Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Face Paint Fun

Today was an early release day in the public schools, so not only did I have the day off from teaching piano lessons, but I got to spend the whole afternoon from lunch-time on with the girls.  Early release day turned into body art day at our house, as the kids first gave each other mani/pedis using Julia's nail spa kit, then delved into face paint.

Julia is supposedly painted up as a vampire:

While Madeleine opted to get painted as her favorite animal, a bane:
Complete with carrot finger!

We had to run errands later in the day, and Julia has reached the age at which she was embarrassed at the thought of being seen around town in face paint.  She made sure to have her face washed clean before we headed out, but Madeleine went to various shops in full-out bane mode.  Not only did she have her bane face paint on, but she exclusively hopped from here to there, often needing to grab my arm at the last minute to keep her balance, making me almost lose my own balance.  She got so much attention at the first shop we went to that she made absolutely sure to be noticed at the next store.  Hopping directly up to the cashier, Madeleine announced in a squeaky, cheerful voice: "HELLOOO!!" 

I can already imagine the resistance we're going to get at bedtime when we insist she wash her paint off.  I'm pretty sure Madeleine is already envisioning herself at school tomorrow with her face paint on.  Especially seeing as it's Easter week and all, and she would make a pretty cute Easter bane.

I guess I'd better cook up some carrots and lettuce for dinner tonight!

Monday, March 30, 2015


This is what I just oversaw and overheard between the girls as Julia went to the kitchen to fetch some dessert:

MADELEINE: (standing at the doorway between the kitchen and dining room, arms blocking the passage, legs straddled) Cross under the troll bridge, Julia!  That means go between my legs.
JULIA: (army crawling underneath Madeleine's legs) You want me to crawl with my handful of jellybeans?
MADELEINE: (observing her sister) Cute butt, Julia.
JULIA: Well, that's nice.
MADELEINE: Wait, why is that not nice?
ME: She said "that's nice," Madeleine, not "that's not nice."
MADELEINE: I *know*, but she's being SARCASTIC!
ME: No, I don't think she is.
JULIA: (piping up loudly) Actually, I *was* kind of being sarcastic!  Because...it's not really a compliment you TELL another person, Madeleine.  You don't compliment someone on their BUTT.

(At least not yet, right??)

A few moments later, Madeleine began gyrating around while holding one hand on the table, causing the table to shake while Julia was trying to write down answers to her homework.

MADELEINE: (chanting to herself) Jiggle jiggle jiiiiggle, jiggle jiggle jiiiiiggle...
ME: Madeleine, honey, you're shaking the table while Julia's trying to do her homework.
MADELEINE: I was just tryin' to make it look like there's no BONES in my bum.  This is how you have to do it.  With your BUTT. 

Wait.  Is my 5-year-old attempting to TWERK?!?
Oh Good Lord. 
As if checking out her sister's butt wasn't bad enough.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Decorative Drawings Around the House

Madeleine has been hanging up her drawings ALL OVER THE HOUSE.

I was particularly interested in the back story for this picture, which is classic Madeleine from her all-black phase:

ME: Can you tell me about this picture?
MADELEINE: It's two black worm sisters, and they're having a BLACK party, so every little girl can be surprised by all the blackness.  And they wanted to...they always loved to explore, so they went outside to explore the world.  And then when they got outside, they were surprised.  Everything was YELLOW!  And they decided to have a BLACK party so everyone can be surprised...and...and they didn't like ANY COLOR epsept black.

Wow.  That's some pretty interesting detail.  I hope someday I can attend a black party and be surprised by all the blackness.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Madeleine Statements

Various statements made by Madeleine that prove she is full of it.

On her love of foreign language:
ME: (browsing, online, through the menu of a restaurant) Hey Ethan, they have build-your-own crepes here.
MADELEINE: Crepes?  What are CREPES?
ME: They're a kind of French dessert.
MADELEINE: Oooh!  French!  I *love* French!  I love talking with you in French!

Except that she knows ZERO French.  Or, as she might say, she knows NONE French.

On her love of drawing:
ME: Oh, Madeleine, I like your picture.  Is it Angelina Ballerina?
MADELEINE: (offended) NO!  It's NOT Angelina.
ME: Oh.  Can you tell me about your picture?
MADELEINE: This is a random mouse girl, and that's the sun, and that's the grass, and that's the sky.  Mama, I love drawing.  Especially when I get the idea of drawing from someone drawing.  Or from Polly drawing.  And I feel like drawing.  A picture.  Of a mouse.

Madeleine's picture of a random mouse girl.

On why she doesn't ever want to eat at any restaurant besides Blue:
MADELEINE: Because.  Mama.  There are FEW things that I like.
ME: What kinds of things do you like that you think other restaurants won't have?
MADELEINE: Like...PEPPERS, and...I like chicken.
ME: But all you ever order from Blue is plain pasta.
MADELEINE: (brightly) I know!  But they have ICE CREAM at Blue!

So that's why she can't eat anywhere else.  Not because she wants chicken and peppers, but because Blue is the only restaurant in the whole entire world that offers ice cream as a dessert option on its kids' meal.

Moving on to another topic, Madeleine drew a picture inspired by a song she sings at school.  Take a look at the picture: can you figure out what the song is??:

Just in case you can't figure it out and need a little prompt, here Madeleine not only acts out but then sings the song on video (complete with a very lady-like crotch-scratch right at the beginning of the recording)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Kids are...Um...Imaginative

Proof that my kids are living in worlds of their own.

#1: In which Julia causes Ethan to comment, "Oh, so she's crazy."

