Wednesday, September 30, 2015

All About Madeleine

Last night, Ethan and I went to Curriculum Night for Madeleine's class.  We got to explore her classroom and look through a packet called "All About Me" that each child had filled out.

Madeleine's started out with a self-portrait:

She even drew her gold hoop earrings.  Nice attention to detail!

Next in the packet was:

My favorite color is: (illegible response that means "pink.")

Okay.  First of all, clearly there was no pink crayon available to color in the pink crayon.  Because it's red.  Secondly, under the erasure marks, it looks as if Madeleine had written "Pinc" with a "P" facing the correct direction.  Why she erased that to write "ping" with a backwards "P" is beyond me.  It looks more like "qing," which sounds like some sort of exotic Chinese floral shade or something.

Aaaanyways, next in the packet:

The color of my eyes: brown

Except Madeleine's eyes are white in this picture.  And I think she'd better go to the doctor to get that brown sclera checked out.

Next page:

My birthday is: October 2nd
I have 1 sibling.
I have 0 pets.
I want to be a her cadr when I grow up.

Madeleine's aspirations of being a hair cutter when she grows up are right in line with Julia's hopes to be a waitress and a lifeguard back when she was in kindergarten and first grade.  Dream BIG, Rowe girls.

And finally:

My favorite:

Food: "pasda ane badr" (pasta and butter)
Book: "Kood beee Hree Pdr" (could be Harry Potter)
Toy:  "I doot no" (I don't know.)  LAME, Madeleine.  You could have totally named one of your millions of toys.  Every day you have a new favorite.  Total cop-out answer.
Animal: "banee" (bunny)
Friend: "Jalia" (Julia)  Madeleine seems to think that lower-case "a" and "u" are written the same way.
Place: "bloow" (Blue).  Ah, Blue, the restaurant where Madeleine wants to have her birthday dinner.  I didn't know that was her favorite place.  I would have thought Story Land, or Rosemary Pool, or the homes of Nana & Gramps or Yiayia would rank up higher than Blue, but what do I know. 

Well, after reading through that packet I can definitely say I learned a lot of things about Madeleine that I didn't previously know!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Words of Wisdom

Madeleine's Words of Wisdom for the day:

MADELEINE: Mama?  You know how when the CD skipped you said "Uh-oh!"
ME: Yeah?
MADELEINE: Well Mama.  Let me tell you something.  The music skipping ISN'T so bad.
ME: Oh, yeah?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Mama.  Let me ask you something.  What would be worse?  The music skipping, or a BRICK falling from the sky and hitting you on the head?
ME: Definitely the brick.

That was not a random selection of options or anything. 

Julia's Words of Wisdom for the day:

JULIA: Mommy?  Why aren't people allowed to go in the Egyptian pyramids?
ME: I think you can go in some of them, but most of them are closed to tourists.
JULIA: But that's not fair.  I really wanna go in a pyramid!
ME: Do you know that historians still aren't 100% sure what the pyramids are meant to represent?
JULIA: Maybe they're for worshipping the dead.  Or for worshipping their ancestors.
ME: Something like that.  But it's still kind of a mystery.
JULIA: Wait!  Mommy, I just had a great idea!  You know those "A to Z mysteries?"  I wanna write one called "Penguin in the Pyramids."
ME: Oh, that sounds interesting!

Definitely a better idea than Pharoah in the Pyramids, or Python in the Pyramids, because everyone knows that penguins exist in abundance in Egypt, right? Or MAYBE that's the whole mystery.  How on earth did a penguin wind up inside an Egyptian pyramid?  Oooh, now I can't wait to read it!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Birthday List

With her birthday party only a week away, Madeleine sat down to fine-tune the details of the big event.  With pen and notebook, she began a list of the important things we need to do to make the party perfect.

MADELEINE: Okay.  Mama.  Looks like there's gonna be TWENTY-SEVEN steps!

