Madelyn & Friends Archive

Butterfly Girl

For as long as Madelyn has been Madelyn, she has loved butterflies. My mom takes her on lots of nature walks around the neighborhood where they both point out butterflies that flutter from flower to flower. Madelyn also has butterfly art in her bedroom and she has always identified them while flapping her arms. The excitement buzzes in our own backyard when she spots one landing on her chair or playhouse. She has even taken an interest in the life cycle, explaining that the caterpillar goes into a cocoon and sleeps for a while and then comes out as a butterfly. So when my mom said she wanted to take us to the Butterflies Alive! exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, we made a special day out of it.

With a quick and easy drive up the beautiful coast to the museum, we bee lined to the butterfly exhibit where we roamed around a netted enclosure that featured a gorgeous garden for butterflies and humans alike to enjoy.


Madelyn wore her favorite dress with — gasp! — butterflies on it and made sure to show all the butterflies her spirit wear. She talked to them the way we coo at puppies and newborns: Oh hi, butterflies! You’re so pwetty! How are you today? Do you see my dwess?






We even witnessed two butterflies mating. Madelyn pointed out that their tushies were touching. Gives a whole new meaning to BUTTerflies, ya know? She wanted to hold them since they were really still and connected, but we told her that they needed to be left alone. The exhibit should really advocate for the sock-on-the-doorknob system.



The butterflies were truly beautiful as they surrounded us and for a gal like me who doesn’t like bugs or anything flying around, I found the entire habitat peaceful and wonderful.

Since we were already there and made the drive, we wanted to check out the other exhibits at the museum. The Smokey the Bear exhibit was an interactive lesson about camping in our natural parks, water cycle, camp culture, trees, and the natural beauty that campers enjoy. I love how hands-on it was and that Madelyn was learning without even realizing it. The entire room sparked creativity and, let’s face it, will probably be the closest Madelyn gets to camping. I mean, have you met me? But I thought it was really cool and totally appreciate what it teaches the kiddos.







We breezed through the permanent exhibits like the taxidermy animals, during which Madelyn proceeded to make their accompanying sounds for them. She also saw an elk-like critter and declared it to be Sven. She kind of wasn’t too off base, considering he was — wait for it — FROZEN in time.

It was a really nice day at the museum with Mimi and Madelyn. She loved every second and I hope we will enjoy more museum trips together. The kid’s brain is thirsty and I love opportunities to fill ‘er up.

Down on the Farm

Once Spring sprang, Madelyn was chompin’ down on strawberries like a little fruit fly. Just like her father, strawberries are her favorite, so it was definitely on the radar to go to our local farm and pick some of our own for a little farm-to-table cuisine. We made plans with Amy and her two cuties, Maddie and Dani, and my distant cousin-in-law in-law in-law, Melissa and her bundles, Oliver and Lily. The three of us mommies were in a toddler class together and our kids all play so nicely. And it’s perfect that Oliver, Maddie, and Madelyn are the same age and Dani and Lily are the same age, so everyone gets along great! I love these gals so much, and we always have a little too much fun together.

Melissa and her crew took, um, a scenic route, so Madelyn and Maddie had a little one-on-one time in the park at the front of Underwood Farms.

Madelyn and her girlfriends! Dani is the perfect older age that makes her idol material for 2.5-year-old girls.

Madelyn and her girlfriends! Dani is the perfect older age that makes her idol material for 2.5-year-old girls.

Once we were all together, we trekked out to the fields with toddlers rotating in the beds of wagons. I loved hearing the innocent chatter of the older six-year-old girls as they reacquainted themselves. Listening to them made me excited for when Madelyn gets to be that age and she can be super independent and helpful.

It was a hot day and even though we arrived early, the sun was brutal and we were all working up a sweat. We were greatly rewarded with the fruits — literally — of our labor that we may or may not have eaten directly from the bush.

If you’re reading this, Underwood Farms, we did not eat any berries until after the cash register portion of our day.

