Sunday, May 31, 2015

Church Today

Sunday School ended for the summer two weeks ago at our church, but today was the last Sunday of choir until September, so I made the effort to go and sing even if it meant bringing the girls up to the choir loft with me.  It turns out the actual choir-loft part of the service was a breeze; Julia sang along with us and Madeleine sprawled on her stomach on one of the carpeted risers and colored.  Among her artwork were the following drawings:

A camel, a shepherd, and the Nativity star.  Because shepherds herd camels, right?

Harry Potter and Hagrid.  Shouldn't Harry be a lot smaller, proportionally speaking?!?

Captain Jack Sparrow, who is apparently either riding a miniature ship or is a Leviathan.

"That's Hermione, and...they're at Rosemary Pool, and that's Ginny and she's SURFING."

After the normal service ended, there was an extra Vespers service for Pentecost, which had not been part of my church-with-kids-and-no-Sunday-school plan.  The girls and I sat up at the front of the church for the nearly 1.5 hour extra service, which meant we were just a teeny bit distracting. 

During the kneeling prayers, as the priest recited aloud, the girls and I clasped our hands to say our own private prayers in the pew.  I guess "private" is a relative term, however, as Madeleine, for some reason, decided to pray out loud and recite a litany of requests that I'm pretty sure aren't ever going to be granted.  I could hear bits and pieces of what she was saying as she knelt next to me:

"All our wishes..."  "all of the people from Harry Potter to be real EPSEPT for the bad guys..."  "Captain Jack Sparrow to come over to our house..."

I think that Madeleine assumes that God, like the President, has the ability to make every magical fantasy and whim come true.

(Ethan and ye other non-believers reading this blog, rest assured, I already know what's going through your head, so no need to pull a Madeleine and voice it aloud.)

At any rate, we made it through the lengthy Vespers and got some goodies at coffee hour, and on the car ride home, we discussed the unexpected extra service.

ME: Girls, I'm really, really proud of you for behaving so well at church.  I know that Vespers service was really long and really boring, and you both did SUCH a good job sitting still through it.
JULIA: Wait.  Mom.  Even YOU thought it was boring??
ME: Of course I did!
JULIA: (gasping in utter astonishment and relief)
ME: Yeah, I was not expecting to have to sit through that.  It was really long, and it was mostly in Greek so we had no idea what was going on, so it was definitely boring.
JULIA: But Mom.  Why do you think they DID that service?
ME: Well, it's because it's Pentecost.  In the past years, Pentecost has come later in the spring, after choir gets done for the summer, so I haven't been there for the service. I think I must have just forgotten that the extra Vespers is even a part of Pentecost.
JULIA: (even more astonished) Wait.  There's still church in the summer??
ME: Yes!  Church is every Sunday, year-round.
JULIA: Well Mom, you know what I think is, like, kind of not really fair?  That teachers and kids don't have to work or go to school in the summer, but nobody ELSE gets the summer off!
ME: Well, the problem is that most companies couldn't continue to run if everybody took a three-month break from working.
JULIA: I know, but, like, it should be a RULE that everybody gets summers off.

Ah, I see.  As long as it's a stated rule that everyone gets summers off, we won't have to face the otherwise inevitable economic collapse that would result from all employees of all kinds halting work for the summer.

What happened next in the conversation was even more bizarre.

ME: Yeah, wouldn't it be nice if Daddy didn't have to work in the summer, and we could all just spend time together?
JULIA: Yeah!
MADELEINE: Mama?  If everyone's heart blew up, then no one would LOVE each other.

Oh, okay.  Well, that's relevant.  And possible.

Julia was having NONE of it.

JULIA: Madeleine.  If everyone's HEART blew up, everyone would be DEAD.
MADELEINE: (innocently) No they wouldn't!

Yeah, no they wouldn't.  They just wouldn't be able to love anybody anymore.  It would be a loveless dystopia, with everyone walking around with blown-up hearts. 

In the unfortunate event of everyone's heart blowing up, maybe Madeleine can just pray to God to make all the blown-up pieces magically meld back together, and then we can all love again!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

An Update on the Closet and a Sleepover

Madeleine discovered that the scotch tape did not, in fact, hold my two bedroom closet doors together, so she had to go with another route that also involved tape:

(As in "Go Away", not to be confused with "Go inside and see your unwrapped presents.")

I think it's a win.  Way to GO, Madeleine.

