Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Yesterday afternoon, Julia got her braces on:

It's pretty much a bummer.  Her mouth hurts, she can't eat anything that isn't solid, she has a palette expander on the roof of her mouth that food keeps getting stuck in, and she has lispy speech.  The orthodontist heaped praise on her for being such a trooper during the procedure.  The dental assistant heaped praise on her for being such a trooper during the procedure. I heaped praise on her for being such a trooper during the procedure.  I gave her extra hugs, arm strokings, and squeezes just to support her in a tough time.  Friends and aunties made a big deal about how cool her braces look.

Somebody is very jealous.

MADELEINE: (on the way to the orthodontist) Julia?  You're gonna look WEIRD in braces.

MADELEINE: (upon leaving the orthodontist's office) Mommy?  Is Julia going to get ALL the attention now that she has braces?

MADELEINE: (during the car ride home from the orthodontist) Julia?  You sound really WEIRD when you talk.  You sound like a DUCK.  (lower lip drooping) I don't LIKE the way you sound when you talk now.  I miss the OLD Julia's voice.

MADELEINE: (also during the car ride home from the orthodontist) Mommy?  You said Julia would look cute in braces, but she doesn't.  She looks WEIRD.

MADELEINE: (today, after Julia struggled to eat her breakfast and was in mouth pain, causing me to give her Advil) Mommy?  Why is Julia getting ALL the attention?

MADELEINE: (after Julia beat her at Wii tennis) ARGH!  Julia!! You ALWAYS get EVERYTHING!  (throwing the Wii remote and causing the backing to come off and the batteries to spill all over.)

MADELEINE: (on the way to swim team today) Mommy?  How come EVERYBODY has braces that we know?
ME: Almost nobody has braces that we know.

I reminded Madeleine that she is usually the one being fawned over and doted upon, as she is little and pretty stinkin' cute, so it's kind of only fair for Julia to get our attention when she's going through the first few days of braces.  But since Madeleine is still jealous, I can at least promise her that she'll have her own day in the sun.  I'm pretty sure she'll be needing braces down the line, and she gets all that drooly, spitty, achy-mouthed, speech impedimenty fun in her own future!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

More Conversations

Walking to the car after free swim at the pool today, I noticed Madeleine engaging in her icky habit of sucking on her hair.

MADELEINE: (sucking on her pigtail as we walked to the car)
ME: Get your hair out of your mouth, honey.
MADELEINE: (still sucking on her hair, staring at me blankly)
ME: Hair out of your mouth.  Yuck.
ME: Well, for one, you have chlorine all over your hair right now, and chlorine is not really great to have inside your body.
MADELEINE: Hmm.  Maybe THAT'S why it wasn't tasting very good.
ME: Well, it shouldn't ever taste good.  Why do you like to suck on your hair?  It's gross.
MADELEINE: Well, I think it doesn't taste good because I didn't shower yet.  After I shower, it tastes all smooth and fresh and WARM...

Ew.  I just don't get it.

And speaking of not getting it, here was our conversation on the drive home:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  What do the numbers on peoples' houses mean?
ME: That's their address.
JULIA: You know how, like, we're number 9?
MADELEINE: But I still don't understand.  When someone calls us, they don't just dial nine...
ME: That's different, honey.  When people call us, they dial our phone number.  Our address is the number of the house we live at.  It's what number the house is on our street.
MADELEINE: But I still don't get it.  Then why don't we have the same number as our neighbors?
ME: We have the same street name, but not the same number.  We all need different numbers so that if the postal worker is delivering mail, or if someone is coming over to a play-date, they know which house on our street is our house.  Each house has its own number.
MADELEINE: (brow wrinkled in thought) Wait a minute.  Let me see if I understand this.  Does every house on our street have a different ANGLE of facing NORTH?

Oh boy.  Way to make a pretty uncomplicated concept way over complicated.  To top it all off, after I re-explained what the number of our house means, Madeleine dismissed the whole topic by saying, "Ugh.  Never mind.  It's too confusing for me."

