter so much, especially considering we're supposed to get snow tomorrow.

Julia has now moved on a season and is happily watching "The Worst Witch" while Madeleine naps. And I will now move on to a new activity and start cleaning up our "Mildred Hubble," aka diSAHHHter area, of a house...

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Julia was deeply disappointed to come home from school yesterday and discover that the picture she had so earnestly and eagerly started coloring that morning had been sabotaged by Madeleine:

After a failed attempt at harsh interrogation ("Madeleine! WHY did you color in my coloring book when I was at school?" "I just color BLACK."), Julia was admirably able to put a positive spin on the situation:

ME: Julia, I'm so sorry that Madeleine colored on your picture. I know how excited you were to finish it when you got home.
JULIA: No, Mama! It's okay! They're wearing SUNGLASSES.

Nice way to turn the black demon eyes into something stylin'. I'm not surprised, given her fashionable faux Fresh Beat Band outfit she wore to school that day:

On another note, Julia's princess figurines were not quite so forgiving of their loved ones today, as a soap opera-like drama unfolded at the dinner table. Here, on video, the princess erupt in royal outrage at their various pets:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More Madeleine-isms

Sitting down with a book:
MADELEINE: Mommy, is that "Dora Enchanted Forest" book?
ME: No, it's "Elmo Loves You." Do you want me to read it to you?
ME: (opening the first page and pointing to the alphabet strip at the top of the page, which is part of the picture, not part of the text) Madeleine, what's this letter? (pointing to the capital A.)
ME: Yeah, it's A! (pointing to the capital B) What's this letter?
MADELEINE: I don't... I don't... I don't... (grabbing my hand and pulling it off the book) I don't want B!

And that was my signal to stop the quizzing and start the reading...

At the gas station:
MADELEINE: Mommy, what's he doing? (pointing to the gas station attendant.)
ME: He's putting gas in our car.
MADELEINE: But... I don't want to get gas on me.
ME: No, don't worry, we won't get gas on you. The gas is just going in the car.
MADELEINE: (reassured) Yeah, the gas is just going in the car on Juwia's seat.
ME: No, it's not going on anybody's seat. It's just going into gas tank in the car.
(Five minutes later, upon finishing up and paying)
MADELEINE: Mommy, thank you for the gas!

Back at home, as I pulled the vacuum out:
MADELEINE: Mommy? Are you going to use the vacuum?
ME: Yes, I am. Are you going to be scared, or are you going to be brave?
MADELEINE: Um, brain.

Turns out she wasn't so brain after all, and had to run into the kitchen and sit on Ethan's lap so the lousy vacuum couldn't get her.

Playing with Julia's Wow! Car:
MADELEINE: A little girl put on a dress. But she couldn't play anywhere. Because she's PURPLE. The little girl looked. She just looked. Mommy? The little girl LOOKED. She looking for his mom. For her MOMMY. "Mama! Mama!' I not... I just still hungry. Mama! Mama!" Mommy? The little girl CRYING. She's crying for his Mommy. Mommy? The little girl looking for her mommy and daddy. She MISS them.

The little purple girl, not playing anywhere, looking for his mommy.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Madeleine is slowly but surely beginning to use her words to express her feelings rather than throw all-out temper tantrums. While we are veeeeery far from being over tantrums, she is at least starting to learn that using words to describe her emotions is far more productive than screaming and whining. Although she is still known to emit a Neanderthal grunting sound when she is displeased, she has taken to using her words after said grunt, not necessarily to explain how she's feeling, but to clarify what sound she is making and to distinguish it from other similar sounds. As in:

ME: Come on, Madeleine, it's time to bring Julia to school.
MADELEINE: No, I just still want to COLOR!
ME: No, we can color when we get back. Come on, let's go!
MADELEINE: (Standing up to follow me and grunting in dissatisfaction.) Mommy, I just GRUNT.

Okay. Got it.

Some of my favorite ways in which she has attempted to express herself lately are as follows:

From the potty
ME: What's the matter, honey?
MADELEINE: Mommy? I feel like I HURT myself.

From the backseat of the car
ME: Are you okay, honey?
MADELEINE: Mommy? What's the matter to my LEG?

As we snuggle on the couch in her room and she rejects my unwanted petting of her hair:
MADELEINE: Mommy? You don't want to touch me.

Oh, yeah. That's right. I *don't* want to touch you. Thanks for reminding me.

