Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Year's Eve

With about 5 hours of 2016 to go, the Rowe family is wishing you all a Happy New Year!

By the way, see that pink hat Madeleine is wearing?  Ever since getting it for Christmas, she has kind of refused to take it off.  Here are a few photos taken over the past week:

Anyway, Madeleine wore her hat the entire time we Rowes enjoyed the various entertainments of New Year's Eve in our town, which made her easy to pick out in a crowd.  In fact, I think the pink hat helped immensely during a magic show we went to watch, because Madeleine was chosen out of all the kids in an incredibly crowded room to be the magician's assistant during one of his tricks:

This was like a DREAM COME TRUE for Madeleine.  All her life, she has been the kid desperately raising her hand, yearning to be chosen, but always overlooked, at magic shows.  Today, without even raising her hand, she was selected.  I think this might encourage her to NEVER TAKE THE PINK HAT OFF ever again.  In fact, Ethan and I had moved to the back side of the big, crowded room to allow for kids to see the magic without us blocking them.  From where I was sitting, I couldn't even see the magician himself.  But when I heard him call on "the girl with the pink hat," I immediately knew it had to be Madeleine.  After elbowing my way through the crowd I saw that, indeed, there she was, standing up in jacket and hat, performing her important assistantly duties.

In addition to the magic show, we Rowes enjoyed a storyteller and a really impressive marionette puppet show.  When the puppet show was over, the puppeteers offered to give a back stage tour to any interested kids, instructing them to form a line.  Within that announcement was a brief mention that the local hospital was also giving out free cowbells (WHY?!  WHY???!???) that could be picked up at the back of the auditorium on our way out.  Julia immediately opted out of the backstage tour, but when I mentioned it to Madeleine, she immediately scurried to the back of a very long line to wait.

JULIA: (watching the line not moving at all) Can we just go?
ME: Well, Madeleine wants to do the backstage tour.  Are you sure you don't want to do it with her?
JULIA: No thank you.
ME: Okay, well, we have to wait for her.  Unless you want me to see if she doesn't really want to wait this long.
JULIA: Okay, you can ask her.

I made my way across the auditorium to where Madeleine was standing in line.

ME: Honey, are you sure you want to wait in this long line?
MADELEINE: But, Mommy,  I *really* want a cowbell!
ME: This is the line for the backstage tour, honey.
MADELEINE: No!  They said there were cowbells!  They said "the BACK" for cowbells!
ME: The cowbells are over there.  This is the line for seeing the back of the puppet theater and checking out all the puppets and stuff.
MADELEINE: The cowbells are over there?  Where?
ME: At the back of the room.

Madeleine immediately stepped out of line and happily went to collect her free cowbell.  Silly me.  I guess I should have known that given the option of: a) getting on stage to see all the tricks of the puppet scenery and an up close view of the marionettes themselves, or b) a free cowbell, the unequivocal choice would be cowbell.  Totally.

So, now both kids have cowbells, which is awesome.  2017 is looking promising already!

Friday, December 30, 2016

An Important Question

Tonight, in the middle of dinner, Madeleine asked a question that I'm sure all of you have been asked at some point in your life.

MADELEINE: Mommy.  Rose, or orca and beluga whale friends?
ME: Wait.  Huh?
MADELEINE: Rose, or orca and beluga whale friends?

Oh.  Well THAT cleared it up. Good thing she phrased the question the exact same way a second time so that I would really understand.

ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: Do you like a rose, or an orca and beluga whale being friends better?
ME: Uhh...that's a tough one.  Roses are my favorite flowers, but I really like whales.
JULIA: I chose "orca and beluga whale friends" because it would be really NICE for animals to be friends!

Okay.  Clearly Julia had no trouble understanding the question like her dunderhead of a mom.

ME: Yeah, I'm gonna choose that too.  Orca and beluga whale friends.
MADELEINE: Okay.  Wait.  Mommy?  I actually already chose FOR you.
ME: Oh, okay.  What did you choose?

She then proceeded to wave a paper fan at me, which had a drawing of a rose on one side and a drawing of an orca and a beluga whale being friends on the other.  She switched sides to flap it at me with each picture facing upwards, then passed the fan across the table to me, instructing me to flap it at myself while switching sides.

Well, now I have some healthy rose-infused air and some orca and beluga friendship vibes wafting over me.  It's a good thing Madeleine chose for me, because I don't think my night would have been complete if I hadn't gotten a good dose of both.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Demon Piano

Umm...this is like a dream sequence from a horror film where the protagonist is walking through a demonic version of normal events that have happened in his life.  Here is Madeleine in the role of the frenzied, diabolical piano player:

Uh.  WOW.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Rowe household!

Now, I may be married to the Grinch, but I certainly wasn't expecting the kids to think there were too many presents this morning!

MADELEINE: Mommy?  I think maybe you OVERDID it with the presents this time!  But that's okay!!

Ethan and I were equally spoiled with hand-made gifts from our girls.  Julia made me this uplifting framed picture:

And Madeleine made an illustrated calendar for Ethan and I.  Among my favorite drawings:

 Madeleine managed to capture how I feel about winter perfectly.  This girl looks like she is bleeding from her mouth in her intense misery.  I know the feeling.

 Wow. This Cupid is something else.  He looks like he is totally spazzing out on love.

 Umm...This happy person looks like she might be about to psychotically eat that poor leprechaun.

 And this snowman has a carrot growing out of his ear.

 This Native American is not feeling the Thanksgiving love.  He totally knows a smallpox-infested blanket is coming.

 Somehow Madeleine managed to infuse this jack-o'-lantern with pure evil.

And finally, we have apple butts.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Songs from the Rowe Household

For the last day of school before the holiday break, Julia's class got to watch a movie.  Yippee!  Or, in Julia's case, BOO!  The movie of choice was the first Harry Potter film, which Julia has seen so many times she's actively bored by it.  So instead of watching with rapt attention, Julia "just LISTENED," and spent her mental energy on the composition of two songs.

