Sunday, September 30, 2012


Last night, before bed, Madeleine opened her birthday presents and was thrilled with what she received, particularly the Wow! Car Polly's Pony Carriage that was a gift from Julia.  This time, instead of making a hand-made card with "Madeleine WOW CAR" written on it, Julia opted for a less telltale card with colors and images that would be right up Madeleine's alley.  It could only have been more Madeleine-appropriate if Julia had colored her black-traced hand and footprint all the way in.

Madeleine was also thrilled with her new black dress shoes and beautiful charm bracelet from Nana:

Although she dearly wanted to sleep with her bracelet and dress shoes on and Polly the Wow! Car figurine in her bed, I convinced her that it was better not to lose her brand new items, and that she could play with them first thing in the morning.

The girls got a little less play time with the new toys than they would have liked this morning, since we had to leave shortly after 9am for church, but the fact that they got to wear pretty dresses helped them cope with the hiatus from birthday toys a little more easily.  Julia, in particular, was completely enamoured with her dress, another new-to-her hand-me-down I recently brought up from the basement.  She disappeared into my bedroom to check herself out in my full-length mirror, then reappeared in the living room some time later, apologizing for her long absence. 

"Sorry, Mama, I just had to, like, TWIRL around in front of the mirror and, like, do other things that I think ROYALTY would do."  She punctuated this statement with a grand curtsy, followed by several off-balance twirls around the room.

Madeleine was less invested in her dress, and more interested in the fact that she got to wear her new bracelet:

Thank you, Nana!

On the drive to church, I asked the girls if they'd had fun at Madeleine's birthday party.  After they concurred, I asked them what their favorite parts had been.  As expected, they were full of clear and detailed answers.

JULIA: Um...I just can't DECIDE!
MADELEINE: Uh...cause it was GREAT!

I then asked them about specific points during the party, in part to pass the time during a rainy car ride. 

ME: Who liked making paper jack-o-lanterns?

JULIA: (raising her hand)
MADELEINE: (glancing over at Julia, then raising her own hand.)

ME: Who liked eating cupcakes?
JULIA: (raising her hand)
MADELEINE: (glancing over at Julia, then raising her own hand.)

ME: Who liked eating pizza for dinner with our friends?
JULIA: (raising her hand)
MADELEINE: (glancing over at Julia, then raising her own hand.)

ME: Who liked saying "Poopy Uncle Pants!" when I was taking your picture on the couch?  (I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but yes, I asked them to say "Poopy Uncle Pants" in lieu of "cheese," hoping it would yield the greatest amount of impromptu smiles in our group kid photo)
JULIA: (raising her hand and spurting a rapsberry-like laugh from her lips)
MADELEINE: (glancing over at Julia, then raising her own hand, and forcing her own raspberry-like laugh from her lips.)

ME: How did the cupcakes turn out, girls?
JULIA: Yummalicious!
MADELEINE: Uh...yummalicious!

At least they weren't delicia-rotten.

Madeleine doesn't like to copy her big sister AT ALL.

Since getting home from church, the girls have enjoyed playing with Madeleine's new birthday toys together all afternoon:

Julia is, truly, just as interested in Madeleine's new presents as Madeleine herself is.  I have pointed out to Julia several times today that she needs to remember how well Madeleine shared her birthday toys when it's time for Julia to open her own birthday presents.  And in case she conveniently forgets, I now have photo evidence!

And on that note, I bid you:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Birthday Party Fun

Today was an exciting one in the Rowe household - the day of Madeleine's 3rd birthday party!  Things were off to a rocky start this morning, as Madeleine didn't like her party dress because, in her words, "there's nothing that's dots or CIRCLES on it."  Fortunately,  she quickly warmed to her outfit, especially once she picked out accompanying tights that DID have something that's dots or circles on them:

Next up was the conundrum of the party location.  I have no idea how Madeleine got it in her head that we had the option of throwing her party at someone else's house, let alone the house of one of my piano students, but somewhere along the way she decided we were having this party at my student Arianna's house.  She had mentioned this idea earlier in the week in a passing comment; something along the lines of: "Uh, Mommy, I picked ARIANNA'S HOUSE for my birthday party."  However, I never encouraged the idea and had no idea she actually thought this was a serious option.

Today, as she sat on the toilet trying unsuccessfully to get her pee out, Madeleine optimistically commented to me, "Well, maybe Arianna has a toilet at HER house.  Maybe I can just try pee-pees at Arianna's house when we get there."  It was then that I realized this hare-brained idea was actually implanted in her head.  After I gently explained to her that the party was to be held at our house, she burst into tears of deep injustice.  "Mommy, I want to have my party at ARIAAAAANAAAA'S HOUSE!" she wailed.

