Friday, June 29, 2012

Puppets and Pool Talk

Last night, while I was at band rehearsal, Ethan took the girls to a puppet show rendition of the book "Caps for Sale" at the town library.  According to Ethan's synopsis, the show was a loose interpretation of the story, presented several times within various world cultures.  (For instance, selling sombreros in exchange for pesos, then a Marrakesh-like street market selling fez and turban-like hats, and then a shadow puppet rendition set to Indian ragas.)  Ethan described the final shadow puppet version as being the one that held most faithful to the book.

According to Madeleine's synopsis, "yeah, the MONKEY was trying to get the CAPS... for sale!"

According to Julia's synopsis, "Well, they did a lot of COMMERCIALS before the show really started.  And one of the commercials was so funny, because they had all the peddlers running around going 'GIVE ME MY CAPS!' and it was so CRAZY!"

Apparently, everything leading up to the final shadow puppet rendition was, in Julia's mind, a commercial.  No wonder she thought there were a ton of commercials before the show actually started...

We discussed the puppet show as we walked to the pool for Julia's swim lesson today.  Our time going to and fro, as well as during swim lessons, has been full of classic remarks by both children.  Some quotes from Madeleine over this past week at the pool:

MADELEINE: (walking from the pool bathroom back to our seat on the benches, obviously distressed by the fact that her shorts had been pulled up crooked)  Uh!  Uh!  Mommy!
ME: Here, honey, stop for a minute.  Let me help you.  (adjusting her shorts.)
MADELEINE: Mom, what did you did?
ME: Your shorts were crooked.  I fixed them.
MADELEINE: (looking at me in wonderment.)  You mean... there was a cricket on them?
MADELEINE: Oh, yeah, they were just CROOKED.

MADELEINE: (pointing towards the thistles growing underneath our bench)  Mom!  Look!  There's a HUMMING BEE that's HUMMING that FLOWER!

ME: Here, Madeleine, let me put some sunscreen on you.
MADELEINE: Oh, yeah.  I just need sun scream.

MADELEINE: (in the middle of watching Julia's lesson) Mom?
ME: Yes, honey?
MADELEINE: Mom, do we have ABC Mouse dot com?

Whatever that is, and whatever it has to do with swim lessons, remains a mystery to me.

MADELEINE: Mom?  What are those DOING?
ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: What are those DOING?
ME: What's WHAT doing?
MADELEINE: What are those flip flops doing?
ME: (glancing around at the array of flip flops left on various benches by kids in the water) Uh... they're just sitting there.  The kids just took them off.
MADELEINE: No, what are THOSE flip flops doing?
ME: They're just sitting there.
MADELEINE: No, what are those flip flops doing in the pool?
ME: (watching the swim class doing laps on kick boards) Those aren't flip flops.  Those are kick boards.
MADELEINE: No, those are FLIP FLOPS!  On her FEET!
ME: (finally noticing the girl with flippers)  Oh.  Those are FLIPPERS.
MADELEINE: But what are those flippers on Julia's feet?
ME: Julia doesn't have anything on her feet, honey.  Her feet are bare.

Sheesh, if there's anything Madeleine should understand, it should be the desire to go borefooting...

Julia, too, has provided me with some interesting commentary on our walks to and from the pool.  For the past few days, she has been obsessed with a dead bird we pass by on our walking route.  Today, as we set out for the pool, we encountered another dead bird, some three-quarters of a mile away from the spot where we had seen the other bird.  As we walked home, past the original dead bird's patch of grass (the bird has since been eaten, or otherwise removed), Julia piped up: "That's where we saw that dead bird!  But... Mama... can you believe we saw the dead bird near our house today?  So, like, the dead bird flew all the way over there... uh... I mean... the wind blew it all the way over near where we live and now it's laying THERE?!?"

