Thursday, February 27, 2014

Madeleine Art and More

Madeleine went on a binge-drawing rampage yesterday, churning out illustration after illustration for her own book she was making.  Some of the pages have text; after tiring of having me spell for her, letter by letter, the text she wanted, Madeleine eventually asked me to simply write the words she dictated to me.  In any case, these are some of Madeleine's most detailed - and random - drawings to date.

Here they are, complete with background story and explanations:

MADELEINE: That's Cecilia, and she was playing a game called "Chick Chick Cheddars."

Whatever "Chick Chick Cheddars" may be is left for us to imagine, or interpret, based on what we see in the picture.  I guess the green and orange circles in the air are the chick chick cheddars??

The next pictures tell a story, presented in a set of three illustrations:

MADELEINE: Okay, so she's on the DIVING BOARD, and she's getting ready to JUMP into the water.

MADELEINE: So, she's saying 'Ahhh!' because she's falling and then her teacher ZOOMED in.

MADELEINE: So Mom, now they're in the water and they're just all SOBBING wet.  She and her teacher are SOBBING wet.

Whew!  I'm so glad that teacher ZOOMED in and saved the day, and now they're just both happily swimming in the pool and getting all sobbing wet.

Madeleine's next drawing veered off towards the fantasy movie zone:

MADELEINE: So, that's Ginny, and that's her CAPE that she got from the movie "Frozen."

Ohh.  I would have thought it was her cape from Hogwarts.  I didn't know we could mix-and-match elements from various movies we've seen.  This is going to make EVERYTHING so much more interesting!  Now, if only Lego Batman from "Lego Movie" could make an appearance in Ginny's picture, it would just be a hodgepodge of fun!

The next drawing had a lot of little details that Madeleine was keen to point out:

MADELEINE: So.  This is ELIZABETH, and her mom is saying, "Honey, dinner's ready!" and Elizabeth's mouth is all red because she was eating some RED candy.  And...she's saying GOOD-BYE to the doorknob.
ME: Why is she saying good-bye to the doorknob??
MADELEINE: Uh, because...I guess she thought it was her TEACHER.  Isn't that silly?  She doesn't know it's a doorknob.  She thinks it's her TEACHER! 
ME: That IS silly.
MADELEINE: And Mom, look, it's sunny outside but only a LITTLE bit because the sun is PEEKING OUT from behind the gray clouds."

I definitely think Madeleine made sure not to leave a single detail un-noticed in this picture.  I'm loving the protruding doorknob.  No wonder Elizabeth thought it was her teacher.

Next, we move on to the following picture:

MADELEINE: So.  Her daughter is HELPING her mom take off her glove, because her mom put on her SILLY GLOVE and she needs to get it off.

I'm loving those directional arrows, Madeleine.  Even without the daughter in the picture, we can see which way the glove needs to go.   I'm not sure what the pink swirls coming from the mom's head like supsersonic brain waves are supposed to be, however.

Finally, Madeleine has a nice, jolly, seasonal picture, about which she apparently had a change of heart since first asking me to write the text for her:

MADELEINE: Um, this is Ally, and she's decorating her Christmas tree.
ME: I thought it was Stacey.
MADELEINE: Um, no, it's ALLY.

Oh.  Good thing she had me write "Stacey was putting ornaments on the tree."  Oh well.

Now, in more Madeleine news, we had a little discussion at bedtime about the various characteristics she enjoys in both of her parents.

MADELEINE: Daddy is the SILLIEST one in our family!
ME: Do you just think that Daddy is so hilarious?
MADELEINE: Daddy is TOO hilarious!  I'm gonna give him the name "TOO hilarious."
ME: And what is Mommy like?
MADELEINE: She's so SWEET, and LOVING...maybe a little TOO loving.
ME: Too loving?  How am I too loving?
MADELEINE: Well, you're always coming over and ATTACKING me and Julia when we're doing something.
ME: Attacking you?  How do I attack you?
MADELEINE : Like, you're always just PICKING us up when we're DOING something, and then we sit there and we siiiiit there because you want us to give you SNUGGLES.

What, that's not super fun for you, Madeleine?  You don't like having to interrupt your game just because I'm feeling the love and need some big squeezy hugs and kisses?  Sure, when you want Mommy, it's all hang all over Mommy, drape your body over her, wrap your arms around one of her legs so she can barely take a step, but NOOOO, when Mommy wants hugs in return, you...uh...graciously comply even though you secretly want to get back to your game.  Okay, I guess I'll take it!

And finally, speaking of being too loving, Madeleine once again didn't want to let me go after I sang her a lullaby last night.  She kept begging me to stay and snuggle her, but when she proved to be too wired to actually fall asleep with my presence, I decided it was time to cut the cord.

ME: Okay, I'm gonna go now, honey.
MADELEINE: (grabbing my arm tightly) Please stay.
ME: Why do you want Mommy to stay?
MADELEINE: (holding up her cow lovie) Uh...COWIE wants you.  Because...I have to keep look-out, because if you leave, Cowie will be up to no GOODNESS.

That crazy Cowie.  Always up to no goodness, making Madeleine stay awake as look-out.  I guess Madeleine is kind of a failure as look-out, however, because literally two minutes after I made my leave, Madeleine was out like a light, Cowie be darned!

Okay, I'm off to spend the rest of my day being sweet and maybe a little TOO loving.  'Til next time! 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet Ganet

Julia continues on her American Girl kick, and this time, she has not only started a new American Girl novel, but she has created a WHOLE series of historical characters.  On the inside book cover, she lists them, just as all the American Girl books do:

1776: Ganet (don't be confused by the spelling; this is pronounced "Janet.")
1905: Camila
1859: Sandi (that's a really authentic 1859-ish name, if you ask me!)
1825: Terisa

Julia was so excited about this set of American Girl characters that she came up to show it to me as I was getting dressed this morning.  "Mom?" she asked me.  "So, which American girl do you think you'll LIKE the best?" 

It's kinda hard for me to tell just based on their names, eras, and portraits.  They all kind of look like horses to me.  I took a gamble and told her I think I'll like Ganet best.

Which is good, because the first book Julia has started is:

Meet Ganet

(JULIA: Mom?  I made Ganet live in 1776, the YEAR after Felicity, because now that I read Felicity, I kind of, like, KNOW how they talked and what it was like back then.  Like, when I wrote my first American Girl book, I didn't know that they said "aye" and "tis" back then, but NOW I know.)

True to the actual American Girl books, Julia included a "cast & characters" page before the story begins, so we can learn more about Ganet and her family.

Family: Papa, Mom, Ganet, Madisin  (again, totally authentic name for the time period, right??), Jack

Friends: Seima, Gracie, Marrian, Nikel

I'm still trying to figure out whether Nikel is a dolphin, a dog, or a horse.

