Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Dress Inspires a Song

So, unless you have been living in a bubble, you likely have read, seen or heard about "THE DRESS," which caused me to nearly lose a night of sleep not understanding how Ethan and I saw such different colors when we were looking at the same picture at the same time.  (For the record, we initially were BOTH team gold/white, and then the dress appeared to completely transform before my very eyes and was suddenly definitively blue and black, while Ethan maintained it was still gold and white.)

I decided to see what the kids thought of the dress.  I showed it to each child separately so that their answers could not be swayed by what the other had said.

The verdict?
JULIA: Blue and brown.
MADELEINE: Blue and gold.

Neither saw white, which was interesting.  I then told the girls about the whole experience Ethan and I had, and Madeleine decided she was going to SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT once and for all for Daddy.

By drawing a picture of the dress.  So that he could see what the REAL colors were.

The problem was, Ethan was out at the grocery store at the time, so Madeleine couldn't show him her picture, and while she waited for him, she was suddenly struck with the irrepressible creative desire to make the picture into a snowflake.

MADELEINE: (singing and flailing around the living room, repeatedly tossing the picture in the air) Just one little snowflake, one little snowflake...

After about fifteen minutes of singing and tossing the picture around as she pranced about the room, Madeleine discovered that the paper was somewhat rumpled.

MADELEINE: (running to me in consternation) Uh, Mama?  Uh, I think I need to get ANOTHER paper, because...I just CAN'T show this to Daddy if it's all WRINKLED and CRUMPLED UP!
ME: Then why did you crumple it all up?
MADELEINE: I *didn't* crumple it all up!  I was pretending it was a snowflake for my SONG!

Madeleine came up with the perfect solution: she placed the drawing of The Dress on the table, and chose another blank piece of printer paper to waste use as her snowflake.  Before I knew it, she was leaping around the living room with her new snowflake, delving back into her song.

MADELEINE: (singing) She had no pumpkin, to carve for the slumber party, arty, arty.  It was finally, finally singing season.  Singing season.  Oh yeah, yeah yeah yeah.  Oh yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah.  Then she was singing in teeeeents, beca-hause she was trying to get the melody from the flashy people in "A Mighty Wind." Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.  So that little girl went to the very, very top of the tallest hill... (speaking) Uh, Julia?  What's the name of the tallest hill?
JULIA: The tallest mountain??  Mt. Everest.
MADELEINE: (resuming her song) But the top of Mt. Everest was very slippery.  She fell with her face, her face, her head, her face landed straight at the BOTTOM, and she dived into the ocean, she swam around with all the dolphins.  Dolphin day, dolphin day, hello everybody, I'm trying to impress you, of the one...of the last...of the last...of the last...of the one...of the last SNOOOOOOOOOOW FLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKE!

I mean, I know The Dress was a big deal and all, but did you ever expect it would be the inspiration for the Most Amazing Song EVER?!?  Madeleine's perfomance was EPIC, folks.  Wish you all could have been here to witness it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spelling List

Julia comes home from school with a new list of Spelling Words every week, and my favorite part of her spelling units are the worksheets in which she must attempt to define her spelling words and use them in a sentence.  This week's definitions were especially amusing.

These three definitions were my favorite.

#1 Runway

Definition: "It's like a big long stage that people walk down."
Sentence: "I am walking down a runway!"

Of course.  Of COURSE the kid who puts on fashion shows and strikes modelling poses all over the house thinks of a Runway Walk when defining the word.  Never mind the whole plane thing, which was the original object to use a runway.  It's all about haute couture!

#2 Sixteen

Definition: "When you are a teenager and your allowed to drive.  It is also a number."
Sentence: "I will be able to drive when I am sixteen."

Well that just hits the nail on the head, doesn't it?  I'm pretty sure that if you looked up the word "sixteen" in Webster's Dictionary, the official definition would be exactly that: "When you are a teenager and your allowed to drive."  I like Julia's last minute, crammed in addition of "It is also a number," written UNDERNEATH the given lines.  Oh, yeah.  Sixteen is also a number.  But most importantly, it's when you are a teenager and allowed to drive.  That's REALLY the best way to define the word.

#3 Burp
Definition: "When you make a noise and sometimes it smells."

Hmm.  I feel like Julia needs some extra constraints on this definition, because as shown above it could *also* describe a fart.  "When you make a noise from your mouth and sometimes it smells," perhaps?  Forget about what a burp really IS, the whole gaseous air being expelled from the mouth bit.  What really matters is that it makes a sound and sometimes it smells.

