Sunday, January 31, 2016


Madeleine's astute comment on one of the stickers she got from the cashier at Trader Joe's:

MADELEINE: Mama!  "I heart TJ's" can stand for "I heart Turtle Jeans!"
ME: Instead of "I heart Trader Joe's?"
MADELEINE: (recognition dawning across her face) Oh!  YEAH!

I vote that the store changes its name to Turtle Jeans stat.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Madeleine's New Board Game

Madeleine made a board game today called "Pop Maze." 

Uh, excuse me, I mean "Pop Mays":

How does one navigate oneself through this dangerous mays of dastardly skull and crossbones and bridges of fire (or perhaps sharp pointy stakes)?  It's all clearly written out in the instructions:

"Name Madeleine Last Rowe

thinck of your favrit numbr and that's houw meny block's you'll go"

It's surprisingly simple.  Or is it??  Madeleine succeeded in winning against Ethan when they played it together.  Somehow, Madeleine manages to make on-the-fly, last-minute rule changes that benefit her directly.  I also don't think Ethan was putting his whole heart into the game, so maybe he'll have to try again when his true competitive force is driving him.

At any rate, Madeleine is quite proud of herself, exclaiming confidently, upon finishing the game, "Wow, this is a REALLY GREAT game that I made!"

Want to play Pop Mays yourself??  Stop on by!

Friday, January 29, 2016

More Bedtime Reading

Well, a few posts ago, I foolishly thought that Julia interrupting my bedtime reading to tell me about two moths on her wall was as ridiculous as it gets.

But tonight she proved me wrong.

ME: (reading) "I'm not going to say things about you,' said Emily deliberately.  'I'm just going to think them.'  This was-"
JULIA: (tapping me)
ME: (putting the book down.) Yeeesss?
JULIA: Well....I *am* listening, but...WHY are there these circle WHITE things on everybody's thumbs?

She was pointing to the white area above her cuticle:

That is what she's thinking about as I'm reading "Emily of New Moon."  Her thumbnail.  And apparently the white area was so fascinating to her that she felt the need to interrupt my reading and get an answer RIGHT AWAY.  Unfortunately, I was at a complete loss for an answer, so before I knew it, I was putting the book down to go look up "nail: anatomy" on Wikipedia.  (From which I got the above image.)

I mean, I have always known that my kids have completely random thought patterns, but this kind of took things to a whole new level.  (And in case you're wondering, the answer seems to be that the older nail material becomes more translucent, so you can see the skin through it, while the newer material growing in is more opaque.)

I guess you learn something new every day.  Especially when you have very inquisitive children.

And then there's Madeleine.  After several minutes of her yapping at me while I was giving her bedtime snuggles, I attempted to quiet her down.

ME: I love you, my darling.  No more talking, okay?

(Two seconds of silence)

MADELEINE: Did you say "MORE talking??"

It's no wonder we're all exhausted around here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Various Conversations

Madeleine, putting a dark spin on a theretofore normal conversation, as usual:

MADELEINE: Mama?  When I was in preschool, I used to think that you could only have ONE best friend.
ME: No, you can have lots!
MADELEINE: Yeah, now I have lots of best friends.
ME: So do I.  My best, best friend is Daddy, but I have other best friends too, like Neva, and my sisters.
MADELEINE: And Mama?  Are me and Julia your best, best, BEST friends?
ME: Yes!  You are.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  And Yiayia, of COURSE, because she's your mommy.  And...of COURSE your Dad must be your best friend, know.

(Because he died?  Yep.  That's what she was thinking.)

ME: Yes, I really miss Grandpa.
MADELEINE: Mama?  I wish I could meet ALL the people from your family that died out.
ME: Me too.  I wish you could meet Grandpa, because he would have LOVED you.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  I have lots more grandpas than I think I have, because...some of them died out!

Yes, that branch of grandfathers that has, sadly, gone extinct.  Like the dinosaurs.

On another note, Julia herself made a comment on Madeleine's somewhat macabre sense of artistic style.

JULIA: Mommy?  Remember that song "Five Little Laps" that Madeleine made up?
ME: Yup.
JULIA: I don't know why, but I always just picture, like, these DISEMBODIED laps floating around when I hear that song!

Disembodied laps are certainly Madeleine's style, so I think Julia's mental imagery hits the mark.

