Saturday, July 30, 2016


After giving Madeleine a good-night snuggle this evening:

ME: Okay, honey, I'm gonna go now.
ME: What?  Shooka?
ME: What's that mean?
MADELEINE: I made it up!
ME: Oh.  Okay.  Good night, I love you.
MADELEINE: (distracted) Love you too...Mommy?  Is "shooka" a real word?
ME: No.
MADELEINE: (energetically) Oh!  Then "shooka" can be the way that you say "I love my family" in Leesum.
ME: Leesun?
ME: What's Leesum?
MADELEINE: Oh.  It's the name of my secret language.
ME: Why is it called Leesum?
MADELEINE: I dunno!  I just made it up.
ME: Okay...
MADELEINE: French like French fries.
ME: What??
MADELEINE: Hey!  Mommy!  Maaaaybe the reason that people think French fries are French is because they're called "FRENCH" fries!
ME: Ooookay, I'm gonna go, good-night, I love you.

I mean, if we were ever looking for proof that Madeleine is really an alien from a different planet, I think we may have gotten it tonight.  I wonder what her planet is called in Leesum.  And even though we're her adoptive Earthling family, at least she shooka!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Start of Two New Books

I can't decide which of Madeleine's new books looks more promising so far.  What do you think, readers?

Book #1:

"Harry Potter and the dimenteater invasion"

MADELEINE: I thought that "Harry Potter and the Dementor and Death-Eater Invasion" would be too long, so I just decided to call them the "Dement-Eaters!"

Chapter 1: Dimenter's

"Harry lookd out of his window.  Ther were dimenter's evreawear!  Uh oh thot harry."

Yipes!  This one is off to a bone-chilling start.  

But even though it's really exciting, I'm not sure it tops this one...

Book #2:

"Playfull Princece!"

What the heck is going on in this cover photo??  I'm intrigued.

"In the kingdome of the briht and sunny side the king and queen wer having a bayby!"

OMG!  How exciting!  Also, why does the queen have hair across the middle of her face?

What do you think, blog-readers?  Which book has your vote as the up-and-coming book of the summer? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

American Girls

A new American Girl catalog recently came in the mail, and after poring over it several times, Julia decided to create her own catalogue.  This catalogue not only has never-seen-before American Girl dolls, but also lots of new outfits and accessories!

American Girl
by Julia Cathryn Rowe

Or by the American Girl company.  But, hey, let's not let trademarks get in the way.

Behold the brand new look-alike dolls:
Doll 1: Light skin, raw umber hair, purple eyes
Doll 2: Red hair, green eyes, light skin, freckles
Doll 3: Dark brown hair, dark skin, grey-green eyes
Doll 4: Brown hair, brown eyes, medium skin
Doll 5: Blonde hair, Prussian blue eyes, light skin
Doll 6: Ocre hair, grey eyes, light skin, freckles
Doll 7: Black hair, dark skin, steel blue eyes
Doll 8: Dark brown hair, sky blue almond shaped eyes, medium skin
Doll 9: Golden hair, tan skin, brown eyes, freckles

Man, oh man, if this were a real catalogue I would have a hard time choosing my favorite doll.  Would I go for the one with raw umber hair, or Prussian blue eyes, or the combo of ocre hair, grey eyes, and freckles?  Too many choices!

Now for the outfits and accessories:
"Perfect time for a swim!"
A: Super swimteam outfit
B: Free swim fun outfit
C: Beach time outfit
D: Beachy set.  Includes a beach bag, sunglasses, pretend sunscreen, beach towel, and a pail and shovel.

Wow, that beachy set sounds awesome.  I sure am glad that Julia clarified that the sunscreen is pretend.  I would be pretty P.O.ed if I was expecting real sunscreen for my doll and nothing came out of the bottle.

"Holiday Time!"
A: Cute Christmas dress
B: Christmas tree cutour dress
C: Wintery white dress
D: Christmas set.  Includes: pretend Christmas tree, Christmas tree skirt, pretend present.

Again, thank you Julia, for affirming what is pretend.  If you hadn't clarified that, I would have been LIVID to receive a doll sized Christmas tree to put up in my living room.  And doubly livid when I realized there was nothing in the present.

"Cozy in Pajamas!"
A: Pinky plaid PJ's
B: Merry Christmas PJ's!
C: Daisy night gown
D: Sleepy time set.  Includes: Sleeping bag, pillow, pretend book, pretend popcorn.

