Friday, October 31, 2014


Happy Halloweeeen! 

The kids are SO excited.  Julia was up for the day around 4am, and couldn't fall back asleep despite her best efforts.  Madeleine slept just fine, but upon awakening, she had this announcement to make: "Mama!  I wanna put my outfit on RIGHT AWAY!"

Why wouldn't she, when she and Julia both had their pumpkin shirts picked out to wear to school??:

As Madeleine went with Ethan to get her outfit, she remarked to him: "I almost wanted to fall back asleep in my bed because I was SO cozy...but...who wants to be COZY when it's HALLOWEEN!?!?"

Since this is our first Halloween in our new neighborhood, we had to adjust to a whole new routine.  For one, we attended a neighborhood block party before the trick-or-treating began.  We are REALLY suburbanites now, people.  Fun way to meet new neighbors, right?  For Madeleine, yes.  For Julia, it was apparently traumatic.  The poor kid was in tears because "I don't KNOW any of the KIDS here!", despite the fact that several kids from her grade at school, with whom she is friends, were there.  Luckily, after a group photo and parade around the neighborhood, Julia relaxed over pizza and cupcakes and got to chat with one of the other second-graders.  As with all things, Julia just needed a little time to warm up to her new environment.  Madeleine, on the other hand, ran off with another little girl shortly after we arrived at the party and was happy as a clam.

Luckily for us, the neighborhood is predominantly made up of boys, so Julia and Madeleine only had ONE other Elsa and ONE other Anna at the party.  And just as yesterday's blog post demonstrated, Madeleine has simply no sense of tact AT ALL.  During the parade, while walking right near the other Anna, Madeleine announced to Ethan, "Wow.  I have to say, that other Anna is doing a BAD JOB.  Just look at her WIG!"

Yeah.  We're gonna fit in really well in this new 'hood.  One kid cried at the party and the other one criticized her fellow parade-marcher's costume.  Off to a great start folks!

Speaking of costumes, here are the girls all decked out and ready to trick-or-treat:

It was, of course, completely dark by the time we left the party and began our trick-or-treat route.  How many times did Madeleine wipe out, charging along in the dark, up and down front steps?  Any guesses?  Luckily, only ONE of the wipe-outs was a full-blown face plant.  Maybe next year I'll make her wear a head lamp.

At one particular house, there was a fun little game set up; a wheel of fortune, whose outcome was only "good" or "wonderful," meaning you could take candy no matter what the arrow landed on.  Julia got "good" and happily took her candy.  Madeleine got "wonderful" and was absolutely stumped as to the meaning of life.

MADELEINE: Uh, MAMA!  What did I get?
ME: You got wonderful!  Go get your candy.
MADELEINE: But...uh...MAMA!  What does it MEAN?
ME: It means you can get candy.
MADELEINE: No, Mama, what is it MEAN what I got?
ME: It means you can get candy.
MADELEINE: (glancing around uncertainly) Uh, no, Mama, look at what I got.  What does it MEAN?

I had to bring her over to the mom of the house to expressly get permission for Madeleine to take candy.  Sheesh, what happened to my little rule-breaker non-listener?  Preschool has turned her into a rule follower after all.  And I thought it would never happen!

At any rate, the girls are home and in their Halloween pajamas now, enjoying a candy treat before we get a (hopefully solid and much-needed) good night of sleep!  Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lack of Tact

While Julia can occasionally speak of inappropriate things in public (like telling her swim teacher "My mom peed on the floor"), she is generally pretty aware of what things are meant to be said in private and what can be said in front of others.

Not at all so with Madeleine.  No tact with that kid.  Absolutely none.

Sometimes she can be well intentioned.  She has heard Julia comment on Madeleine's ample cheeks, which Julia always refers to as "plop cheeks."  I don't remember the evolution of this term, but it has become a staple term in this house to describe Madeleine's delectable, plump little cheeks.  Fine to talk about in the home.  Maybe not so great in this instance:

ME: (in the middle of running a music session with the kids in Madeleine's preschool class) Baby shark, doo doo, doo doo doo doo, baby-
MADELEINE: (pointing to another kid in the circle) Mama!  PLOP cheeks!

Now, since Madeleine means "plop cheeks" as a compliment, that one is relatively harmless.  But sometimes she is even more clueless.  Today I had to substitute teach in the younger preschool class at Madeleine's school, and she came along to help me out.  And this happened:

LEAD TEACHER: Okay, kids, everyone make a line and follow me out to the playground.
MADELEINE: (walking with me at the end of the line) The little kids are so CUTE!
ME: I know, aren't they?
MADELEINE: Except...(pointing at a boy in front of us in line) That boy is really kind of CREEPY looking because of his FACE.
ME: (loudly, starting to talk over the end of her sentence) YEAH, HE'S SUPER CUTE TOO!

OMG, Madeleine.

Then there are situations like last night, in which we sat amongst the other swim team parents watching Julia's practice session through the window to the pool.

MADELEINE: (out of the blue) Mama?  How ELSE do you get a HERNIA?
ME: Uh...well they're mostly from lifting something that's too heavy.

Silence in the waiting area.

MADELEINE: Mama?  What does a hernia LOOK LIKE?
ME: Um, it looks sort of like a lump coming out of your body.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Do you have any PICTURES of hernias?
ME: I don't.

Silence in the waiting area.

MADELEINE: Mama?  What does a hernia FEEL like?
ME: They hurt.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Do they hurt MORE than a shot?
ME: Well, probably.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  What does a hernia HURT like?
ME: Well, I don't know.  I've never had one.

Silence in the waiting area.

MADELEINE: Mama?  How come if I had a hernia and I went to school, all my friends would be like, "Eeeew, can you take that DISGUSTING thing OFF?"
ME: Uhh...

Silence in the waiting area

MADELEINE: Mama?  Do you know any OTHER ways you can get a hernia?
ME: Well, how about we look it up tomorrow on my computer.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  Can you tell me MORE STUFF about hernias?
ME: I don't really know about hernias that much.  We'll read all about it tomorrow.

I really wonder what all the other swim parents thought about the fact that my five-year-old spent half the practice asking questions about hernias.  At least she wasn't asking questions about diarrhea or menstruation or something less crowd-friendly.

So, true to my word, today I sat down with Madeleine at my computer and we read all about hernias.  She even wanted to see pictures.

MADELEINE: Uh, can we look at MORE pictures of hernias, because questions don't ESCRIVE what it looks like very much.

I can't wait for her to loudly ask, sometime, out in public: "Mama?  Can you show me pictures of HERNIAS again?"

Or maybe, as she gets older, she will actually learn to have at least SOME discretion!  Fingers crossed so tightly I might give myself a hernia!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


This morning, Ethan and I accidentally overslept because his phone, on which he sets our morning alarm, died overnight.  So we were scrambling a bit this morning, and did our kids decide to take extra initiative to be as timely as possible to help us out? 