By the way, I think you should know, I am basically Cesar Chavez. I am an expert berry picker. And Madelyn became a little Cesar Chavez-ito because she, too, learned very quickly. At first, she went for every berry she saw, but I told her to skip the green or white ones; that they needed more time to grow because they were babies. After that, she had red radar, and was a pro at scanning the juiciest, ruby-reddest berries. She also learned that if she pulled the strawberries from anywhere, she’d rip off the wrong part of the stem, so soon enough, was holding them just right and pulling at the correct spot and, voila, perfectly stemmed, robust, blazing strawberries. Very talented.

Madelyn's chariot that I chauffeured. Rough life.

Madelyn’s chariot that I chauffeured. Rough life.

Madelyn says: "Mmmm! Juicy! UH OH! MY SHIRT! MY SHIRT!" Priorities.

Madelyn says: “Mmmm! Juicy! UH OH! MY SHIRT! MY SHIRT!” Priorities.

Life's a box of strawberries.

Life’s a box of strawberries.

Field of strawberry dreams. If you plant it, they will come. And eat them.

Field of strawberry dreams. If you plant it, they will come. And eat them.

All the little farmers! Cutest kiddos!

All the little farmers! Cutest kiddos!

After our agricultural adventure was finished, we made our way toward the other attractions at the farm. Underwood Farms is like Disneyland for aggies: tons of activities and animals to enjoy in addition to the crops. The older girls spent some time mining for gems, but the little ones got squirrelly, so we chose the next activity for them.

Madelyn attempted a pony ride about a year ago, but it was not a successful Seabiscuit story. Instead, there were tears and a very accommodating refund. So I was hesitant to reenact the whole thing for fear of scarring her for life, but we gave it a try, and sure enough, Madelyn is a professional jockey!

She absolutely loved riding the pony who seemed very delighted to be attached to a spider web made of steel and chains while roaming in a circle with 28 pounds of total glee on her back. (Yes, it was -her- back. I checked. All clear.) Madelyn gently pet the pony’s mane and back, whispering what I’m sure were sweet nothings. Best five dollars I ever spent and I can’t wait to bring her back.

Next stop: Triple Crown.

Next stop: Triple Crown.

Snip is moving down the outside. They're coming down the finish! Can Snip hold on? Snip rounds the corner! Snip's picking up speed! They're almost at the line! Will they do it? Here comes Snip! It's Snip! Unbelievable! They did it!  And Snip wins the day!

Snip is moving down the outside. They’re coming down the finish! Can Snip hold on? Snip rounds the corner! Snip’s picking up speed! They’re almost at the line! Will they do it? Here comes Snip! It’s Snip! Unbelievable! They did it! And Snip wins the day!

Because we still weren’t quit finished with getting our fair share of farm critters, we went to the corral where we could pet all the animals. The petting farm is filled with chickens and goats and sheep, in addition to their gifts of waste that resemble chocolate chips — as Madelyn pointed out — all over the dirt ground. I did not hesitate to tell her that those were not at all chocolate chips, lest she get a sweet tooth while petting her pals.

She loves the goats especially, and every time we go to the petting farm, she always talks to them and tries to converse with them like they’re humans. This day was no different.
“Oh, hi, Goat. You’re my friend, Goat!”
“Oh, you’re feeling sad? Oh no, Goat. Come here, Sweetie, come here and I’ll make you feel better.”
“Goats, are you hungry? Here, let me pet you.” You know, because hunger and backrubs go hand in hand. Or hoof and hoof?

Then, like clockwork, she finds a community goat hairbrush and stalks follows them around the pen trying to play Beauty Parlor. God bless these creatures.

Madelyn goats for the gold.

Madelyn goats for the gold.

Look at that blonde cutie pie! Oh and look at the goat too!

Look at that blonde cutie pie! Oh and look at the goat too!

Everybunny loves the petting farm!

Everybunny loves the petting farm!

There were also new baby bunnies that we all got a kick out of gushing over. I really do love being able to go on a farm animal safari only a handful of minutes away from my suburban home. It’s definitely my local little happy place, so I’m giddy that Madelyn loves it, too.

After we three Jewish mothers scrubbed and sanitized every epithelial cell on our children’s bodies, we exchanged sweaty hugs with Amy and her girls who had to leave. Melissa and I took the kids to one last play area to climb on the wooden train so they could finish up with some fun and we could get in some final chatter.