The story of Ganet looks promising so far, even though Julia is only a few pages in. 

Pg. 1:

Chapter 1.  Cleining Day

"Ganet Milyer was in her tree hose with Seima the cat.  It was cleining day.  'No ONE will find me now' she wisperd lodly.  On cleining day she had to do all her chores.  She did not like to do her chore's so she had made a tree hose.  This made it so no wone wold find her."

Did Ganet *just* make the tree hose right then?  If so, that was some fast handiwork!  And it's awfully sneaky of her to be hiding out instead of doing her chore's.  I mean, no ONE really likes cleining, but we all gotta chip in, right?

Pg. 2:

"Ganet wher are you?'  It was Ganets sister Madisin.  'Ganet, Mama wants you,' she yelld.  Ganet thoht Madisin tolk thig's to suiruly."

Yeah, suiruly, what's UP with you, Madisin?  Stop tolking thig's so suiruly!  Let Ganet hide away in her tree hose for a bit.  After all, she JUST built it.  Instead of expending her energy cleining, she chose to build a tree hose to be lazy in.

Pg. 3:
"I'll tell Mama Ganet,' so Ganet had no chiose but to go with Madisin.  'Wewe wer you?' she demanded.  (JULIA: Mom?  Did you know I wrote "wewe" on PURPOSE, because Madisin is LITTLE and she says "where" like "wewe?")  'I was piking appel's,' she said.  Mama was stiring porig.  'Ganet plese pick some appels,' 'I alredy did Mama,' said Ganet."

O.M.G.  Is Ganet lying to her Mama?  Poor Mama, working so hard stiring porig, while Ganet was just out chillaxin' in her tree hose.  Suiruly, Ganet, give your Mama some respect here!

Unfortunately, it was time to head off to school so Julia had to stop her story there, but she is sure to continue once she gets home this afternoon.  I can't wait to hear more about Ganet and her life in 1776, and I especially can't wait to read about people saying "aye" and "tis!"  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Gallop Time

It has been well-established on this blog that Julia loves to gallop.  And by gallop, I don't mean just a simple carefree gallop around the backyard.  Her galloping, for those who haven't seen it, is a complete ritual, in which she gallops from the living room, through the dining room, into the kitchen, touches the kitchen cabinet with her hand, then turns and gallops back through the dining room, into the living room, and touches the living room window sill with her hand.  Then repeats the whole process again. 

Julia loves what we affectionately refer to as "Gallop Time," because, as you may have read on past blog posts, "Anything can happen!"  And by that, Julia means that she likes to get lost in fantastical imagination while she gallops.  The subject of her imaginings varies.  Sometimes she inserts herself into the world of Harry Potter and company.  Other times she creates her own imaginary characters as she gallops.  Heck, she even constructed a whole alt-universe kindergarten class last year, complete with names and physical descriptions of the kids she made up.  And all of this goes on silently in her head while she gallops, a smile on her face and a faraway look in her eyes, thumping along back and forth, back and forth between the two rooms.

When it's early in the morning, we don't allow Gallop Time, out of courtesy for our downstairs neighbor.  If Julia can't gallop, she will resort to jumping on the couch in order to do what she calls "my thinking."

Well, it turns out Julia has another outlet for her "anything can happen!" thinking time as well.

JULIA: (as we were heading out the door to school) Mommy?  Did you know that since I can't gallop at school, or, like jump on the COUCH, I have ANOTHER thing I do when I want to THINK about things?
ME: What do you do?
JULIA: Well, did you know that when I'm swinging on the swings, I do my thinking like I do when I gallop??

I did, indeed, know that, especially since Julia announced to me yesterday, on our way home from school: "Mom, did you know that I spent the WHOLE recess swinging on the swing, and I didn't even do anything else, because I guess I was just TOO BUSY thinking about Harry Potter!"

Apparently Julia's body needs to be in some sort of motion in order to do her thinking.  I mean, perhaps she's able to do SOME thinking when she's sitting still, but I guess ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN only when Julia is in motion.  Therefore, I can see why the galloping, jumping, and swinging is preferable.  After all, mere thinking is boring if anything CAN'T happen, but if anything CAN happen, it's kind of hard to resist, right?

Meanwhile, Madeleine has not been swinging at school, as her preschool has no swing set, but she has been catching up with her friends and teachers after the school vacation.  Today, during Share Time, Madeleine told the class about going to see the "Lego Movie."  And "Frozen," which actually happened months ago, not over February vacation, but maybe her Elsa/"Let it Go" singing is so ingrained in her brain that she literally feels like she re-watched "Frozen."

Here is Madeleine's project based on her share:

The figure on the right-hand movie screen is WyldStyle from "Lego Movie," and I have to say, that's really not a bad rendition!  What do you all think?:

Madeleine's artistic prowess continues to amaze me.  I mean, it's kind of like she sits down with a crayon and a blank piece of paper, and thinks, "Anything can happen!"

Let the creativity continue to flourish, my daughters, in whatever form it may!

Monday, February 24, 2014

There Are No Words...

So, Madeleine managed to wear two pairs of underwear simultaneously today, and didn't even realize it until 2pm.  Given that she obviously must have gone on the potty between getting dressed in the morning and her potty visit at 2 in the afternoon, it's a bit stupefying to me that it took her that long to discover the redundant pair of undies.

Then again, when I consider how easily distracted she gets when on the potty, I guess I'm not THAT surprised.  This evening, when she was supposed to be doing a very QUICK poop on the potty (partly because it was past bedtime, and party because Julia was waiting HER turn to get on the pot), Madeleine got herself wrapped up in embodying the character of Elsa from "Frozen."  This was going on for about five minutes behind the closed bathroom door before I even bothered to get out my video recorder:

I mean, that was some SERIOUS passion she threw into her singing.  No wonder she's too busy to notice things like two pairs of underwear.

At any rate, once she was FINALLY done and up in her bed, Madeleine didn't seem capable of turning her brain off for the night.  It was question after question as I attempted to give her some post-lullaby snuggles.  And the questions led to some REALLY out-there commentary, let me tell you.

Just a sampling of the babbling she did before I gave up on calming snuggles and left her to fall asleep on her own:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  What does "epic" mean again?
ME: It means, like, really huge and important.  Why?  Where did you hear that?
MADELEINE: Because two times Cheese Sandwich on "My Little Pony" says "Epic?"  Because he thinks the party and anniversary are going to be BIG and EXCITING!
ME: Yeah, well big and exciting are two other words you can use to describe what "epic" means.  It means like, really huge, important, exciting.
MADELEINE: So Mom.  If I say to you: "James and the Giant Peach" in LOWER-CASE letters, I would say to you "James and the Gi-...James and the... EPIC Peach."  Yeah, because it's big and GIANT!  But...what it's really called is in UPPER-CASE letters.