Oh, boy.  Here I had foolishly assumed there happened to be another, DIFFERENT dead bird near our house.  How illogical of me.  OF COURSE it's the very same one; the wind just blew it all the way on over.  DUH!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dora Loves

Julia decided to make a book of poems today, declaring upon finishing, "Mom, tonight I'm going to have Daddy read me THREE poems, and they're MINE that I wrote.  But Mom, do you think Daddy will think this is a real book, or do you think he'll recognize my handwriting?"

Let me see.  How many of you, upon seeing the poem book's cover, would guess it was a Julia book, and how many of you would think this is a REAL book?:

It took some convincing before Julia would buy the fact that Ethan will *probably* recognize this to be a home-made Julia book:

ME: Well, I think Daddy will probably know you made it.
ME: Well, I think he'll recognize your handwriting.
ME: Well, because he knows you.  When you know someone and you've seen how they write, you can usually recognize their handwriting.
JULIA: Well, like, I can recognize how MADELEINE writes.
ME: I can too.  And I can recognize your handwriting, and I can recognize Daddy's.
JULIA: Well, you and Daddy write the same, so I can't really tell what's Daddy's between what's YOURS.

I'd like to argue that Daddy's is much messier.

Ironically, though the book of poems is entitled "Dora Loves," the poems have absolutely nothing to do with Dora.  Instead, her poems boast such titles as "The Blubber Octopus,":


and "Love":

And, wow. What a powerful message. Next time you're trying to think of a poetic way to express your love to someone, I'm sure the Poet Julia wouldn't mind you borrowing a phrase from her and telling someone dear to you that "Love is heart." Beautifully phrased.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Polly Pocket Play

Julia and Madeleine engaged in some Polly Pocket pretend play this morning.  Madeleine, who had only one Polly Pocket with which to play, kindly asked Julia to share one "friend."  Julia, who had seven Polly Pockets, found Madeleine's audacity outrageously unacceptable.*

*By the way, Julia is me as a child.  Shannon, I am finally beginning to understand what you went through having me as your big sister.

Thankfully,  Julia was kind enough to run upstairs and fetch an extra Polly Pocket to share with Madeleine.  "Mom, I decided that she can have this Sleeping Beauty, because I don't really play with her very much," Julia announced, traipsing into the room with Polly Pocket in hand.  I can definitely see why Julia doesn't play with this Sleeping Beauty very often; poor Madeleine was stuck with the creepy, bug-eyed, possessed version of Sleeping Beauty, who was quickly decapitated.  And armless.

In other words, Madeleine received a total loser.  (Double entendre intended.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I can't believe how excited the kids were for a birthday that is not one of their own today.  I mean, they certainly get excited for other kids' birthday parties that we're going to, but the excitement they both exuded all day long over Ethan's birthday was akin to their excitement about their own special days.  As Julia put it, this morning:

"Mom!  This is, like, the BEST day, because... SWIM LESSONS, a NEW Curious George, making Daddy's cake, dinner at Sol Azteca, and THEN we get to eat cake and give Daddy his PRESENTS!!!"

Unfortunately, swim lessons were canceled due to thunderstorms, and a 911 SwiftAlert about a black bear on the loose in Needham kept us indoors most of the day, but the girls didn't seem to mind.  They thoroughly enjoyed helping me bake Ethan's cake this afternoon:

They were especially helpful as my frosting taste-testers, each dipping a finger into the frosting as I mixed it to give me helpful advice on what more was needed.  I'm pretty sure the frosting was okay from the start, but I indulged their desire to continue licking chocolate off their fingers and let them advise me on whether to add more vanilla, sugar, chocolate, etc.

Even though Ethan left work at 4pm today to be home with us for his birthday evening, Julia found it an intolerable wait until he arrived.  Standing sentry at the window from about 4:10 on, she waited on lookout so that she could run out and greet him in the driveway with a hearty "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!"  Thankfully, I was able to spot Ethan on his walk home from the train, as Julia had gotten too distracted trying to squeeze Madeleine's bum in order to make her giggle, and I gave fair warning enough for both girls to get outside and issue their birthday greeting. 