Nope!  Madeleine, especially, decided to draaaaag out her breakfast for as long as she possibly could.  Every topic under the sun was discussed in lieu of her actually drinking her milk or eating her cereal.  Some such topics:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Can we talk about BUBBLE GUM?
ME: What about it?
MADELEINE: Is bubble gum HOT?
ME: No.
MADELEINE: Is bubble gum SPICY in your MOUTH?
ME: It depends on what flavor you have.
MADELEINE: Uh, can we check mine?  (leaving the breakfast table to get her Spooky Walk bag of treats, then pulling out the stick of bubble gum she had received) Is it a CERTAIN flavor?

It was a certain flavor indeed.  Bubble gum flavor.  Imagine that!

As the endless stream of conversation continued, I suggested Madeleine spend less time talking about bubble gum (and everything else) and more time eating.

ME: Are we having trouble focusing on our breakfast here?
MADELEINE: (big wide grin spreading across her face) You said focusing on our BREAKFAST.  (giggle) Which isn't a real WORD.

So, as you can probably imagine, both girls were running late when it was time to leave for school. 

And on another conversational note, Julia recently told me that she takes issue with the main character in "Halloweentown," who dresses as a Wiccan for Halloween.

JULIA: Mom, did you know that Marnie says "I'm a WICKED!"  Like, you can't add the "a."  You just say "I'm WICKED."
MADELEINE: Or she can say "I'm a WITCH!"

Madeleine is actually closer to the real meaning behind Marnie's words than Julia.  Which is surprising, because how often does anything that comes out of Madeleine's mouth actually make logical sense??

Monday, October 27, 2014


On the way to school this morning, Madeleine seemed excited to share the news of our big move.

MADELEINE: Mama?  If the other kids or the teachers say I'm MOVING, I'll say "It's the THIRD day!"
ME: It is the third day since we moved.  You're so smart!
MADELEINE: (self-satisfied) Yeah.  I was THINKING about it in my HEAD.

As opposed to thinking about it in her feet.

On the way home from school, however, Madeleine appeared to forget all about our new house.  As I pulled up our road and was about to turn into our driveway, Madeleine seemed confused.

MADELEINE: Mama?  NOW where are we going?
ME: Where do you think we're going, honey?
MADELEINE: (considering the evidence) Are we going to our NEW house?
ME: Why?  Did you think we were going back to our old house?

I don't think she *quite* understands the concept of our move yet.

Julia, for her part, also seemed to space out about where we were going after school.  I watched her walk right out of the school at dismissal, run past me, and disappear.  I searched the school grounds for several minutes, and when we finally found each other, it turned out that she had gone to wait at the old walking path we used to take to our condo.  I guess these kids are so used to their school-to-home routines that they can't break the automatic pattern yet.

I can understand why it's hard to switch gears in their brains, especially when the girls are using so many of their brain cells to think about things like this:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  If you didn't have your legs, your feet would be right HERE (pointing to her stomach.)  And would have to pick me up to get me on the ground.  But then...(face drooping) how would I move my feet??  (silent contemplation)  Everyone would get ANNOYED of me!

or this:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  At the end of "Barbie and the Secret Door," she says "SATUR-STAGE," instead of "SaturDAY."
ME: Are you sure she doesn't say "Center Stage?"
MADELEINE: Yeah.  She says "Satur-Stage."  (thoughtful) But Mama?  What does "center stage" mean?
ME: It means in the middle of the stage.
MADELEINE: (pensive) Mama?  How about TOMORROW we listen to it again?  (breaking into song) I finally get on Satur-stage!

Uh, yeah.  I don't even need to listen to it tomorrow.  I think I can safely say it's definitely "center stage."

And then there's all the energy spent thusly:

JULIA: (in the middle of dinner) I need to go POOP!
ME: Okay, go ahead.

Several minutes later:

MADELEINE: I need to go POOP!
ME: Go ahead.  Use the other bathroom.
MADELEINE: (delighted) Now there's TWO poops at the same TIME!

It's pretty great to finally have two bathrooms, folks.  Double poop party at MAH HOUUUUSE!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Settling In

Well, our first night in the new house didn't pass as smoothly as I would have liked, but I suppose it was to be expected. 

Consider all the elements:

-Kids on mattresses on the floor because we have not yet put together the new bedframes
-Kids in new, unfamiliar bedrooms
-Kids in a new, unfamiliar house without a routine, ingrained path to the bathroom for middle-of-the-night potty visits
-Kids in bedrooms with bubble wrap (more on that later)

In the middle of the night, Julia entered my bedroom to announce this important news: "Mommy?  I woke up because I needed to go pee and I was thirsty."

Phew.  Good thing she informed me of that.  Because it would have been a disaster if I'd slept through it all.

About an hour later, while I was still tossing and turning trying to get back to sleep, Julia reappeared in the bedroom.

JULIA: Mommy? I just CAN'T fall back asleep.

Me neither, kid. 

I reassured Julia that it was Saturday in the morning and she could sleep in, so she shouldn't stress the mid-night insomnia.  We both were lucky enough to fall back asleep, but my slumber was short-lived, as Madeleine made a very early morning appearance.

MADELEINE: Mama?  I didn't even forget where the bathroom was!  Because...I needed to go pee.

I don't know why both kids feel like it's worth waking me up to tell me that they went pee.  I really don't.  But that's how they roll.

Madeleine came in several more times to tell me more minutiae, and I thought my chances of more sleep were doomed until Ethan declared that he would get up and shower and take the kids off my hands.

The only problem(s): we do not, as yet, have a shower curtain in the upstairs bathroom.  So Ethan went down to the basement bathroom to take his (typically 20-minutes long) shower, and Madeleine continued to visit her buddy Mommy. 

ME: Madeleine, honey, you can go play.  You can play in your room or in the play room.
MADELEINE: (delighted) I can?!?

Yes, honey.  You can actually go play with toys.  You don't have to be stuck coming in and out of my bedroom to tell me things.  Really.

I should have specified: "You should play in the PLAY ROOM," because Madeleine chose door number one and went into her bedroom, which shares a wall with my bedroom.  What did she decide to "play" with?  The bubble wrap in her boxes of trinkets.  (See, I told you the bubble wrap would be discussed further.)  And how did she decide to play with it?  By exploding one.  bubble.  at.  a.  time.  I lay in my bed, desperately trying to get back to sleep.

(From Madeleine's room)
-one second of silence
-one second of silence

and so forth.

ANYWAY, despite the lack of sleep, we settled into our day fairly well, and the kids were in paradise having an entire room full of their toys.  As you can see, they have made it really neat and organized and not cluttered at all:

At least this stuff isn't all over my living room anymore!

The girls also thoroughly enjoyed having their own backyard to play in.  What a treat to be able to just walk out the door from the kitchen straight to the deck and backyard:

They took turns using our Hop Ball to hop down the sloping yard:

ME: This would actually be a fun hill to sled down in the winter, if we had some way to protect you from sledding into the fence.
JULIA: (brightly) Well, we could just BAIL OUT!