What an Einstein this kid is.  She is totally on the ball with her idea that "JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH" = "james and the epic peach."  From where does she GET this rocket-science brain powers??

Then we moved on to this topic:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Why when Loula came to our church was she asking Julia all kinds of QUESTIONS about church?
ME: Because they don't really know much about our church.  They don't go to our church, and they don't really live very nearby our church.  They came that day because they were visiting their Yiayia for the weekend.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!  But Mom?  I wonder which one is their Yiayia.
ME: She has short red hair, and she sings up in the choir with me.  Her name is Evelyn.
MADELEINE: Oh!  Yes.  I know that.  But...I know TWO Evelyns.
ME: That's right.  There ARE two Evelyns in the choir.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  They're TWINS!

Yup, Madeleine nailed that one.  Hi, I'm Evelyn, and this is my twin sister Evelyn.

ME: Yes, there are two Evelyns in the choir and they both have red hair.
MADELEINE: Yeah, and...and...and I get MIXED UP about which ONE.  Sometimes, I think...I think...I think they're the SAME.  I think that this Evelyn NEAR the other Evelyn and they're just ONE Evelyn.  Like I don't know which one is the Evelyn on the LEFT.

That just blew my mind, man.  Made PERFECT sense.

Wow.  I'm gonna have some heavy thoughts as I attempt to get MYSELF to sleep tonight.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Madeleine Follows Suit

I told you Julia's spring fashion trends were going to catch on! 

Just look at how Madeleine opted to dress for the afternoon.  And evening.  And while watching "Harry Potter 7" in a completely dark living room.  And while eating dinner.  This trend is so catchy, Madeleine found it impossible to live without her sunhat and glasses!:

In fact, even when surrounded by a family of UN-behatted people, none of whom was wearing sunglasses (although at least Ethan's regular glasses offered her some solidarity), Madeleine held fast to her fashion choice:

Madeleine was so fond of her ensemble that she even made up a song about it when sitting down to dinner:

Now that BOTH my little fashionistas have been spotted sporting these spring/summer trends, I suspect there will be MANY more jumping on the sunhat and sunglasses bandwagon!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Haircut

Auntie Shannon offered to give Julia a haircut sometime today, by which Julia assumed to mean right that instant

The morning went something like this:

JULIA: Auntie Shannon?  Are you going to give me my haircut yet?
AUNTIE SHANNON: Not yet, honey.  I need to rest for a little bit.  I promise I'll do it later.

Two minutes later

JULIA: Auntie Shannon?  Is it time for my haircut yet?
AUNTIE SHANNON: Honey, I just told you. I need to rest for a little bit first.

Two minutes later

JULIA: (sighing with exasperation) But WHEN are you going to do my HAIRCUT?
AUNTIE SHANNON: I promise you I'll do it later.  But you need to stop asking about it now.

Five minutes later

JULIA: Auntie Shannon, am I doing a good job NOT ASKING?
AUNTIE SHANNON: Not asking what?
JULIA: Not asking about my HAIRCUT!

At long last, Julia got her promised haircut, and we have all been admiring her shorter locks all day long.  Even Madeleine can't seem to resist commenting on Julia's 'do.

MADELEINE: (in the middle of dinner) I just CAN'T get off of my minds of her haircut!

Aha!  I *knew* it.  Madeleine has not one mind, but multiple MINDS.  She apparently lives in more than one mental plane.  No wonder she comes up with the most random thoughts and comments.  She must be transferring conversations over from one of her other minds.

At any rate, Julia does look pretty cute with a few inches of her bushy mane chopped off:

Of course, being the fashionista she is, Julia dressed up her look even more when she went outdoors today.  Enlivened by the 50-degree weather and sunny skies, Julia decided it was spring and opted for a t-shirt, capri pants, loafers and sunhat:

You've seen it first here, ladies and gents!  Spring fashion preview!  Loafers and sunhats are the MUST-FOLLOW trends for the upcoming season.  Trust me, once you've seen this high-styling look, you won't be able to get off of your MINDS of it!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Little Swimmers

The girls are signed up for Swim Camp at the Y over the school vacation week, so they have been swimming like little fish for the past few days.  (I mean, really, swimming in an indoor pool in winter is only SLIGHTLY different from taking a winter vacation trip to the Bahamas, right??)  Julia has started work on some new skills, including flip turns, and Madeleine has been swimming in the deep end by herself, without a bubble!  She even jumped off the diving block on her own and swam to her teacher, although she had the jitters on her first jump.

SWIM INSTRUCTOR: Do you want to climb up on the block yourself or do you want Mom to help you?
MADELEINE: I want Mom to help me.
ME: Okay, here we go! (taking her hand to steady her as she climbed up on the block.)
MADELEINE: (stepping tentatively forward on the block) Uh, I think I'm a little too scared to do it... (without another thought, plunging herself off the block and front-crawling to her teacher.)

That's guts, man.

I got a few brief videos of Madeleine swimming her front crawl in the deep end:


Perhaps the Olympics are inspiring the girls to reach these new athletic milestones.  As they watched their favorite winter Olympian, Gracie Gold, skating in last night's short program, Julia sighed deeply and stated, "I wish that *I* could be in the Olympics some day."

Since swimming is her current sport, I figured her goal would be becoming an Olympic swimmer.  Turns out she's reaching even FARTHER than that.

ME: What sport would you do?  Swimming?
JULIA: Well, I really want to be in the Olympics as an ICE SKATER.

Seeing as neither kid has even ONCE been on skates, and seeing as they both seem to have their mother's terrible sense of balance, we'd really better get a move on if we're going to achieve THAT dream. 

And for the time being, they can just do what they're already doing to live their Olympic dream: donning glittery dress-up clothes to flail and thump around the living room, pretending to be skaters. 

It's kind of the same as me imagining the indoor YMCA pool is a tropical cove in the Bahamas, right??

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Madeleine Reads "Ramona"

Madeleine has been very fond of "reading" a chapter from "Ramona the Brave" to me each day.  Her chapters are *mostly* made-up off the top of her head and unrelated to the story, although she will occasionally use the pictures as clues to get at least somewhere near the basic plot.  As she read to me a few moments ago, I transcribed her version of Chapter One.

"Chapter One."

"Ramona looked in her graveyard.  She said, 'Ramona, look around in the graveyard RIGHT NOW.  Even though I AM in the graveyard, looking around for FISH.  And I don't know if I ardery HAVE fish or not.'  Ramona looked around a little bit more and saw CATCHING FISH for humans!  And Ramona looked at the fish in the graveyard again, and then said, 'Come here, fish! I  wanna CATCH YOU!'  Ramona didn't do anything for a second, then Ramona FREEZED.  Then, Ramona paused for a second.  Then she walked off.  Into her bedroom, she goed.  She sang a special song that goes like this: I'm off to my bedroom, on the Easter egg hunt day, running here and there and wild and crazy, 'cause it's my birthDAY! So I looked around again but saw nothing but a square.  But Emily, her friend, looked around in the graveyard for fish TOO!  'Whoopty doopty, whoopty doopty, we're off to the wizard again!' they yelled."