Sign me up for a pair of pinky plaid PJ's, please!

"Happy Halloween!"
A: Wikid witch costume
B: Evil vampire costume
C: Happy Halloween outfit
D: Halloween set.  Includes: Jack-o-lantern bag, pretend piece of candy, flashlight

So, basically your choices are to get a bad guy (girl) costume, or to just dress your doll in an orange shirt and black skirt.  What if I want my doll to be a nice witch rather than a wikid witch?  Or a good vampire?

"Adventure is Everywhere!"
A: Cool camping outfit
B: Berry blue sneakers
C: Camping days outfit
D: Includes: 1 tent, 2 sleeping bags, 2 pretend thermos's, 2 sticks with marshmallows

Oooh, so the marshmallows aren't pretend??  I would totally order them just to eat them.  Also, in my admittedly limited camping experience, I have *always* worn my cool camping outfit, because that's what it's about, right?

Not to be outdone, Madeleine has started her own American Girl catalogue, although her progress is slower than Julia's.  Here's what she has so far:

"Amarican girl cataloge!"
Spring or summer outfit's

I totally want Katy.  Especially if she comes with blue writing across her face.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Bunnies Have a Baby

We have long had a pair of bunnies that frequent our backyard, and they have become such a beloved sight to Julia and Madeleine that they were given names.  Leila and Lola are our resident lawn bunnies, and today it appears Leila and Lola were given the unique ability of female/female reproduction.

JULIA: Mommy!  There's a new bunny in our backyard!  It's this teeny, tiny little baby bunny!
ME: Oh, that's cute.
JULIA: Madeleine, we should name the  new baby April.  Wanna name it April?
MADELEINE: (looking up imploringly) Fluff?
JULIA: (dumbfounded silence)
JULIA: I like April better.
JULIA: Madeleine, you got to name both Leila AND Lola and I haven't named ANY bunnies yet!
MADELEINE: Okay, fine, April.

Madeleine then went downstairs for a few seconds.

JULIA: Mommy, we saw-
MADELEINE: (pounding back upstairs) Wait, Julia, how about Fluff-Fluff!??
JULIA: I like April.
MADELEINE:  No, Fluff-Fluff!
JULIA: Madeleine, it's my turn to pick, and I picked April.  You can name the NEXT bunny Fluff-Fluff.
MADELEINE: But I only wanna name a BABY bunny Fluff-Fluff!  There will NEVER be another baby bunny!  (breaking into manipulative tears)

I decided to intervene.

ME: Honey, rabbits have lots of babies.
MADELEINE: No they don't!
ME: Yes, they really do.  There's even a saying, "breeding like rabbits," to mean having a lot of babies.  Because rabbits have lots and lots of babies.
MADELEINE: No they don't. They have ONE bunny, and then they KILL IT.

Well then.  She showed me.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that this is the DUMBEST FIGHT EVER??  They are literally fighting over the right to name a bunny that DOESN'T EVEN BELONG TO US.  And let's not even get into the fact that one kid is in tears because she can't name the bunny the utterly ridiculous name of  FLUFF-FLUFF.

Seriously.  FIRST-WORLD PROBLEMS, people.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Bedtime Stall Fest

Tonight in stall tactics by Madeleine as I give her a bedtime snuggle...

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Do you like me?
ME: What do you think, you silly goose?
ME: Of course I do.
MADELEINE: Do you love me?
ME: Of course I do.
MADELEINE: So much? 
ME: Yup.
MADELEINE: Do you love me so much your heart feels like it could BURST?
ME: Mmm-hmm.  Do you love me so much your heart could burst?
MADELEINE: Mommy?  So.  Imagine there's a RECTANGLE, CUT it in half...and...and...and...
ME: (trying to understand where this is going) You love me so much it can't fit inside the rectangle?
MADELEINE: No. cut it in HALF, and...and...and...
ME: Your love for me fits half the rectangle?
MADELEINE: And then, you have a SQUARE, and...and...and...
ME: Your love for me fits inside it?
MADELEINE: And...a square is another word for DIAMOND.  So you have a diamond!

I guess it had nothing to do with the topic of loving each other after all.

******Several moments of silence********

MADELEINE: Mommy?  My bum is itchy.
ME: Do you need to scratch it?
MADELEINE: Mmm-hmm.  (wiggling around to get at an optimal scratching angle.)  Mommy?  Do you know the ONLY PLACE where it's okay to scratch a BARE bum?
ME: Where?
ME: Oh.
MADELEINE: Because, it's like...WHO CARES?  You're gonna get clean anyway!
ME: Oh.
MADELEINE: And even if you already did it, you can just scratch your bare bum again!  Because you're STILL in the shower!