On a similar topic, Madeleine proved today how totally with the program she is, as always, as we discussed a different word's definition.

ME: (holding out a piece of mail we had received) Madeleine, can you go put this envelope on Auntie Shannon's bed, because this mail is for her.
MADELEINE: Okay!  Sure!  (examining the bright designs on the envelope, which undoubtedly contained a letter begging for money from some sort of children's charity) Wait.  Why does SHE get a letter with so many FUN things on it?
ME: Well, it's just a letter asking for money.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  What's INSIDE it?
ME: A letter from some charity asking for her to donate money, I think.
MADELEINE: Oh.  (Starting down the stairs towards Auntie Shannon's bedroom.) Wait.  Mama.  Why DONATE?
ME: Because they're looking for people to donate money.
MADELEINE: (cracking up) Mama!  Donate MONEY?!?  It should be donate KIDS!
ME: It should?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  But Mama.  Why ISN'T it donate kids?
ME: Uh, because people don't really donate kids.
MADELEINE: They don't??  Why NOT??  Wait.  Mama?  What does "donate" mean?
ME: "Donate" means to give something that you have to someone else.
MADELEINE: But I thought people donate kids.
ME: Uh, not really.  Maybe you're thinking of donating a kidney.
MADELEINE: What's a kidney?
ME: Um, it's a part of your body, and humans have two of them, so sometimes people will donate one kidney to someone who doesn't have any working kidneys.
ME: Well, can live with only one kidney, and if someone has no kidneys that work, they can get a kidney donation.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  WHAT?  How?
ME: Uh, what do you mean?
MADELEINE: How do the doctors even get your kidneys off?

Okay.  We still don't understand that a kidney is an internal organ.  Madeleine is apparently imagining it like a protruding body part, as if the doctors snap off an ear and donate it to another patient. 

I probably should have just recycled the letter on Shannon's behalf and saved us all the extra trouble and effort.

Not that I can blame Madeleine for not understanding what a kidney is.  She's only five.  It's not like she's a teenager and allowed to drive, and also a number yet, right? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Julia's New Song

JULIA: Mommy!  While I was getting my coat on, I just made up a little song about my day!  Do you wanna hear it??

She had a better day than I did.  I wish that *I* had ripped and rapped and ratty-ap-apped today.  Maybe tomorrow I'll get the chance to do all that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Church Activities

Since there was no Sunday School this past weekend, I had the girls with me up in the choir again at church.  Julia leant her sweet little voice to the choir music, while Madeleine drew on the many, many pages of blank paper I had brought to keep her entertained.

Among the drawings are some models of real-life things.  Can you even tell which is the drawing and which is a photo of the real thing?

Portrait of a juice box and a cup of milk on the dining room table:

Portrait of the artist as a young girl:

Portrait of Stitch from "Lilo & Stitch":

Portrait of Elsa from "Frozen":

Madeleine didn't ONLY draw pictures of existing images and characters, however.  Check out some of the whimsical, fantastical drawings inspired by her imagination.

Ice-Skating Pets:*

Girls (and a bat-eared creature) sitting on piles of something:*

People With Funny Hats Traverse the Interior of a Cave With a Gelatinous Blob Hanging From Above.  Two Such Girls Completely Goof Off While One Perceives the True Gravity of the Situation:*

*Descriptions of the pictures are the blog author's own interpretation, not one provided by the artist herself.

Between my little choir-singer and my little illustrator, we Rowe ladies certainly spent a very artsy Sunday morning!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

More About the Purple Elastic

So, Madeleine got called out for talking to her fork at dinner this evening, which gave us a segway into what exactly she goes with the purple elastic while she's pooping on the potty.

MADELEINE: (dropping her fork) ARGH!  (retrieving it from the floor) FORK!! NEVER do that AGAIN! (resuming her eating, and dropping her fork again) ARGH!!  FORK!
ETHAN: I thought you told your fork never to do that again.
JULIA: (disdainful) Madeleine.  Do you know that your fork isn't ALIVE?
ME: Well, Madeleine plays with a purple elastic and talks to it while she poops, so I don't think she even takes the matter of whether an object is alive or not into concern.
JULIA: Yeah.  Madeleine, today when you were in the bathroom, I overheard "Fine, then LEAVE, sister Alaska."  "Ugh.  WHY?"
MADELEINE: Because Julia.  Here's what was happening.  So, McKenna and Alaska find this MIRROR, and...Alaska dives into the mirror, and McKenna dives into the mirror too, to save her younger sister, and they end up...Julia??  Remember when we went to that NAIL SALON with Auntie Shannon?
JULIA: Venus Nails?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  That's where they ended up.
ME: Wait a minute.  McKenna and Alaska, the pencils?
MADELEINE: (in total seriousness) Yes.
ME: You were playing with your pencils on the potty?
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama.  They're pencils that TURNED INTO elastics.
ME: Oh.  And they ended up at Venus Nails?
MADELEINE: Yes.  And...everyone in Venus Nails is EVIL, and they notice that they're elastics, instead of pencils.

