Daniël is now big enough to turn the doorhandles, which means that if you want to keep him out of or inside a room you have to start thinking locks, bolts and razor-wire. Naturally he forms a neat little conspiracy with his brother and they have already taken the opportunity of 2 minutes of parental inattention to go for unauthorised walks around the square. Daniël is particularly scary because his idea of a good time is hiding and running round corners as fast a his fat little legs will carry him (quite fast). His favourite trick is nipping out of the front door, going in our elderly neighbour’s gate, closing it and hiding under her fir tree. Unfortunatly he pulls the gate closed hard enough that she needs to keep a small hammer in the hallway to open it again. Naturally we are being pretty repressive about that one, but Daniël is not very vulnerable to social pressure and has developed a very decided liking for mischief (with appropriate grin and twinkle in eyes).
Defying Dutch custom we quite freely admit to visitors that number three will be a boy and even that he will be called “Falco”. When one of Marjolein’s aunts called in this month and said to Matthijs that he would have a little brother he solemnly replied “Yes, I told them I wanted a girl but they got it wrong”; what a little darling, whack, thud…
The new tendency is to critically evaluate Mamma and Pappa’s performance and negotiate EVERYTHING: “Matthijs, we made a deal that you would not draw lines on yourself (black stripe accross nose) if we let you play with the felt-tips!”.
” But Mama, I was being a zebra…””
He also plays back our stern looks and finger wagging, especially when he catches us out, breaking our own rules. I had never realized how complex it could be to manage a body of legislation in the face of a party with an excellent memory and sufficient logic for his own purposes. See below “stern look”.
He also had a few personal accidents this month and told Marjolein off in no uncertain terms because she did not let him walk around with his hand in his trousers: stopping the pee from getting out, of course.
When we went to record a family video greeting for some friends who are abroad the cameraperson asked Matthijs if he was going to say something and what he would say. “Naturally” he said, with his best you-debilitated-moron look, “Cheeeeeeeeze”. Collapse of stout party.
As you can see, Daniël has a cheeky grin, but has to use every trick in the book to hang on to his share of the attention. The two of them togther are a constant roller-coaster: competing ruthlessly for the parental sunshine, conspiring cunningly to get round you and sometimes sweet enough (cuddles, sharing, real empathy) that you could film it for Disney.
Daniël is ever more a climber. Given half a chance he will raid the kitchen worktop and we have had to move the sweety drawer up a metre. He also took the traditional tumble into the pond this month. Fortunately I was right next to him (he was squatting down and threw in a stick so enthusiatically that he followed it) and grabbed him right back out again. Marjolein thinks that being soaked, cold and rushed home by a thouroughly wet and ticked-off father will have provided him with a useful trauma. Yer’ right, it takes more than a short spell under water to change what goes on in that little round head of his.
Marjolein and Daniël celebrated a joint birthday party this month on the 27th. I drew a picture of an exausted Marjolein encumbered with our beasts and she turned it into a Flash (and I do mean flash) invitation. That is definately a seriously geeky thing to do. It is also nice to see the Flash course being put to use. The party was our usual merry chaos of food, drink, dogs and children and I spent most of it in the kitchen, mainly because many more people stayed to eat than we had expected and they ate their heads off. There is a lot to be said for being the food-source at the party: (a) people naturally gravitate to the kitchen (b) they are dependant on you (demonic laughter). We must start making nastier food…
We pre-birthdayed most Marjolein’s prezzos: she got a graphire drawing-tablet (used for the Flash invite) and a new organiser. Yes we are geeks, and proud. We also did a post-birthday raid on the American bookshop in Amsterdam and managed to crash their till with the sheer volume of our purchases and got Marjolein a new designer handbag (she is a girly geek sometimes).
Daniël enjoyed all the attention, and cake, and nuts and sweets and and and…. He also actually played cheerfully with all his gifts (to the great satifaction of the givers) and had quite a lot of fun with the wrapping-paper too. Though we had braced Matthijs for the fact that this was Daniël’s birthday and he would not get presents, most people gave him a little something. This lead to him greeting people with “Hello and what have you got for me…”. His upbringing is better that that, REALLY. We did also manage to get him to introduce himself politely at someone else’s party, but not at ours (of course).