*******Several moments of silence*********

MADELEINE: Mommy?  Can I show you the MOST circular of the white circles on my blanket?
ME:'re supposed to be going to bed.
MADELEINE: It's right here.  Look.  Wait.  It might be...THIS one.  I think it's this one right here.
ME: (not even bothering to look) Oh, I see.  Okay, time to go to bed.

*******Several moments of silence*********

MADELEINE: Mommy?  On "My Little Pony," all the PRINCESSES have wings that are, like, this certain shape, and they're, like, PRETTIER than the wings on the regular Pegasi.
ME: No more talking.  Go to sleep.

********Several moments of silence*********

MADELEINE: Mommy?  I feel like I need to be doing something.
ME: What do you mean?
MADELEINE: I don't know.  Could be sleeping.  Could be playing.  Could be watching a show.  Could be drawing.  Could be-
ME: It doesn't matter what it is.  Just lay there and you'll get sleepy soon.
MADELEINE: Yeah.  It's *probably* sleeping, but it might be-
ME: No more talking.  Shh.  Time to sleep.
MADELEINE: Okay.  It's probably sleeping.

It better be.  I finally gave up on her settling down with me in there so I ditched her.  Now I guess she's stuck telling her random comments to her stuffed Jeezy, Saoirse or Puff-Puff in my absence, and at least they won't answer her back.

Friday, July 22, 2016


Today's lesson in synonyms.  Madeleine was quick to grasp the concept.

MADELEINE: Can I have an apple with cinnamon with my lunch?
ME: Sure.
JULIA: (to Auntie Shannon) You wanna know a word that kids in my class have trouble pronouncing?  "Synonym."
MADELEINE: Cinnamon?
JULIA: No, synonym.
MADELEINE: What's "synonym?"
AUNTIE SHANNON: So, a synonym means a similar word.  A word that has the same meaning.
ME: For instance, a synonym for the word "big" is "large."
AUNTIE SHANNON: Right.  So a synonym for "little" would be-
MADELEINE: Is it like, this one is big and this one is medium and this one is littler and this one is littlest?
AUNTIE SHANNON: No.  Nothing like that.  A synonym is a word that has the same meaning as another word.  So Madeleine.  What is a synonym for "cold?"
AUNTIE SHANNON: No, that would be an antonym.  That has the opposite meaning.  Think of a word that has the same meaning.  What is a synonym for "cold?"
AUNTIE SHANNON: No, that's a rhyming word.  Okay.  If you wanted to tell me that it's cold out, but someone was gonna PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE if you used the word "cold," what's a different word you could use?
MADELEINE: (baffled silence)
ME: I'll give you a synonym.  Chilly.
AUNTIE SHANNON: So what's a synonym for "hot?"
MADELEINE: Um...warm?
EVERYONE: Yes!  Hooray!  You got it!

A few minutes later, Madeleine turned the tables and began testing Auntie Shannon on synonyms.

MADELEINE: Okay.  What's a synonym for "falling leaves?"

I can tell she totally gets it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Community Education Classes

This week, the girls are taking classes as part of our town's community education.  Julia's class is "Travel the World," and not only did she get to eat Nutella crepes on her first day, but she has come home with a slew of crafts: a toothpick Eiffel Tower, a Chinese paper lantern, and a set of wooden Russian dolls that she decorated herself.

Madeleine is taking a class called "Disney Week," and her crafts and activities are more cryptically tied to the Disney movies they are studying than are Julia's to the "world travel" theme.  For instance, on the first day of Disney week, Madeleine's class watched clips from the movie Wall-E, which, for the uninitiated, takes place in a future Earthen wasteland.  Madeleine's project was a recyclable bag that is hand-decorated with "Save the Earth" slogans:

On the front of the bag, you can see, Madeleine advises us Earth-dwellers to clean!  clean!  clean!  clean!  clean! 

That's some good advice for saving the earth.

The back of the bag has more earth-saving tactics:

"Make shor to clean caen clean!" 
"The erth is a good place"

And, just sayin', the Earth is not the only good thing we should care for:
"care fore ice cream to!"

That's right.  Don't JUST clean.  Care fore ice cream to, because the erth is a good place!

