I finally crumbled and washed the car with my sons like a good person…

Matthijs has got the psychology all wrong. Instead of having a nice healthy Oedipus complex he would rather marry me (his father). I explained that boys generally (this is Holland, remember) marry girls but of course Marjolein sabotaged this by saying that the main thing is that you have to love the person very much, and of course Matthijs said that he loved Pappa very much… We chickened out with the standard “we’ll see when you are older” response that I always hated getting when I was a child. Matthijs gave it some deep thought and announced that he was the kind of boy that married girls.

He also got his “DKTP” vaccination this month. This is the standard Dutch cocktail for Diptheria, Hooping cough, Tetanus and Polio. He should have had it last month, but it clashed with the mass meningitis vaccinations. We had told him it might hurt, but he was not at all afraid, even though they stuck him in both arms at once. I cannot help it, I get a nice warm feeling from seeing the surprise on a nurse’s face when our boys shrug off injections: little tough-guys!

Matthijs’ imagination is going great guns now, ranging from quite elaborate stories with ghosts, mermaids, robots and assorted monsters to proto-jokes (“poop is raining on you now papa”) and outright lies (“Daaaaaniël did it”). He also ernestly told me, while brushing his teeth, that he “felt the worms (germs) running away” because I had told him that brushing his teeth would stop the germs from making holes in his teeth to use as houses.

Duplo is still a big hit with both the boys. Here too the imagination produces castles, guns, “penguin houses”, robots and even a church. Daniël is more a disassembler, but does produce huge towers and something suspicously like a hammer (hmmm).

This late in the pregnancy Marjolein often ends the day flat out in an armchair while I chase the toads up to bed. Matthijs melted her recently by kissing her good night and then carefully lifting her t-shirt to kiss Falco good night too and saying (quick grab in the air and hand pressed on belly) “I am putting a dream in Falco’s head about what we did today, because we were a bit naughty and he does not know that. I wanted to be good. I tried really hard, but it didn’t work. So we were bad all day”. They were indeed, and not just that one day either.

Daniël had got rhythm and sings and dances all the time. His favourite song is “twingel, twingel ‘ittel ‘ar” and he sings it in a continuous loop for aaaages. His favourite DVD is, just like Matthijs at his age, the nursery rhyme episode of “Banana’s in Pyjama’s”. We actually bought the DVD because Matthijs had played the video to shreds.

Daniël is still very much the Pirate: I turned by back for ten seconds in the local supermarket and when I looked back the basket was entirely full of cakes, Daniël had a satisfied look and a shop assistant was injuring herself with excessive laughter. There is no denying the tactical/opportunistic streak in that child, too many things happen THE MOMENT your attention is drawn away.

Daniël is practicing his frog jump a lot (heels together and “kwaark” noises) and has started to explore language. His latest trick is to firmly grab one of your fingers, place is on a picture and either say “eeh?” or attempt to name it himself. Lots of things are still called “arrh!” but words are being added every day now. I also trundled him out to the barber, where he behaved absolutely perfectly, amazing the barber. I also suspect he likes getting exclusive use of Pappa.

It was Matthijs’ turn two weeks later and he came back with a VERY close cut (suits him) which is a good thing with such stiflingly hot weather. The swing is very popular with both boys, they even take it in turn to push each other. Despite many efforts Matthijs cannot (actually WILL not) swing himself yet.

In these last few pre-Falco weeks we are trying to build in some relaxation, so we abandoned the beasts to Emmy the baby-sitter and went to the sauna. Wonderful and probably as much holiday as we will manage. Meanwhile at home the toads succeeded in ruffling the normally inperturbable Emmy: she walked into the bedroom, drawn by suspicous sniggering, and found Matthijs drawing elaborate tribal-looking markings all over Daniël. Naturally Matthijs claimed that they were special markings to “help Daniël sleep”. Politician, lawyer, major criminal figure, we will see.

At the end of the month Matthijs got very red cheeks and a bad attitude, which we though were connected. There were indeed: he also developed an extensive rash on his arms and legs and the doctor informed us that he was suffering from “the fifth disease”. He was otherwise ok, eating and drinking normally, so we were not really worried. Marjolein checked with the doctor mainly to make sure that there was no risk to Falco and he informed her that there was a small risk of abortion, which made her rather keen on cuddling Matthijs: Falco is all finished and Marjolein would be perfectly happy to give birth to him tomorrow or even yesterday, especially when it is 30 degrees in the shade.

The bathroom is dragging along. The blasted contractor did not drive the thing along, the tile man is taking his sweet time (apparently our tiles come all the way from Italy and the whole country is on holiday) and Marjolein has to do stairs every time Falco jumps on her bladder. I am happy we have the emergency shower, but I will be happy to see it go as well. It has cheapo taps and, despite dire warnings, the toads could not resist playing with them. That provided them with a suddenly VERY HOT shower. Thankfully they were more scared than scalded and will not be doing that trick again soon. The bathroom would probably be about finished on the 14th of August, which is Marjolein’s due date so we do not want workmen tramping through the place, so we are having the toilet put in (sans tiles) and the temporary shower moved down. The buggers can finish off in October and I hope never to see them again.

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