Once we got past THAT hurdle, and I was able to convince her that her friends wouldn't know how to find Arianna's house so we better have the party here, she was once again excited, especially once I began baking her cupcakes.  Typical to Madeleine's character, she had specific details on exactly what she wanted for her cupcakes: "Chocolate ones, but not TOO chocolatey, with PINK FROSTING, THINGS on them." 

What do you think?  Did I fulfil her requirements:

Later in the morning, Madeleine decided that she needed to add to her dress and tights, declaring she needed a crown.  Well, I just happen to be a former preschool teacher, so if there's anything I know how to do on the spot, it's making a construction paper crown.  It wasn't long before Madeleine had her very own pink "Happy Birthday" crown:

Unfortunately, the crown alone just didn't cut it.  "Uh, Mommy, now I need a wand and a dress," she informed me. 

I reminded her that she was already wearing a dress (albeit one with nothing on it that's dots or circles), and that if she wanted a wand she was welcome to get one out of the dress-up bin, which thankfully seemed to satisfy her.

 The hardest part of the day was waiting for the party to finally begin.  A 4pm start makes for a loooong earlier part of the day, though Madeleine had an ingenious solution to the whole problem.  "Uh, Mommy, I pointed my clock to FOUR!" she announced to me at 2:38.  Apparently, in Madeleine's world, pushing the minute hand on her kitchen set clock to four is the equivalent of owning the superpower of time travel.  Behold, the kitchen set clock has been changed, and therefore it is now PARTAY TIME! (never mind that she actually set it to 1:20):

Once the guests were finally here and the fun could begin, the kids had a blast. 

After such a fun afternoon and evening of birthday celebrations, it was a bit tough to get the kids to wind down and fall asleep.  While Madeleine is usually half-conked by the time I've finished her lullaby, tonight she was wide awake and listening with a critical ear to my rendition of "Frere Jacques," taking particular issue with my guttural r's. 

MADELEINE: Mommy?  But why were you singing the...the...the...the...the...
ME: The r's like this: (singing) Frere Jacques, Dormez-vous?
MADELEINE: Mommy, I want you to sing the REAL words, like this: here, I'll show you!  (Singing) Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez-vous, dormez-vous, summylemmatina, summylemmatina, ding dang dong, ding dang dong.  Oh!  I better do it again!  Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez-vous, dormez-vous, summylemmatina, summylemmatina, ding dang dong, ding dang dong.
ME: Great job!  That was beautiful!
MADELEINE: But...Mommy...why were you singing it the INTERESTED way?
ME: I was singing it the way you would pronounce the words in French.  That's because I know how to speak French.  Do you want to hear me?
MADELEINE: Um...NO!  Mommy, I want you to sing Frere Jacques the NEW, HAPPY way!  Not the SAD WAY! 
ME: What's the new happy way?
MADELEINE: Like this!  (Singing) Frere Jacques, Frere Jacques, dormez-vous, dormez-vous, summylemmatina, summylemmatina, ding dang dong, ding dang dong.

Well, that clears it all up.  Now I know exactly what I was doing wrong.
And on that (literal) note, I bid you readers adieu.  Ding dang dong!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Morning Creativity, and Survey Questions

Julia was in a goofy mood from the get-go this morning, going upstairs to change into her outfit and coming down like this:

I guess wearing her pants on her head and her socks on her hands inspired her towards creativity this morning, as she embarked upon an art project soon after finishing her breakfast.  Behold, her hand-made stick puppet:

(Her name is Agamarie, in case anyone wants to know.)

Madeleine, of course, immediately wanted in on the art project as well.  It wasn't long before she was hard at work at her own puppet:

(Her name, according to Madeleine, is Mirenda.)

Now, to completely shift gears, I was browsing through my facebook notes earlier this afternoon, and came across a document entitled "Julia says...."  The body of this document consisted of a survey for children about their moms, and I had asked Julia the survey questions when she was about 3, and had recorded her answers.  Taking this trip down memory lane inspired me to pose the same set of questions to Madeleine, and to also re-ask them of a now nearly 6-year-old Julia.  The answers I was given prove that a) Madeleine seems to be just as weird as her big sister, and b) even at almost 6, Julia is still capable of producing some extremely random and amusing answers to this survey.  Below, the questions, as well as the current-day answers from both kids.

1. What is something mom always says to you?
M: Um...I'll have to THINK.
J: Mmmm...that you need to sing?

2. What makes mom happy?
M: You get happy when I'm a good listener.
J: If you're nice and you give her hugs and kisses.

3. What makes mom sad?
M: From, um, not being a good listener and not being a good listener POOPING.
J: When you're not nice and you DON'T give Mommy hugs and kisses.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
M: When Daddy tells you a goofy things when he DOOS THIS with sticking his tongue out: "BLA BLA BLA BLA BLAAAAAH."  That's when you laugh when you're sticking your tongue out like this.  "BLA BLA BLA BLA BLAAAAAAAAH."  That's when you ALWAYS STICK YOUR TONGUE OUT.  When I laugh.  Oh!  When YOU laugh.
J: By being funny!