Okay.  Got it. 

Suddenly, the idea that all those years ago, Julia named the barn door on her Little People House "Mister Cause Cause" (the inspiration for this blog!)  doesn't seem that strange.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Abstract-Random Contenders

Julia and Madeleine both have extremely Abstract-Random thought processes.  I'm not sure which of the following most recent remarks and conversation topics would win top prize for "Most Random Thing EVER," but they're definitely all contenders.

MADELEINE: (calling from the toilet) Mama?  Do you know where the PURPLE elastic is?
ME: I don't, honey.  (Walking by the bathroom to see Madeleine with her bum off the toilet, digging through a drawer) Honey, put your bum back on the potty while you poop.
MADELEINE: (deflated) Okay.
ME: Why do you need the purple elastic?
MADELEINE: Because!  I play with it while I'm pooping!

And knowing Madeleine, the purple elastic probably has a name and a back story and everything, just like her pencils do.

MADELEINE: (beginning to wash her hands after finishing her toilet business) Mama?  I haven't DECIDED yet if I'm only gonna pick my nails on THIS side, because...then they'll be growing SLOWER than the nails on this hand.

I can understand her conundrum.  Sometimes when I'm sitting there with a stuffy nose, I am unable to do anything about my mucus-load because I'm frozen with indecision.  I can't DECIDE if I should only pick the nostril on ONE side because...then the mucus will be draining slower into that nostril.

JULIA: Mommy?  Why do I feel like there's a Beatles song with the words "Bang Bang Rich Man Clack-ma-torium?"
ME: Uh, there isn't.

JULIA: Mommy?  I decided to change Max, Justina and Jessica's ages because I  needed to make them the right ages for their grades.
ME: You mean the Mintz people that you make up and think about when you're galloping?
JULIA: And when I'm trying to think about stuff to fall asleep.  And sometimes when I'm not playing with anyone at recess and I'm on the swing, I think about them.
ME: What made you decide to change their ages?
JULIA: Well, like...I needed to...well, like...So.  For Jessica, I didn't want it to be her FIRST year of college, I wanted it to be, like, her THIRD year, or something.  And Max and Justina, I made them be in Grad School, but I made them too young, so I had to make them older.

I'm not sure what I like more about the above conversation.  The fact that Julia felt the need to tell me that she had arbitrarily changed the ages of the imaginary people she fantasizes about while she gallops, or the fact that Julia feels the need for her imaginary people from an imaginary family to have realistic ages to coincide with the grades she has imagined them into.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

No We

Madeleine started work on a new book yesterday.

The title?:

JULIA: Were you trying to spell "Now," Madeleine?
MADELEINE: Uh, no, uh, Julia.  It's called "No We."
JULIA: Oh.  Well, Madeleine, just so you know: when you're writing TWO words, you're supposed to leave a SPACE in between them.

You're also supposed to have a title that makes some sort of lingustic sense, but whatevs.

Pg. 1:

Just a typical drawing by an innocent five-year-old, right?  With the broken-necked corpse hanging upside down in a torture chamber while her scarecrow buddy stares in shock at her limp ragdoll body.  NO.

Pg. 2:
Wow, Marie Antoinette sure looks delighted with the giant, jewel-encrusted phallus that's hanging from the ceiling.  Not sure what she's going to do with the bloated three-fingered hand on an amputated arm off in the corner though. 

Good thing the text clears everything up for us: "MADELEINE WE NO ON POT HOT THE."

Totally get it now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Logic, Madeleine-Style

Madeleine Logic 101

On why she doesn't want to move out and get her own house as an adult:
"Because I don't know HOW to build a house, and the ladder wouldn't stay up on such a short house."

On why she doesn't want to get married:
"Because if I get married, I have to get a JOB."

On why she doesn't want to get a job:
"Because there's NO newspaper that has a job on it."

