Saturday, May 31, 2014

Bedtime Takes Forever.

While Julia and I had to take a trip to Urgent Care this afternoon so she could get a throat culture (which was positive for strep), Madeleine has been battling her own health discomforts.  The completely benign but totally, horrifically nasty looking Molluscum Contagiosum on her skin has been causing her lots of irritation today. 

After Ethan had finished with Madeleine's bedtime routine, he took her downstairs to put cortisone cream on the rash.  As poor topless Madeleine stood getting her bumpy rash examined by all three adults in the household, she was suddenly struck by an important thought.

MADELEINE: Well.  SO.  The QUESTION is: how did I even GET this molluscum?
ETHAN:  You could have gotten it anywhere, honey.  You could have gotten it from the pool, or anywhere else.

I then took Madeleine back up to her bedroom to give her a snuggle in her bed, but unfortunately, she was WAY too focused on the source of her infection than on getting to sleep.

MADELEINE: Well Mama.  How did I even GET this molluscum?  Daddy says it's from the POOL, but none of the kids in my swim lessons even HAVE molluscum.
ME: Well, you really could have gotten it anywhere.  It's caused by germs, so if you get the germs on your skin, you'll get the rash.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  None of my friends even HAVE the rash.
ME: You don't necessarily get it from the rash.  If the molluscum germs are on anything - like, even on the wall, and then if you TOUCH the wall and get the germs on your hand, and then touch your skin, you can get infected.
MADELEINE: But MAMA.  There's no BUMPY RASH on walls.
ME: It's not the rash that causes the molluscum.  It's GERMS that cause the rash.  Germs are invisible.  So we don't even know where they might be.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Germs are not INVISIBLE.
ME: Well, they kind of are.  They're teeny teeny tiny.  They're too small for us to see.  You need to look into a MICROSCOPE in order to see something that teeny tiny.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  It's not called a microscope.  It's called a...a...a...a...
ME: It IS called a microscope.  A microscope makes things look MUCH, MUCH bigger than they really are.  So things that are too small for us to see are made big enough under a microscope.
MADELEINE: No, but Mama, that's called a...a...a...
ME: Are you thinking of a telescope?  A telescope lets you see things WAY far away in the sky.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  At school we don't call it a microscope.  It's called a MAGNIFYING glass.
ME: Well, a microscope is like a magnifying glass in a way, but it makes things MUCH bigger than a magnifying glass can.  Things that seem invisible, like germs, can only be seen with a microscope. 
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Why do you say "don't even worry about the new, new molluscum"?
ME: Because, honey, you're going to keep getting new bumps for awhile, but eventually they'll go away, so just don't worry about them.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  A kaleidoscope is the kind of thing they have at the DOCTOR'S office. don't see GERMS when you look in a kaleidoscope.  When you look in a kaleidoscope you just see lots and lots of SQUARES.
ME: Right.  That's when you look in a kaleidoscope.  But when you look in a MICROSCOPE, you can see a much larger version of things.
MADELEINE: Oh!  Mama.  I thought you said it was a KALEIDOSCOPE.

I guess it's just too much to keep straight, huh?  A magnifying glass, a kaleidoscope, a microscope, and what not.  I think Madeleine has the exact right idea.  Instead of just shushing her mouth and getting to bed, let's just perseverate on the functions of each and every type of scope and form of magnification.  At this rate, we'll be up for hours!

But don't worry.  At least BOTH kids are still up.  Julia came down to sheepishly announce: "I need to go POOP!" just a few minutes ago, then engaged us all in cheery chatter after she had finished wiping and washing her hands.  It's a party of sickies in the Rowe household!  Come join in and share some great germs!

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Kaleidoscope and More

Madeleine got to receive TWO lollipops AND a toy for being such a good girl during my doctor's appointment today.  (And as a tactic to allow her to be busy at the goody bin while I was having blood drawn in the lab.)  The toy she chose was a kaleidoscope, and MAN, was she excited. 

MADELEINE: Mama!  I got a KALEIDOSCOPE!  (putting it up to her eye) I see a lot of yous!

Madeleine seeing a lot of mes.

Julia had some excitement of her own, as she performed her very first standing dive off of the diving block at swim lessons today.  After weeks of diving from the edge of the pool, she finally gathered up the courage to climb up on the block.  Without even belly flopping on her way in!

I guess the pool workout, plus the busy week at school, on top of the fact that Julia seems to be coming down with a cold pushed her over the edge this evening, however.  Julia seriously had what is probably the most ridiculous melt-down ever. 

While practicing her piano, Julia became frustrated by the completely delusional idea that Madeleine was "distracting" her.  (Madeleine, for her part, was sitting quietly on the rug, smoothing out the edges of her pink blanket, which she had laid flat on the floor.)  Julia began shrieking over the fact that she couldn't concentrate when Madeleine was in the room.  When I suggested Julia cease her practicing and resume at another time when she was more rational, she freaked out even more and insisted that she needed to practice. 

So I had the gall to take Madeleine out of the room to come sit with me in the dining room.  GOD, what a horrible thing to do. 

JULIA: (shrieking hysterically) No!  I'm NOT going to practice until Madeleine comes BACK IN THIS ROOM and DOES WHAT SHE WAS DOING!  I don't want you to just do whatever I say! I don't want people just LISTENING to what I tell them to do!  I don't want you to LISTEN TO ME!

Madeleine decided to brave the chaos and re-enter the living room, in an attempt to encourage Julia to practice.

MADELEINE: Julia, you HAVE to practice, because you have your recital!  If you don't practice, you won't be able to play in the recital.
JULIA: (screeching) Madeleine, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!
MADELEINE: (wearily returning to me) Uh, Mama, can YOU try and handle her?

I tried but was not successful at handling her, either.  Julia wound up needing a loooong time-out in her room to recover her senses and emotions, during which I offered to put on a tv show for Madeleine.

MADELEINE: But Mama!  The recital!
ME: Don't worry, honey.  Julia can practice another time.  She's going to take a break from practicing right now.
MADELEINE: (wisely) But Mama.  Julia NEEDS to practice, because Mama.  She can't just be BANGING on the keys and screaming and SOBBING during the recital!

Yeah.  That's right.  She was practicing TOTALLY wrong today.  Now Julia is going to think that her recital performance should include a freak-out of epic proportions. 

Luckily, the storm passed over, with many apologies from Julia to Madeleine and I, and before long, the girls were coloring quietly and happily together.

MADELEINE: Julia?  Do you like what I'm drawing?
JULIA: Yeah!
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Cause I'm REALLY into concessories.
JULIA: Madeleine.  Do you mean AC-cessories?

I guess Julia was back in big sister mode.  She didn't need Madeleine to handle her any more.

And now that order is restored to the Rowe household, let's all take a deep breath and try and get a much-needed good night's sleep!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Readers' Theatre

Julia had her 1st grade Readers' Theatre performance for parents and other family members this morning.  Julia herself was part of a play about Sally Ride, with Julia playing the title role. 

The whole class also performed several songs, and the whole presentation was absolutely adorable.  Julia, who has no trouble bellowing out, heart and soul, while at home, preferred her more reserved school persona during the performance.  But at least, unlike the early preschool days, she actually does sing along now, albeit a bit shyly (while repeatedly playing with and tossing her braids over her shoulder.)

Bravo, Julia!