5. What was your mom like as a child?
M: Um, I don't know.  I'll have to THINK.  You were a little kid.
J: Mmm...two girls named JULIA and MADELEINE.  NOOOOO!  Like, you always wanted to sing, and you loved dressing up and going to church... Mama, I thought you said what did your mom LIKE for a child.

6. How old is your mom?
M: Three.  Um... FOUR.
J: Thirty-four.

7. How tall is your mom?
M: Um...than DADDY.  (Standing up on a chair)  How tall than I AM?  You, and Daddy, and Julia!
J:, five or six feet tall?

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
M: love to do this!  (sticking out her tongue) BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLA-BLAAAAAH!
J: take naps.  To have snuggles.

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
M: Um, you um...LIKE ME!  Noooo! pick me up at school!
J: Um, probably play the piano and read books.

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
M: You will get famous at ME.
J: Singing!

11. What is your mom really good at?
M: Uh...You're good at...singing?
J: Uh...sleeping!  And singing.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
M:'re not good at STINKY JOBS. do a bad job at CLEANING UP.
J: Crying.  You just don't cry a lot.

13. What does your mom do for her job?
M: You piano lessons at work.
J: (singing) Doo-dooo-dooo (wiggling fingers) Being a music teacher.

14. What is your mom's favorite food?
M: You like...uh...sandwiches?
(No, Madeleine.  While I have no problem with sandwiches, I am no Joey Tribbiani.)
J: Meatballs!
(Meatballs are fine.  But they're definitely not my favorite food.)

15. What makes you proud of your mom?
M: Um, um, good at, good that I was saying to you: "Mommy, I'm so proud that you're a good SINGING!"  That the what I'm proud of!
J: Mmm...if you run a race and you WIN!

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
M: about MOMMY!
J: Mmm...Maybe, ummmm...maybe...maybe...probably, like, um, Fluttershy.

17. What do you and your mom do together?
M: Um, we like to stick our tongues out like this: BLA BLA BLA BLA BLA BLAAAAAH!
J: We walk home from school together.

18. How are you and your mom the same?
M: Um, we like to stick our tongues out like this: BLAH!
J: We both have two eyes, we both have one nose, we both have lips.
(Yes, as do ALL HUMAN BEINGS.)

19. How are you and your mom different?
M: Um...of glass or FLOWERS?
(I...just...have no idea.)
J: have more moles than I do.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
M: this (wrapping her arms around my neck and kissing my cheek.)
J: Because you give me hugs, you give me kisses, and you look LOVINGLY when you reeeally want me to hug you.

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
M: Um...the movie theater?
J: maybe to a restaurant you really like, like the Ethiopian place?

What can I say?  Do they know their mother like the back of their hands, or what?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

School Day Fun

After having the day off yesterday, the girls were headed back to school this morning, Julia with unbridled enthusiasm and Madeleine with what appeared to be mixed emotions.  Julia was, first off, thrilled to be wearing a new-to-her outfit that I had recently washed from the hand-me-downs box in the basement.  She went into her bedroom to get dressed immediately after waking me up, and as I stood in the bathroom brushing Madeleine's teeth, I saw Julia slither by the bathroom door on all fours, then patter quickly into the living room.  A few moments later, Julia returned, this time loudly stomping her feet and dancing maniacally outside of the bathroom door.

JULIA: Mama, first I was feeling SHY that I didn't want you to see how CUTE I was looking in my NEW OUTFIT, but then I decided I wanted you to see it so I came DANCING over!

Madeleine, on the other hand, was too busy being stubborn about her tooth-brushing routine to notice Julia's outfit.  Apparently I committed a huge error in getting her toothbrush out of the holder and picking up the toothpaste to squeeze onto the bristles.  I didn't realize that Madeleine was supposed to do that job herself.  There was no other option but a do-over.  Grabbing both the toothpaste-smeared brush as well as the tube of paste out of my hands, Madeleine then put the brush back in its hole in the toothbrush holder and put the toothpaste tube back where it usually resides, then pulled her toothbrush out of the holder again, picked up the paste, and handed both to me so I could resume the process of brushing her teeth.  I guess I really screwed up the whole process by attempting to perform her job for her.

Since Madeleine has loved school so much over the past few weeks, and has enjoyed staying for Lunch Bunch, I checked with her this morning to see if she wanted me to pack her a lunch.

ME: Madeleine, do you want to stay for Lunch Bunch today?
MADELEINE: Um, I want to have Lunch Bunch at OUR HOUSE.
ME: Are you sure you don't want me to pack you a lunch for school?
MADELEINE: No, I want to eat lunch at OUR HOUSE.

