Thursday, January 30, 2014

Singing Maniacs

The girls have been singing machines tonight, cycling through everything from Paul Simon to Christmas carols.  In the middle of eating dinner, we were all treated to an impromptu concert.  The singing continued well afterwards, making the house a nice, loud center of chaos.

I finally thought to get my camera out and capture one of their songs on camera.  Here they are, singing "Cecilia":

How wonderful that my young daughters are bellowing out the words "making love!" and singing about a man coming back to bed to find someone else has taken his place.  Great influence on my kids, Simon & Garfunkel.  Sheesh.

Now, I know that was a pretty wonderful performance, but I'm not sure anything can top this song that Madeleine made up while playing Barbies:

I am digging this passionate ballad, how about you?  I looooove Jeeeeesus!  I looooove Jeeeeeesus!  Rock ON, Madeleine.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Julia Explores 1784

Julia has been reading a bunch of the "Kirsten: An American Girl" books over the past few weeks, and apparently her interest in these books has inspired her to write her OWN historical novel.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

"Meet Satfier."

JULIA: You know, her name is Satfier, like the shade of red?
ME: Well, a sapphire is blue, actually.
JULIA: Oh.  Wait.  Then is it "Astrid" that's a shade of red?

I honestly have no idea what she is thinking of.

Aaaaanyway, are you ready to find out about Satfier's amazing journey, way back in 1784??
Read on!:

"Satfier's long braid smakt her face in the wind as the horeses pelld the wagon from the long gernie to Texsis from Atlantas.  But Satfier wanted to exsplor the world."

I guess Julia doesn't realize that Texsis was not called Texsis back in 1784, and was not actually a recognized area of land within what is now the USA.  But, hey, the characters are coming from Atlantas, which, as far as I know, is a city that doesn't actually exist, so maybe we can all be free to suspend our disbelief in this story.  I'm ready to find out more about Satfier exsploring the world!

"Finily they reacht Texsis.  'Were are we staying?' ask't Satfier.  'In a cabin made of logs and youv met your casans.  And they live here."

I wonder if their casans are Naduv Amerikans?  Or perhaps Naduv Mexsicans?  Satfier and her family are looking a little too Nordic to be related to those inhabitants of what we now call Texsis back in 1784.  Hmm.

"Satfier's sister Astrid said 'I miss Atlantis.'  'So do I,' said Satfier's other sister Lisbeth."

I think *I* might miss Atlantis too if I had to move from there into the Wild, Wild West before it even was the Wild, Wild West.

And as if Satfier and her family needed any MORE reason to miss Atlantis:

"They reicht the cabin.  All of asuddin, clouds moved in and it got windy.  'It a tornado,' said Mama and Papa."

Oh, NO!  All of asuddin??  It a tornado!  Help!  Run for your lives!!

(I suppose this is terribly perverse of me, but I can't help but think that this picture looks like a belt with hanging off of it.)

Speaking of, Madeleine is holding her own in the category of "my kids and their unintentionally phallic drawings."  She came home from school having made this free art:

ME: Madeleine, what did you make here?
MADELEINE: Oh!  I didn't FINISH it.  It's supposed to be the OUTSIDE.  Outside of town.

Or outside of pants.  Or severed finger.  You decide!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Julia's MLK Day Pledge

Julia brought this classwork home the other day:

"I can make the world a better plase by not litoring."

I love the sentiment, Jules!  I also love the suspense of the drawing she did: a girl is standing by a trash can, looking somewhat solemn, holding a piece of garbage.  Will she or won't she throw it in the trash?  Or will she litor?  I can see the weight of the moral decision upon the girl's face.  (I also really like the fact that Julia is starting to experiment with more advanced facial features in her drawings.  Although I'll miss her cute little dot eyes and semi-circle smiling mouths.)

One thing I find amusingly ironic, however, is the choice of not litoring as Julia's good deed.  One of the items on Auntie Shannon's task list that Julia has yet to master is remembering to throw her wrappers away.  So we have not even conquered "not litoring" within our own house.  But, hey, good intentions, right?  I'm sure we'll eventually move from having the mere intention of not litoring to actually picking up the piece of trash and throwing it in the garbage, don't you think??

Another way in which Julia is making MY world better is by providing me with plenty of new music in our household.  This morning, before school, Julia was an on-the-spot composer, as well as singer, as she played with the Barbie dollhouse.

