Daniel enjoys his birthday, with special birthday hat

The month got off to a bad start as Marjolein came down with a whopping sinus infection and I had to have root canal work done on a molar. We both felt absolutely ghastly for about a week, but fortunately the dentist sent me home with some super-strong painkillers and those practically saved our lives. Unfortunately the dentist in question was covering for my own dentist during his holiday and closed up the tooth having missed half of the root, so it was not until a couple of weeks later that I was finally clear of it.

It was Daniëls birthday on the second but we kept his party a quiet affair: he is much less of a showman than Matthijs and even Matthijs was a little overwhelmed by his own first birthday party. We made Daniël a special birthday hat and decorated his high chair with balloons and gave him a big piece of apple pie with lots of cream to dive into. These things always work well for the dog, who hoovers up lots and lots of crumbs and surprisingly badly in terms of jolly photographs because both our children become solemn and businesslike in the presence of food. Matthijs and us sang both “Happy Birthday” and “Lang zal hij leven” for him and he demolished the cake with great enthusiasm.

We spent the afternoon at the birthday party of Marjolein’s good friend Saskia. Her daughter, and first child, Esmee was born a few hours after Daniël, so we all went and sat in her nice sunny garden and let assorted children chase each other all over the place.

Mother’s day (Dutch version) turned up on the 14th and Matthijs duly brough home a present from school. This would have been very endearing if he had not unpacked it (Nivea cream) and started pancaking it all over his face. I was able to restrain him just in time, but put my foot in it by telling him to give it to Marjolein on the wrong date. I did manage to provide the breakfast in bed bit on time however, though it turned out to be handier to carry it downstairs again so we could eat it in a nice sunny garden…

Marjolein spent most of this month trying to get Daniël written into her passport (turns out to be massively cheaper than getting him his own) and encountering every frustration (infinite queue, missing document, lost file etc.) that bureaucracy can provide. I also ended sending emergency faxes from our home PC to the commune to prove that she had my permission to do so.

Matthijs is now drawing shapes quite accurately and cheerfully personifies them by adding eyes and mouths. He also adds multitudes of long spindly legs, giving them a strangely spidery look. He is both rough and kind to Daniël, alternating pushes and pinches with kisses and presents. He will rob Daniël of any toys that he fancies, but consistently shares sweeties and biscuits :”a’ one for Da-nel pleez papaa”. Please and thankyou are gradually becoming automatic and he is slowly catching on that asking politely will get him a lot further than blunt demands and screaming. He had a relapse to shouting and crying for things, in imitation of Daniël and it is taking some time for the good habits to re-emerge.

Unfortunately he has also developed his skill with doors and can now open all the doors in the house, despite the fact that we have placed all the doorhandles vertically to make it difficult for small explorers. This produces double trouble, because Daniël is walking, crawling and climbing furniture very efficiently and will happily waddle through any door Matthijs opens for him. Five minutes of inattention (cooking) and I discovered that the two children who were peacefully playing in the sitting room were out in the hall (Matthijs) and halfway up the stairs (Daniël)! We ended up putting a catch on the outside of Matthijs’ bedroom door to prevent the busy little fingers sorting through the tools and paints stored on the landing.

Daniël is finally producing teeth and doing it all at once. He now has two top and two bottom almost through and the points of a molar. This, combined with a cold and a mild eye infection has not helped his mood or his appetite. He has never been as enthusiatic about food as Matthijs (“Suppertime Matthijs!”, “FOOOOOD, Yaaaaaaay!” runs to sit up at table) but somehow always manages to find space for dessert.

This month’s mystery: I came back into the sitting room after leaving Daniël sitting on the floor and found him playing in his playpen. Either he clambered in there via the rocking horse (aaargh!) or Matthijs lifted him in there (double aargh!). We need a webcam trained on these creatures…

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