This took some serious effort.  Look at how long this first song is:

JULIA: And Mommy?  I *know* how the melody goes, but I just didn't know how to really write that part out.
ME: Will you sing it for me?

ME: That was really beautiful!
JULIA: It's about: you shouldn't have war, 'cause it makes people sad.  Even though it's about a bird.

Julia's second song was less symbolic, but it was a fun festive celebration of Christmas:

The performance:

Don't worry, folks, Madeleine was not to be outdone.  This morning at breakfast, she performed her very own reverse version of Rudolph:

Great performance.  Like an Icebreaker!

Friday, December 23, 2016


Ethan and Madeleine are nearing the end of their Harry Potter journey, as they reach the final chapters of the final book.  Apparently, Madeleine has decided to take some creative license with certain characters within the seventh book; specifically, Professor Alecto Carrow.  Madeleine insists that instead of Alecto being the punitive Death Eater serving Voldemort, she is instead a beautiful heroine who has infiltrated the Death Eaters as a rogue.

Here's the new book she's writing to let Alecto tell HER side of the story:

Harry  Potter and Alecto of the LEADERS!

Although the cover page is all that has been completed, Madeleine filled me in on the main plot point and the character of Alecto.

MADELEINE: She's nice.  She has a brother named Bruce, who's a Death Eater.  She becomes the leader of the Death Eaters, but she's still not mean, and she's not evil, she's nice.  She has TRICKS.
ME: What kind of tricks?
MADELEINE: She, like, um, when her new leader tells her to get Harry, she, like, doesn't know what to do, then she has an idea: she tells the two Death Eaters to come behind her, and, like, so, she picks up Harry and takes him away.  And her new leader can't see Alecto, because then she'll see Harry.
ETHAN: Does she make the Death Eaters nice?
MADELEINE: No, because she knows that they wouldn't listen, even though she's their leader.
JULIA: Isn't Voldemort their leader?
MADELEINE: Yeah, but when Voldemort dies, they need a NEW leader, and besides, they decide to come up with the idea of a Death Eater whose leader is still...whoever their new leader is.

Wait.  Why do they need a new leader after Voldemort dies?  Won't that basically be the end of the Death Eaters anyway?  Or maybe not.  Maybe all they need is a new, inspiring leader who has TRICKS.  Also, is Bruce a replacement for the twin brother that Alecta has in the books, or is there a third sibling we just haven't heard about?  At any rate, I definitely think Madeleine managed to choose one of the least explored characters in all of the Harry Potter books to expand upon, so I'm excited to see where she takes us!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Morning Tussle

Today, as the girls and I walked to school, we came upon a group of boys, one of whom is in Madeleine's class.  This classmate started to tussle with his older brother, and things quickly escalated to actual kicking and hitting, with Madeleine's classmate in tears.  Another parent and I broke up the fight and I asked Madeleine's classmate if he wanted to walk with us.  He declined, so I just asked if he was okay, and walked a few paces ahead of him in case any fighting started up again.

Aww, yeah.  Hero mom.  Mom of the year.  Kept kids safe, prevented further violence, supervised the rest of the walk to school while not appearing to be supervising.  My kids must have been proud.


After school today, Madeleine and I discussed the morning:

ME: Madeleine, remember those boys fighting on the way to school?  Wasn't that crazy?
MADELEINE: Yes!  I even told my FRIENDS about it!
ME: You did?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  I said, "It was, like, BASICALLY the most EMBARRASSING thing ever."
ME: Wait.  You were embarrassed for the boys?
ME: You mean *I* embarrassed you??
MADELEINE: Yes.  It was SO embarrassing.
ME: Why?
MADELEINE: Because he DEFINITELY said "no."
ME: So you felt embarrassed when I asked if he wanted to walk with us?
MADELEINE: Well...maybe even when you walked over.

SHEESH.  Who would have thought I could already be embarrassing my daughter when she's only in first grade?

Luckily, my showing up later that morning as Mystery Reader didn't embarrass her.  She was delighted to see me, although she didn't let my presence distract her from finishing up her seat work, nor did it distract her from sitting in "Whole Body Listening" on the rug during Morning Meeting.  Most of the other kids could not keep their bodies still.  Five or six kids got up to get paper towels, drinks or water, or what not, half the kids were unable to keep their bottoms down on their spots on the rug, and there's Madeleine, sitting "criss cross applesauce" in complete silence.  WHO IS THIS KID?!?  Is this the same girl who crossed her arms and yelled "NEVER!" through tears at her kindergarten teacher when asked, "Are you ready to do your must-do work?"  Wow.  Is it too much to hope that Madeleine's emotional maturity has finally caught up with her intellectual ability??

I even got this sweet picture that the teacher snapped and emailed to me:

Thank goodness I was able to save the most embarrassing day ever from being a total flop for Madeleine!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Underwear Slave

Okay.  This whole underwear thing of Madeleine's is getting out of control.

I may have mentioned in past blog posts that Madeleine has, somewhere along the way, designated a specific pair of underwear for each day of the week.  It took me awhile to even understand this concept, as she came upon this decision without providing any information to anyone.  In the early days of the specified underwear obsession, things went kind of like this:

MADELEINE: Mommy!  You picked out my SATURDAY underwear, and today is THURSDAY!
ME: ?....?....?!?...

I gradually came to learn which underwear are her Saturday underwear.  The light blue ones with black polka dots.  It helped that she also had a designated Saturday outfit, at least during the summer months; a magenta sundress.  It also helped that during the summer she was mostly in bathing suits for the mornings, and would pick out her own clothes and undies after we returned home from swim clinics.

Then the school year started and the underwear hit the proverbial fan.

Because Madeleine is SO.  DAMN.  SLOW. about getting herself up and groomed and dressed in the morning, I make sure that she has an outfit picked out and laid on her floor the night before.  This doesn't necessarily make her move any faster because she is an expert at finding stalling techniques, but it at least removes the wasted time in the mornings digging through drawers to find an acceptable outfit to wear.  Here's the problem, though: I am expected to pick out the correct underwear corresponding to the day of the week.  And I just might have a lot more pressing issues occupying my brain than remembering which pair of underwear goes with which day.