While I wish I could have captured all of her songs on video, I can at least provide you with a few masterpieces from this morning:

Boxes, boxes, glorious biloxes! 
A floor, a floor, I'd rather be a floor!  (Well, maybe it would be not that comfortable...)

Monday, January 27, 2014

WHAT. THE. ----

So, Madeleine is pooping on the potty right now, with the bathroom door closed (as it always must be when either kid is pooping in there.)

I just popped into the bathroom for a second to get some hand soap.

Madeleine is sitting there on the potty playing a pretend-play game with a toothbrush. 

Just.  Yuck.  That toothbrush is definitely not getting used on anybody's teeth anymore.

Seriously, I understand that kids don't get the concept of bacteria and germs and what not without being explicitly told what is clean and what is not.  But sometimes I've gotta wonder HOW ON EARTH kids can think certain things are okay.  Like, for instance, last week, when Madeleine had just finished wiping her bum BY HERSELF after pooping, then, before washing her hands, exclaimed, "Oh, yum!" and picked up an old pretzel from the bathroom floor and ATE IT.

I repeat.  YUCK.

Aaaaanyway, as much fun as Madeleine is having playing with Mandy (the name she gave the toothbrush in her pretend play game) and no matter how many times she has saved Mandy from some real cliff-hangers ("Maaaaandy!  Hold on!  I've gooooot you!  Hold my hand and I'll saaaaaave you!"), I decided to take the toothbrushes (that's right, it became multiple toothbrushes after awhile) away, after which she suddenly realized she was done.   (Read: she no longer had any fun reason to stay aboard the pot, so she decided it was time to get off, despite the fact that she had physically finished pooping well before she hopped off.)

So.  That all happened.

On another note (literally), Madeleine informed me today that she thinks Angela Lansbury has a nasally voice as Mrs. Potts in "Beauty and the Beast."  Here, on video, Madeleine demonstrated the difference between the nasally singing on the movie and a much more beautiful version:

Sigh.  If only she had decided to sing on the potty, like Julia did for a LONG time last night, instead of playing with toothbrushes...*

*To the other adults living in this house right now, don't worry.  Madeleine's didn't take the toothbrushes we are all CURRENTLY using, which are still in the toothbrush holder.  She took some of our spares out of the bathroom drawer.  So nobody needs to freak out about butt germs whilst brushing his or her teeth tonight.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Replacement Outfit

One of the items I bought for Madeleine this past Christmas is an all-white dress outfit, complete with gold-sequined tutu and white leggings.  The reason behind this purchase was Madeleine's near-daily insistence on wearing her white tennis skirt and white short-sleeved lace tee, in order to look like Emily Binx from "Hocus Pocus."  Since Emily Binx is wearing a white cotton Victorian nightgown in the movie, Madeleine was gung-ho about wearing all white, but as the weather grew colder, her Emily Binx outfit was becoming more and more inappropriate.  So what better present for her than a long-sleeved white dress with long leggings to replace her summery outfit?

Needless to say, Madeleine LOVES her new Christmas gift, and has worn it repeatedly over the past month.  However, she seems to have let go of her determination to actually BE  Emily Binx.

Here she is, all dressed up for church today in her white outfit, compete with purse and microphone:

MADELEINE: Okay, you wanna play "HOCUS POCUS?"  I'll be Ginny the Rock Star!

Yes, let's play "Hocus Pocus."  Great idea, especially seeing as you want to be a character who does not actually exist in "Hocus Pocus."  Just a thought, but maybe we should just play "Ginny the Rock Star" instead.

Madeleine used her microphone the whole way to and from church, singing along to the CD player at amplified volume.  She also made sure to repeatedly hold the microphone too close to her mouth so that it would continually emit an ear-splitting high-pitched squeak. 

Julia had NO tolerance for the microphone.  While I scolded her for not addressing her sister nicely, I can verify that she was speaking for both of us when she snapped, "Madeleine!  STOP DOING THAT.  Right NOW."

Madeleine didn't seem to hold it against Julia, however.  At Sunday school, the kids had to draw a picture of things they're thankful of.

Julia's drawing: me, a hamburger (representing all the food in her life, according to the artist), and our house.

Madeleine's drawing: a balloon, a table, and Julia.