The second day of class focused on the Hawaiian "Lilo and Stitch," so Madeleine made a Hawaiian lei, as well as learned a hula dance.  Because she had no music on hand, she decided to just ad lib a song on the fly as she showed off her hula skills for me:

Sure, she may have gotten a little too distracted trying to come up with more words to her song to fully focus on her hula-ing, but I say it's a DOUBLE accomplishment to compose a song AND dance at the exact same time!  You OWN this, hula girl!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kiddie Convo

Listening to the kids' conversation in the back seat of the car on our way home from their Summer Explorations class:

JULIA: At recess, I played with a little girl who's going into second grade whose name is Lucy.
MADELEINE: Julia?  Is "Cindy" the nick name for "Lucynthia?"
JULIA: Madeleine.  Lucynthia?  That's not even a NAME. 
ME: "Cindy" is usually the nickname for "Cynthia."
JULIA: Or for Lucinda.
MADELEINE: I *like* the name Cindy.  It's such a cute and pretty name.
JULIA: Madeleine, one of the Mintz's friends is named Cindy.
JULIA: (rattling off more details about this imaginary friend of the imaginary Mintz)
JULIA: (still rambling on about the Mintz)
JULIA: What?
MADELEINE: When I grow up, if I get married, and I have a baby that's a girl, NO MATTER WHAT, I *have* to name her "May."
JULIA: Oh.  Is it because the Mintz's friend is named Lucinda May?

It's kind of amazing that they can even have a conversation when their minds are on such completely different planes as they talk to each other.  I mean, I guess Juila's mind is never completely OFF the Mintz, right?

In fact, this literally just happened.

ME: Julia, can you do a little more reading before your swim meet?
JULIA: Aww!  But I wanted to GALLOP!
ME: Okay, go ahead and gallop.  What, do you feel like you need to think about the Mintz right now?
JULIA: Mmm-hmm!  (starting her thumpety galloping through the living room and down the hallway.)

Apparently, the Mintz have a swim meet tonight as well, so I guess it's pretty important for Julia to do her gallop-think about them in order to get the meet off and running.  Maybe Madeleine's imaginary future daughter May will be at the meet, too!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Barbie: A Mermaid Tale

Yesterday, the girls watched one of their old favorite Barbie movies: "Barbie in a Mermaid Tale."  When Julia had first seen this movie, over three years ago, it inspired her to do her kindergarten non-fiction research writing on surfing.  For a little while, Julia was ALL ABOUT surfing, so entranced was she by the surfer protagonist of this movie, Merliah Summers.  She often pretended to be a surfing star herself, and imagined the glory of a future as a real-life surfer.

After watching the movie yesterday, Madeleine was inspired to make this picture:

MADELEINE: Look, Mama!  She's FALLING OFF a wave!

While her horrified friends look on.  And nobody does anything to help.

What is with Madeleine always drawing pictures of impending disaster?  It's always either mermaids getting eaten by sharks or fairies getting struck by evil magic or pictures of things like this:

I'm starting to wonder if Madeleine is a visionary for a future Doomsday cult or something. 


Friday, July 15, 2016

Swimmers of the Week!

Today at the end of swim practice, the coaches each designated a swimmer to receive the "Swimmer of the Week" award.  Among the four swimmers chosen, Julia and Madeleine were two, and they got cool new "Swimmer of the Week" swim caps!

The head coach took lots of photos, from smiling to profile to serious.  In the serious photo, Madeleine opted to go for "Angry Buddha" instead:

It didn't help that her cap was way too far down her forehead, partially obscuring her eyes and giving them an especially angry slant. It could have been worse, though.  All the swimmers on the team had received popsicles at the end of their practice today, and Madeleine continued her usual practice of eating hers so slowly that it began to melt and its artifical red color dripped all over her arms and painted her face.  She could very well have been *bloody* angry Buddha if her swim coach hadn't given her a quick wipe down before the photo session.

Bravo, swimmers, on your well earned honor!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

HRC and CER Forever

The Hillary Clinton campaign mailed me yet another request for a donation, and Julia saw the opened letter on the table next to my computer.  She was duly impressed.

JULIA: Hillary Clinton wrote you a LETTER?!?!?

Yup.  Indeed she did.  Of all the names of various Democrats throughout the country, she found my name and address, and very personally and intimately penned me the following note:

As you can see, that is most definitely true ink on paper from her very own hand.  I feel SO special.