Madelyn and Oliver are such good pals and we think they may even be a little in love. Hey, there's no blood between these kinda-sorta cousins.

Madelyn and Oliver are such good pals and we think they may even be a little in love. Hey, there’s no blood between these kinda-sorta cousins.

Then, it was time to skidaddle and make our ways back into civilization. I do love my days at the farm, but I’m also quite grateful for quick trips to TJs. However, what one can never get enough of is good girlfriends, and Amy and Melissa are diamonds in the rough.

That’s What Imaginary Friends Are For

In the past couple months, Madelyn has made a bevy of new friends. She would always talk about them in the car, at home, in the cart at Trader Joe’s. She was making lots of friends at preschool, but these names were not part of her class. Golby and Guyee were part of her original crew, and lately, Hank has started hanging out, too. We quickly realized that these friends she passionately spoke about are her fictional, made-up, dare I say, imaginary friends. Let me tell you, there is nothing more entertaining than hearing about this world my toddler completely controls and creates.

Some people might be freaked out about imaginary friends, but I think it’s terrific. I love that she is expressing her imagination, piecing together parts from her real world to make up her own, and exploring her verbal communication which only seems to improve, and drastically! It’s a great glimpse into the way she sees her environment and circumstances. If this creates independent thoughts and ideas, then I’m all for it! I just follow her lead and acknowledge her fwiends, and Bryan and I giggle while her eyes are closed with detailed and dramatic storytelling.

Madelyn dressed up as a fairy princess and invited her imaginary friends to dance at the ball with her just after this picture.

Madelyn dressed up as a fairy princess and invited her imaginary friends to dance at the ball with her just after this picture.

So let’s introduce her friends, shall we? Madelyn talks about them here, but this is just one of many instances. I’ve gathered a lot of details about these characters over the months.

The first one to show up was Golby. Originally, it was Colby, but she has now lost her C and her name begins with a G. Golby has a pet horse, who’s white, named Amigo. She rides her everywhere. Including to work. Which is at the Apple store. Golby is always at work. Girlfriend NEVER gets any breaks, it seems, and I think she ought to complain to HR about some PTO. We might be in the middle of brushing teeth at bedtime, and Madelyn will blurt out of the blue, “Golby at work!”

Guyee is Golby’s partner in crime. Pronounced GUY-EE, this was the name Madelyn used to call herself for “Maddie.” Before she mastered the “M” sound, she substituted with “G” which is really random and actually makes no phonemic sense, but you know, we roll with things around here. So Maddie used to introduce herself as “Guy-ee” and we used to have to explain to people that she means “Maddie” and then they’d look at us like we must be speaking in tongues. This was, of course, way back when Madelyn was having speech therapy and more closely resembled Nell of the Forest than my genetic offspring.

Anyway, Guyee also works at the Apple store. Hmmm. Wonder if she is her father’s daughter.

Guyee gets a little more time off than Golby, apparently, as Guyee makes pretty regular appearances. Sometimes Madelyn announces her presence, and other times I just gather that Guyee is with us. They seem to have a pretty close relationship, like sisters, almost, as they have regular conversations that sometimes escalate into conflict and resolution. Thank goodness. I often hear them arguing in the back of my car while I’m driving. The other week, my mom was driving after a visit to Trader Joe’s, and Madelyn and Guyee were working out a tiff over the stickers. Allegedly, Maddie had the stickers, Guyee wanted them and took them, and they went back and forth over who got the stickers until finally Madelyn and Guyee made up and they said I love you back and forth to each other.

You see, Madelyn does the voices for her friends as well. She changes patter and inflection depending on who she’s playing. She asks questions and answers them. Sometimes we’ll be walking Princeton, and Madelyn will ask me to hold the leash. Because she’s really a good walker, I let her and the following will take place:
Madelyn: You want to hold the leash, Guyee?
Madelyn as Guyee: Yeah! Ok!
Madelyn: Ok here you go!
Madelyn as Guyee: Ok! Dank you!
Madelyn: Ok! Welcome!
Madelyn as Guyee: OK OK!
Madelyn: OK OK!

This goes on and on.