In other art news, Julia has been busy creating Valentines for all the people in her life.  While she has filled out a number of store-bought Valentines for kids in her class, she also got to work on hand-crafting some Valentines for members of our family. 

I think this Valentine might be my favorite:

"You know it, so show it!"

Honestly, was there ever a more apropos Valentine message than that one??  Forget the trite "I love you" messages.  Who needs a Valentine that says something like "For my sweetheart" or "Be mine."  What speaks love more than "you know it, so show it!"??  Julia hit the nail on the head with this one.

I don't know about you, but she has gotten me TOTALLY into the Valentine's Day spirit!  And since I know it, I think I'm gonna show it!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Coloring With Bears

Madeleine spent much of the morning coloring in her Berenstain Bears' Christmas activity book, since the near-Arctic weather is keeping us house-bound.  She has enjoyed designing wrapping paper for the blank presents in the book, matching cookie shapes to cookie cutters, and decorating the table for a holiday feast.

Speaking of, here's a glimpse of the feast she created:

If you're wondering why there's a human head on the table, it's because, according to Madeleine, "Look!  It's a cookie shaped like Jesus!  When he was a GROWN-UP!"

The feast grew even more scrumptious over the course of the day:

From left to right, top to bottom, the samplings are, according to Madeleine: a hair cookie, a dinosaur foot cookie, the Jesus cookie, a swirl cookie, another swirl cookie, and apples in a bowl.

Now, you may notice that Jesus looks a little rosier than He did in the first picture.  Madeleine explains that, as well: "Oh, He got a SUNBURN."

Seriously, this all looks pretty delish.  I don't know about you, but I'd *definitely* be going for the sunburned Jesus first.  Mm-mm-mm!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Creative Play With Mundane Objects

Madeleine is literally playing with a twist tie and a serial number sticker right now.  And she's deeply invested in a pretend play game involving the aforementioned objects.  She's even singing a made up song as she plays with them.  I know, I know, you may be wondering, how much fun stuff is there to actually *do* with a twist tie and a sticker? 

Apparently a lot. 

Here's an excerpt from the conversation Madeleine was making them have:

MADELEINE: You want this?  My grandfather says it's VERY expensive.
ME: Madeleine, what's very expensive?
MADELEINE: Uh, the BLACK thing.  The grandfather says the black thing is VERY expensive.
ME: Whose grandfather says that?
MADELEINE: The AIR'S grandfather.

Oh, boy, even the air is lucky enough to play a character in this riveting game.  Seriously, doesn't it just LOOK like a barrel of fun??:

Next thing I knew, the straw from Madeleine's juice box was getting involved in the game.

MADELEINE: (making the twist tie talk to the sticker) You want a straw?  Yes?  Okay.  Here you go.  Here's a straw:

If you're as confused as I was about what exactly is going on in this pretend game, never fear: I got a concise explanation from the originator of the game herself.

ME: Madeleine.  Can you tell me what's going on with the black thing and the sticker?
MADELEINE: So.  The sticker was a TAG, and it was ATTACHED, because it was at the STORE, and the sticker wanted to buy it, but then the sticker buyed up a DIFFERENT home that was my STRAW.

See?  It all makes perfect sense now!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Task List, and Surprise Gifts

Auntie Shannon recently made a task chart for the girls in order to help them follow through on some of the household chore promises they have made.  Each task that they successfully complete within a given day gets a sticker next to it.  The tasks include everything from cooperating with Mommy in the morning to throwing their wrappers away after eating snacks:

And speaking of throwing wrappers away, Madeleine apparently had that on her mind as I drove her to school this morning.  She sat in silent contemplation in the back car seat for about half the drive, staring pensively out her window.  The quiet was suddenly broken with this announcement:

ME: Yes?
MADELEINE: I think that we should PAUSE the movie when...when...when...when...when I need to get up to go THROW my wrapper away.  Because...if we DON'T pause the movie, I feel I'm left out of the MOVIE when I go to throw my wrapper away.

I assured her that we would, indeed, pause the movie - whatever movie it may be - next time she needs to throw her wrapper away. 

In other news, the girls were recipients of some exciting new gifts today, sent from Blake in New Mexico.  Not only did both girls get a pair of silver and turquoise earrings, but they also received authentic Navajo rattles.  Julia, who loves playing "Native Americans" at school with her friends, was especially excited about the Navajo instrument,  which prompted Madeleine to exclaim, "Boy, Julia, you and Auntie Shannon SURE are into MERICANS!"