JULIA: (singing a dramatic rendition of "Indian Song" in her room) Iiiiiii knoooooow what the Indians know.  Iiiiii goooooo where the Indians go....
AUNTIE SHANNON: (walking by Julia's room) What on earth got that song in your head?
JULIA: Lilly was singing it.
AUNTIE SHANNON: Lilly knows that song?
JULIA: Lilly from the Mintz!

Yes, that's right.  Julia was neither referring to her own friend Lily, nor to Madeleine's friend Lilly.  The imaginary Lilly who lives in Julia's brain was the one singing the song that Julia then got stuck in her head.

#2 In which Madeleine cannot differentiate between a hotel and an apartment, as we visit (the real) Lilly.

ME: Madeleine, we're going to drop by the hotel Lilly is staying at to bring them a dinner I cooked.
MADELEINE: Why do we have to bring them a dinner?
ME: Well, because the stove in their hotel suite is pretty small, so it has been hard for them to cook dinners there.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Auntie Caitlyn lives in a hotel, but she has a big stove.
ME: Well, Auntie Caitlyn lives in an APARTMENT.  An apartment building might look like a hotel building, but the difference is that an apartment is a place where someone lives, and where they cook their meals every day.  A hotel is a place where someone stays for a short while, like if they're on vacation, or if they're having repairs done on their house, like Lilly is.  So there's usually just a small little stove in hotel kitchenettes.
MADELEINE: Well, Auntie Caitlyn's hotel room is pretty small.
ME: Auntie Caitlyn's apartment is small, but she still has a big enough stove to cook things on.

After the visit...

MADELEINE: Mama, I can't wait to have ANOTHER play-date with Lilly so we can stay longer and play at her APARTMENT!

At that point, I gave up.

#3: In which Madeleine proves that I truly, absolutely cannot ever know what's going on in her head.

MADELEINE: Mama.  Watch THIS. (holding two fingers in the shape of a sideways "V" and connecting them to two "V" shaped fingers on the other hand)
ME: Cool.
MADELEINE: Mama.  Why did you say "cool?"
ME: Because you made a shape.
MADELEINE: I didn't make a shape.  I made a MAKKIN!

Seriously.  How could I *not* know that two sets of fingers in a "V" do not make a shape, but instead make a "makkin," or "napkin" as the rest of us in the world like to call it.  I guess I was fooled by the fact that the interior of the makkin was AIR, which would not actually perform the service that a makkin is intended to perform.  Silly me.  If the imaginary Lilly Mintz can get a song stuck in Julia's head, then OF COURSE Madeleine can put her fingers together and make a makkin out of air.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Madeleine Writes

Madeleine practiced more sounding-out of words today as she attempted to write answers to questions I asked her. 

Question 1: What is your favorite color?
Answer: PAG

Madeleine got angry when I asked her, in amusement, "Your favorite color is pag?"  I then spoke the word "pink" and enunciated the final "nk."  Did my little perfectionist want to try and write it again?  Nope.  Hot Cross Angry Exes through the letters.  FAIL.  No second chances.

Question 2: What is your favorite animal?
Answer: BANE

This time I wizened up.  "Your favorite animal is a bunny?  Awww!" 

A white bane with pag eyes

Question 3: What would you like to name your child if you ever have a daughter?
Answer: MOMMY

TOTAL cop-out, Madeleine.  She just picked a word she knows how to spell because she can't HANDLE about being incorrect.  But whatever.  I look forward to being a grandmother to Mommy someday.

Question 4: What is your favorite tv show?

Ethan and I are quite fond of Mi Lethel Pon too, as far as kids' shows go.  Ethan wears his Mi Lethel Pon t-shirts with pride and carries around his Mi Lethel Pon wallet without the slightest embarrassment.  Good choice, Madeleine!

And finally, Question 5: Which is your favorite pony?
Answer: PEG PIY

Aha!  Madeleine solved the dilemma over how to spell "pink."  It's not PAG, it's PEG!  And I should have guessed that Peg Piy is her favorite pony, seeing as her favorite color is pag.

Peg Piy, from Mi Lethel Pon.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dessert for Madeleine

Madeleine took her sweet old time finishing her dinner this evening, and when she was finally approved for dessert, you'd have thought she would immediately start chowing down on her Cadbury Mini-Eggs.

Instead, she sat on the futon in the playroom, with a fistful of Mini-Eggs in each hand. 

ME: Mmm.  Those look yummy.  Are they good?
MADELEINE: Mmm-hmm.  But...I'm not EATING them yet.  Because...I'm still eating my broccoli.
ME: (confused) You are?!?

Apparently the broccoli stuck in her teeth was preventing her from delving into the Mini-Eggs.  It seems Madeleine is a food purist.  The taste and touch of broccoli strands would simply ruin the chocolately deliciousness of the Mini-Eggs should they dare to mix in the slightest.

Once the broccoli was acceptably cleared from her teeth and swallowed down, Madeleine gobbled up her Mini-Eggs.  A few moments later, as I was in the bathroom styling my hair, Madeleine came traipsing to use the sink.

MADELEINE: I just need to wash my hands.  Because...my sweat...my sweat turned all COLORED from the eggs!

Who would have ever thought the simple event of eating some Easter candy for dinner would turn into such a complicated ordeal??

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Julia's Geography Book

Unbeknownst to any of us, Julia has been hard at work since Thursday putting together a geography book based on the seven continents.  She proudly presented this book to me this morning.  She had used her inflatable National Geographic globe ball to find the names of the countries in each continent:

North America
Unided States
(Montriall is in Canada.)