On why she doesn't ever want to bear arms:
"I would never buy a gun.  Besides, I only have ONE dollar in my piggy bank."

On why she needs to maliciously throw away her water bottle:
"Because I *can't* have dessert because (in a burst of sobbing) Julia ate the cookie that *I* was gonna haaaaaaave!"

This kid should teach a course in reason and logic, don't you all think??

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Snowy Day Activities

Snowed-in and house-bound once again, we Rowes have spent yet more quality family time together today.  Part of the family fun was partaking in Madeleine's invented Race and Show.

Just to give you an idea of what an incredible experience this all was, take a look at Madeleine's outfit for the race:

The race was amazing, folks.  It involved Julia, Ethan and I walking from the fireplace down to the master bedroom and back to the fireplace.  Madeleine served as announcer using our kiddie microphone.  Let me just tell you: IT.  WAS.  RIVETING.  I really wish all you readers could have been in the audience because there is really nothing more adrenaline-boosting than watching three family members walk in a single file line down the hallway and back.

I thought we were all off the hook after the race winner was announced (who, incidentally, happened to be Julia, for finishing LAST, whereas my reaching the fireplace FIRST meant diddly-squat.)  However, little did we know that Madeleine's activity was two-fold.  After the race, we were all ordered invited downstairs to watch her show.

I'm sure you can all imagine what a one-kid show must be like to watch, but just to *really* set the scene for you, I will present the following.

First, Madeleine's appearance while performing this show:

Secondly, an excerpt from the beginning of the show:

MADELEINE: (hopping and twirling around) Oh, I just LOVE the first day of spring - the - the - the sev - the seven - the - the - the seventeen - the - the - the sev - the - the - seventieth - the seventeenth - the - the - the - seventieth - the - the SEVENTEENTH - the seventeenth day of SUMMER! (Narrating) Then, Katelyn found a BALL. (picking up a ball from the play room floor and bouncing it around) Oh!  A ball!  (taking several minutes to bounce the ball around in silence)
ETHAN: Wow.  This is a great show so far, Madeleine.
ME: I can see how well she prepared for it.
MADELEINE: Oh!  I didn't prepare at ALL!  I'm just MAKING it up right now!

No.  Way.  It all seemed so smooth and polished to me.

The rest of the show carried on in similar fashion, and received a wild and rousing applause from the audience.

I mean, how can we even long for an end to snow and a return of temperate outdoor weather when we have entertainment like this inside our very own house??  Who needs the first day of spring or the seventeenth day of summer to come, after all?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentimes Day At Last!

The kids got really invested in Valentine's Day this year, putting in as much careful preparation for family gifts and cards as they do at Christmas.  (Probably because, between the snow and our month-long sicknesses, there is really NOTHING ELSE TO DO.)

Madeleine was a stress-case yesterday, fretting that we were never going to cross the finish line into Valentine's Day with everything accomplished.

MADELEINE: Mama?  How can we make this day really LONG?
ME: Why do you want to make the day really long?
MADELEINE: Because.  Mama.  We haven't even gotten READY for Valentime's Day!
ME: What's not ready?
MADELEINE: We haven't made enough PRESENTS yet!  And...Daddy has made NONE presents.

Uh-oh, Ethan, better get cracking on the home-made gifts.  The girls are holding you accountable here. 

Madeleine, Julia and I got some more Valentine preparations under our belts yesterday by baking and frosting heart cookies:

Furthermore, Madeleine's worries were allayed this morning when she discovered that we all - even Daddy! - had piles of Valentine's goodies to exchange with each other.  Julia had gone so far as to make brown paper bags full of treats for everyone in the house.  Inside each bag was a unique love note for that particular family member.

For Madeleine:

"Let me love you forever!"

For me:
"Let my love always be with you!"

For Ethan:
"Let my love get into your heart!"

Madeleine made a card for me that perfectly encapsulates her very distinctive artistic style:

Julia gave out store-bought cards, including this completely appropriate choice for a father from his daughter:

Oh, boy.

The remainder of our Valentine's Day will likely be spent preparing for the next incoming blizzard, so we may not get to do much more in the way of celebration, but I can guarantee that after this morning's Valentine exchange we will all spend the day full of love in our hearts!

Thursday, February 12, 2015


This morning, as Madeleine gazed out the window at YET MORE snow, she suddenly remembered a movie she had seen long ago that features a different kind of weather emergency.

