The start of a new tradition; yearly portrait

t is a shame that Daniël is not grinning in the portrait because this was the last one we will have where he has all his teeth. One day when the boys were playing in their bedroom Daniël started crying louder than usual and when Marjolein went in he was covered in blood (panic, panic). Matthijs had pushed him over and he had broken one of his front teeth: Daniël must have had something in his mouth because he was nowhere near the table. There was no sign of the tooth and both boys were very shocked, especially Matthijs. Daniël has got over it now, though his top lip was sore for ages, but he will have to wait until he is six to have a full set of teeth again.

Daniël has finally started to talk and holds forth at lenght in Azerbaijani to us, the dog and even in one instance telling his foot off (complete with wagging finger).

He copies his brother in all things, good and bad and has even started peddling his tricyle, which is quite difficult given that his legs barely reach the pedals.

Marjolein went to a burns prevention evening at the kindergarten this month and came back with reams of truly ghastly but useful facts, which I was not spared. Surprisingly (to me) burns from boiling water are much worse than burns from boiling oil (water goes into your skin and soaks your clothes).

Our family was graced with the one-day stomach flu this month. Just when we were in the car half way between our house and Marjolein’s mother’s house (it was her birthday) Matthijs started saying he was not comfortable in his chair. I checked his seatbelt and had just moved back when the projectile vomiting started. The poor little chap covered himself and a few square metres of car quite thoroughly. Marjolein was starting it too and is also rather sensitive to odours at the moment, so we were all pretty miserable by the time we arrived. Matthijs was very stoical and did not cry or complain at all, even though he ended up not getting any birthday cake and even lost (neatly in the toilet) the biscuit and glass of water we gave him. We should have realised something was wrong: we had just left another birthday party where he was active and charming but not in the least interested in the cake. True to form he was much better the next day, though Marjolein was much worse and spent the entire day in bed feeling rotten. I stayed at home to kiddo-mind and wife-nurse, expecting all the time that Daniël would start redecorating the walls, but our Piglet kept on eating in the inexorable, methodical manner of a plague of starving locusts. We have taken to calling him the carbo-hunter, because of the almost unlimited amount of pasta he can eat and because he will steal anybody’s food if it is something starchy. He despises cutlery most of the time, but has discovered that using a fork lengthens his reach and allows him to steal the choicest morsels from Matthijs’ plate.

Matthijs is starting to apply logic to his world and puts all the things we have ever said to him together, sometimes in surprising ways. I had told him that lions catch and eat antelopes (because he asked what lions eat) and then asked him what an antelope was. After a moment’s thought he answered “meat, pappa!”. He is very busy with comparing himself and us to the rest of the world (our car is faster, daddy is taller etc.) He suddenly pipes up in the middle of a meal with something like “I’ve got more hair than opa!”. It is a mystery where it all comes from, but there is obviously a lot going on in that little head, all the time.

Matthijs has being getting the grips with the information “Grandpa is dead” for almost a month now. At first he wanted to make him not-dead and now he wants to know where Grandpa is, if everyone will be dead, also Matthijs (trembling lip) and wouldn’t he have a mummy anymore then… This leads to having a heavy duty metaphysical conversation with a child who still has some difficulty with “yesterday” and “next week”. Marjolein embarked on the epic task of telling him about the various things that people believe (in simple terms) and covered the main themes of Judaeism, Christianity and Pantheist reincarnation. The book comes out next month…

Matthijs has also graduated out of nappies this month, having successfully completed a couple of clean-nappy days with frequent successful trips to the toilet. He is now officially a “big boy” and objects strenuously to being called anything else, while informing anyone who will listen exactly how many times he pooped today and how big it was. There were a few accidents at first and the washing machine (and of course Marjolein…) worked very hard for a few days. He has also won the priviledge of not taking a nap/being in his room in the afternoon. This leaves us with no kiddo-free time during the day, but it is a good preparation for full days at school next year. He also plays with his educational software for hours at a time, so we can slack of the supervison a (little) bit. Bad luck for Marjolein is that this means that she cannot take an afternoon nap either, which she will miss because we will be having a baby in August!!!!!!! Great news, which we have been keeping under our hats for the last two months until we had a successful ultrasound.

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