From number 9 angle facing north, this is Courtney signing off.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quotes of the Day

Some of the best quotes and conversations with Julia today:

JULIA: Mommy?  I'm like Louisa May Alcott, because a lot of times ideas for a story just POP into my mind, and I start PLANNING, like, the words I'm gonna use and how I'm gonna write it!

And speaking of writing a book...

JULIA: Mommy?  I pretend that Lilly Mintz has, like, a thingy called a PUBLISHER machine, where you, like, publish books for one copy and it has a hard cover and stuff.  So, a lot of times, I think of books that SHE wrote that I want to write.

And speaking of the Mintz...

JULIA: Mom?  You know what?  All of the Mintz have blonde hair or strawberry blonde hair, but only TWO of their cousins do.

Wow!  That sure is odd that the imaginary cousins of an imaginary family share only a small percentage of the imaginary family's hair color genes.  How is that even scientifically possible?!?

And here's what has been on Madeleine's mind:

MADELEINE: (looking up pictures of Harry Potter characters on the tablet) Woah.  Wait.  Why are they showing me Voldemort?  (thoughtful)  Voldemort kind of looks like Donald Trump.

And completely unrelated to anything having to do with Harry Potter or Trump:

MADELEINE: Mommy?  How do animals get MARRIED?
ME: Well, animals don't really get married.  They don't have a marriage ceremony.
MADELEINE: Then how do animals have babies?
ME: Well, in the animal world, it's different from with humans.  Animals don't get married.  They find something called a "mate."
MADELEINE: So Mommy?  Like, does a girl animal look for a BOY animal, and then if they REALLY like each other, then they have babies?  And they just don't do the marriage ceremony?

Yup, that's what they do if they really..."like" each other.  I mean, that's about as clear an explanation as one can get without getting into the Facts of Life, so I'll leave it at that!  Thanks for answering your own question so satisfactorily, Madeleine!

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Palm Tree

Madeleine, upon spying Auntie Caitlyn's latest purchase from the grocery store: "Mommy! When did we get a palm tree??"

Do you like our new palm tree?  It's got kind of a round trunk for my liking, and it's a little small, but at least it adds a little tropical flavor to our house, right?

Friday, June 17, 2016

School Drawing Journal

Well, today was the last day of third grade and kindergarten for the girls!

Their backpacks were laden with even more notebooks, folders and school projects just waiting to be added to the clutter at our house.  Among these notebooks was Madeleine's drawing journal. 

Here are some of the most disturbing and deranged of her free drawings:

I will refrain from even giving this image a title:

Little Girls About to Be Consumed By Fire

Alien Octopus Getting His Tentacles Scrubbed By A Swimming Pig

The Angel of Death conducts Celestial Choir Practice

The Alien Octopus Sends His Furry Mate Out Exploring

Two Birthday Cakes, In Between Which is a Venus Fly Trap About to Chomp a Postal Worker Cat.  (You know, just your average birthday celebration. NBD.)

Christ on the Cross

A Boston College student Ready to Take On Harry Potter, While in the Background a Ghost Vomits Out a Girl-Eating Snake

Apparently, Not a Good Day to Be a Mermaid

Way to go, Madeleine.  You have succeeded in creeping me out more than ever.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Kindergarten Party

While yesterday was a big day for Julia's third grade class, today was the class party for kindergaten, so Madeleine had her turn to present to the class and parents.  The party started off with the kindergarteners taking their parent around the classroom to view their portfolios of work. 

Afterwards, each kindergartener briefly presented what he or she wants to be as a grown-up.  Madeleine has wisely changed her mind from being a basketball teacher to something more suited to her skill set.  Also, if you notice her not getting up to present for several seconds, it's because she was spacing out when it was her turn and her teacher had to call her to attention.  Classic Madeleine.

After the presentation, we got to take home our child's folders full of classwork from the year, and I have greatly enjoyed perusing Madeleine's writing work.  A few of my favorite of the "On the Weekend/Vacation" responses are below.

We have the ones Madeleine put a lot of effort into writing, spelling, and drawing, like this one:

"On the weekend I went to a reahersal and a consert."

This would have been the 100th Anniversary Church Choir concert at our church.  I see she even drew the singers with our faces obscured by our black folders, up on the red-carpeted altar.  I'm not sure what Julia is doing in a diagonal plank on the picture on the bottom left, though I can definitely tell she and Madeleine are reading/using the tablet in the right-most picture.  Which is what they did, even during the performance.