Madeleine was at school during the big performance, but Ethan was able to join me in the audience and get a big Julia hug after it was over:

Madeleine is now home from school and hanging out with me, which generally entails taking out a ton of art supplies and toys, asking me repeatedly for help with things, and then leaving the piles all over the place once she moves on to the next task.  In an attempt to dissuade her from doing Magnetic Mosaics with 1000+ teeny-tiny mosaic tiles, I actually offered up tv as an alternative.

MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, can you help me with this? (handing me a tile)
ME: Well, I was was wondering if you want to watch a show.
ME: Okay.  So let's clean up the mosaic tiles.
MADELEINE: Well, I want to do BOTH.
ME: Well, I don't really want to put on a show until all these tiles are cleaned up.
MADELEINE: (talking to me like I'm an idiot) Well MAMA, I can do BOTH at the same time.  I have TWO EYES.

Yeah, well, unless one of them was a lazy eye, there was no way she was going to be able to focus on both at once, so I made her use her two hands to clean up the tiles. 

All moms know that sometimes, TV can be your best ally.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Darkness Is Spreading

Julia is thoroughly enjoying the chance to write in the blank bound book Auntie Shannon recently gave her.

JULIA: Mommy?  Do you think my book will REALLY be published??  It feels like it's ALREADY published, but if it was REALLY published, that would be GREAT.

 What do you think, readers?  Take a look at the author reading aloud from the beginning of her new book and see if it's publishing material:

The darkness is spreading!  Can't wait to find out how Samantha and the others combat this spreading darkness.  I hope that I'm not reluctantly asleep when it's time to hear the next chapter!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Housing Crisis (of Sorts)

As I have mentioned in many a blog post, living with five people in a one-bedroom condo can make us all feel awfully claustrophobic.  While Ethan and I have no immediate intentions to move, we occasionally take a look at houses on the market to get an idea of what's for sale for what in our area.  We have basically concluded that if we were to move, at some point, into a single-family home, it would only be if we found a place that succeeds in fitting within the limits of our expectations as well as the limits of what we are willing to spend.

In other words, unless we happen upon a house that is a) in our current town, b) in our current elementary school district, c) larger than the place in which we currently live, d) constructed with a minimum of 1.5 bathrooms, and e) WELL under the average price of houses in our area, we're happy to stay put where we are.

The kids apparently don't understand how remote the possibility of us moving in the near future is under our current limitations.  In fact, Ethan and I had not even intended to discuss this issue with the kids.  While the girls were watching a movie this weekend, I showed Ethan some pictures online of various houses for sale in our part of town.  This exercise was basically akin to me showing him pictures of resorts in Tahiti; it was a way to live vicariously, while thinking, "Someday, down the line, doing this would be nice." 

The movie ended while I was showing Ethan the last of the houses I'd found, one which is definitely out of our price range, but was by far the nicest of the homes we'd seen.  Before I knew it, the girls were crowding around us, hanging off our laps, trying to figure out what we were looking at on my computer.

Thus began the most ridiculous discussion ever, in which the girls failed to understand in any way how unlikely the event of our moving is.

JULIA: But Mom!  I don't WANT to go to another school!  I want to just keep living HERE!
ME: Well, Julia, Daddy and I were only looking at houses that are in the same school district.
JULIA: But Mom!  I just don't WANT to move!  I don't want to have ALL NEW kids in my class!
ME: Honey.  I just told you.  We were looking at houses in the SAME school district.
JULIA: But I just love living here.  I don't WANT to go to a different town!
ME: Julia.  We wouldn't move unless we stayed in the same town.  I mean, Daddy would be happy to move to a different town, but he knows that it's really important to me to stay here, so he's okay with that.

At this point, Madeleine joined the discussion.

MADELEINE: (face crumpling) But I don't WANT Daddy to move to another tooooown!  I want Daddy to live with US!


ME: Honey.  Daddy is NOT moving to another town.  I'm just saying that it's not as important to him that we stay in this town, but because it's important to ME, and to you girls, he's willing to stay here.  If we didn't care, Daddy would be okay with moving to another town, or even to another school district.
JULIA: But MOMMY!  I don't WANT to go to a different SCHOOL!


ME: Julia.  We would ONLY MOVE if we found a house in the SAME TOWN, in the SAME SCHOOL DISTRICT.
MADELEINE: But I would miss Lilly too much!
ME: You would STILL go to school with Lilly.  Girls.  This is ridiculous.  Daddy and I are NOT planning on moving any time soon.
JULIA: But I don't WANT to move.  I just feel USED to it here.
ME: Well, that's fine, because we're not planning on moving.  But you would get used to a new place if we ever did move.
JULIA: (starting to freak out) But I don't WANT to move!

I thought we had finally gotten through to the girls, but about ten minutes later, as I got Madeleine ready for bed, her face suddenly crumpled again.

MADELEINE: But Maaaamaaaaa!  I will miss Lilly TOO MUCH if we moooooovee!

Oh.  My.  God.  Clearly the children are just completely incapable of understanding a single thing I said in regards to moving.  Let's not pay the slightest attention to what Mommy is saying.  Let's just freak out about it!

Then, to prove just how clearly she gets it, Madeleine explained to me why she never wants to move.

ME: Honey, why are you getting so upset?
MADELEINE: Because I would be saaaaad.
ME: Why?
MADELEINE: Of Mommy and Daddy LEAVING.

Yup.  That's what we're gonna do.  Ethan and I are going to find our own house and move out and leave the kids alone here.  How does she not understand that we would ALL BE MOVING TOGETHER??

Sheesh kids.  Way to make a mountain out of a molehill!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Church Adventures

After our church service today, I headed down the hallway to the Sunday school classrooms to pick up the girls.  From several doors down the hallway, I could hear the sound of a pipsqueak little voice belting out music.

VOICE: My soul is spiraling in FROOOZEN FRAAACTALS aaaalll AROOOUUUND!

Yep.  Madeleine was engaged in an impromptu performance of "Let it Go" for her Sunday school classmates and teachers.

After I picked the girls up, we headed outside for a special Memorial service, in honor of World War II vets from the church.  Madeleine loudly announced what ELSE she had shared with her peers and teachers during Sunday school.

MADELEINE: And MAMA?  I told my teachers about the time I was playing with POOP!

Well, that's great.  I'm really really glad she brought that up to people at church.  I wonder if Madeleine is going to follow in her daddy's infamous footsteps and get herself kicked out of Sunday school.

(In all reality, I am very lucky in that all of the adults at our church seem to understand very well that kids will be kids.  Even when Madeleine is doing things like crawling around underneath the pew instead of kneeling during prayer time.)

I had to stay after church for a quick choir rehearsal, and since I hadn't come equipped, I simply gave the girls a pen and flipped over that day's instructions for Liturgy so that they could draw on the back.  They had, of course, already drawn pictures during Sunday school, but they were at least moderately content to work on brand new illustrations.

Speaking of their Sunday school drawings, according to Julia, the kids had been asked to draw a picture of their favorite part of church.  Julia drew herself receiving Communion from the priest:

Madeleine drew this:

ME: Madeleine, what did YOU draw a picture of?

Unfortunately for me, the choir rehearsal started with about fifteen minutes of paper shuffling, as choir members gathered the new sheets of music we were to rehearse while searching for pieces we already had in our folders.  By the time we actually got to singing, the girls were sick of coloring.