Yeah.  Not sure I would trust these two klutzes to bail out of the sled in time without somehow hurting themselves and/or pitching head first into the iron fence.

Since Ethan and I had spent the entire day unpacking, (me) removing the remnants from the old condo, and cleaning the condo out (Ethan), we were thrilled to hear our friend Mark wanted to come by with some take-out for dinner.  The girls were excited too, vying for Mark's attention and showing off their new bedrooms.

And unlike Ethan and I, they were more interested in talking and goofing around than in scarfing down their dinners (which, for us parents, was only the second meal we had managed to eat all day, the first being breakfast.)

Madeleine, especially, needed some help focusing on her dinner.  I took a seat next to her to coax her through eating her veggies and a few bites of meat, at the very least.

MADELEINE: (holding out her water cup) Look Mama. I put RICE in my water to DECORATE it!

And as if that weren't bad enough, in showing me her decorative rice pile at the bottom of the cup, Madeleine managed to tip the entire cup over into her lap and all over the floor.

I think it is proof of the fact that Ethan and I are just SO worn out that neither of us jumped for a paper towel.  Instead we both just sat frozen for a moment looking at the pooling water in exhausted denial. 

There is truly never a dull moment around here.

I'm happy to report that sleeping went MUCH better last night and both girls slept straight through the evening.  As we slowly adjust to our new surroundings, I suspect everyone will settle into a good routine. 

Now, if only Julia could understand that Daddy and I do NOT actively want to come see her pile of Indian-black-lentil-induced diarrhea in the toilet, that would be awesome.  But I think, at this point, that might just be expecting a little too much.

More posts to come from the NEW Rowe Household soon!

Friday, October 24, 2014

New House!

We are here in our new house!  At long last!

As you can see, I made sure to take care of the important things: Halloween decorations.  Because with only a week to Halloween, the kids are going to disown me if I don't get some decorative stuff out.  Who cares about unpacking boxes of functional things like cooking-ware, right? 

Speaking of getting the important things taken care of, I made sure Julia's bedroom was ready for her:

Thanks to some truly wonderful friends in town, both girls were picked up from school by moms I know and trust, so that Ethan and I could deal with all of the day's requirements.  Late this afternoon, after I picked up Madeleine from her friend's house, we stopped by our old condo to grab a few things (the movers we hired did their job, but Ethan and I have not yet transferred all loose ends for which we are responsible; luckily we have until Sunday to be completely moved out!)  Upon entering our condo, devoid of furniture, Madeleine was stunned.

MADELEINE: Hey Mama!  Our TABLE is gone!
ME: That's because it's at our new house, honey.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!

On our way out of the condo, I asked Madeleine to grab the pile of mail that had been delivered for us.  Madeleine wisely considered the problem as she grabbed the mail bundle.

MADELEINE: Mama.  You'd better TELL the mailman that we live in our new house now.  So that he knows to bring our mail there.

The irony of this comment by my 5-year-old is that Ethan and I both forgot to set up a forwarding address as yet.

As we drove towards the new house, Madeleine was obviously completely missing the whole idea of what movers are and what they actually do.  The physical absence of our table in our condo was clearly unsettling to her.

MADELEINE: I wonder HOW ON EARTH our table got from our OLD house to our NEW house!

It's magic, honey!  I just waved my magic wand, said a spell, and POOF!  The table disapparated and reappeared in the new house!

Julia had a clearer understanding of the whole ordeal, and was absolutely thrilled to come to our new home after I picked her up from her play-date.  As she announced to me after about a half hour in the house, "Mommy?  I don't feel like we just moved into this house.  I already FEEL like it's our home!"

And as you can see, the kids have settled in just fine so far, because they have all the things that really matter:

Many many day of unpacking lie ahead, but at least we are finally home, sweet home!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Chucky. UGH.

A few days ago, while Ethan was removing the rugs from our living and dining rooms, I called the girls upstairs to my bedroom to keep them out of Daddy's way.  We decided to watch a movie together, so we snuggled up in my bed and I turned on the television.

Whatever channel happened to be on when I switched on the tv was playing the horror movie "Child's Play."  I have never seen this movie, but I'm familiar enough with its premise to know that there is an evil doll named Chucky.

The movie was literally on for a matter of seconds before I switched to On Demand and we picked out a Barbie movie.  However, those few seconds apparently made a huge impression on the girls.

JULIA: Why is there a DOLL in that movie?  What IS that doll?
ME: His name is Chucky.
JULIA: But why is there a movie with real people and a DOLL?
ME: I don't know.  It's just a silly horror movie.

That was the extent of our discussion about "Child's Play," so you can imagine how unprepared I was for the lasting repercussions of their multiple seconds of viewing.

To begin with, Julia awoke in the middle of the night two nights ago and made a completely random remark to her roommate, Auntie Shannon.

JULIA: That movie is SO weird.
JULIA: That horror movie with Chucky.

And that wasn't the end of things.  When I got home from rehearsal last night, Auntie Shannon filled me in on the fact that Madeleine had been talking endlessly about Chucky and had been too afraid of Chucky to go to sleep. 

This is the girls' reaction to literally seeing a few SECONDS of a movie during a completely benign scene in which no one was being killed.  Clearly, the movie-makers accomplished their mission if viewing a couple of seconds of Chucky talking is enough to terrify the living daylights out of people.  All because the random channel that the television was set to happened to be showing that movie when we turned the tv on.  THANKS A LOT, broadcasting company.

Auntie Shannon had managed to calm Madeleine's mind enough to sleep by telling her that stuffed Jesus would protect her, and that if Jesus ever saw Chucky he'd just say: "HEY CHUCKY!  GET OUT!"

I can see why that was reassuring to Madeleine.  I mean, if it's a showdown between these two dolls, you can just IMAGINE who will emerge as the champion warrior:

All of this led to a discussion this morning over what Jesus would do if He ever did encounter Chucky.

JULIA: I think that if Jesus really did meet Chucky, He would just THROW Chucky out the window.
ETHAN: I don't think Jesus would do that.  I think Jesus would take Chucky's pain from him.
ME: Yeah, He'd probably exorcise Chucky's demons.
JULIA: Well, I *know* that Jesus wouldn't take Chucky up to Heaven with Him!  He'd send Chucky BACK DOWN under the ground!
ME: Well, more like He'd send Chucky back to the shelf at the store that he came from.
JULIA: (thoughtful) Wait.  When dolls DIE, do they get buried on the shelves they came from?
ME: Uh...well honey, dolls can't die, so they don't get buried.
JULIA: Ohhhh.

She didn't know that??  I can clearly see that Chucky is not just a regular doll in Julia's eyes if she is imagining his burial.  Sheesh.  I am so regretting that the kids even ever saw a glimpse of that cursed doll.  Pun intended.