Monday, January 25, 2016


MADELEINE: Mama?  Are you writing on your blog?
ME: No, I'm writing an email.
MADELEINE: Oh.  Well, when you're done, if you write on your blog, can you write something about me and Julia?
ME: That's usually the subject that I write about.
MADELEINE: Oh, good.
ME: Why?  What did you want me to write?
MADELEINE: Uh...well...maybe you could say, "Madeleine was talking to me, and she was looking at my Coffee-mate, and she read the word 'Neestull."
ME: Honey, that says "Nestle."
MADELEINE: Oh.  Well...could you just write "Neestull," because that's what I first said?


Speaking of reading, as I attempted to read a chapter of "Emily of New Moon" to Julia this evening, I found it nearly impossible to get through even the first page due to her constant interruptions.

ME: (reading) She was not frightened of twilight out-of-doors, but this shadowy, walled gloom made of the spare-room a place of dread.  The-
JULIA: I wouldn't be scared of just a ROOM.
ME: Well, she is.  (reading) The window was hung with heavy, dark-green material, reinforced by drawn slat-blinds.  The big canopied bed, jutting out from the wall into the middle of the floor, was high and rigid and curtained with dark draperies.  Anything might jump at her out of such a bed.  What if some great big black hand should suddenly reach out of it-
JULIA: Well, that DOES sound pretty scary.
ME: Mmm-hmm.  (reading) Emily dared not look at it for fear that was just what happened.  Didn't-
JULIA: Mommy?  Emily and I are a LOT alike.
ME: Mmm-hmm.  (reading) Then something did happen.  A beam-
JULIA: There are two moths on my wall.
ME: Honey, I'm trying to read this chapter to you, and you keep saying things and interrupting me. 
JULIA: Sorry.
ME: (reading) A beam of sunli-
JULIA: But I *always* say things!
ME: I know.  But I'm asking you to try not to.  (reading) A beam of-
JULIA: But I was just telling you that there are two moths on my wall!
ME: Okay.  But how about no more talking unless it's an emergency.  (reading) A beam-
JULIA: But I was just showing you the moths.
ME: Yes, but it makes it really hard to read when you keep interrupting.  (reading) A be-
JULIA: Yeah, it's hard for Daddy too.
ME: (putting the book down and waiting in silence)
JULIA: (chagrined) Okay, I'll just put my head under my blanket and not talk anymore.
ME: You don't have to put your head under your blanket.  Just the not talking part is all I need.

She managed to stay mum for at least two or three pages, so that the story could progress a bit before the questions and comments began anew.

Saturday, January 23, 2016


The girls are playing Headbanz, the game in which each player has a card inserted into a headband on her head, and the players must ask questions about their cards in order to correctly guess what item is pictured. 

The game is going without a hitch so far.

MADELEINE: Am I a person?
JULIA: No. a WAY.  You *look* like a person, but you're not alive.
MADELEINE: Am I...uh...clay??

JULIA: Am I an object?
MADELEINE: Uh...I don't really know what that means.
JULIA: Madeleine, an object is, like, a THING.
JULIA: Am I a household object?
MADELEINE: Uh...I don't really know what that means.

MADELEINE: Am I alive?
MADELEINE: Am I an animal?
MADELEINE: Am I...a cow?
MADELEINE: Do I have spots?
JULIA: No.  Well, you CAN.
MADELEINE: Am I...a horse?
MADELEINE: Am umbrella?
ME: (intervening, even though I shouldn't) Honey, you already know you're an animal.
MADELEINE: Oh, yeah! I eat fish?
ME: (intervening yet again) You eat lettuce.
MADELEINE: Oh!  Am I a donkey??

JULIA: Am I an animal?
MADELEINE: don't...I think...uh, you're kind of, like...uh, I don't know. 

MADELEINE: Am I alive?
MADELEINE: Am I in nature?
JULIA: Yes!  Madeleine, you already ASKED that!
MADELEINE: Oh. I in nature?
JULIA: You already ASKED that!!
MADELEINE: Oh! I a leaf??
MADELEINE: Am I something that we would KICK outside??