Madeleine finds this unacceptable.

Here are some examples of the criticisms and demands lobbed my way should I drop the ball on the underwear thing.

MADELEINE: Mommy!  Why did you pick out my SUNDAY underwear?


MADELEINE: Uh, Mommy, can you do laundry today?  Because my THURSDAY underwear are still in my laundry basket!


MADELEINE: Mommy, you ALWAYS pick out my Saturday underwear on days that AREN'T Saturday!

One day, at school pick-up, the bell rang and Madeleine ran to where I was standing on the playground.  Instead of being greeted with a hug or a "hello," this is what I got:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  First of all: TOTALLY wrong underwear today, and secondly...

I actually don't even remember the "secondly" part, because my brain was so outraged by the recrimination over the underwear.  I mean, can she not just put the offending underwear back in her drawer and pick out the correct ones her own self?!?  Does she think that I'm going to have hurt feelings if she changes the underwear I picked for the "proper" ones?  Man, it's a good thing she gave me that dressing-down, because now I'll think twice before I pick out the wrong underwear for her.

This is how I know things have gotten out of control.  (As if the aforementioned isn't enough.) Sunday evening, after Ethan and I returned home from a rehearsal, I snuck into Madeleine's bedroom to lay out an outfit for the morning.  (Something I had asked her at least three times to do herself throughout the day, which she promptly ignored.)  Ethan walked by Madeleine's open bedroom as I was frantically rummaging through her underwear drawer in the dark.

ETHAN: Everything okay??
ME: (frazzled) I can't find her Monday underwear because I can't see anything in the dark!

Last night I tried something new.  I laid out Madeleine's outfit but no underwear, because although I'm pretty solid on her Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday underwear, I can't for the life of me remember the Tuesday ones.  I figured she can just get the underwear herself.  Like the 7-year-old that she is.


This morning Madeleine came out of her room holding the underwear she had just slept in.

MADELEINE: Mommy, wrong underwear!
ME: Honey, those are your Monday underwear.  You must have taken them off with your pajamas and then picked them up off the floor.

I mean, come on Madeleine!  Even *I* know they're your Monday underwear and that you JUST WORE THEM.  She just picked the dirty underwear up off the floor.  Without even realizing it.  Seriously, Madeleine, get it together with this underwear thing.

And even more seriously, it's definitely time she do this on her own.  I refuse to be an underwear slave any longer.  FREEDOM!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Victorian Era

Today, driving to church, I got to use a route that we haven't taken for ages, thanks to one of the most important roads between our town and the next being closed for 6 months.  Along the way, we remarked upon some sights that had changed since we last drove by.  I pointed out a grand old home that has since been painted hot pink.

ME: Woah!  Look at that color!
JULIA: I know, I was just noticing that.
MADELEINE: Wait, what was it?
JULIA: It was a bright pink Victorian house.
MADELEINE: What's a Victorian?
ME: A house that was built in the Victorian Era.
JULIA: Wait, Mommy, when WAS the Victorian period?
ME: I think, like, in the early 1900's.  Late 1800's into the early 1900's.
JULIA: Well Mommy?  The Mintz live in a Victorian house, but it was built in 1799.  But it, like, has turrets.
ME: Oh, okay.
JULIA: But wait.  Mommy?  If their house was built in COLONIAL times, but it's a Victorian style, what would you call it?
ME: I think houses are named by their architectural style and build.  So I guess you'd call it a Victorian.
JULIA: Okay, good.

I'm glad that I was able to reassure Julia about the historical validity of her imaginary family in their imaginary house.

Next thing I knew, Madeleine was trying to point out Victorian architecture.

MADELEINE: Wow, that BRIDGE looks like a Victorian bridge!  But...I really don't think like the ORANGE part.

I guess it's the bawdy color that stood out in Madeleine's mind as being related to the Victorian home painted hot pink.  Because I really don't see what's particularly Victorian about a bright orange concrete bridge over the turnpike.  Maybe it was built in 1799.  I'll have to check with the Mintz.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Another Gosh Darn Mouse

This evening, Auntie Shannon discovered a dead mouse in our garage.  For those of you unfamiliar with the great mouse fiasco of 2015,  all I can say as that at least it's not dead inside the house.

The girls have had wildly opposite, and completely characteristic, reactions to the newest dead mouse.  Madeleine immediately wanted to go and see it, and, as is her wont when looking upon dead animals, began fawning all over it.  It's so CUTE!  Awww!  Thanks to Madeleine, the dead mouse now has a name.  Clarabella.  It's a boy.  That's a pretty original name for a boy, although not an original name on the whole, given that Auntie Shannon has a dog named Clara Bell.

Julia, on the other hand, is terrified that mice are going to get into her room and crawl all over her at night.  I overheard Ethan trying to talk her down from her ledge.

ETHAN: Okay. Julia.  Listen to me because I'm only going to say this once.  I don't want to hear ANY freaking out about mice.  You don't need to be scared, it's ridiculous to be scared, so I want you to just calm down.
JULIA: But what if it gets in my room while I'm SLEEPING?
ETHAN: I think that's very unlikely.
JULIA: But can mice even climb stairs!??

By the time we were putting the kids to bed, Julia's mouse terror had expanded to a general, all encompassing anxiety spiral.  While she and I independently read silently in her bed, she persisted on chattering at me on an average of every 2-3 seconds.

JULIA: Mommy?  If an asteroid hit the earth, would, like, EVERY person on Earth die?
ME: Umm...if it was a big asteroid, it's pretty likely that nothing but the deepest sea creatures would survive.
ME: Well, you don't need to be scared.  Astronomers know how to keep an eye on that sort of thing and they haven't found any major asteroids on track towards Earth's orbit.

