Friday, August 31, 2012

Birthday Love

The Rowe household treated me to a nice birthday morning, with a pancake breakfast made by Ethan and cards and gifts from him and the kids.  When I first awoke, the girls were watching tv in the living room and didn't seem to notice my arrival downstairs.  It wasn't until I hopped into the shower that I suddenly became Mrs. Popular.  Julia sat on the toilet seat to chat with me, and Madeleine, hardly able to contain her excitement over my birthday, came to the bathroom doorway to shout things out to me.

ME: I know!
MADELEINE: And...your PRESENTS are on the BIG TABLE.
ME: Thank you!

(Good thing she pointed that out.  I'm not sure I would have spotted them myself):

MADELEINE: (hopping up and down in excitement.)  Mommy!  I was HOPPING AROUND in the BATHROOM!
ME: I saw!

Probably the best gift of all was the banner that Ethan and the girls had collaborated on for me:

I mean, this banner really has it all.  It has the Lorax, truffula trees, a flying monkey, a flying purple banana (all according to Julia), as well as the names of the everyone in our household, and: GET THIS.  Numbers from 1-36 all written BACKWARDS.  I'll forgive Julia for giving me two extra years beyond the age I'm turning today, because I'm no dope and I can read the hidden symbolic message here.  I mean, I assume the backwards numbers are an indication that the clock is moving backwards and I don't look like I'm aging AT ALL, right?  It has NOTHING to do with the fact that she generally tends to draw her numbers backwards, I'm sure. 

To add to this wonderful display of home-made love, Julia has been drawing pictures for me all morning, warming my heart with her sweet love of giving.  Madeleine has also been drawing pictures all morning, and really, nothing says "I love Mommy" more than black demon eyes and faces:

We're in the midst of planning an outing for the afternoon, either into Boston or Cambridge, so it promises to be a birthday afternoon full of adventure!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Madeleine Tries a Raspberry...Sort Of

While she may claim to NOT want raspberries on her tummy, when in truth she secretly DOES want them, Madeleine remains pretty adamant about NOT wanting *actual* raspberries inside her mouth and/or digestive system.  She typically refuses to eat them if I offer one to her, but today I became convinced that if she just tried one she would realize how good raspberries taste.  EPIC FAIL.

ME: (popping a fresh raspberry in Madeleine's mouth)
MADELEINE: (spitting the raspberry out)  Mommy, I don't like that!
ME: You should try it, Madeleine.  It's really good!
MADELEINE: But what is it?
ME: It's a raspberry.
MADELEINE: No, I can't try it.  I don't want it.  Mommy, the raspberry doesn't LIKE me.
ME: Well, I think you just should try it and see how it tastes.
MADELEINE: But...Mommy...why did you give me a raspberry?
ME: Because I just bought these fresh raspberries, and I was eating some, and they're so super delicious that I thought you might like one.
MADELEINE: But...Mommy...they're NOT super delicious to ME.
ME: Okay, that's fine, I just thought you'd like it.

Later on, I thought I could trick her into giving it a try.

ME: Okay, girls if you want to watch a movie, you both need to try the potty.  And Madeleine, you need to pop that raspberry in your mouth.
MADELEINE: Uh, no, I can't, because it's NOT delicious.

Even later on, I decided to give it one more go:

ME: Madeleine, what do you think about raspberries?
MADELEINE: Um...I don't LIKE them.
ME: But why not?
ME: But will you try one raspberry?
MADELEINE: No.  I don't LIKE them.  But I like the BLACK ones.  But I don't like the RED ones.
ME: Why not?
MADELEINE: Because...they taste ROTTENED.

How he has such a strong opinion about a fruit that she immediately spit out without even trying is confusing to me, but she is absolutely gung-ho in her anti-raspberry stance.

And in unrelated news, I bought the girls new princess and mermaid coloring books yesterday, and they have been completely absorbed both in coloring the pages AND giving names to every princess or mermaid in the books.  Not only do these princesses and mermaids get names, but they get entire back stories too, including ages and personal habits.  I'm totally stunned that there haven't been any made-up songs yet, but these coloring pages are still young, so I'm sure it won't be long before the girls are bellowing away. 

For some reason, the kids feel that I need to come and "meet" every single princess or mermaid that they're coloring, and if I don't enter the room within a minute or so, the kids will actually bring the books to me and introduce their newly colored characters.  So far I have met Elina, Marie, Rita, Reely, Ralla, Princess Q, Ginger Snap, Princess Ellabella, and many others whose names escape me. 

In addition to pictures of mermaids and princesses, these new coloring books also have activity pages, like "Find which shoe is different" and "Tic-Tac-Toe."  Unfortunately, the girls' attempt to play "Tic-Tac-Toe" together today was an utter bust; as Julia put it to me, in exasperated tones, "Mama, Madeleine asked me to play Tic-Tac-Toe with her, but then she, like, RUINED it, because she decided to make an 'O' in EVERY SINGLE row on the whole page."