I must have asked her this question at least ten times en route to drop off Julia and then en route to Madeleine's school.  She remained resolute in her determination to have Lunch Bunch at home.  She also seemed to suddenly have a change of heart about school all together, taking off her socks and sneakers in the backseat of the car and telling me she just wanted to go to school at home.

ME: Well, we can't go to school at home, silly girl!
MADELEINE: But I just want to go home.
ME: Oh, come on, don't you want to go have fun at school?  You get to play with all your friends! 
MADELEINE: I just want to have school at OUR HOUSE. 
ME: Well, that won't be nearly as fun!  There won't be any kids to play with at our house.
MADELEINE: But I just want all the kids to come to school at OUR HOUSE.
ME: Oh, well, we can't do that.  We can't fit all the kids from your class in our house!

Fortunately, Madeleine was not deterred by this predicament.  She was quick to concoct a solution to the whole issue.

MADELEINE: Well...maybe I can just MOVE OUT OF THE WAY so the kids could fit on our rug.

While that was truly an EXCELLENT suggestion, I still insisted she had to play with the kids at her school rather than at our house.  Thankfully, she seemed to undergo yet another change of heart once we reached the school, and after I put her shoes and socks back on, she went bounding into her classroom, hopping around, wild with delight at being there.  "Mommy, I'm SO EXCITED for my SCHOOL!" she told me. 

And that was that.  After running some errands and spending some time at home, I headed out to pick her up at 11:30 so she could have "Lunch Bunch" at home.  When I walked into the school office, I was informed by the office assistant that Madeleine had insisted she was staying for lunch, and had been perturbed because she couldn't find her lunch box.  I explained to the office assistant that I had asked Madeleine a million times whether or not she wanted to do Lunch Bunch, and she had been adamant about having lunch at home. 

I then walked into the classroom full of waiting kids, and the minute Madeleine set eyes upon me, she burst into wailing tears of bitter disappointment. 

It turns out that when she told me, repeatedly, that she wanted to have Lunch Bunch at OUR HOUSE that what she ACTUALLY wanted was to have Lunch Bunch at school.

She was so despondent about not getting to stay for lunch that I told the teachers I'd be back with her lunch box, and signed her up for Lunch Bunch after all.  Sigh.

When I returned yet AGAIN to pick her up, for realz this time, Madeleine was bouncing around in delight at having stayed for lunch and having had a wonderful day at school.  With such a physical expression of joy, I would have expected her to be able to divulge some details about how she spent her day.  I decided to ask her about it as I buckled her into her car seat.

ME: So, Madeleine, did you have SO MUCH FUN at school?
MADELEINE: (jubilantly) Uh-huh!
ME: So what did you do today?
MADELEINE: Um...I ate some snack, and then I drank some JUICE!

Yep.  Of course she did.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signs of Autumn

Fall is in the air!  The girls are out of their minds over signs of autumn everywhere we turn, from the nearby "pumpkin patch" (which is really a church lawn full of pumpkins for sale up the street from our house) to the changing leaves and the chill in the air.  Madeleine continues reciting her "Apple Tree" poem from school:

And both girls have already broken out the Halloween-themed outfits and pajamas:

Madeleine was insistent upon locating her pumpkin trick-or-treat bucket this morning, hence its appearance in the above picture.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Where's my PUMPKIN?
ME: What pumpkin?
ME: (pointing at our pumpkin figurine up on the windowsill) That one?
MADELEINE: big pumpkin with the TOP with the BLACK TOP that I can hold on to so I can go TRICK-OR-TREATING.

While the girls have had their Halloween costumes picked out since summer, Madeleine took a moment this morning to contemplate what her parents should dress up as.  Since I was planning on wearing my usual orange top and black pants on Halloween, I tried to pass that idea off as a pumpkin costume.  Madeleine would hear none of it.

MADELEINE: Mommy, what should Daddy be for Halloween and what should YOU be for Halloween?
ME: Um...maybe I'll be an orange pumpkin, and I'll wear an orange shirt.
MADELEINE: Um, no... because... you wouldn't have any FEET if you were locked in a ROUND PUMPKIN costume.

Ah.  Wise point, my young witch.

And while she was decked out in her Halloween pajamas for bed last night, before changing out of her clothes, Madeleine was sporting a tee-shirt covered with sparkly ice cream cones.  As I directed her towards the bathroom to brush her teeth last night, I took a moment to sneak some snuggles in:

ME: Okay, Madeleine, it's time to brush your teeth, but first I have to eat this ICE CREAM HERE!!! (grabbing her and pretend chomping on the ice cream on her shirt)
MADELEINE: Um...I'm not ice cream!
ME: But what's on your shirt?
MADELEINE: Um...Ice cream!
ME: It's delicia-rotten.