Oh, Madeleine.  So with the program.  After I launched into an explanation of a) the fact that a tornado is not a blizzard, and b) the idea behind the black and white turning to technicolor and what a big deal that was, I thought that was the end of our discussion about Oz.  But nope.

MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama?  Is "The Wizard of Oz" a NON-FICTION movie?
ME: No, it's fiction.  None of that really happened.

I can see why she thought it might be non-fiction, though.  A house flying over a rainbow and landing in a magical land with singing Little People and a talking scarecrow, tin man, and lion is pretty true to life.  Not to mention the witches, and the fact that pouring water on one of them reduces her to a lifeless heap.

Madeleine clearly has non-fiction on the brain, however, because after browsing through her Kids National Geographic magazine, she asked me if pictures can be non-fiction and fiction.  I told her that a true-life photograph can be considered non-fiction.  Madeleine decided to prove to me that not only photos can fit that category.

MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama.  I'm gonna draw a NON-FICTION picture.

So she drew a picture of the swim lesson she had recently been at, complete with a zombie-eyed Mommy sitting on the bleachers,  watching, and a Big-Foot Super-Giant swim teacher:

Julia, for her part, did some non-fiction drawing this evening, as she and Madeleine discussed the fact that both girls will be at the same school next year.

JULIA: And Madeleine.  When you're in kindergarten, and it's Wednesday, the lunch is ALWAYS pizza.  Wednesday is always pizza day!

Julia then began describing other cafeteria lunches, which led to her realization that Madeleine does not know what a chicken nugget is.  Julia set out to illustrate it for her.

JULIA: (in frustration) Mommy!  My chicken nugget does NOT look like a chicken nugget.
ME: I think it does.
JULIA: (dismayed) It looks like a POTATO!
MADELEINE: (turning to me after examining the picture) Uh, she's kind of right, Mama.

At least I know that Madeleine can give herself the same brutal honest assessments she gives to others.  This evening she stood on the couch, making smiling faces at herself in the reflection of the living room windows.

MADELEINE: Mama?  For when I go to kindergarten, I'm trying to see which SMILE is the best smile to do.
ME: Okay
MADELEINE: (smiling into the window)  Ugh.  Too CHUBBY.
(smiling yet again) Err...not really a great smile.

Luckily, she still has half a year to polish her perfect kindergarten smile.  And to learn what a chicken nugget is.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sore Hamstrings

Whether it's from swimming three events in Julia's Parent-Child Swim Team meet, or from shovelling, or from running in the snow on my last three outdoor workouts, my hamstrings are so sore and tight that they feel like they're going to snap.

Tonight I enlisted the help of Madeleine the masseuse.  I laid on my stomach on the couch and had her sit on my hamstrings.  This then turned to her actually standing up and jumping on my hamstrings, and let me tell you, it was AWESOME.

MADELEINE: Whee!  This is FUN!
ME: Keep jumping!  It's really helping!

It was a win-win.  For Madeleine, it was like a human trampoline.  For me, it was like an aggressive shiatsu massage.

When she was all finished, Madeleine parted with the hamstrings she had just massively attacked with a loving gesture.

MADELEINE: (leaning over to kiss my leg) Mama.  I kissed your hamster.

My hamsters thank her very much.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Brutal Honesty

Madeleine tells it like it is with brutal honesty.

During dessert, Madeleine gives me a critical assessment of my body:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Do you want a marshmallow?
ME: No, the marshmallows are a little too sweet for my liking.  What I want is a cookie, but I'm trying not to eat one because I've been pigging out lately.
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  You don't LOOK like pigging out.
JULIA: Yeah, besides, if you were pigging out, your tummy would be, like, out to HERE! (holding her arms out way in front of her.)
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And your tummy doesn't - well...wait a minute...(closely scrutinizing my stomach) Well, it's a LITTLE bit like that.

Madeleine takes issue with Auntie Shannon's kisses, but not for her usual reason ("Auntie Shannon does DUCK LIPS when she kisses me!"):

AUNTIE SHANNON: (planting two kisses on Madeleine's cheek)
MADELEINE: (recoiling as if she had been bitten)
ME: What's the matter?  Duck lips?
MADELEINE: No.  After one of the kisses (screwing up her face in disgust), I started to smell something STINKY.