Madeleine then paused to eat a few corn chips, and resumed a moment later.

MADELEINE: Mom.  So this is what it says.  Kay.  (turning back to the book):

"When this is dark, the taller it gets, the older it gets.  Okay.  It also says...(flipping pages) on THIS page, it says, 'Ramona, Ramona, what are you doing?' she asked.  It's Beezus taking Ramona's book.  Ramona yelled, 'OW!' to Beezus.  'You stepped on my foot!' yelled Ramona.  Ramona walked away.  Then Beezus yelled 'STOP!' Ramona paused.  And looked at Beezus."

MADELEINE: (interrupting herself from reading) Mom?  Did you know Beezus is a girl?
ME: I did know that.

The reading resumed:

"She looked at Ramona and said, 'STOP.  You're my sister.  I do NEVER want you to go.  Okay?  Right?'  'Right,' said Ramona.  Beezus paused and looked at Ramona.  They didn't do anything.  They just walked off.  'RAMONA!' yelled Beezus.  'BEEZUS!' yelled Ramona.  Ramona and Beezus looked at each other.  They were far, far away from each other.  They yelled to each other, each to each.  They yelled.  'EEEEACH!' yelled Ramona.  'EEEEACH!' yelled Beezus.  'EEEACH!' yelled Ramona.  'EEEEACH!' yelled Beezus.  They kept doing that SAME thing.  Ramona clipped off her nails, then ran off to school and BIKED on her bicycle!  Then drove all the way home."

MADELEINE: (cheerily) That's the end!

That was one of the most faithful readings of a Ramona book I have EVER heard.  What do you all think??

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


With the DVD release of "Frozen" a mere month away now, the girls are getting reeeeally excited to see the movie again from the comfort of our own home.  Both kids have been on a big "Frozen" kick of late, to the point that Julia has - shockingly - abandoned the writing of her "Harry Potter" and "American Girl" books, and has now begun work on this:

Anna and Elsa (aka the two main characters from "Frozen," for those who haven't seen it.)

Julia is only a few pages into her book, but so far it's a pretty faithful rendition of the movie plot:

"Elsa Elsa!"  "Go back to bed Anna."  "Elsa do you want to build a snowman?"  "Yur on."

"WEE" shoided Anna.  "AAH Anna your going to fast.  AAH.  Oh no Mama Papa come quick."

(While the sad event of Anna getting hurt during the magical snow-making is authentic to the movie, I certainly don't remember there being a black snowman of death in the scene.  Julia seems to have improvised a little harbinger of doom in her drawing.)

Of course, Madeleine can't bear to be left out of whatever Julia is doing, so she sat down herself to create her own "Frozen" book.  This one makes Julia's death snowman look like a cute little spring bunny, in terms of creepiness.

Madeleine's book:

I don't know why Elsa has spikes for eyes, or why she has a bloody ring all around and inside her mouth.  I do know, however, that the gray rifle-looking thingy shooting out of her arm is just her wintry magic.  Nothing to be alarmed about, folks.

Here, Elsa is singing while shooting icy magic out of her heart.  The fact that Elsa's hands have swollen to deformed proportions is only a *little* disturbing.

Now Anna is singing.  I have no idea why she has a warped ladder sticking out of her shoulder, however.  And clown feet.

Madeleine informed us that the letters at the top of this paper were the lyrics to Elsa's famous song, "Let It Go."  While "ILTTTOILITTTO" is a pretty close attempt at writing "Let it Go," it was still a little unclear, so Madeleine decided to have a grown-up write in the rest of the lyrics for her to make sure we knew exactly what Elsa was singing.

And speaking of... the girls can't get enough of the aforementioned song.  Here they are, belting it out like there's no tomorrow:

Now, despite the "Frozen" obsession, Madeleine did take a break from drawing Elsa and Anna to create this completely random work of art:

To the left you will see a bunch of drawers, with a sign hanging above them that, according to Madeleine, says "The bathroom is near the toilet."  Beside the drawers sits the little sister in a high purple chair.  The big sister is standing closest to the garbage and its cloudy odorous haze, and, as Madeleine told me numerous times, the big sister is saying, "Ew, what a disgusting smell!"

Why did Madeleine decide to draw a picture of rotting garbage and a bathroom sign?  I never have a clue what's going through that kid's wildly imaginative brain.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Church Day

Today at church, the girls were thrilled to see that their friends Loula and Will, whose Yiayia sings up in the choir with me, were attending for the morning. 

Julia felt VERY special and important during the service because she got to show Loula the ropes.  As Julia explained, "Mom, so, Loula was, like, talking to me the whole time at church asking me what she was supposed to be DOING, so I was showing her."

Madeleine, not to be outdone, then chimed in with her contributions, "And Mama.  I was helping Will.  So.  This is what I said.  I said, 'Okay, Will, here is what you DO.' and I showed him my sign of the cross so he could make the sign of the cross."

Julia was quick to add Madeleine's other contributions.

JULIA: Yeah, and Madeleine was talking to Will on and on about a BASILISK!
MADELEINE: Well Julia, that's because I wanted to teach him what a baskilisk IS.

Important stuff to know at church, for sure.

At Sunday school, since the regular teacher wasn't there, the kids got to engage in free art. 

Julia drew some very Julia-ish pictures, complete with hearts, peace signs, and crosses:

Madeleine drew her usual freakish ghoul pictures:

According to Madeleine, the moon is pooping in this picture.  I'm not sure what the red bird-like creature with purple bun is supposed to be doing though.  Exuding gamma rays to blast the poop to oblivion?

Madeleine had many more pictures to show me:

The moon is pooping in this picture, as well. 
(I'm *so* glad she drew these at church.)

At least Madeleine included SOME crosses in her artwork, even if they do accompany a geometrical ghoul-robot:

On the other side of the above drawing, she drew more girls, these ones with her classic soul-sucking O-mouth:

At least the sun isn't pooping in this one.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine's Day Party

Julia was thrilled to attend a Valentine's Day party today at the home of one of her friends from school.  In attendance were several other girls from her class, as well as a girl from the next-door first grade classroom.  They got to do Valentine crafts and decorate cupcakes (two of which Julia took home for a dessert to share with Madeleine.)

When I arrived to pick Julia up from the party, the host's mother told me that when the girls had all gone down to play in the basement, there had been some drama surrounding a pretend play game the host had initiated.  Apparently, one of the guests at the party had gotten really upset and was in tears because her contributions to the game were rejected.  The host's mother told me that Julia had been the peace-broker downstairs, working with all the girls to find some sense of harmony amongst everyone. 

