Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quotes of the Day

Quote of the day, from Julia:

(While we were in the car with NPR on the radio)

JULIA: Mom?  Why do people on the radio have to sound like they're ROBOTS?  Like, why do they have to say every sentence with, like, NO expression in their voices??

Quote of the day, from Madeleine:

(to her classmate, next to her on the rug at school, while I led a music session)

MADELEINE: Ugh!  Your BREATH smells like a baby's DIAPER!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Bonus Post

Bonus post, for those of you not on facebook:

(A copy of my latest post)

As I lay cuddling Madeleine in her bed after her bedtime story, she suddenly erupted into giggles.

ME: What's so funny??
MADELEINE: I was just THINKING about something funny.
ME: What is it?
MADELEINE: If people, including us, were alive during Jesus' time, I was thinking about sticking my BUTT behind Caiaphas!
ME: What would you do that for??
MADELEINE: So he could SMELL it!
ME: So you would punish him by making him smell your stinky butt?
MADELEINE: (delighted) YES! And I'd put my FEET in his face! And...I would give Jesus a JUICE BOX when He was thirsty.

Just a normal old 5-year-old night-time fantasy, right??

Schoolwork by Julia

Among Julia's latest school work to come home was another poem, this one entitled "Grass."  Now, the title might give you the impression of some sort of beatnik poet opining on the highs and lows of a different kind of grass, but Julia's poem deals with her desperate desire to see the winter snow melt from our lawn.

Grass by Julia

Every day I see the grass.
I always see it through the glass.
I'd rather see that much more than snow,
boy I can't wait untill the rest of that stuff goes!
Oh the snow kepps on falling.
But that's 'cause that stuff keeps on stalling.
But now I can see the grass everyday
through the glass.
I see it every day,
shining in a happy way!

The snow definitely did kepp on falling and storms kept stalling over our neck of the woods all winter long.  I, like Julia, am SO glad that we can now see the grass when we look out the glass of our windows, and that the grass is finally shining in a happy way!

In addition to this poem, Julia brought back some of her work from art class, and I am particularly fond of this creature creation:

While Madeleine seems able to amp up the creep factor in just about EVERYTHING she creates, Julia has the opposite situation.  Even this alien bug-like guy can't come close to giving me the heebie-jeebies with his happy little stars and hearts on his body.

I like to see this alien bug-like guy every day, with his body tattoos shining in a happy way!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

More on the Mintz

Yesterday, as Julia got ready for swim team practice, she began talking to me about the Mintz.  The conversation, full of details about the imaginary family  that lives inside her mind, continued throughout the car ride to practice.

JULIA: (examining the bun I had done in her hair) Mom?  Did you know that Lilly and Zoie Mintz do their buns without doing a ponytail first?  Like, they just grab all their hair like this, and put it into a bun.
ME: Oh, really? 
JULIA: Yeah.  And Mom?  The little sister of one of the Mintz FRIENDS?  Like, she can do a PERFECT bun.
ME: Wait a minute.  You even take the time to think about the little sisters of the friends of the Mintz family??  And how they do buns?
JULIA: Well Mom!  I've been thinking about the Mintz since I was in preschool!
ME: You have?
JULIA: Yeah.  Well, I kind of STOPPED thinking about them in first grade, because, like, I got all into "Harry Potter."  So I started thinking about "Harry Potter" while I galloped.  But then I decided to bring the Mintz back.
ME: Oh, wow.  And what makes you think about how they make their buns in their hair?
JULIA: Well, so, Mom.  I pretend that Lilly's swim team always gets to the Y really EARLY, so they have extra time in the locker room, and so they have these locker room FASHION parties, and they all do their buns with their coach and stuff.
ME: Is Lilly Mintz on the same swim team as you are?
JULIA: Well, I pretend she's in the older group.  Because she IS in sixth grade.
ME: Well, there are some kids who are 10 and 11 on your swim team.
JULIA: I know, but Mom.  Lilly is kind of OLDER.  Like, she's already in sixth grade, but next year in seventh grade she'll be turning THIRTEEN, because her birthday is September 1st.
ME: Wait, you even gave the Mintz birthdays?!?
JULIA: Yes!  Of course I did!

I know it really shouldn't surprise me by this point, but I am continually flabbergasted by the amount of detail Julia puts into this imaginary family of her galloping fantasies. 

I wonder if Lilly Mintz thinks about a made-up family while SHE does Gallop Time.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Madeleine's Request

Madeleine is regaining some energy, though still not much of an appetite, in the aftermath of her stomach bug.  Today she managed to eat a few bites of a peanut butter sandwich and a few apple slices, but otherwise declined snack in the afternoon and didn't even manage to finish a glass of water.  For dinner this evening, I tried giving her a little bit of the couscous that accompanied our meal, and while she agreeably ate some spoonfuls, she took a LONG time to swallow each bite and was happy when I told her she didn't need to finish it all.  Then came the most shocking part: she didn't even want dessert.  Last night she also declined dessert, but she hadn't even eaten any dinner; tonight, since she had attempted dinner, I was sure the idea of dessert would tempt her.  Wow.  This kid must REALLY be sick if she willingly OPTS OUT of dessert.