It's almost as exciting as the time J.K. Rowling HERSELF wrote a totally legitimate response to Julia's fan mail that was not a form letter sent by her publisher AT ALL.  Julia even took it into school for a share.  I wonder if I should take my letter from my new bestie Hillary to work with me to show off my connections.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Beard

MADELEINE: (gazing at me) You kind of have a beard.
ME: A beard?  (sweeping a lock of hair away from my chin) Why, because my hair was against my chin?
MADELEINE: No.  (brushing her finger above her lip) Right HERE.
ME: You mean a mustache?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  You have a mustache.
ME: I do??
MADELEINE: Why?  Do you want a mustache?
ME: No.  Why would I want a mustache?
MADELEINE: Are you sad that I said you have a mustache?
ME: Well, kind of.
ME: Well, think of how you say it hurts your feelings when Julia or I say your loud burps are gross.
MADELEINE: Oh, yeah. You're right. And Mommy?  I remember I also hurt your feelings when I told you that you smell like a sweaty bra.

Oh, yeah.  There was that kind remark, too.  My children are always so great about doling out the comments that make me feel GREAT about myself.  Just wait until Madeleine realizes that the Greek blood that gives me my kind-of mustache is also the culprit behind her hairy back.  Until then, I'll carry my head high despite my mustache, sweaty bra smell, my butt that jiggles all around, my pimples, and all the other imperfections that my children have lovingly pointed out to me! 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Kids Make Quizzes

Inspired by the various "Which Harry Potter Character Are You" style quizzes online, Julia decided to design one of her own today.  Instead of Harry Potter characters, Julia went with Monster High monsters.  Madeleine and I were the first two to take the quiz, which accurately assessed which Monster High character we would be if we were monsters.  (And high schoolers.)

What's your favorite thing to do?
A: Spend time with friends
B: Swim
C: Shop

Who's your best friend?
A: Clawdeen
B: Everyone!
C: Frankie, Clawdeen, Draculaura, Cleo & Ghoulia

Favorite Animal?
A: Anything adorable!
B: Fish
C: Bats

Who do you like best?
A: Clawd
B: Gil
C: Neighthan

Favorite sport?
A: Cheerleading
B: Any sport
C: Swim & SCREAM

Favorite color?
A: Pink
B: Blue
C: Green

So, Madeleine and I both got the exact same score, though I think Julia's a little off on her idea of percentages.  We were both 4% Lagoona, 2% Frankie, and 0% Draculaura.  Who knows what the other 94% of us is supposed to be??

Madeleine was so entralled with Julia's quiz that she simply HAD to make one of her own.  Check it out below to discover which Power Puff Girl you are:

Are you Bowsum Bubbel's or Butercup?

Waht's your favrite thing to do?
A: Sleepover
B: Friendship game
C: Fashin-show

Waht's your favrit food?
A: Brockly
B: candy-can's
C: pancack's

Waht's your favrite cinde of rock?
A: Hard rock
B: crunchy weird shapd rock
C: smooth rock

I haven't taken this quiz yet, but I sure can't wait to!  Meanwhile, I'll have to think long and hard about my favorite cinde of rock, because I want to be sure I answer accurately.  Otherwise, I may be steered towards the wrong Power Puff Girl as my alter ego!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bedtime Craziness

While Ethan and I spent the bulk of our day taking measures to eliminate the pantry moths from our cupboards, the Aunties took Julia and Madeleine to the movies.  The kids had a blast, and came home ready to keep the fun rolling.  Julia was, therefore, dismayed to hear me ask her to do some reading in her bedroom.

Let me first take a step back and explain that yesterday, Julia had a mini-meltdown about the fact that she has only read 3 of the 10 media books she took home for the summer.  Despite my assurances that she hasn't even been out of school for a month, she decided to take the doomsday perspective and assert that there was NO WAY she would be able to finish 7 more books before the first day of school.  So I promised to help her find reading time every day to plug away at book #4.  The problem with the plan is that there is always something else Julia would rather be doing when I remind her to read.  For example, earlier today:

ME: Why don't you go read a chapter before you head out to the movies?
JULIA: But I wanted to GALLOP!

God forbid I break up gallop time. 

So, anyway, I suggested Julia do her reading when she came home from the movies.  She got through a chapter, and I told her that at bedtime she could split between reading another chapter and having me read a chapter of the book we're working on together to her.