(Side note for those not in the know: Madeleine refers to ice cream as "delicia-rotten" due to the paradox of enjoying the taste while wincing over the resulting brain-freeze.)
MADELEINE: But...big kids don't say delicia-rotten!
ME: Am I a big kid?
MADELEINE: You're not a KID!
ME: What am I?
MADELEINE:'re're're can get REAL medicine that's in your BEDROOM.

Aha.  So that's what separates the kids from the adults.  The ability to get REAL medicine from our bedrooms.  All this time I thought it was puberty and aging.  Good thing I have Madeleine to set me straight.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Madeleine the Sneak, Julia the Writer

When I got to Madeleine's preschool to pick her up after Lunch Bunch today, she was still in the midst of eating, so I packed up the remainder of her grapes so she could finish up at home.  She hung her head sadly as we left, too full of grief to say good-bye to her teachers, and lamented as we drove home, "Mommy!  I don't WANT to go to our house!  I just want to stay at SCHOOL!"

Luckily, she got over her sorrow shortly after we arrived home, and was even willing to sit at the dining room table to finish her grapes.  I should have known something was up when she announced to me, "Mommy?  I want to pretend my grapes are my DINNER."

In retrospect, I am a true dunce.  This is Madeleine we're talking about.  I okayed her dinner idea without thinking it through.  Of COURSE pretending the grapes were her dinner gave her license to help herself to an Oreo - her "dessert" - afterwards.  Without checking with me, she went and gobbled up a cookie as soon as she had downed her grapes. 

I walked into the dining room to find an empty Oreo wrapper on the table.  Last night, there had been one Oreo left inside.

"Madeleine!" I exclaimed.  "Did you eat an Oreo?"
"Uh-huh!" she responded with glee, smiling at me winningly.  "I was pretending my grapes were my DINNER, and I was pretending my Oreo was my DESSERT!"

It doesn't count as "pretend" if you ACTUALLY EAT the real cookie, though, honey.  At least she fessed up when asked.  If she hadn't, I still would have known she was lying by the tell-tale chocolate marks around her mouth:

I think she felt she was making up for lost time, as last night she opted to spend dinner time playing under the table rather than eating anything.  Even though she had ample opportunity to consume her dinner, she remained uninterested; that is, until we were up in her bed and I was snuggling her after singing her lullaby.  I think it suddenly dawned on her that she had not only missed dinner, but also dessert, and she burst into tears over this fact.  "I want my DINNEEEEER!" she wailed, sobbing on my chest, where she ultimately conked out mid-whimper.  I guess she figured eating the Oreo was her - pun intended - just desserts today.

Unlike her sister, Julia was an excellent eater last night, and earned herself dessert as well as some fresh-baked pumpkin bread.  She ought to have been hungry, after what sounded like a busy day at school.  She happily chattered away to me on the walk home from school about all she had done that day.  (At least I have one child who tells me more than "I like to drink juice" and "I like to play with nothing" in regards to school.)  One of the things Julia was most excited about after school was the fact that the kindergarten class was asked to draw a picture of something they had done over the weekend.  Since our big weekend activity was visiting the Eastern States Exposition ("The Big E") in Springfield, Julia was thrilled to share this with the class.

JULIA: So, Mama, I drew a picture of me standing by the CATERPILLAR roller coaster.
ME: Oh, that was a great idea!
JULIA: (barely able to contain her excitement) And guess what Mama??  We got to SOUND OUT the words.  The teacher said EVEN IF WE DIDN'T KNOW how to write a word, we should try to SOUND IT OUT.
ME: That's great!  And what words did you write?
JULIA: Well, I tried to write ROLLER COASTER, but it was kind of a hard word for me to figure out how to spell.
ME: That is a hard word!  Did you write Big E too?
JULIA: Well, Mama, I didn't think any of the kids in my class really KNOW what the "Big E" is, since I didn't, like, see any kids from my school at the Big E when we were there, so I decided to just write ROLLER COASTER.
ME: And what letters did you write for roller coaster?
JULIA: Well, I think I wrote... "RLCR."
ME: Hey, that's pretty good!  You got the starting and ending letters.  The middle letters are the hard part, but soon you'll learn how to sound those out as well.

Julia had to leave her drawing at school, but I do have a photograph of our time at the Big E, so you can see some actual pictures of her on the caterpillar rlcr:


Monday, September 24, 2012

More Artwork

Madeleine made the following picture while I was practicing some music this afternoon:

While I was able to decipher some of what was going on - the pumpkin in the center of the paper, and the letters of her name, which she had then colored over, for instance - I was curious to hear the picture's whole story.