Next order of business was the giving of presents, beginning with Julia's very own home-made gifts.  First was a picture she made: one one side of the paper she had drawn Daddy, Mommy, herself, and Madeleine:

On the back of this paper was a drawing of Julia and Daddy together:

Her second gift to Daddy was a card, on which she had drawn a picture of, in her words, "Your wedding to Mommy, and here's you and Mommy dancing, and here's you and Mommy eating cake and ice cream together, and this is you with CAKE smooshed all over your FACE!":

Madeleine had a hand-made card for Ethan as well, although, unfortunately, she didn't draw any pictures on her card, because she got too frustrated when she was trying to write her name and wound up with unexpected "U"s and other random letters not in her name, that she gave up and threw her markers in her artist's angst.  So all Ethan got from her was this:

As Ethan began opening the gifts I had gotten him, Julia suddenly became intolerably jealous of the fact that Madeleine was handing him each unopened gift.  Feeling the need to get in on the action, Julia blurted: "Mommy, can I give him the SHIRT?  (stunned silence)  Whoops."

In case you missed it, he got a shirt.  Two of them, in fact.

After gifts, we went out to dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Newton, where Madeleine was willing to abandon her own dinner in order to eat my "chocolate" (aka refried black beans.)  When we got back into the car after our dinner, Julia and Ethan got really invested in dancing around wildly in their seats to the music on one of Ethan's new birthday CDs ("Graceland"), and it was only once we were finally pulling out of our metered parking spot that we discovered another car had been patiently waiting for us to free up the space while 50% of us were too busy with crazy dancing to notice...

Once home, we dug into the chocolate cake and Cool-Whip, but only after Ethan constructed an O-mouthed cake man:

We all wound up eating two pieces of cake each.  I'm pretty sure Madeleine liked it:

Yum, yum!  (In fact, I later found her in a chair, face hovering over the cake, unabashedly taking mouth-bites out of the top of the cake.)

Happy Birthday, Daddy Rowe!!!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paper Dolls

The girls have been busy playing paper dolls all morning, dressing them up in various fashionable outfits and professional attire.  Julia had her usual doll, the perky blonde Summer:

Meanwhile, Madeleine played with voluptuous brunette Nikki:

(Or, as Julia describes her) "Nikki looks like a FASHION MODEL... because... that expression on her face?? She almost looks, like, EVIL."

In a moment of un-fashion-modelesque behavior, Nikki donned a white, full body astronaut suit, or, in Madeleine's eyes, a cop's uniform:

MADELEINE (as Nikki): "Hi Summer.  I'm just berry a POLICE OFFICER."
JULIA: Uh... you mean a SPACE SUIT??

Though there has been a bit of fighting and the occasional Madeleine outburst (as you will see on video), for the most part, the girls have been happily entertained in their dress-up fantasy-slash-paper doll dance party:

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Fun at the Pool

The girls have been ALL ABOUT swimming this week, as our town pool officially opened on Monday.  In fact, we are six for six so far, not missing a single day of swimming since the pool opened.  Since kids are required to pass the Deep Water Test in order to swim beyond the shallow section, the girls are able to wade around happily with other kids around their age, and the deepest water in this section is still deep enough to allow Julia to swim.  After an initial nervous hesitation, she has picked back up where she left off last summer and is able to swim several strokes without needing to put her feet or hands down on the bottom of the pool.  While I am beyond proud of her for swimming on her own (especially knowing her tendency towards reservation and away from daredevilry), she remains critical of her performance.

ME: Julia!  I'm so proud of you that you learned how to really swim without touching the bottom!
JULIA: Mom!  I wasn't swimming!  I was STRUGGLING.

Yeah.  She's not a perfectionist or anything.