Madeleine herself seemed pretty into Mericans, as she delightedly showed off her new shaker to me.

MADELEINE: Mommy!  We got REAL Merican noise-makers!  They were made by REAL Mericans!

Madeleine shaking her Merican noise-maker like a real 'Merican

Shake it, baby, shake it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sunday School and a Play-Date

The girls learned about Guardian Angels at Sunday school yesterday, and each student got to draw an angel picture.

Here is Julia's:

Here is Madeleine's:

Even Madeleine's angels have claw-hands.  I also like the fact that Madeleine took the liberty of extending the "name" line when she ran out of room after her third letter.

In other showings of personality difference, today we went into Arlington to have a play-date with our friends Nate and Anja.  During the ride there, Julia sat in the back seat silently reading the last chapter of her media book, "Kirsten Saves the Day."  Madeleine, meanwhile, sang along innocently to the Simon and Garfunkel songs that were playing on CD, all while wearing her dinosaur mask.

While we were at the play-date, Julia and Nate wound up spending most of the afternoon hanging out in Nate's room, chatting.  Madeleine and Anja, however, got wild and crazy playing with a big cardboard box.

MADELEINE: Anja!  Let's play "Hide 'n Seek.  I mean... let's play Hide in BOX!"
ANJA: Okay!

So the girls literally took turns hiding inside the cardboard box while the other girl looked for her.  Anja was great about pretending to look in various alternative places before finally considering the box.  Madeleine was too eager to get to her next turn in the box.  As soon as Anja called, "Ready!", Madeleine would charge over to the box and rip the flaps open, shouting, "FOUND YA!"

Things got even MORE fun when BOTH girls decided to go in the box together.  Especially when Ethan spun the box in circles with both kids inside:

Madeleine was really heartbroken when it was time to leave.  She pathetically whimpered, "I want Anjaaaa!" the whole drive home.

ME: You really love playing with Anja, huh?
MADELEINE: Yeah, and it was just SO, SO fun playing in that really great BOX!

Can't beat a good box, man.  And once again, I ask: why do we even have toys??  All you really need is a cardboard box, or a sugar bowl, or a toilet paper roll to entertain these kids.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Birthday Party and a New Book

This afternoon, Madeleine got to go to the birthday party of a boy in her preschool class.  Not only did she have a blast at the event, but she got a goody bag loaded with all sorts of cool stuff, including a dinosaur mask.  In fact, Madeleine was so enthralled with the mask that she donned it immediately upon receiving the goody bag, so we said our thank-yous and good-byes at the party with Madeleine as a dinosaur.  As I drove home, Madeleine piped up from the back seat: "I wonder if JULIA will be so surprised when I walk in the house looking like a DINOSAUR!"

I decided to make Madeleine feel extra confident about her costume.

ME: Wait a minute.  Is there a baby DINOSAUR in the back seat of this car??

Apparently Madeleine felt it was urgent to assure me that she was not, in fact, a real dinosaur.

MADELEINE: (pulling the mask off of her face) Mom!  Loooook!
ME: Oh, phew!  It's just Madeleine!  You FOOLED me!  I thought there was really a baby dinosaur in our backseat.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Why did you think it was a dinosaur?
ME: Well, you look so much like a real dinosaur with that mask on.
MADELEINE: Besides Mama.  Come on.  Do dinosaurs even wear SNEAKERS??

Man, she's got a good point there.  How gullible could I possibly be, thinking she was a real dinosaur when she was wearing sneakers?  I mean, if there was any one blaring fact to prove that Madeleine was not an actually dinosaur, that would be it.  Forget the fact that dinosaurs are extinct, or that I actually watched Madeleine put the dinosaur mask on in the first place.  The sneakers were the REAL give-away.

She does make a convincing dinosaur, don't you think?:

Among the other treats in the goody bag were some Silly Bandz, whose shapes momentarily eluded Madeleine.  You can see one of the bracelets in the above picture, on the edge of the table, but for clarity here's a closer shot:

MADELEINE: Mama?  WHAT is this supposed to be??
ME: It's a dragonfly.
MADELEINE: Oh!  Mama.  First I thought it was a STAR.  Then I thought it was a WEIRD THING.  Then I thought it was a DRAGONFLY.