Madeleine decided to number the steps before actually coming up with any ideas.  I reminded her that we have rented a venue for the party, so we won't actually have to do much of the party planning, but Madeleine thought otherwise.  She even has it in mind that we're going to have a chance to play the non-existent game "Pin the Ponytail on Draculaura," despite the fact that it's a plaster painting party.

However, I think 27 tasks proved to be too many even for Madeleine's expansive imagination.  You can see how slim the pickings became by the time she reached task 14 or so:


12) PEESU2

1 Drinks
2 Pizza

As you can see, we only made it to task 16, and given the fact that Madeleine has resorted to ideas like turning on the lights and rolling up the shades, I don't think we're going to make it through the whole 27.  But that's okay!  I'm not sure I can handle all the party prep as it is.  Adding things like seeing how beautiful it is and working fast to the list, I'm going to be totally overloaded.  I'm glad I don't have another 11 tasks to further fill my plate!

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Typical Morning in the Rowe Household

The best laid plans will undoubtedly go awry on a school morning in our household.

6:50 am - I get out of bed and start making my breakfast.  Yeah, I kind of slept in, getting up 20 minutes later than usual, but that's okay.  Friday mornings I don't have to go to work, so I can skip my shower for now, especially considering I'm planning on a morning run after dropping the girls at school.

6:55 am - I pack Madeleine's lunch while waiting for my bagel to finish toasting.  Julia is buying lunch today.  I'm making efficient use of my time and we're off to a promising start.

7:15 am - as I'm getting ready to sit down and eat, Madeleine comes upstairs, still in her pjs, giving me a wounded puppy face.

ME: What's the matter, honey?
MADELEINE: (whimpering) No breakfast!
ME: What do you mean?  You ate it all?
MADELEINE: (whimpering) No breakfast!
ME: You haven't even had breakfast yet?
MADELEINE: (shaking her head, lower lip quivering)
ME: You mean you've just been sitting downstairs watching tv without having gotten your breakfast?
MADELEINE: (nodded, lower lip quivering)
ME: Okay, well pick a cereal and I'll get you some!

7:30 am - as I'm preparing my coffee, Julia comes upstairs to ask me about her lunch.

JULIA: Am I buying lunch today?
ME: Well, you circled it on the school lunch menu, so, yes.
JULIA: What is it?
ME: I don't know.  I just look to see which days you've circled.
JULIA: But wheeeen is it ever gonna be French tooooast sticks?
ME: Uh...I don't know.  Here.  Let me check.  (going to the file cabinet to pull out the lunch menu.) Today is tortellini.
JULIA: Okay.
ME: Is that okay?
JULIA: Sure.

7:47 am - Ethan shouts down to make sure the kids are nearly ready for school.

ETHAN: Are you girls both dressed?
JULIA: Me, yes, Madeleine no!
ME: Madeleine, come up and get dressed.
MADELEINE: (slowly clomping her way up the stairs.)  But I didn't even have MILK!
ME: You didn't?  Okay, get dressed and we'll get your milk.  (calling downstairs) Julia, did you have milk?
ME: Okay, Madeleine, you go get dressed.  (calling down) Come on up, Jules, and I'll do your hair.
JULIA: (traipsing up the stairs) But I didn't even get enough time to GALLOP!
ME: Okay, then gallop.
JULIA: (going into the bathroom sullenly) Nooooo!  You said you have to do my HAIIIIR!
MADELEINE: (calling from her room) Uh, Mama?!?  Can you come in my room?
ME: Jules, go gallop and I'll do your hair after I help Madeleine.
JULIA: Noooooooo!  You have to doooooooo it!  You said you have to doooooo it!
ME: Ethan, can you help Madeleine while I deal with Julia?

7:55 am - girls are sitting down at the table to drink their milk.

MADELEINE: (looking miserable) I'm cold!  I need my blanket.
ETHAN: Just focus on your milk.
MADELEINE: (lip trembling) Blaaaanket.
ME: Julia, can you go grab Madeleine's blanket?
JULIA: (running off to get Madeleine's blanket) But Mommy, are we going to be late to school?
ME: No, we don't have to leave for another 10 minutes, don't worry.
MADELEINE: (beginning to write lower case letters on a piece of paper)
ME: Madeleine, drink your milk.
MADELEINE: Uh, hold on, Mama, first I have to...(making a lower case "m.") There!  Okay.  (taking one tiny sip of milk.)