I am beginning to think we need to play this game with an adult facilitator on each side.  Otherwise, it's going to take an eternity for each girl to get through all their cards. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

More Musings

Random musings from Madeleine at bedtime:

MADELEINE: Mama?  You can still kiss someone if they're DEAD,'s in your MIND, so you can just keep kissing them forever and ever.
ME: (having no idea what she's talking about) Yeah, you're right.
MADELEINE: Mama?  I'm GLAD that Daddy has a big tummy, because if he ever got a tummy, like, the size of OURS, I would be really sad!
ME: Oh yeah?  Why do you love Daddy's tummy so much?
MADELEINE: Well...because...well, it LOOKS good.  And there's just something really SPECIAL about it.
ME: Does it make Daddy extra cozy to snuggle with?  Because he's got a nice cushion for a tummy?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Well...PROBABLY.  Well...I guess so.  Well...not really.  It's just...there's just something really SPECIAL about it.

I think that Ethan feels an entirely different sentiment about his belly, but at least he can take comfort in the fact that Madeleine has a special place in her heart for Daddy's big tummy.  (And I have to agree with Madeleine that Daddy looks good.  I have no problems with the way my handsome husband appears.)

And then there's this kid:

ME: Julia, I'm reading this really cool book right now about the sport of freediving.  In freediving, people see how far below the ocean they can go while just holding their breath.  The people can hold their breath for, like, ten minutes!
JULIA: (not impressed) Lilly Mintz can hold her breath for two hours!

Well, pshaw.  If Lilly Mintz can hold her breath for that long, who the heck do these freediving competitors think they are??  Not a prayer, guys.  Not.  A.  Prayer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Madeleine the Macabre

I truly think that Madeleine may be the most macabre child on the face of the earth.

Last night, Julia put on "Full House" to watch with Auntie Shannon before bedtime, while Madeleine sat in the room playing a game on her tablet. 

JULIA: (cracking up over Joey and Uncle Jesse trying and failing to put a diaper on Michelle)
AUNTIE SHANNON: Julia, just WAIT 'til you see what they do to her.
MADELEINE: (looking up dazedly from her tablet) Kill her?

Yes, Madeleine.  That's exactly the kind of family-friendly thing that would happen on a show that your baby-sitting auntie lets you watch.  Oops!  Those befuddled dopes of uncles accidentally strangled their niece with her diaper!

Now, I'm no fan of "Full House" myself, and I remember having a particular distaste for the character of Michelle back in my youthful days of watching the show, but even I think that having the uncles kill her would be going a bit too far.  Apparently, Madeleine disagrees enough to find it a plausible plot line.

Hmmm.  Maybe that's why the Olsen twins are not planning to partake in the soon-to-be "Fuller House" series.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Madeleine Says...

The things Madeleine says.  To other people.  That she sometimes barely even knows.

When I was walking down to the Sunday School classroom to pick up the kids after church this weekend, I overheard Madeleine piping up in response to something her teacher had said about exercise.

MADELEINE: My daddy exercises, but...he doesn't get SKINNY, because he eats too much desserty things.

Later on, I asked Madeleine what brought her to make the above comment.

MADELEINE: Oh.  'Cause we were talking about Saint Anthony.  How he exercises.
ME: What kind of exercises does he do?
MADELEINE: He does Saint stuff!  Like helping people.

Whether the Sunday School discussion had been about exercising or exorcising is now unclear to me.

Moving along to this morning, Madeleine had a play-date at the house of a new friend from swim team.  Apparently the subject of what her parents do came up, as the friend's mother reported to me that Madeleine told them "Mommy teaches piano lessons, and Daddy just has a regular job."

I discussed this with Madeleine after the play-date.

ME: Did you say that I also teach preschool?
MADELEINE: Uh, no.  I forgot.  Because...I can never remember all the jobs you do.
ME: Oh.  And what kind of regular job does Daddy do?
MADELEINE: Uh...his work?
ME: But what kind of work does he do at his job?
MADELEINE: Regular work.
ME: What kind of regular work?
MADELEINE: Uh...he makes money for us?
ME: Doing what?
MADELEINE: His computer?
ME: Right. 
MADELEINE: Wait.  Mama.  Does Daddy *really* do work with computers?
ME: Yes.  Daddy is a computer programmer.
MADELEINE: Oh!  Mama!  I was just GUESSING!

And, finally, Madeleine brought up the subject of Ethan's shovelling-related busted knee this evening, in an attempt to understand how he had hurt himself today.