Lately, a newcomer has made an appearance. Hank. I’m a little nervous about Hank, to tell you the truth. I don’t trust him as far as I can throw him and um, clearly, I can’t throw him.

Madelyn has told me that Guyee and Golby are kids. Hank, on the other hand, is a grown up. Why is a grown up hanging out with kids? And he has a beard and a mustache. And he drives a white van. She also says he’s not nice. If he starts offering candy, I’m telling her to ditch Hank. My gut tells me he’s bad news, but how do you break up with an imaginary friend? Hank, though, does not work at the Apple store. He works at Trader Joe’s. I asked her how they met: of course, a restaurant. Of course.

I sat down and asked Madelyn what her friends look like, because, you know, I want to put a face with the name. She doesn’t seem to blink an eye about my not being able to see her friends, so she just rolled with it.

Madelyn says, "Golby has pink hair and green eyebrows and wears a blue dress. WITH BUTTONS, Mommy! And she has purple lips and a bow in her hair. And the bow is pink."

Madelyn says, “Golby has pink hair and gween eyebrows and wears a bwoo dress. WITH BUTTONS, Mommy! And she has purpur lips and a bow in her hair. And the bow is pink.”

Madelyn says, "Guyee has a blue dress with pink polka dots. She has pink hair with pink eyelashes and blue eyes. She wears a bow. NO TWO bows. They are pink. And shoes. They're bwoo."

Madelyn says, “Guyee has a blue dress with pink polka dots. She has pink hair with pink eyelashes and blue eyes. She wears a bow. NO TWO bows. They are pink. And shoes. They’re bwoo.”

Madelyn says, "Hank has purple hair with bwoo eyebrows. He also has a beard and a muss-ash. It's gween. He wears a bwoo shirt with buttons. They're orange. And purpur pants. He's not a kid, he's a grown up."

Madelyn says, “Hank has purple hair with bwoo eyebrows. He also has a beard and a muss-ash. It’s gween. He wears a bwoo shirt with buttons. They’re orange. And purpur pants. He’s not a kid, he’s a grown up.”

Sometimes, the whole thing gets a little too Haley Joel Osment for me and I think she’s seeing spooky things. We were looking at family photos the other night and asked Madelyn to name all the people in the picture. From right to left, she pointed: “Mommy, Bubbie, Gigi, Mimi, Gamma, Maddie, Guyee, Golby, Hank, Auntie Ass-in.” Ummmmmmmm.

Dear Ryan Murphy. I have your next American Horror Story plotline for you: IMAGINARY FRIENDS. You’re welcome.

People say that these friends could be temporary or they could hang around for a few years. To be honest, I’ve really enjoyed Guyee and Golby’s company (Hank, not so much. He’s a creeper) and hey, they’re cheap to entertain and require no room and board, so it’s not even like they’re mooching. I think I’ll be sad when her friends leave Madelyn and move on to some other little girl’s imagination.

For now, I’m happy to make room for them on the couch as Madelyn watches Frozen with them, does coloring pages with them, and even eats dinner with them. Good friends are hard to find. Guyee and Golby are lucky to have Maddie.

Madelyn’s First Day Of Preschool


Mama’s got issues. That’s OK. It means I care too much. A lot.

The night before school, Bryan and I talked up the whole shebang.

“You sing songs ALL the time. You’re basically getting two-for-one voice lessons at Jewish preschool. Don’t you want to be the next Barbra Streisand?!”

“You’re going to make so many new friends! You LOVE playing with friends! It’s never too soon to start campaigning for Homecoming Queen Esther!”

“You get to eat lunch that we make together! Here, Madelyn. Let’s put in all your favorite foods like carrot sticks and organic apples, and baby broccolinis. Right? RIGHT?!?!”

We actually did make lunch together and it was fun! Normally I dread making lunches, especially my own for when I go to work AT school, but Madelyn and I teamed up. She held the bag and counted the carrot sticks as I dropped them in. And I gave her the choice of strawberry jelly or grape jelly on her sandwich. It was such a team effort.

And then I lost my marbles when I put her cute little owl lunch bag in the fridge. Because preschool!

"Oh, hi Cool Whip and eggs and grapes! I'm new here and I'm a hoot!"