"Who did you draw here?" I asked, pointing to the blue blobby creature to the right of the page.
"Uh, that's ME," Madeleine reported.
"And who's this?" I asked, pointing to the Frankenstein-headed blue person with no eyes and a ginormous smile down at the bottom right of the page.
"Uh, that's ME," Madeleine answered.
"And who else did you draw?" I asked, waiting for her to explain the orange person to the left of the page.
"Uh, that's a DIFFERENT Madeleine that's ORANGE," she told me.

So.  Let me get this straight.  She not only wrote the name "Madeleine," but then proceeded to draw three Madeleines, as well as a pumpkin.  One of these things is not like the other.

She then got busy coloring in her new dinosaur coloring book from the dentist.  This book is all about Dudley the dinosaur, who has his first trip to the dentist, and learns all about the various tools that will be used on his teeth.  Madeleine, as usual, felt the need to bring her characters to life as she colored.  I was a bit slow on the uptake, much to her frustration.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Why does THIS pumpkin say "HUH?"
ME: Um...I don't know.
MADELEINE: WHAAAAT?!?  I said this PUMPKIN!  Instead of this-this-this-
ME: This dinosaur?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Why does this dinosaur say "HUH?"
ME: I don't know.
MADELEINE: (giggling) Yeah.  That's a DINOSAUR.  Not a pumpkin.
ME: (silence)
ME: What do you want me to say?
MADELEINE: Say "okay!"
ME: Oh.  Okay.

I'm sure none of you will be surprised to see what color Madeleine used on Dudley the dinosaur:

And finally, in other news, Madeleine has given herself a wonderful new nickname. 
"My name is PLOOP!" she announced this morning, sending her sister off into a spiral of uncontrollable giggles.  I'm sure you can just imagine the chaotic hilarity that ensues any time one of the kids uses this nickname.  All it takes is for one kid or another to proclaim, out of the blue, "My name is PLOOP!" to make them both collapse in raucous laughter.

It's too bad she hasn't yet learned to write her new name down.  Then her picture could have had PLOOP written in the middle of it instead of Madeleine.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Drawings, Teachers, and Doctors

Though they haven't watched "The Lorax" for a week or so, the girls are still clearly thinking about their beloved book/movie.  Julia recently drew what appear to be Truffula Trees:

While Madeleine drew the creepy, spidery Truffula trees of death:

Perhaps this is her attempt to draw the world after the Once-ler had destroyed its plants and wildlife.  Chances are greater that it's just Madeleine being her usual goth-artist self, though.

Julia has been busy drawing and writing all sorts of other masterworks as well, which she has been using in her "schoolroom."  Her latest obsession has been to play "school" while she's at home, casting herself as the teacher, and casting any willing participants, be they Madeleine, Ethan, me, or even her baby-sitters, as her pupils. 

Honestly, is anyone really surprised, here?  Is there anyone who didn't assume that Julia would be playing teacher as soon as she started elementary school?

This morning, Miss Julia led her class of one (Ethan) through reading, writing, and math exercises.  Beginning with morning meeting, Julia presented her written greeting to the class, helping Ethan sound out the words:

I'm *guessing* that the morning message presented to Julia's class by her kindergarten teacher is a little more coherent than "Love 33 stop go Lorax Elmo my," but I give Julia an A for effort here.

Next, Julia challenged Ethan to identify various numbers, using her xylophone mallet as a pointer:

Next up was the most exciting activity of all.  Julia displayed the following piece of paper, then waited eagerly as Ethan sat in silence trying to decipher its meaning:

ETHAN: What am I supposed to do?
JULIA: You have to see if you can tell what I drew a picture of!
ETHAN: A flower?
JULIA: (pointing to the first two items with her xylophone mallet) Right!  Tulips!  (pointing to the next item)  And what's this?
ETHAN:  A sun?
JULIA: Right!
ETHAN: And is the last thing an orange?
ME: A moon?
JULIA: Right!  Great job!

The morning meeting concluded with the letter of the day, which was the letter "G."  Ethan's job was to practice writing the letter "G," and then write five words which begin with that letter.  Unfortunately, Ethan decided it was time to start goofing around instead of paying attention.

JULIA: Okay, who wants to try writing the letter "G?"
ETHAN: (grabbing the brown blanket from the couch and hiding underneath it.)
JULIA: Ethan, can you please come out from under that blanket?
ETHAN: But I was having fun.
JULIA: (authoritatively) Well, Ethan, you can have fun when you go out to recess, but now is not the time.

Way to handle your class, Miss Julia.

Madeleine was not a teacher, but she did play the role of doctor last night, giving me a check-up as I attempted to take a rest on the couch.  Even though it was time for the girls to brush their teeth and get ready for bed, Madeleine was too invested in her doctor game to cooperate.