While we're at free swim, Madeleine and I get to play all of Julia's made-up games, including "Pizza Baby" (in which we hold hands and turn around in a circle while Julia chants "Pizza Baby, Pizza Baby, woo-woo-woo!"), "Viper Fish, Viper Fish, cross my ocean" (which follows the exact same rules as the non-made-up game "Fishy, Fishy, cross my ocean"), as well as our very own swim lessons (Julia, of course, is the instructor, and Madeleine and I the students.)  Julia even devised her own version of the Deep Water Test for us to take.  Madeleine failed due to non-compliance.  I failed due to my unwillingness to travel far from Madeleine, who has an unnerving tendency to topple head-first under the water due to both the weight of her ginormous head as well as her general klutziness.  Thankfully, Ethan passed the test today, so at least Julia was able to reward ONE of her students.

Madeleine is usually content to wade about the water (with me right on her tail); however, today she decided that it was much more fun to put her hand under the water, then rub various parts of my body with her dripping wet hand.  First it was my legs, then my hips.  When she started rubbing my behind, I thought maybe we should move on to another activity.  Unfortunately, Madeleine was whole-heartedly into her game.  "WAIT!  I need to rub your BUM!" she shouted as I backed away from her.  Oh, hi, other parents in the pool.  Yes, you heard right, my daughter is trying to rub my bum.

Luckily, Madeleine was soon distracted by the bubbles she created by splashing her hands in the water, even interpreting her bubble patterns the way one might look for shapes in the clouds: "Mommy!  I maked a MAN!"  Later in the afternoon, I was able to ward off a near melt-down over wanting goggles which had been left at home by encouraging Madeleine to walk with me towards the rope separating the shallow and deep sections of the pool.  As we touched the buoy attached to the rope, Madeleine, chin-deep in water, announced to me, "Uh, Mommy, we can't go over THERE into the Deep Water Test."

Next week we begin swim lessons for Julia, during which Madeleine and I will sit on the benches and watch her swim.  In the words of another member of the pool, who just happened to work at Julia's preschool and witnessed the daily ritual of me dragging Madeleine kicking and screaming out of the preschool classroom after drop-off, "Ohhhhhh.... OH NO!"  I have already resorted to buying a new, secret coloring book that will just happen to appear during Monday's swim lesson as a potential distraction.  Wish me luck.

The girls at the pool:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fashion Shoot

After flipping through my latest Elle magazine this morning, Julia decided to enact a photo shoot.  Given that I completely disregard any of the fashion photos/articles in Elle and read it solely for the book, movie, and health study reviews, I find it ironic that Julia has studied the fashion poses to such an extent.  Here she is, the Rowe Household's Next Top Model:

And then, before I knew it, Madeleine was posing for me and asking me to take her picture, too.  Sometimes, even with props of her own choosing:

Work it, girls!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bedtime for Madeleine

I don't think that bedtime for Madeleine could not have followed a more ridiculous path tonight, even if I'd done something wild and crazy. 

After reading her the three books she had picked out, and enduring various melt-downs over such matters as a) she wanted a fourth book, and I said no, b) she needed me to change out of my dress and into my pajamas before she could go to sleep, c) she needed me to clip my hangnail before she could go to sleep, and d) she needed a band-aid on an old cut on her knee, she then finally settled into her pre-sleep snuggles with me.  Both of my children have the compulsive need to fondle something with their fingers in order to fall asleep; in tonight's case, Madeleine decided to alternate between a mole on my shoulder and the pimple on my chin.  Yes, I must admit, I stooped to the level of allowing her to play with a pimple on my chin in order to get sleepy.  What we won't do in order to assure our kids get the heck to sleep...

When she was drowsy but not fully asleep, I bid her good-night and left.  Several minutes later, I heard loud thumping coming from the wall that she shares with Ethan's &  my bedroom.  I found her hard at play with her pretend tool kit, and told her to get back in bed.

Another epic melt-down...

Then, I had her back in bed and starting to fondle my mole once again.