As I'm showering, and she decides she wants some breakfast:
MADELEINE: (running into the bathroom) Mommy? Is it okay you can get me some Trix?
ME: Okay, I'll get them for you in just a minute.
MADELEINE: You can get out of the shower, if you want.

I like how she sets it all up to make it sounds like it's my choice to end my shower and go serve her breakfast...

She has gotten so good at expressing her emotions and desires that even Julia can step in and translate for me when I'm unsure of what her problem is.

JULIA: Madeleine, do you want to color in your Sesame Street coloring book with me?
MADELEINE: Nooooo! Dooooraaaaaa!
JULIA: (turning to me confidentially) She doesn't want to color in her Sesame Street book because she's scared of Snuffleupagus. I always have to cover him up when we're coloring in that book together so I can PROTECT her.

Boy, oh boy. She's scared to the dinosaur, she's scared of the bapboom, she's scared of that lousy purple train, now she's scared of Snuffleupagus? At least she is learning to express her fears rather than stand petrified, inexplicably crying. Luckily, she's got a big sister to request is it okay you can cover up Snuffleupagus. Or maybe she can just tell Snuffy "You don't want to touch me." Either way, I think she's getting her message across pretty clearly.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Performances

Yesterday afternoon, Ethan took the girls to hear me perform in a community band concert, and I was thrilled with how quietly and patiently they sat through the performance. Armed with coloring books and crayons, they spent a good deal of the concert coloring quietly, although Julia did come to full attention when the band played a medley of music from "The Wizard of Oz." As a fan of both the movie and the music, she was certainly attracted to that part of the program. Madeleine, on the other hand, seemed somewhat oblivious the whole time, but that's okay, as long as she was quiet. According to Ethan, she looked up at him mid-performance and asked, "Where's Mommy?," noticing for the first time that I was no longer sitting in the audience with them. Julia had better concert etiquette, announcing to me as I re-joined them after the performance, "Mom, you did AWESOME!" I asked her if she enjoyed the "Wizard of Oz" music and she answered affirmatively, so I followed up by asking her if she recognized all the songs. "Well, Mama, I knew some of them, but, I didn't know ALL of them, and you couldn't, like, shout them out to me so I didn't know all of the names of them," she replied.

When we returned home for a cozy, home-cooked family dinner, Madeleine decided it was time to put on her own performance. She was so distracted by her little figurines of "Belle-Belle" (one of her fairies, who somewhat resembles Belle from "Beauty and the Beast," hence the name) and the naked, shorn-headed Ariel Polly Pocket, that she couldn't even focus on her beloved dinner of "eatballs," and instead took her little friends on a wildly exciting adventure up and down her sippy cup:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Rock Out!

During the last week or so that we had our Corolla, I took to playing, on repeat, an old mix tape that I had made for Ethan in college. The reason for exclusively listening to this mix was two-fold; since Ethan and I had cleaned out the excessive amount of junk in the car, the various other CDs and tapes that had been scattered around had been moved back into the house (along with the portable CD player, as we had only a tape deck in the car.) Secondly, the kids became so deeply fond of this mix tape that it was all they wanted to hear. In fact, since we have been driving in the Kia, which has a CD player but no tape deck, both Julia and Madeleine have expressed their desire to listen to the mix tape, and their disappointment at not being able to hear it. They had learned the names of most of the songs and would request their favorites (and then grow increasingly impatient and irritable as I would press the rewind or fast forward button and repeatedly check to see if we had reached that song or not. Despite my explanations of the differences between CD tracks and cassette tapes, they could not understand why I couldn't just click a button to get to their requested song.) The tape was a mix of music Ethan and I had grown up listening to, including:

-Where Do the Children Play (Cat Stevens)
-Doctor Robert (the Beatles)
-Second-hand News (Fleetwood Mac)
-Richard Cory (Simon & Garfunkel)
-The Kids are Alright (the Who)
-Margarita (Traveling Wilburys)
-Call Me Al (Paul Simon)
-Marrakesh Express (Crosby, Stills & Nash)
-Under African Skies (Paul Simon)
-I Don't Want to Know (Fleetwood Mac)
-Longer Boats (Cat Stevens)
-Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord (Godspell)
-I Want You Back (Jackson 5)
-Sounds of Silence (Simon & Garfunkel)
-You Know My Name (the Beatles)
-Last Night (Traveling Wilburys)
-If You Wanna Be My Lover (Spice Girls)

While the kids were able to pretty accurately name most of the tracks on the cassette, it did take some guesswork at times to understand which particular songs they were asking for. Below you will find some of their misconstrued song titles; see if you can match the kiddie version to the actual title:

-Whicher Cordy (Madeleine's favorite song)
-The Children Can Play
-Are Coming to Win Us
-News Hand
-The Song that Juwia likes (also known as Plepardy the Way of da Loooooord)
-Marraken Spresh
-The Song of Silence
-If You Wanna Be My Mother (I have to say, I'm relieved about this interpretation...)