8 am - Madeleine still hasn't finished her milk

ME: Madeleine, drink up.  We have to leave in five minutes.
JULIA: But the bell rings in 20 minutes!
ME: Right, so if we leave in five minutes, we get there five minutes later, and you still have ten minutes to get to your classroom.
JULIA: No, but...oh.  Okay.  (running off to get ready)
MADELEINE: (face crumpling) Everyone is leaving for school and I'm still drinking my milk!
ME: I'm still drinking my coffee.  Don't worry.  We're not leaving this second.

8:02 am - Madeleine has finished her milk and goes to the couch with her blanket.

MADELEINE: Can someone give me some comfort?  I'm cold!
ME: (giving her a quick snuggle) Okay, can you go get socks and shoes on?

8:03 am

MADELEINE: Julia, look what socks I found!
JULIA: (gasp) You little GHOSTIE socks!

(The little ghostie socks are simply plain white socks.)

ME: Can you put those socks on, honey?

8:04 am - I am frantically gulping down swallows of coffee to try and finish before we leave.  If worse comes to worst, I heat it up in the microwave after drop-off.  No biggie.

ME: How's it going, girls?
JULIA: (sitting by the door with one shoe on) A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-da, a woo-woo-woo!  A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-day, a woo-woo-woo!
MADELEINE: (struggling to get her sock on.)

8:05 am - I gulp down more coffee and check on the girls

JULIA: (sitting by the door with one shoe on) A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-da, a woo-woo-woo!  A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-day, a woo-woo-woo!
MADELEINE: (struggling to get her sock on.)

8:07 am - I finish the last of my coffee and check to see how we're doing

JULIA: (sitting by the door with one shoe on) A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-da, a woo-woo-woo!  A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-day, a woo-woo-woo!
MADELEINE: (struggling to get her sock on.)

8:08 am - I'm starting to grow impatient.

JULIA: (sitting by the door with one shoe on) A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-da, a woo-woo-woo!  A Woo-be-da, a woo-be-day, a woo-woo-woo!
MADELEINE: (still pulling up her socks)
ME: Come on, Madeleine, get some shoes on, we need to go!
JULIA: (snapping out of her song and suddenly freaking out) Are we gonna be LATE??
ME: Well, we kind of have to hurry.  If I were you, I'd do less "a woo-be-da" and more getting your other shoe on.

8:09 am - I notice that Madeleine put on her sandals over her socks.

ME: Honey, I think you'd be better off with sneakers.  (Starting to take her sandal off for her)
JULIA: (totally freaking out) I don't wanna be LAAAATE!
MADELEINE: (following suit) I don't wanna be-
ME: Girls.  Just get the shoes on and we'll go.  No freaking out.

8:10 am - We start our trek to school five minutes later than expected.

JULIA: (THE.  WHOLE.  TIME.)  Are we gonna be late?
ME: It's fine, honey.
MADELEINE: (miserable) I'm coooold!  Why does it have to be so cooooold?  I'm freeeeezing!  (walking slow as molasses and drooping her lower lip)
ME: (hefting up Madeleine and speeding up the pace) Come on, girls, we're almost there.

8:18 am - I practically push the girls through the school door two minutes before the bell.

ME: Bye girls!  Have a great day!  Love you!

And now I can finally breathe again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Love, Demonstrated

The girls are very different in the way that they express their love.  Julia tends to make room in her heart for everyone all at once, while Madeleine prefers to have an ever-changing favorite for whom she bestows all of her fierce affection at any given time. 

Lately that favorite seems to have shifted back to me, after a long hiatus in which I was totally yesterday's news.  After kicking Auntie Caitlyn out of her bedroom this evening and asking for me, Madeleine lavished me with loving remarks.