JULIA: Mommy?  Can I dance?  When the music starts?
ME: Uh...okay.

So we began singing through a piece for next week's service, and Julia started a wild and crazy interpretative dance off to the side of the choir loft.  Madeleine, not to be left behind, suddenly freaked out and began shouting to me (even though she was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME) as I was singing along with the other choir members.

ME: (wearily) That's fine.  You can go dance too.

Before I knew it, the Liturgical music was intercut with the sound of elephantine booming and thumping, as the girls paraded around the choir loft, jumping off of steps, climbing up and down from the podium, all the while waving their arms in a dancing frenzy.

It wasn't distracting AT ALL.

Needless to stay, I didn't stay long at the rehearsal.  It was time to get my antsy kids out of there, and seeing as they had sat still through the service AND the Memorial, I was more than happy to embrace the "let kids be kids" idea and acknowledge that it was too much to expect them to sit still much longer.  So we rolled down the windows and cranked up our "Sgt. Pepper" album and the kids sang to their hearts' content. 

Happy long weekend, everyone!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Madeleine Sings a Lullaby

Madeleine wasn't satisfied after I sang her the usual one bedtime song this evening.

MADELEINE: And Mama?  Can you sing ANOTHER one?
ME: Well, what do you want me to sing?
MADELEINE: about..."Five Little Laps."

Seriously, AGAIN with the "Five Little Laps"??

ME: I can't sing that, honey.  It's a song you made up and I don't know how it goes.
MADELEINE: Okay.  Mama.  I will sing it to you, and then YOU sing it.
ME: No, sweetie, we don't have time for that.
MADELEINE: Okay.  Mama.  How about *I* just sing YOU a song.
ME: Okay.
MADELEINE: (launching into song) Five little laps on the top of the roof...bouncing up and little lap fell down from the there's...NINE little laps on the top of the roof.

NINE little laps now!?  I thought one fell off.  Why are we getting bigger?  Why aren't we at four little laps??

MADELEINE: Nine little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and down, and one little lap fell down from the roof, now there's eight little laps on the top of the roof.

At least this time we did the math correctly.

MADELEINE: Eight little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and la la la loof...and one little lap fell down from the roof, and now there's seven little laps on the top of the roof.

I see we added a little to the lyrics this time.

MADELEINE: Seven little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and down, la la la la little lap fell down from the room, and...and...and...(breathing hard from the effort of trying to keep her song going) now there's six little laps on the top of the room.

I was starting to feel like the song was never going to end.

MADELEINE: Six little laps ont he top of the roof, bouncing up and down, YIPPEE!  La la la la loof, and one little lap fell down from the roof, and now there's...there's...there's...(heavy panting) Mama?  What number is next from SIX?
ME: Five.
MADELEINE: Five little laps on the top of the roof...

Okay.  Finally, we are at least back where we started.

MADELEINE: Five little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and down, YIPPEE!  La la la la loof, and one little lap fell down from the roof.  OUCHIE!  And now there's FOUR little laps on the top of the roof.

It seems the verses get longer with each repeat.

MADELEINE: Four little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and down, la la - uh... YIPPEE!  La la la la loof!  And one little lap fell down from the roof.  OUCHIE!  Mmm hmmm hmmm hmmm.  And now there's THREE little laps on the top of the roof.

OMG.  Three more to go.  Then freedom.

MADELEINE: Three little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and down, YIPPEE!  La la la la la loof!  Mmm hmmm hmmm.  One little lap fell down from the roof.  OUCHIE!  Mmm hmmm hmmm hmmm.  Now there's...there's...there's...
ME: Two.
MADELEINE: Two little laps on the top of the roof.  Two little laps on the top of the roof, bouncing up and down, YIPPEE!  La la la la loof!  Mmm hmmm hmmm.  One little lap fell down fro the room.  OUCHIE!  Mmm hmm hmm.  Hmm hmmm hmmm hmmm.  Now there's ONE little lap on the top of the roof.

FINALLY.  Last one.

MADELEINE: One little lap on the top of the roof.  Bouncing up and down.  YIPPEE!  La la la la loof.  He...he...he...he fell down.  OUCHIE!  Mmm hmmm hmmm.  Now there's NO little laaaaps!
ME: Great song!  Hooray!  That was-
MADELEINE: Noooo little laaaps on the top of the rooooof.  Mmm hmmm hmmm la la laaaaaa!  Oof!

Oh, thank goodness, we were finally done.

ME: I liked your song, honey.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  It was pretty GREAT.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BFFs and BFPs

After a four-hour play-date at our house with one of her preschool buddies, Madeleine found herself literally dreaming about her friend.  Having drifted off during our bedtime snuggles, she suddenly awoke, distressed by a dream she'd had.

MADELEINE: Mama?  I had a dream that Lilly doesn't want to be my BFF anymore, so she threw me in the garbage!
ME: I thought Julia is your BFF.
MADELEINE: No, now it's Lilly.  Well Mama.  Actually, it's YOU.  But then NEXT is Lilly.

Gasp.  *I'm* Madeleine's BFF?  I am - seriously - so honored!  I know, I know, it won't last, but I'll enjoy my exalted status while I can!

Obviously, both girls are in a very social mode now that they're in school, and Julia was especially desperate to get out the door to school this morning.  Unfortunately, we were delayed just a bit by a big emergency poop that Madeleine needed to do.  To give Madeleine credit, she really listened to me when I told her it had to be FAST so that we could get out the door on time.

She didn't take her clothes off.
She didn't gather together a bunch of toys to play with on the pot.
She didn't sing "Let it Go" or any other songs from "Frozen."

In fact, this was the fastest I have ever known her to be on the potty.  It must have REALLY been an emergency poop.  Madeleine even acknowledged what an epic ordeal it had been once she was off the potty and washing her hands. 

MADELEINE: Wow!  That poop just fell out of me so COMPLETELY!

While I appreciated Madeleine's speed in the bathroom, Julia felt the need to hold it against her.  As Julia searched in vain for the matching sneaker to the one she had already put on, she came to the sudden conclusion that it was all Madeleine's fault.

JULIA: Argghh!  I can't find my sneaker ANYWHERE in this shoe bin!  MADELEINE!  Why did you have to POOP?  Now we're going to be LATE.

(Yeah, Madeleine.  OMG.  I want to see my BFFs and you had to do a BFP.  (Big Fat Poop, just in CASE you really wanted to know what I meant.)  How DARE you have bodily functions?  Next time, just go in your underwear.  Sheesh.)

We were not, in fact, late.  And I managed to find Julia's sneaker in a matter of seconds.  But that didn't stop Julia's panic that we were on the verge of catastrophe.

And it all worked out in a cosmically karmic way.  This afternoon, as we were heading out the door to drop the girls at Lilly's house while I went to work, guess who had to delay our departure with an emergency poop?

ME: Jules?  Are you almost done in there?  We really need to leave.
JULIA: (distraught) Mommy!?  Every time you ask me that, I just feel MORE poop needing to come out!

So now they're even.  Both girls had to wait to see their friends because of the other one needing the toilet.  One good poop deserves another!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bedtime Marathon

As I have stated more than once, there is never a dull moment in the Rowe household.  (And, really, what household with young children DOES have dull moments??)  Even such a simple thing as bedtime can sometimes turn into a marathon event.