This pacificistic, harmony-loving mama sure was proud!

When we got to the car, I asked Julia more about what had happened, and what she had done to help the girl who had gotten upset.

JULIA: Well, I told her that I care about the power of the tiger, because she thought that nobody even cared about the power of the tiger. 

WOAH.  This sounds like an EPIC battle that went down between the girls.  I tried to understand why nobody seemed to care about the power of the tiger.

JULIA: Well, in the game we were all supposed to be dogs, but she wanted to be a cat who had the power of the tiger, and they all said she couldn't be a cat but she could be a DOG with the power of a tiger, but then she started crying because she said that a tiger is in the CAT family so she couldn't be a DOG with the power of a tiger.

This sounds like a really major fight!  How do you even counter that argument?  Good thing Julia was there to smooth things over!  I asked her what she did to comfort her crying friend.

JULIA: Well, I told her that when someone I care about is crying, then *I* feel like I want to cry too because I feel so bad for them. 

(I asked Julia if she had given her friend a hug, to which she nodded uncertainly.  Apparently the weight of her guilt over nodding a non-truth was bogging her down this evening, because she came downstairs out of bed to tell me, "Mommy?  Actually, I don't think she was really WANTING anyone to give her a hug.")

It turns out that while the power of the tiger crying was going on, the host of the party herself started crying because nobody was following the rules of her game.  Julia was stuck with the weight of the world on her shoulders: how do you calm down TWO crying friends??  Julia explained to me why she didn't immediately rush to the side of her crying host.

JULIA: Well, I wanted to help take care of her when she was crying, but, like, I just felt like I should help take care of one person at a time.

At any rate, peace was soon restored, and the host's mother was quite in awe of Julia for her compassion and her attempts to help all the friends get along.  Way to go, Julia!  I guess all that "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" has really paid off! 

I'm really proud of how well Julia handled things; now, if only she could remember to be half so compassionate and empathetic with her sister!

Madeleine, for her part, enjoyed some alone time home with Mommy and Daddy while Julia was at the party, including playing a few rounds of Wii Bowling during which she kicked Dad's butt.

MADELEINE: Mom?  Did you know that the FIRST game I beated Daddy, and I even got a RECORD??

Oh, poor Daddy, beated by a four-year-old.

Madeleine also got some chatterbox time with Mommy tonight, as we snuggled in bed after I sang her lullaby.  She was full of random comments and questions, like the following:

MADELEINE: Mom? I wonder why I got "RUSSELL" stuck in my head.

Yeah, I wonder too, honey.  Now go to bed.


MADELEINE: Mom?  I wonder why I call you "Mommy."
ME: Instead of what?
MADELEINE: Instead of Courtney Elf ROWE!


MADELEINE: Mom?  Have you ever heard of "battery-charged blue?"

(That happens to be the label on one of her neon markers.  Yes, that's right, she is laying in bed thinking - and TALKING - about marker colors.  Go to bed!!)

Thankfully, once I removed myself from the room and limited her choices for babbling to a) talking to herself or b) talking to her stuffed Jesus, she pretty readily conked right out. 

Night-night, Madeleine!  Wishing you sweet dreams full of Russell, Courtney Elf Rowe, and battery-charged blue hues!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hooray, hooray!  Today is - as Madeleine would say - Valentime's Day!

We Rowes started the day off by exchanging gifts and cards, as well as opening cards sent to us by our loved ones. 

I was the VERY lucky recipient of multiple hand-made cards from Julia; in fact, she even made a few for the WHOLE family to enjoy.

Like this one:

When Madeleine saw this, she pointed at the heart and exclaimed delightedly, "It's HARRY!"  And I don't know about you, but now I've got Hedwig's Thime stuck in my head.  "Don don don don don..."

The hole family also got this card:

I assured Julia that the pikshers DO look like us.  Julia disagreed.

JULIA: But I gave Daddy GREEN glasses!

I guess that's her reasoning for why the pikshers don't look like us.  Not the fact that Ethan and I are giants or anything.  Or, as Ethan put it, "Julia gave me child-bearing hips."

There was also a card Julia made at school for Ethan and I (this one melted my heart!):

Yep, this one's a keeper.  And a tear-jerker.

PLUS, Julia gave me a few of my very own cards. 

Aww! I love you too, Jules!  And I really love the montans and the trees you drew me.

I also got a hand-made bookmark!  Julia made one for all of her fellow family members.  Here's mine:

Mommy Rowe LOVES it.  Thanks Julia!

Meanwhile, the girls themselves received lots of special Valentines gifts and goodies, including mood bracelets, new earrings, coloring books, and lots of candy. 

As Madeleine put it, when looking through the Valentine bags I put together for the girls:  "Wow!  There's treats and treats and TREATS in here!"

Madeleine was especially excited about the card I gave her, because she could read what I wrote inside it.  What a big girl!
After reading my message, Madeleine decided to try and read the text that came with the card.  Boy, was she on the ball with her guess.

MADELEINE: (pointing to "Happy Valentine's Day"): Does it say "Let the world flower up?"

She was pretty close, right??

In addition to gifts and cards from Ethan and I, the girls also opened cards and gifts from Auntie Shannon and Nana & Gramps.  Madeleine was THRILLED to discover that her card from Nana & Gramps had a whole backside that she could color.  She sang her heart out while happily coloring in the picture:

Yeah, that's RIGHT, Madeleine.  Let it SHINE!

Later on today, after work, school, and swim lessons, the girls will get to eat their special masterpieces they helped me frost yesterday:

Heart cookies!  (Because they didn't get enough chocolates and candy and junk already.)

Happy Valentime's Day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Madeleine Gains New Vocab Words

Madeleine's vocabulary is expanding daily, and she often takes us by surprise with the words she pulls out (like her whole "self-conscious" pony thing the other day.) 

This morning, as Auntie Shannon came downstairs to get ready for work, Madeleine engaged her in this conversation:

MADELEINE: Auntie Shannon?  (peeking around behind Auntie Shannon's body.)  Oh!  I thought I heard a little BUDDY behind you!
AUNTIE SHANNON: You thought you heard a little bunny behind me?
MADELEINE: No, I thought I heard CLARA behind you.
AUNTIE SHANNON:  Oh.  No, Clara's not here.  She's at Yiayia's house.
MADELEINE: I just thought I heard her!
AUNTIE SHANNON: (imitating Clara's barking) Rrrruff!  Rrrruff!
MADELEINE: Uh, no, Auntie Shannon, I mean I thought I heard her RUSTLING and slipping her FEET down the stairs.