Julia wasn't kidding.  This was truly a one-child game Madeleine played, in which she completely and utterly dominated:

At least she didn't color the whole page in black this time.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Driveway Play

This morning, upon coming downstairs in a cheerful mood, Madeleine peered out the living room window and became distracted by something she saw along the window screen.

MADELEINE: (pointing) Mommy, what's that in the window?
ME: Uh, hang on, let me come look.

Here's what she was pointing to:
ME: Those are dead bugs, honey.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh yeah!  Those are dead bugs!  Mommy, those are just our LITTLE BUDDIES!

She was extra delighted to discover we had more little buddies on the adjacent window screen.  I don't blame her for her excitement.  Is there really anything more inviting than dead, belly-up Japanese beetles??

Although she loved her little buddies, her attention was soon drawn to Ethan, who had decided to work from home today thanks to the croupy virus that has been going through our house.  After some rough-housing, squealing, and tickling fun, Madeleine didn't seem ready to part with her daddy as he went to set up his computer and start his work day.  I guess receiving "tummy toots," which is our household name for blowing raspberries on someone's belly to tickle them, was just too much fun for her to let go of. 

MADELEINE: (shrieking) DADDY!
ETHAN: (coming into the living room)  What's wrong, Madeleine?
MADELEINE: Daddy, come here!
ETHAN: Madeleine, do you want a kiss?
MADELEINE: No, I don't want a kiss.
ETHAN: Here, give me a kiss.
MADELEINE: No!  I just want you to DON'T TOOT on my tummy!

Ah.  Very subtly played, Madeleine.  You call your father back in and then get frustrated when he can't read your mind that you want him to give you tummy toots, so you use sneaky reverse psychology to tell him that you DON'T want him to toot on your tummy.  What a wily way to get what you want.

Since our town pool closed for the season last Friday, we haven't had our usual free swim afternoon outings to keep us busy, and in addition, until Julia's barking seal cough has ceased, I am hesitant to take the kids to public play areas and risk infecting other children.  So our afternoons this week so far have been filled with backyard play, although today I tried to change things up a little and initiate some driveway playtime.  Since we've spent the majority of our outdoor time this summer swimming, the kids have definitely neglected their bikes, so I thought it might be fun for them to get some riding time. 

You are all probably well aware of the idiom "It's like riding a bike;" however, you wouldn't know that to be true watching my kids hop on their bikes for the first time in awhile today.  While Julia was back up to speed by the time we put the bikes back in the garage today, she started off as if she had never been on a two-wheeler before, moving her legs sluggishly to complete a few slow pedals, then  hopping off her bike and walking it along before hopping back on.  Madeleine had an even harder time, struggling to push the pedals hard enough to get moving from a stationary position.  "Mommy, I need some HEEEELP!" she wailed, and great motivator that I am, I encouraged her to keep pushing because she needed to practice working those leg muscles to really learn how to pedal.  Totally wrong answer.  Next thing I knew, Madeleine scrambled off her bike in frustration, stomping off, shrieking: "My bike doesn't LIKE ME!  My bike doesn't LIKE ME SITTING ON THE SEAT!"

And there I was, uttering what are probably the most ridiculous words of consolation of my life: "Honey, your bike DOES like you," before gathering her into my arms.

So, in order to encourage Julia to give more than a half-hearted effort towards riding, and in order to convince Madeleine that her bike does in fact like her, I went all out and decided to create a whole village along the driveway. 

There was Julia's home:

And Madeleine's home:

There was the college that Julia, who decided to be 19, went to:

There was also the office that Julia worked at when she was not in class:

Before I knew it, the girls were riding to and from school, work, the grocery store (which I had also drawn, but neglected to photograph.  I can assure you it's no must-see work of art), and their homes.  Madeleine even made up with her bike and was able to do a lot of pedaling by herself.  Next thing I knew, Madeleine and Julia decided to have a play-date at Julia's house, so Madeleine biked on over.  Now, given that Julia was 19 in this game and Madeleine chose to be 4, it's an interesting age difference for friends, but hey, they seemed to get along just fine.  In fact, Julia chose the play-date activity, which was a game of "Hop Gymnastics."  Lest you think that Hop Gymnastics is just basically Hopscotch, I have a video to prove to you that this is not the case.  I'm telling you, this is the new up-and-coming schoolyard game; just watch and see as Julia demonstrates this game's moves with her usual light-footed grace:

To end our driveway play, the girls asked to have their bodies traced.  This is one of their favorite things to do out in our driveway.  While it makes our house look as if it was the scene of multiple homicides (or death by falling out of windows), the girls love to color themselves in after they've been traced.  Julia requested my tracing handiwork:

Poor Madeleine got stuck with Julia's tracing skills, so that her silhouette came out looking kind of like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, but she thankfully didn't seem to mind:

What better way to cool down after a wild and crazy game of Hop Gymnastics than to lay your whole body down on the driveway while someone traces you?  A perfect end to our afternoon of driveway adventures.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lorax Party

Ever since we took the kids to our town's "Flicks on the Field" this past weekend, featuring "The Lorax," Julia and Madeleine have been absolutely obsessed with both the book and the movie.  In fact, the day after we watched it on the field, Ethan purchased the movie from On Demand, and the kids have unfailingly watched it EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past four days.