And I must be really desperate for my kid to get a little sugar in her depleted system because I was offering her anything in the world that is edible and in our house.

ME: Madeleine, are you sure you don't want dessert?
MADELEINE: I'm sure.
ME: How about a Peep?  Do you want a marshmallow Peep like Julia just had? (pointing at Julia's package of Peeps on the table.)
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, those are JULIA'S Peeps.
ME: I know, but would you like one of your own?  I can get you one from your room.
MADELEINE: No thanks.
ME: Are you sure you don't want just one Peep?
MADELEINE: I'm sure.

Eat the candy, Madeleine.  Eat the sugar.  EEEEEAAAAT THE CAAAAAANDYY!

What sort of anti-mom am I here?!?

Then I started offering other things.

ME: Is there anything at all you'd like?  I can get you any food you feel like eating.
MADELEINE: Well, Mama, there is one thing I want.
ME: (eagerly) What is it?
ME: I do?  What is it?  Dessert?
ME: Milk?
MADELEINE: No.  Mama. It's from BEFORE I got sick.
ME: Lemonade?
ME: A donut?
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  (trying to give me a verbal prompt as a helpful hint) T-t-t-
ME: Uh...(I was literally thinking "tonut?")

Oh.  Toys.  Yeah, sorry, honey, but even being sick doesn't get you sympathy toys.  Food of any sort, SURE.  But toys?  Gotta wait til the next gift-giving holiday.

But at least Madeleine realized my desperation and attempted to manipulate my worried mother-hen state of emotion to try and get some toys out of me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

One Sick Kiddo

Poor Madeleine has been a sick little kiddo these past few days.  She came down with a stomach bug the first night we were up visiting Nana and Gramps in Vermont, and has been lying low ever since. 

Julia was healthy during the trip and had a blast getting time alone with her grandparents at the St. Albans Maple Festival.  It's especially good that she was unscathed by the stomach bug, seeing as she made a point of going on as many dizzying carnival rides as possible at the festival.  Photo courtesy of Gramps and Nana:

Madeleine, meanwhile, was back at Nana and Gramps' house with Ethan and I, sleeping and occasionally taking in a bit of fluid.  We were luckily able to get enough water in her to keep her from getting dehydrated, and she was understandably relieved by the ability to quench her thirst.  Madeleine has never quite seemed to understand that water doesn't actually have much of a taste, so when her stomach was unsettled, she would tell us that the water didn't taste good.  When her stomach could handle it, however, the water she was drinking was the best water in the world.

ME: Madeleine, would you like to go lay down on the couch and watch a show?
MADELEINE: Sure.  And Mama?  Could you bring my water in there?
ME: Of course.  You're a thirsty girl, huh?
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  I just really LOVE the taste of the water here.

That's right, Nana and Gramps, your water is superior quality, according to Madeleine!

Similarly, about a week ago, at our house, Madeleine began gagging after brushing her teeth.

MADELEINE: (making gagging sounds)
ME: (calling into the bathroom) You okay?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  It's just SPICY.
ME: The toothpaste tastes spicy?
MADELEINE: It was either the toothpaste...or...the WATER.

Man, I hate it when I drink spicy water, don't you??

At any rate, Madeleine missed out on the maple festival, but she definitely got some special sister and Nana snuggles:

On our drive home, Julia declared what a fun time she had had in Vermont, and Ethan jokingly addressed Madeleine on the matter.

ETHAN: Madeleine, did you have fun in Vermont?
ETHAN: Yeah.  It was really fun vomiting, huh?
MADELEINE: Well, not the VOMITING part.
ETHAN: But you had fun?  Was it fun just getting to see Nana and Gramps?
MADELEINE: (earnestly) Yes!

So even though she spent the trip limp and languid on your couch, N&G, Madeleine views the visit as a success!!

Meanwhile, Madeleine is only intermittently happy about seeing her Mommy.  When she feels lousy and needs snuggles, she wants me holding her.  But when she's totally over me, she lets me know it without reservation.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Can we stop doing snuggles right now, because it's getting kind of STINKY.
ME: The snuggles feel stinky?
MADELEINE: Uh, well, something about you smells really STINKY.

Yes.  That's right.  *I'm* the stinky one.  Because cleaning up Madeleine's salmon-filled chunks of vomit and wiping her multiple, mustard-like diarrhea bouts didn't stink AT ALL.  Glad to know that I'm the one who smells. 