MADELEINE: Poor, poor Daddy with his poor, poor knee.
ME: I know, I feel so bad for him.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  How DID he hurt his knee?
ME: I don't know.  I don't think he really knows.  Maybe he twisted it.
MADELEINE: But Mama.  How DID he do it?
ME: He doesn't know.  It just started hurting when he was shovelling and now it hurt to walk.
MADELEINE: Maybe...he was shovelling too much.  Or...mmmm...maybe he got a certain kind of frostbite.  Because...I bet there's a LOT of different KINDS of frostbite!

Right.  He got the kind of frostbite that doesn't go away even when indoors and half a day has passed.  That's why he's still hobbling around.  The worst thing for Ethan is that now he is unable to ride his stationary bike, so he can't do his usual daily exercise.  I guess he's REALLY not gonna get skinny now.  Unless he can exorcise his demons and stay away from all the desserty foods.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Dioramas Galore

Well, after working hard for the past few weeks, Julia has nearly finished her State Fair diorama.

Behold, Blanchard Springs Caverns in Arkansas:

The diorama boasts stalactites, stalagmites, a pool of mineral water, and a glittering boulder.  Drawn in on the back wall, resembling a bunch of poop nuggets, are flowstones; Julia eventually did research and read about flowstones and was able to incorporate them into her project.

Julia is extremely proud of her self-made state label.  "Mommy?  I'm gonna draw a honeybee, because that's the state INSECT."  This is a kid who knows what matters.

It wouldn't be the Rowe household without a little sister emulation.  Madeleine is now working on her very own diorama.  Of all the possible places in the world to reconstruct, Madeleine has chosen:

Blanchard Springs Caverns.  Complete with the hanging nuggets of poop.

You can probably guess how Julia feels about this.  I'll give you a hint: Julia clearly does not feel that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

JULIA: But Maaaadeleine! I don't WANT you making the same thing as me!  I want mine to be UNIQUE!

I asked Madeleine about her intentions.

ME: Madeleine, why did you want to make the same thing as Julia?
MADELEINE: Because I *like* Julia's a LOT!  (thoughtful) And...I also always wanted to learn to SEW.

The queen of two completely unrelated thoughts strikes again.

So, now that I have aided one child in completing a diorama, I find myself stuck recreating the entire experience.

MADELEINE: (knocking on the shower door) Uh, Mama?  Can you take a really QUICK shower, because...I need help opening the krazy glue!

Blanchard Springs Caverns 2.0, here we come!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Piano and Singing

This afternoon after school, Madeleine was twirling around the living room belting out a made-up song.  Midway through her singing, she randomly decided to practice her piano, but did that stop her song from going on?  Nope!  Why NOT practice one song while singing another impromptu song on top of it?:

And on the repeat, Madeleine altered the song by putting on the quiet pedal, but she certainly didn't quiet her own voice:

Poly-tonality rocks!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Madeleine's Unique Pronunciations

Madeleine is suddenly learning that some of her word pronunciations aren't quite correct.

MADELEINE: Mama?  Why do street signs say "A-V-E" for abenue, when there's not even any "V" in abenue?
ME: There is a "v" in "avenue," honey.  It's pronounced "AVENUE," not "ABENUE."
MADELEINE: Oh!  I always thought people were saying "abenue."  And, like, I was so confused why the signs say "a-v-e!"

MADELEINE: Mama?  Does cheese have protein?
ME: Yes.
MADELEINE: And cheese has dairy.  I had protein and dairy today, because you packed me pizza for lunch!
ME: Were you so excited when you saw I packed you pizza?
MADELEINE: Well, Mama?  When I first saw the tin-thoil, I was like, "Huh?  Is this someone ELSE'S tin-thoil?"  But then I opened it up and I was like, "Oh, yay!  The PIZZA!"
ME: What did you just call it?  Tin what?
MADELEINE: (with utter confidence) Tin-thoil.
ME: Tinf-f-foil.  Not tin-thoil.
MADELEINE: Oh!  I always thought it was tin-thoil!