It's a good thing we're hiding the gifts, because the same friend who was at risk of seeing her birthday presents at the play-date yesterday is coming over again tonight for a sleepover.  She and Julia have planned a whole "Potter Party," during which they will view the first Harry Potter movie and do much, much more.  Julia has been extremely busy organizing.  I don't think she's excited AT ALL.

Here is the outside of her door:

In a super smooth move, she even managed to turn her "Nurce Rowe" sign into a Harry Potter prop, complete with password for how to enter the room.

Inside Julia's room is a Harry Potter extravaganza!

JULIA: Mom?  I thought it would be good to, like, set up STATIONS so we can do different Harry Potter things.

Station 1:

Harry Potter trivia game.  With Julia's swim trophies for the winner to receive.  "Uh, but not really to take home." I guess she is confident that she herself will not win.

Station 2:

In case anyone wants to do a little book-on-tape listening or reading.

Station 3:

No idea what this is or how it relates to Harry Potter.

Station 4:

The writing desk, including quill pen and rolled-up copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Julia EVEN made special wall decorations on the side of the room in which her friend will be putting her sleeping bag:

A true-to-life drawing of the characters!

A good night poem:
"Hermione says 'Good night!' And Ginny says, 'Sweet dreams!'  And they both say, 'try not to here Voldomort's screams!"

Wow.  The place is DECKED OUT to the nines.  It doesn't get more exciting than this.  Now, as long as the girls are *actually able to sleep* tonight, I think both parents and kids will be happy campers!

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Missing Tape

Over the past month or so, the girls, in creating one of their elaborate art projects or wrapping hand-made gifts or something of the sort, managed to misplace the roll of tape.  That hasn't stopped both of them from repeatedly asking me where the tape is, despite the fact that I was definitely not the last one to lay eyes and hands on it. 

Luckily, the girls have found some creative ways to get around the missing tape issue. 

Take a look at Julia's signs from her make-believe game of hospital, hanging on her own and Madeleine's bedroom doors:

Bravo, Nurce Rowe!  Hanging the signs with stickers in lieu of tape!  I wonder if she uses the same creative tactics in her emergancey room.  No sutures for a patient undergoing an operation?  Just use a few stickers to patch his or her flesh back together!

Madeleine has obviously learned a thing or two from Julia, as I found the following picture hanging to her door with stickers this morning:

I mean, really, who needs tape when we have stickers?  We might as well not even bother looking for the tape at this point.

It turns out there is an instance in which Madeleine feels tape is a necessity.  We received a package today containing the birthday gifts I had purchased for Julia's good friend, whose party is upcoming.  This particular friend also happens to be coming over for a play-date this afternoon, so I asked Madeleine to put the gifts in my closet to keep them out of eye-sight.

Madeleine successfully hid the presents, then came back out of my bedroom lamenting the loss of our tape.

MADELEINE: (with deep sorrow) Mamaaaaa.  I wiiiiish we could find the tape.

I figured she was thinking of the fact that we will need to wrap the presents, and to do so, we'll need tape.  In fact, that was exactly what I had been thinking of earlier in the day when I actually went out and bought a new roll of tape.

ME: Well, guess what? We don't need to.
MADELEINE: But Mamaaaa.  I really wish we could FIND it.
ME: Well, I bought more today!
MADELEINE: (in great relief) Oh.  GOOD.  Because NOW we can tape your closet shut so the presents will stay hidden!

Ah.  So that's what she wanted the tape for.  What a dope I am, thinking it was for the wrapping of the presents, when really, the tape could come to much better use taping these doors closed:

Duh.  Of course that's what she wants the tape for.  Because a piece of scotch tape would definitely be strong enough to keep two wooden doors attached.

Or maybe I could just try putting a sticker on them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Dead Chipmunk

There is a dead chipmunk lying in the driveway of a house very near to ours.  We first passed by it on our way to Julia's school a few mornings ago.

JULIA: (leaping out of the dead chipmunk's range) Eeeeeewwww!
ME: (looking down to see what the fuss was about) Eeeeeew!
MADELEINE: (stopping to gaze at the chipmunk in adoration) Awwwww! 

Ever since, Madeleine has taken great pains to acknowledge her dead chipmunk buddy.  On our way back home from dropping Julia at school, Madeleine exclaimed, in wonderment, "Hey!  Mama!  The chipmunk is still there!"