MADELEINE: (touching my mole) Mommy?  What's THAT?
ME: That's a mole.
ME: That's a mole, honey.
ME: It's a mole.  It's right next to the strap of my dress.
MADELEINE: Oh.  It's a mole.

Several minutes of silence, in which I optimistically wondered if she had fallen asleep.

MADELEINE: No, Mommy, that's your jammies.
ME: You're right.  That's my jammies.
MADELEINE: Mommy, that's NOT your dress.
ME: You're right.  I forgot that I changed out of my dress.

More mole fondling, followed by big yawns and fluttering eyelids.  Stillness, eyes remained closed, I once again hopefully considered the idea that she had fallen asleep.

MADELEINE: (eyes flying open) Mommy, you just don't eat kids.
ME: No.  I don't eat kids.
MADELEINE: (eyes drooping closed, silence, stillness.)

And with that, she was asleep.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poopy Uncle Pants

Okay.  I just can't go on blogging any longer without mentioning Poopy Uncle Pants.  Given that this blog initially started as a tribute to Julia's wildly varied imaginary characters, it's only fair that we include Madeleine's first imaginary friend, no matter how badly I'd like to discourage the potty talk.  I don't know exactly how Poopy Uncle Pants started, but I do remember that both Julia and Ethan found it completely hysterical as Madeleine walked around shouting "POOPY UHHHNCLE PYAAAANTS!", to the point that there was NO way Madeleine was going to let the idea go.  Ever since, Poopy Uncle Pants has become a regular in our household, mentioned by any number of Rowe household members.

Some instances in which Poopy Uncle Pants joins our company or conversation:

-Joining us in an empty chair at the dining room table:
JULIA: Mr. Nobody is sitting in that chair! 
ME: Are you sure it's not Poopy Uncle Pants who's sitting there? 
JULIA AND MADELEINE: (squealing with laughter) Yeah!  It's Poopy UNCLE PANTS!!
(Yes.  I realize I am NOT helping to squelch the potty talk.)

-As a substitute for someone else's name when the kids are trying to be goofy: MADELEINE: Mommy, your name is DADDY! 
ME: Madeleine, your name is Julia! 

-As the subject of 20 Questions:
ETHAN: Okay, you only have three questions left...
ME: Is it something imaginary?
ME: Is it the Pale Green Pants with Nobody Inside Them?
ETHAN: Nope.
JULIA: Is it Poopy Uncle Pants?
ETHAN: Yes!  Good job!  You guessed it!

-As a possible Halloween costume:
ME: (after finishing reading "Dora's Spooky Halloween"): And what do YOU want to be for the next Halloween, Madeleine?
MADELEINE: Uh... a Dora ballerina.
ME: Again?  You were a Dora ballerina last year.  Do you want to be something else?
MADELEINE: Uh... a Dora ballerina.
ME: How about a different costume for the next Halloween?

Despite her expressing the desire to dress as Poopy Uncle Pants for Halloween, Madeleine clearly has ballerinas on the brain, as she pranced around the house dressed as one today:

I have to admit, given the choice between  her being a ballerina - AGAIN - or Poopy Uncle Pants for Halloween, it's pretty clearly a no-brainer in favor of the ballerina. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Various Updates

Last night, as I took Madeleine to the bathroom of the restaurant we had dined at, she became obsessed, from her perch on the toilet seat, with the electrical outlet on the wall.

ME: That's the wall.
MADELEINE: No, what's THAT thing?
ME: What thing?
MADELEINE: (pointing vaguely) THAT thing.
ME: You mean the light switch?
ME: The outlet?
ME: That's an outlet.
MADELEINE: No, WHAT'S that thing?
ME: It's an outlet, honey.  You use it to plug things into.
MADELEINE: (apparently deciding to answer her own question, as I was clearly too dense to give her the answer she was looking for) Oh!  It's just a SAD MOUTH!

What a dope I am.  Of COURSE it's not an outlet.  It's two rectangular eyes with a SAD MOUTH.  Duh!