MADELEINE: (singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas") And a partridge jingle pear tree...
ME: What is it?  A partridge what?
MADELEINE: "Jingle pear tree."
ME: Do you know it's not really "jingle pear tree?"
MADELEINE: Uh, I can't remember what it really is.
ME: It's "in a pear tree."
MADELEINE: "Gin a pear tree?"
ME: No "gin."  "IN a pear tree." 
ETHAN: (showing her the sentence "a partidge in a pear tree")
MADELEINE: (reading aloud) "A a pear tree.  What???"

I know, I know.  It makes so much less sense than "jingle pear tree."  No wonder the real words are so confusing to her.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Reading and Questions

For Christmas, I got Madeleine the first chapter book in a series called "The Critter Club."  Because Madeleine has been delighted by her newly acquired reading skills, I thought she might enjoy trying to read a chapter book all by herself.  The book was an even bigger hit than I imagined it would be.

Madeleine finished the final chapter on the way to church last weekend, and immediately begged me to buy her the next in the series. 

For a bit of back story, the girls and I had recently had a discussion about Shopkins and the current craze surrounding them.  Julia and Madeleine had been examining Julia's Shopkins poster, upon which Julia can check off which Shopkins she already owns, to figure out which ones she still needs to collect.

ME: That's kind of the sneaky trick the company uses to make money.  They make kids feel like they need to collect all the Shopkins, so that they'll beg their parents to buy more and more of them.
MADELEINE: Oh, yeah, so then parents will spend MONEY buying them!

Madeleine applied the same logic to her book series.  Upon finishing book 1, she exclaimed, "Mama, I figured out the sneaky way these BOOKS try to make money.  By making the books so GOOD that you want to just BUY the next one!"

I have a very different opinion about spending money on a book that encourages my child to read independently, versus spending money on little plastic figurines that look like personified items you can buy in the grocery store.

At any rate, I bought Madeleine the next two books in the series, and just a week later, she has already practically finished reading book 2.  She is so proud of herself, and feels like she finally has a leg up on Julia, in that Julia has never read this series.

MADELEINE: So, Mama.  I thought that after I read all the "Critter Club" books, that maybe Julia would like reading them.  So it can be just like "Harry Potter," how Daddy read all the books to Julia and now he's reading them to ME!

Unfortunately, Julia does not share Madeleine's enthusiasm.

JULIA: But they would be too EASY for me.

What a totally older-sister thing to say.  Sheesh.

Apparently all this reading is giving Madeleine even more food for thought.  Some of the various questions she has randomly asked me lately include:

"Mama?  How does someone who's NOT an athlete get athlete's foot?"

"Mama?  Why is that bank called 'Brookline Bank' if we don't live in Brookline?"

"Mama?  What if someone had a baby in her tummy, and the baby popped up, and then more and more babies just kept popping up?  Then, would it be INFINITY babies? Because infinity does that too?  It goes higher and higher.  It means, like, more and more and more and more and never stopping."

Keep up the reading, Madeleine, and you may find the answers to your infinite (pun intended) questions!

Friday, January 8, 2016

3D Fun

This morning, Madeleine became, all of a sudden, intensely engrossed in the 3D art activity book Yiayia had given her for Christmas.  Instead of eating her breakfast, she spent her morning gazing through her 3D glasses and exclaiming in wonder about everything she saw.

MADELEINE: Mama?  I used to think these kind of glasses were LAME, because they don't really DO anything, but now I realized they're COOL!
ME: Oh yeah?  What's so cool about them?
MADELEINE: Because they make you see in RAINBOW!

Several minutes later, bagel still half eaten:

MADELEINE: (gasping in awe) It works on lights and trees and doors!  It works on EVERYTHING.  Except for dark things.  Well, it KIND of works on dark things. 

Several minutes later, bagel STILL half eaten:

MADELEINE: (gazing down at one of the pages in her activity book) Wooaaah!  Totally and completely AWESOME! 

Several minutes later, bagel untouched:

MADELEINE: Wow!  I *love* this thing!

I can certainly see what all the excitement was about.  Not only did she get to see in rainbow, but she got to rock this "totally and completely AWESOME" look, to boot!:

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Arkansas, Cont.

As Julia works on her Arkansas state project, both girls offer profound thoughts on the state.

MADELEINE: Mama.  What did the people of Arkansas say to each other?
ME: What?
MADELEINE: Let's get some ArkanSAUCE!