Two seconds of silence

JULIA: Mommy?  Do terrorists have, like, a REASON for terrifying other people?
ME: Usually, but I don't think that violence and terror is ever the right way to try and get what you want.

Two seconds of silence

JULIA: Mommy?  You know what I don't get?  Why, like, in an earthquake drill, did students have to hide under their desks?  That wouldn't really PROTECT them from the earthquake.
ME: I guess in case there was debris falling from up above, so they wouldn't get crushed.
JULIA: Boy am I glad we don't live in a place where there are lots of earthquakes.  That would be really scary.

Three seconds of silence

JULIA: Wait, I think I was thinking of volcanoes.  I don't know why I was- (with barely contained panic) THERE'S A BUG ON MY WALL!

I finally had her quiet and settled, immersed in her book enough, to leave the room.  Unfortunately, that was the same moment that Auntie Shannon, who had borrowed our car to grocery shop, pulled into the garage and accidentally leaned on the horn while grabbing her grocery bags.

JULIA: (running out of her bedroom, eyes wild)
ME: It was just the car horn.

I mean, at this point, when it's coming down to bugs and car horns, I think it's safe to just give up on Julia quelling her anxiety for the evening.  Let's just hope we can have a mouse-free day tomorrow.

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Madeleine started writing a poem called "Smile." Sounds like a happy, cheery title for an upbeat poem, right?


It's like Shel Silverstein meets The Shining.  Shudder.  That girl is not going to murder me in my sleep at all.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Either Or

So I thought it would be fun to play a very tame version of "Would You Rather" with the girls today.  What inspired it was Madeleine's desire to take, in her words, "basketball lessons," to learn the rules of how to play basketball.

ME: What if you could only choose one sport?  Would you choose basketball or swimming?
ME: Really?  But you keep saying you want to play basketball.
MADELEINE: But I *love* swimming!!
ME: Julia, what would you choose if you could only choose one?  Honors Chorus or swim team?
JULIA: (anguished silence)
ME: You can still do both.  Don't worry.  I'm just asking for fun.
JULIA: (still anguished) I don't knoooooooooow!
ME: If you HAD to choose.
JULIA: Both!
ME: Okay, let's move on.  Madeleine.  Summer track or swim team?
MADELEINE:  Swim team!
ME: Okay.  Julia.  Band or swim team?
JULIA: (anguished silence)
MADELEINE: Julia, you CAN'T pick both!
ME: But if you HAD to pick.
JULIA: (thoughtful silence)
ME: (waiting)
JULIA: Both!

A few moments later, Julia decided to turn the questions back on me in an attempt to prove how hard it was to choose.  Boy, did I show her wrong.

JULIA: (smugly) Okay Mommy.  Singing or running.
ME: Singing.
JULIA: (smugly) Flute or piano?
ME: Flute.

Then Madeleine took her turn.

MADELEINE: Me or running?
ME: YOU or running?  You, of course!
MADELEINE: I knew it!  Julia or running.
ME: Julia.
MADELEINE: Me or Julia?

Damn.  She got me.  I suddenly became a Julia.

ME: I could NEVER choose between you.  Both.

I just violated my own darn rules.  Way to go, Madeleine.  You called me out for the hypocrite that I am.

Monday, December 12, 2016


We have some serious First World Problems in the Rowe household.  We also have a competition in play: which Rowe daughter wins the award for the most Dramatic Over-Reaction?  Cast your vote here!

SCENARIO: A school morning, in which Julia attempts to do her own ponytail all by herself

JULIA: (sitting at the breakfast table, attempting to do her hair) ARRRGH!
ME: Do you need help?
JULIA: (stony silence)
ME: Okay.
JULIA: (emitting another wail of frustration)
ME: I can do your ponytail for you if you want.
JULIA: (stomping off to her bedroom)


JULIA: (shrieking in frustration from her room)
ME: (shouting down the hall) I'm happy to help you if you'd like.
JULIA: (from behind her closed bedroom door) NO!


JULIA: (re-entering the dining room, still trying to do her own hair)
ME: (silence)
JULIA: ARRRGH! (letting her hair fall down onto her shoulders) I'm just a FAILURE AT LIFE!

CONTESTANT #2: Madeleine
SCENARIO: We have just returned home from swim team practice.  Madeleine is happily chattering at me while buoyantly walking into the basement from the garage.  Julia, who is not feeling well, is in Auntie Shannon's room watching The Santa Clause 2.

ME: Put your wet swim stuff in the washing machine and then come upstairs for dinner, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: (non-responsive)
ME: (heading upstairs) Come on up for dinner!
MADELEINE: (sounds of whining echoing up from the basement)
ME: Madeleine!  Come upstairs!
MADELEINE: (breaking down into sobs, continuing to whine)
ME: Madeleine!  What is the problem??
ME: Madeleine!  Are you seriously crying because Julia is watching a movie without you?
MADELEINE: (sobbing) She's NEVER EVER gonna watch it again and I won't get to SEEEEEE it!

At this point Ethan intervened, going downstairs to try and talk some sense into Madeleine.

ETHAN: Madeleine, you don't need to cry just because Julia watched a movie while you were at swim.
MADELEINE: Julia and Auntie Shannon watched it ON PURPOSE because I'M THE WORST!

So, what do you think readers?  Is Julia a failure at life simply because she couldn't do her own ponytail?  Is Madeleine really the WORST, therefore causing her aunt and sister to DELIBERATELY watch a movie without her?  Or are they over-reacting?  Who is the bigger Drama Queen?  Cast your votes in the comments section!

Thursday, December 8, 2016


Julia and Madeleine have apparently collaborated on a project.  I recognize Julia's handwriting and Madeleine's artwork:

Hmm.  I don't know which of these "Medevil" fairies I would want flittering into my life.  Whose magic fairy dust would most successfully make my dreams come true?