“Oh, hi Cool Whip and eggs and grapes! I’m new here and I’m a hoot!”

So hard to believe that we have crossed the line into this little category. For months, BabyCenter has been sending me emails about Madelyn’s development because, you know, the Internet gods know everything, and the same folks who updated me on the produce in my belly, and the infant in my arms, and the toddler on my… everything… the same folks have been sending me emails subjected “Your Preschooler” since August. Eh eh — not so fast, Internet gods! My Preschooler was not in preschool because I felt she needed a little more time at home (i.e., we bought a house and we were po’!) but now those emails are like Shakira’s hips: they don’t lie! My little poppyseed has become a preschooler! I was so excited to watch her grow, make new friends (for all of us!), and, well, for me to get a manicure at 10 a.m. But yes, the whole thing was bittersweet because there’s something so unbabyish about taking your toddler to preschool. Madelyn is almost closer to kindergarten than she is to newbornhood. Crazy, that tick-tock of time.

My alarm was set to go off way too early on Preschool Day. Madelyn and I are used to sleeping until at least 8:30 or 9:00, so I was having major anxiety about what our morning would be like. Neither of us are sunnyside up when it’s time to wake before we’re ready, so naturally, just like you do the night before a super early flight and you have to get to the airport, I woke up every hour in a panic: “IS IT TIME?! HAVE I OVERSLEPT? DID WE SKIP PRESCHOOL AND ARE WE NOW AT COLLEGE?!”

I got myself up, managed to put on makeup and a bra — both things I usually don’t do before 10 — and then woke up Sleeping Beauty who was not impressed with the whole exercise. But I reminded her it was Preschool Day and she smiled super big. We got dressed, did our hair, and Madelyn was in a great mood. She had breakfast and we went over all the wonderful things she could expect.

Just before we left, we took The Picture in front of the door. Isn’t that a rite of a passage in and of itself? I’ve seen all my friends do this for years, and while I was tempted to do the same for Princeton before his first night of Obedience School, I skipped it and waited to be able to do this with my own (human) child. Today was the day!

Thankfully, she cooperated for the camera. Lately, she’s anti-paparazzi and has mastered giving “the hand.” She was in such a good mood, she posed and giggled and showed off her lunch box!

Memo to Alison in 11 years: This is for sure going in the Bat Mitzvah montage

Memo to Alison in 11 years: This is for sure going in the Bat Mitzvah montage

Madelyn's First Day of Preschool



Off we went to school where she frolicked through the playground to enter the bright and cheery classroom with her equally bright and cheery teachers and then it happened:

The Leg Hug.

Her arms gripped her Daddy’s leg like a hippie’s on a tree, and she would. not. let. go. OK, OK, so, she’s a little bit of a leg hugger and is usually slow to warm when entering a room anyway. No big whoop. We’ll ignore this behavior and get to know the room and the teachers and all that. Well, she gave the side eye to anyone who even so much as breathed the same oxygen as her in the room, and didn’t show any signs of unlatching.

Finally, one of the teachers got her to at least sit in a chair and she looked at the play dough while the other kids made museum-quality works of art out of it, but hey, at least she looked at it.

"Maybe if I look at this long enough, it'll do something."

“Maybe if I look at this long enough, it’ll do something.”

We had done all of our admin duties and made our way over to her for the kiss-off. A quick “goodbye and love you,” sealed with a kiss, and a promise that I’d be back in a little bit (three hours) seemed to do the trick. No tears. No hysterics. It was a perfect morning after all.

Love my big girl!!

Love my big girl!!

We drove off campus, Bryan and I looked at the “Schedule” the teachers gave us detailing a typical day of Madelyn’s class and we wished we were two, and then we went our separate ways for the day. I felt 28.7 pounds lighter when I realized I had a whole 2.5 hours ahead of me to do whatever I wanted and efficiently.

Bryan's going to propose this new schedule to his boss at work.

Bryan’s going to propose this new schedule to his boss at work.

Until 10:45 when I got a phone call that I should return to school. School gets out at noon.