One would think that after four consecutive viewings, Julia might begin to tire of the movie.  But no - quite the opposite.  She has now gotten it into her brain that this weekend we should have a "Lorax party."  Without even getting confirmation from me that this idea is a go, she began making party preparations.  Starting with posters advertising the event, "just like the signs hanging up at the movie theater!"  She in fact made a poster to hang in the dining room, just outside the entrance into the living room, "so that people will know that the movie is being shown in the room through the doorway!" 

JULIA: Don't you think this is a perfect picture for advertising "The Lorax?"  Because it's a picture of fireworks, so it's, like, so exciting?  Well, it's like, to make the Lorax look like, he's SO good, because he's trying to shout to the Once-ler that you need to take care of the EARTH?

Interesting choice of fireworks to represent the Lorax being good and trying to take care of the environment.  Exploding fireworks into the sky is one sure way to take care of the earth, all right.

Her other poster is directly inside the living room, and shows not only the Lorax, but the Humming-Fish, the Swomee Swans, the Barbaloots, and the Truffula trees:

And in Julia's wildly effusive enthusiam over this "Lorax party," she didn't want to stop at just posters: "So, Mama, to make it fun, we need fun activities.  See those stuff?  (pointing at a crafts basket)  We could use those for fun activities.  (thoughtful)  What about SNACKS and things?"

I began to wonder just exactly what she thought this party was going to be.

ME: So, Julia, tell me.  What IS a Lorax party?

JULIA: Like, we invite friends over and have a Lorax party.  We watch "The LORAX! "
ME: What friends?
JULIA: I don't know.  Anybody?
ME: So it can't be just our family?
JULIA: is it a PARTY without people coming over?
ME: Well, the thing is, this next weekend is Labor Day weekend.  A lot of people we know are going to be away.  I know Nate and Anja are going to be in Vermont.  But maybe the next time they come over, we can watch "The Lorax."
JULIA: But will Nate be SCARED of the Lorax?
ME: I don't think there's anything really scary in "The Lorax." 
JULIA: What about when the Lorax comes out and there's all that THUNDER and LIGHTNING and stuff?
ME: I don't think Nate is scared of thunder and lightning.
MADELEINE: (chiming in) But...I am't!  I'm not gonna be scared of thunder and lightning.

Phew.  Glad to know Madeleine am't scared of thunder and lightning, because I certainly know someone else in this household who is.  (Or perhaps I should say "who am?")

"And Mama, what else do we need?  I know!  BALLOONS!"  Julia mused, running upstairs to get her ginormous dentist office balloon and bringing it down to decorate a dining room chair:

Despite the fact that Madeleine keeps grabbing the balloon and inciting screams of protest from Julia, it is simply out of the question to put the balloon back up in Julia's room.  I actually called Neva to try and set up a viewing of "The Lorax" with Nate and Anja, just to appease Julia, and even though we won't be able to do it for nearly two weeks, Julia just absolutely needs to have her decorations in place RIGHT NOW.

I can't wait to see what other Lorax party decorations will fill our dining and living rooms in the coming days as Julia anticipates the big screening event.

Madeleine has not contributed to any of the Lorax posters, although she did color two pages in her Hello, Kitty! coloring book in her typical creepily morbid fashion:

On second though, perhaps she was trying to contribute after all, by covering Hello Kitty, her friends, and their hearts with thick, black, smogulous smoke. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Coloring Book Songs

Coloring at the table: normally a quiet activity, right?  Not so in the Rowe household.  Now it seems both kids have gotten into the habit of bellowing out made-up songs, "sung" by the characters on the coloring pages, while they work.  No worries about whether or not a new song interrupts the one being sung by the other child at the table.  Here, in the comfort of our home, all are welcome to sing aloud, undeterred and not distracted by the other song(s) floating through the air.  Sing it, girls, sing it!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stamp Heads

Totally normal afternoon for us Rowes, heading off to the Starbucks with the kids looking like this:

The stamped faces are a result of a game Julia made up today, which, in her words, is "like Scrabble that you play on your computer, Mama."  Using her play Cinderella cell phone, she and Madeleine pressed certain buttons, and any time the cell phone's electronic music started up, whoever had pressed that button was the winner.  The rewards were stamps on various parts of their faces. 