South America
French Guiana

Antarctica hairgrass (I think its what its cald.) 
Polar bears (I think.)
Walrasis (I thinks)
Antarctica Peninsula

South Africa
Burkina Faso
Cote D'Ivoire
Sierra Leone
South Sudan

Czech Rep.
Oman (nope)
Yemen (nope)
Bosnia Herzg.
San Marino
United Arab Emirates (nope)
Syria (nope)
Jordan (nope)
Iraq (nope)
Kuwait (nope)
Saudi Arabia (nope)
Qatar (nope)
Bahrain (nope)
United Kingdom
Ebanon (nope and nope.)

North Korea
South Korea
Uzbekistan (again?)
Kyrgyzstan (again?)
Sri Lanka

And, last but not least:

Kangaroos (I think.)
Sydney Australia
People talk with an axcent.
There are lots of animals there (I think but I'm not sure.)
There is a rivers there.

Wow.  What an effort, Julia!  And let me ask you: does Julia know her Australia facts or WHAT?!?

Bravo on a great new geography book for the whole household, Jules!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Read the Bible

The chorus that Ethan and I sing with has started rehearsals on our new music for the spring concert, and this music is particularly difficult.  Apparently we have been practicing so much that even non-members of the Rowe household are getting the music stuck in their heads.  Auntie Caitlyn, who was at our house yesterday for a few hours while Ethan ran through one of the difficult pieces, returned to visit today singing the chorus piece over and over again.

It seems that the girls have gotten the music in their ears as well.  WARNING: Auntie Caitlyn, DON'T WATCH these videos if you don't want to be stuck with the music in your head all over again!

Before I knew it, both girls were joining in:

Madeleine continued to think about the Bible song as I sang her a completely unrelated-to-Scripture bedtime song, "The Green Grass Grew All Around."  Singing along with me, Madeleine felt the need to insert the word "Bible" into all sorts of random places.

MADELEINE: There's a hole in the Bible and the Bible grew all around and around and the Bible grew all a BIBLE!

I guess with the Bible being on her mind, it makes sense that she was snuggled up tight with Jeezy.

MADELEINE: (in exasperation) Oh, JESUS!
ME: What did you say!?!
MADELEINE: (completely innocent) I said "Oh, Jesus."  I was talking to JEEZY.

Thankfully, Jeezy stopped doing whatever it was that was exasperating Madeleine so much, and He and Madeleine are now snug and sound asleep:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Madeleine's Swim Lesson

Madeleine has graduated to actual lap-swimming at her lessons, and the past two weeks she and her classmates have gone from one end of the pool to the other doing the front crawl.  Although it tired her out: "Mama?  I was, like, SO tired that I felt like I wanted to, like, just take a NAP in the POOL!", she made it like a champ.  I got what I could on video, although mostly you'll just see a little head bobbing around in the water since I was sitting on the other end of the pool room:

Madeleine is pretty proud of herself after watching the video.

ME: What do you think of that?
MADELEINE: Ga-REAT! (spinning around in a hoppy twirl)

So how did Madeleine get so good at doing her front crawl?  She explains the technique:

"So Mama when you're breathing, you have your breathing arm back and the arm that is NOT where your mouth is pointing to is in FRONT of you.  Because, like, if you had BOTH of your arms in front of you, you would probably sink.  And if you had your BREATHING ARM in front of you, then you wouldn't be able to breathe, and you'd be breathing on your sleeve.  I MEAN! - your ARM.  (laughing) I thought you were wearing your CLOTHES in the pool.  When you're breathing this way it's (turning her head to the side and taking a gasp of air) and when you're breathing the other way it's (turning her head to the other side and taking a gasp of air.)  Having one of your ears in the WATER."

Everybody got it?  Now you'll all be front crawl experts too! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Boy Play-Date

Over the weekend, Madeleine came upstairs from the play basement to ask me if she could ever have a play-date with a particular boy from her class.  Specifically, the reason why she wanted him to come over was: "because I think he would REALLY LIKE playing Sorry." 

That's right.  The board game "Sorry!", a Christmas gift from Nana and Gramps, has been such a hit that it has inspired Madeleine to initiate her first boy play-date. 

I made the arrangements, and the play-date is currently occurring this afternoon.  Madeleine was SO excited this morning, thinking of her impending get-together, that she could hardly focus on getting herself ready for school.  As I brushed and braided her hair, she pontificated upon the idea of having this boy come over.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Can you believe that if someone only has sisters or, like, ONE sister, BOYS would STILL want to play at their house?
ME: Well, of course.  Because there really are NO toys that are only for girls or only for boys.  Anyone can play with any kind of toys they'd like.  Plus, you and Julia have plenty of toys that most boys would like.  A lot of boys might not want to play Barbies, but you have marbles, and Hot Wheels, and blocks, and all sorts of fun toys. 
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Because...me and Julia aren't, like, always just wanting to be PRETTY.

I'm loving this feminist streak, Madeleine! 

But then things took a weird turn.

ME: Right, it's not like all you want to do is dress up in fancy dresses and wear make-up.  There are lots of activities that you do that a lot of boys would enjoy.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And...sometimes I just, like, RANDOMLY feel like punching someone in the STOMACH.


Either Madeleine is a secret masochist, or she has some really skewed ideas of what it is boys like to do for fun.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Harry Potter Quiz

Over the weekend, Julia desperately wanted to try taking a BuzzFeez-like quiz to determine "Which Harry Potter Character Are You?" 