Apparently, Madelyn had a bit of a roller coaster morning after we’d left. Thankfully, it wasn’t the tantrum kind, but she was sad and definitely asking for her mommy over and over again. She saw her beloved Mommy & Me teacher on the playground and had a hard time accepting the fact that she flew that coop, and was in a new nest with new wonderful teachers and new sweet friends. That adjustment must be hard for toddlers — to be at the same school, but in a different class with a different format and different faces — so I totally get it.

I came back in the classroom to find the kiddies eating lunch — and so well, I might add! — and Madelyn was a happy little girl. She was told that I was coming back and she perked back up. We ate lunch together and I was so impressed with her independence and the routines in the classroom which, as I could see, the seasoned teachers had well oiled.

Lunch time success!

Lunch time success!

We finished up the day with some circle time and some songs. I made sure she felt comfortable having me there, but didn’t want to participate too much and convey a Mommy & Me-type setting for her, so I gave her short cues based on her teachers’ directions to the whole class, and she settled in really nicely.

Madelyn participates at circle time at the end of the day!

Madelyn participates at circle time at the end of the day!

The end of the day came quickly, and Madelyn was in a great mood. Despite the rocky transition in the first half, I’d say the day as a whole was successful.

I’m so proud of my little preschooler and know we have many years of memories to make together in our preschool community. And she sang “Shalom Haverim” so beautifully, that Babs better be shakin’ in her boots.

  1. Pattie
    1/7/2014 8:17 AM

    I so look forward to your updates! What a little trooper…MOMMY! haha. New friends, new adventures, growing up. It’s all part of the plan for kiddies and a really hard transition for moms! Book those mornings! Lots of mani/pedi’s, lunches, movies (if they aren’t too long!) Enjoy your mommy time, while Madelyn grows to love school!
    Love you all….

  2. Mimi
    1/6/2014 10:02 PM

    Dear Sweet Madelyn! I’m so happy that you had a busy & fun day in your new pre-school class. I love your schedule of activities & that you will have very clean hands. 😉 It will be fun/funny to look back on this big event/milestone & see that you are still friends or even went all through your school years with some of your new classmates.
    Starting with today, I can’t wait to be able to go to lots of your school events!!
    I love you! <3

Patchy Days Are Here Again

Hard to believe that we’re going into Madelyn’s third Halloween. Even at two months old, we took her to the pumpkin patch to get traditional photos started even though she had no idea what was going on and couldn’t do any of the fun pumpkin patch activities.

Last year was different when we took her to Underwood Family Farms where she seemed to have an appreciation for her surroundings and could toddle through the pumpkin fields by herself and trot after the animals in the petting corral.

Pumpkins change. Hair grows. Cuter happens.

Pumpkins change. Hair grows. Cuter happens.

This year, Madelyn basically owned the place. We took her back to Underwood Farms and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy and understand all the aspects of fun on the farm. She pointed to things she recognized and made sure to show us every single pumpkin, or in Madelynese, tun-tun.

Where will she land next year?

Where will she land next year?

It was a hot Saturday; one of those tricky days that appeared cold from the bedroom window and sent chills through our house walls, but then turned out to be sunny, bright, and warm. We shvitzed our way through the long line to get in and Madelyn picked through the easy grab-and-go pumpkins in the crates.




We only had a couple hours to spend at the farm and Bryan was feeling a little ghoulish himself, so I was extremely goal-oriented as we made our way through the peopled grounds.

We headed toward the petting corral so I could hug and cuddle every single available animal Madelyn could see her fuzzy friends. She loved the goats and chased around this one sandy-colored little guy, calling out, “Hi, Goat! Hi, Goat! Hi, Goat!” She saw a chicken and had a conversation in full-on, fluent “Bock bock.” (She also says “Bock bock” to her dinner, soooo…). And Madelyn loved the sheep, despite offering salutations to the “Shit.” (FYI: letters P and T are completely interchangeable). I would say the petting corral was a success.

You WILL love me.

You WILL love me.

Listen here, pal. You stick with me and everything will be OK.

Listen here, pal. You stick with me and everything will be OK.



One thing we didn’t get to last year was watching the pig races, so I was determined to get seats during the hours we were there. Fortunately, the next race was only a half hour after we were finished with the animals, so we headed over to the grandstands early to get a spot to see the little piggies race around a semi-circle.