Yeah, I can see why she thought it was a weird thing.  That would have been one of my first guesses, too.

Anyway, while we were away at the party, Julia had been busy reading and writing back at home.  She is currently on a big American Girl kick, and has taken out several American Girl library books from school over the past few weeks.  Clearly, she has been influenced by the family-tree-like cast of characters on the first page of each book:

As you can see, Julia took a similar approach in her newest book, entitled
A Christmas and Valintine Day Steiler
by Julia Rowe

Inside cover:
Meet our karicters
Mereine, Kristeine, Eleine, Mama, Papa, Alora, Crissy, Ant Chloe and Unkel John

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out more about Unkel John.

This book is still in its infancy, but I'll share the first page with you all:

"Kristeitne was siting on her bunk.  A lamp was ajar from Mereine's head.  'Thar is no inchanter hew makes it Christmas and Valintines Day at the same time and thar is no one who takes it away,' Kristeitne said."

ME: Hey, Julia, I have a question.  What do you mean by "a lamp was ajar from Meriene's head?"
JULIA: (beaming with pride) Like, the lamp was hanging above her head.
ME: Oh.  Do you know what ajar means?
JULIA: (faltering) What?
ME: It means open.  Like a door can be left ajar.
JULIA: (sheepish) Um...oh...
ME: It's okay!  I just wondered if you knew what it really means.  I'm impressed that you have even heard of such a big word!
JULIA: (regaining her pride) Well, come on, it's in Harry Potter ALL THE TIME!

At any rate, the book is still a work-in-progress, but I'm already hooked.  I can't wait to find out more about this inchanter and what will happen with Kristeitne and Mereine in their bunk beds.  And I especially can't wait to meet Unkel John.

I will leave you with the following exchange between Ethan and Madeleine, which occurred just as Ethan finished wiping Madeleine's bottom and Madeleine attempted to rise up out of her toe-touching position in the bathroom.

ETHAN: Watch your head, honey.
MADELEINE: (still trying to stand)
ETHAN: (trying to prevent her from bonking her head on the edge of the bathroom counter.)  Madeleine.  Watch your head.
MADELEINE: I can't watch my HEAD! face is on my FACE.

Yeah, Daddy.  She CAN'T watch her head.  Because her face is on her face.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Outfits and Artwork

Auntie Caitlyn suggested this blog needs a "The Many Fashion Statements of Madeleine Rowe" posting, so here is a great collection of the various styles Madeleine has been sporting lately:

Does this kid have an innate sense of high fashion or WHAT?

And what better to pair along with Madeleine's colorful and eclectic clothing style than a recent selection of her free art?

According to Madeleine, this is a picture of the My Little Pony Rarity.  While she may look as if she's been hypnotized by some sort of demonic power, Rarity is simply expressing her delight over the fact that "This looks really Christmasy."

Madeleine next decided to draw Pinkie Pie:
The original text, as requested by Madeleine, was something along the lines of "Ah!  Wait a sec.  This is HOGWARTS!  Jingle bells, jingle bells, fa la la la laaa, la la la la.  Merry Christmas!  Three cheers for Christmas!"

I decided to shorten the message as I spelled words for her, for the sake of both of our time.  The text still makes about just as much sense in its abbreviated version as it made in full, don't you think?

Madeleine describes her above drawing as:

"It's a princess and then it's Ginny.  Um, um, they're turning RED, because of Ginny's Red Power that made the REAL princess get all red and be hot forever."

So.  Ginny is turning the princess red and hot forever.  Hmm.  Kind of like she's casting the princess into the flames of Hell.  Madeleine, you yourself are the princess of creepy imagery, that's for sure.

Wondering what these voo-doo mummies might be?  Madeleine explains.
"Oh, it's a girl that is turning into ice, and she's saying, 'Oh, this one looks a little too much banded.  So I'm gonna try to FIX it,' and then she turns into ICE and does this: (standing frozen.)  The brown thing is something that you hang CLOTHES on.  So, so, so they won't get messed up."