We have the responses in which Madeleine clearly didn't feel like investing her full energy on coming up with an answer:

"On vacation I had a tun of play-date's went to a birthday-party, and I can't reamemder."

Don't feel like elaborating on what else you did?  Just say you can't reamemder and draw a question mark in a box!  Mix up your lower case "b" and "d" while you're at it, even though you don't ever have a problem differentiating them.  Done!  Hand it in!  Must-do work is FINISHED!

Then we have the entries that are about such completely mundane events that I can't understand why Madeleine would even want them to be representative of her weekend:

"On the weekend I went to trader-Joes with my antea's and my sister and got the good dineisor bandade's at c.v.s."

Now THAT'S worth reporting on.  Also, I appreciate the fact that Madeleine found her own alternate way to spell "auntie" that differs from Julia's evolving attempts back in first grade.

Finally, Madeleine had a recent entry about Auntie Caitlyn's wedding.  However, based on the outfits the characters are wearing in the picture, I'm pretty sure she didn't even bother to include Caitlyn or Chad in the drawing:

"On the weekend I went to a weding and a weding reahersal."

On the right, it's clearly the flower girls at the wedding.  On the left, it's Father John, me (or at least I assume, since I wore a black dress to the rehearsal, and Auntie Caitlyn was wearing white), and Madeleine (in her flowered sundress that she wore.)  Madeleine did a great job showing the weding and weding reahersal completely from her own perspective, all right.

As the school year comes to a close, I can't wait to see what kind of work the girls do in first and fourth grade next year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Poetry Cafe

Today I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Grade Poetry Cafe in Julia's classroom.  This is the culmination of the past month's poetry unit, and each student in the class got to choose a poem from his or her own album to read aloud.  Julia had a lot of poems to choose from, but it may come as no surprise that she went with the one about:

 Along with this poem was an "About the Author," read by one of Julia's classmates, but written by Julia.  Here's what was announced:

"Julia Rowe loves to read and write.  She also enjoys playing the piano and singing.  She has written many poetry and fiction books at home.  She is currently writing a story that she hopes to get published some day.  She hopes to become an actress, author, or a historian when she grows up.  She is very interested in history.  She has a six-year-old sister named Madeleine.  She likes going on swings and spending time with her family and friends."
At the end of the reading, Julia and one of her classmates got to read a poem they had written together:

I also got the chance to read through Julia's entire album of poems, and I think my favorite one is the following:

Julia is the master of simile in this poem.  Next, I hope she'll write a poem full of metaphor, so that she can prove her extensive knowledge of the fact that a metaphor is "when you say that something is something."

Bravo, Julia!!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Flower and Teeth

One of Madeleine's kindergarten friends gave her a flower from her own bouquet after the Kindergarten Talent Show last week.

I don't want to get Madeleine all worked up, but I think it's time to chuck her flower.  It has certainly seen better days:

I appreciate the innovative means by which Madeleine has attempted to resuscitate her flower, including taping the broken stem.  However, I think it's safe to say that the flower is beyond saving at this point.

In other news, poor Julia had to have two teeth pulled today, in preparation for her upcoming palette expander and braces.  She was really nervous for the procedure, and in discussing it with her afterwards, I now understand why.

JULIA: Mommy?  For some reason, I thought, like, when they were gonna remove my teeth, they were just gonna, like, take these PLIERS and yank my tooth out.

Apparently Julia was thinking she was still at the Little Red Schoolhouse in 1850, before novocaine was in standard use.  She clearly doesn't even understand what the novocaine does, as she pontificated on the difference between losing a tooth the natural way versus having it pulled.

JULIA: Mommy?  My mouth feels really WEIRD right now.
ME: That's because it's still numb from the novocaine.
JULIA: But wanna know something?  I don't remember my mouth ever feeling weird before when I've lost my other teeth.
ME: Well, honey, that's because you didn't have to get novocaine to just lose your baby teeth.
JULIA: No, but, the novocaine was only put in that one SPOT.  My whole mouth feels weird, like my LIPS feel numb and it feels like somebody smeared toothpaste all over my front teeth.