Madeleine makes it very clear that her stuffed animal dog takes precedence over her mother:

ME: (snuggling up to Madeleine as she arranged her various stuffed animals across her chest after I sang her lullaby)
ME: (turning to face the other direction and give her some space)
MADELEINE: Mama.  Snuggle me.
ME: Well, I was trying to, but you yelled at me, so I figured I'd give you space.
MADELEINE: Well Mama!  That's because you were laying on FUZZY!
ME: So?  You didn't have to yell at me. You could have used your manners and said, "Excuse me Mommy, but can you please stop laying on Fuzzy?"
MADELEINE: (silence)
ME: (silence)
MADELEINE: (sullenly) Mama.  You're my VALENTINE.
ME: You're my Valentine, too, honey.
MADELEINE: So Mama.  Can you snuggle me?  Just this time: DON'T lay on Fuzzy.

Madeleine proves that no act of loving affection gets in the way of her and the toilet:

MADELEINE: (heading up the stairs to get to the bathroom)
AUNTIE SHANNON: (sitting on the top step, holding out her arms) Can I have a hug?
MADELEINE: Not this time. (Climbing over Auntie Shannon's body to get up the last step)

So, in short, a summary of Madeleine's opinions:

Auntie Shannon, no hugs or kisses, thank you very much.
Mommy, you can hug me at bedtime, because you're my medium-fat Valentine, but if you dare to lay on Fuzzy, I'll go ballistic on you.

Sunday, February 8, 2015


To begin this blog post, I give you the Quote of the Day:

MADELEINE: Why is this cabinet stuck?
ME: Because there's too much stuff in there.  We need to clean it out.  We need to clean everything out, because this house is a disaster area.
MADELEINE: Yeah. (brightly) Epsept the TOILET!  The toilet is, like, SPARKLING clean.  There's only, like, ONE poop stain in it!

Well.  I do like to pride myself on my toilet-cleaning abilities.  Ladies and gents, only one poop stain.  Round of applause, please.  Let me know if you'd like my master cleaning skills on YOUR toilets.

In other, non-toilet-related news, the girls and I are home sick from church this morning, so what better way to spend the time than with a puppet show production??  Yiayia recently handed down a bag full of puppets from her house, and Julia got hold of them this morning.  I knew I was in for a viewing when, as I sat at the table drinking my coffee, I overheard this:

JULIA: Madeleine, I'm gonna put on a puppet show!
JULIA: Wait.  We should ask MOMMY to come watch it!

The kids were so antsy for me to join the audience for the puppet show that they each individually barged in on me in the bathroom to ask me to come downstairs to watch.  Madeleine even barged in TWICE, the second time to ask me, "Uh, can you be really QUICK in the bathroom?" 

So before I'd even finished my coffee, there I was on the play-room floor, watching the amazing production of "The Princess and the Witch."

Madeleine sat in my lap and together we witnessed the premiere of Julia's show.  Now, we have three industrial-sized dehumidifiers running in the basement at the moment, to try and dry the basement carpet after a pipe burst in our garage:

Needless to say, the noise from these three super-strength machines is loud enough to make conversation hard to hear downstairs, let alone the dialogue provided by someone whose head is under a blanket.  So I couldn't catch a lot of what Julia was saying during the show, but I was willing to let that go.  Madeleine, however, was a much tougher critic, quick to point out all of Julia's shortcomings as puppeteer.

MADELEINE: Uh, Julia, I can see your LEGS under the chair!
ME: That's okay.  Don't worry about it.

The witch, and Julia's leg.

MADELEINE: Uh, Julia??  Talk into a MICROPHONE because we can't HEAR you.
ME: It's hard to hear with the dehumidifiers, but it's okay.  Don't worry about it.

MADELEINE: Uh, Julia?  Can you show the puppet's FACES,'re not really SHOWING them.
ME: It's okay.  We can see well enough.

Can you tell I wasn't anxious to have a re-do of the puppet show due to audience complaints??

Tomorrow is looking like a very likely snow day, YET AGAIN, so I foresee many future puppet show productions for me to view.

And on a completely different note, HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY, AUNTIE CAITLYN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We love you!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sick Again

Well, it doesn't seem possible, but we Rowes are all sick AGAIN. 

We have come down with new head colds and fevers, and the congestion is great enough to have inspired several colorful descriptions of our snotty breathing and nose-blowing.

JULIA: (coming out of her bedroom at night) Mommy?  Can you put some Vick's on my chest, because I sound like a DINOSAUR.


ME: (blowing my nose)
JULIA: Wow!  Your nose sounded like a TRUMPET!

Julia is finally back at school today after being home sick yesterday.  Between the snow days and sick days, it turns out Julia has only been in school for two full and two half days over the past two weeks.  Because she had missed so much school, when she finally went back in (before the current sickness hit), she had piles of finished classwork to bring home.