After we picked up Julia that afternoon, the girls both remarked upon the chipmunk as we passed the neighbor's driveway.

JULIA: Ew!  Mommy!  That chipmunk is SO DISGUSTING!  (thoughtful) I feel so sad for it, though.
MADELEINE: Well JULIA, it might be just SLEEPING, you know!
JULIA: Madeleine, it's NOT just sleeping. 
MADELEINE: Well Julia, I think it's so CUTE!

On the next day's walk to school, I found Madeleine lingering way behind us in the driveway of the dead chipmunk.

ME: Madeleine, come on, we're in a hurry!
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, hold on, I just want to look at the CUTIE little chipmunk!
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine, a dead chipmunk is NOT CUTE.
MADELEINE: Awwww!  I just think he's SO adorable!

This morning, Ethan walked Julia to school, so I totally forgot about the chipmunk.  When Madeleine and I left this afternoon, on foot, to pick Julia up, Madeleine went sprinting ahead of me.

ME: Madeleine!  Hang on.  Don't run ahead!
MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, I just want to see if the chipmunk is still there!
ME: Madeleine, I doubt it's still lying there-
MADELEINE: (joyfully) It IS, Mama!!  It's still HERE!  (leaning over the dead chipmunk's body, which, since I last saw it, has been run over multiple times and was squashed flat against the pavement)
ME: Honey, don't go too near that.  Come on, let's go.
MADELEINE: Mama.  That chipmunk is SO cute.'s kind of GROSS because it's squashed...but it's still REALLY cute.
ME: Mmm-hmm.
MADELEINE: Mama?  Don't you wish we had him for our PET??

No, Madeleine.  I don't.  In fact, I actively wish NOT to have a dead, squashed chipmunk as our family pet.  Just ew.

I have concluded that Madeleine is either destined to be an animal lover or a taxidermist.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Kindergarten Orientation

Guess who went to kindergarten orientation today and got to walk in a line with other incoming kindergarteners down to the classrooms??

Madeleine, the rising kindergartener!

Never mind that she also had a melt-down at preschool this morning and wound up wailing "I'm NEVER coming to school ever again!", nor the fact that she spent most of the orientation holding onto one of my fingers for dear life and asking me to play made-up hopping games with her on the alphabet rug.  We have a little more growing to do.  But the next step of the journey lies ahead and we're excited!  (And nervous.  Or at least I am.)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunglasses Reprise

Madeleine attempted to recreate her iconic "Sunglasses and a Sunhat" performance the other night at dinner:

Between her dropping the chicken on the floor and her taking a ridonkulously long amount of time to chew each chicken bite, my camera ran out of memory before we could make it through much of the song.  So it was kind of a failure all around, but at least she was able to capture the spirit of the original!

And speaking of sunglasses and a sunhat, the girls had WAY too much fun yesterday with their friend Zoey putting on a fashion show for the adults.  Not only did the sunglasses and sunhat go on prominent display, but all kinds of other old favorites made their way out of the dress-up bin, including the astronaut helmet, the cat ears, and, of course, Hermione's Hogwarts robe:

It doesn't get more high fashion than this, folks!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Discussion with Madeleine

While we hung out this evening, Madeleine and I had the following conversation:

MADELEINE: Mama?  Why do only GROWN-UPS have hairy brown things on their arms?
ME: You mean moles?  Not only grown-ups have moles.  You have one right there.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  HAIRY brown things.
ME: Well, some moles are hairy, but-
MADELEINE: No.  MAMA.  Hang on.  Let me see your arm.  (lifting my arm up to examine my under-arm)
ME: Oh, do you mean hair that grows under your armpit?  Well, I shaved mine, but you're right, only grown-ups grow hair there.
MADELEINE: But do I have hair there?
ME: No, you won't get hair there until you're older. 
MADELEINE: When will I get hair there?
ME: Well, not until you're older.
MADELEINE: When will I grow breasts??
ME: Probably not until you're around ten or eleven.
MADELEINE: Waaah.  I wish I was ten!
ME: Why? 
MADELEINE: Because.  I want to have a baby!

YIKES.  I sure HOPE Madeleine doesn't become a mother at ten.