Later in the day, Madeleine was finishing up yet another marathon poop fest, and as I helped her off the potty, she informed me of the "games" she had been playing to pass the time (which basically amounted to her combing through the drawers below the bathroom sink.)

MADELEINE: (pointing to a half-opened drawer) Mom?  Some of the HAIR THINGS were just LURKING around in the drawer!

Ugh, creepy.  I hate when the hair things just lurk around in the drawer.  Why not just pop on out and say hello, for God's sake??

After pooping, Madeleine got busy coloring in her My Little Pony activity book.  Taking a green marker out of our marker box, Madeleine inquired, "Mom?  What KIND of green is this?" 

ME: What kind of green?  It's, uh...well, I guess you could call it lime green.
MADELEINE: Okay.  LIME green.  (coloring away happily.)  Okay.  Now... (taking a yellow marker out of the box)  Golden Shine.  Mom?  I think I'll just call this yellow "Golden SHINE."
ME: Great idea, honey!
MADELEINE: (focusing earnestly on coloring with her Golden Shine marker)

Then, in the afternoon, we headed out in the cold to walk to Julia's school for pick-up.  As we were making our way through neighborhood streets, we passed a woman who was pounding her shovel into the snow in her driveway to break up the ice.

MADELEINE: Hey Mom!  Look what THAT person is doing!
NEIGHBOR WOMAN: (sarcastically) This is loads of fun, can you tell?
ME: Ugh, I know.  This winter is killing me.
MADELEINE: (chiming in) Yeah, winter is my NON-FAVORITE season.

Oh, I hear ya, Madeleine.  Winter is MY non-favorite season too.  You captured my sentiments exactly.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Madeleine Plays School

For the past twenty minutes, Madeleine has been playing "teacher," writing backwards numbers and jumbles of non-sensical letter formations on our white board, then calling on Julia and I to identify what she wrote.

MADELEINE: Now.  Raise your HAND if you know what THIS says?
JULIA AND I: (raising our hands)
MADELEINE: (in a very formal voice, with a hint of British accent) Julia Cathryn Rowe.   What does this say?
JULIA: Well, Madeleine, really it says "eieiiiilili."
MADELEINE: (breaking out of character) Uh, so, this says "Happy Valentines Day Lily, have a wonderful DAY!"  (back in character) So.  Julia Cathryn Rowe.  What does this say?
JULIA: Happy Valentines Day Lily, have a wonderful DAY.
MADELEINE: (authoritatively, and still half-British) Good.

And so on and so forth.

Understandably, Julia got tired of this game pretty quickly and launched into Gallop Time instead.

MADELEINE: So, this says "On Valentines Day we are going to have a Pajama Party so please wear your pajamas."  (resuming her British teacher voice) Julia Cathryn Rowe.  What does this say?
JULIA: (pausing, mid-gallop) I'm not plaaaaaying, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: (unphased) Julia Cathryn Rowe.  Can you tell me what this says?
JULIA: (becoming slightly frantic) I'm not plaaaaaying, Madeleine.  I don't want to play. I never SAID I was playing, Madeleine!
MADELEINE: Julia Cathryn Rowe, can-
JULIA: Madeleine, I'm not plaaaaaying!
ME: Can you just repeat what she told you to read and then you don't have to play anymore?
JULIA: (contemptuously) On Valentines Day we are going to have a Pajama Party.  Madeleine, I don't want to PLAY anymore.
MADELEINE: (sweetly) Okay, well then MOMMY can be Julia Cathryn Rowe.
ME: Sure, I'd be happy to be Julia Cathryn Rowe!

So now, here I am, still mired in the game (in fact, my teacher keeps asking me, "Why are you just TYPING and TYPING?  Julia Cathryn Rowe!  Come over here so I can teach you!")

My school lessons have included work at the piano, among other things.  When I had to go to the piano, Madeleine opened a lesson book for me, then began dictating what I should play.

MADELEINE: Okay.  Play A,B,C.
ME: (playing the notes A, B, and C on the piano)
MADELEINE: Okay.  Now play F.
ME: (playing F)
MADELEINE: Okay.  Now...W, R, U.


Madeleine seemed completely unaware of the fact that I wasn't actually able to play any letters beyond G.  As long as I pressed random notes on the piano, she was satisfied.  However, SKIPPING any imaginary letters was not an option.

MADELEINE: Okay.  Julia Cathryn Rowe.  Now play G,U,B.
ME: (playing G, then B.)
MADELEINE: Uh, no, Julia Cathryn Rowe.  You only played the G and the U.  You need to play G, U, B.
ME: (playing G, then B, then G again.)
MADELEINE: Okay.  Good.

Barrels of fun, I tell you.  I wasn't at ALL hoping Madeleine would lose interest in the game soon so I could be off the hook.

At any rate, things came to a head a moment ago when the REAL Julia Cathryn Rowe got a little too physical with her sister.

JULIA: Madeleine, hold still for a minute.  There's something on your back.  Let me see... (lifting the bottom of Madeleine's shirt back.)  You have a little cut right here.  UH, MOMMY!  MADELEINE HAS A LITTLE CUT RIGHT HERE!
ME: Okay.  It's not a big deal as long as it doesn't hurt.
JULIA: Madeleine, does this hurt? (lightly grazing the cut)
JULIA: Does this hurt? (rubbing her fingers over Madeleine's back.)
JULIA: Does this hurt? (vigorously rubbing Madeleine's back)
JULIA: Does THIS hurt? (taking her palms and repeatedly smacking Madeleine's bare back.)
MADELEINE: (bursting into tears)
ME: JULIA!  You don't EVER hit.
JULIA: Soooory. 
ME: What were you thinking?!?
JULIA: I kept saying "does this hurt" and she kept saying "no" and I wanted her to say something DIFFERENT than "no" so we could get her a Band-Aid!
ME: So you decided to SMACK her??
JULIA: (chagrined silence)

I should point out that today was an Early Release Day at Julia's school, so the kids have been home for the past several hours already. 

It's gonna be a loooong afternoon in the Rowe household, folks.  For now, this is Julia Cathryn Rowe, signing off and going back to the scholarly grind...

Monday, February 10, 2014

100th Day and More Madeleine Art

Julia's class will be celebrating the 100th day of the school year tomorrow, and to get in the spirit, the kids got to work on "Fun With 100" packets today.

For an example of the kind of fun kids can have with 100, here is a completed page from Julia's packet:

I'd love to have 100: hose's
Hmm.  Really?  I, personally, would want neither 100 hoses NOR 100 houses.  I mean, 100 houses would be a LOT of maintenance.  I would be fine with ONE house, in place of a condo unit.  But 100 would be a little crazy.  Unless Julia is thinking of dollhouses or something??  (In which case, 100 is still kind of extreme.)