Julia opted to, instead, wake up Auntie Shannon from a nap to ask her to make s'mores.  By the time Julia was ready for bed, it was well past the usual bedtime, so I told her all she had time for was her own independent reading.  Cue an unhappy girl whose bedtime dreams went awry.

Meanwhile, Madeleine couldn't get the memory of a movie preview she'd seen in the theater out of her head.  Specifically, she couldn't stop thinking of the part in the movie trailer for "Sing" where some animals begin singing "Baby Got Back."  Which meant Madeleine spent her time after dinner repeatedly exclaiming, "Oh, my gosh, look at her butt!"

None of us could take it anymore.  Plus, she was totally stalling on getting ready for bed.  As was Julia.

JULIA: (coming out of her bedroom) Daddy, do you wanna look at my class list for next year?
MADELEINE: Oh, my gosh, look at her butt.
ETHAN: I'll look at it tomorrow.
JULIA: Caitlyn, did you know-
MADELEINE: Oh my gosh, look at her butt.
ETHAN: Madeleine, go brush your teeth.
MADELEINE: Oh, my gosh, look at her butt.
JULIA: But Daddy?
MADELEINE: Oh, my gosh, look at her butt.
ETHAN: Madeleine, have you brushed your teeth yet?
ME: No, she's too busy singing "I like big butts and I cannot lie."
MADELEINE: No.  It's "Oh, m-"


In any event, Ethan finally gave Madeleine an ultimatum: if she wanted him to read her "Harry Potter" for bedtime, she had to stop the butt talk.  Which do you think won out?  Snuggling with Daddy and listening to "Harry Potter," or butts? 

It was totally the butts.  And boy, was Madeleine devastated to learn that Ethan was really serious about no "Harry Potter" if she didn't stop with the butts.  I offered to give her a snuggle before bed since she had lost her chance with a story.

ME: (snuggling Madeleine)
MADELEINE: (wailing and baby talking) Hawwy!
ME: Well, you blew it, honey.
JULIA: (coming out of her room)
JULIA: But I wanted to see if Madeleine's-
ME: She's fine.  Go read.
MADELEINE: Hawwy!  Hawwy!
ME: Sorry, honey, but you blew it with the butt talk.
ME: Wouldn't you think it's annoying if somebody else kept saying the same thing over and over and over?
MADELEINE: I don't know.  I'm not Daddy.
ME: Okay, well then I'll have to try it.
ME: Okay, well then I'll have to try it.
MADELEINE: (giggling)
JULIA: (entering Madeleine's room) Mommy?  Is it okay for me to ask a question if it's RELATED to something I read in the book?
ME: Okay, well then I'll have to try it.
MADELEINE: (cracking up and totally defeating the point of my experiment)

All of the above carried on for some time, but at long last Julia was reading in bed without getting out a million times to ask people questions, Madeleine's tears settled, and both kids have another shot tomorrow night to actually have us read to them for bedtime.

Until then, it's back to the pantry moths as I try to get "Baby Got Back" out of my head.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The First Page

Some day, when Madeleine is a famous singer, composer and lyricist, you all can say you knew her when.  Her newest lyrics are written out on the first page of her blank drawing tablet.  The song, fittingly, is called "The First Page":

"The first page.  All of the pagi's are okay but the first page, oh the first page the first page never end's it never start's it is my favrit.  The first page oh the first page oh the first page."

With lyrics like these, you must be dying to know what the tune sounds like.  Well, wait no longer!  Madeleine performed this hot new song for me this afternoon:

Want even more "First Page" fan fun?  Take a look at he First Page picture!:

"The first page picture! 
If you like'd the first page you should lisin to other songs by Madeleine Rowe."

I definitely like'd the first page and I can't wait to lisin to other songs by Madeleine Rowe!  And I'd like to encourage you all to keep the lyrics in mind as a guideline for how to approach future reading endeavors.  Next time you pick up a book, or start learning a new song from sheet music, or spread out the newspaper, remember that the first page is the best!  Don't be in such a hurry to get to the next page the you fail to realize the supremacy of that first page.  I mean, all of the pages are okay, of course, but the first page never ends.  It never starts. It's the best page!  The first page, oh, the first page!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Mising Girl

Madeleine is super excited about the new book she started writing and illustrating:

The Mising Girl

"Onc ther wer best friend's.  Ther name's wer Ally, Jane, Werely and Lucy.  The next day was Christmas eve.  Werely's little sister told her to do a flip.  'ahhh!  I won't do a flip!  That's scary.'  Werely and Lucy were at Ally and Jane's house."