At any rate, we have yet to see if any other Rowes come down with the stomach bug, but for the moment, we are hoping for an imminent recovery for poor little (stinky!) Madeleine...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Drawings and Scavenger Hunts

Just when I thought Madeleine's artwork has seemed less like the drawings of a possessed person of late, I came across these pictures:

The happy, psychedelic mannequin head that blissfully shoots red lava laser beams out of her firey devil eyes.

Just your friendly neighborhood shadow-demon, out for some happy haunting!


Also, Julia concocted a "scavenger hunt" today, during which she read aloud clues to me and had me traipse around the backyard to discover the locations to which each clue led me.

JULIA: (reading) Number one: "Something that may seem so real, may be harder than steel.  This object is often shown, but it is never alone."
ME: It seems real?  But it's not?  Is it the statues in the garden?
JULIA: No.  But it's NEAR the statues!
ME: (going over to the frog and turtle statues and looking around) It's harder than steel?  But it's not real?
JULIA: Well, actually, is IS real.  I just put that to...I don't really know why I put that.
ME: To rhyme?
JULIA: Yeah, I guess so, but it IS something real.
ME: Is it the rocks along the stone path?
JULIA: Yes!  Good!  Okay. (reading) Number two: "When you seek onto the deck, soon you'll find something that rhymes with hair."

I sought onto that deck, all right.

ME: Is it a chair?
JULIA: Yes!  Okay.  (reading) Number three: "Go down the hill to the shed, then go back up again.  Go to the other clues' places, until you find something."

This one was designed just to torture me.  I had to walk down the steep, slippery back hill in my flip-flops, get to the shed, then truck back upwards with my sore, tired runner's glutes.  Once I had retraced my steps from the first two clues, I walked back up the deck steps.

ME: Okay.  Now what?
JULIA: Okay.  So.  Stand by the deck railing, and tell me if you see anything that doesn't BELONG in the grass.
ME: Is it that cable piece there?
JULIA: Yes!  (reading) Number Four: "Once you find the thing, go to it please."

Wow.  WHAT.  A.  SCAVENGER.  HUNT.  The prize at the end was me retrieving an old, broken cable connecter that had blown off the deck, and then putting it back onto the deck.

As if that wasn't excitement enough, next thing I knew, Madeleine had devised her own scavenger hunt with the help of Julia.  Before long, I was back scavenging the yard yet again.

JULIA: Okay, Mommy, Madeleine made up the clues all by herself, but I wrote them down for her, and I'm gonna read them to you.  And just to tell you: this scavenger hunt is CLASSIC.
ME: Great.
JULIA: Okay.  (reading) Number one: "Find something really really really green and they stick to something brown."
ME: Is it one of the plants growing in the backyard?
MADELEINE: No.  Here.  I'll lead you to it! (leading the way towards the bushes)
ME: But it's not one of the plants growing?
MADELEINE: Well, wait.  Do you mean THIS growing thing? (pointing to one of the bushes)
ME: Yes.
MADELEINE: Oh.  Yes!  You got it!!
JULIA: (reading) Number two: "Go to the garage the way with the rocks."
ME: Do I have to go in the garage?
MADELEINE: No, just walk down to it.

So I did.

JULIA: Okay. (reading) Number three: "Sit in the wooden chairs, both of them please."

As we made our way up the brick steps from the garage towards the back deck, Madeleine managed to wipe out and scrape open her leg, so we had a little delay before we could continue the hunt.  Once all was well, I went and sat in both wooden Adirondack chairs on the deck.

MADELEINE: (delighted) Great, Mama!  You're doing the RIGHT thing!
JULIA: (reading) Number four: "Find something that may be harder than steel.  Two more clues."
ME: it the rocks again?
ME: Is it the grill?
MADELEINE: (looking unsure, then turning to Julia to have a whispered conference) It's THAT! (pointing to the grill)
ME: Okay, so it's the grill?
JULIA: (condescending) Why did you say that's harder than STEEL, Madeleine?
MADELEINE: I said "MAY BE" harder than steel.
ME: Okay, it doesn't matter.  What's the next clue?
JULIA: (reading) Number five: "Pretend you're a mouse.  Clue Number five pretend to be a mouse!"
ME: Squeak squeak.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  You have to get into the SHAPE of a mouse and the POSITION of a mouse and crawl around.

I think I suffered an utter loss of my dignity as I crawled around the deck making squeaking noises.

JULIA: Okay.  (reading) Clue number six: "Put all these things together and figure it out."
ME: Figure what out?
JULIA: This is really weird, Mom. Madeleine made it something that doesn't make any SENSE.
ME: Uh...put all the clues together?  Is it our backyard?  Is that the answer?
JULIA: You'll never guess it, Mom.  Madeleine made it be something really weird.
ME: Uh...
MADELEINE: Mama.  I'll give you a hint.  Mach....mach...
ME: Uh...
MADELEINE: Machieeeee...
ME: Machine?
MADELEINE: Yes!  You got it!
JULIA: I don't get it Madeleine.  How is "MACHINE" the answer??
MADELEINE: (with utmost confidence) Because Julia.  It's a ROBOT machine!