Among these class projects was an acrostic poem using the word "Snowflake":

Snowflakes falling
North Pole is cold.
Outstanding igloo.
Wet from outside.
Flying snowballs.
Lake is frozen.
Achking from snowballs hitting you.
Kicking snowballs.
Everyone is sleding.

Hmm.  "Achking from snowballs hitting you?"  That's what she came up with for "A?"  Personally, I would have gone with something like "Arctic air," or "Angels in the snow."  But maybe she and Madeleine play a really hardcore version of snowball fight so the idea of achking from snowballs hitting her was a valid description of her winter experience.

Julia also came home with two "how-to" direction sets, using her own expertise in certain areas.  The first was about diving:

I know how to... Do dives

1. You climb onto a diving bord and bend over.
2. You put your hands into streamline position (apparently you also contort your body into an unnatural and humanly impossible side-back-bendy position)
3. You bend forward until your in the water.
4. You come up and sprint to the end of the pool.

I think she's ready to be a swim coach, don't you?

The second set of instructions was on doing cartwheels:

I know how to... Do a cartwheel

1. First, you put one foot in front of you and one arm up.
2. You bend over until your on your hands.
3. Put the other arm down.
4. Then when your done you stand back up.

Okay, readers, it's time to test Julia's direction-giving!  Follow the above instructions and tell me: did you do a successful cartwheel?  I have to say that I'm pretty sure if I just put one foot in front of me and one arm up, bend over until I'm on my hands, put my other arm down, and stand back up, I will have executed a perfect cartwheel.

Now, if someone could just write an instruction set for how to stop getting the whole family sick with winter viruses, I'd be set.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Baby Song

Yesterday, I went into Madeleine's school to teach a music class, and I introduced the kids to a new song.  This song is about a baby who is put to bed, tucked in, and kissed good-night, but still can't sleep.  The kids each get a chance to offer a suggestion to help the baby get to sleep, so the song gets longer and longer with each extra thing we do for the baby. 

Since Madeleine was sitting next to me, she got to come up with the first suggestion.  Of course, Madeleine went with the absolute literal solution to the baby problem.

ME: Uh-oh, the baby got out of bed.  Madeleine, what should we do to help the baby get to sleep?
MADELEINE: Uh, put up the SIDES.  Put up those SIDES on the crib so the baby CAN'T get out.

Luckily, the rest of the classmates offered ideas like feeding the baby milk, singing a lullaby, turning on the night-light, etc, so the song didn't turn into a method for constructing a baby prison.

Madeleine was so enthralled by this song that when I picked her up from school, she asked me if we could sing the song together at home.  The minute we were in the house, she was ready to go.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama, ready?  Sing the baby song.

I thought that since there was just one kid, the one solution she offered would be the end of the song and the baby would be asleep.  So when I sang her idea and then kissed the baby good-night, I assumed we were done with the song, and I went off to clean the bathroom.

Turns out Madeleine's subsequent silence was simply because she didn't know the name of the object for her next idea.  As I was heading to the bathroom, I saw Madeleine grabbing a piece of blank paper and a marker, exclaiming, "Wait, Mama, I have an idea."

As I was mired in bleach and water, scrubbing the bathroom, I was suddenly interrupted by Madeleine running in, holding out a drawing.

MADELEINE: Uh, Mama?  You could try THIS thing, but I don't know what it's called.

ME: Oh, a mobile?

So it was back to the song, which I got to sing while scrubbing the toilets.  I mean, Snow White did suggest you whistle while you work, so I guess singing is equally good entertainment, right?

I am happy to report that after multiple suggestions of Madeleine's, such as giving the baby twinkling blue starlight, the fictional baby in the song finally DID go to sleep.  I can tell that when Madeleine's dream of being a grown-up and having lots of babies finally comes true, she will be a total pro at the baby bedtime routine.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

More Randoms

The kids have been full of random amusing comments over the past day.  Here are a few of my favorites:

During "My Little Pony," as the youngest ponies tried to come up with a name for their club (which eventually gets named "The Cutie Mark Crusaders"):

APPLE BLOOM: How about "The Three Strikes?"
SCOOTALOO: That sounds like you struck out!

MADELEINE: (calling upstairs to me) Mama?  I think three strikes would be GOOD,'s good when you get a strike in bowling.

Yeah, that's right, three strikes in bowling is a turkey!  Forget "three strikes and you're out."  Strikes are forever more a GOOD thing.