MADELEINE: You're my FAVORITE mommy.  You're my best mommy.  You're the mommy of my world.

I'm pretty relieved to get the above superlatives.  It would be *really* demoralizing if I couldn't even win the favorite mommy prize against the non-existent other mommies she doesn't have.

Julia, on the other hand, has an all-encompassing love for everyone in her life.

JULIA: So Mommy?  At school today, we had to make a circle of the names of VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE in our lives, because in our Writer's Workshop, we're going to write about those people.
ME: Oh yeah?  Who did you write for your very important people?
JULIA: Well, if you want me to tell you them all, I don't know if I can do it, because I had a total of FORTY-SEVEN people.

Even though I'm likely one of forty-seven vying for the role of "VIP" in Julia's life, I'm at least pretty sure that's I would also win as Julia's favorite mommy.  Unless she secretly loves the imaginary Mintz mommy more than she does me...

Monday, September 21, 2015

Homemade Kindergarten Quiz

When Julia was in kindergarten, she loved giving Madeleine "classwork" and acting the part of kindergarten teacher. 

Now that Madeleine is in kindergarten, it's her turn to make the pretend worksheets for Julia.

ME: Okay, girls, we need to clean up these Barbies.
MADELEINE: Uh, not yet Mama, because I'm making a quiz for Julia!

The quiz was one on letter sounds and formations, and was guaranteed to either elicit Julia's scorn, or, if she was feeling charitable, her loving cooperation:

THANKFULLY, we got loving cooperation.

MADELEINE: Okay, Julia, repeat after me: "Tee," "top," "t-."
JULIA: (obediently) Tee, top, t-.

I was curious about the deteriorating dots and lines as the worksheet went along.

ME: Madeleine, why didn't you do the dots and lines with the rest of the letters?
MADELEINE: Oh.  Because it was taking a LONG time.

Yes, that is exactly the example we want our teacher to give.  Ditch the extra details if they take too long.  Strive for mediocrity! 

Not that Madeleine expects anything but ultimate perfection from everyone else.  After she and Julia re-watched "Big Hero 6" this evening, Madeleine voiced her criticism of the sentimental, inspirational music.

MADELEINE: Mama?  You know how in movies when they play SAD music?
ME: Yeah.
MADELEINE: It's a little too CHURCHY for me.

I think that speaks volumes on how Madeleine feels about church.

Furthermore, she turned down an outfit I had picked out for her this morning, despite the fact that we were in a major rush to get out the door.

ME: (holding out a red shirt and patterned white pants with red flowers)  Here, can you put this outfit on?
MADELEINE: Uh, no thanks.
ME: No?  Why not?

She's a hard gal to please, that Madeleine.  I'm sure glad that I'm not one of her kindergarten students!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

More Classwork

Among Julia's school papers to come home this week was this fictitious vacation spot:

Mountain Peak Ridge
New Hampshire Welcomes You
Emusement Parks
Hiking Trail
Water Parks
Log Cabins
Skiing Hills
Bike Trails
Gift Shops

And then we have this lovely picture of a tree, a mountain, and what appears to be the world's longest-legged hamster but is more likely the world's skinniest bear. 

This definitely sounds like a place I want to go to!  Julia even detailed her resort on the driveway with sidewalk chalk today, filling in the surrounding road with such authentic names as Runner Down Road, ClickClack Lane, and Horper St.  

Meanwhile, Madeleine told me about a project she had worked on in kindergarten, in which the children created models of themselves.  Madeleine explained that she had to try and find the color that best matches her hair, eyes, and skin to put on her cut-out person.

MADELEINE: And Mama?  The color I chose for my skin was, like, two INCHES darker than my real skin!

When in doubt about a particular unit of measurement, Madeleine tends to go for inches.  She was only a few inches off the right word, which would have been "shade."

Keep up the great work, kiddos!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Counting Worksheet

Madeleine came home with a school worksheet similar to the calendar she had made last week.  This paper, however, was for counting, not for writing dates.  Unlike the calendar, this sheet has Madeleine's classic backwards numbers (including backwards numbers in backwards order once we get into double digits.) 