The first quiz that I found was obviously intended for adults, leaving Julia to take wild stabs in the dark for her answers, as she was unfamiliar with most of the answer options to each question.  I knew when she randomly selected "Silence of the Lambs" as her favorite movie from the choices given that this was not going to be the most accurate quiz result.  (She also opted for "Game of Thrones" as her favorite tv show.)

So, I know you are all waiting with bated breath to find out WHICH HARRY POTTER CHARACTER Julia actually is.

Voila!  She's: .....GRAWP?!?

Yeah.  As I said, not the most accurate quiz given Julia's blind-guess answers.

Julia was a bit let-down to be a character so different from those she obsesses over, but luckily Auntie Shannon found a kid-geared "Who Is Your Best Friend From Harry Potter" quiz.

Julia's result?  Ginny.  That's RIIIIGHT, Julia and Ginny Weasley are BFFs!

Julia was ecstatic.  It was if the weight of the whole world rested on the answer to this quiz.  She begged for a few minutes of gallop time before bed, exclaiming, "I need to gallop because I'm just SO HAPPY that I got GINNY!"

Move over, Mintz.  We all know what Julia was thinking about during THAT gallop time: her fantasy life as Ginny Weasley's best friend, gallivanting about the halls of Hogwarts between Potions and Defense Against The Dark Arts classes, playing Quidditch together, discussing their crush on Harry Potter.  No wonder she was so delighted.

In fact, Julia couldn't shake her quiz results from her mind even as I read her a completely different fantasy book for her bedtime story.  About once per page there was an irrelevant interruption, like this:

JULIA: Mommy?
ME: Hang on, let me finish reading this sentence.  (completing the sentence) Okay.  What?
JULIA: I'm just SO HAPPY that I got GINNY!


JULIA: Mommy?
ME: Uh, yes?
JULIA: You know WHY I'm so happy I got Ginny?  Because she's my SECOND FAVORITE character.


JULIA: Mommy?
ME: Yes?
JULIA: But how do you think I even GOT Ginny?

That seals it.  That quiz was the rock-solid proof that Julia belongs in the Harry Potter world.  As if we didn't all know that already.

Grawp and Ginny, BFFs for life!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Madeleine Says...

Madeleine makes me feel so good about myself.

As I was getting dressed after my shower:

MADELEINE: (walking by the bathroom) Uh, Mama?  I saw your bum.
ME:  That's because I'm still getting dressed.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And I saw it when you were bending down.  And I knew it was YOUR bum because it's all JIGGLY.
ME: It is?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  (brightly) Hey Mama!  It's just like JELLO, because it's jiggling and jellying all OVER the place!

As she peered lovingly at my smiling face:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Why do your front teeth look GOLDEN?
ME: They do?  Maybe I have a lot of plaque.
MADELEINE: What's plaque?
ME: It's stuff that can cause cavities.
MADELEINE: Oh.  And your back tooth looks REALLY golden.
ME: Maybe I need to use teeth-whitening strips.
MADELEINE: What do those do?
ME: They help turn your teeth whiter.
MADELEINE: Gross.  Like a hard-boiled egg that turns TOO white.

After I had dissolved a Listerine Breath Strip on my tongue

MADELEINE: Mama?  What is that even for?
ME: It makes your mouth taste good and your breath smell better.  Here, smell how minty my breath is (blowing air out of my mouth at her)
MADELEINE: (recoiling in disgust) Eeewww!  That smells GROSS!

But at least she draws me special pictures like this one:

In case you're wondering, it's a picture of the baby sister who is outside looking at a shooting star while the fountain in the town square explodes.

And if that image doesn't spell "love," I don't know what does.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Book and a Note

Madeleine is hard at work on a new book, entitled "We Love You":

Apparently, she was not happy with her first few attempts at writing "we."  Nor was she happy with her initial "y" of "you."  Either that or she just *really* wanted some black scribbles on her book cover.

I really have no idea what to say about this picture.  There appears to be a fairy hanging from a thread as if she's a spider.  The flying platypus with a hot dog coming out of the side of his face has perhaps expelled diarrhea onto that nice black stool.  No wonder the curly-locked gray-haired woman is saying "No."

Let's ask the illustrator to explain this picture to see how close I was.

MADELEINE: So, that's the other sister.  (pointing at the fairy) The younger sister.  (pointing to the person saying "No") And that's the older sister.  (pointing at the platypus) That's the mole.  He's jumping on the trampoline.  To smell the air.  Because he's excited that the next day would be spring.

Oh.  It's a trampoline.  Not a platypus-besmirched stool.  Madeleine's explanations are always more innocent than my interpretations.

Let's take a crack at this one: "Oh no" says Chiquita Banana as she watches her blonde-haired friend crab-claw the ceiling.

MADELEINE: Um, it's just that Sabrina's party hat is up there, on that bar, and she's swinging on the bars, and her mom is holding Sabrina's little brother's party hat.  And...and why Sabrina's mom's hair is green is because her shoes are covered with green paint.

Once again, an innocent explanation.  EXCEPT Madeleine added this comment after a moment's pause:

MADELEINE: And this Sabrina's EVIL.
ME: The girl in this picture?
MADELEINE: The little girl is named Sabrina, and she's evil.

Oh.  Well, okay.  That's pretty dark.

Hmm.  My guess: Some sort of medieval wooden torture device appears to be popping party hats out of its arms.  "You to Julia."

MADELEINE: The mom did a trick so the party hats would go on the sisters. 
ME: (pointing at the wooden torture device) But what's this thing?
MADELEINE: That's the trick!