I attempted to explain the effect of numbing agents and anesthetic properties, but Julia simply couldn't believe that the measly novocaine application could be causing all that smeary toothpaste weirdness.  Apparently our discussion was a disturbance to Madeleine, who was blithely reading "Trixie the Halloween Fairy," in her booster seat as we drove home.  As Julia attempted to tell me something that I couldn't understand, between the sound of the radio and her swollen mouth, I had to have her repeat what she was saying multiple times.

ME: (turning off the radio) Oh, okay, now I know what you're saying.  Your speaking voice is a little hard to understand because of the numbness too.
JULIA: Wait, what do you mean?
ME: Well, the reason I had trouble understanding what you were just saying to me was because it sounds a little...like...(imitating her garbled speech)
JULIA: Really?
ME: Well, I'm exaggerating it, but between the music and your numb mouth, I couldn't figure out what you were saying. (turning the radio back on)
MADELEINE: Mommy, could you please not do that ever again, because I can't concentrate on what I'm trying to read.
ME: Do what?? (getting ready to turn the radio back off, assuming the return of the music had distracted her.)
MADELEINE: Uh, talk like JULIA with her numb mouth, because...it's really DISTRACTING to me when I'm reading.

I guess only me talking like Julia was distracting, huh.  Not Julia's loud marble-mouthed, repeated shouting of the same thing until I understood her.  It's always my fault, isn't it?

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Last night, the girls went to a sleep-under birthday party and received diaries as a party favor.  This was a fitting gift, as the main party activity was the viewing of the movie "Dear Dumb Diary."  Of course, both girls have already graced the diary's opening pages with entries.  While Julia's diary entry is a lengthy, detailed explanation of what she wants to do for her next birthday party, Madeleine's is more of a recap of the day's fun:

"Dear my very first frist first diry, I have never herd of the moovy dear dum diry and it was my first time waching it.  Anyway I alsow wacht a very scary moovy on that same day!  and ther was a nutter birth-day pary and a play-dayt but thos didin't have eny moovy's!" 

I'm not sure what the exed out gray thing is.  Maybe her first and FAILED attempt at a birthday cake?  Or something that scared her from the scary moovy and needs to be eliminated from her mind?  I believe the man in the left corner of page 2 is Percy Jackson, as that was the scary moovy that Julia and Madeleine watched yesterday afternoon, in between a nutter birth-day pary that they had attended that morning and the evening sleep-under.  I don't know what's up with the peachy-yellow blobbed face floating above the birthday cake.  It could be the sun, although it rained yesterday.  It kind of looks like an amoeba with tentacles and a tongue sticking out, but with Madeleine, you really never know.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Juila's Turn

So I gave Julia the quiz about Ethan today, to compare her answers with Madeleine's answers on yesterday's post.  Here she is, answering questions to show how well she knows her dad.

1. He's sitting in front of the tv, what is on tv?
Um...wait...(proud smile blooming across her face) "Six Feet Under!"
2. You are out to eat, what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
Uhhhhmmm...I don't know.  I don't pay attention to what salad dressing.  Um...ITALIAN salad dressing.
3. What's one food he doesn't like?
4. You go out to eat and have a drink, what would he order to drink?
5. Where did he last go to school?
6. What's his nickname for you?
For me?  A lot.  Julesinator, Julesy, Drippy Fart Breath...uh...yeah.
7. If he could collect one thing, what would it be?
Um...money at work so our house will never get tore down and be a big house!
8. What would he eat every day if he could?
Chocolate chips.
9. What is his favorite cereal?
Golden Grahams!
10. What would he never wear?
Um...a pink frilly dress.
11. What is his favorite sports team?
12. Who will he vote for?
Hillary Clinton!
13. What is something he does he wishes you wouldn't do?
Eating chocolate chips!
14. You bake him a cake for his birthday, what kind is it?
15. Did he play sports in High School?
Um...running!  Skiing.
16. What could he spend hours doing?
Um...um...eating chocolate chips.  Playing a cool video game.
17. What is one unique talent he has?
He's very good at playing the piano and he also makes facial expressions when he does it.
(ETHAN: Great.
JULIA: Well, you're like this! (making duck lips and bopping her head up and down.)

