Dressing up and face-painting are all the rage in our house

Matthijs has been wanting a knight in armour outfit for some time and one day I came home and found that Marjolein had been VERY creative with cardboard and silver paper and “Sir Atlas” (no idea where he got the name from) was ready for battle. The outfit survived for more than a week of intensive play (pretty good for any toy, let alone cardboard creations). He was so please with it he wanted to take it to school for “take your toys Friday”.

It was Queen’s Day at the end of the month. This is celebrated in the Netherlands by holding a nation-wide free market: everyone sells all their rubbish and buys twice as much new rubbish. The Queens Day market is an excellent source of second-hand toys, so we were able to replace the tattered carboard with battered plastic and even kit-out Sir Daniel as well. The noble knights could also be builders, monkeys, cowboys, firemen etc. Pretty good haul. We loaded all that stuff (and much, much more) onto the buggy until people started thinking I had a mobile stand and making offers…

Falco is quite a clown too. While we were feeding him (and we do that a LOT) he started rolling his eyes and wobbling his head, which sent Matthijs and Daniel into stitches. He immediately realised that this was the way to get a laugh and did his little dance over and over again, crowing with glee. It was profoundly sweet and quite fascinating that he has started “managing his relationships” so early. The unfortunate side effect is that when he does his “dance” in public (and he is STILL doing it) people think he is having a seizure. Sigh. That is exacerbated by the fact that he is easily the size of a chunky one-year-old but acts (amazingly enough) like a baby.

Falco is the jolliest, happiest (and almost the largest) baby imaginable. He can now lift his upper body no problem and flips over effortlessly. It is actually a lot of effort to stop him doing this while you are changing his nappy. He is nearly crawling, but not quite. Though he still sleeps through he occasionally cries out in the night: the other two were restless about this age and we suspect that he has just started to dream.

Falco had his appointment with the post-natal clinic this month and turned out to be (at eight months and one day) 72 cm and 9750 gram. He is no longer tracking the top growth-curve, but still well above averege. He may follow the pattern of his brothers and now turn into Mr Averege. He is a little heavier than his length suggests, but that will undoubtely melt away once he starts crawling.

Poor Matthijs turned out to have Scarlet Fever (good old-fashioned disease) which is conagious and has some rare but not-so-good complication (reumatic fever, damage to heart-valves etc.) so the quack put him on antibiotics. Dutch doctors are pretty leary of prescribing so that is significant. He was very good about taking the stuff (filthy taste combines with super-sweet flavouring), also because we took the time to explain what it was for. Matthijs ia always more cooperative if he has had some kind of explanation. Like anyone I suppose…

Matthijs gets to stay up half an hour longer than Daniel these days. That’s much easier now Daniel has his own room and we though it was a good idea (good advice from my mother) to differentiate between the brothers. He is very, very proud of his extra time we are aware that he is a more pleasant and biddable person when he is feeling grown-up and responsible. For example he now wakes us up very gently on the weekends (gentle kiss and a quiet “good morning”) and gets entirely dressed without prompting or assistance.

He also graduated to a bigger bicycle with NO side-wheels and a spacy-looking bike helmet. That was important because we started taking him on the road and by then end of the month he was regularly cycling to school next to us.

We took the monsters into town to have their pelts cut this month and Matthijs regaled/horrified the entire bus with his penetrating conversational tone: “Papa, grownups drop things too sometimes, so they can’t pick up Falco because if they dropped him his head would be busted and he would be dead. Then we would just have a baby skeleton and muscles lying around…” Delightful. That is what comes of explaining carefully why you have to be careful on the stairs etc. etc.

He is also starting to ask difficult questions: “Mamma, if lava is hot enough to melt stone, why doesn’t the volcano melt?” Hmm, dig out the thermodynamics. After seening the adverts for Disneyland: “Mamma, mamma!! There is a place where your imagination becomes reality! I just heard it on tv! Shall we go there?” We are currently working on the distinction between mistakes, jokes, stories and lies. We have not covered advertising yet. Lies, damn lies and…

We had an excellent sunny Easter weekend and went for brunch and egg-hunt at Marjolein’s mother’s house. Marjolein’s sister and her son Ramses were there and the boys (despite 5 years difference) played together lots. Egg hunting had to be organised a two levels: basic hunter-gatherer for Matthijs and Daniel and complex with cryptic clues for Ramses. Everything got found and eaten.

We combined Marjolein’s and Daniel’s birthdayds into one big bash this month. We do these things on a Sunday from four till late so people can come early with kiddos or later without. All our friends are either encumbered with offspring or breeding madly. Unfortunately we have always provided food before and people seem to like it (costs you a prezzo and that’s it) so we cooked ourselves to death. Last year we nearly ran dry and Marjolein has a horror of people going hungry on our premises, so this year we made enough Indian food for about 35 people… Aaargh. Still, they ate it willingly enough and there is great satisfaction in a entire room full of people eating your grub. Nothing better than a full table of relaxed bods, full glasses and second portions.

Daniel is an excellent Birthday boy, greeting each present with a whoop of joy and playing with them immediately. He did extremely well out of the company and has probably ensured that he will do at least as well next year.

Matthijs was very creative this month. He started drawing again in ernest and often draws something on the magnetic drawing board in bed, before he goes to sleep. We preserve these works of art (scanner and digital camera) in the kiddo gallery.

He made an very nice Easter egg picture, cut is out and then made the remaining paper into a montermask. He and Daniel look pretty frightening with it on.

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