Thanks to Julia grilling Madeleine on why she had written her name in the blank after "What month comes next?" on her calendar, Madeleine decided to wisen up on this counting worksheet.  Madeleine wasn't going to be fooled twice by a trick question at the bottom of the page, EVEN THOUGH there wasn't even a question this time:

WUT KCUMS NECST    OKTOWBR  (followed by a backwards 2, and a birthday present, because we are ALL ABOUT the upcoming birthdays lately.)

Well done, M!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dinner Chatter

The kids are on two TOTALLY different planes at dinner this evening.

JULIA: Mommy?  Did you know about the earthquake in Lisbon?
ME: Uh, no. What happened??  Did it happen today?
JULIA: (looking at me like I'm a dunce) It was in 1755.
ME: Oh. What?? How do you know that?
JULIA: Because it was in a book I'm reading, called "Earthquakes and Other Natural  Disasters."
ME: Oh.

Meanwhile, in the seat next to Julia:

MADELEINE: (talking her two Beanie Baby toys) Don't say the "H" word!
ME: Madeleine, what's the "H" word?
JULIA: (cutting in) I bet it's "hate."
ME: The "H" word is "here?"
MADELEINE: It's "IN here."
ME: Why is "in here" the "H" word?
MADELEINE: It's just kind of gross when people say "in HERE."

Yeah.  Totally.  I dig you, Madeleine. 

My kids are not weird or random.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Madeleine Chatters in Public

The girls had their first swim team practice of the new season yesterday, and both had a blast.  Madeleine's group swam first, while Julia's group was in dryland training.  After Madeleine was out of the pool, Julia's group dove in, and Madeleine got to sit with me in the lobby and watch Julia's practice through the viewing window.  There were several other parents there as well, although no one in the area was talking at all except for Madeleine.  Therefore, everyone around us could overhear everything that Madeleine said. 

For instance, after Madeleine had complained of being cold for about ten minutes, another mom went and got a dry towel from her son's swim bag to wrap around Madeleine.  It was a truly kind gesture, and Madeleine showed her gratitude by then loudly talking about macabre things through the rest of the practice.

MADELEINE: Mama?  When somebody DIES, do they still have a birthday?
ME: (trying to talk really quietly to encourage her to do the same) Well, the date of their birthday will still come every year.
MADELEINE: (not taking my volume cue) But MAMA?  I mean, if someone DIES, do you still keep CELEBRATING their birthday?
ME: (quietly) Well, you can remember them each year on their birthday.
MADELEINE: But MAMA?  If someone DIES, do you still keep celebrating their birthday and do you keep counting how old they're getting?
ME: No, they don't get any older after they die.  (Trying to change the subject) Boy, are you thinking about birthdays a lot or what?  Are you excited for your birthday?

My diversion didn't work.

A moment later:
MADELEINE: Mama?  If someone DIES, and they lived by themselves, does their house just stay sitting there with no one in it?
ME: Uh, no, usually if someone who lives alone dies, another member of their family will sell their house for them.
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  They don't have ANY OTHER family members alive.

I decided to spare the lobby full of parents the chance to hear me introduce Madeleine to the idea of a last will and testament, so I again tried to shift the subject from dead people.

ME: Sometimes people who live alone wind up moving well before they die.  You know how Grammy lived in a place with other people around and nurses who helped her?  Well, before that she lived in a house alone, but she decided she was getting too old to be on her own.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  Why was she too OLD?
ME: Well, she just needed more help.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  What was she too OLD to do?
ME: Well, the older she got, the more she needed help with.  And she lived a very long time; she was almost 100!
MADELEINE: Mama, she was 99!  She was 99, Mama.
ME: I know.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  What happens when you get really OLD?

Yes, we went from talking about dead people to really, really old ones.  A *slightly* less grisly subject.  Still not exactly what I wanted loudly broadcast through an otherwise silent room by my 5-year-old, but at least she wasn't making her unrestrained announcements about how people around us look.  (Some previous examples of the aforementioned being "Mama?  Why does he have such a big head?", "That's a CRAZY face!" and "Why do you have mushy, mushy breast-es?")