Luckily, the Starbucks was just one stop en route to our town's Memorial Park, where we attended a parade and rally for Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman.  So perhaps red circles all over the kids' faces could have been interpreted as some sort of celebratory face paint.  You know, stamps shaped like medals, colored red to be patriotic.  (The other possibility is that people thought my kids suffered from some sort of contagious skin disease, since from far away the stamps looked more like big red welts, but hey, what's wrong with a little facial decoration at such a festive event?)

Ironically, despite the fact that there was a dj playing loud, thumping dance music, neither girl wanted to get wild and crazy and boogie down.  I don't quite understand how it's possible that my children didn't want to dance.  Need I remind anyone of their be-sequined dance party last weekend in CT??  These are the kids who went out in public sporting huge red stamps on their faces, but they were somehow too shy to dance to the musical entertainment.  Go figure. 

While Julia was at least willing to participate in the cheering and applause for Aly Raisman, Madeleine found herself too "shy" to dare make a peep.

ANNOUNCER: Can I hear everyone make some NOISE?
ETHAN: Can you make some noise?
MADELEINE: No.  I *can't.*

Okay, then.

At least Madeleine wasn't too shy to make some noise at home, seeing as she spent time today performing some original works at the piano.  Using one of Julia's piano books for inspiration, she sang a variety of songs, with unique lyrics like "It's berry berry bad when your frog is hopping on the balance," and "the cow is excited to get into the farm!"  Here, a little taste of her performance:

Bravo, Madeleine!!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trip to Boston

Last evening, the girls had an exciting adventure, taking the commuter rail into Boston to meet up with Ethan, Uncle Dave, Aunt Sarah, and cousin Emily.

Perhaps it was a bit TOO exciting for Madeleine, who is apparently still scared of the purple lousy train, and spent the ride in covering her ears from the imaginary loud noises the train was making:

Or perhaps she was covering her ears to avoid being hypnotized by Julia, who decided to spend the entire train ride humming the same eight measures of music OVER AND OVER AND OVER again.  Even I started humming along; if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

We met up with Ethan and the others at South Station and took a stroll down to the Boston Common, where the kids got ready to jump into the Frog Pond:

The Rowe cousins had a blast splashing in the wading pool, and Julia was absolutely enthralled with little Emily.  Madeleine spent most of the time off in her own world, getting herself completely and utterly soaked in the big, central fountain; that is, until the fountain was turned off near the frog pond's closing time.  As I sat on the edge of the pond, Madeleine came to me, eyes wide and full of tears, lamenting her fate.

MADELEINE: (sorrowfully) Mommy, I got LOST!
ME: You got lost?
ME: How did you get lost?
MADELEINE: I can't find the FOUNTAIN!

Despite my explanations, Madeleine didn't seem to grasp that she was indeed in the very same place she had been a minute before, and that the fountain had simply been turned off.  Happily, however, it wasn't long before she found a little spurt of water spewing up from the edge of the pond like a little drinking fountain.  Before I knew it, she was dunking her head down into it as if preparing to do a forward roll, then standing up in delight as water dripped from the top of her head down her face.  Good to know it doesn't take much to satisfy this kid.

After parting with the Atlanta Rowes, who were bound for their hotel before flying home the following morning, we local Rowes boarded the train to head back to our house.  Since it was nearly bedtime for our kids I expected them to be sleepy on the ride, but instead, Madeleine was in manic mode.

MADELEINE: I'm gonna SINK down!  (leaning herself forward in her chair and bonking her head into the seat in front of her)  OW!  (near tears.)
ME: That's why you need to SIT ON YOUR BUM.  No more sinking down.
MADELEINE: I wanna sink down again.
ME: No.  You may not.
MADELEINE: Is it okay I can sink down again, Mommy?
ME: No.  No more sinking down.
ME: No.

At another point, Madeleine became fascinated with the fact that Ethan and I had to present our train tickets to the conductor as proof that we had paid our fare.  Despite the fact that kids 11 and under ride for free, Madeleine felt it was extremely unjust that she herself did not get to present a ticket.

MADELEINE: Mommy, is that your ticket?
ME: Yes.
MADELEINE: Mommy, can I have a ticket?
ME: No, you don't need one.
MADELEINE: Can I have YOUR ticket?
ME: No.  I need to put mine away so I don't lose it.
MADELEINE: When my name is Mommy and I'M big can I have a ticket?
ME: When your name is Mommy?  Are you going to turn into me?
MADELEINE: No, I'm gonna BE you.
ETHAN: Who's gonna be Daddy?
MADELEINE: uh, Julia can be Daddy.
JULIA: No I will NOT!

A few moments of silence, and then:

MADELEINE: (talking loudly to herself) When I turn into a boy, I'm gonna have a PENIS.