That does make perfect sense, after all.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Endless Power Puff Girls

Madeleine is full-out OBSESSED with the Power Puff Girls.  It seems to be ALL she ever thinks about or talks about. 

Some examples:

MADELEINE: Mama?  I feel bad for Him.
ME: For who?
ME: For who?
MADELEINE: Mama.  You know!
ME: Uh...Ludwig Koopa?
ME: But I thought you told Auntie Shannon you felt bad for Ludwig when she beat him in Super Mario Brothers.
MADELEINE: No, Mama, that's not who I'm talking about right now.
ME: Who are you feeling bad for right now?
ME: Who?
ME: Jesus?!?
ME: Oh.  Who from "Power Puff Girls?"
MADELEINE: Him!  That's what they call him.
ME: Oh.


JULIA: Madeleine, do you want to play "Lego Friends" with me?
MADELEINE: Uh, Julia, can the Power Puff Girls play too?
JULIA: (irritably) No, Madeleine, I'm getting tired of always playing "Power Puff Girls!"
MADELEINE: No, Julia, we don't have to PLAY it.  The Power Puff Girls are just going to sit at the table with us and WATCH us play "Lego Friends."
JULIA: Okay, fiiiiine.


MADELEINE: Mama?  If someone grew even bigger than you are now, and, like, their EYES got HUGER, then...they'd better be careful about rubbing their eyes.  Because, like, then their EYELASHES might come off. 
ME: Oh, really?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Like in "Power Puff Girls!"


MADELEINE: (moving her pasta and broccoli around her plate like figurines) Okay, GIRLS, so: don't look up or you'll see the big PUMPKIN ALIEN!
ME: Madeleine?  Julia is already eating her dessert, and I just scooped you some ice cream, so I'd suggest you just EAT YOUR DINNER rather than play "Power Puff Girls" with it right now.
MADELEINE: (ignoring me, continuing to talk to her food.)

Sigh.  It is all Power Puff Girls all day long.  At least I don't have to play it with her like Julia does!  Phew.  Off the hook on that one.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Missing Items

This is why we can never find anything in our house that the kids have previously used.

ME: Okay, girls, listen up.  Have either of you seen the nail clippers with the white handles?  They've been missing for a few days and I'm kind of distressed about it.  They're the only ones that really work well.
JULIA: Well Mommy?  Why do those clippers have a white, EGG-LIKE handle on them like an EGG?
ME: (irritable) That's not the question we're trying to answer right now, Julia.  The question was have either of you SEEN them?
JULIA: (cheerfully) Nope.  I haven't!
ME: Have you seen them, Madeleine?
MADELEINE: (looking up from her Shopkins figurines with a dazed expression) Seen WHAT?

They're equally as helpful and clueful when it comes to actually searching for missing items.  So you can see what a win-win situation we have.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Writing and Illustrations

Julia has a list of "ue" and "ew" spelling words this week, and she came home with her classwork activity using some of the words from her spelling list.  I honestly can't say which of her definitions I like the best. 

Argue: "when your fighting about something because you disagree with someone."
Glue: "something that's white and sticky."  (Oh, boy.)
True: "When you are not lying.  It is the aposite of false."
Mildew: "Something that forms when it is wet."
Congruent: "When two things look exsactly the same."

I do, however, know which illustration is my favorite.  Hands down it's the picture of a worksheet, upon which is written "True or false.  This is a tulip," and the word "true" is circled.  Because, yeah, what else could you possibly do to draw a picture of "true??"  Second place goes to the two frowny-faced girls (who are presumably Julia and Madeleine) to illustrate "argue."

Madeleine did some drawing and writing of her own yesterday, as I had brought paper and markers to entertain her while we hung out at Julia's swim team practice.  Madeleine decided to draw pictures of her favorite play areas, and I encouraged her to practice sounding out the words describing what she drew.

Here we have Madeleine on the monkey bars.  Or I guess I should say on the "mcge bors."  This reminds me of Julia's kindergarten attempt to sound them out as "mukey boars."

Here's a picture of Rosemary "Pol," complete with lifeguard!
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, I was gonna try and draw THAT lifeguard there (pointing to the guard in the chair at swim team practice), but...then I thought I would make the lifeguard be Harry Potter!

This is a picture of Madeleine playing on the giant ri ra roc at Julia's school.  Clearly, Madeleine ran out of room for her head and had to squeeze a tiny pea-head on the gargantuan body she drew.

And finally, Madeleine on the sweing.  I gave her the spelling for "ing" because she was getting frustrated with her inability to decipher the final letter sounds.  And we all know that Madeleine shows her frustrations by making big X cross marks through things because she JUST.  CAN'T.  HANDLE.  NOT.  DOING.  IT.  PERFECTLY.