Madeleine has been going through a MAJOR "Mommy" phase, needing to be pried off of me when I drop her at school, crying for me while baby-sitters are here, and what not.  While she is (THANKFULLY) starting to move on from this stage, she still often makes a fuss about wanting mommy over any other adults at bedtime.

Last night, Ethan had the gall to offer to do Madeleine's bedtime routine.

ETHAN: So can I put you to bed tonight?
ME: Why don't you have Daddy put you to bed tonight?  You can get some special Daddy time!
ME: How about Daddy reads you one book and I read you one book?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Okay!  (thoughtful for a moment) Wait, Mama!  I have an idea!  How about YOU read me one book, and read me ANOTHER book, and then you sing me a song and snuggle me?

In other words, Madeleine's idea was for me to do her entire bedtime routine.

Luckily, Ethan managed to win Madeleine over and was graciously allowed to read the first bedtime story to her.

Julia, on the other hand, rejected BOTH of her parents for bedtime in favor of Auntie Shannon.  As Julia put it, "Mommy, I feel like I never get any AUNTIE SHANNON time anymore, because, like, she's at WORK and stuff."

Yes, Shannon.  You should be taking time off from work to focus on your REAL priorities here: entertaining Julia.  Forget about the paycheck.  Your niece will pay you in words, as her diarrhea of the mouth always seems to start spewing out when she gets a chance to fill you in on every single thought in her mind.  Usually early in the morning.  When you're trying to sleep.

At any rate, all the adults got a little bedtime story action, and the girls got their lullaby in very contrasting ways.  For Julia, Auntie Shannon played a YouTube video of a pop song Julia loves.  Per Madeleine's request, I sang her "Let it Go."  Now, this song is not a particular favorite of mine, but thanks to my girls and their near-constant singing of it, I have pretty much every word down pat.  As I sang to Madeleine, she decided to jump in and bellow along with me, and furthermore, once I had finished, Madeleine chose to perform a solo medley of EVERY SINGLE song from "Frozen."  When I left her bedroom, she was still belting out the various songs so loudly that it was keeping Julia awake.

Once the calm started to settle in upstairs, Ethan decided to seize the moment and get into the bathroom.  Seeing as both girls had been in and out, brushing teeth, peeing, combing hair, etc before we put them to bed, this was the first real chance for him to get in there and shut the door with some privacy.

No sooner had he done so than Madeleine padded downstairs, eyes drowsy, to announce, "Mama?  I need to go PEE."  I instructed her that she needed to wait because Daddy was on the toilet, and next thing I knew, we had yet ANOTHER little friend standing outside the bathroom door.

JULIA: (brightly, as she knocked on the door) Daddy?  Can I come IN?
ETHAN: Uhhh, NO.
JULIA: But Mommy!  I need to peeeeeeeeee!
ME: Well, you'll have to get in line.  Madeleine is next after Daddy gets out of there.

Ah, the joys of having only one bathroom and five people living in the house together. 

Before I knew it, Julia had launched whole-heartedly into Gallop Time, so not only were both girls out of bed, but Julia was leaping joyfully through the living and dining rooms, back and forth, back and forth.

ME: Julia, you're GALLOPING now?
JULIA: Mommy, I can't HELP it!  I just started thinking about that SONG Auntie Shannon played for me!

When Ethan emerged from the bathroom, the girls got a chance to use the toilet, and both kids insisted on being walked (or, in Madeleine's case, piggy-backed) up to their beds and snuggled.  When Ethan and I were once again free of bedtime duties, we retired to our own room to watch tv. And sure enough, the loud, piercing sound of a kid wailing filled the air.

ME: Hang on.  Turn off the tv.  Is Madeleine crying?
ETHAN: (turning down the volume) I don't know.
MADELEINE: (from her bed) IIIIIIIIIII dooooooooooon't caaaaaaare what they're goooooooooooing to saaaaaaaaaay!  Let it gooooooo, let it gooooooooo...
ETHAN: No, she's singing.
ME: Should we go tell her to be quiet?
ETHAN: Who cares?  As long as she stays in bed and leaves us alone, let her sing.

So we did. 

During the opening credits of the show we were watching, we heard footsteps thumping up the stairs, and suddenly the bedroom door started creaking open.

ME: Julia or Madeleine?
JULIA: (poking her head in, looking sheepish) I caaaaan't fall asleep.
ETHAN: Julia.  You've been in bed for ten minutes.
ME: Just go read until you get tired.
JULIA: (smiling) Ooookay!

So we dispensed of both kids, who found their own forms of self-entertainment, and fell asleep later than we would have liked, but without another intervention from us. 

After an hour and a half of trying to get them to bed, it turns out the solution was to follow Madeleine's advice and let it gooooooooooo, let it goooooooo!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Madeleine Plays "Frozen"

Madeleine has obviously watched "Frozen" about a million times.  Here, she enacts one of the scenes between Elsa and Anna, using the characters' dolls:

I especially like how Madeleine is able to improv and just barrel on ahead once she forgets the actual next line from the script.  When in doubt, have the characters plant kisses all over each other! 

Speaking of lines from movies, Madeleine's newest favorite expression obviously comes from one of the various movies or kids' shows she and Julia have watched.  The expression of which I speak is: "What the...?"  Sadly, the days of "What a heck?" have been replaced by "What the??", and Madeleine makes sure to use this phrase about a hundred times a day.  Whether the situation actually merits it or not.

Some examples:

MADELEINE: (looking at her easel painting from school, which we had just brought home) What the...??
ME: Honey, that's your painting from school.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!  It is?

MADELEINE: (watching Ethan play Wii baseball) What the...??
ETHAN: I got a hit, honey.
MADELEINE: Daddy, I was like "what the" because it looked CRAZY!

MADELEINE: (closing an open cabinet) What the...??  Mama?  The cabinet was OPEN so I closed it!

Basically, Madeleine inserts a good "what the??" into any conversation whenever she gets a chance.  Which somewhat diminishes the effect of the phrase, seeing as it is usually intended to express sheer and utter shock over something insane/amazing/surprising.  But, hey, maybe Madeleine sees the world as one big amazing surprise after another.  It's a whole world of "What the"s when you're a 4-year-old, I guess!

Monday, May 19, 2014


Madeleine's class is learning about heroes this week.  And I am proud to announce that Ethan and I made the cut and we are now someone's hero:

Never mind that my nose appears to be a cock-and-balls, or that Madeleine drew Ethan in his scruffy, unshaven glory, or that we appear to be conjoined at the head.  If we are her heroes, she can depict us HOWEVER she darn well pleases. 

Julia is busy creating her OWN heroic characters, both on the page and off.  Today she is staying after school to play with her two friends/co-creators of Ju-Sa-Lil.  This play-date has been in the works for quite some time; the three friends are simply going to stay on the school playground after dismissal, with the mom of one of Julia's friends as chaperone, while the girls enact Ju-Sa-Lil to their hearts' content.  Why the need to play this game on the playground rather than at someone's house?  Julia explains: "Because the big ROCK on the playground is, like, kind of like the PERFECT thing to be the INSIDE of the Earth."

And Lord knows you can't play Ju-Sa-Lil without being in the inside of the Earth.  That's where all the action happens in the future, OBVIOUSLY.