I guess I should know better than expect anything but creepy talk from the kid who colors her princesses in like this:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Clueless Comments

I appreciate the fact that our kids prevent us from getting TOO boastful about their accomplishments by balancing out their amazing abilities with moments of total cluelessness.  Among my favorite clueless moments lately:

JULIA: Mama?  Can we ever watch "Lion King 2?"
ME: Uh, sure.
JULIA: Simba has a daughter in it!
ME: Oh, cool!
MADELEINE: Yeah!  And his daughter is a GIRL!

No.  Way.  She is?! 

(At bedtime a few nights ago)
ME: Julia, can you go brush your teeth and get ready for bed?
JULIA: But I wanted to GAAAALLOP!
ME: Yeah, you certainly haven't had enough gallop time today.
JULIA: (sheepishly) But the Mintz are in HAWAII!

I can now totally see why she needed to gallop.  It's not like she controls what the Mintz are doing with her own imagination, or anything.  If the Mintz are currently in Hawaii, of COURSE she has to push bedtime off; otherwise, she might miss out on thinking about her imaginary family while galloping!

ME: Madeleine, come here, I want to show you something. (opening the newspaper to a page on which she is featured):
MADELEINE: (immediately upon casting eyes on the photo) Awwwwww!  (pause) Uh, Mama?  What is it?

Might I suggest actually giving a thorough look to something before offering a reaction?  Or maybe she was just totally blow away by her own cuteness without even realizing it was a picture of her class, and couldn't help but cry "Awwww!"

JULIA: (wandering into the kitchen at 10am) Daddy?  Can I have snack?
ETHAN: Sure.  Go ahead.
MADELEINE: (holding the barely eaten bagel she had been slowly eating for the past hour) Can I too?!?
ETHAN: Honey, you're still holding your breakfast in your hand.

Why bother being aware of anything when you can just jump on your sister's bandwagon without a second thought?

Oh, kids.  Keep on being your wonderfully unique selves!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chatterbox Chapter

Usually, Julia is the chatterbox during the bedtime chapter I read to her, interrupting me countless times to ask questions, go get a tissue, go fill her water bottle, go to the bathroom, and what not.  Madeleine tends to listen to whatever chapter Ethan or I read her without much fuss, saving her chattering for the post-lullaby bedtime snuggles.  However, tonight was not such a lucky night for me, as Madeleine proceeded to interrupt at LEAST once per page of a 25-page chapter of "Harry Potter."

Among the things she interrupted to ask about:

-How can ponies write with a pen in their MOUTH?
-How do some people write with their right hand and some people write with their left hand?
-At kindergarten, someone in my kindergarten class said a color, I don't remember who said it and I don't remember what the color was, but someone said it's a BOY color.
-In Power Puff Girls, they all have bangs!  Bubbles has those kind of side bangs, and Buttercup has those regular kind of bangs, and Blossom has those regular kind of bangs.
-Why, in "Muppets Most Wanted," is there an evil Kermit?

The best part was, after I commented on the fact that she was continually interrupting my reading to talk about things wholly unrelated to the book, she interrupted me again to say this:

"Mama, next time I need to ask you a question, I'll go: (in a singsong voice) Iiiii've goooot a queeeestion!"

And don't worry, she definitely remembered to then do the above next time she had a question.  Which was really soon afterwards.

Also, she interrupted once to ask a question about something I had just read, and then interrupted AGAIN seconds later to point out that she had actually, finally, interrupted about something related to the book.

At long last, we finished the chapter, and I left Madeleine to silently chatter to her own self in her mind until she is tired enough to fall asleep.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Well, clearly Madeleine is ready to just pass right over kindergarten and into the next grade.  This calendar that she made at school, dated up through September 33rd, openly demonstrates her superior competence:

*ESPECIALLY* this part:

Seriously.  If she already knows that after September 33, the month turns to Madeleine, what else does she need to learn?!?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Girls Put on a Show

After school today, Julia was quietly reading in her room when Madeleine appeared in the living room, wearing a purple leotard and cat ears, ready to put on a show for me.