Meanwhile, Madeleine has attempted to recount to me why she can't stop thinking about Chucky:

She really shouldn't be so worried about Chucky coming to take her brains out.  After all, as long as she has her Jesus doll beside her, He'll be able to come to her rescue.  "HEY CHUCKY!  GET OUT!"

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Mintz

It has been mentioned in many a post that Julia loves to gallop back and forth between the living room, dining room, and kitchen.  Furthermore, it has been mentioned that galloping is necessary for Julia to THINK ABOUT THINGS.  What sorts of things?  Her thoughts have ranged from all kinds of topics to Harry Potter (specifically, pretending the characters of Harry Potter are real and are her friends and they're doing things together) to a made-up kindergarten class complete with names and hairstyles for each child.

Julia's newest Gallop Time thinking is about the Mintz family.  This family exists only in her head, although Julia sometimes refers to them as if they're just regular old people.  For instance, on our walk home from school today, Julia saw her classmate get picked up by his 20-year-old sister.

JULIA: Wow, his sister looks so much OLDER than him!
ME: Well, she's twenty  He's the youngest of six children so his older siblings are adults.
JULIA: Hey!  That's just like the Mintz!  Max is twenty!

I finally decided it was time to learn all about the Mintz family so that I could better understand Julia's casual references to its members.  I sat down with Julia today to get the FULL SCOOP on the fantasy family of Julia's brain.

JULIA: Max, he's TWENTY, Justina, she's NINETEEN, Jessica, she's EIGHTEEN, Lilly, she's TWELVE, Juliana, she's SIX, and Zoie's FOUR.  I think about them when they're at school and what they do on the weekends and stuff and what they do at HOME, and what they do on vacation.  They live in Massachusetts and they go to my school and I pretend my school has the OLDEST grades too, like sixth grade to GRAD school.  So they all go to school there together, except for Max, 'cause he's too OLD. 
ME: Well, twenty-year-olds could be in college.
JULIA: Well, I pretend he's NOT.  Since they're imaginary, they do imaginary things.  And, um, they live on an imaginary street called Beatles Way, and some of their friends live on the other streets that are Walker Down Lane and Alier Road.  And when they're at school, they kinda just do NORMAL stuff like have recess and lunch and do stuff in their classroom, and when they're at home, they kinda do their homework and do stuff on their electronic things, and eat dinner and stuff, and watch tv, and do stuff outside, and play in Lilly's CLUBHOUSE.  And...OH!  They also go to church!  And some of them sing in the choir, but the younger ones go to Sunday school.  Um, on vacation, they do stuff like go to the Whale's Tail, Santa's Village and Storyland, places like that.  And sometimes their friends come to their house and sometimes they go to their friends' houses.  And I also think about their FRIENDS.
ME: Wow.  You think about a lot of stuff.
JULIA: Um...can I gallop now?

She is currently back and forth galloping between the various rooms again.  I guess I can understand her constant need to gallop when she has such a huge imaginary world to keep up with.  No wonder she has to fit in so many gallop sessions each day!  I mean, what if one of the Mintz children was doing her homework and Julia missed it because she couldn't gallop to think about it??

As I have stated time and time again, oh, how I would love to be inside the heads of my wildly creative children!

Monday, October 20, 2014


I am realizing that my kids are already more tech savvy than I'll ever be.  They both know how to use the various tv/internet remotes better than I do.

Which means that we inevitably have moments during which my children are speaking what sounds like a foreign language to me.

JULIA: (after pressing "Source" on the cable remote) Ugh!  We never have HDMI1 anymore!  It just WENT away!  Mommy?  I don't know how to get HDMI1 back.
ME: Uh, try clicking on HDMI2.
JULIA: No, HDMI2 is for the ROKU!

HDMI2 is for the ROKU.  I feel like I'm C3PO talking to R2D2.

I couldn't figure out how to get HDMI1 back.  Even after Julia gave me a suggestion that would use yet more technology.

JULIA: Well, should you just TEXT Daddy about it??

Luckily, when Daddy got home, he, the technological king that he is, was able to make HDMI1 come back for the girls.  What would we do without someone to rescue us from our tv/internet streaming disaster?  Seriously, like, read a book or something archaic like that??

At least all the tv watching hasn't dulled their imaginations any.  Julia described a recent dream to me:

JULIA: I had a dream that I was in Level Five swim lessons, and we jumped into the water, and I saw someone treading water, and I thought it was Madeleine, and it wasn't, and my teacher was like, "Okay, guys," and we had to train, like, POLAR animals, with a partner, and we had a polar bear, and the group next to us had a WALRUS, and we were like, "I hope they don't fight!"

And Madeleine gave me her own two cents on the ending to the Barbie movie she watched this evening:

MADELEINE: Mama?  If WE lived in that world, and somebody took MY magic away, I wouldn't care!
ME: You wouldn't?  Why not?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Because.  I don't need magic.  I just want a TAIL.

Yeah, why would *anybody* choose to have magic if they could have a tail instead??

So, as you can see, even with all their technological abilities, the girls are still just as capable of escaping into la-la land as always!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Spooky Walk and Family Game Night

Today was our town Spooky Walk, in which kids in costume get to trick-or-treat at various participating shops in the center of town. 

Here are our own Elsa and Anna ready to collect candy:

As you can see in the background of this picture, there were a LOT of Elsas and a fair number of Annas out there.  It's not like we picked characters from this past year's most popular kids' movie or anything.

The girls had a ball, as usual, and we now have a Halloween load's worth of candy a good two weeks before the actual Halloween!

In other news, this evening we tried playing a family game of Pictionary.  Ethan teamed up with Madeleine, while Julia and I played together.  The girls actually did surprisingly well!  Madeleine drew first, successfully pulling off a picture of a helmet and bringing her team into the lead.

When it was time for Julia and I to go, I got the word "farmer."  Piece of cake, right?  Apparently not.  We all know I can't draw to save my life.  Here's what my farmer looked like:

JULIA: Uh...a cowboy?  Uh...a person?  A head?  A hat?
ME: (drawing the cow in the pasture)
JULIA: A horse?  A horseman? 
ME: (adding curly hair under the hat, because uh...I had no idea what else to draw that is a dead giveaway for a farmer, right?)
JULIA: Um?  Hair??  Curly hair?

Yeah.  So we ran out of time.  Zero points scored for us. 

MADELEINE: Wow, Julia, Mommy STINKS at this game!

Harsh words, Madeleine.  Then again, look at my farmer and compare it to the picture of Sleeping Beauty that Madeleine drew yesterday:

So, yeah, I think she might actually be qualified to judge the stinkiness of my drawings.

Luckily, there were a few stumpers out there for Madeleine and Ethan as well.  Despite her best attempts, Madeleine was unable to convey the image "glare" to Ethan.  Just look at this fiercely glaring armless zombie that she drew, though:

Good effort, Madeleine!