I'd like to point out that rather than growing a penis, she could take the simpler approach of putting Golben Grahams into her mouth in order to become a boy.

Friday, August 24, 2012

All Kinds of Goofiness

This morning was off to an auspicious start after Madeleine declared her intentions to go down the stairs all by herself.  On a typical morning, on her way down from her bedroom, she likes to act completely helpless and insist I carry her on the stairs, so I welcomed her independence this morning.  As I brushed my teeth in the bathroom, I listened to her down-the-stairs commentary echoing from the back hallway.

"Mommy, I can go down the stairs by MYSELF.  Because...I'm a LITTLE GIRL!  And...little girls know how to go down the stairs.  Little girls can just HOLD the railing.  I'm just holding the railing because I'm a LITTLE GIRL!  Yeah!  I'm just holding the rail-"

Thankfully, it was a very minor wipe-out, from which she bounced back with buoyant resilience.

Before long, Madeleine was happily playing with toys in the living room, pausing only to ask my help.

MADELEINE: Mommy, can you help me find that BIG FAIRY?
ME: Okay.  Which fairy are you looking for?  The red one?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Uh, no.  The PEACH one.  Because...that's the one I was playing with last year.

Unfortunately I have no idea which fairy is the peach one.  I don't believe we even have a peach fairy.  But then again, maybe I've just forgotten since it was last year that she played with it.

Julia joined us shortly, and she and Madeleine settled in for their morning time "Curious George" episode and their breakfast on the couch. 

"Julia," I overheard Madeleine say.  "I just have GOLBEN GRAHAMS in my mouth, so THAT'S why I look like a BOY."

Hmm.  What?!

Julia was not without wacky comments, herself.  Watching a tv scene that took place in the airport, her memory was suddenly jogged of speaking to Auntie Caitlyn on Sunday night as Auntie Caitlyn awaited her flight at JFK.  "Mommy," Julia told me wisely, "maybe I should have called Auntie Caitlyn when she was off the plane or ON the plane, instead of sitting in the AIRPORT, because, like, the lady who announces what EXIT it is was so loud that it was hard to HEAR." 

That darn lady announcing exits, foiling a lovely auntie-niece phone conversation. 

Later in the morning, the Rowe ladies headed over to Julia's new school to join in a meet-and-greet on the playground, where she got to meet the kids who will be in her kindergarten class, and I got to talk with some parents.  While shy and a bit clingy at first, Julia ultimately wound up making a new friend, and the two girls bonded while pumping on the swings side by side.  In fact, Julia had her new friend in stitches, raucously laughing over Julia's various goofy comments and repeated shoutings of "Hi, Quaw-Quee Clark!" to me.  Among Julia's other hilarity-inducing exclamations were: "Mama, can you push me because I'm lower than a shrinking BOAT!", "Mama, can you push me because I'm lower than a PEACOCK!" and "Mama, can you push me because I'm lower than a PLAYGROUND that's getting KNOCKED DOWN!"

Julia kept her comedic wit coming, until she brought things to an awkward halt with this loudly shouted question: "MAMA!  Are you DEATH?"

ME: Uh, no, I'm not.
JULIA: But you were when you got WATER IN YOUR EAR!

Uh, hi, new friend's mother.  I promise my daughter is neither a Harry Potter-esque Death-Eater nor someone who makes jokes about deaf people.

Luckily, Julia quickly got her groove back and was soon causing her new friend to shriek and giggle over Julia's Quaw-Quee Clark humor.

Thank GOODNESS Julia didn't decide to talk in her "Hello, There" voice and inform her new friend on what her Daddy taught her about Apple Crack.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hello, There!

Julia has created a new alter-ego: a cap and glasses-wearing, Southern-accented country bumpkin so wacky it puts Weird Girl to shame.  I have no idea what inspired Julia to concoct this new character, but a few evenings ago as we played "Doctor," she felt the sudden urge to pull a Clark Kent-like transformation from Doctor Julia into this:

Ethan, you're busted.  Especially for this information Julia shared with me after the video: "Daddy told me that apple crack is a kind of chemical that makes you feel WEIRD."

As you may have seen in the video, the girls' Halloween costumes have arrived.  Last night, as soon as the UPS box was opened and the costumes revealed, the girls insisted on trying them on.  Before I knew it, our household was enchanted by two little witches:

ME: Madeleine, say "Hocus Pocus!"

While I insisted that the dresses come off for dinner, so as not to ruin them (hence Julia's appearance in the background), Madeleine insisted on keeping on her witch hat:

And, of course, the hat was back on as soon as she got up this morning:

At least she had the sense to take her hat off when she had to go to the bathroom.  As she put it: "Mommy, I need to leave my hat in the DIMING ROOM, because...I don't want it to get POOPED."