I'm telling you, the Ju-Sa-Lil franchise is going to be BIG.  Julia can't stop thinking about this character and her Inner Earth world.  In fact, over the weekend, Julia made a list of things to do, one of which was: "Daydream about Ju-Sa-Lil."  So I can already see that even bigger and wilder things are yet to come in the Ju-Sa-Lil world!

2015: An Inner Earth Odyssey!

Sunday, May 18, 2014


Remember the good old days of Julia's "Harry Potter" obsession?  Well, those days are long gone, folks, as Julia is deep in the midst of an American Girl obsession. 

We have had LOTS of talk about the American Girls this morning, starting with this astute comment:

JULIA: Mom?  Sometimes when I just STARE at my American Girl dolls, I feel like they're gonna, like, come to LIFE.

And, of course, one can't discuss the American Girls without speaking of the aldin days.

JULIA: (wistfully) Mom?  I wish *I* lived in the olden days!
ME: Well, you sort of do.  100 years from now, people will look back at this as the olden days.
JULIA: Oh, yeah!  Wait, Mom, you're RIGHT!  So, like, every day is really the olden days for WHOEVER lives in the future from now!
ME: Exactly.
JULIA: So Mom.  What do you think things will be LIKE in the future when people are looking back at the olden days?
ME: Well, what do YOU think the future will be like?
JULIA: (in delight) Wait, do you think it will be like Ju-Sa-Lil, where people live INSIDE the EARTH??

Nope.  I don't.

The American Girl dolls all congregated in the dining room this morning for a big event: Saige's birthday party.  The party was complete with a bouncy house, which was actually the baby doll pack 'n play turned upside down.

Saige bouncing high in the air

Madeleine, the party hostess, dressed in TRUE party style for the exciting event.

ME: Madeleine, I like your sunglasses.
MADELEINE: They're not SUNGLASSES.  They're PARTY glasses.

Party Glasses

Are you wondering about the difference between sunglasses and party glasses?  I was, too, so I asked Madeleine about it.

ME: So Madeleine, what ARE party glasses?
MADELEINE: So.  Mama.  I put them ON, and I can see PARTY things, and...also...NIGHT vision. 

Ohhh.  NOW I get it.  I know that I'm always in need of night vision when I'm at parties.

Speaking of parties, Madeleine is BEYOND excited to attend the birthday party of one of her preschool friends this afternoon.  And as is typical, she's decked out in TOTAL style:

Flip-flops over tights are SO in right now! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Madeleine's Wish List

ME: Madeleine, come here, I need to tell you something.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  Is it something EXCITING?
ME: Uh, no, not really.  Can you guess what it is?
MADELEINE: (with disdain) You LOVE me?
ME: Yes!  How did you know?
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  Can you ask me something exciting?
ME: Well, what would you like me to ask?
MADELEINE:, something about my BIRTHDAY.
ME: Okay.  Uh...what would you like to do on your birthday?
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  I mean, like something about my PRESENT.
ME: Okay.  What presents do you want for your birthday?
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  What present are you going to GET me?
ME: I have no idea yet.  Your birthday is still far away.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  I think I want something that's DIFFERENT.

So, she wants something that's different than the non-existent gift I have yet to get her.  Noted.

ME: Okay.  Well, what do you want?
MADELEINE: Well, I think I want a NAIL POLISH game, where you put the nail polish on them.  And...I want a CUPCAKE set.
ME: We already have TWO cupcake sets.

(I should have said it like Madeleine: We ARDERY have two cupcake sets.)

Not good enough for Madeleine, I guess.  Apparently Hello Kitty and Seala need some more baking lessons, and eight play cupcakes just aren't gonna cut it.

 Yep.  Two sets is definitely not enough for one person.

ME: Well, what do you like to do with the cupcake sets?
MADELEINE: Um, you can ALSO get me a DONUT MAKER, ice cream maker, because Julia has one and I don't.

(Feel free to not answer my question and just pile on the birthday demands, Madeleine.)

ME: Okay.  What else?
MADELEINE: Um...and...and trick-or-treat bags.
ME: But we have a million trick-or-treat bags.
MADELEINE: But those are in the basement.
ME: So?
MADELEINE: I think it's YUCKY to go down in the basement and get some YUCKY old dusty Halloween bags.
ME: Okay, well, I tell you what.  I'll put that all on your wish list.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Okay!

You've heard it from the original source herself, folks.  Looking for a gift for Madeleine?  How about a donut maker?  Or if you want to go less expensive, a trick-or-treat bag would do!  And, hey, we could always use a THIRD cupcake set!  One can NEVER have too many play cupcakes to leave on the floor for adults to accidentally step on and nearly twist an ankle, right?  So wipe your brows with relief.  Even though Madeleine's birthday is still five months away, you don't have to sweat over what to get her, because she's got her wish list down pat!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Julia went to school again today in her plaid skirt and knee socks.  I had the audacity to try and choose a different outfit for her, but then she reminded me: "But Mommy, it's Wednesday, and on Wednesday, I wear KNEE SOCKS!"

Why on Wednesdays, you may wonder?  (among other things you may be wondering about, such as: why the sudden knee socks obsession?)  Well, Julia explains her reasoning: "Because on Wednesdays we have MUSIC, and I feel kind of like, music is, like, the FANCIEST of all our specials."

I don't know about you, but that makes perfect sense to me.

Now, Julia may be ALL ABOUT wearing knee socks and imitating 1940s school girl fashions, but her latest American Girl creation is one from the future!  Julia and two of her friends at school created an American Girl character named Ju-Sa-Lil, which is a combination of the first names of Julia and her buddies. 

Julia got hard to work on this Girl of the Future, and just WAIT until you see what fashion looks like way off in the far future of...


WOW.  Way to dream FAR OFF into the future, Jules!

You won't believe how much things have changed 7 months from now.  First of all, the English language has been drastically altered.  Instead of "Mother" and "Father," the new term is "Madra" and "Fadra" (pronounced like "mah-dray" and "fah-dray"). Additionally, several English words seem to have lost their first letters in futuristic pronunciation.  "Humans" are now "umans," "bananas" are "ananas," etc.  Further, several words have their letters scrambled or rearranged.  For example, "tv" is now "vt," and "eggs" are "gges." 

You might ALREADY be wondering how things could have changed so dramatically by 2015, but the biggest change is yet to be revealed: Ju-Sa-Lil and her family live INSIDE THE EARTH.  No one today lives inside the Earth, right?

Confused?  Me too.  From Julia's description, either Ju-Sa-Lil and her family live in the Earth's core: "Because they live inside the Earth, where it's just, like, rocks and stuff," OR: Ju-Sa-Lil and her family live outside of civilization: "Well, there's, like, NOTHING around, and it's just, like NATURE, and instead of houses it's CAVES and stuff."  Never fear, however, because they still have contact with those who live OUTSIDE the Earth (aka in the part of Earth where there exists more than rocks and stuff.)  Take a lok at Ju-Sa-Lil's family and friends:

Apparently, Ju-Sa-Lil's family and friends all look like blank circles.  (In reality, I suspect Julia is leaving the pictures blank so that her two co-creator buddies can help with the illustrations.)  Check it out: Ju-Sa-Lil has two friends from the outer world, Sophie and City.  So clearly there is some easy way IN and OUT of the Earth so that the peoples of both worlds can interact.