Fortunately, Julia helped us score a few points in an All-Play, during which she and Madeleine squared off to draw "doorstep."  They both put in a solid drawing attempt, but victory was ours when I guessed it first:

Madeleine's doorstep

Julia's doorstep.  It was the arrows that did it for me.  Great thinking, Jules!

There were plenty of failed drawings as well.  Often because the thing we had to draw was something the kids have never heard of.  Like when I had to get Julia to try to guess "traveler's check."  Or when Ethan got "kindergarten," and attempted to draw the kindergarten playground at Julia's school but wasn't able to convey the message:

MADELEINE: Uh, Daddy, if you're drawing a backyard, you have to draw some GRASS.
ETHAN: Just pay attention to the picture, honey.
MADELEINE: Well Daddy, you better draw some GRASS if it's a backyard.  Down there Daddy.  Just draw some GRASS.

Maybe if she had been less obsessive about the grass she would have gotten the concept of the picture more quickly, because she did manage to figure out what it was a drawing of AFTER the time had already run out.

While Madeleine and Ethan clearly won the game, I at least got to redeem myself a *little* bit in the final All-Play.  It was down to Madeleine and I, both drawing the word "yawn."  And the pictures were awfully similar:

Madeleine's yawn

My yawn

I thought my team was DOOMED when the guessing first started.

JULIA: Uh, a tiger?  Someone screaming?
ME: (pointing at the closed eyes)
JULIA: Uh, she's DYING?  She's DEAD?
ME: (pointing at the mouth)
JULIA: Roaring?  A roaring mouth?  I don't know, it looks like scream is coming out of her mouth!

Luckily, the other team made the fatal error of making a guess too loudly, and that got Julia on the right track.

ETHAN: She's going to bed?
JULIA: Going to - OH!  She's YAWNING!

BOO-YAH!  Point for Jules and I!  Not enough to win the game after my disastrous farmer and traveler's check attempts, but enough to give us a sense of pride in the last round of the game.  Next time maybe I'll let Julia play with Madeleine so she actually has a shot at winning!


Friday, October 17, 2014

More God

So, it turns out that yesterday's drawings of God's face and bum were just the beginnings of a full compilation of God and his various parts. 

On the back of the drawing of God's face (which, you may remember, looked like this):

was his shirt:

Then, covering up his bum were a robe and pants:

(Madeleine claims she intended to cover the entire robe with crosses but simply tired out after drawing a handful.)

God even had individual pages for his hands:

and feet:

Madeleine really managed to fully visualize God and put her vision to paper.  I mean, the only thing that's missing is a picture of Jesus sitting beside of God's right hand!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Madeleine's Questions

As many blog-readers know, Madeleine is one to speak her mind freely, to the point of being completely tactless at times.  There are so many occasions on which I've been mortified after Madeleine asked a virtual stranger something completely inappropriate. 

Some examples:

-the time she asked an overweight woman "why do you have such a big tummy?"
-the time she asked an African American woman "why do you have such big lips?"
-the time she asked a shirtless elderly man at the beach "why do you have such mushy, mushy breastes?"

Other times, she'll ask a question directly of me, but in close earshot of the person about whom she is talking.  Like last week, when Madeleine asked me, as our purchase was being rung up by a particularly pumpkin-headed cashier, "Mama?  Why does he have such a BIG HEAD?"

So, you can imagine my panic today when we were checking out at a different store and our cashier was a little person.  I stood in line feverishly willing Madeleine not to ask any inappropriate questions about the size of our cashier. 

Fortunately, Madeleine decided instead to start a line of questioning that was disturbing in a completely other manner.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Is Halloween gonna be forever?
ME: (realizing my credit card swipe hadn't gone through) Uh...
MADELEINE: Mama.  Is Halloween gonna be forever?
CASHIER: Try swiping again.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Is Halloween gonna be forever?
ME: Um...hang on.  Did that work?
CASHIER: Swipe it the other way.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Is Halloween gonna be forever?
ME: Um...what do you mean?
MADELEINE: Like, is Halloween always gonna keep coming back for forever?
ME: Oh.  Yes.  Every year it will be Halloween again.

At this point, my card had been accepted, and the cashier was handing me my bags, and during a lull in our pleasantries, Madeleine burst out with a serious existential question.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Who's gonna be the last person to DIE?
ME: Uh...(smiling brightly at the cashier) Thank you!  (ushering Madeleine out of the Staples) I don't know.
MADELEINE: But who's gonna be the last person to die?
ME: I don't know honey.  Maybe life will go on forever and ever in some form.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  Can a person even BE one hundred?
ME: Yes, people can live to be one hundred.
MADELEINE: Wow!  I never even SAW a person that's one hundred.
ME: Well, Grammy was 99, and that's ALMOST one hundred.  And Gramps' uncle lived to be one hundred, and Gramps went to his 100th birthday party.
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Well Mama.  Don't you KNOW that I already know 99 is almost one hundred?  Because Mama. I can COUNT to one hundred.

I guess this line of questioning got Madeleine in a contemplative mood about the nature of life and death, because when we got home from the store she decided to draw God, from both the front AND the back:


 God's bum

As I said at the opening of this post, I can always count on Madeleine to make things as tactless and inappropriate as possible!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Madeleine's Games

Madeleine has been chock-full of ideas for new games lately, even if she borrows the title of some long-standing, pre-existing games from time to time. 

For example, Monday's backyard adventure was entitled "Soccer."
Unlike the real soccer, however, this game of soccer did not involve the kicking of balls at all.

Here is how Madeleine's version of soccer was played:

The goalie (me, at the start of the game) had to stand at an invisible goal.  The other players (Julia and Madeleine) took turns trying to throw a ball over my head and into the invisible goal.  (Said goal was basically anywhere in the yard that was beyond my reach.)  If I managed to catch the ball or bat it back at the players, no goal was scored.  As long as either girl tossed the ball without me catching or touching it, a goal was scored. 

Needless to say, the girls scored a LOT of goals.  Things weren't quite so fair once the girls got a turn at goalie, however.  Madeleine, as goalie, got to the point of near-frantic tears after the ball had sailed over her head one too many times.  "NO, MAMA, can you NOT throw it OVER MY HEAD?" she demanded desperately.  Julia, as goalie, took her missed-catches with grace, although she quickly decided that being the ball-thrower was MUCH more fun than being goalie.  "Uh, Madeleine, can Mommy be the goalie again?  Mommy, can you be the goalie, because it's SO MUCH FUN when YOU'RE goalie!"

So after their short stints at the invisible goal, the girls went back to tossing balls every which way to rack up an unbelievable amount of points while I half-heartedly attempted to stop their goals.  This game was such an enormous hit that Julia has spoken of it dreamily on several bedtime occasions this week.  "Mommy?  That was SO fun playing soccer in the backyard.  You're the BEST goalie ever!"