I could collect 100: bunse balls
Sheesh.  I sure HOPE she doesn't ever collect 100 bunse balls.  I can't stand the bunse balls the girls already have.  One bunse, and the ball goes boinging off, never to be found again, usually eliciting tears in Madeleine ("Mama, I caaaaaan't find my BOOOOUNCY BAAAAALL!"  Plus, once we DO accidentally find them, they're always in terrible places that cause us to roll our ankles by stepping on them or incidentally kicking them at somebody or something.

I could eat 100: breid crums
Really?  She has a choice of eating 100 of ANYTHING she wants, and she chooses bread crumbs??  Not, like, M&Ms or something?  Bread crumbs??  Why not just turn herself into Auntie Shannon's dog Clara and eat the scraps off the floor from now on?

But I could never eat 100: balloons
Interesting choice.  Why would anyone even ever eat ONE balloon?  Why did Julia choose something completely non-edible?  It kind of defeats the point of the question.  Sure, there are certain foods we might like to eat, but not to excess.  For example, I really enjoy jalapeno peppers, but I would definitely not eat 100 in one sitting.  But balloons?  Who even THINKS of a balloon as an option to eat?

Aaaanyway, Julia's answers to the above questions may be a bit illogical, but she more than totally made up for it with her answer to the question on the last page of the packet:

If I had $100 I would: give it to the pore and donat it and give it to my mom and dad.

I honestly couldn't be more thrilled with her answer - and not at all because of the "give it to my mom and dad part."  I should point out that last week, Julia's class went to the Technology Lab to complete a project on what they would save money to buy, and her answer was pretty different from what she wrote today.  Apparently this past week's Sunday School lesson on The Publican and the Pharisee had a real impact on Julia's sense of material wealth!

Madeleine is not celebrating her 100th day of school, but she very studiously worked on some free art today nonetheless.  Among her finished products are:

Bad Santa

What appears to be an undead child from a Tim Burton movie, celebrating the birthday she never lived to see.

Uhh... A burglar?  A bandit?  Don Draper?  And FBI agent?
Madeleine explains: "Uh, that's a picture of LILY dressed up as a SPIDER for Halloween."
Oh.  I should have known.

A demonic skeleton-snowman
(MADELEINE: Oh, that's a picture of Lily, being a snowman, and she's like, "Hmph.  Can't FIND IT!")

I don't even know what to call this horrific creature with blades for hands.  I especially like the fact that you can see the outline of demon-snowman leaking through from the other side of the paper.

And, last but not least:

I don't think I even want to know what this family of ghouls is going to make a dinner-table wish for.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Winter Olympics

Watching Winter Olympics Mens' Figure Skating with the girls offered me much amusement.

Comments and conversations from the girls as we watched:

Upon seeing EVERY mens' contestant who entered the rink:
MADELEINE: Mommy?  I think that's a GIRL.
ME: No, honey, that's a man.
MADELEINE: But why does he look like a GIRL?

Eventually, however, she seemed to understand the contestants were male, as she wistfully dreamed of becoming one of them:

MADELEINE: Mommy, I wish I could be THAT guy who is skating and spinning around all over the place like that!

JULIA: Mom?  Will it ever be the summer Olympics again, like with gymnastics and swimming and all that?
ME: Yes.  The Olympics happen every four years.  We saw the summer Olympics TWO summers ago, so they won't be on again for another two summers.
JULIA: And how old will I be then?  Like, FOURTEEN or something?
ME: Well, you tell me.  How old will you be in two years?
ME: Right.
JULIA: And Madeleine will be six?
ME: Yup.  And the Winter Olympics will happen again in FOUR years.  So how old will you be then?
ME: Honey.  What's seven plus four?
JULIA: No, I thought I had to do NINE plus four!

I can tell she's gonna be a math whiz, just like her mama.

Following Julia's amazing math skills, Madeleine whipped out a stunningly accurate and astute memory:

MADELEINE: Hey, Mom, I remember when we went to the Olympics!  I was, like, THREE or something!

Yeah, you were, like, three or something.  And by "like something," what you mean is: it actually NEVER HAPPENED.

Before long, the girls decided they absolutely HAD to start imitating the figure skating moves.

JULIA: Mom!  Watch!  Look how many times I can spin around! (jumping up and completing a half-rotation in the air.)
ME: Greeeat!  Uh, one time!

A few moments later, Madeleine was also performing Olympic skating moves:

MADELEINE: Mom, watch this!  (flailing her body around and spastically performing a half-turn)
ME: Wow!  Amazing!
MADELEINE: (in awe of herself) I didn't even know how I did that!  As I STANDED on my TOES, I spinned!

The Olympic "skating" didn't come to an end when we went downstairs for dinner, either.  Madeleine put on a pair of slippers and began "skating" around the living room rug.

MADELEINE: Wow, Mom, I did six troopa loopas!  Uh, Mom?  What are troopa loopas?
ME: Um.  I have no idea.  Do you mean triple lutz?

Apparently not, because she was still doing troopa loopas a few moments later, when she gracelessly wiped out and crashed backwards into the couch.

MADELEINE: Ow!  When I was doing a troopa loopa, I, like, skated over to HERE, and fell on my BUM, in the rocks and DIRT!

Wait a minute!  Why are there rocks and dirt on the ice skating rink?  I call shenanigans!  Someone is out to get Madeleine! 

Probably Julia.  Because as Madeleine put it, moments after wiping out AGAIN: "I'm pretty sure JULIA is gonna win the gold."

Who needs to wait until 8pm for the next broadcast from Sochi?  You can see AMAZING Olympic feats right in my very own living room!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

School Assembly

Julia's school has an assembly once a month, and in addition to a performance by a particular grade, individual students are allowed to audition to play a piece of music on various instruments.  In December, Julia was eager to audition on piano, then, due to nerves, made a lot of mistakes during the try-outs.  The teacher in charge of the assembly suggested Julia wait until the next month's assembly so that she'd have more time to work on her piece.  Julia was all for it.

That is, until the assembly actually approached.  I had been working with Julia on a totally different piece of music, one that she knows cold, that she could use for her audition.  As the week of sign-ups drew near, Julia was suddenly in full-out panic mode about trying out.

Nobody understands this sentiment more than her parents.  We have both experienced the pain of being a nervous wreck over performing.  We have both completely blown auditions because of nerves.  We have both made blaring, obvious mistakes during live performances.  So one would have thought that our experience and sympathy would be helpful in talking Julia through this.

What one wouldn't have expected would be Julia's total and utter irrational response to EVERYTHING surrounding the assembly.

She was clearly too freaked out to consider doing it.  But she was too freaked out to NOT do it.  We were in a serious bind.