Anyway, Julia is only through Chapter 1 of "Meet Ju-Sa-Lil," so we still have yet to see what adventures await the people of Inside Earth.  Stay tuned, folks, because I know you're all excited to find out what life in 2015 will be like!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother Day Gifts

The girls couldn't wait to give me my Mothers Day gifts as soon as they were up this morning.  They started off by presenting me a collaborative poster that they'd made with Daddy:

They made sure to include pictures of all my favorite things: a pumpkin, music notes, a bagel, coffee, and more!  They even included some of my non-favorite things, like milk, to which I am intolerant/allergic.  Maybe it's supposed to represent a future in which my milk allergy is cured!

Next up was this very sweet Mothers Day school project from Julia:

I especially like the fact that #6 states that Julia loves when I sing "The Green Grass Grew All Around."  Except Julia names the song by its first line, "There was a hole..." which kind of looks like the song is called "There was A*$hole."  What a great mommy, right??

And because Julia loves giving gifts so much, she didn't stop at the above project.  I received my very own Julia-written book! 

The Magic Cofie Cup
by Julia Rowe

Does this cup serve magic cofie that enhances Mom's energy ten-fold?  If so, I most DEFINITELY want some!

 "Donta, Clara and there mom where out shopping. Donta saw a magic cofie cup.  'I'll get you that cofie cup Mom if you get us 14 cans of powderd cheiase,' said Clara.  'All right,' said her mom."

First of all, to clear things up: Julia informs me that "Donta" is pronounced like the Inferno author Dante.
Secondly, smart choice, Mom!  I know that I would totally buy 14 cups of powderd cheiase in return for a magic cofie cup!

"They went home.  'Can I have some poterd chease mom?' asket Donta.  'Ohky,' said the mom.  They got out of the car.  'I don't feel tierd!' said the mom.  'This cofie cup is really good,' said the Mom."

The mom has a really square crotch. 

"Mom I'm going to bed,' said Clara.  'You do that,' said her mom.  Clara got into bed.  'I'm going to work,' said there mom.  Clara and Donta where nerves.  There mom did not get any sleep.'

No wonder they're nerves.  There mom looks like she turned into FRANKENMOM.  And she didn't get any sleep and now she's going to work??  Moms NEVER do that.

"We have to get that cofie cup,' said Donta.  'Befor it's to late,' said Clara.  They rote down a plan."

I can see why they needed to rite down that plan.  It has so many steps and it seems so complicated.  I can imagine they were worried they might forget what to do without referring to their list.

"The next day Clara ran to her mom.  'I want to get you this,' she said.  She tried to take the cofie cup.  Then Donta tried.  'I got it,' he yelled.  'YAY!' said Clara."

Good work, Donta!  You succeeded and saved the day!  Especially after Clara's LAME failure of an attempt.

"And they all live'd happylie ever after.  Without the magic cofie cup."
The end.

Hooray!  What a story!  I have been warned: no magic cofie cup for me.  Unless I want to get no sleep and go to work the next day!

Julia had yet another gift for me, a decorated snowflake:

Thanks, mine Julia!

Madeleine made me one of the classic handprint with poem gifts at school:

She apparently has amnesia about this project, however, as she insists she didn't make it.

Not to worry, though.  Madeleine is still very aware that today is Mothers Day.  Especially while she was ready for her second breakfast as I had just sat down to my first.

MADELEINE: (shouting from the living room) Mamaaa?  Can you get me a BOWL?
ETHAN: Madeleine, you can get a bowl yourself.
MADELEINE: But it's Mothers Day.
JULIA: (condescending) Madeleine.  Mothers Day means you DON'T bother your mommy to get you things.
MADELEINE: But I want Mama to get it.

Hope Yiayia, Nana, and any other mommy blog readers have a wonderful day today!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

A Party, Pretend Play, and a Portfolio

Julia got invited to a birthday sleepover in June, and she couldn't be more excited.  Madeleine, on the other hand, is heart-broken.  She can't bear to be left behind, and doesn't want to spend a night apart from her sister.  To remedy the situation, Madeleine has decided that we should move the birthday sleepover to OUR house, and Madeleine will invite a friend to sleep over as well. 

I tried to explain to her why age four is a little young to have a sleepover.

ME: Well, kids who are four don't USUALLY do sleepovers yet.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Why not?
ME: Well, when you're four, it's still kind of hard to spend the night away from your mom or dad or your relatives.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  No it's not.
ME: It can be.  You know how you want Mommy to lay in your bed and give you snuggles every night?  Wouldn't it be hard if you were at a friend's house to sleep and you didn't have Mommy there to give you snuggles?
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  YOU could just give my friends snuggles at night.
ME: I think your friends probably want their OWN mommy to give snuggles.  You know how you get scared at night sometimes?  Wouldn't you want your own mommy to give you snuggles if you were feeling scared?

Madeleine processed this discussion and decided to use various elements from our conversation in the creepiest way possible.

MADELEINE: (to one of her preschool friends) Do you feel scared when a DIFFERENT mommy climbs in your bed and snuggles you?
MADELEINE: Uh, Mom, she said she DOESN'T, so we can do our sleepover!

I think it's a GREAT idea to let four year olds make these kinds of decisions.  It's a plan!

When Madeleine is not busy pining away for Julia, she is acting the role of Mommy with her baby dolls and stuffed animals.  She even enacted a baking lesson with Hello Kitty and Seala the Seal, much in the way that she and I bake together.  Madeleine counted aloud the number of cups of various ingredients she was pouring into her mixing bowl and let her stuffed animals take turns helping:

When it came time for Madeleine to use the electric mixer, which, in her game, was the play coffee maker, Hello Kitty and Seala were apparently ready for naptime:

MADELEINE: Mama?  They're SLEEPING, because I told them to take a nap.

I don't know about you, but I find nothing more appetizing than a seal lying belly up on my kitchen counter while I'm preparing food.

Anyway, Madeleine and Julia also collaborated today on some pretend play, putting together a school in Julia's room for ALL of the dolls in the household.  Not only were the American Girls part of the classroom, but even the baby dolls got to get educated.  I've never seen a one-room schoolhouse so packed with students before!

While Julia spent a good amount of time with her dolls, she has also been active in her novel-writing world.  In fact, she has recently started SO many new books that she can hardly keep track of them.  Today, in an attempt to organize the clutter all over the dining room table, I began paper-clipping the unfinished pages of each book together to keep them from getting mixed up.  It was then that I stumbled upon what promises to be a real masterpiece:


By Julia Rowe

I can't WAIT until this one is finished.  I'm sure it's going to be a truly safisticated read!

I am also looking for a good place to store Julia's art portfolio, which she got to bring home from school on Friday.  It is full of really lovely artwork, and the outside of the portfolio itself is so charming that I had to take a picture:

Julia's entire personality is evident on this portfolio cover.
You are my friend too!

And speaking of pictures speaking volumes, here's Madeleine's latest drawing:

Yup.  Sums her up perfectly.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Aldin Days

Julia continues on with her obsession over the "aldin" days.  And I recently found out that it doesn't take much, in her eyes, for a time period to be categorized as the olden days.