If either girl ever plays real soccer, I have a feeling they won't find the process quite as easily rewarding.

Yet another of Madeleine's games is played en route to and from Julia's school and home.  This game doesn't have an official name, but Madeleine usually refers to it as the "Getting Ahead of You" game.  In this action-packed, fun-filled game, Madeleine repeatedly drops behind me on the sidewalk, only to suddenly go blazing past me and ahead of me to prove that SHE'S the fastest.  The best part of this game is that I am required to announce my imagined superiority: "Oh, boy, I'm way ahead of Madeleine.  I'm the fastest!"  Then I must loudly register my dismay when she passes me: "Oh, boy, Madeleine got past me AGAIN.  How is she SO FAST?"  Let me tell you: it is a BARREL of fun.  Who wants to walk to school together at an even pace when you can pretend your 5-year-old is repeatedly beating you at speed-walking? 

Julia didn't take to this game so well once she was included.  At first, when Madeleine attempted to blaze past both of us, Julia's competitive edge COMPLETELY over-ruled her sense of compassion, and before I knew it Julia and Madeleine were elbowing each other out of the way until Julia had securely blown past her sister and Madeleine collapsed on the sidewalk in tears. 

After I spoke to Julia about this, she was more compliant in letting Madeleine burst past us, but she made sure to verbally register her malcontent.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama, pretend you think you're ahead of me.
ME: Okay.  Wow, I'm WAY ahead of Madeleine!  I'm the fastest!
MADELEINE: (sprinting past me)
JULIA: (offended) Well, Madeleine is just a little SASSY-PANTS, isn't she?!?

Shortly thereafter, Madeleine came to this decision: "Uh, Mama, I think I wanna play this game only with YOU, because it's more FUNNER with only you."

What can I say?  I'm just the most coveted player around in all these made-up games. 

The final game that Madeleine recently made up makes the least amount of sense to me.  This game is called "Loser."  Madeleine never even properly explained the instructions to me; she just started playing it on the way to pick up Julia and expected me to be able to join right in.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama, you're SIX in loser.  Mama?  Why do you have to be a NUMBER in loser?
ME: Uh...I...uh, I don't even really know how you're supposed to play loser.
MADELEINE: Oh.  You just do Kung Fu!
ME: I don't even know how to do Kung Fu.
MADELEINE: Mama.  SERIOUSLY!?  You don't even KNOW that you do a FULL SPLIT?

I didn't know that.  But luckily, Madeleine demonstrated for me by jumping in the air and straddling her legs apart.  I guess NOW I must know Kung Fu.

Maybe next time I'll be able to participate a little more fully in "Loser."  Since I am pretty much an expert in losing to the girls when we play together, I bet I'll be pretty awesome at that game.

Monday, October 13, 2014


As I was rifling through boxes in the basement to figure out what to pack and what to chuck for our impending move, I came across some drawings from my youth.  The particular drawings I found made up my final collection of "Daughters"; as a child, my sisters and I had dreamed of our grown-up life and the children we would have.  This led us to draw pictures of our future daughters; while the names and looks of my imaginary daughters changed over the years, I was consistent in the idea that I would have four girls.  (As an adult, I have determined that half that number is the perfect amount of children for us, but I did live out my dream of having daughters!)

I thought Julia might enjoy seeing my drawings, so before packing the "Daughters" folder, I let her take a look through.  I should have known what would come next.

JULIA: (a big, broad smile spreading across her face) *I* should do this, too!

And so it began:

"My Daghter Colecton"

Does it come as a surprise to anyone that Julia also decided to have four daghters in her future life?

So, let's find out what Julia decided to name her daghters:

Emily 9th (freshman)
Grace 7th
Amanda and Mary 5th

The numbers correspond to the grades of each girl.  Julia informed me that Amanda and Mary are twins, which would explain why they're both in 5th grade.

Picture #1:
Here, Julia depicts her daghters on vacation at The Whale's Tale.  The older girls are just lounging in the hot tob, talking about boys.  (JULIA: Well, because that's what TEENAGERS do!) while the younger twins seem content to stand around with their lips puckered, looking FIERCE.

Picture #2:
Here, the daghters (minus one) are riding the water slides at The Whale's Tail.  Apparently the twins are riding in a compression tube that elongates and narrows their bodies to an extremely dangerous degree.  (Although Julia tells me that they're simply racing each other on the Speed Slides.)  I don't know what the missing daghter is up to, though I suspect it was Julia's intent to include her in the picture until she decided she was tired of drawing.  (JULIA: Actually, Mom, I think I wanna GALLOP.)

It wasn't long before we had yet ANOTHER daghter-creator in the house:

Take a look at Madeleine's daghters, folks!  Cherry of the Pippi Longstocking hair, and her big, mean old bossy sister Lila.

Page 1 tells us that this is gonna be a WHOLE different kind of daghters book from Julia's fun-in-the-sun vacation drawings:

It looks to me like Cherry is sticking pins in her Lila Voodoo-Doll.  That will serve that mean, bossy old tyrant right.

Sheesh.  Can't wait to see the rest of this loving family book.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Genius of the week awards:

Discussing her future career with Auntie Shannon:

MADELEINE: When I grow up, I wanna be a school teacher, a piano teacher, or...a cafe server.
AUNTIE SHANNON: You don't want to be a scientist like me?
MADELEINE: (in disbelief) YOU'RE a scientist??
AUNTIE SHANNON: Yes!  That's what I do for my job.
MADELEINE: (dumb-founded) Oh!  I always thought your job was going to work!

Working on math facts with Julia:

ME: Okay, let's see, I'm 36, so how old was I when Madeleine was born?
ME: Nope.  You have to do thirty-six minus five.
JULIA: Uh...uh...thirty-two?
ME: That's closer.  Thirty-six minus five.
JULIA: I thought that's what I DID though!
ME: What's SIX minus five?
JULIA: Uhhhh, three?
ME: Julia.  Six minus five is three?
JULIA: Well, I don't KNOW what it is!
ME: Honey, I'm pretty sure this is one you can get pretty easily.  Six minus five.
JULIA: (beginning to giggle) ONE!
ME: Right.  Not three.
JULIA: I thought you were asking me TEN minus SIX!
ME: Okay.  But that's not three either.

The next day, after quizzing Julia on more math facts, I threw in a joke challenge question.

ME: Okay, last question.  It's really hard.  Six minus five!
JULIA: Three?
ME: Again!?

After Ethan came through the dining room to get scissors, only to discover they weren't in the supply holder.