And finally, there is the portrait that Madeleine made at school of this lovely girl with earrings.  I especially dig the use of various shapes throughout the girl's face.  It's like a piece of cool, geometrical modern art:

Julia has moved beyond the days of outrageous outfits, and has become quite the stylish first-grader:

Similarly, her own art and writing work has become more sophisticated, especially her poetry.  And you will all be glad to know that she was able to triumph over the disaster that was her Aurora boreiols poetic attempt.  Here, on a new, clean piece of paper, Julia was able to recreate her title and add a poem and illustration:

Arora Boreiolos
When its in the sky
I know no one will cry

Now THAT was moving.  If only I could see an arora boreiolos. I'd LOVE it if no one will cry!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Auntie Shannon's New Bed

Yesterday afternoon, Auntie Caitlyn came over for a visit, enjoying one of her last free afternoons before she's back in full swing with her winter semester.  Madeleine was thrilled to see her auntie, so much so that the thought of being put to bed by her boring old mom was intolerable.  After lots of tears, Madeleine was able to accept a compromise: Auntie Caitlyn would read Madeleine her bedtime stories, then Mommy would do the rest of bedtime so as to avoid the typical manic chattering goofiness that abounds when Madeleine is with her aunties.

All seemed well.  Until Auntie Shannon decided to accompany Auntie Caitlyn in Madeleine's bed.  Madeleine simply couldn't handle the change to her agreed-upon plan.  There was NO AUNTIE SHANNON in the plan.  And when Madeleine gets her heart set upon something, she takes no pity on the poor innocent family members she's going to offend. 

Luckily, Auntie Shannon decided to ignore Madeleine's protests that she only wanted Auntie Caitlyn in her bed.  Furthermore, Auntie Shannon decided to push Madeleine's buttons by telling her that the bed was no longer Madeleine's.  It was heretofore Auntie Shannon's new bed.

AUNTIE SHANNON: Oh, I just love my new bed!
MADELEINE: (on the verge of freaking out) No, no, no, this is MY BED!
AUNTIE SHANNON: I can't wait to go to sleep tonight in my new bed!
MADELEINE: Um, no, no, Auntie Shannon, this is MY-
AUNTIE SHANNON: (fake snoring)
MADELEINE: (thinking fast on her feet and moving her face close to Auntie Shannon's ear) COCK-A-DOODLE DOOOOOOOO!

Once her bedtime intruder and her bedtime story-reader had been cleared out, Madeleine was ready for me to do her prayer and lullaby with her.  But *I* wasn't ready to let go of the fact that Madeleine had been rude to one auntie.

ME: Madeleine, you know what?  It's not okay to tell Auntie Shannon that you don't want her in your bed.  That hurts her feelings.  And you know what?  Auntie Shannon isn't going to be living with us forever.  She's going to get her own apartment and move away, so you won't GET to see her every day anymore, before too long.

My guilt trip totally backfired on me.

MADELEINE: Well, GOOD, because, Mama, did you know that Auntie Shannon is saying that this is HER bed not MY bed?

So I tried another tactic.

ME: You know, Auntie Shannon may find an apartment that's far away from here.  You might not get to see her that often once she moves.  So you better be nice to her and appreciate her while she's here.
MADELEINE: (delighted) So we get to go FAR, FAR AWAY on a plane to go on vacation to VISIT her??

So I gave up and simply told Madeleine she needs to apologize to Auntie Shannon for her rude behavior.

Apparently, however, the whole concept of a new bed has stuck in Madeleine's brain, because she came up with the following song while playing with her American Girl doll, Saige, today:

Finally, on a totally different note, the kids and I just had the following exchange while eating dinner:

MADELEINE: (struggling to cut up something on her plate) Ugh!  Mommy!  I want to just try a BITE of my green pepper to see if I like it, but I can't cut it UP!
JULIA: Here, I'll help you (getting Madeleine a little bite)
MADELEINE: (eating her bite) Uck!  It tastes like WREATH.
ME: Like wreath??  What do you mean?
JULIA: (jumping in to crack the code) Like a coral wreath??

Man, these kids.  Are they with the program or WHAT??

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Since WELL before Christmas, both girls have fallen prey to the various commercials aimed at children, to the point that any time a toy commercial comes on the television, both kids shout "This is on my wish list!"  It really doesn't matter how stupid the toy seems to be.  A pillow that lights up while you're trying to fall asleep?  "THIS IS ON MY WISH LIST!"  A form of silly putty that you can actually chew?  "THIS IS ON MY WISH LIST!"  Glow-in-the-dark tub toys?  "THIS IS ON MY WISH LIST!"