The track had seating on three sides. We sat toward the end of the long run and could see the piggies as they came out of their pens and then craned our necks to the left to see them prance the rest of the long run, round a corner, and end up back inside a holding area. The stands were packed (sweaty) shoulder to (sweaty) shoulder so I had Princeton at my feet in our second-level-up benches. His leash was under my tushie so I could have my hands free to share Madelyn duties with Bryan.

I could hear Princeton grunting and squealing — like a pig — when they came out for each race. His ears were perked and I could tell that he was really interested in the like-sized 3-month-old porkers 20 feet away from us. I just kept petting him to give him attention, but I could tell he just really wanted to be a part of it all.

So the determined dog did.

Oh, look! That cute little dog looks like Princeton. IT IIIIIIIIIS PRINCETON!!!

Oh, look! That cute little dog looks like Princeton. IT IIIIIIIIIS PRINCETON!!!

Just as the pigs were in front of our part of the stands, going for the long stretch, I saw a very cute and furry salt-and-pepper terrier running alongside the fence that separated the track from the stands.


Bryan tossed Madelyn into my lap and ran after Princeton while the announcers joked that a dog was now wanting to be part of the race and everyone was cheering. I was in a fog of laughter, panic, and embarrassment, but my eyes were clear enough to see Princeton, his fur blowing in the wind and his usually-tight jowls flapping in a wide smile, playing and fraternizing with the athletic piggies mid-race.

He trotted back to our seats and returned to sit very contentedly at our bench, basking in the memories of what just happened like a school girl who successfully snuck out of her house to steal a midnight kiss from her boyfriend. Princeton had had his eye on the piggy prize, pulled one great, big, swift yank on the leash under me, and in nanoseconds, he was free, even if only for moments. I’m quite certain this was the highlight of his entire life.

After the races, people passed by us in the stands as we gathered up all of our stuff and they cheered on Princeton for his bold move. His ears were pinned back and his tail wagged high. He was one happy farm pup that afternoon.


By then, Bryan was pretty fried, especially after his Olympic sprint to catch Princeton the Pig-Dog, so we made our way to the open pumpkin fields to finish up our day with photos of Madelyn in the sea or orange.

She loved seeing all the “tun-tuns” and immediately began hugging them and talking to them. I swear she had a whole conversation with one.

Tun-tun! It's you!!!!!

Tun-tun! It’s you!!!!!

She also discovered the scarecrows that are probably more decorative to set the scene than to actually scare any crows… or children. Madelyn was drawn to the scarecrows like crows to the corn or farmers to the overalls or Princeton to the pigs. She stood two inches from the stake, looked up, and continued the conversation she previously had with the pumpkin. She played with their fake, empty, creepy scarecrow limbs and incessantly said with excitement: “Hi, tare-tow! Hi! Eeeeee!! Tare-tow!!!!!! WOW. Tare-tow!”

I half expected her to flash them and ask for an autograph. But she was wearing a onesie and overalls, so…





Kids, man. Their imaginations are amazing.

She sauntered through the fields like Maria in the green hills (which are alive with the sound of music) with her happy little girl voice trailing behind her as I snapped photos.

Do Re Me Fa So La Ti TARE-TOW!!!!!!

Do Re Me Fa So La Ti TARE-TOW!!!!!!

Madelyn loved looking up at the “cha-chur” — the tractor — which she also posed in front of last year. She was much bigger this year, and yet, still so small next to this green giant. I think we need to take pictures of her with the cha-chur every year from now on. She’ll be 17 and hating me because she’d rather be getting ready for high school homecoming with her friends, but I will insist on getting her mug in front of the dusty, dirty pumpkin patch cha-chur. What if she’s still calling it “cha-chur” by then?





After our frolic through the pumpkin fields, we made our way back toward the exit of the farm. As we passed the things she’d seen earlier that afternoon, Madelyn politely said goodbye and thanked … things. “Bye, shit!” “Bye, tun-tuns!” “Bye, {pig snort sound}!” “Bye, tare-tow!” “Bye, farm!”

I love that little profile and those pouty lips.

I love that little profile and those pouty lips.

She’s so polite! And during this Halloween season, she is constantly no trick and all treat!