Wise choice, Little Witch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Playing Doctor

Since the entire Rowe household seems to suffer from seasonal allergies, we have all been battling phlegmy throats as ragweed levels spike.  Some of us worse than others; Madeleine has developed a Darth Vadar-like breathing and Gollum-like speaking voice, and has been coughing herself awake throughout the night.  Her allergy symptoms are relatively mild when she's up and about throughout the day, but each night of coughing leads to a pretty raspy start to the day.  Or, as she put it to me this morning upon getting up from bed, "Yeah, I was just COUGHING in my bed.  It HURT my feelings.  I was just COUGHING like this (forcibly coughing in my face.)  In my BED!  And... coughing is just STINKY."

Poor kiddo.  I hate it when my cough hurts my feelings.

It's no wonder, then, that the latest favorite play-time activity is "doctor," using Julia's big plastic doctor's kit.  Last night, Ethan and I were the patients, he tended by Dr. Madeleine and me by Dr. Julia.  This morning, since Ethan was off at work, I, along with several baby dolls, was a patient of both kids.  Having now been treated by both Doctors Julia AND Madeleine, I am able to respect the differences in their medical approach, specifically in the way various standard medical equipment is used.  While Madeleine chose to use the otoscope to blow-dry my hair and Julia used it to look in my ears, I truly got fully attentive care from both doctors, regardless of the difference in their techniques.

Seeing how differently the girls used the doctor's kit items made me wonder if Madeleine has any understanding of what the items are actually supposed to be.  I sat the girls down separately to ask them what each item was, and got some interesting answers.

ITEM #1:  Blood Pressure Cuffs
ME: What is this?
JULIA: A blood pressure thing.
MADELEINE: Um... for teaching how your heart feels burning your HEART.

ITEM #2: Stethoscope
ME: What is this?
JULIA: A stethocsope. 
(So close!)
MADELEINE: Um...that's for...for doing your HEART.  For doing your heart down your TUMMY.

ITEM #3: Otoscope
ME: What is this?
JULIA: An ear thingy.
MADELEINE: That's for drying your HAIR.  And that's for putting in your ears, too!

ITEM #4: Reflex Hammer
ME: What is this?
JULIA: A reflex thingy.
MADELEINE: Um, that's for knocking on your KNEES!

ITEM #5: Syringe
ME: What is this?
JULIA: A shot thingy.
MADELEINE: Um...that's a shot that you can shot on your ARM.

ITEM #6: Scalpel
ME: What is this?
JULIA: Sharpy knifey.
MADELEINE: Um...that's for cutting your TUMMY.

ITEM #7: Beeper
ME: What is this?
JULIA: A beeper.
MADELEINE: Um...that's a BEEPER!

Hallelujah!  We have a consensus!  I am so relieved to know that no matter which doctor I get, despite the fact that Madeleine might think in order to diagnose my ear infection she must dry my hair, both girls can at least identify a beeper.  So when I'm in the middle of my C-section with a shot on my arm and a hammer knocking on my knees, I can rest assured that Madeleine will hustle off and leave me on the examining table as soon as she is beeped on her beeper.  PHEW.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Big Girls, Driving Disasters, and New Songs

I guess being around a bunch of adult relatives and a teacup chihuahua this weekend threw Madelene back into a tailspin of confusion, because she no longer stands firm in her conviction that she is a big girl.  As she put it to me, with perfect clarity, this morning: "Mommy, I'm just a little girl, because I can talk out of my little outlet hole."

Her big girl status does not appear to be the only thing she's confused about today.  As we got ready to head out to Framingham to bring our car in for an oil change, Madeleine announced to me out of her little outlet hole, "Yeah, we need to get in the car because we have to drive all the way to Atlanta!"

Poor kid.  A weekend away with so much crazy stimulation seems to have done a number on her powers of logical reasoning.

Speaking of powers of logical reasoning, the kids got a taste of their own mother's lack of said powers, as I drove around for an hour like a buffoon through Framingham and surrounding towns trying to find our Kia dealership.  It would have really helped if I had been on the correct road, but unfortunately my befuddled brain got mixed up as to which major road the dealership sits on, and, genius that I am, I seemed to think that if I just kept reversing direction on Route 9 and driving by the exact same scenery over and over again, the dealership would magically appear before me.  By the time I realized I actually needed to be on an entirely different road altogether, we were over a half hour late for our appointment.  Lucky for me, the kids were not only extremely patient with my display of buffoonery, but they were also my support group of cheerleaders in the backseat.

ME: Oh my goodness, I have NO idea where this place is.  We're so late.  I am just TOTALLY lost.
JULIA: Well, it's okay, Mama, don't be worried.  Once we find the Kia dealership you'll feel JUST FINE!