Well, Madeleine has taken the wish list thing to a whole new level today.  It seems that the moment a commercial airs, before she even has a chance to understand what product is being advertised, Madeleine SIMPLY.  MUST.  HAVE.  IT.

Today, during an infomercial-like ad for a multi-purpose vegetable chopper/dicer/slicer, Madeleine got started.

MADELEINE: This is on my wish list!
ME: It is?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Yes!
ME: Why??
MADELEINE: Uh, because, you cut vegetables with it.  And it's SHARP.

(Need I remind anyone of the fact that Madeleine almost universally HATES vegetables?)

ME: Well, honey, this item is really for grown-ups.  It's not a toy that kids can play with.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  It's on my wish list because I'm gonna give it to DADDY.  And to you.  It's what I'm gonna get for you and Daddy!

Oh, I see.  Now her wish list items extend to gifts she wants US to buy and pay for for OURSELVES.  Interesting.

A few moments later, a commercial about toilet training came on.  The ad was for pull-ups.


Um.  For real?  Are you kidding me?

ME: Madeleine, why do you want pull-ups on your wish list?? 
MADELEINE: Uh, no, uh, THAT'S on my wish list (gesturing vaguely at the television screen.)

I'm still not 100% sure which thing from the commercial set is on her wish list.  The toilet, perhaps?  The toddler?  The entire bathroom and its decor?  At any rate, the wish list thing seems to boil down to a simple impulse reaction at this point.  MADELEINE WAAAAAANT.

Julia, alternatively, is focusing less on things and more on concepts.  She came home from school with the following fill-in-the-blanks poem about peace:

Peace is like a home.
Peace looks like saying sorry.
It sounds nice and it can be friendly but,
Peace is always the same.

It's interesting to me that Julia is now experimenting with drawing lips on her girls, rather than her typical sunny and cheery half-circle smiles.  The end result is that these girls look kind of like teenage vampires, a sort of ironic icon to go along with a poem about peace.

Who knows, maybe Julia is trying to match her little sister in creepy supernatural-esque character drawings...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Different Sort of Morning

Auntie Caitlyn, back in Boston after a vacation, and ready to start her next semester of school, came over for a visit last night.  Since she was planning to spend the night, and since I needed to be into Julia's school early in the morning to take some photographs for the school yearbook, Caitlyn agreed to take Madeleine to preschool for me while I was off taking pictures.

We made Madeleine aware of this plan as we got ready for bed last night.

ME: Madeleine, can you say good-night to Auntie Caitlyn?
MADELEINE: (hiding under her blanket)
ME: Come on, say good-night.  And besides, I have to tell you something.  Auntie Caitlyn is going to take you to school tomorrow!  You'll have to show her where your classroom is and where you hang your backpack and everything.
AUNTIE CAITLYN: Yeah, Madeleine, will you show me the ropes?
MADELEINE: have a COAT, and Julia only has ONE robe.
ME: The ROPES, honey.  Show her the ropes.  And that just means showing her the regular routine for school drop-off.

Glad we cleared that one up.

So Auntie Caitlyn brought Madeleine in this morning while I went into Julia's classroom to take a bunch of shots of her classmates at work.  Ever vigilant and worried about being mistaken for a rule-breaker, Julia made sure to loudly, repeatedly announce, the entire time we walked through the halls, "MOMMY, YOU'RE HERE TO TAKE PICTURES FOR THE YEARBOOK!" 

Good thing she made that public knowledge, because I'm sure otherwise everyone would have wondered what sort of crazy human being I was to walk with my daughter down the halls of her school.  Sheesh.  Talk about LIVING ON THE EDGE.  It sure was wild and rebellious of me to try to pass as a parent who WASN'T there to take yearbook photos and who was merely walking her daughter to her classroom.

At any rate, the photographing went well, as did Madeleine's drop-off, and now that Madeleine is home from school, she has decided that her outfit needed a serious make-over.  Ditching the dress and tights she wore to school, she instead threw on the blue plaid apron from our Dorothy dress-up costume.  No matter that the apron is intended to be worn OVER a white blouse, and without it, Madeleine is walking around with her upper back and chest mostly exposed.  She felt like a fashionista, and that was enough to satisfy her.  ESPECIALLY when she also donned a winter hat and some ballet shoes:

Ooh, la la!