MADELEINE: Okay, Mama, first is the little kids' show, then it's the BIG kids, and you're the judge of the big kids and you have to tell us if we PASS, because we're level NINE!

Before I knew it, Madeleine was thumping around the living room performing some sort of dance/pop song/gymnastics combo for me. 

The noise had soon drawn Julia from her room, and the next thing I knew, I had two performers before me.

JULIA: Wait, um, Mommy, can I do my reading later?  Because I wanna play this with Madeleine.

I guess the leotard and cat ears were just TOO tempting for Julia.  She simply couldn't resist being a part of the whole production.

Act One of the Big Kids began with some synchronized walking and grunting, then Madeleine flew into a reverie of song and dance, ending abruptly when she gracelessly crashed into the heating grate on the living room wall:

Act Two was Julia's show, with lots of one-handed cartwheels and round-offs set to vocal music of Julia's own making:

And then the Grand Finale: both kids singing different made-up songs and flailing about the room, occasionally having some sort of contact with each other:

Woo-hoo!  Congrats, Level Nine Big Kids, on a wonderful performance!

If that's what the big kids perform like, I can't even imagine what the little kids did.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Julia Writes

Aside from the fact that she so callously forgets her friend once a new kid is in town, I'm digging this poem that Julia wrote:

The Sad Poem
by  Julia C. Rowe

My heart is aching, not filled with glee.
My best friend left and moved away from me!
Oh, you would not believe how sad I am!
I can barily eat my dinner, cheese with ham.
Oh, my heart is aching, not anymore!
There is a new girl that moved in next door,
And now my heart is filled with glee
'cause I think she would like to be friends with me!

Julia has also started work on a spooooky ghost story about a girl named Laura Inglehopper.  (I'm sure this name was in no way inspired by the Laura Ingalls Wilder books Julia is currently reading.)

The Inglehoppers

"Once upon a time, Laura E. Inglehopper, wicked witch lived in the grave yard.
Her sister, Isabella G. Inglehopper lived next door to Laura.  Those two were sisters, but they faught often, for Laura was a witch, and Isabella was not.
She was just a regular human being, and this made Laura angry.  ALOT!
So, as we're told, Laura and Isabella did not get along.  One day, said Laura to her sister, 'It's time we get along.  Let us reason and let our problams be gone!"

Oh my goodness.  I can't wait to see where this story goes.  I've never heard of a reconciliation of tension so early on in a story.  I'm feeling a bit suspicious and I'm not sure I trust Laura.  She is a wicked witch, after all, so she might have ill intentions.  What kind of a wicked witch says something like "Let us reason and let our problems be gone!"  I'll tell you what kind: A LYING ONE.  You're not fooling me, Laura.  You've got some sort of evil trick in mind to play on your poor, regular human being of a sister. 

I'm hooked.  I can't wait to see what happens next with the Inglehoppers!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Floor Art

Today I discovered a smattering of decorated Sticky Notes all along the dining room floor, left like some sort of cryptographic prophesy:

Let's take a closer look at these drawings.  Obvious guess for artist is Madeleine, of course.

We have:
The mournful, decapitated head wailing over a larger-than-life cupcake, complete with the commanding "NOOO" floating through the air.

What appears to be a My Little Pony of distorted proportions, ready to take on the city, Godzilla-like.

Another gargantuan My Little Pony, hopping along carrying a basket, just like Red Riding Hood on her way to Grandma's house.  Then there's the floating scepter that the pony obviously wants to eat, given her "MMMM."

Another decapitated head, but this time a jolly one, surrounded by two behemoth lollipops.

And finally, massively demented monster Pony, who has ballooned to quadruple the size of the behemoth lollipops.  ME WAAAANT CAAAAAANDY.

So, in other words, just a completely typical set of Madeleine drawings.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

During a recent play-date, Julia and a friend decided to make a "school" newspaper. 