ME: Oh, you won't have a baby when you're ten.  A 10-year-old is too little to grow a baby inside her.
MADELEINE: How old do you have to be to grow a baby?
ME: Well, I was 28 when I had Julia growing inside my belly.
MADELEINE: So I'm gonna get a baby when I'm 28?
ME: Well, sometime when you're a grown-up.
MADELEINE: But is ten a grown-up?
ME: No, ten is a kid.
MADELEINE: How about eleven?
ME: Eleven is still a kid.
MADELEINE: (indignant) No!  Eleven is a TWEENAGER.
ME: Well, that's true, but it's still a kid.
MADELEINE: When do you NOT be a kid?
ME: Well, the law says that you're a grown-up when you turn eighteen.
MADELEINE: How about thirteen?
ME: Still a kid.  Eighteen is a grown-up.  You'll be eighteen when you go to college.
MADELEINE: No!  I'm not GOING to college!
ME: Oh, you should definitely go to college.
ME: Because.  How will you learn what you need to know about the kind of job you want to have if you don't study about it in college?  What kind of job do you want to have when you're a grown up?
MADELEINE: I would really LOVE to be a cashier!

Sheesh, Madeleine.  You're not helping me out here.  You want to have a baby at ten and be a cashier as your dream career?  You're right, I guess you don't need to go to college for that...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Run Gone Wrong

Today I mapped out a new running route and gave it a mere cursory glance on my computer screen before heading out to execute it. 

Which was a stupid decision.

Because I screwed up, big time.  I missed a turn onto what was actually a continuation of the road I was on, and instead carried along straight ahead.  Little did I know that the road had surreptitiously changed into a different road, until I reached a sign welcoming me to the next town - TWO towns away from where I live.

At any rate, I managed to backtrack and get back on course, adding a significant but not unmanageable total distance to my run.  When I told the kids about what had happened, they found it quite amusing.

MADELEINE: Wait, Mama, did you go BACK?
ME: Yup.  When I saw the town sign I was like, "oops!" and I turned around to go back the way I came.
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Wait, Mama, do you think anybody heard you go "Oops!" when you had to turn around and go back?
ME: Well, I don't know if anybody heard me, but there was a lady that I passed going one direction, and I said hi to her, and then a few minutes later I passed her going the other direction.  She was probably wondering what I was doing.
MADELEINE: But who WAS she?
ME: I don't know.  Just some woman who was out walking. MADELEINE: Well Mama.  What did she say?
ME: She didn't say anything.  But she was probably wondering why I was suddenly going the other direction.
MADELEINE: Wait.  But Mama.  What was her EXPRESSION on her face?ME: Uh, I didn't see.

Because I was focusing more on getting myself back where I was supposed to be running.  Sorry, honey.  I failed to fully turn my head to look her square in the eyes and see if she even registered any knowledge of me being the same runner who had recently passed by her going the other way.

Julia took the story more in stride, adding her own extended sceenarios to it:

JULIA: Wait.  Mommy.  What if you ran ALL the way up to Montreal by mistake?
ME: Uh, that would be a REALLY long run.
JULIA: Wait.  What if you ran to ASIA, and you had to swim across the ocean, and then you ran to ANTARCTICA, and...and...and THEN you ran to AFRICA, and after that you ran to KANSAS, and then you ran to AUSTRALIA-
ME: That would be ridicu-
JULIA: (continuing) and THEN you ran to EUROPE, and then you arrived HOME and you weren't even tired or sweaty!
ME: That would-
JULIA: And then you ran all the way to Na-garra Falls!
ME: Do you mean Niagara Falls?
JULIA: (looking sheepish and embarrassed.) Oh.  Wait.  THAT'S how you say it?  I just READ it in Madeleine's "National Geographic" magazine.

At any rate, I didn't quite run all the way to Antarctica and Nagarra Falls, but I am pretty beat, so we Rowes are going to be picking up takeout for dinner.  Anyone who swam across multiple oceans and ran amongst various continents knows that (s)he deserves a major break from cooking, right??

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Lunchtime conversation today:

MADELEINE: Mama.  If YOU could be president, what would you do?
ME: I would...(thoughtful)
MADELEINE: Mama.  If YOU WERE PRESIDENT, what would you do?
ME: I would...make a law that nobody can buy or own guns.
MADELEINE: I would make a potion that turned me into Bubbles.  And I would make ALL of the people from Harry Potter become REAL.  And...once they were real, I would make ALL of the bad guys EXPLODE!