Would it be Cassie, who looks like she's about to cry with tears of gratitude from finally being chosen?  Or Nora, whose magic seems to be good for making her ponytail defy gravity?  Or how about Petunia, whose fresh escape from a mental asylum will surely lead her to make rational decisions?  Perhaps I'd like help from Charlotte the Ice Queen, who totally isn't a conniving villain at all?  Maybe Kayley, who appears to have spiders growing out of her bushy hair, or Delia, who is clearly on some sort of amphetamines. Nah, I think I'll hedge my bets with Diana, who can't seem to take her eyes off of her phallus-shaped crown.

 Who am I kidding? This is the cream of the fairy crop here, so I really can't go wrong with any of these fairies, should I need them to grant me my truest wishes!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Madeleine Joins the Movement

Yesterday, as I was driving home from church, I passed by a young man and woman holding "Black Lives Matter" signs.  I honked my horn and gave them the thumbs-up, which prompted a discussion with the girls about the Black Lives Matter movement and the rise of hate crimes since Trump's election.  I explained that signs saying things like "Black Lives Matter" are not just a push for those in power to take these things seriously, but also a way of showing support to stand up against racism and prejudice.  Madeleine decided we need a sign for our house so we can proclaim our stance to the world.  Last night, in the middle of a rehearsal Ethan and I were having with our vocal quartet, Madeleine made our sign.  Despite the fact that we singers were in the middle of a piece, Madeleine ran up to the front of the church we were soon to perform at, brandishing her sign.  What do you think of it?:

"Black lives MATTER!  Dont just see a black person walking down the street and shoot them!"

With an evil-eyed heart holding a crossed-out gun in one hand and a check-marked "Black Lives Matter" sign in the other.

I think this sign will really make a difference, don't you?

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Bathroom Break at Church

From up in the choir loft today, I could see Madeleine wiggling back and forth up in the front pew of church.  A moment later, I saw her in conversation with Julia, then Madeleine went walking down the aisle towards the church doors.  Pretty certain that she was on her way to the bathroom, I left the choir loft to see if she needed a hand.  Turns out she did, because the main floor bathroom was in use, and she was feeling pretty desperate.  I hurried her downstairs with me to the bathroom in the lower hall.

MADELEINE: Thanks, Mommy!  That was taking forever waiting for the bathroom to be free.
ME: I'm glad you didn't try to hold it too long.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Mommy?  I didn't do the bathroom sign in sign language to Julia.  I just kind of...pointed at my CROTCH AREA, and, like...wiggled around.  And she said, "You have to go to the bathroom?" And I said, "Yes.  Will you come with me?" And she said no.

Yeah.  Why communicate in total silence with a sign language gesture you both understand when you can instead perform the totally appropriate gesture of pointing at your crotch area?  In the front pew.  At church.  Makes total sense.  Man, have I taught my children well, right?

Saturday, December 3, 2016


So, I'm not really sure what to think of the new book Madeleine started writing and illustrating today:


"A selcy song."

It's a bit reassuring that June is a selkie, I guess, because without that detail I might assume she was a drowned corpse floating along the river.

Arora borealis's"
"Hununges ice beargs"

Hmm.  June still looks like a corpse to me.  And she's obviously in some kind of danger, because July and Rita sure are rushing over to her in alarm.  Also, is July like Pig Pen from "Charlie Brown" or something?  What is that all over her face?  And finally, does anybody else think that one of these names doesn't belong?  June, July, and...Rita.

Here's the next page of the book:

"June's Secret!"

Either June doesn't have any secrets, or Madeleine got distracted and ran off to do something else instead.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Rowe Household Awards

The Rowe household awards of the day:


WINNER: Madeleine, sitting on the couch with her stuffed animals while background Christmas music played.

ME: Hey Madeleine?  Can you get dressed for school?  Did you pick out an outfit yet?
MADELEINE: Uh...I will, after Saoirse and Puff-Puff listen to this song.

Ah, yes, I can understand the urgency of having your stuffed seal and stuffed dog listen to the music in its entirety before you can focus on something like getting dressed.


WINNERS: Julia and Madeleine

MADELEINE: Julia, at school, this boy kept dabbing in his seat.  He was like (imitating the dab move) and he kept doing it!
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine.  That's NOT how you dab.
MADELEINE: This is how I do it (imitating the dab move again)
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine.  That is NOT dabbing.  Dabbing is like THIS (performing the move herself)
MADELEINE: Well Julia?  This is how I do it.  And this is how that boy was doing it.  It was really funny!
JULIA: No.  Madeleine.  That's NOT a dab.
MADELEINE: He was going like this in his seat, over and over again! (performing the move)
JULIA: Madeleine.  That is NOT how you dab.
ME: Okay, Julia, whatever.  Just let her tell her story.
MADELEINE: He was just doing it over and over again.  It was *really* funny!
JULIA: (scathingly) I don't think that's funny, Madeleine.

Julia.  SHEESH.  Just LET.  IT.  GO.  The dap doesn't bother you, anyway.


WINNER: Julia's cookbook

JULIA: Daddy, I'm making a cookbook!
ETHAN: With all the recipes you know?
JULIA: I looked them up!  Then I'm writing them down in different words so that I'm not COPYING them!

Okay, I see.  So, what, is she using synonyms in order to avoid plagiarizing?  "Join together the parched ingredients with the moist ingredients."  "Whack the saccharine and the grease together."  "Bake for 10 minutes or until nut-colored."  Or is she actually changing around the measurements and finding out what surprise result she gets?

I can't wait to read it.


WINNER: Madeleine's, over who the heck really knows what.

MADELEINE: Julia, will you play one game of Wii sports with me?
JULIA: No, because I'm galloping!
MADELEINE: Please, Julia?  Pleeeeease?
JULIA: I'm galloping!
MADELEINE: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease Julia?  Please please pleeeeeeeeeeeeease??
JULIA: Okay, fine.