ME: Well, Jules, tell you what.  Why don't you just go to the try-outs, and see how you feel?  If you feel BETTER after playing your piece at the try-out, then you can feel confident about the assembly.  If you totally freak out with nerves at the try-out, then you can tell the teacher you'd rather not play the assemby.
JULIA: (hysterical) MOM!  But then if I get in, I HAAAAVE to do the assembly!
ME: If you get in and you're still too nervous, I will email the teacher and tell her you can't do it.
JULIA: But then I HAAAAAAVE to do it!
ME: What's so terrible about doing it?
JULIA: (hysterically sobbing) Because!  I'm gonna MESS UP!  And then NOBODY WILL EVER WANT TO BE MY FRIEEEEEEND EVER AGAIN!

This doom and gloom would go on for awhile as I tried to calm her.  Once we could safely approach the subject again, I would take a different tactic.

ME: Well, let me just email your teacher and say you don't want to sign up for the auditions, then.
JULIA: (bursting into hysterical tears) Then I feel like I'm LETTING EVERYBODY DOOOOOOWN!  And I don't DESERVE anything.  You deserve EVERYTHING!  You get me such great Christmas presents and you do EVERYTHING and I don't deserve ANYTHING!

I am completely not exaggerating when I say this melt-down hysteria took up HALF A DAY last Saturday.  Ethan and I were at the point of desperation with Julia.  JUST MAKE A CHOICE.  Try out or don't try out.  JUST CHOOSE.  The crying over every possible option was wearing us down.

She chose to try out.  After the try-outs, she was excited to perform in the assembly.  Until the morning of.  Then it was basically a repeat of the past Saturday's panic.

Anyway, Ethan, Madeleine and I all attended the assembly to give Julia as much emotional support as possible.  By the time the event actually started, her nerves seemed to be gone.  And she got up there and performed her piece.  And you know what?  She made mistakes.  More than she ever makes practicing at home.  And you know what else?  She was able to carry on and get back on track.  The principal told her she did an awesome job, and she beamed with pride.  And guess what?  She didn't even lose a single friend.  WHEW!  Fears unfounded!

Unfortunately, my video cut off before her performance was finished, but I can at least provide you with the beginning of the piece:

Hooray, Julia!  I am so proud of you for facing your fears and getting up in front of the school to perform!

Even if it did create half a day of emotional angst for all involved.

Here's hoping next time around, the wisdom of experience will allow her to keep her cool and reduce her feelings of self-consciousness.  BRAVO, my wonderful daughter!

Speaking of self-conscious, Madeleine once again used the term in her "My Little Pony" pretend play game.  I overheard the ponies discussing the meaning of the word:

TWILIGHT SPARKLE: Shining Armor is just self-conscious!
SPIKE: What does self-conscious mean?
TWILIGHT SPARKLE: Self conscious means when you're having a wedding and you don't really want the wedding to BE for you and yourself. 

I would have called that "Cold Feet."  But Madeleine at least elaborated to me how this was self-consciousness:

MADELEINE: Yeah, like, when the wedding started, Shining Armor just kept HIDING BEHIND Princess Cadance.  Because...Twilight Sparkle was just staring at him, like, ONE HUNDRED TIMES!

Ah.  So maybe that's how Julia was feeling about performing in the assembly.  She was just wanting to hide behind the piano because the audience members were all staring at her one hundred times.  At any rate, she showed her true bravery in getting up there in front of everyone, and I could be more proud!  Congrats, Julia!  Maybe you can give Shining Armor a lesson on how to conquer your feelings of self-consciousness!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

School Excitement!

It was an exciting day at school for both girls!  Madeleine celebrated "Olympics Day," during which kids got to wear red, white, and blue outfits and compete in relay races and other events.  The class even made Olympic torches using a paper towel tube covered in tinfoil, with tissue paper as the flames.  When I picked Madeleine up from school, I complimented her on her torch.

ME: Wow, Madeleine, I love your torch!
MADELEINE: Hey, Mom, how did you know what it's called?
ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: What this FIRE thing is called.
ME: The torch?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  The storch.
ME: It's torch, honey.  And I know about the torch because it's an Olympic tradition.  The Olympic torch is always part of the opening ceremonies.

As we drove home, Madeleine contemplated her hand-made torch further.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Do you know how we made this STORCH so shiny?  We put TINFOIL on it!  That's why when I hold out my storch it looks like it's SOO sparkly and shiny!

When we arrived home, Madeleine began to lament the length of her torch.

MADELEINE: My storch is too SHORT.
ME: No it's not, honey, it's the perfect length!
MADELEINE: No, my storch is too SHORT.  Mom.  My shor...uh, Mama, did you know that by ACCIDENT, I started to say "my SHORT is too STORCH" instead of "my storch is too SHORT?"

I did know that.  I also noticed that by accident she says "storch" every time instead of "torch."

When Ethan got home from work, even he noticed Madeleine's torch.

ETHAN: Hey, Madeleine, what's this that you made?

Madeleine in red, white and blue, waving her storch

Julia's school excitement came later in the afternoon.  I got the pleasure of coming in as the Mystery Reader of the week.  The class was instructed to keep eyes closed as I entered, and after they made a drumroll on the floor, the kids were allowed to open their eyes to see who had arrived.

Julia, of course, was in her usual self-conscious mode and had to shyly, with nary a smile, make her way to the front of the classroom to sit beside me while I read two stories.  Whenever I go into Madeleine's class to teach music, Madeleine gets really proprietary with me, leaping up from her spot on the rug to come drape herself over my legs while I sing.  Julia, on the other hand, acts as if she's afraid to break out of her quiet, obedient school persona, although I know her well enough to read her inner excitement that she was trying to suppress.

I also know her well enough to understand that when she's giddy and excited, yet feeling shy and self-conscious about being in the spotlight, she takes to making COMPLETELY nonsensical and irrelevant comments, for whatever reason. 

Like, for example:

ME: (to the class) The second book I brought is called "Octopus' Garden," and it's set to a song by the Beatles.  I'm going to sing it to you while I show you the illustrations that go with the song.  (turning to Julia)  Julia, would you like to sing along with me?
JULIA: (staring at me blankly)
ME: Do you want to scooch your chair over closer and help me sing?
JULIA: (thoughtful for a second) I'm HUNGRY!
ME: Okay, well that's helpful.

So I wound up singing it myself, but that's okay; I had been 99% sure Julia would feel to shy to sing along with me anyway.  In the locker room showers?  In the grocery store?  In the YMCA play room?  Julia will bellow both existing and made-up songs with wild abandon.  But when she actively KNOWS there are eyes on her?  Uh-uh.  Not gonna do it.

Anyway, it was a really special experience to go into her classroom and share two of our family's favorite books, and the most rewarding part of all is that on our walk home, Julia told me that every time her class has a Mystery Reader, she sits with her eyes closed, silently hoping it will be HER mommy.  And today it finally was!

Even if she was hungry.