Yeah.  A medieval torture device trick.  Nailed this one.

Meanwhile, Madeleine wanted to leave a note for her sister after she proudly "counted" past infinity.  (By saying "Infinity and one, infinity and two..." and so forth.)  I insisted Madeleine attempt to sound out the words herself, which caused an initial melt-down by my little perfectionist.  Ultimately, however, she gave it a go.  Can you read her message to Julia??:

Spoiler alert: the final word, "infinity," was initially spelled "infinad."  Madeleine explained that this was because the last two sounds in the word are "A dee."  In-fin-a-dee.  Hence, D was the final letter.  I cheated on my insistence that she sound the words out by explaining that there's actually a "y" at the end of the word.  I was afraid Julia wouldn't be able to read the final word and that would catapult Madeleine back into her melt-down over not knowing how to spell words with precision.  My fingers are crossed that Julia will be able to figure out what the rest of the note says, and they're doubly crossed that Julia doesn't feel the need to go into condescending big sister mode and point out to Madeleine every misspelled word.  (Let's not even get into the issue of there being no number higher than infinity.  Nor of it being possible to even count to infinity.)

Okay, I'm about to go jump on a trampoline now with my mole friend and sniff spring in the air.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dental Hygiene and Temperatures

Madeleine was thrilled to have a visit from a dentist at preschool this week.  Along with a goody bag filled with a new toothbrush, floss, and travel toothpaste, Madeleine also brought home a workbook about dental health.  She quickly got to work on it, asking me to read the directions on each page.

MADELEINE: Mama?  What does THIS say to do?
ME: Uh, it says to circle all the food that's healthy for your teeth, and cross out the food that's not healthy.

Madeleine apparently does not quite understand what "crossing out" means.  Instead, she drew a circle of crosses around the unhealthy foods and a regular circle around the healthy ones:

Another topic Madeleine is attempting to understand is that of temperature.  Because it has warmed up significantly this week, Madeleine is interested in what temperatures are considered cold and hot.  The other night, as I put her to bed, she got suddenly chatty on the whole topic.

MADELEINE: Mama?  How cold is ZERO degrees?
ME: Zero degrees is pretty cold.  It's way below freezing.
MADELEINE: So, like, even INSIDE your house you would turn into an ICE BLOCK?
ME: No, inside your house you would be fine.
MADELEINE: So only OUTSIDE your house you would turn into an ice block?
ME: Uh, no, you wouldn't turn into an ice block.  But it would be possible to get frostbite on exposed areas if you were outside for a long time.  Okay, it's time to quiet down and go to sleep.  No more talking, do you understand?
MADELEINE: Yes.  (two seconds of silence) But Mama?  What's FROSTBITE?

Needless to say, she didn't wind down on the topic for quite awhile.  I like the fact that she assumed that at some certain temperature, a person will turn into an ice block.

The next morning, Madeleine had yet another question.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Is it ever so, SO hot out that you wanna take off ALL your clothes, EVEN your UNDERWEAR?
ME: Sure, it can get hot enough that you want to take off all your clothes.  But we wouldn't go outside with no clothes on.
MADELEINE: Oh.  Yeah.  I forgot.
ME: Do you know why we don't go outside with no clothes on?
MADELEINE: Because you'd be too cold.  Even if it's warm out.  If the wind blows.

Yeah, I was thinking more because we don't live in a nudist colony, but that was a close guess!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Even MORE about the Mintz

In case you want even MORE clarification on the imaginary Mintz family, Julia provided me with this handy-dandy-guide:

JULIA: Mommy? I'm making a LIST of the Mintz family, and I'm including all their FRIENDS!
ME: Great!
JULIA: So Mommy.  The LAST names of all the families are on TOP, and then it has the first names of everyone in each family underneath.  And I'm putting "name" then SLASH then "name" to show if they have, like, a NICKNAME.  Oh.  And Mommy.  It has their AGES too.

So here are ALL the families in the Mintz world.

Max 24
Jastina 23
Jessica 20
Lilly 12
Juliana 6
Zoie 4

Alisson/Alley 12
Amanda 10
Matilda 8
Mayanna 6

Maria 12
Lexina/Lexie 10
Isabella or Bella 6
Caterina 1

Edenya 12
Abigail/Abby 8
Kakia 4

Marala 10
Janet 9

Jaquline 23
Lindsay 17

Mallisa 23
Leisa 20

McKenzee 23
Claire 20
Cathryn 17
Gracie 6

Emeron 23
Madeleine 8
Carolina 8

Roberta 8
Nicolas 1

Julie 20
Violet 17
McKenna 8
Rachel 1

Nolan 24
Evalin 3

Jasper 24
Ophilia 9

Caitlyn 17
Maréna 8
Megan 6

SHEESH.  No WONDER Julia spends so much gosh-darn time galloping.  She has a LOT of imaginary people to keep track of!  And what an extremely realistic set of character names.  I can't think of a more authentic sounding name than Kakia Algurba, can you?  Or Emeron Cactistan?

It must be bedtime for the Mintz now, so with that, I will bid you adieu.  This is Nolan Jojo, signing off.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

More About the Mintz

Today, on our drive in to church, I got to learn even more about Julia's imaginary Mintz family that she thinks about while she gallops.

JULIA: Mom?  You know what's WEIRD?  I've been thinking about the Mintz for SO LONG that, like, they've changed SO MUCH.
ME: Oh yeah?  What's changed?
JULIA: Well, when I first started thinking about the Mintz, Zoe was, like, one or two, and now she's FOUR.  And Lily was, like, nine or ten, and now she's TWELVE!
ME: Wow.  They've gotten a lot older.
JULIA: Yeah.  And Mom?  It feels like THESE are really the RIGHT AGES for them to be.