Apparently Madeleine equates President of the United States with having magical powers.  If I had known that was the case, I would have dawdled less trying to come up with a thoughtful answer about something I would change in this country.  Because I could have just said I would make myself into a Power Puff Girl or something, and that would have been equally legit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Madeleine, the Picture of Compassion

Auntie Caitlyn came over for a sleepover a few nights ago, much to the delight of her nieces.  In fact, Madeleine was so excited to have her auntie here that she completely shunned both her parents and asked for Auntie Caitlyn to put her to bed.  And just the bed-putting clearly wasn't enough.  After stories, a song, and some snuggles, plus some extra minutes of chatter, Auntie Caitlyn had to leave to go pick up Auntie Shannon, who had missed the last bus of the day on her way home from work.

All seemed well enough at first, but after about fifteen minutes, Madeleine came out of her bedroom calling, "Caaaaaitlyn?"

ME: Honey, Auntie Caitlyn isn't here.  Come on, let's go back to your bed.  (Walking Madeleine into her room and climbing into bed with her.)
MADELEINE: But where IS she?
ME: She had to go pick up Auntie Shannon from the train station.  Do you want some Mommy snuggles?
ME: How about I get Daddy and he can snuggle you?
MADELEINE: No thanks.  I just want Auntie Caitlyn.
ME: Well, honey, she's not here.
MADELEINE: But why did she have to go pick up Shannon?
ME: Well, Auntie Shannon missed the bus, and there are no more buses running tonight, so she would be stuck at the station all night if she didn't get a ride home.
MADELEINE: But why can't she just WALK home?
ME: Because she's not at the train station Daddy goes to.  She's in a different town, at the T.  It's too far of a walk from there.

I thought that had settled the question, and Madeleine lay still in calm, contemplative silence for some time.  Then:

MADELEINE: But Mama?  Why can't Shannon just SLEEP there?
ME: Honey, she's just sitting outside the station.  She can't just sleep on the sidewalk all night long.  That wouldn't be comfortable.
MADELEINE: (silent, thoughtful) Well Mama.  She could buy a PILLOW.

I mean, is this kid just BURSTING with empathy and compassion?  Sorry you missed the final bus, Shannon.  But tough luck.  Buy yourself a pillow so you have a soft spot to rest your head while you lay on the sidewalk in a city that you don't live in.  You gotta understand that Madeleine simply can't sleep in her warm, cozy bed, inside our warm, cozy house, without Auntie Caitlyn snuggling her.  See ya in the morning!

Monday, May 18, 2015


This morning, upon waking, Madeleine walked into the bathroom and waved amiably at me as I was putting in my contact lenses.

ME: Hi, sweetheart.
MADELEINE: Mama.  I was in a DREAM again.
ME: You were?  What were you just dreaming about?
MADELEINE: I was at school, and Mrs. L was giving me a CHALLENGE.
ME: Oh, wow.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Mama.  The challenge was: (breaking into song) Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the fiddle, the cow jumped over the mooooon....

Clearly, Madeleine's recollection of her dream made just about as much sense as the dream itself.

At least this dream was a happy one.  A few nights ago, Madeleine came into my bedroom after being "in a dream," this one a nightmare.

MADELEINE: Can I sleep in here?
ME: Why?  What happened?
MADELEINE: I had a bad dream.
ME: Oh no!  What did you dream about?
MADELEINE: I had a dream that there were zombie koopa troopas, and they were coming out of the tv, and they were REAL.

Yes indeed, our Super Mario Brothers Wii game is now causing nightmares.  What next?? 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Ling And Ting Get the Pink Flu

Madeleine has been enjoying some books from the "Ling and Ting" series.  This series is about twin girls whose personalities are as different as their looks are the same.  The only way to tell the girls apart by looks is by their haircuts; Ting accidentally sneezed while the barber was cutting her bangs, leaving her with a hacked piece of hair on her forehead:

Last night, Madeleine decided to make her OWN Ling and Ting book:

"The Two Pink Sisters"

MADELEINE: Mama?  I didn't know how to spell "pink" or "sisters," and I didn't really FEEL like kindergarten spelling.

Because Madeleine didn't feel like kindergarten spelling, the book is wordless, so I had the author narrate each page to me this morning.

MADELEINE: "Dun dun da-duuuuun!" That's all there is on the castle.
ME: Okay.  So it's like music?
ME: Spooky music?

MADELEINE: (coughing sound) "Um, Ting, can you help me walk?"  "I could, if you were out of the WAY." (coughing sound) "Achoo!" "Are you okay, Ting?"  "Yeah, I'm okay.  Just pink flu."