If you can match all eight, give yourself an A+ for a job well done!

At any rate, this mix tape is so dearly missed that I actually ordered two Simon and Garfunkel CDs yesterday, so that Madeleine can continue to listen to her beloved "Whicher Cordy." Meanwhile, we have been making do with our CD of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which allows Julia to hear another of her favorite pop songs, "Lizzie in the Sky With Diamonds."

Friday, February 3, 2012


Madeleine continues to enjoy coloring the little details in her Dora book, although lately she has taken to giving everyone blue eyes rather than the more disturbing red or black. In addition, she recently began giving the characters painted nails; either that, or she's cursing everyone with Raynaud's Phenomenon. Either way, she is really quite impressive with her fine motor skills. She is most certainly taking after her artistic father rather than her mother who still, as an adult, is incapable of cutting in a straight line.


Julia has also been busy with artwork, coming home from school with the following project:

Apparently the point of the project was to write and draw about an incident in which each individual child did something nice. And true enough, Julia did help Madeleine pick out her outfit this very morning, which was not only being nice to Madeleine, but to me as well, as we were actually able to all get dressed and out the door on time for school. I especially like Julia's portrayal of Madeleine's dresser, with its knobby drawers. And... speaking of...

While Julia was at school, Madeleine had a play-date at our house with her friend Anja. The two often like to try on Madeleine's dress shoes or look at books up in Madeleine's room, so when they headed up there, I figured they would be doing more of the same. Instead, they decided to get smart and crafty and combine their mischievous abilities to pull out Madeleine's dresser drawers in such a way as to make steps. They literally had each "step" pulled out a different amount, with the bottom drawer pulled out the furthest. They then climbed up on top of Madeleine's dresser and proceeded to pour baby oil all over themselves. Naturally, I immediately ordered them down (and lifted them off myself so as to avoid any more body weight being put on the drawer steps), but I wasn't fast enough to prevent them from transforming into greasers, slicked back hair, oily faces and all. I have since removed all smeary objects from Madeleine's room. No more diaper cream, oil, baby powder, or anything of the sort. Good thing I already keep the nail polish hidden. I can only imagine how Madeleine would look if she decided to give herself blue fingertips.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

More Valentines

Julia still has Valentine's Day on the brain, continuing with her clandestine Valentine pictures and various other gifts she plans to give the rest of us in the Rowe household. As I walked up the stairs towards her room this morning, I discovered she was hard at work on a special Valentine picture for me, as she frantically cried out, ""Mom, don't look, because I'm making a card for you! It's for Valentine's Day!"

I guess her excitement over this newest picture was too great for her to keep completely mum, because a few moments later she came to find me and give me a little taste of what's to come: "Mom, I think when you see your card, you're gonna LOVE it. Because, Mom, I'll tell you what my writing looked like." (Here, she paused to hold out an orange crayon.) "I think that when I was writing with this, it looked like PUMPKIN GOOP."

Pumpkin goop, oh yeah. She does know that I love me some pumpkin. I honestly can't wait to see my picture...

Beyond working on her pictures, Julia even incorporated Valentine's Day into one of her made-up knock-knock jokes today:

JULIA: Mama! Knock-knock!
ME: Who's there?
JULIA: Valentine's Day.
ME: Valentine's Day who?
JULIA: Valentine's Day I love you!

Ten minutes or so later, Julia wanted to make sure her loving message had truly hit me where it counts. Running into my bedroom, where I was getting dressed for running, she inquired, "Mama, did your heart just FILL WITH LOVE when you said, 'Valentine's Day who?' and I said 'Valentine's Day I love you?"

I assured her that indeed, it did.

Madeleine has not been talking about Valentine's Day, but she did have a lot to say about the "lousy train" this morning:

Yeah. That lousy purple train. Seriously.