Game begins

MADELEINE: Wow, Julia, you're really good at this!
JULIA: Thanks.
MADELEINE: (slightly panicked) Uh, Julia, can you please not win?
JULIA: Madeleine, it's not fun if you don't try to win.
MADELEINE: (more panicked) STOP it, Julia!  STOP beating me!
JULIA: Madeleine-

(sound of a remote being thrown across the room)

ME: Madeleine Emilia!  Turn off the Wii and get in your room. I don't like how you're talking to your sister.
ME: Turn off the Wii.
MADELEINE: (screaming) I *AM*!
ME: Go in your room and read some "Rainbow Magic Fairy" until you calm down.
MADELEINE: (choosing to hide under the desk instead)
ME: Madeleine, if you don't get up here by the time I get to "3" you're going to lose a Christmas present.
MADELEINE: (stomping upstairs)
ME: Go in your bedroom.
MADELEINE: (hiding in the bathroom)
ME: Madeleine, you're going to lose a Christmas present if you don't get in your room.
MADELEINE: (staying put in the bathroom)
ME: Okay, Madeleine, you've lost a present.  I'm going to donate one of the presents I bought you to Toys for Tots.  If you don't want to lose another one, you'll get in your bedroom right now.
MADELEINE: (running into her bedroom, sobbing)

Five minutes later

ME: (checking on Madeleine) Honey, you need to listen when I ask you to do something.  Right away.  Not hide and disobey.
MADELEINE: (sobbing hysterically) Mommy, please don't do this!  Please don't give a toy away!  Please, Mommy, pleeeeeeease!
ME: Honey, it's too late.  I told you what the consequence would be, and you decided to disobey.
MADELEINE: (clutching me) I need you to snuggle me! I need you!  I never see you anymore!  You're always busy!  I neeeeeeed you!  Snuggles!
ME: I have to cook dinner.  I can't do snuggles right now.

10 minutes later

ME: Okay, Madeleine, I can give you some snuggles now if you still want them.
MADELEINE: (coming to the couch and cuddling up with me.)
ME: You know I always love you no matter what, right?
MADELEINE: Oh, Mommy.  You're so emotional and EMBARRASSING.

Um.  Okay.  *I'm* the emotional and embarrassing one?  Right.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A New Version of An Old Hit

Julia is not ridiculous.

Now I have "Maca ONE Maca TWO Maca THREE Macarena!" in my head on loop.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wishful Thinking

The Christmas Kazoo continues in the Rowe household.  This morning, Madeleine got mad at Julia for singing along to Madeleine's Kazoo rendition of "We Three Kings." The fight ended with Julia storming into her room and shutting the door, while Madeleine sat at the dining room table forlornly blowing into her kazoo.

MADELEINE: Ugh!  I *can't* play it anymore!!  Julia messed me up and now I can't do it!  She was singing a TOTALLY DIFFERENT PART and now I can't remember how it goes!!

That's really rough.  How can one even get into the Christmas spirit when unable to play carols on the kazoo?!?

Madeleine's true Christmas wishes were dashed a second time today.  As Ethan and I were stringing lights on our outside bushes, Madeleine came out with an urgent question.

MADELEINE; Uh, Daddy?  Where's Mommy?
ME: (from behind a bush) I'm right here.
MADELEINE:. Oh!  Mommy?  How can I make a fairy come to our house?
ME: Uhhh...well...that would be kinda hard to do, because fairies aren't real.
MADELEINE: But I really, really want a fairy to come to our house!  Please?
ETHAN: Madeleine.  Are fairies real?
ETHAN: Then how do you expect to get one to come to our house?
MADELEINE: But I really WANT them to be real!!  So Mommy?  How CAN I get a fairy to come to our house?

This poor kid.  What a rotten day of crushed hopes.  No way to make fairies real to visit our house, no "We Three Kings" on the kazoo...seriously, what is even the point of hope if one cannot have those two hugely important wishes granted!??  Man, so far this Christmas season is a BUST.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Kazoo

Isn't this just *exactly* how you want to relax and enjoy some holiday music this Christmas season?  Complete with background Galloping Girl knocking ornaments off the tree:

Happy Holiday Season!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Style

Madeleine is rocking some serious Thanksgiving style today.

Decorative chocolate stains around the mouth:

And a pony tail hair extension attached to some unbrushed bed head:

There is so much to be thankful for, but this kooky kid is definitely up at the top of the list!  Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


Madeleine has been busy coloring in her "Enchanted Fairies" coloring book over the past few days.  Apparently, she is not just coloring the Fairies, but naming each fairy as well.




Madeleine also decided to draw creepy ghoulush heads on the blank sides of each fairy picture:

Nothing fits better with beautiful enchanted fairies than floating ghoul heads, right?

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Birthday Pool Party

Julia had her birthday party yesterday at the Boston Sports Club pool.  Among the guests were several friends from various swim teams, including both our summer team and the YMCA team.  I guess when you're out for a leisurely swim with your swim team friends, it's totally normal to just butterfly your way on down the pool:

In addition to free swim, the group got to play a few rounds of "Fishy, Fishy, Cross my Ocean," as well as take turns jumping into the deep end.  Since they couldn't dive, Julia was limited to a series of graceful leaps into the water, such as this one:

After the swim time, we headed into the party room for pizza and cupcakes, and I tried to get a picture of Julia's candle-lit cupcakes with a "1" and an "0" in them, but alas, just as I snapped the picture, she leaned her head forward and her bushy mane blocked my view.  Epic fail on my part at capturing the birthday girl blowing out her candles:

Julia had a great time celebrating with her friends, and is now the proud owner of the COOLEST, MOST STYLIN' BIRTHDAY PAJAMAS EVER:

She is totally turning 10 in style.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Amaricin Girl

The latest American Girl catalog came in the mail yesterday, which means it's time for the kids to make their own American Girl catalogs.  Rather than picking out things from the real catalog that they want to add to their Christmas list, the girls instead seem to get creative with their own doll ideas every time a new catalog comes.  You may remember Julia's hand-made American Girls with Disabilities catalog from last month, or various other dolls the girls have drawn over the years.  Today Madeleine embarked on a brand new American Girl doll idea: a pet orca!