Happily dressed as an urban ballerina Dorothy, Madeleine then sat down to enjoy a Mario Kart Wii game with Auntie Caitlyn, in which Auntie Caitlyn alone drove the race car and Madeleine, truly believing herself to be in control of the car, wildly turned the steering wheel left and right and exclaimed over all the amazing things Caitlyn she herself was doing.

I'm beginning to suspect she might be a genius.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Creativity Abounds

Just as I was getting out of bed around 6:45 this morning, Madeleine came bursting into my bedroom with an urgent announcement.

MADELEINE: I reeeeally need to go pee!
ME: Okay.  Let's go.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Is it morning?
ME: Yup.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!  I thought it was still SEVEN-THIRTY!
ME: Nope, it's morning.  C'mon, let's go downstairs.
MADELEINE: (babbling at me as we walked downstairs and into the bathroom) Yeah.  I thought it was still seven-thirty, because it looked a little bit DARK out.  But then I realized I needed to go pee.  But...I thought you were going to be ANGRY.  And Mama?  Did you see me TREMBLING?
ME: No, I didn't.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  I was TREMBLING, because...I didn't know where the bathroom was in the dark.
ME: Oh, boy.
MADELEINE: And Mom?  Did you know I was going like THIS? (making gulping sounds)
ME: Uh, no, I didn't.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  I wonder why my heart was BEEPING so fast.

I don't know about you, but my heart is always beeping hard in my chest when I think it's still seven-thirty and I realize I need to go pee but I'm trembling because I can't find the bathroom in the dark, too.  I feel ya, Madeleine.

In other news, Julia worked on some new poems yesterday, about all manner of things, including a period.  (I'm assuming she means the punctuation, not the menstrual flow, but maybe it's an artistic double entendre!)


Fat littel peireid
Veary veary stubern
It dosant play becuce it has no way to play
So don't ask a peireid to play.


Julia also wrote this slightly disturbingly sad poem:

Why Say By?
by Julia Rowe

Why say by?
Why say by?
If you love someone it could make you start to cry.
So why say by?

Apparently Madeleine was so influenced by the two houses Julia drew on the front and back page of this poem that she decided to defile Julia's next poem-in-progress:

When Julia caught Madeleine in the act of drawing the above house, it was MAJOR tears.  How DARE Madeleine draw on a nearly blank piece of paper??  Shouldn't she know that if the top of the page says "Aurora Borieols" it means Julia was planning to write a poem about an aurora borealis on that paper?  MADELEINE RUINED EVERYTHING.

Not to mention Madeleine also did this unwelcome illustration on another of Julia's papers:

So.  We got Madeleine her own blank paper, and she set to work on her own poems and illustrations.  Fans of Madeleine's Zombie-Apocalypse artistic style: you will be glad to know that she did not disappoint.

MADELEINE:  (after writing her name) Uh, Auntie Shannon?  How do you spell "said?"
MADELEINE: (writing the letters) Okay.  So.  Now, how do you spell "I did my sunscreen so now I'm all good and we can go swimming at the pooool!"?

Needless to say, we couldn't fit all that text.  So we have the nice caveman-like dialogue to go with the clawed O-mouth zombie figures marching towards us: "I did sunscreen."

Then there was this poem:

MADELEINE: Uh, Julia, how do you spell: "No, no SHOW it, not blow it!"?

I don't know which creature is more frightening to me.  The orange Frankenstein-chicken hybrid looks like he's going to slowly and methodically march off the paper and come trample me.  But the pink claw-handed possessed bug-eyed woman is totally going to suck out my soul.  I don't want to show it OR blow it.  I want to go hide.

Madeleine eventually gave up on writing text to go with all her illustrations, so we are free to interpret what the following characters are saying.

My interpretation: "We are coming to pierce you with our long sharp pitchfork hands and feet, and while we're at it, we're going to hypnotize you with our red eyes of FIRE."  Or something like that.

"We are the zombie-ghosts of a long-ago married couple who have been roaming the earth sucking out peoples' souls and turning them into ZOMBIE-GHOSTS just like us MWAHAHAHAHA WOOOOOOOOOOO!"

And then there's this one:

I am at a loss for words over this demon-possessed voodoo monster.