ETHAN: Shooters.
JULIA: Cheers?
AUNTIE SHANNON: I think he said "shooters."
JULIA: Ohhh.  I thought he said "cheers."  And I was like, "why did he say cheers?"
AUNTIE SHANNON: Well if he said "shears," that would be appropriate.
JULIA: No, I said "CHEERS."
AUNTIE SHANNON: And I said if he said "shears," it would be appropriate.
JULIA: No, I said "CHEERS."
AUNTIE SHANNON: Right, but if he said "shears," that would mean scissors, so it would be appropriate.
JULIA: I know, but I said CHEERS.
ME: Honey, we know you said "cheers."  I think Auntie Shannon is just saying "shears" because they rhyme.
MADELEINE: (with great wisdom) Uh, "cutting" and "shears" DON'T rhyme.

What am I gonna do with these Einsteins??

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Accomplishments

The girls have had some exciting progress lately!  Madeleine discovered that she can get herself onto a swing without any help, get herself started, and then pump to keep swinging as long as she wants. 

At first, she wasn't ready to try getting down on her own, though.

MADELEINE: Mama?  I'm slowing down.
ME: Okay.  Then pump harder.
MADELEINE: No, Mama.  I'm slowing down.
ME: Do you need a push?
MADELEINE: No!  Mama.  "I'm slowing down" means I need you to stand behind me and CAPTURE the swing so that I can hop off.

After I "captured" the swing for her a few times, she was ready to try slowing to a near stop all by herself before hopping down.  Success!  Madeleine is a completely self-sufficient swinger! 

She seems to be truly embracing her five-year-old status, and her mastery of swinging is not the only accomplishment she is proud of.  Check THIS out:

(Walking to pick Julia up from school)

MADELEINE: Woah!  Mama.  Did you know that I stumbled when we were crossing the street, and I had to BALANCE on just ONE toe, on my BIGGEST toe that's my THUMB toe, and PUSH off my toe to get my balance back.
ME: Woah.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Mama.  Wasn't that BRAVE?
ME: It sure was.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Because I'm FIVE now.

I don't really know what could possibly be braver than pushing off your biggest toe that's your thumb toe to get your balance back.

Julia's big news lately is the fact that she has been moved up to a higher level group on the swim team.  I was a bit hesitant, however, when I discovered that one of her swim practices in this new group will be from 6:45-7:45 at night.  Granted, it's only one night per week, but it's a school night, and I'm not sure how well that will work.  After discussing it with Ethan, we decided to see how Julia felt about a late night practice.

ME: So Julia.  One of your swim practices will be from 6:45-7:45 at night.  So afterwards we'd have to shower quickly and get straight to bed at home.  It would be past your bedtime.
JULIA: Wait.  So I'd have to stay up LATER?
ME: Yes.  What do you think?  Do you think you can handle that?
JULIA: (delighted) Yes!  Don't you know?  I would do ANYTHING to get to stay up later!

Oh.  Okay.  I guess she has no qualms about it, then.

These wonderful moments of progress on both girls' ends help make up for the moments in which they seem incapable of functioning like human beings.  Like in the car today, when Madeleine decided that her voice was too tired to talk so she commenced speaking to me with her lips closed.

MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm!
ME: What?
MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm!
ME: What does that mean?
MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm!
ME: Uh...(looking around, wondering if she'd seen another Kia Soul, seeing as both kids feel the need to exclaim "Kia Soul!" when they see one) Uh, Kia Soul??
ME: No?  Uh... I really don't know what you're saying.
MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm.
ME: You'll just have to use your real words.
MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm.
ME: I can't understand you, honey.  Can you give me a hint?
MADELEINE: Hmm hmm hmm HMM hmm hmmm hmmm.
ME: I have no idea what you're trying to say.
MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm!
ME: What?
MADELEINE: Hmmm hmmm!
ME: I really don't understand.
MADELEINE: Mmmmm-mmmmmammm.
ME: What??
MADELEINE: Mmmmmammmmmammm.
ME: Honey, can you please just tell me?
MADELEINE: Mmmmaaammmmaaa.
ME: Mama?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Mmm-hmm!

Yes.  ALL OF THAT, just to say "Mama."  If her voice was so "tired," wouldn't you think it would have been wiser to just NOT USE IT AT ALL?

Yep.  All I can say is that you win some, you lose some!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halloween Books and Poems

I stumbled across a book that Julia began work on yesterday; as expected, it is appropriately Halloween-themed:

Mavie and the Monsters of MonsterVILLE
Julia Rowe

For my little sister, Madeleine

Aww!  How sweet!  Maybe it's a belated birthday/early Halloween gift??

Mavie and the Monsters of MONSTERVILLE


I think I'm gonna go ahead and ignore that command so that I can see what's on the first (and, so far, only page)

Pg. 1:
Chapter 1
"She was born in 1892, in the Blood Hospital, next to the Blood Cafe.  And they named her Mavie.  'Isin't that name a bit to gugu-gaga bla-bla Mommy?' said her older sister, Montania.  'I love it!' said there Mother, Go-To-The-River-And-Get-Me-An-Ice-Cream-Sundae.  They were back to the house, admireing Mavie feebiushly.  For all, exept Montania.  'I wish I could be populer, not my baby sister whos going to grow up to be a pest."

Wow.  Only one page so far, and I already have SO many things to say.

First of all, the mother's name is Go-To-The-River-And-Get-Me-An-Ice-Cream-Sundae??  Is she the daughter of Big Chief I-Vant-To-Suck-Your-Blood of Blood River? 

Secondly, "feebiushly?"  I consulted with the author on this one. 

ME: Julia, what does "feebiushly" mean?
JULIA: I dunno, I just heard it in BOOKS sometimes.

After some further consultation, I came to the 99% certain conclusion that the word she actually meant to use was "feverishly."

And thirdly: do only vampires frequent the Blood Cafe?

Oh, man.  I cannot WAIT to see what happens on page 2.

While Julia was at school today, she made sure to create even MORE Halloween illustrations and literature:

"Sometimes Holidays just count."
Poem on the back if you'ed like to read it.

Yeah. Sometimes holidays DO just count.  All right.  I'm gonna look at the back because I'ed like to read the poem.

"Well a long time ago, in the land of snow, where everyone, everyone walked aslow, there lay a haunted house.  It was lit by a candle.  Anyone who saw it would scandle, and there was blood.  Allover the drapes.  And when I went there, ghotes and goblins and witches jumped out at me!  I fled but just barely, and shipped, and fell on my face.  Well who would have guessed?  That I was the best of the best.  I'm hideing under your bed. 

WOAH.  That was an amazingly spooooky poem all right.  It's hideing under my bed!  ACK! 

Julia sure knows how to create a Halloweeny mood around here!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday School Fun

Now that Julia is in second grade, she has been moved into the older class of Sunday School, so she and Madeleine are no longer in the same classroom together.  I was, at first, a bit worried that Julia would be unhappy about being separated from her sister, stuck in a classroom of older kids, doing less arts and crafts and more discussions of the Bible. 

It turns out my fear was unfounded.

JULIA: (after Sunday school today) Mom!  Our teacher is REALLY nice!  He looks like Ringo Starr!