Amaracin Girl Fall Catalog!

This catalog features "Girl of the year!" Adara and her gray orca buddy.  I always thought orcas were black and white, but apparently not THIS particular orca.  I decided to ask Madeleine about this.

ME: Can you tell me about this orca?
MADELEINE: It's a DOLPHIN I'm pretending it is.
ME: Oh.  How come you wrote "Orca" on here?
MADELEINE: I'm *pretending* it's a dolphin that Adara named "Orca."
ME: What made you want to make that?
MADELEINE: Because I love dolphins.
ME: Can you tell me more about Adara and her dolphin?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Soooo...Adara reeeeeally wants to sign up for a dolphin riding team.
ME: Where does Adara live?
MADELEINE: In the OLDEN days!  She lives in Atlanta because her dolphin riding team is in the Atlantic Ocean, but they built this thing...this they could only go to the shallowest parts, and the medium parts.  'Cause they didn't want it to be so deep that you would just go on and on and on and just be like, "Oh My God!" and then, like, DROWN.
ME: Does the Adara doll come with a dolphin?

Okay.  Well now I understand why "Orca" is gray.  Also, I wonder how Adara gets to the Atlantic Ocean if she lives in Atlanta.  That's not particularly near the coast, after all.  Furthermore, if she lives in Atlanta in the olden days, I would think she was more involved in helping run her family's slave plantation than in dolphin riding.  But I guess in the world of American Girls, anything is possible.

Madeleine is already acting out her own dolphin riding fantasy around the house.  I guess, in this case, though, she's using a stuffed orca that she's PRETENDING is a dolphin that she's PRETENDING she named "Orca":

Adara and Orca, the dolphin.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pretend Play at the Piano

Madeleine is deeply involved in a pretend play game with a necklace and a headband.  And a few Shopkins thrown in for good measure.  She is even making her own soundtrack by whistling in between action events.

Now that the headband and necklace have delivered the Shopkins safely to their destination (the piano), the Shopkins are struggling to cross the troll bridge (also the piano.)

SHOPKIN 1: We can DO this.
SHOPKIN 2: Waaaaait!  Waaaaaait!  I'm coming!
SHOPKIN 1: I thought you didn't wanna come.  How come you're doing that?
SHOPKIN 2: Because I thought we could do it after.  I just need to get across!
SHOPKIN 1: We just have to get a rope.  So I can rescue you if you get CAPTURED BY THE TROOOOOLLLL!  He looks pretty weird.
SHOPKIN 2: Okay, I'll cross.  (hopping from piano key to piano key, making random cat-on-a-piano music as it goes)
SHOPKIN 1: How did you DO that??
SHOPKIN 2: Come on.  Lead the way.  Uh...are you SURE you can do this?
SHOPKIN 1: Positive.  Come on.

Whistling resumes as the Shopkins line up at one end of the piano.

SHOPKIN 1: This is how the board ends.  I thought I could never get over the troll bridge.  But - I can!
SHOPKIN 2: Uh oh!  He's coming!
TOILET SHOPKIN: Oh no!  Flush me!
SHOPKIN 1: I've got a straaange feeling.
SHOPKIN 2: No strange feelings.  We've gotta MOVE!  Don't make any noises, okay? You're not supposed to.
SHOPKIN 1: If you come out alive from the troll bridge, then you get a badge.  But...we probably will get captured.  Trolls HATE Shopkins.  My mother always said: "Trolls and Shopkins CAN'T be together."
SHOPKIN 2: Come on.  Let's go.

Uh-oh.  The Shopkins just got captured.  We have to leave for a swim meet momentarily.  Will this game resolve or will the Shopkins be troll meat??

The Shopkin is dangling from the piano, awaiting rescue.  And it's time to go.  This game is *literally* ending on a cliff-hanger!  Gasp!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Craft Fair Success

The elementary school craft fair took place this weekend, and Julia sold all four of the picture books she made!  Madeleine, who for some reason was desperate to own "The Unstopable Friendship," was Julia's first customer.  As we walked home from the craft fair, Madeleine exclaimed excitedly, "I can't WAIT to get home and read 'The Unstoppable Friendship!". Sure enough, upon our return, Madeleine curled up with her new book, announcing, "That book was really good, Julia!" when she had finished.

Madeleine was so inspired by Julia's book that she decided to write her own friendship book.  As you can see, she is not copying Julia AT ALL:

Julia's book, "The Unstopable Friendship." Two friends holding hands atop the Earth.

Madeleine's book: "Friends Forever." Two girls holding hands atop a heart.

Julia's book is about a friendship that is sustained despite one friend moving from the East Coast all the way to San Francisco.

Madeleine's book is not the same at all.

MADELEINE: So, Mommy?  Jane and Sunset live in Mexico, but Sunset is moving to the other side of the Earth.  But...what country is on the other side of the Earth from Mexico?
ME: Uh, how about Japan?
MADELEINE: Okay!  But...wait.  Do they speak with, like, an ACCENT or in a different language in Japan?
ME: They speak Japanese.
MADELEINE: Oh, shoot.  I don't know how to say words in Japanese.
ME: How about Australia instead?  They speak English there.
MADELEINE: Okay!  That's perfect!  Because Mommy?  I only know how to speak in English and a LITTLE bit of Spanish.

Glad she got that settled.
I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Jane and Sunset manage to keep their friendship going despite being separated, but that's just a wild hunch.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Laser Tag Party

This evening, we went to our buddy Nate's birthday party at a laser tag joint.  Julia and I have played laser tag before, but it was a first for Ethan and Madeleine.  As we sat in the preparation room getting instructions for the game, Madeleine equated our two team game to our two-party political system.

LASER TAG ATTENDANT: So there will be two teams.  The red team and the blue team.
MADELEINE: Mommy!  Red and blue!  That's just like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton!

