Poor Matthijs was ill

This month we celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary. I had a conversation with a friend a week or so beforehand in which he casually said “of course most marriages run in to trouble after six years, (pause) how long have you and Marjolein been together. Me, very dry, “six years”. Collapse of stout party. Amazingly enough we managed to celebrate our sixth (what is that, wood, paper, string wedding anniversary, how many years is rubber???) without the kiddos. This was achieved by the madness of our good friend Lies who offered to occupy our den and look after our monsters for the whole weekend. We left them all behind and went for a “bracing” weekend in Groningen with a day out on the island Schiermonnickoog. We picked the hotel off the Internet and wound up in a place that obviously primarily catered for business travellers for the exhibition hall next door. This gave us both a powerful dose of deja vu as we have spent many nights sitting in such places girding our loins for the next days sales call and presentation. We kept expecting collegues to turn up during supper or the boss to phone. Spooky. Schiermonnickoog was very nice, but not actually lots nicer than the Haarlem dunes. It makes you realise how lucky you are… Going there on the ferry we were surrounded by Dachshunds which were all going to some kind of convention. Surreal. We biked around and read books in the sunshine in the company of most of the Netherlands that had had the same Schier-idea.

This month it was also Matthijs’ birthday and he became three years old. We gave him a strictly limited number of prezzos as he is already drowning in toys; they just accumulate. Fortunately we held his party on the Sunday before the date as his actual birthday was on the 11th, the day of the WTC disaster. As it was we had a very jolly party and lots of our friends were there. Most people had asked for guidance and I had told them Duplo or musical things, so he ended up with lots of very nice Duplo, some fun instruments and a box of mutant lego. This last we swiftly exiled to his room before Daniel could swallow it all, stick it in his ears or use it to construct nuclear warheads…

Matthijs birthday also involved him taking some kind of treat to school. This is a kind of tacit competition between parents and Matthijs regularly brings home handicraft objects that some obsessive parent has made to distribute sweeties or raisins in. Determined not to be outdone Marjolein descended on me as the resident artist and I was silly enough to construct little paper houses for Matthijs to elegantly paint in his own style. That was not smart. Elegant little paper houses do not take well to being battered with a brush and doused in litres of highly dilute paint. So Daddy ended up in the wee small hours sticking the dratted things together and painting them himself. Now top that punks…

The next weekend we went down to visit my mother in Belgium and Matthijs and Daniel got another round of prezzos. Matthijs showed his appreciation by making a beeline for the garden and firing up the water pistol and the garden hose. He is a pretty good shot and succeeded in drenching his uncle Johnathan pretty thoroughly. Daniel is no better, just less capable.

Kiddo Quotes this month:

Matthijs:”Mamma, may I have the guitar pleeeeeease?”
“No Matthijs, that is for Daniël”
“But I asked very politely!?!”
“Even when you ask nicely, you can’t have everything!”
“But I didn’t ask for everything Mamma!”

This sort of conversation can go on forever…

Marjolein enrolled herself in an online Flash course this month. This does not involve raincoats in any way but has resulted in very large numbers of moving web pictures that jump, gibber and squeak at you quite alarmingly. My main fear is that she will get really proficient and that our website will vanish into a cloud of highly animated thingummies.

This month was also Ramses’ birthday, a great event for both the boys. They behaved quite well and Ramses kindly sorted out some toys that he was too old for so they came home with yet more loot. I am definately thinking of setting up a second-hand toyshop (if they leave anything whole that is).

Daniel is more and more interactive and interested in people’s reactions. He still is not talking much but it is amazing what he understands. He eats neatly with a spoon or fork, blows kisses, draws (violently) and still climbs anything that is not greased and surrounded by barbed wire. He wipes his face, pulls his shirts over his head and tries to wash his hands. In short, anything he sees Matthijs doing…

We took them both out to the children’s farm the same weekend and they loved it. Neither of them are afraid of animals and they both had a whale of a time feeding and stroking the goats and sheep.


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