JULIA: Mom?  What did I used to do when I crawled again?  Did I have both hands down but only one knee down?
ME: Yes, you would keep one foot in the ground and push off of that foot. 
JULIA: (giggling) What did I look like?
ME: Well, we have videos of you crawling, so maybe we can watch them some time.  We'd need Daddy to hook up the old camera though.  When you were born, people didn't have cell phones that could take videos and connect to the internet, so we had an actual video camera with mini-discs in it.
JULIA: (in fascinated delight) Reeeally?  You couldn't take videos with cell phones??  Mom!  Do you know why I'm so excited to hear that?  Because, like, it reminds me of the OLDEN days.  So, like, when I was born, it was like the olden days because people just had cell phones like the kind you flip open and just use to call people??
ME: Right. You couldn't, like, check your email on your phone and stuff yet.
JULIA:  Wait.  Mommy?  Should I share that at school tomorrow?
ME: Uh...if you want.
JULIA: Well, maybe the other kids wouldn't think it's that interesting. Because not everybody is that into the olden days like I am.  Wait!  Mommy!  I think I know why cell phones didn't do videos yet.  Because it was, like, back in the EARLY 2000s when I was born!

Yes, 2006, light years ago.  The olden days, for sure.

Julia's brain then apparently turned into mush from the overstimulating topic of the olden days, because the rest of our conversation consisted of her randomly sighing, "Olden days.  Mommy?  OLDEN days."

Madeleine has her own idea of the olden days, as well.  She and Julia recently discovered an earlier version of "My Little Pony" on Netflix Kids.  In my opinion, this version is SOOOO stupid compared to the pretty cool current day "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic," but Madeleine disagrees. Lately, it's all she wants to watch.

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Can I watch the "My Little Pony" that's in the OLDEN days?  Like, from when you were little?

In this case, the olden days would be circa 1986.  MORE of an olden time than 2006, but, still, in the grand scheme of things, not that long ago.  I mean, kids: if it was really the olden days, neither television shows nor any sort of video camera would exist yet.

Now, to switch gears from the olden days, I will end this blog post with a conversation Madeleine and I had this morning.  Some of you may have ARDERY seen it on facebook, but for those facebook-shunners, I will repost it here:

ME: Madeleine, do you know I love you?
ME: Oh. Should I not tell you so much?
MADELEINE: No, you should. (thoughtful) Well Mama. Maybe you should, like, only tell me on SATURDAYS.
So that's that, readers.  From now on, I must contain my endearments until the end of the week.  It's a good thing that tomorrow is Saturday, because I only have to wait one more day until I can tell Madeleine that I love her.  And by tomorrow, maybe she'll have forgotten her "only on Saturdays" condition, because who knows?  Today might feel like the olden days by the time tomorrow rolls around!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Just a Typical Day

This morning started off with Madeleine waking me up because she seemed to think her new size 5 skort, which she had tried on the night before, had shrunk overnight.

MADELEINE: Mama?  It's too SMALL. got small.
ME: (blindly reaching out from my bed to feel her legs.)  Honey, you put both legs through the same leg hole.

Problem solved.  We fixed the skort, and then headed downstairs to simultaneously use the bathroom.  Here, I got to enjoy the pleasure of being on my period with an overly curious child who has no understanding of privacy.

MADELEINE: (peering into the toilet bowl as I'm going pee) Seriously??  Little drops of POOP keep dropping out?!?
ME: (wearily) That's not poop, honey.  It's blood.
MADELEINE: (looking at me with distress in her eyes) Well Mama?  I don't like it when you do your period, because it gets BLOOD all over the toilet.

Well, Madeleine, I don't like it when I do my period, either, but unfortunately, it's a fact of life.  And just you wait, honey.  Someday you'll get to do your OWN period and get blood all over the toilet. 

Julia came downstairs shortly afterwards, dressed and ready for school:

All that remained to be done was her hairstyle, and as I stood above her, braiding her hair, I remarked upon how tall she's getting.

ME: Julia, you're so tall that I can barely braid your hair when you're standing up.  What will I do if you grow taller than me?

Luckily, Julia had the perfect solution.

JULIA: Well Mommy, we can just have Auntie Shannon do my hair then, because she's taller than you.  Well...if she still LIVES here we can have her do my hair.

I bet Auntie Shannon is *really* hoping she's still living here by the time Julia has outgrown me.  Even if that date comes as soon as Julia thinks it might.

JULIA: So Mom.  When WILL I be taller than you?  Like, THIRD GRADE?
ME: Uhhh...I doubt you'll be taller than me by third grade.  But you'll be getting closer!
JULIA: Okay.  So.  FIFTH grade?
ME: Maybe fifth grade.

I mean, I'm a pretty short adult here, but I don't really think Julia will suddenly shoot up past five feet in another year+.  Third grade is dreaming a *little* big, honey.

After Madeleine and I dropped Julia off at school, we began our walk back home, and crossed paths with a mom who was running and pushing her baby in a jogging stroller.

MADELEINE: But why is she RUNNING?
ME: Well, she's pushing a jogging stroller.  Some moms go out for a run and they don't have something like the Y with baby-sitting for their kids.  So they use a special kind of stroller that they can push while they're running.  It's called a jogging stroller.  When you and Julia were both babies, Daddy and I would sometimes run with you in the jogging stroller.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  What did it look like?
ME: The jogging stroller?  Well, it looked a lot like the one you just saw, except that it was dark blue.  It had one wheel in the front and two in the back, just like the one that you just saw.
MADELEINE: (gasping) Wait!  Mama!  I know what that kind of triangle stroller looks like!  And Mama.  Sometimes I think I even DREAMED about that stroller.  And...sometimes...I just think about it QUIETLY.

Wow.  I had no idea our old baby jogger occupies such an important place in Madeleine's mind.  She even thinks quietly about it!  Honestly, is there any other object about which to sit and think meditatively than a jogging stroller?  I think not!

At any rate, both girls are now at school, so I best be off to do my period while there's no one here to gawk at me.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Madeleine and I Discuss Genes

Madeleine and I have had some interesting discussions about genes lately, all beginning with her comments about a particular friend at preschool being too fast to keep up with while running. 

ME: Well, Madeleine, you know what?  I know that her mommy is a reeeeally fast runner, so I bet she got her mommy's fast running genes. 
MADELEINE: (after a thoughtful pause) Well Mama?  Did her mommy's jeans SHRINK?

Yes, that's right, this pair of jeans bears MAGICAL powers, bestowing the fastest feet on anyone who chooses to wear them.

I attempted to explain the concept of genes to Madeleine, giving such examples as her having brown eyes like me, or having artistic skills like Daddy. 

Turns out this only confused her more.

MADELEINE: But Mama?  If Daddy grew inside NANA'S tummy, then...why does he have BROWN hair?

Apparently she believes Daddy should have been born with gray hair like Nana.  I told that both Nana and Gramps had brown hair when they were younger, which then led her to ask me if boys can grow babies in their tummies, so you can see she's just totally in tune with the topic of genes all across the board.

We then moved onto the subject of preschool recess, during which one of Madeleine's friends always wants to ride on the coveted pink bike first.  This discussion allowed Madeleine to get REALLY creative with her adjectives.

MADELEINE: So Mama, she ALWAYS wants the pink bike first, and when we get outside, she just goes DAZZLING over to grab the pink bike and she always just GOBBLES it up before I can get a turn.
ME: But you still get a turn on the pink bike when she's done, right?
MADELEINE: Yes, but...sometimes after I ride it, me and Lilly just go DAWDLING off together to play something else.

Is dawdling the opposite of dazzling?