ETHAN: Okay, Madeleine, it's time to brush your teeth.
MADELEINE: Um, no, I can't, because I'm still check-upping MOMMY!

During my check-up, Dr. Madeleine received several phone calls on her pretend doctor cell phone.  Who knew Dr. Madeleine was multi-lingual?:

And with that, I bid you all adieu.  I mean, good-bye, adios, au revoir!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Poems and Costumes

Artwork is not the only thing the girls have brought home from school lately.  Both kids have been reciting poems they learned in their classes; Madeleine's is about an apple tree, in conjunction with her preschool unit on apples, while Julia's is about the math her class has been learning. 

Below, Madeleine recites "Way Up High in the Apple Tree":

She has been so obsessed with this poem that she even felt the need to interrupt her dinner last night - and hold her VERY full bladder - in order to give us the whole presentation once again.

MADELEINE: (standing up on her chair, then thinking better of it) Uh... I better go down here to do it.  (hopping down onto the floor.)
ME: What are you doing?
MADELEINE: (reaching her hands up into the air) Way up high in the apple tree, two little apples smiled at me, (momentarily grabbing onto her crotch and doing a little pee-pee dance wiggle, then returning to the poem's hand gestures), I shook that tree as hard as I could, down came the apples, MMMWERETHEYGOOD (full-out clutching her crotch with a look of panic on her face) Um I have to go to the BATHROOM! (making an emergency mad dash towards the toilet.)

Julia's poems have to do with the correct way to draw the numbers one and two, which is part of her school math curriculum.  My first attempt at videotaping her wound up with Julia bursting into hot, angry tears because Madeleine continued reciting the apple tree poem loudly over Julia's voice.  We tried again, and Julia kept her cool this time, although unfortunately Madeleine wasn't able to pipe down in the background:

Julia has also been learning about the autumnal equinox at school, and was out of her mind with excitement today over the fact that her favorite season is finally approaching.  To add to the thrill, we got to take her too-big Halloween costume to the tailor's this morning, where she stood, dressed as a witch, in front of the mirror and smiling at her reflection, while the tailor made adjustments.   Needless to say, she was a bouncy ball of wild excitement all morning, acting even more ridiculously goofy than ever.  I mean, you know there's no hope for a normal, quiet morning when she decides to sing her favorite line from "The Lorax" while giving my rump some friendly whacks.

JULIA: (patting my bum) Shake that bottom line!
ME: (shaking my bum)
JULIA: Mama?  (giggling.)
ME: Yes?

Oh, dear goodness.  How does one even respond to that?

Julia even went so far in her Halloween excitation as to make herself a mask.  Check it out:


Finally, while this has nothing to do with the thread of the rest of this post, I will leave you with the image of what I saw upon walking into the living room last night.  Leftover evidence of the girls' pretend play game with their dolls.  I'm not sure I even want to know what the game was:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Curriculum Night

Last night, Ethan and I attended Curriculum Night at Julia's school, which was a great opportunity for us to find out what the kindergarten kids are working on in school, what academic goals the teacher sets for the year, and what we parents can do at home to support the lessons the kids are getting in school.  Most exciting of all, for me, was browsing the kindergarten classroom, which, unlike the first day of school, now displays all kinds of work done by the current class of kids.  I enjoyed reading the "wish list" board, on which was displayed each child's wish for what the kids will learn in kindergarten.  Julia's wish was to learn to write more words, and she demonstrated this idea by drawing a picture of herself with words such as "swim," "love," and "stop" circling around her head.  The teacher also displayed the "All About Me" books the class had worked on, and we parents got to not only look through the books, but actually take our child's book home.  I thought you readers all might like a look at what Julia has to say about herself...

Cover Page

 First page

I'm guessing they didn't have a pink marker available, so Julia went for the closest shade she could get...

"She's S years old," Ethan remarked as we turned to this page.

I think she should have followed Madeleine's example and colored her whole hand in black.

Then came the last page, displaying a picture and description of what our child wants to be when (s)he grows up:

Wait.  A waitress!?!  There are a large number of careers I can plausibly see Julia choosing for her future, based on her varied interests.  Lead singer for "The Goldens," a pianist, a fashion model, an actress, a swimmer, a baby-sitter, a mother, and an author are but a few that come to mind.  I have no idea where the desire to be a waitress comes from.  I mean, she doesn't seem interested in serving even her own self.  This is the child that sits on the couch watching tv and yells to me, "MORE MILKIE, PLEASE?" without even bothering to get up and bring me her empty cup to refill.  This is also the child who leaves her empty cups and bowls on the windowsill, or the table, or the living room floor rather than bringing them to the sink when she's finished.  I truly cannot imagine what inspired her to choose a waitress for her future job.  In fact, I was so curious as to what spawned this idea that I felt compelled to ask her more about it.