ETHAN: What's the third friend's name?  Whirly?  Warily?
MADELEINE: Yeah.  Werely.  I made it up!

JULIA: Wait, they're at the FRIEND'S house on Christmas Eve?  Why aren't they with their parents?
MADELEINE: (brightly) Oh!  I'm pretending their parents all died!

I know the entire plot of the story is TOTALLY OBVIOUS from the above two pages, but just in case you're unclear, here's how things will unfold, according to the author herself.

MADELEINE: So, Lucy goes missing, and she dives into the water, and she finds mermaids, and she asks if she can be turned into a mermaid, and she IS!  And her friends are, like, SO worried, because they think something bad happened to her, and Lucy is just hiding with one of her mermaid friends.  And, like, this shark comes, and it's CHASING the mermaids! 

Yup.  Just as you suspected from the moment Werely's little sister told her to do a flip on Christmas Eve, right?  You must have immediately known that a mermaid/shark adventure was about to ensue.

I tried to get more details on how the story resolves, but all Madeleine would tell me was that the mermaids will escape the shark and Lucy's friends will finally find her, before launching into an even more important topic:

MADELEINE: When I grow up and have a wedding, I'll try to make my hair get curls in it, because, curls that look like springs are really pretty.  Like, if you have STRAIGHT hair, and then SPRING hair at the bottom, seems really pretty.

And that ties into the mermaid storyline about as well as the Christmas Eve "do-a-flip" orphan friend play-date does, right?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Car Conversation

Just a normal old conversation on our drive to the grocery store.

JULIA: Oh, Mommy!  There's the cemetery that we visited on our field trip to historical town sites!
ME: Yup, I remember when you went there.
JULIA: Yeah.  But do you wanna know what I think is really SAD?  When there's a gravestone for a baby.
ME: I know.  There's nothing worse in my mind than the idea of children or babies dying.
JULIA: Yeah, and, like, ESPECIALLY if the baby hasn't even been born yet, because then the mom doesn't even get a chance to know her child yet.
ME: Yes, it's an awful thing for a baby to die while still in the mommy's tummy.
MADELEINE: (suddenly piping up from the back seat) What about the dads?
ME: Daddies don't grow babies in their tummies.
MADELEINE: But what about the dads?
ME: What do you mean, what about the dads?
MADELEINE: Do dads, like, kill their children?
ME: (stunned silence) Um...NOOOOOO...
JULIA: (scathingly) Madeleine.  Dads don't kill their children, unless they're, like, EVIL or something.
ME: Why would dads kill their children?!?
MADELEINE: Because, maybe they don't like them?
ME: No, that really doesn't usually happen, honey.  The moms don't kill their children either.  If there's a gravestone for a baby in the cemetery, it's because the baby got sick or there were problems during childbirth.
MADELEINE: (illuminated) Oh!

Yeah.  Glad we cleared that up for her.  Madeleine will never cease to surprise me with the level of morbid randomness that her mind goes to.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Summer Vacation...

Ahhhh, summer. 

The girls have been enjoying their down time, playing together like best buddies, and relishing their freedom.

Or, at least, that's how the summer vacation started off.  Now we are entering the period of inevitable fighting caused by too much togetherness.

How uncooperative, obstinate, and dramatic can two kids be in the short span between waking up and going to Swim Team practice at 9:30, right?  The answer is supremely. 

Here's a synopsis of our morning.

8:30 am: The happy quiet from down in the play basement erupts into shouting.

ME: What's going on down there?
JULIA: Madeleine's being MEAN to me!
ME: What is she doing?
JULIA: She WON'T move her stuffed animals away from the TV and I asked her to because I can't SEE the TV!
ME: Madeleine, can you please move them?


ME: Madeleine, come up here.
MADELEINE: (screaming) Do I HAVE TO??!??
ME: Yes.
MADELEINE: (coming to the base of the stairs)
ME: Can you please move your stuffed animals so that Julia can see the tv?
MADELEINE: She CAN see the tv if she sits in the chair but she said (affecting a completely obnoxious tone) I don't WANT to sit in the chair.
ME: Can you-
ME: Listen, girls, I need to take a shower and you have swim team in a hour, so can you just work it out?

8:45am: I am just about to step in the shower when Julia comes pounding upstairs, hurls herself onto her bed and begins sobbing.