I guess it makes sense that the Mintz have aged along with Julia.  But I wonder if, considering these are the RIGHT ages for them, they will cease aging and stay in their current state even over future years of Gallop Time.

Auntie Shannon inquired about the Mintz later in the day, and we got to hear even more about what they do.

JULIA: So, the Mintz are Max, Jastina, Jessica, Lily and Zoe.
AUNTIE SHANNON: Which one is in graduate school?
JULIA: Max and Jastina are BOTH in graduate school.  And Jessica is in college.
AUNTIE SHANNON: What are they studying?
JULIA: Well, Jastina wants to be a teacher, and Jessica wants to be a SCIENTIST.

She didn't tell us what Max is majoring in.  I guess that, despite being the oldest, he is still unsure of his career path.  Although I'd think by graduate school he'd have to have a concrete subject of study.  On the other hand, he does go to an imaginary extended version of Julia's elementary school so maybe grad school is much less directed in Julia's head.

Julia most definitely has a LOT of energy to put into Gallop Time today.  Thrilled by the warmer air and the sunshine this afternoon, she couldn't contain herself as we shopped at the Trader Joe's.  Julia skipped and galloped this way and that through the store, weaving herself around the many, many other shoppers, causing Ethan to urge her to be more cautious.

ETHAN: Jules.  You gotta just walk through the store.
JULIA: Sorry, Daddy, I can't HELP it.  I'm just still REJOICING because it's so WARM out!

(I should point out that *warm* is a very relative term at this point.  It's in the lower 40s today.  It feels like paradise, seeing as we spent the majority of the winter not even breaking above freezing.)

I wonder if the Mintz are rejoicing today too.  I'll have to ask Julia all about how they spent their warm and sunny day!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Basketball Game

This evening, the Rowe family went to watch the annual basketball game between Julia's elementary school and one of the other town elementary schools.  The teams consisted of faculty and parents from both school communities, and the bleachers were PACKED with families cheering for their school's team. 

For Julia, the highlight of the night was watching her principal and many of her teachers battle it out on the court.  For Madeleine, the highlight of the game was making pretend conversations between the two mascots in the program booklet.  The Eagle and Hornet were simply fascinating for Madeleine.  In fact, she was eager to understand what animal SHE will get to have as mascot when she's in kindergarten.

MADELEINE: So Mama?  At Julia's school, what animal are the KINDERGARTEN kids?
ME: Everyone at Julia's school is an eagle.  The Eagles are for the whole school.

When we got home, quite late, I was anxious to get Madeleine to bed as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, she had lots on her mind and couldn't stop herself from chattering away at me as I tried to get her settled.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Are you still in college?
ME: No, I'm not.
MADELEINE: Are you all DONE with college?
ME: Yes, I'm done.
MADELEINE: So...what's the name of what your work is?
ME: I'm a piano teacher.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  I mean...what's your work ANIMAL?

She was dismayed to learn that I do not have a mascot.  The fun ends after college, honey, sorry.  Unless you get drafted for a professional sports team, I guess, or join an adult softball league or something.  She better milk that experience of being an Eagle because you don't get to be an animal forever!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Questions, Questions

Getting ready for swim lessons this morning, Madeleine had an important question.

MADELEINE: Why do you always have to pack UNDERWEAR in the swim bag?
ME: Because.  When we change into your clothes after you take a shower, you need to put on underwear.
MADELEINE: Oh yeah!  Because if you didn't have underwear, then you would REALLY poop in your pants.

Yes.  That is the true reason why we wear underwear.  So that when we accidentally poop ourselves, the poop lands in our underwear and not our pants.  I'm so glad Madeleine has grasped the concept so thoroughly.

MADELEINE: Yeah, Mama, because...what if somebody was holding their POOP for too long, and the poop came OUT, and they weren't wearing underwear, so the poop went on their pants or their jeans??
ME: That would be terrible.
MADELEINE: Ugh.  Mama.  I don't LIKE the name terrible.
ME: Why not?
MADELEINE: I just don't LIKE how it sounds.

How dare I use a name that Madeleine doesn't like?  Next time I'll use a name she DOES like.  Luckily, I found out one of her preferred names during a discussion in the pool locker room today.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Why is Kermit a frog?
ME: Uh...because he is.
MADELEINE: And why are Muppets PUPPETS?
ME: Because Muppets are a very special kind of puppets made by a man named Jim Henson.
MADELEINE: Mama.  I thought you were going to say they were made by Jan Brett.
ME: Nope, by Jim Henson.
MADELEINE: But Mama?  I love Jan Brett books.  I *miss* reading Jan Brett books.
ME: Well, we have a few of her books at home, so you can always look through those if you'd like.
MADELEINE: We only have TWO.
ME: Well, we have two that she wrote, but we have another one that she illustrated.
MADELEINE: Mama?  I really LOVE the name "illustrated."

Okay.  Got it now.  Next time Madeleine envisions a scenario in which a person poops his or her pants or jeans, I will respond thusly: "That would be illustrated."

Madeleine and I discussed yet more words after she did her ginormous cannonball jumps off the diving block in swim lessons (all while yelling "CANNONBALL!" as she plunged in)

MADELEINE: Mama?  Did I make a TIDAL WAVE?
ME: You sure did.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Was it a major tidal wave, or a MINOR tidal wave?
ME: It was a major tidal wave!
MADELEINE: Mama?  I like to pretend minor tidal waves are babies, and major tidal waves are GROWN-UP waves.  And besides.  Why would I do BABY tidal waves?!?