I love the fact that even if Madeleine isn't totally sure of the meaning of a word, she just GOES FOR IT anyway. 

I would expect no less from a child who wears her fashions with wild abandon:

Now THAT'S style!

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Test of Patience, A Test of Words, and a Test of Balance

When Auntie Shannon got home from work today, desperate to pee, she found our one and only bathroom occupied by one of Madeleine's marathon poop sessions.

This time, instead of her usual "poop toys," Madeleine had chosen an alternative tool to pass the time while on the pot.

AUNTIE SHANNON: (opening the bathroom door a crack) Madeleine?  Can I just go pee?
MADELEINE: (delighted) Auntie Shannon!  Wanna see this AMAZING magazine?

This is the magazine she held out:

Communications ACM is a computer science professional publication.  (ACM stands for "Association for Computing Machinery.")  The types of articles inside bear titles such as "An Integrated Approach to Safety and Security Based on Systems Theory" and "Digital Platforms: When Is Participation Valuable?"  The only pictures inside are either screen shots of code or head shots of VIPs in the coding world. 

Yet, to Madeleine, this was her prime choice for poop reading material.  After all, it's an AMAZING magazine!

In other events, Julia had her very first spelling test at school today, and she aced it:

6 for 6!  Yes, despite her creative interpretations on how words are spelled in her hand-written novels, Julia is right on top of her first grade spelling list.  Each week she will get a new set of 6 words to study for the following Friday's test, and she's reeeeally excited to get past the standard first grade words and into the really tricky ones. I wonder if "cafeteria" will be one of them.

And finally, today's caption for walking to and from Julia's school was: "How many times will Madeleine wipe out and tumble around in the mulch in somebody's yard?"  She was literally covered in dirt, thanks to her infamous face-plants while staggering along in her lop-sided gallop. 

I have honestly never known such a klutz in my life.  To the point that I feel like I should bring up her lack of coordination issues at her next pediatric checkup.  I mentioned this to Auntie Shannon this evening, who reminded me that Madeleine's doctor had noted Madeleine's inability to balance on one foot at her last checkup.

So Auntie Shannon set out to work on this skill.

AUNTIE SHANNON: Here.  Madeleine.  Focus on one thing, like, look here at my wrist and just STARE at it while you stand on one foot.

Madeleine was basically just as good at it as she ever was.  As in, she can do it for about a half a second before she loses her balance.  But she *maybe* improved to about three-quarters of a second after working with Auntie Shannon.

AUNTIE SHANNON: Okay, here's let's try it on the other foot now.
MADELEINE: Okay...(concentrating hard on Auntie Shannon's wrist while beginning to balance)
MADELEINE: (wobbling and putting her foot down after about 3/4 of a second)
AUNTIE SHANNON: Good JOB, honey!!!
MADELEINE: (beaming with praise, then losing her balance and toppling over backwards, kabooming to the ground and knocking over a dining room chair in the process.)

Yep.  We still have a LOT of work to do...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Knee Socks

Julia somehow got it in her head this week that she wants knee socks.  Her reason for this desire is two-fold: for one, she wants to look like Hermione Granger in her school uniform, and for the other, she wants to look like she's from the "aldin" days.  Thus began the begging, and I ended up tacking on an order of girls' knee socks to an order I was already making online.  However, the knee socks clearly couldn't arrive soon enough.  I think we were ALL tired of hearing, "Mommy, when are my knee socks gonna get here?", but it was Auntie Shannon who calmed things down by lending a pair of her own gray knee socks to Julia.

Julia then planned, ALL WEEK LONG, to wear the knee socks to school on Thursday.  It was a big hush, hush though, at least among her school friends.  Multiple times per day, Julia reminded me, "Okay, so.  Mom.  Remember not to tell ANYONE that I'm wearing knee socks to school on Thursday!"

Well, Thursday is here, and Julia was in an ecstatic reverie this morning.  She felt the need to announce her fashion choice to everyone in the household, beginning last night before bed.

ETHAN: Julia, did you brush your teeth?
JULIA: Daddy, I'm wearing KNEE SOCKS tomorrow!
ETHAN: That's great honey, but did you brush your teeth?

This morning, Julia came downstairs dressed in plaid skirt, tee-shirt, and gray knee socks, beaming at me proudly. 

Madeleine, of course, didn't bother to give Julia the satisfaction she craved.

MADELEINE: (pointing at Julia and squealing with laughter) Julia!  What are you DOING?
JULIA: (indignant) I'm wearing KNEE SOCKS, Madeleine!
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, I think Julia's socks are TOO BIG!
JULIA: (scornfully) Madeleine, these are KNEE SOCKS.  They're SUPPOSED to go up to your KNEES.

My heaps of praise were clearly not enough to quell the flame of excitement in Julia's heart this morning.  Every few minutes, Julia would sigh lovingly, "Kneeee socks," a look of delight crossing her face.  When I suggested she run up to my full-length bedroom mirror to check herself out, she went sprinting upstairs.

And then never came back. 

ME: (at the base of the stairs) JULIA?  Hey, Jules?  Julia!  Come down!  We have to go to school!


I then had the wisdom to go to the OTHER stairwell, at the top of which is the room Julia is currently sharing with Auntie Shannon. 

ME: Julia?
JULIA: (yelling back from behind the closed door) YEAH?
ME: What are you doing?  We have to leave for school! 

I heard a frantic flurry of Julia's words spilling out, and as the door clicked open, I called up, "Are you waking up Auntie Shannon to have her admire your knee socks?" 

"No!" Julia called quickly, rushing out of her room with a guilty expression, while Shannon simultaneously bellowed, "YES!" from the bedroom.


At any rate, Julia excitedly headed off to school in her knee socks, and when Madeleine and I arrived to pick her up this afternoon, she came sailing gaily out of the school doors with her socks down around her ankles.

ME: What happened?  Your knee socks are down by your ankles!
JULIA: (cheerily) I pushed them down!!

Oh.  I guess the delight was in the initial revelation of her knee socks to all of her friends.  After that, Julia opted for comfort over style.  Regular ankle socks they became.

On another note, I have realized over the past few days that I could probably caption every single walk to and from school to pick up Julia, based upon that day's defining characteristic.  For example, yesterday was definitely "Can we actually make it home before Madeleine poops in her underwear?"  Madeleine was forced to stop and double over about every block or so, trying to squeeze her bum cheeks together and keep from pooping before she got to the potty.  To add to the mayhem, Julia ALSO had to poop, having held it ALL day because of her aversion to pooping at school, and, because we have only one bathroom, a big fight ensued as to who would get to relieve herself first.  I voted for the one who seemed like she might not even MAKE it to the potty.  I'm pretty sure Julia will NEVER forgive me for siding with her sister, though.

Today's caption would have to be: "How many times will Madeleine lose her shoe?"  The answer was 7.  7 times, en route there and back, Madeleine was suddenly wailing and hopping about on one sock-shod foot, while I retraced my steps to pick up the black dress shoe that had YET AGAIN come off her foot.  I suggested she just walk like a normal human being instead of doing her erratic hop-skipping, drunken sailor stagger along the sidewalk, but she was quick to shut me down. 

MADELEINE: Well, Mama.  It's not because I'm SKIPPING.  My shoe just keeps RANDOMLY falling off my foot!

I can't wait to see what tomorrow's school walk theme will be.  Fun times!