I think Julia knows her dad a lot better than Madeleine does. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Spousal Quiz

I took a silly "How well do you know your spouse" quiz on facebook today.  Then I decided to see how well Madeleine knows her father.  Here are the questions and her responses:

1. He's sitting in front of the tv, what is on tv?
Barbie Life in the Dreamhouse or My Little Pony.
2. You are out to eat, what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
I don't know the kinds of salad dressing.
3. What's one food he doesn't like?
I was about to say "poop," but then I thought that it wasn't a food. 
4. You go out to eat and have a drink, what would he order to drink?
Um, I think a margarita.
5. Where did he last go to school?
I have no idea. In Vermont?
6. What's his nickname for you?
Uh, he calls me "Madeplompers."
7. If he could collect one thing, what would it be?
Money?  Wait a minute, no, Daddy's not a THEIF.
He would collect...well, if he was mad at me, he would collect Jeezy.
8. What would he eat every day if he could?
Chocolate chips.
9. What is his favorite cereal?
Cinnamon Life?
10. What would he never wear?
He would never wear....okay, this is gonna be really girly: a LOOONG dress, that had lots of PINK and PURPLE all over it, and really SWIRLY, with a petticoat under it.
11. What is his favorite sports team?
Red Sox?  I think.
12. Who will he vote for?
Ahhh, this is EASY, 'cause he already voted.  Okay.  Is, um...wait...I think...was it...did he...I can't remember...did he vote for Bernie Sanders? (seeing me shake my head.) Hillary Clinton?
13. What is something he does he wishes you wouldn't do?
Say the "s" word.
14. You bake him a cake for his birthday, what kind is it?
It would be...a vanilla chocolate swirl cake with strawberries inside and outside.
15. Did he play sports in High School?
I think so.  Football?
16. What could he spend hours doing?
Doing his work thingy.
17. What is one unique talent he has?
Talent?  His talent is being the silliest and lovingest dad in the world.

Wow.  Does Madeleine know her dad, or what?  I mean, I assume Madeleine is using the European term "football" to mean "soccer," which Ethan did play for one year in high school, and I'm assuming she means that she wouldn't actually put strawberries in his cake because he's not a huge fan of berries.  I'm also pretty sure by "Red Sox" she meant "no sports team," as Ethan doesn't do team sports mania.  But it's pretty accurate that Daddy would not like eating poop, nor would he willingly wear petticoats, and he does say the "s" word.  I will have to try this quiz on Julia later today to see if she's a little more with it than Madeleine is.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Art from the Girls

Madeleine is big into drawing mermaids lately.  Here is the most recent of her mermaid-centric pictures:

Ahh, a happy mermaid, swimming peacefully through the sea.
I'm really not sure what's going on in the lower part of the picture, though.  It seems like a cyclops sea monster/octopus, a black kitty cat in a dress, and a girl with electrified eyelashes are all hanging out together, watching the mermaid swim by.  It wouldn't be a Madeleine drawing without a little mystery to it, right?

Julia, meanwhile, brought home her portfolio from art class, and I got to browse her year's work.  While she had lots of mixed media projects, she also had some pencil sketches in the folder of work.  I think this one was my favorite:

I'm not sure whether it was Julia's idea to name all the animals or if that was part of the project.  I'm going to take a guess that it's the former.

I was especially amused by Wonder the Horse.  Taking a look at the erased first attempt, I think it was a good idea that Julia decided to try drawing him again:

While Wonder is currently an unusually long-bodied horse with legs disproportionately close to his head, the original drawing was even less "Wonder the Horse" and much more "Wonder the Manatee With Peacock Tail and Giraffe Legs."  I'd take a hot-dog-bodied horse over that sort of a creepy hybrid any day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kindergarten Talent Show

Today was the Kindergarten Talent Show at the girls' elementary school, and kindergarteners displayed their various skills, from gymnastics to hula-hooping to martial arts to playing an instrument.  I was sure to video Madeleine's piano performance, but first, here's a video of her yawning and looking somewhat disinterested throughout a kindergarten-wide performance of "One Call Away":