Madeleine sure seems to want to do major cannonballs, but she certainly doesn't seem to want to do major pooping in the toilet.  Lately she has been doing totally MINOR poop.  But good thing I pack underwear for swim just in case she has a minor poop, right?

Meanwhile, Julia and I had a lengthy discussion not about words, but about her favorite Gallop Time mental fantasy: the Mintz family.

JULIA: (galloping with glee across the play basement, a huge smile spreading across her face)
ME: What are you thinking about while you gallop this time?
JULIA: The Mintz kids at SWIM TEAM practice.
ME: Oh.  Do they all do swim team?
JULIA: No.  Only Lily and Giuliana do swim team.
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: Because they're the only ones who are the right AGE to do swim team.
ME: But do the older ones swim at college?
JULIA: Uh, well Mom?  I like to pretend that my school actually has a middle school AND a high school AND a college AND a graduate school at it, so Jessica and Justina still go to that school for college.
ME: Oh.  So there's no swim team there, just at the Y?
JULIA: Yes. And Mommy?  I also think about the Mintz's FRIENDS.
ME: Oh, really?  Do their friends have names?
JULIA: (looking at me like I'm a dunce) Yeeees.  Of COURSE they have names!  One friend is named Marla, and she's in third grade, and another one is named Janet.
ME: With a-
JULIA: With a "J"!
ME: Okay.  So there's no Ganet any more.
JULIA: Right.

Wow.  Julia puts some SERIOUS thought into her Gallop Time imaginings.  No wonder she needs to set aside special time each day to gallop.  Otherwise, how would things develop in the Mintz world??

If Madeleine ever comes up with an imaginary Gallop Time thought-world, I wonder what her characters' names would be.  I can guess that one would be called Illustrated, since Madeleine really LOVES that name, but I'm not sure about any of the other characters.  We can be certain there will be no Terrible, though!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

More Drawings, More Poop

So, for once Madeleine drew a picture that doesn't look super creepy.  But in contrast to her pictures with total creep-factor and totally innocent explanations, this picture's description is actually pretty macabre.

ME: Madeleine, tell me about this picture.
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh.  It's the green dinosaur getting EATEN!
ME: And what are the stripey things?
MADELEINE: Those are the orange and white striped dinosaurs EATING it.  Eating the GREEN dinosaur.

On the back of the doomed dinosaur picture, we have a friendly lion roaring "NO."

ME: And what's happening in this picture?
MADELEINE: The lion is roaring really loud across the savannah.
ME: But why is he roaring "NO"?
MADELEINE: Oh.  Because his pride is doing something that they're NOT SUPPOSED to do.
ME: What is his pride doing?
MADELEINE: Umm...growling at each other and...and...and KICKING each other.

Okay.  Nice violent plots to both pictures.  That's really great.

While Madeleine may be progressing in her artistic skills, she is apparently regressing in her toilet-training skills.  Ethan and I got home from chorus rehearsal last night to hear that Madeleine had YET AGAIN pooped in her underwear while we were gone.

This morning, I broached the topic with her.

ME: Madeleine, is there anything in particular you want to tell me about last night when Auntie Shannon was baby-sitting?  (turning to Julia) Don't you say anything. I want Madeleine to tell me.
MADELEINE: (silence)
ME: Is there anything you want to tell me about?
MADELEINE: Um, no thanks.
ME: Did anything in particular happen when I was at chorus that you need to tell me about?
MADELEINE: (staring at me blankly)
ME: Do I need to wash any clothing of yours?
JULIA: (unable to control her urge to tattle) Oh!  I know!  She POOPED IN HER-
ME: Julia.  Remember, I said I want Madeleine to tell me.
MADELEINE: (silence)
ME: What happened, Madeleine?
MADELEINE: I don't know.
ME: Do I need to wash anything?
ME: So you can put your underwear from last night on to wear to school today?
MADELEINE: (silence)
ME: Julia.  I said not to say anything.

Ahh.  Such cooperation from both parties.  The one who (literally) doesn't give a shit about pooping in the toilet, and the other one who can't stand to let a sin go unmentioned.  I should have known that the whole interrogation was going to be an epic fail from the get-go.

At least I got this reassuring promise from Madeleine.

MADELEINE: (brightly) I don't think I'm gonna poop in my underwear ever again!

I really believe her.  Don't you??

Maybe if I could just roar "NO" across the savannah at her next time she starts to poop her pants, she would be able to get back on track.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Drawings and an Event

Madeleine made some drawings today.  They're not creepy at all.

I don't know about you, but I have sweet, blissful dreams about ghoul-eyed armless people saying "OK" to their star-eyed scarecrow-armed friends.  Don't you?

I also lovingly daydream about zombie shadow people chanting "DDD" while four-legged Dementors fly overhead.

Aaaaanyway, on a different topic, today I attended an after-school event at Julia's school for the Metco Family Friends program.  Rather than go into the details of what this event was all about, I will instead tell you what the event turned out to be for me: The Many Ways in Which My Kids Melted Down at a Public Gathering.

The event started off just fine.  Pizza lunch and some arts and crafts, both items right up my kids' alleys.  Things didn't start to deteriorate until Relay Race time.

WOMAN LEADING RACES: Okay, let me have all the kindergarteners line up here.  And the first graders here. And the second graders here.