There was some VERY SERIOUS news reporting, writing, and editing going on in her room:

Their extensive labor was not in vain, as the full newspaper is now out in print!  I present to you:

News for Now

This fantastic young newspaper has pages devoted to such interesting topics as:

As well as full pages dedicated solely to statements such as:

"We hope you liked our newspaper so far!"

"Hope you enjoy our nexxt newpaper........."

Now, with a journal this informative, you can imagine the jealousy of anyone left out of its production.  Madeleine was steamed, as you can imagine.  To combat her feelings of being left behind, she decided to write her OWN newspaper. 

I'm not sure if this newspaper has a name, as no title appears, but I will share with you some of its brightest and most engaging pages:

Grrayt Prresudit


1 Barack
2 Obama 

I believe the frowning man with two noses in the upper left corner is the Grrayt Brrg Obomu himself.


This really did all happen.  Madeleine even really did cross her name off of the picture she and Julia had made me because she was jealous that Julia had more presents for me than she herself did.  And I'm sure EVERYONE in the world wants to read about the mundane details of my birthday morning, right?


1 Fans, maybe?!?  She's got me a little stumped on this one.

I'm also not sure I understand much of the rest after "I'd just like to thank everyone."  But that's okay, I think I get the idea.  She's thanking us.  We're all grrayt! 

This is it, folks.  I'm cancelling my regular hometown paper.  From now on it's News for Now and Madeleine's nameless newspaper or BUST! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Kindergarten Jitters

As the first day of school looms in the very near future, Madeleine has been airing both her excitement and her concerns.  This evening at bedtime we talked about it a bit.

ME: Are you still feeling nervous about kindergarten?
MADELEINE: A little.
ME: What are you feeling nervous about?
MADELEINE: I'm just afraid that I'm gonna let you down.
ME: You mean that you might not follow the rules or that you might cry and have a melt-down?
ME: Well, honey, don't worry.  Even if you do have a day where you're not on your best behavior, as long as you try your VERY hardest every day, I'm going to be proud of you.  Besides, sometimes you might not start out doing your best listening, but then you're able to work hard at getting better at it.  Remember in swim lessons how you had to work really hard on paying attention during your lessons?  Once we talked about that, you got a LOT better about listening to your teacher.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Mama.  Only a FEW times did I forget to remember about paying attention and forget to remember what STROKE we were doing. 
ME: I know.  You really did a great job.  I was proud of you.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  But only SOMETIMES would I just be FORGETTING.  Mama?  Why is "forgetting" called "forgetting?"
ME: I don't know.  I don't really know where that word comes from.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  Words aren't even WORDS.
ME: You're right.  Because they had to all be made up at some point.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Because somebody had to make them up, because...otherwise...nobody would know how to TALK.
ME: Right.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  Sometimes I think of all the way back to when WORDS were being made, and, like, two boys were TALKING to each other, and the boy on the left kept saying to the boy on the right, "What are you even SAYING?" because the boy on the right was saying WORDS that he was just making UP, and after a long time, the boy on the right started saying, "No, what are YOU even saying?" because he started thinking that the boy on the left was being really ANNOYING.
ME: Um.  Okay.  So the boy on the right started saying "What are you saying?"
MADELEINE: Yeah. And Mama.  THEN I think I made him say, "With all this talking, we're barely even getting the job done!"
ME: And what did the boy on the right say to that?
MADELEINE: No.  Mama.  I was just TALKING the one on the right.  He was saying "With all this talking we're barely getting the job done" because they were supposed to be making up WORDS.

Ooookay.  That took a TOTALLY different turn from what I was expecting as we discussed the impending kindergarten year.  I'm glad I wasn't one of those two boys who were stuck with the task of making up the very first spoken words.  I don't think I'd want to bear that heavy a load of responsibility.  Thank goodness Madeleine doesn't have to worry about doing anything like THAT at kindergarten.  Put in perspective, asking her to try to be a good listener and to not have sobbing melt-downs about trivial stuff seems like a piece of cake!