True or false: Madeleine is a perfectionist.

The answer is true.  I'm not lying, because saying that she's a perfectionist is the aposite of false.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Another Julia Poem

Julia totally outdid herself on Easter with her poetry gifts, but she has not let that stop her poetic frenzy.  She came home with the following poem, which she had written as part of a school classwork assignment:

Things I Do In Spring by Julia

These are things I do in spring, cause then they let my spirets ring!
All day all I do is dance in the sun.
Oh Oh Oh!  Danceing in the sun is fun!
Outside I read a nice book about roots.
While I do that I quickly kick off my boots!
I am cartweeling.  There is no time to rest,
because I need to do my very best!
As I look I see a tree bug.
But while I do that I am standing in mud!
Rolling, tumbaling, all around.
I can berily hear a bird chipr, I am making such a noisy sound.
Oh no!  It is getting dark, so I will go back to my house, away from the park.
Now I am sleeping, tomorrow there are so much things I will bring.
But right now I am dreaming about spring.

I love this poem, Julia!  Way to go!  I can berily contain myself because there are so much things I love about it!

Monday, April 13, 2015

More on Easter

I didn't have a chance to post much about Easter yesterday, but today I can give you more of the exciting details.  To begin with, Madeleine declared it "the best Easter EVER!" after receiving her Easter basket, and Julia proclaimed that no other day can ever be better than Easter was.

The kids were thrilled with the loot in their Easter baskets:

In addition to these jam-packed baskets that I hid for them, the kids also received candy from Yiayia, and stuffed Easter Peep animals from Auntie Shannon.  Madeleine got a pink chick, while Julia was granted a blue bunny.

MADELEINE: Julia!  Look at my chick!  I'm gonna name it "Peeps!"
JULIA: (loudly and jubilantly) I'm gonna name mine Pee-Pee! (silence) Uh, actually, that's not such a great name...(loudly) I'm gonnna name mine Peepa!

Peeps and Peepee Peepa

Julia wasn't content with merely receiving gifts; she was inspired to make presents for all of the Orthodox (and one non-Orthodox human and one dog of unknown religion) members of the family. 

Get ready for some fun and wacky poetry from none other than Julia Rowe!:

What Should I Get You? for Mommy
What should I get you for EASTER, say!
There are so many things I could get on my way!
Sparkles, glitter, a new pair of shoes,
but the question is, wat can I get for YOU!

Cheeralie for Daddy
There once was a pony named Cheeralie,
and she was happy as can be!
She danced all day in the hot warm sun,
She did that untill the day was done!
She kicked her hoofs this way and that,
o a rat-a-tat tat!
This way that way, here, too!
I want to be with Y-O-U!

Madeleine for Madeleine
Madeleine is here every day,
that's something she'll always say!
Well that is something that's known best,
for Madeleine will go to every fest!
She'll make a game, it'll not be lame,
never oh never oh never!

Easter for Caitlyn
Oh, Easter is in its festive way,
let's celebrate it every day!
It's so awsome, it's so great!
Easter is nothing like a boring old plate!
I'll give to you what I give, which is something good.
So now it's Easter every day, Oh hip hip horray!

Clara for Shannon
There once was a dog named Clara,
and she was standing right thera!
Shannon hoped and she danced right with her,
because she always said
the bo-bo-head! (But she also called Julia Poo Poo Head!)
La la la, li li lo, peace man, Peace no war, yo!

Food for Clara

I AM for Yiayia
I am a cat, I am a dog, I am also a frog.
I am a tennis racket, I am alsr a hat.
I am also a baseball bat!
There are so many things I am too. 
But the real question is, What are you?

Wow.  Awesome poetry, Julia! 

A few observations:

-I sure was thrown for a loop when the poem entitled "Madeleine" was for Madeleine, but then the poem entitled "Clara" was not for Clara.

-Easter is DEFINITELY better than a boring old plate.  Hands down.

-How is Julia so many different things?  How can she be a frog, and a dog and a cat, and a tennis racket, and a hat and a baseball bat all in one?  The question at the end of the poem sure intimidates me, because I'm only a human, not ALSO any other animals or inanimate objects.  Maybe Yiayia will fare better with her answer of what she is.

-The poem for Clara perfectly sums up nearly every moment of Clara's existence.  FOOOOOOOD!

All in all, Julia definitely outdid herself on the gifts this year.  I will truly treasure my poem forever.  Yiayia and Auntie Caitlyn, never fear: Shannon is safely guarding your poems and will give them to you when she next sees you.  Clara: sorry, but Shannon wants to keep your poem to herself, so you're gonna have to lose out on this one.  But seeing as the poem is not food, you probably don't care.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Christos Anesti!

Greek Orthodox Easter is finally here!  And one of Madeleine's prayers came true: it has not snowed today!  Jesus has not yet come back to earth, however, nor have the Power Puff girls become real, but Madeleine is definitely full of joy over the beautiful weather.