ME: What happened?
JULIA: Madeleine hit me with her blanket and it REALLY HUUUUUUURT!
ME: Madeleine, get up to your room for a time out right now.
MADELEINE: (silence)
ME: One.  Two-
MADELEINE: (screaming) I'm COMING! (stomping up the stairs, going into her room, and slamming her door.)

9am: I get out of the shower, get dressed, and go into Madeleine's room.

ME: Listen, hitting is NOT okay, and you know that.
MADELEINE: (remorseful silence)
ME: We have to get ready for swim team soon, but you're not going if you can't shape up your attitude.
MADELEINE: Okay.  I want to go.
ME: Then you need to stop acting like this.  What are you going to say to Julia when you get out of time-out?
MADELEINE: (looking at me stubbornly) "Poop."
ME: Okay, go ahead, try that.
MADELEINE: (hanging her head) I'm gonna say "sowwy."
ME: Have you brushed your teeth?
ME: You haven't??  Have you had breakfast?
ME: Oh, boy.  Go brush your teeth and I'll get you a piece of cinnamon bread and then we have to get ready for swim.

9:15am: Madeleine is on the couch eating her bread.

ME: Julia, can you get your bathing suit on?  Madeleine, hurry up and finish that bread, because we have to get to swim.
MADELEINE: (shovelling bites into her mouth before she's finished swallowing the previous bite)
ME: Hang on, hang on, chew first, then take the next bite.
JULIA: But MOMMY!  Madeleine's still eating and we're gonna be LAAAATE!
ME: No, we'll be fine.  Here, girls, there's some milk on the table for you.  I want you to drink it before we go because you need to be hydrated.
JULIA: I'll NEVER finish it in time!
ME: Just start drinking it and see how you do.
JULIA: (downing her milk)
MADELEINE: (taking one languid sip after another through her swirly straw)
JULIA: Madeleine!  Can you just drink it without the straw?  You're NEVER going to finish it and we're going to be LATE!
ME: Hurry along, Madeleine.
MADELEINE: (still languidly sipping)
ME: Okay.  Here.  That's good enough for now.  Let's just get your bathing suit on.
MADELEINE: But I didn't finish my miiiiilk!
ME: You're going too slowly and we have to go to swim.
MADELEINE: Hang on.  I need to go potty first.
JULIA: (completely losing it) MADELEINE!  We have to GO!
ME: Hurry up and go potty, Madeleine.

9:18am: Madeleine is still pooping on the potty

JULIA: Mommy, can I get in the car?
ME: Go ahead.
MADELEINE: Okay, Mommy, I'm just gonna wipe and then I'll be ready...
ME: Hurry up.  Wipe.  Good.  Wash your hands. Here, let me put your hair in a pony tail.  Let's get your bathing suit on.
MADELEINE: Mommy?  Can you put my milk in the fridge?
AUNTIE SHANNON: (coming upstairs) I'll put it in for you.
ME: You don't have time to put it in the fridge yourself, Madeleine.  Auntie Shannon will do it.
MADELEINE: No she won't.  She's gonna put it in the MICROWAVE.

9:22am: We are in the car, pulling out of the driveway.

JULIA: But Mommy.  My teacher SAID that a metaphor is when you say something is something.
ME: Well, that's technically true.  You weren't wrong when you told us that. 
JULIA: Yeah, but you all LAUGHED about it and it hurt my FEELINGS.
ME: Honey, we weren't laughing at you.  It was just a really broad explanation and it was funny because there was no way Madeleine would understand what a metaphor is without a more specific definition.
JULIA: But Daddy said "it's not when something is something."
ME: Honey, it IS when something is something, but that could apply to lots of other scenarios as well.  It was just funny because it was too broad an explanation for Madeleine to understand.
JULIA: Yeah, but you hurt my FEELINGS!
ME: Why are we suddenly harping on this again?
JULIA: Because Daddy said it's NOT when something is something but my teacher said it IS.
ME: You were technically correct.  It's just that you need to give more detail, like, a metaphor is when you say that an object or a feeling is some other object or a feeling, using that other object as a symbol.
JULIA: There is NO WAY I can understand what you're talking about.
ME: Okay, hop out of the car and go to practice.  Have fun.
MADELEINE: Mommy?  What should I do with my flip-flops?
ME: Follow Julia down to the pool and put them by your bag.  Julia, can you walk with Madeleine please?
ME: See ya.  Have fun. (driving off to let them be someone else's repsonsibility for the next 2 hours...)