The electrical outlet... I mean... the SAD MOUTH.

I guess she had sad mouths on the brain this morning as well, since she decided to give Hello Kitty a frown rather than the usual, crooked upturned smile:

 "Hi.  I'm Hello Kitty," Madeleine whimpered in a pathetic voice, speaking aloud Hello Kitty's tragic tale as she colored.  "I'm just sad because I'm floating away!" she lamented.  Oh, man.  POOR Hello Kitty.

Meanwhile, one of the girls has also discovered a new hiding place in the Rowe house.  Can you guess who's hiding in the pillowcase?:

And finally, I have big, important news: Julia's first Goldens CD has been released!  Bearing the title "The Light of Your Love," this CD runs for a whopping seven minutes with twelve song tracks.  And even though you can't see her singing the songs, I know how very important her outfit was for the recording session, so I'll just give you a detailed description: she was looking snazzy in a pink, green and white flowered, spaghetti strap sundress and white cardigan over it.  Surprisingly, no layers underneath; she decided to take a break from her usual leggings-under-everything look.

Not only was Ethan lucky enough to spend half of his Fathers Day recording - and then converting the recording to a CD with separate tracks - this album, but he also made multiple copies so that any of you readers who would like your VERY OWN Goldens debut album may have one.  If you'd like to place your order, you can contact me, her album manager.  In case the prospect isn't enticing enough, here's a little extra info: this album boasts tracks with titles such as "Take Your No Ways," "The Arrow Points Up, The Arrow Points Down," and "The Lovely Tulips."  And lest you think this album features JUST vocals, let me inform you that Julia is not ONLY singing her original compositions, but ALSO shaking a maraca along with herself as she sings.  Here, one last temptation, is a glimpse of the Goldens golden CD:

I know you're all salivating to get at one of these, so place your orders now!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Fathers Day!

The girls had a very active, hands-on part in this year's Fathers Day gift.  A few months ago, we purchased a "Make-A-Plate" kit from a local toy store for the kids to decorate.  Julia has made her own plate in the past, and we have a few of my kiddie plate decorations in our stack of dishes, so the girls were well aware of the whole plate-making process.  Eager to begin, they sat together and colored the template in a haphazard fashion, filling up every last inch of space they could get at.  They were understandably excited about and proud of their finished template, but unfortunately they were in for a long wait.  Knowing the actual finished plate takes 8-10 weeks to arrive, I had started this project in the early spring, and for the next week or so, Julia asked me every day, "WHEN is Daddy's plate going to come??"

Luckily, by the time the plate finally did arrive, the girls had forgotten about it, so I was able to hide it from both the girls AND Ethan to reduce the risk of one kid or the other accidentally spilling the beans.  It was only two days ago that I finally reminded Julia of the plate, as she sat fretting over her need to make a Fathers Day gift for Ethan.  "Remember, Julia?  You already made one.  The plate!" I reminded her.  I patted myself on the back for keeping so quiet on the gift for so long so that we could actually present it as a surprise to Ethan.

Apparently, two days was two too many for the girls to keep a secret.

Last night, with Ethan sitting in the adjacent room, Julia loudly declared to me: "Mama, I think you're right that it was a great idea to make Daddy a plate, because I always notice him SNEAKING my plate and our other COLORFUL plates to use, so I think he'll really like having his OWN."  I shushed her, and the matter was quickly dropped, but little did I know someone ELSE was about to blow it.

This morning, while Ethan was shaving, the girls sat at the dining room table with his wrapped present.  "Daddy!" Madeleine hollered.  "Here's your PRESENT!  We have a PLATE for youuuuuuuuuu!"

So Daddy finally got a chance to open his mystery, surprise present.  It was a plate.

Since this plate was made a few months ago, Madeleine was not yet in her ghoul-eyes phase, so unfortunately Ethan will have to make do with skeleton heads and creepy bug-like creatures instead.