For those of you who celebrate Easter, whether last Sunday or today, the girls wish you a happy one!:

(Julia wasn't self-conscious at all.)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Julia's Nickname, and Holy Saturday

Julia came home from school yesterday with news about her new nickname.

JULIA: Mom?  Guess what?  I have a new nickname with one of my friends at school.  She calls me "Ju!"
ME: Jew?!?
JULIA: Yeah!
ME: Oh.  That's great.
JULIA: No, Mom, it's just, like, "J-U."  Besides, I don't think she would even think to mean it in a different way.
ME: Okay.
JULIA: Yeah.  It all started because she was trying to get my attention in the lunch room, and I didn't hear her, so she shouted, "Hey, Ju!"  And then today when I got to school she was like, "Hi, Ju."

Awesome.  I can't help but think about Louis CK's comments on the subject of the term "Jew."  Let's hope that the context in which Julia's nickname is shouted is always completely clear.

Meanwhile, Madeleine continues her own close relationship with the guy she nicknamed Jeezy, as she desperately counts down to Easter.  Today at Holy Saturday service, she was clearly just WAY.  TOO.  EXCITED. about Easter to have anything remotely resembling quiet, calm behavior.  Throughout the solemn service, Madeleine was marching to the beat of her own drum.  When the priest circled the church, tossing bay leaves into the pew, as is tradition, Madeleine made it her personal mission to collect each and every leaf in our pew and organize them into an orderly pile.  And then sneak bay leaves into Auntie Shannon's purse, my hair, and all sorts of other places.  In fact, when the priest was throwing leaves directly in our end of the pew, Madeleine completely missed out, as she was at the other end of the row, butt facing the priest, collecting bay leaves off the ground.

As you all know, Madeleine can entertain herself with literally nothing.  So throw some bay leaves in there and it's a whole wild imaginative adventure for her.  At one point, the chanter had finished his hymn just as the priest ended his prayer, so there was a moment of silence in the church.  Ringing out throughout the silent room was Madeleine's pipsqueak voice proclaiming "What if the leaves all POOFED up to the CEILING!"

During the kneeling prayer, a moment of utmost contemplation, Madeleine decided to announce what she was praying for.  (Or as she would say, "prayering.") Among the things she prayered were: 1) That the Power Puff Girls would become real, 2) That Jesus would come back to Earth, 3) That there would be no more snow in our yard, and 4) That it won't snow on Easter.  Apparently it's not enough to just PLAY "Jesus Power Puff Girls."  Madeleine is literally praying for the game to come to life.

At any rate, we are busy preparing for Easter, frosting cookies, dyeing eggs, baking bread, and all the fun things the girls love to help out with.  And I'm gonna boldly go out on a limb and say I'm pretty sure one of Madeleine's prayers will be answered, as the forecast for tomorrow calls for high 60s and NO snow!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Power Puff Girls...and More

Madeleine currently has two obsessions: the tv show "Power Puff Girls," and (as is the case EVERY Easter) "Jesus Christ Superstar."  Often, these obsessions collide in a very imaginative - and very weird - way.

The other day, Madeleine was racing around back and forth in the dining room.  I assumed she was just feeling excited about Easter, as she had previously been telling me how she can't WAIT until Easter.  (And just to clarify, we Greek Orthodox Rowe girls have to wait until this coming Sunday to celebrate our Easter.)  As Madeleine sailed around the dining room, Ethan poked his head in to see what on earth the commotion was about.

ETHAN: What are you doing, Madeleine??
MADELEINE: (obliviously continuing her prancing, making sound effects)
ME: She's being excited about Easter.
MADELEINE: (stopping dead in her tracks) No I'm not!  That's not what I'm doing!
ME: Oh.  What are you doing, then?
MADELEINE: Remember??  I'm playing Jesus Power Puff girls!

Ohhh.  Duh.  How could I not realize that she was playing Jesus Power Puff girls??  Who *doesn't* immediately connect the Power Puff girls with Christ on the cross, after all?
Clearly, Madeleine associates these two things very strongly.  Yesterday, while we were at the Y watching Julia's swim team practice, Madeleine was entertaining herself by playing with her magnetic fairies.  However, it turns out her fairy play was actually WAY more than just fairy play. 

ME: Madeleine, what are you playing?
MADELEINE: Power Puff Fairies!
ME: Oh, that sounds fun!
MADELEINE: And Mama?  I'm pretending there's a big red monster, and he took over Bubbles!
ME: Oh, really?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Mama?  I named him Victorian.
ME: Victorian, huh?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Mama.  I'm also pretending that Jesus is there, and He's nailed to the CROSS.
ME: Oh, Jesus is there too?
MADELEINE: And Mama.  The red monster took over Bubbles, and he made Bubbles say "Looook Jesus, you have companyyyyy!"  And Victorian was going to make Bubbles hang her sisters on the cross TOO.