ME: So, Julia, I was wondering.  What made you decide you want to be a waitress when you grow up?
JULIA: Well, I don't know...maybe just WATCHING other waitresses when we go places.

Well, that's a heck of a compelling argument.  There's not much I can say to counter that.

Madeleine came home from school with her own artwork today, a picture, in her own words, of her two teachers.  I had never noticed how much her teachers resemble Aly Raisman until I saw Madeleine's portrait:

One of her teachers filled me in on a little scrape Madeleine got on her chin today, due to a fall outside on the playground. This led to the teacher telling me all about Madeleine's day, including the fact that Madeleine ate two entire apples - which were intended for tasting purposes for the whole class - because she was so deeply into the apple tasting.  The teacher then informed me: "Madeleine is adorable."

While I will certainly not argue with the fact that my daughter is pretty darn adorable, I have to admit that the pause between the words "so" and "incredibly adorable" felt like the longest seconds of my life.  I sat there quickly running through Madeleine's various characteristics in my head, trying to imagine how to fill in the blank.  "Daring?"  "Klutzy?"  "Brazen?"  "Charismatic?"  "Spirited?"  "Wild and crazy?"  In my outpouring of utter relief upon hearing the teacher call her adorable, rather than some euphemistic term like "incredibly active," I unintentionally burst out with, "Oh, GOOD!"  Yes.  What a moronic response.  "Your daughter is adorable."  "Oh, good."  Not "thank you," not "oh, you're sweet to say so."  I had been bracing myself for something so very different that I could only express my sense of alleviation over Madeleine being called adorable.

Then Madeleine began putting her spitty mouth all over the beach ball globe in the classroom and pretending to blow it up, followed by a whining melt-down over not knowing where her empty juice box and Ziploc bags had gone to, so I decided it was time to sprint us on out of there.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Gymnastics Pictures

When I got home from work yesterday, Julia was waiting with bated breath to show me the picture she had drawn for me.  Holding it out proudly for me to see, she waited while I attempted, with some confusion, to read what was written on it.  Aquarium?  Aquaman?  It wasn't until I looked around at the various gymnasts to realize it said "Aly Raisman":

She had copied the typed letters at the bottom of her souvenir picture of Aly, which she received at our town-wide party honoring the Olympian from Needham.  I like Julia's message of reach-for-the-stars woman power here.  So what if women's gymnastics competitors don't yet perform on rings?  Someday they just might have that opportunity.  And when they do, they're going to STAND IN THE AIR above the rings and DEFY GRAVITY like super-humans!

Madeleine had quietly colored her own gymnastics picture, which she showed to me after I had ackmired Julia's:

Frankenstein gymnastics!  Go, Frankie!

I decided to ask her about her picture to give her a chance to describe what she'd drawn.

ME: Madeleine, what is this a picture of?
MADELEINE: That's the Aly Raisman one!
ME: (pointing to the big green rectangle) And what's that?
MADELEINE: Uh...that's Rapunzel's LONG HAIR.

Good thing I asked instead of assuming.  I had thought it was a balance beam.  I had no idea Rapunzel was in the middle of the gymnastics stadium.

Madeleine has since added to her picture, decorating the empty spaces with Angelina Ballerina stickers, which she newly acquired in a book we picked up at Julia's school book fair.  Parents were invited to visit the school during the time their child's class would be browsing the book fair, and boy, was Madeleine excited to get to participate.  In fact, when I announced it was time to go to Julia's school, Madeleine dashed off towards the back staircase to get a move on towards the car.

MADELEINE: Mommy, is it okay if I go get my shoes on and go down the stairs?  (going into the back entryway, them immediately scampering back inside.)
ME: Did you get your shoes?
MADELEINE: was just going to check if I could put my shoes on, but then a scary DINOSAUR was going to get me.

Those scary dinosaurs in our back  hallway.  Always trying to eat our children.

Once we got to Julia's school, Madeleine was delighted to pick out her very own book (the aforementioned Angelina Ballerina one.)  Julia picked out two easy readers for herself, which she opted to keep at school for the rest of the day and bring home in her backpack.  Madeleine, thinking herself to be a kindergartener now that she had been allowed to briefly join Julia's class, sat down with the rest of the kindergarten kids at the end of their book fair visit.  I was able to coax her back out of the school building by promising to read her new book to her once we got home, although it turns out the new book wasn't the only thing she wanted to bring with us.  "I just want to bring JULIAAAA!" she wailed sorrowfully as we climbed into the car. 

Thankfully, once home, she was quickly absorbed in her new book and in the exciting ballet stickers inside.  And that's not the only artwork she has done today.  She also kept herself busy working in her coloring books, singing songs, as usual, while she colored away:

Rock out while you work, Madeleine!