At certain points, I enlisted Julia's help in searching for street numbers, since I knew the address of the place we were going and knew we needed to find #510.  It would have helped if I had actually been on the correct road, but, again, I was still in dunce mode.  Julia tried her darndest to follow the numbers as we zoomed by various buildings on Route 9.

JULIA: Well, Mama, I saw five zero EIGHT!
ME: Oh, yeah, thanks honey.  That's actually just the area code for Framingham phone numbers.  But keep looking, please!
JULIA: Well, THERE'S Plaster Fun Time!
ME: What number does it say?
JULIA: Well, it's just Plaster Fun Time.
ME: But is there a number?
JULIA: No, because it's Plaster Fun Time!  Well, what is THAT place?  Mama, do you think that's WHATEVER Fun Time because I don't know WHAT that building is?

I was a bit too preoccupied to look and see if the building she was gazing at was indeed Whatever Fun Time.

Once I finally discovered the road I was actually supposed to be on, I felt marginally calmer, though exponentially more annoyed with my idiocy.  I am truly not one to berate myself in front of my children, but I just couldn't help myself at this moment.  Thankfully, I had Julia's Power of Positive Thinking to steer me back on track.

ME: Okay.  We're finally on the right road.  We're going to be really, really late thanks to your big dope of a mother!
JULIA: (sweetly) Mama, you're NOT a dope!
ME: Well, you gotta admit, Jules, this was pretty dopey of me.
JULIA: Mama.  I don't think you're a dope.
ME: Well, I sure think I am.
JULIA:  Mama.  Who of any of your friends would ever call you a dope?
ME: I'm pretty sure all of them, if they were stuck in the car with me driving all around on the wrong road.
JULIA: Well, Mama, which ONES would say that?

Before I could get into which people would probably think I was a dope, we came upon the dealership, which felt like arriving in paradise at this point.  The girls technically understood that we were going to our Kia dealership, but I guess they didn't quite understand that such a dealership would be stocked full of cars like ours.  They both gazed around in wonder at all the other Kia vehicles.

JULIA: (delighted) MAMA!  I see a KIA SOUL!
MADELEINE: That's just like OUR CAR!
JULIA: (looking in the other direction) MAMA!  ANOTHER KIA SOUL!
MADELEINE: That's just like OUR CAR!

And so on.

In the end, I am so thankful for my little buddies in the backseat, cheering me along and not judging my ridiculous inability to find a place I have been to multiple times in the past and whose address I had in my phone.  I am even more thankful for their absolutely wonderful behavior in the waiting area while our car was serviced.  They both happily colored away in their "My Little Pony" books, with Madeleine obliviously bellowing out made-up songs as she colored, never once complaining about the wait or the length of our car drive there or home.  I think Madeleine TOTALLY earns her big girl stripes for being so patient and never once whining out of her outlet hole.

Speaking of made-up songs, Julia went on a manic song-writing/singing spree this afternoon in the bath, and I daresay some of her new songs rival those on her first "Goldens" CD.   Since I was scrubbing the bathroom as the girls bathed, I wasn't able to record any of her tub-inspired songs, but she did sing a couple of new tunes for me after she was clean, dried, and in her pjs:

Perhaps Dunkin' Donuts would be interested in hiring Julia as their new jingle writer.  She certainly produces some catchy tunes out of that outlet hole of hers.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Home from CT

The girls had a blast in Connecticut, so much so that Julia burst into tears upon saying our good-byes.  As we began our drive back to Massachusetts, Julia sobbed broken-heartedly in the backseat, and to make things really fun, Madeleine decided to fake cry on top of Julia just to add to the chaos.

MADELEINE: Waaah-waah-waaah!  A-huh-huh-huh-huh!  (big grin on her face) I'm just so sad we had to leave!
JULIA: (hissing) STOP IT, Madeleine!
MADELEINE: I'm just really really CRYING!
JULIA: Mama, I don't want Madeleine pretending to cry!

I myself didn't want ANYONE crying, fake or not.

Luckily, the non-stop excitement of the weekend, plus some very late bedtimes and veeery early rising shortly led to this:

They woke back up during the last 45 minutes of the drive in much cheerier moods, and to pass the time, Julia decided we should play "I'm Thinking of Something."  If you're not familiar with the game, the object is for one person to give the starting letter of whatever they are thinking of, plus a clue, and if the other person is unable to correctly guess what it is, more clues are provided.  For example:

JULIA:  I'm thinking of something that begins with the letter "A," and it's something you become if someone has a baby.
ME: An auntie?
JULIA: Yes!  You got it!

Some of Julia's ideas were unintentionally stumpers.