Despite it being Fathers Day, the girls seemed to have forgotten their manners this morning, rather than giving Daddy the treat of extra-good behavior.  Madeleine had a big freak-out over the fact that Daddy was sitting in the chair she'd happened to sit in about an hour earlier.  Doesn't Daddy understand that the chair remains property of Madeleine even when she has abandoned it?!?

MADELEINE: NO!  DADDY!  That's MY chair!
ME: Madeleine!  That is NOT how you talk to Daddy.  Use your words.  Can you say "Daddy, may I please sit in that chair?"
MADELEINE: (staring at me in despair)
ME: How about you just say, "Please, Daddy?"
MADELEINE: (whining) I caaaaaan't.
ETHAN: I'll tell you what.  I'll give it to you for a kiss.
MADELEINE: (whining) Nooooooo!  I need my chaaaaaaaair!
ETHAN: Well, Madeleine, I'm happy to give it to you, but not if you ask like that.

Madeleine maintained that it was just way too impossible to say "please," at least until she got over her stubbornness, so Ethan was completely absorbed in his e-mail by the time she actually got over herself and decided to act nicely.

MADELEINE: Daddy, may I please sit in that chair?
ETHAN: (silent, fiddling with his phone, oblivious.)
MADELEINE: (turning to me, eyes full of tears of injustice) Mommy, I said it to Daddy!

Julia, on the other hand, remembered to say "please,"  but... um... that's about it:
"Whoever can get me milkie... do it please NOW."

It's okay, because they're both watching Barbie: Princess Charm School right now, so that ought to learn them on royal manners/etiquette right enough.

On an unrelated note, Julia has been planning all week that this weekend she is going to have Ethan make a CD recording of a Goldens concert.  In fact, Saturday has been the chosen day all along, but she came upon an unexpected glitch yesterday afternoon.  Shouting to me through the closed bathroom door as she pooped on the potty, she announced, "Uh, MAMA?  I think I have to do my CD of the GOLDENS concert TOMORROW, because, uh, I'm not wearing the right OUTFIT for it today!"

And we all know that if she's not wearing the right OUTFIT for her audio CD, everyone listening will be able to sense that she wasn't dressed appropriately when she was singing.  When her new CD debuts, I will keep you all posted.

Friday, June 15, 2012

10 Years!

Today is a special day for the Rowe parents: our 10th wedding anniversary!

The kids don't get it.  In fact, it seemed that they were out to get us this morning, with Madeleine waking up at 6am and loudly, joyously exclaiming things from her bed.  Since her pull-up is dry nearly every morning now, I wondered if she'd woken up out of a need to use the potty, so I went into her bedroom.

ME: Madeleine, do you need to go potty?
MADELEINE: No, I just want to finish sleeping.
ME: You can definitely go back to sleep!  It's not even time to get up yet.  But I'm just wondering if you want to try the potty?
MADELEINE: No, I just want to finish sleeping.
ME: Okay.  Well, I'm going down to go potty.  Do you want to go with me and try the potty too?
MADELEINE: No, I just want to finish sleeping.
ME: Okay.  Well, then go back to sleep.  Good night.

After I had used the toilet, I got back into bed, and had finally arranged the blankets just so and gotten myself into a comfortable position, conducive to falling back asleep, when whose thumping feet should I hear walking towards my bedroom door?

ME: What is it, Madeleine?
MADELEINE: Mommy, I need to go on the POTTY!

Once she was done with the potty and I had settled her back in bed, I returned to my room to once again try and get back to sleep.  Unfortunately, Madeleine had a serious crisis and felt the need to wail about a problem I'm sure we can all relate to: she needed sparkle nail polish on her finger.  Understandably, she was inconsolable over this urgent need and the fact that I was denying her.  And lucky for me, her wailing awoke Julia, who burst into Madeleine's room to announce that she couldn't fall back asleep.