JULIA: I thought of another nickname for Arkansas!  I'm gonna call Arkansas the "Twosie State!"  Because there are TWO words in the capital, two state songs, and two nicknames! naming it the "Twosie" state, Julia has ironically given it THREE nicknames.

Also, I'm surprised she didn't try and name it the "Frenchy" state.

Today I helped Julia with some of her research on the subject of her diorama, Blanchard Springs Caverns.  I had her take notes while I read to her from some online sources, and when I happened to glimpse her notes this evening, I realized it might have been better for her to read herself rather than listen to me read aloud.

ME: The cave remains a steady 58 degrees year-round.
JULIA'S NOTES: "The cave stays 58% year long."

ME: It is referred to as a "living cave," because the rock formations are always changing and growing.  The rock formations are made by dripping water that deposits minerals.  The kinds of formations that are found there are stalactites, stalagmites, and...hmm.  Something called flowstones.  Okay.  So write that down, but circle flowstones so you remember that you have to research what that means.  I don't know what flowstones are.  So, just circle flowstones for now.
JULIA'S NOTES: "The formations were made by dripping water that deposits minerals to make formations like stallactites & stallagmites.  Circle flow stones.  3 levels of caves, and there are trails in the daves tourists can take by a trail guide."

So, I think Julia has a little ways to go before she's ready for note-taking during an academic lecture.  But at least she got MOST of the important information down from what I read to her!

Monday, January 4, 2016

State Fair

Julia, with her current LOVE of the geography and cartography of the United States, is thrilled that it's almost time for the Third Grade State Fair.  Each third grader at her school will report on one of the fifty states, as well as create a diorama of one of the state's important landmark.

Julia was assigned the glamorous state of Arkansas.  Apparently, it was her third choice out of five.  (The first, second, fourth and fifth being Lousiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and New Mexico.) 

ME: Julia, what made you want to learn about Arkansas?
JULIA: I don't know, I just feel like it's, kinda, like, FRENCHY there.

Ah, yes, Arkansas: the Francophile capital of the United States.

Before the holiday break, Julia came home with a thick packet of instructions for how to go about planning her project, as well as several pages worth of check-lists and planning prep.  Apparently, Julia didn't feel this was worth looking through.  I had recently bought a pair of dress shoes, and I offered her the empty box to use for her diorama.  She was delighted, and immediately hurried away with it.

I happened to glance over at her with the box and one of her new "metallic" markers that she got for Christmas, and approached as she was writing this inside the box:

"Fact!  The name Arkansas comes from a French word that means"

ME: Julia.  What are you doing?  That's not actually a true fact.  "Arkansas" is not a French word.
JULIA: (face falling) Oh.  I thought it was.
ME: Honey, you have to do actual research before you start working on your diorama.  You can't just write random made-up facts inside the box.
JULIA: But I thought that was true!
ME: Honey, you have to confirm your facts by doing the research.  Remember how you got a packet with a bunch of pages to use for planning, before you start your project??
JULIA: Ohhh.  (chagrined) I *forgot* we're supposed to PLAN.

I guess she just really wanted Arkansas to be Frenchy.

Anyway, I came up with a way to salvage the project.  I had Julia do some research on the Blanchard Springs Caverns in Arkansas.  She has started on her diorama, and in order to make it a cave, she got to conveniently use black construction paper to cover the insides of the box.  (Including her BS "fact.")
Take a look so far:

Ta-da!  You'd never know she had written something completely not true inside!

I can't wait to see how the rest of the planning goes...

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Magician Madeleine

Ethan's old college roommate is up visiting from down south, and we had a bunch of college friends and their significant others over to reunite this evening.  This meant, of course, that the girls wanted to monopolize all attention and conversation.  Madeleine decided to put on a magic show, and after repeated performances, was told to hold off on more tricks.  When she insisted on yet another card trick, I took her aside to ask if she could show it to me.

MADELEINE: Well, I really want to show it to THEM.
ME: Well, can you just explain to me how you're going to do the trick, while the grown-ups have a few minutes to talk?
MADELEINE: Well, I don't really PLAN OUT how I'm gonna do the trick, I just kind of...PLAN it while I'm DOING it.

I'm sure that gives you a sense of how smooth her tricks were. 

In case you would like to see one of the Magnificent Madeleine Magician's tricks, I will share this video:

I still can't figure out how she made the card disappear.  AMAZING.