I really wonder what all the other swim team parents sitting around us made of that.  Don't worry, folks.  My kid's just an imaginative child who likes to play crucifixion games.  No biggie.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Last night during dinner, Auntie Shannon showed the girls and I a supposed quiz question from a Hong Kong elementary school admission test.  According to the source that posted this quiz question, it takes elementary school children a mere few seconds to solve the puzzle, but can take highly educated adults days or more.  The experiment went awry in our situation, however, as I was the one to immediately know the answer, while the girls were clueless.

Here's the picture, with the question being "What number spot is the parked car in?"

Julia was just floundering around, guessing random numbers, while Madeleine unlocked the first key in understanding the problem.

MADELEINE: Auntie Shannon?  I can't tell if that's sixteen or sixty-one!
AUNTIE SHANNON: That's a great observation, Madeleine!  You're on the right track.

But the right track led nowhere.  So I jumped in.

ME: How ELSE can you view the numbers, rather than left to right or right to left?
GIRLS: (silence)
AUNTIE SHANNON: How about upside down?
GIRLS: (baffled silence)
ME: (turning Auntie Shannon's computer upside down) Now what do you see?
JULIA: the answer 99?


AUNTIE SHANNON: When it's upside down, what numbers are next to the car?
JULIA: 86 and 88?
AUNTIE SHANNON: Right!  So what's in between?
JULIA: 87?
AUNTIE SHANNON AND I: Right!  You got it!
MADELEINE: (bursting into tears) Julia got it and I diiiiiiidn't!
AUNTIE SHANNON: No, Madeleine, you were the first one to realize you had to look at the numbers differently!

But Madeleine was inconsolable.

AUNTIE SHANNON: You realized that we needed to read the numbers in a different direction.
MADELEINE: (amidst her sobs) No I DIDN'T!  I didn't realize ANYTHING!  I'll NEVER EVER get the answer right!

So Auntie Shannon decided to give Madeleine a crack at a different riddle.

AUNTIE SHANNON: Okay, Madeleine.  What's greater than God, more evil than the devil, a poor man has it, a rich man needs it, and if you eat it, you'd die.
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Uh...POISON??


ME: Madeleine, let's think about it.  What's greater than God?
AUNTIE SHANNON: (with great enthusiasm) Right!  You got it!  The answer is nothing!  Nothing is greater than God.  A poor man has nothing.  A rich man needs nothing because he has everything already.
MADELEINE: (mulling this over) But what about eating?
ME: If you eat nothing, after a while you'll die because you'll starve.
MADELEINE: But what was the other one?
AUNTIE SHANNON: What's more evil than the devil.

Wow.  These kids are Brain-Teaser MASTERS.  The REALLY get it.  Call Mensa, folks, because I'm pretty sure my kids are a shoe-in.

Monday, April 6, 2015

School and School Work

Today, after I picked up Madeleine from school, I expressed my happiness at reuniting with her.

ME: I missed you!
MADELEINE: I mis--uh....uh...
ME: What, you had too much fun at school so you didn't miss me?
MADELEINE: (cheerfully) I didn't!
ME: Well, at least you're honest!

Then, just to REALLY re-iterate how little she notices my absence during the school day, Madeleine continued on.

MADELEINE: Yeah.  Because Mama.  Every single time I say "I missed you too," I *didn't* really miss you!

Ahhh, I can feel the love.  In actuality, however, I am SO happy that she is not like me, the kid who cried for my mommy every day of preschool.  And kindergarten.  And part of 1st grade.

Meanwhile, Julia probably doesn't miss me either when she's at school, but it appears she does have Madeleine on her mind.  Today at Julia's parent-teacher conference, I got to look over a bunch of work she has done throughout the school year.  At the end of one of her non-fiction books was a "Meet the Author" page, which read:

"Julia Rowe was born on November 23, 2006.  She loves to swim, play the piano, sing, read, and write books.  She has a yonger sister named Madeleine.  She goes to Elimentry School.  She is in second grade.  Her sister is in preschool."

I am so absolutely touched that Julia felt the need to include some relevant information about Madeleine, who is IN NO WAY involved in the writing of this book, simply because Madeleine is such a big part of the author's life.  Even if Julia spends an awful lot of her time telling Madeleine to stop copying her.  Or following her.  Or talking to her.  Or doing anything that happens to be on Julia's nerves at any given moment.

The non-fiction book which contains this "about the author" page is Julia's animal report.  And what animal did Julia choose?  Not one I would have ever expected:

All About Beavers
Written and Illustrated by Julia Rowe

On one of the pages in this book, Julia got to choose a habit of beavers to elaborate upon in a step-by-step fashion.  Here's what Julia wrote about:

Different Kinds of things a mother beaver does to get ready to have babies

1: The beaver finds a mate
2. The mother beaver waits three and a half months to have babies.
3. It builds makes a speical nursary for her babies.
4. When the babies are born, the mother beaver likes to be alone.  The babies are called kits.