OMG.  A former Beatle look-alike is teaching her class??  Sunday School is about to get WAY hip, people!

Madeleine has done just fine without her big sister in the classroom as well, and has been happily creating her art projects about Genesis:

SINMADELEINE.  Awesome.  It's like I can hear the snake trying to tempt Madeleine just as he did Adam and Eve.  "Sin, Madeleine!  Sssssssin!"

In other artwork news, the girls got busy coloring in their Halloween posters from the grocery store.  Every year, any kid who colors one of these posters gets a free mini-pumpkin and gets his or her artwork on display throughout the Halloween season.  It's a pretty exciting reward for doing an activity that children ALREADY do for pleasure.

Julia went the more traditional route, coloring in the pre-made designs with lots of Halloweeny colors:

Madeleine went for a more creative interpretation, even drawing her own ghoul-like figurine off in the shadows:

I enjoy her stark contract of mostly black-and-white with the bloody, slimy mess that is Dracula's face.  The blue cat is pretty creepy-cool too. My only complaint is that she didn't sign the picture with her new nickname: SINMADELEINE.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Post-Birthday Adventures

The girls got to bed late on the evening of Madeleine's birthday, after a fun night out to a celebratory dinner.

And let me reiterate: it's a gooood thing we went out to eat, so that Madeleine could show off her table manners and etiquette by eating buttered pasta with her hands:

Needless to say, the girls were a bit over-tired the following day, and it turned out to be a busy day for both.  Madeleine had preschool in the morning, much to her relief.  ("But Mama?  I feel SCARED to go to kindergarten," she lamented on her birthday, assuming that now that she's five she will automatically be kicked out of preschool and forced into elementary school.)  The rest of Madeleine's day entailed running lots of boring errands with her Mom and Dad, as we readied things further for our upcoming move.

One of our outings was to the UPS store to get condo paperwork notarized, which apparently threw Madeleine for a loop.  She knew that Julia was going to a friend's house after school, however, my statement of "Come on, honey, we have to run an errand with Daddy," seemed to be interpreted as "Come on, honey, we're going to pick up Julia."  As we got out of our car to walk towards the UPS store entrance, Madeleine was confused.

MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama.  WHERE are we going?
ME: We're going to the UPS store.
MADELEINE: Oh!  Mama!  I've never BEEN there.  (silence) Wait.  Mama.  You mean the girls are PLAYING at the UPS store!??

With the program as always.

While Ethan and I waited for the notary to peruse our paperwork, Madeleine helpfully held onto the package of bubble wrap I was planning to buy.  I'm sure nobody was annoyed by the fact that, in swinging her arm back and forth excitedly, she accidentally let the bubble wrap package fly, sailing over the sale counter, knocking a cash register monitor off kilter.  Never a dull moment.

I guess the trip to the store got Madeleine into an existential mood, because as we pulled back into our driveway afterwards, she had a very important request.

MADELEINE: Mama?  When we get inside, can you look at the calendar to figure out how many days we've been here?
ME: What do you mean?  How many days we've been where?
MADELEINE: many days...uh...
ME: How many days you've been alive?

Thankfully, I didn't need a calendar to figure that out, seeing as I already knew she was five years and one day old.  Multiply five by 365, add a day, add another day for a Leap Year, and voila!  The answer to Madeleine's existence.

Madeleine had to come back in the car with me a bit later to pick Julia up from her play-date, and it seems a late-night bedtime, a full day of school, and a play-date was a bit too much for our overtired seven-year-old.  She was nothing but a ball of crankiness as we drove home.  I got to hear all kinds of accusations about my sub-par parenting, like this one:

JULIA: How come everybody ELSE gets so many special things, and I didn't get to do ANYTHING special today EXCEPT have a PLAY-DATE?

Luckily, Madeleine, being a newly wizened five-year-old, had some practical advice for Julia.

MADELEINE: (authoritatively) Julia.  Try and act like a SEVEN-YEAR-OLD.

Uh-oh.  *Definitely* the WRONG thing to say to an already crabby Julia.

JULIA: Madeleine.  I'm NOT seven.  I'm NOT seven and I'm NOT eight.

Yeah.  And this is not a living room.

Sigh.  Let's home we can all catch up on some sleep this weekend.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Madeleine the 5-Year-Old!

Today is Madeleine's big day: her 5th birthday!  I really can't believe that the baby of the family is now five years old.  Where does the time go??

Madeleine had announced, at least a week ago, that she wanted to have chocolate chip pancakes for her birthday breakfast.  She hasn't stopped mentioning this idea ever since, even going so far as to plan out her involvement in helping me bake them.  So last night I set out all of the ingredients so I would be ready to get cooking as soon as I got up in the morning.  But when faced with a table-full of wrapped presents, Madeleine quickly forgot her interest in helping me cook, and furthermore, was so distracted by opening her gifts that she failed to eat more than a bite of her pancake.  Oh well.  At least I got to enjoy some!:

Meanwhile, Madeleine got ready to dig into her pile of gifts:

Of course, she had to start off by opening Julia's gift to her.  Because:

JULIA: Madeleine.  Madeleine.  Will you open MY present first?  Madeleine.  Wait.  Madeleine.  Mom?  I want Madeleine to open my present first.  Madeleine, here's MY present!  Will you open it first?

Julia's gift to Madeleine was wrapped with the following written across the wrapping paper: "To Madeleine, Love Julia.  I hope you like this AWSOME present!"

Julia herself could barely contain herself as Madeleine opened the gifts.

JULIA: Mom?  Did you know that I don't JUST get excited for MY birthday?  I get JUST AS EXCITED for other peoples' birthdays as I do for my OWN!

Madeleine, of course, was delighted by Julia's AWSOME present, which was a Mulan Barbie doll.  And as proof that these kids are watching too much "Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse," this was Madeleine's first comment upon me getting Mulan out of her box:


Among Madeleine's other gifts were arts and crafts, new earrings (thanks Nana!), a variety of dress-up Halloween masks, My Little Pony Trixie, some books, and a stuffed Reindeer Sven from "Frozen."  Madeleine is absolutely thrilled with her pile of loot.

After I had dropped Julia off at school, I sat with Madeleine at the dining room table, me drinking my coffee and Madeleine playing with her new gifts. 

MADELEINE: Mama?  I'm kind of in a BIRTHDAY mood today.

Wait.  She is?  I never would have expected that.  That's as unexpected as being in a swimming mood when you're in the pool.  At any rate, I'm glad that Madeleine is feeling the birthday spirit!!

Our plans for the day include a trip to the farm for apple picking (despite the wet mucky weather) and a dinner out at a restaurant of Madeleine's choosing.  She has already decided she wants plain pasta with butter on it for dinner, so it's a good thing we're going out, because I could NEVER make something like that at home and save us the bill, right??  Hey, it's her day, so she gets to call the shots!

Happy, happy birthday, my sweet, darling FIVE-YEAR-OLD!