As she ran through all the grades, I thought to myself, "Uh-oh, Madeleine's going to be upset because she's not in any of the listed grades." 

Sure enough, as I looked down to the crowd of kids, I saw Madeleine walking away from the group, her eyes brimming with tears.  Before I could even get to her, she was full-out sobbing and wailing.  No matter how many times I tried to encourage her to join the kindergarten line, she just. couldn't. recover.

That is, until the races were about to start.  As I was on the phone with the mom of another girl at the event, trying to arrange a carpool, Madeleine ran to me in full-out sobbing, wailing mode, this time because she DID want to join the relay races.

So I walked her over to Julia's team, where we were met with understanding looks from the other mothers and a hearty attempt to include Madeleine in the relay.  And all was fine once again.


When the person before Julia took her relay turn, she happened to drop an item from a basket full of beach toys she was supposed to be transferring to the other end of the gym.  Julia dutifully picked up the toy, and upon my suggestion, began running it over to her team-mate.  Cue the clueless, much older boy running amok in the gym: next thing I knew, Julia and the fourth-grade boy collided and Julia went face-planting across the floor.  As soon as she stood up, she ran around behind me to hide her face, clutch me, and sob into my back.

It was her turn in the relay.  And I couldn't pry her off of me.  So I told Madeleine to go.

Madeleine gathered her basket of beach toys and began running to the other side of the room.  Clue another much older, clueless boy running amok: next thing I knew, Madeleine and the second-grade boy had collided, sending Madeleine and basket of stuff flying, with Madeleine face-planting on the floor.  Then Madeleine was inconsolably sobbing in my arms.

Meanwhile, all of the other teams had finished, and everyone was waiting on Julia and Madeleine's team, which could not finish the relay until Julia and Madeleine had taken turns.  Madeleine was sobbing in my arms.  Julia began sobbing anew because she wasn't going to get a turn now that Madeleine wouldn't finish her round.  I had to reassemble Madeleine's basket to bring to Julia so she could take a turn.  The entire room cheered her on.

End of crying, right? 


The next activity went smoothly, but afterwards, the kids went on a "Sea Urchin" hunt, looking for little plastic bumpy toys that were hidden all over the room.  Guess what happened when Madeleine didn't find one? 


So the adults re-did the search, with older kids hiding the urchins, and younger kids getting to search for them.

ADULT IN CHARGE: Okay, the urchins are all hidden!  Now, ONLY kids in kindergarten, first and second grade get to look!  Go!

Madeleine is not in any of the above-mentioned grades.  Any guesses what happened?


Sigh.  I don't think we had enough attention on us already.

Finally, the event wrapped up with a magician, which elicited NO tears from my girls.  Thank goodness.  In fact, Madeleine was completely wrapped up in the magic, even while the older kids tried to debunk every trick the magician performed. 

At one point, a little girl was brought up on stage as a volunteer to be turned into a bunny.  The trick wound up being a magic want that unfurled into a plastic tarp with a bunny on it, complete with face-hole to line right up with the girls' head.


MADELEINE: (cracking up) He didn't REALLY turn her into a bunny!  Mama.  I thought the magician was going to turn her into a REAL bunny, but he didn't!!

That's the spirit, Madeleine.  Keep up your belief in magic and all your innocence as long as you can!  (But maybe ditch the constant crying.  Just sayin.)

So, we survived the event, with a roller coaster of emotions, but at the very least we all left with smiles on our faces!

Monday, March 2, 2015


Although we've had a BUTT LOAD of snow this winter, Ethan and I have hardly taken the kids out to play in it.  Partly because we were all so sick when the first several snow storms hit, and partly because by the time we were well, the snow was so deep that it was unmanageable, and partly because it has simply been too cold to enjoy being outdoors. 

This weekend, I started feeling guilty about the fact that I only took the kids sledding once.  True, they have gone sledding in our back yard, and even down our driveway before I shovelled the first blizzard's snow.  But I have only taken them to our usual sledding hill once, the time that Madeleine took one run down the hill, face-planted, and was DONE.  WITH.  SLEDDING.

So, since it had warmed up to a balmy 28 degrees or so this past weekend, I wondered aloud to Ethan about taking the kids to the sledding hill.  He had zero desire.  I should point out that I *always* have zero desire when it comes to doing ANYTHING in the snow, but I feel like I don't want the kids to miss out just because I have no use for winter.  But since Ethan wasn't interested, I wondered if we're just all sick of the snow.  So I put the question to the kids.

ME: Girls?  Would you like Daddy and I to take you sledding at the high school today, or do you not really care about playing in the snow?
JULIA: Well, today at church I prayed for ALL the snow to melt and I prayed for the weather to get warm and the flowers to bloom.  So...I don't want to go sledding.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  I *definitely* don't want to go sledding because remember how I fell out of the sled on my FACE?

Okay.  Well, that solved that.  No one wants to play in the snow, and we're all equally desperate for it to melt.

Although the idea of the snow melting made Madeleine curious about another issue.

MADELEINE: Mama?  You know how sometimes there's yellow snow that has DOG PEE in it?  When the snow MELTS, what happens to the dog pee snow?  Does the dog pee melt too??
ME: Yes.
ME: Uh, no, uh...well, the pee goes...where the snow goes...it kind of just seeps into the earth...

I realized I was talking out of my butt.  Which would probably have been more appropriate for answering the question about where the dog POOP goes.  But I think the answer was probably close-ish enough. 

These kids sure keep me on my toes.  I never quite know WHAT sort of question they're going to lob my way next.