I like Julia's idea that once the beaver finds a mate, she somehow magically has babies come out of her body three and a half months later.  It reminds me of the time Julia asked me, "Wait, Mommy, how do you even GET a baby in your tummy?  Do you have to just wish really, really hard for a baby?"

I mean, I know that at some point in the not-so-distant future we're going to have to talk about the birds and the bees.  Or perhaps I should say the beaver and the beaver.  (Or, if we want to get really immaturely inappropriate, the beavers and the cocks...)  But for now, I'll take her innocent idea of the power of positive thinking in creating offspring.

And speaking of the above topic, here's how Julia defined "mate" in her glossary at the back of her non-fiction book:

"Mate: A male and female beaver who are married."

I tell ya what, folks.  Next time I hear of a rollicking old beaver wedding happening in our neck of the woods, you're all invited!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Dinner Time

One of the kids ate her dinner really promptly and efficiently, ensuring she would be able to get ready for bed in a timely manner.  The other kid decided to COMPLETELY goof around and be the slowest slow-poke on earth about eating.

Take a look at some picture comparisons.  Can you guess which kid was which?

Is the goofball slowpoke:
Julia, with a nearly clear plate, already delving into some white chocolate bark, awaiting her pumpkin bar to finish things off? 


Madeleine, with a full plate, a sticker on her head, making moose ears at the camera?

Still not sure?  Take another look to compare:

The smiling, happy  Julia, enjoying her dessert?


This ridiculous human being?

Still not sure which kid set the record for slowest dinner-eating ever and most inane goofball antics? 

It can't possibly be this kid, can it?:

Nope.  Madeleine doesn't EVER goof around or take FOREVER to eat her meals, right??

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Imaginations Gone Wild

About a half hour after lunch today, Julia came upstairs looking for something more to eat.

ME: Julia, do you want some milk?
JULIA: I don't know.  What I really want is snack.
ME: Well, you're about to go to a birthday party, so you'll have snack there.
JULIA: (sharply) No we won't!
ME: What, you don't think you'll have cake at the party?
JULIA: Cake is not snack!
ME: Sure it is.  It's a treat you're eating in the afternoon, the same as any other snack.
MADELEINE: (wisely) Yeah, Julia, BESIDES, it's only MORNING.
JULIA: (scathingly) No it isn't!  It's one in the afternoon!
MADELEINE: (with utmost confidence) Well, Julia, the afternoon IS the morning.
JULIA: (with irritated condescension) No it ISN'T, Madeleine.

Typical Madeleine, totally with the program.  Typical Julia, ready to SMACK DOWN THAT NONSENSE her sister is talking.

It doesn't help Madeleine's credibility that while she and Julia discussed whether morning is afternoon, Madeleine was wearing this hat from the dress-up bin:

ME: I like your hat, Madeleine.  So, you just decided you felt like wearing a hat from the dress-up bin?
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, so, I'm this little girl, and I'm taking a waaaalk...uh, I'm actually not taking a walk, I'm having a picnic.
ME: Oh.  Okay.

I mean, it's no secret that the girls are both extremely imaginative.  We've got Julia's made-up inner world of the Mintz, about which she'll share details if she's in the right mood.  For instance, yesterday I was able to glean that while she galloped, Julia was thinking about the Mintz watching/playing Super Mario Brothers.  Specifically, Lilly Mintz was playing while the others watched, but, according to Julia, "Jastina, Jessica and Max also play it."

Sometimes she's less ready to take us into her inner mind, however.

ETHAN: (watching Julia repeatedly gallop back and forth through the living room) So Julia, what are the Mintz up to?
JULIA: (a huge, slightly embarrassed smile spreading across her face) Uh...STUFF!

And then there's Madeleine, who can literally make up a pretend-play game with parts of her own body.  As I was driving to the car dealership this past week for my yearly inspection, I heard Madeleine talking in the back seat.

ME: What did you say, honey?
MADELEINE: Uh, no, Mama...these fingers are talking to THESE fingers. (holding up both hands.)

So, yeah.  Instant entertainment anywhere we go.  (So long as Julia has space to gallop, because, for whatever reason, she can only think about the Mintz when she's galloping.)

With all of these wild and crazy thoughts going through the girls' minds, it is no wonder that Madeleine can believe that morning and afternoon are the same thing.  And I guess Julia only knew what was what because she didn't happen to be galloping when she asserted that it wasn't morning.  I suppose, had she been galloping, we would have had to check in with Lilly or Jastina as to what time of day it was in the Mintz world.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Rowes Sing "Tommy"

Last night, while I was out for drinks with some other moms, Ethan and the kids put on a heck of a music video:

Smash that mirror, Rowe Tones!