MADELEINE: "Hey, we don't have pink flu anymore!"  (singing) "Hooray, we don't have pink flu, anymore, oh-oh-ore!  Hooray, we don't have pink flu anymore!"

MADELEINE: There's not much.  It's just "tut-tut-tut-tut-tut-tut."
ME: Why is that the sound?
MADELEINE: Of scissors!
ME: Oh.  What are they cutting?
MADELEINE: Ting's HAIR!  And...look how LONG Ting's hair grew!

MADELEINE: So, like, they look SO crazy that they're, like, (making facial expressions of anxiety) MIGHT look good.  I think it does.  But not for LING.  So, you can just be like, "Hmmm?!?"  And then (clicking her tongue.)
ME: What was the click?

MADELEINE: They're upside down looking at the APPLE TREE.  (thoughtful) I'll have to DRAW that.  Wait.  How about...we make it invisible?

MADELEINE: "Ting!  I picked TWO apples!  Just for us!"  "Great.  Hand me it."  "Now?"  "Of course!  I love apples!"  "Okay, here you go.  But: don't forget to eat it after dinner, for dessert!"

MADELEINE: "write write write write write write write write write write write."

MADELEINE: "Oh, Ting, look!"  "I see! I'm looking!"
ME: What did Ling write?
MADELEINE: She wrote a book!  (thoughtful) I can't DECIDE what she wrote.  It's in CURSIVE.  It's how the My Little Ponies write messages.

MADELEINE: "Waaaah waaaah waaah waaaaah!"
ME: Why are they crying?
MADELEINE: Because they HATE broccoli, but...Ling LOVES broccoli.

MADELEINE: "Goo-goo ga-ga!"
ME: They're babies?!?
MADELEINE: Mmm-hmmm!  On the last two pages, they're babies.
ME: How did they become babies?
MADELEINE: I just wanted a baby one.

Woah.  What a book!  I love the regression back into infancy at the end of the book.  It's gotta be symbolic of something, right?  I can't wait to spend more time analyzing the deeper metaphorical meanings of "The To Pink Sisters"!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Julia Explains

The completed math worksheet that Julia came home with after school yesterday was a series of word problems.  I particularly enjoyed reading her reasoning behind the answer to this problem:

Gabe goes to the library every 4 days.  He went on the 4th day of the year.  Will he go to the library on the 365th day of the year?  "No."

How did you find the answer?
"I thought well if it's the 4th day, pretend that it was the 364th day so if that was the fourth day he would not go."

I mean, has clearer logic ever been expressed so eloquently??

Speaking of eloquence, Julia was a non-stop chatter machine on the way to school today.  As we walked along, she spoke poetically of the various lunches offered by the school cafeteria, the lunches she had opted not to buy and then regretted, and the decor that the cafeteria workers put up for various seasons and holidays.  Ultimately, she expressed her appreciation for the way the whole cafeteria system is run:

JULIA: Mom?  The thing that I really LIKE about the school lunches is that they always give you CHOICES; for example, when they have pudding, they have chocolate pudding, vanilla pudding, chocolate pudding with whipped cream, and vanilla pudding with whipped cream.

Yup, this kid can give a convincing and articulate explanation of what makes the school lunch system a positive one, but can only answer a math word problem by talking in circles. 

But at least she is actually using her second grade math skills during her regular daily actions, even if her telling me about them delays MY regular daily actions. 

This morning, as I attempted to get into the shower, the girls got into an argument over who would get to eat the only remaining bagel.  After Madeleine cried in her room about it and Julia acknowledged that it was actually Madeleine's turn to get the last bagel standing, Julia then caused me to run, mid-undressing, out of my bedroom when she suddenly screamed.  I discovered that she had filled her cereal bowl not ONLY to the brim, but actually had Trix overflowing all over the counter and floor.  Once I had helped cleaned up that debacle, I went into the bathroom and was about to turn on the shower when:

JULIA: Mommy?  I used MATH this morning when I was reading my "Little House" book!
ME: Oh, great! (putting my hand on the handle to turn on the water)
JULIA: Yeah.  So Mom?
ME: (taking my hand off) Yes?
JULIA: Yeah.  So.  I thought, if Laura is SEVEN, well, I added TEN to the year she was born and subtracted THREE, and then I knew what year it was.
ME: Great! (reaching out to turn on the water)
JULIA: Yeah, and Mom?
ME: (taking my hand off the water handle) Yes?
JULIA: Well, I thought, if Mary is two years OLDER, I subtracted two to figure out what year SHE was born.
ME: Good job! (readying myself to turn on the water yet again, only to be foiled)
JULIA: Yeah.  And then I added FOUR, because her other sister is FOUR years younger than she is, so I figured out what year everybody was BORN!
ME: Good work figuring that all out!