This morning, as Julia and I were in the bathroom brushing our teeth:

JULIA: Mom?  Isn't it so weird that things that are so, like, ORDINARY are things that people WANTED in the olden days when they hadn't been created yet?
ME: Yes, that is weird.
JULIA: It's like...(sarcastically) "Oh, WOW, a LIGHT BULB."

Now, I have to say, I see things a bit differently than Julia.  Instead of seeing things in the olden days as not having been "created" yet, I am often baffled by the fact that all the science and elements and everything have been there THE WHOLE TIME, but it took thousands of years to actually figure out how to combine things properly and use what resources the earth provides.  But I get what she's saying.  Flushing our toilet would have seemed like a novelty back in the day of chamber pots, or worse, communal dumping pits, but today we're just like, "Oh, WOW, a TOILET."

At the dinner table, as Madeleine played with three pencils:

MADELEINE: (singing) We're all together like a family, we're all together like a family... Mama.  Why do you think the Valentimes pencil is NOT part of the family?
ME: (studying the pencils) Uhhhh...

I was completely stumped.  See if you can figure out why the Valentimes pencil is not part of the family:

ME: it because it's not a Halloween pencil like the other two?
MADELEINE: (exasperated) No.  Mama.  It's because the Valentimes pencil is Alaska's FRIEND.

Okay.  Not the answer I was expecting.  But on second thought, I guess I should have known that.  DUH.  How could I not intrinsically know that one of the pencils is named Alaska and that the Valentimes pencil is named McKenna (another detail I just learned) and is Alaska's friend, NOT her family member?? 

Furthermore, Madeleine just informed me that Alaska's friend McKenna is taller than Alaska's mom.  So I guess Alaska, being the newest pencil and therefore the tallest, ALSO doesn't fit in the family because she's way taller than the other two in the pencil family.

And finally, after dinner:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  You're the EIGHT-EIGHT best.
ME: I'm the AA best?
ME: What's the eight-eight best?
MADELEINE: It's because I love Julia, too.

Oh.  Well, that certainly answered my question about what the eight-eight best is.  Madeleine is always full of such sense and logic when she speaks, wouldn't you agree? 

Monday, February 2, 2015


The girls have decided to start on their Valentines Day presents for the family, and they even persuaded Auntie Shannon to let them buy little gifts for their family members while out running errands together yesterday.

Somehow, the girls even managed to sneakily buy gifts for Auntie Shannon as well.  I'm sure that Auntie Shannon doesn't mind the fact that she paid for gifts for her own self that the girls are going to wrap for her.

ME: Madeleine, how did you get a present for Auntie Shannon without her seeing it?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!  I hided it!

I wonder if she hided it well enough for Shannon to really remain oblivious to the fact that she was, in essence, buying herself a present.

Both girls spent last night and much of today wrapping gifts and making cards for the intended recipients.  Madeleine has even upped the anticipation by delivering each gift to various locations around the house, but forbidding us from peeking at them until Valentines (or as she calls it, "Valentimes") Day.   

So I have to try and avert my eyes every time I walk by this on my dresser:

Madeleine kind of already told me what she got me, though, so I guess it's okay if I look at my present.

MADELEINE: Mama, I got you something GREAT!
ME: Am I gonna love it?
ME: Is it milk chocolate?
MADELEINE: Uh...I don't think so.
ME: Okay, that's good.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  Can you - can - can you have - can - Mama?  Can - can you - will you - uh, will-
ME: Will I get sick if I eat milk chocolate?
MADELEINE: (annoyed at my interruption) Uh, NO.  Mama.  I was GOING to ask you: Can you eat chocolate hearts?
ME: Uh, it depends on what kind of chocolate they're made out of.
MADELEINE: (earnestly) Chocolate from CVS.

At that point it just seemed easiest to assure her that, yes, I can eat chocolate from CVS.  If it does turn out to be milk chocolate, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Meanwhile, Julia proudly showed me the Valentines Card she had picked out for Ethan, which I think she probably didn't thoroughly read before opting to buy it.  The card is addressed to "Babe" and talks about the various things the card-giver loves about her babe, including, near the end, how sexy he is.  Yeah.  That's appropriate.  But Julia was SO excited about having picked out this card all by herself that as she delightedly showed it to me, asking me if I think Daddy will love it, I couldn't bring myself to burst her bubble.

At this rate, I can't wait to see what sort of card Julia picked out for me.