Her performance of "Boogie-Woogie Goose" on piano came later on in the talent show:
It's a good thing she decided to practice this about 10 times in a row at 6:30am today.  Nothing like a little last minute run-through, right?
The show ended with another song by the entire kindergarten, and some of you faithful blog-readers may be familiar with it:
Bravo, kindergarteners!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Recorder Show

Not only is Madeleine a fashion queen, but she appears to be a child prodigy on the recorder:

What a show!
It's still going on right now.  She is addressing an imaginary audience.  I'm not even in there anymore with her.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Madeleine Can Play With Anything

Three examples, demonstrating Madeleine's ability to make a pretend-play game out of ANYTHING.

#1: Two coat hangers in the car.

MADELEINE: "We're best friends!"  "But I'm better than you."  "No, I'm better than you."  "Hey!  Why do you think you're better?"  "See, I'm BIGGER than you are."  Mama?  So, they're best friends, but they broke up, because they were getting in a fight about which one is BETTER, and they kept fighting about it and fighting about it so they decided to break up.

#2: The teeth of the comb from my gym bag.

MADELEINE: (plucking at each individual tine) "I'm in fourth grade.  What grade are YOU in?"  "I'm in fifth grade."  "Oh, well I'm in fourth grade, and she's in fourth grade too."  "Well, I'm in fifth grade, and I'm a little taller."

#3: Two rocks on her bed.

MADELEINE: Mama!  Look!  (pointing to the bottom rock) THIS one's the spy cake, and (pointing to the top rock) this one's the chocolate chip on top!

Makes me wonder why we even own any actual toys at all.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Julia Travels to 1850

Julia's class had a field trip today, travelling back in time to spend a school day at the Little Red Schoolhouse, est. 1842.

Could this field trip have possibly been more up Julia's alley?:

As you can see, the children had to dress in period garb.  Julia wore a costume that I had bought her, a few months ago, for general dress-up whenever she plays "colonial school," as well as for a possible future Halloween costume, and, of course, this day's field trip.  Julia, however, was panicked that we were breaking the rules.

JULIA: (handing me the information sheet about the field trip) But MOMMY!  It says "Please do not spend any MONEY on your child's outfit."  And we BOUGHT it!

I assured her that having bought it prior to the field trip, to be used for multiple dress-up events, we were in the clear.

Not only did the kids in Julia's class dress up, but they were all assigned the role of a historical person from the 1850's.  Julia was Mary McCracken, an 11-year-old student at the schoolhouse.  Throughout the school day, students were addressed by their character's name, and all had to follow the rules of the 1850 schoolhouse.  This included lining up by gender and age, curtseying or bowing to the teacher upon entering the schoolhouse, not speaking unless being spoken to, and sitting with elbows off the desk and hands in the lap unless work/writing was being done. 

The children participated in activities that would have been practised in the 1850's schoolroom, including lessons in elocution, the memorization and recitation of poetry, writing in cursive with their ink pen in a copy book, solving arithmetic problems on a slate with chalk, and competing in a spelling bee.  In other words, it was a Julia-the-history-lover dream come true.

Elocution lessons.  Here, the children are learning which parts of a sentence are important to enunciate and emphasize.

Copying the cursive alphabet with a pen and inkwell.  Oh, how long Julia has been dying to do this.  All the days at our house of a feather dipped in paint pale in comparison to the real deal.

Julia reciting her poem from memory.  She put her super-keen memory powers to use and made it through verse after verse without a stumble.

Receiving their arithmetic slates, awaiting the chalk.

Playing ring-around-the-rosy at recess.

While at recess, Julia confessed what was on her mind.

JULIA: Mommy?  I've been pretending I'm Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Good idea.  Why only pretend to be Mary McCracken, when you can pretend to be a SECOND historical figure on top of the one you're already in character for?

After the field trip ended, Julia was wistful.  "Mommy?  I wish I *lived* in the 1850's," she told me nostalgically.  I get it.  I mean, never mind the Civil War, the dysentery, and the suppression of women and minorities.  That's more than a fair trade to get the inkwells and bonnets, right??