So, after the crying, the Trix spilling, and the math lesson, I was finally able to take my shower and get a move on the morning.

Speaking of crying, on the topic of things Madeleine cried about (but really shouldn't have), this happened yesterday:

MADELEINE: Mama?  I wanna be a cheerleader when I grow up, but I don't know how to do a cartwheel, and (eyes welling with tears) I think cheerleaders have to knooooow how to dooooo a caaaaaartwheeeeel!

I guess her future career is doomed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

More Kindergarten Spelling from Madeleine

Madeleine came home with a page of "kindergarten spelling" from preschool yesterday.  Some of the words she wrote have to do with her school day, and some are completely random. 

How much can you decipher?

For a translation, see below...


Gases = glasses
Joos = juice
Jarivvr = driver
Boks = books
Cooe = cookie
Trce = turkey (NOT trace, as I had mistakenly, foot-in-mouthedly, guessed)
Joos = juice.  Again.
Snaak = snack
Habrgr = hamburger

Okay, grade yourselves honestly.  How did everyone do?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Madeleine at the Pool Deck

Last night, while Julia had swim team practice, Madeleine and I hung out in the spectator area.  Madeleine had brought her "Frozen" figurines to play with while we were there.  They entertained her for about half of the hour-long practice, then were dismissed and put into my purse.  Next thing I knew, Madeleine had decided it was high time I put a lid on my book-reading.

MADELEINE: (grabbing my bookmark and shoving it onto the page I was reading) Uh, Mama, let me show you how to be DONE reading.
ME: Oh.  Why? 
MADELEINE: Because.  See the bookmark?  That means you're DONE on this page!
ME: Do you want me to be done reading?
MADELEINE: Uh-huh!  Because I want you to PLAY with me!
ME: What do you want to play?

I mean, need I have even asked??

So I engaged in a pretend-play game of Power Puff Girls, and despite the other adults in the vicinity, I boldly delivered my lines, lay supine on benches awaiting rescue, and referred to my daughter as Bubbles.

Were my efforts appreciated?

MADELEINE: Uh, Mama, uh...I think Julia is BETTER at playing Power Puff Girls than you are, so maybe I should just wait for Julia.
ME: Oh.  Why is Julia so good at Power Puff Girls?
MADELEINE: Uh, because she says the RIGHT stuff.
ME: Okay.  So do you want to play by yourself right now?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  I'm playing "Power Puff Girls Captain Jack Sparrow!"
ME: Boy, you sure love Captain Jack Sparrow, huh?
MADELEINE: Mama.  Of COURSE I do.  I have a CRUSH on Captain Jack Sparrow!
ME: You do?  Are you going to marry him?
MADELEINE: (appalled at my suggestion) NO!
ME: Oh.  Why not?
MADELEINE: Because.  Mama.  I can't marry Captain Jack Sparrow.  I don't know WHO I'm gonna marry, because I don't know who's ALREADY married.  But...I can marry one of my FRIENDS!
ME: That's a good idea.  Which friend are you gonna marry?
MADELEINE: (thoughtful) Maybe Abby.
ME: Oh yeah?  Why?
MADELEINE: Mmm...I just think she'd be a really good MOM.

Well, Madeleine has come a long way from wanting to marry Julia.  She is clearly using logic to determine a good, and available, partner.  She now has the smarts to a) avoid polygamy, and b) assess her future spouse's ability to care for children as part of her criteria.  So for the time being, Johnny Depp is off the table, though given the rate at which celebrity couples divorce, chances are he could me a single man again by the time Madeleine is ready to walk down the aisle!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mothers Day in the Rowe Household

Yesterday, Madeleine cried upon learning that Julia had made me a whopping TWO gifts for Mothers Day.

ME: Madeleine, honey, you don't need to cry.
MADELEINE: (sobbing) Yes I DOOOOO, because I don't have enough presents for you for MOTHERS DAAAAAAY!  I only have ONE, and Julia has TWOOOOO!