JULIA: I'm thinking of something that begins with the letter "C," and it's something you can play on.
ME: Uh... a car??
JULIA: No, Mama, I said it's something you can PLAY on!
ME: I know, but you have play cars that you drive around in the backyard.
JULIA: No, it's not a car.  Here's another clue.  It's BOUNCY.
ME: It's bouncy??  Are you sure it begins with the letter "C?"
JULIA: Yes, I'm sure.
ME: Um...a cushion?
JULIA: Nope!  Should I just tell you?  It's a TRAMPOLINE!


JULIA: I'm thinking of something that begins with the letter "C," and it's a place in MASSACHUSETTS!
ME: Is it the Capitol?
ME: Is it the Cape?
JULIA: No!  Here's another hint.  We just CAME from it!
ME: Honey, you know Connecticut is not in Massachusetts, right?
JULIA: But I thought you TOLD me that Yiayia lives in a part of Massachusetts!
ME: No, she doesn't.
JULIA: But you TOLD me she does!
ME: No, I never told you that.  Connecticut is a different state from Massachusetts.
JULIA: But, wait, Mama, I thought you TOLD me that it IS part of Massachusetts.
ME: No, I never said that.
JULIA: Okay, fine, then should I just CRY ABOUT IT?
ME: Okay.  Go ahead.

Things got a little bit exciting towards the end of the car ride, when Madeleine announced she needed to poop and Julia announced she needed to pee, just as we had passed the last rest stop for 38 miles.  Both girls assured me they could hold it until we arrived home, though Julia felt the need for frequent check-ins on how much farther we had to go.  As we came into the last 10 minutes of the drive, Madeleine's urgency amped up.

ME: Okay, honey.  We'll be home in a few minutes.  Can you hold it?
JULIA: But how many more minutes?
ME: Maybe ten minutes.  Just hang on girls!  We're almost there!
JULIA:  Well, Mama, good thing we're not driving all the way to Acklanta, because driving to Acklanta would take for HOURS!

I, for one, am very glad we only had to drive from the Connecticut part of Massachusetts into the part of Massachusetts in which we live, because I certainly would not have wanted to be driving for HOURS.  And in a happy ending to the whole story, we all made it home and onto the toilet without a hitch!

Julia is compensating for her sorrow at leaving her beloved aunties and Yiayia  by coloring pictures for everyone, which I'm sure she'll be asking me to mail out.  Madeleine, on the other hand, is busy watching tv instead of coloring, but that's probably because she already completed her master work of art while in Connecticut.  Behold the Shadowy Dora of Death!:

That child's artistic visions freak me out sometimes. 

Hope you had a great birthday weekend, Mom!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Exciting Weekend

Yesterday was the last day of swim lessons for the summer, and Julia finished up in style, graduating out of Level 2 and into Level 3, as well as jumping off the diving board all by herself for the first time ever.  It was such an exciting experience for her that she wanted to announce it from the tallest towers, instructing me not to utter a WORD to anyone until she could tell them personally about her big jump.  Now that she has told everyone we've come into contact with, it's fnally safe for me to broadcast the news to the rest of you electronically.

After her thrilling last swim experience, Julia decided she was ready to reach another new milestone.  "Mama, can I have strawberries with sugar on them for my lunch, but I don't want you to cut them up and I want the green leaves still on them because now that I can jump off the diving board I think I don't need the strawberries cut up anymore."

Because one has everything to do with the other.

Today has been a pool-free day, though filled with lots of other excitements for the kids.  We are down visiting Yiayia in Connecticut for her birthday, with Aunties Shannon and Caitlyn here as well, so Julia and Madeleine have been the center of attention all day long.  Not only that, but their aunties helped them build a GIANT FANTASY FORT, under which they have been playing baby dolls, Barbies and Barbie convertables, and Little People much of the afternoon:

The girls also got to get their hair cut by stylist Auntie Shannon.  For Madeleine, it was her very first haircut, and she sat in the barber's chair like a pro:

Since she is still utterly unable to tell her aunties apart, this what Madeleine had to say about the whole haircut experience: "Um...Caitlyn cut my hair!"

Thanks to both girls dirtying their underwear and outfits (Madelene by pooping in hers, Julia by sitting on a gummy fruit snack, which subsequently melted and stuck her dress to her underwear), they were temporarily without their regular clothes.  Not a problem, however, because that opened up the door to a grand old DANCE PARTAY!!!  I don't even have words to describe the whole ordeal so I'll just show you the pictures.

Some memorable quotes from the dance party:

ME: Julia, I wanna hear you sing along to "Call Me Maybe" while you dance!
JULIA: Uh, Mama, we can't sing, because we're just really FOCUSING on our DANCE.

JULIA: Um, Auntie Caitlyn, one time when we were driving home from the liquor store I had some SMARTIES, and I was pretending they were a TRUMPET!
CAITLYN: Driving home from the WHAT?

ME: Julia, are you ready to dance?
JULIA: No, I'm not ready to dance, I'm ready to FUNK IT UP!

All right.  Funk it!