Thanks to a snafu, Ethan, Julia and I all got put on the blue team, and Madeleine was stuck on red.  Of course, Madeleine cried about this, so I had to leave the preparation room and sweet-talk the front desk attendant into putting Madeleine on the blue team.  The Democrats were reunited once again.  Stronger together.  (Except the red team won.  Just like Trump.  They're going to make laser tag great again.)

We got to play four rounds of laser tag.  I ditched Madeleine after the first round because she cried the whole time and was therefore seriously hampering my attempts to be a high-scoring winner.  Apparently Ethan was better company, because when I ran into her during a later round, she exclaimed happily, "Mommy!  This is actually getting FUN!"

After the fourth round, the kids got pizza and cake, and then had time to play in the arcade.  Madeleine traded in all her hard earned tickets to get this premium prize:

She named it Melon.  It was totally worth 30 tickets.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Discussing Presidential Duty

The kids and I discuss the election:

JULIA: Ugh, why oh why you did Donald Trump get elected?
ME: Well, hopefully if he does a really bad job, he won't be re-elected in four years.
MADELEINE: (with mild alarm) Wait.  Did he already sign up to try out for President again next time??
ME: Oh, well, no, not yet.  Who knows what will happen in four years.
MADELEINE: Mommy?  If you're the President, are you ALLOWED to decide, like, you don't LIKE it and you don't wanna do it anymore?
JULIA: Yeah, can the President quit?  Or can he only be impeached?
ME: Well, a president can resign, which means deciding to leave office.
MADELEINE: Oh, good.  Then I hope that's what Donald Trump decided to do.

Me too, kids.  Me too.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

School Craft Fair

The girls' elementary school has an upcoming Craft Fair, and while professional artists and craftsmen will be the main vendors, child artists are allowed to contribute.  Julia has jumped gung-ho into creating picture books to sell at the fair, and she has already completed a pile of books:

These books cover a range of topics; there's "Cathryn's Story: A Story about Dyslexia," there is an unusual friendship between "Owla and Penguina," there's the anguish of best friends being pulled apart into a long distance relationship in "The Unstoppable Friendship," and a seasonal heart-warmer, "The Thanksgiving Wish."  Julia has lovingly illustrated each page of these books as well as written each story, and even bought plastic slip covers from CVS to protect her hard work.  She even made a price tag, although she accidentally added one too many zeroes, announcing "$3000 for each book."  I talked her down to $1.00 per book, figuring most of the kids buying crafts from other kids would be on a pretty tight budget.

Madeleine has decided to add her own picture books to the fair.  As you can see, her standards are a bit different from Julia's:

Five pink dots's on a puppy!

This. looks. AWESOME.

Keep up the great work, girls!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Witches and Wizards

Madeleine has been reading "The Worst Witch" with me and "Harry Potter" with Ethan, and her imagination has gone into overdrive.  Behold the melded world she has created:

"Wiche's Shool Wizerd's Shool throo all the year's then Hogwart's!"

This title apparently does not have an acceptable short form, as Madeleine insists on referring to the title in full.

MADELEINE: Julia, when you're done with your homework, do you wanna play Witch's School Wizard's School Through All the Years Than Hogwarts??
JULIA: Uh, I don't really want to, Madeleine.

Thankfully, Madeleine found a more willing playmate when Ethan got home from work.

MADELEINE: Daddy!  Do you wanna play a game of a book I made up??  It's called Witch's School Wizard's School Through All the Years Than Hogwarts??  Julia didn't want to.
ETHAN: Uh...sure.

It was a wild romp through Hogwarts with some of Harry's friends and some characters from The Worst Witch.  I think all the wild action and adventure got Ethan nice and ready to start the bedtime routine without delay.  Luckily, we still have brooms lying in random places all around the house from Madeleine playing Witch's School Wizard's School Through All the Years Than Hogwarts all by herself in any spare moment she gets.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Madeleine's Puppet Show

Madeleine's spontaneous finger puppet show.

MADELEINE: I'm gonna put on a puppet show! 
(holding up her pinky finger) One finger went like this. 
(holding up her ring finger) This finger was his fliss - uh - This finger was his friend! 
(holding up her middle finger) This finger hated them. 
(holding up her pointer finger) This finger luh-huh-huvved them! 
(holding up her thumb) This finger made them all love each other!  Even though THIS finger (indicating her middle finger) hated them! 
(Putting her palms together) This finger made it TEN!  Neeeew friends!


MADELEINE: Mommy, did you like my dopey puppet show?
ME: It wasn't dopey, honey.  I liked how they all became friends.
MADELEINE: I *wanted* to do a dopey puppet show.  I wanted to do a dopey preschool puppet show!

Okay, well she kind of has a point there.  Speaking as a preschool teacher.  I could totally see that as preschool finger play.  I will refrain from commenting on whether or not preschool finger plays tend to be dopey. 

Monday, October 31, 2016


Happy Halloween!

Madeleine decided that she was not, in fact, dressed as Aly Raisman, but was instead the US Olympic Gymnast named Madeleine Emilia Rowe.  She even put on a performance for us, much to Greek Goddess Athena's amusement:

Hope you and yours all enjoyed your Halloween, however you spent it!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cardboard Houses Take Over the Basement

I think the girls have gotten out of control with their cardboard box houses.  They've got an entire neighborhood:

The highlight of this neighborhood is Julia's "Aplunda-Plunda Manor-unda" (pronounced "aploonda aploonda manoroonda).  Because the family figurines that the girls own already have their own cardboard houses, this mansion belongs to an imaginary family of of Asian-Americans who have extremely Westernized names like Malcolm, Cathy and James.  As you can see, the house is full of rooms inside:

Not only does the Manor-unda have 6 bedrooms and two guest rooms, but it also sports a play basement, a gym, a game room, and a movie theater.  The fun continues outside the house, with a swing set, a hot tub, a pool, and a trampoline:

Wow.  What a place.  This gives a whole new meaning to the notion of living in a cardboard box!!