While it's true that Madeleine cries over just about anything, this one was definitely legit, because everyone knows that Mothers Day is ALL ABOUT MADELEINE, right?

So Ethan took Madeleine out with him to run errands and pick up a special something for me for Mothers Day.  They were super-stealth about it and fit the trip in between grocery shopping and a run to the town dump, so there was mystery surrounding where they might have gone to get my gift. 

That is, until Madeleine decided to accidentally spill the beans.  As I went out to our back deck, book in hand, to enjoy the sunny afternoon, Madeleine was suddenly alarmed enough to stop her solo pretend-play of "Power Puff Girls."

MADELEINE: (running up to me) Uh, Mama?  Can I see your book for a second?  (examining the cover) Okay, GOOD.  I was afraid it might be the same book that I got you for Mothers Day.

Wait.  Should I go out on a ledge and guess that Madeleine got me a book??

I guess that she made a smart choice, however, seeing as, according to Ethan, the first two ideas she had for a gift were nail polish and a Barbie doll.

This morning, when I woke up, I discovered my wrapped gifts on the table, awaiting opening.  The girls were downstairs watching a show, so Ethan called down to them to let them know I was awake.

JULIA: Madeleine, pause the show!
MADELEINE: Wait, Julia, what are we going upstairs for?  Milk?

As usual, Madeleine always knows what's what.

I sat down at the table to open my cards and presents. 

Julia, who does not read cards all the way through before buying them (one might remember the Valentines Day card she got for Ethan that references all the things that are great about him, including "the sexy thing"), had gotten me this lovely card:

Outside cover: "I'm not sure how I got lucky enough to have someone so special in my life"

Inside message: "thanks for being just like a mom to me."

Once again, Julia absolutely nailed it with her choice of card.

I was also the very lucky recipient of a brand new book, written by Julia! 

Tara and Ahdara's Mothers Day Gift
Julia Rowe

For Mom - happy Mothers Day!

"It was almost Mothers Day.  Tara and Ahdara had to find the perfect gift for there mother.  'I have an idea!  Lets go to the store!' Tara suggegeted.  'Ok,' agreed Ahdara.  And they went and there they found the perfect gift."

Okay, if these pictures are to scale, I totally want one of those life-sized coffee mugs, because that's just about the amount of coffee I need to get through each day.

 "So Tara and Ahdara paid for the mug and went home.  'Do you think that Mom'lle like our presants?' Tara asked ancaisly.  'Oh yes!  The lady at the store said it was a mans best friend.' Ahdara replied.  So they wrapted the presant."

Wait.  A man's best friend?  Did Tara and Ahdara ditch the mug idea and get their mom a dog?!?  I would feel ancais too, if I had made the executive decision to get my mother a dog.  But wait.  The long-fingered Gumby hands are definitely paying for a purple mug, right?  And dang it, it looks much smaller than it was on the previous page.

 "At dinner the girls were quiet.  They didn't want there surprise to be spoiled.  That night at bed, Ahdara looked down at Tara.  She grinned hapily."

 Way to keep a secret, girls!  Madeleine should totally take a lesson from you.

"Tara flung herself on Ahdara.  'Oh Ahdara, wake up!  Its Mothers day!'  The girls ran downstairs.  'DAD!' Ahdara shouted.  'We need you to make pancakes!'  'OK!"

Speaking from experience, their mommy probably didn't appreciate the shouting, as every mother wants MOST OF ALL to sleep in on mothers day.  Or any day.  Really, any chance for sleep is welcome.

"Girls, I'm ready to open my presant!' there Mom called.  There Mom tore open the wrapping paper.  And out came - a mug!"

I think Julia forgot to write the part where Ahdara says "Tara, pause the show!" and Tara says "What are we going upstairs for, milk?" 

"And a letter came with it.  Dear Mom, we hope you like this mug!  XOXOXO.  Love, Ahdara and Tara.  Well folks - Ahdara and Tara's presant was huge success.  I need some coffee."

I couldn't have spoken truer words myself than the last sentence.

I also received real, published books (surprise, surprise!) from Madeleine and Ethan, as well as several fancy wines from the latter.  Because Ethan knows that the only drink a mommy needs as much as coffee is wine.

To top it all off, Madeleine made me a card and spelled the words inside all by herself!:

I love it!  Thanks, Mads.  I'm pretty sure with kids like these I'm definitely going to have a Hab Mthes Da!