So, awake at the crack of dawn it was.

Despite the rocky start, we had a really nice family morning, all four of us Rowes going out to breakfast to celebrate the big anniversary.  (Still, the kids did not seem to get what the big deal was.  "Is Daddy working from home today?" Julia asked.  "No, he took the day off, because it's our anniversary," I told her.  Looking at me, baffled, she asked, "But why do you stay home on your ANNIVERSARY?")

I know.  Forgive us.  How lame.

At any rate, in an attempt to recreate our honeymoon in France, Ethan and I took the kids to a small café in our town, which happens to serve crêpes and espresso, among other breakfast delights:

Coincidentally, this café also serves Greek cuisine, because one of the chefs is actually a native Greek.  So it was truly a reminder of our wedding day, getting married in the Greek Orthodox church, then spending the next 10 days frequenting French cafés in Nice.  How perfect!

When we returned home, I began giving Ethan his anniversary gifts, ten presents for ten years, each present symbolic of a particularly poignant event in our lives in each given year.  I think it was during this elaborate gift giving that Julia finally clued in on the fact that this special day was truly being celebrated.  Suddenly, she was overcome with guilt for not having gotten gifts for us as well, so in consolation, she grabbed the first thing she could get her hands on and presented it to Ethan.

"Daddy, I have a present for you, too!"  she exclaimed.  "I got you... THIS!"

Now.  If that gift doesn't have Ethan's name written ALL OVER IT, I'm not sure what does.

A bit later in the morning, she amended her gifts, instead taking the time to give us handmade artwork.

"Daddy, this is for you!  It's BEER, COFFEE, and a BAGEL!":

And for me?  What can I say?  My daughter knows me too well.
"And this is for you, Mom.  It's two FLUFFER BAGELS!":

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Ethan, my love!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Julia's Workbook

Julia has been busy filling out the pages in her "Big Preschool Workbook," which she thinks of as "homework."  As she lay on her stomach on the living room rug, working through the various pages, she suddenly asked me, "So, Mama, will I REALLY have homework when I go to kindergarten?"  While most kids would probably be thrilled to hear that kindergarteners don't actually have take-home work, and that homework officially starts in first grade, I think Julia was a little disappointed to learn that she won't have an abundance of workbook pages to do at home next year. After discovering a particularly challenging exercise in the workbook, however, she may have realized that homework is not all fun and games.

"Mama, LOOK at this one.  This one is REALLY hard," she announced to me, holding out the following page to me:

"Mama, you have to find what's different, and LOOK at how hard they make it!  I thought it was hard because I couldn't really notice what was different, and I was looking at it and looking at it forever and then I finally realized (pointing to the middle hamburger): NO VEGETABLES."


Although it was pretty immediately clear to me which hamburger was different, I did recognize that the differences between the fish and jacks-in-the-box were subtle enough that at first glance they all looked alike.  Julia proudly pointed out the misfit fish and Jack, and I heaped praise on her skills of discretion.

ME: Julia, wow!  You were able to figure that out!  I couldn't even tell the difference - they all looked the same to me!
JULIA: (consolingly) Don't worry, Mama, it took me for HOURS to figure out when was first working on it.

Okay.  I feel much better.

Julia then criticized the workbook for introducing such a hard concept in a supposed pre-K workbook: "Mama, don't you think that they made this a little TOO hard?  Don't you think this is kind of, like, more for OLDER kids and they shouldn't make the pages be SO hard like that?  Like, there was one page that was REALLY hard, where you had to look for the little fish, and I was looking and looking and it was so hard because there was two big fishes and one little fish and they all looked the same, and there's nothing different about them, it's just the only difference that two are bigger and one is SMALLER."

Man.  Hamburgers with no vegetables, fish of mismatched sizes... what WILL this workbook come up with next??  Lucky thing that even if it takes her for HOURS, Julia is able to solve all those tricky puzzles, getting her ripe and ready for the upcoming years of homework!