The month started with Daniel celebrating his birthday at school on his first day back after the spring break. That meant he had to take in a treat for the whole class.

Seeing as how we are still at sixes and sevens with the builders we cheated on the treat (GOOD parents make tremendous craft-paper butterflies and tortoises with munchies inside) and provided plastic bowls of popcorn with pretty napkins wrapped round them. Not the very creative but the children liked them.

Daniel in any case loves popcorn so it was a hit with him. He and Yasmin were inseperable from beginning to end and he treasured his birthday hat and would not go te bed all week unless he was wearing it.

Our local fair came round again. This year Daniel could join in with everything, but surprisingly Matthijs was less bold. Things that he did cheerfully last year (Ghost train, wild water ride…) were “too scary” this time, whereas for Daniel the higher, faster and scarier it was, the better he liked it. Perhaps Matthijs now has a more sophisticated appeciation of risks, though he did do the funhouse with me, even though there were lots of bumps and slides involved.

Unfortunately for him, when he and Daniel went up in a little roundabout aeroplane Daniel seized the joystick and subjected him to a series of wild dives and climbs. All the other children went up and stayed up, ours somehow caught a lot of “airpockets” and it was a miracle that neither of them got sick…

They also went in some little cars that go on rails (resisting their attempts to steer them more creatively). Last year I rode shotgun, this year they could go on their own.

Falco is sitting very stably (for hours) now, though he cannot quite get there on his own. That is very handy because it makes him easier to bath (though I am always within grabbing range of him) and his brothers were always happy to help by holding him firmly under the arms.

That also make him more “bikeable” (very important in the Netherlands) and we can tuck him and Daniel into our bike-cart (in a three point belt) while Matthijs rides alongside on his own bicycle.

He is also sprouting fangs at good rate, so we are not letting him suck our fingers any more (blood loss is too great). He does use the new gnashers on sandwiches, sometimes, but is much easier with squishy food. Given he is just as hearty a trencherman as his brothers I cannot concieve that he will have any problem in that area.

Falco is very nearly crawling. Current systems are rolling, a sort of half-crawl roll that advanced diagonally and a legs-but-no-arms variant that ends up with him driving his head into the rug and waving his bottom in the air. Like all our children he has inherited the pragmatism/opportunism genes and will do just about any damn thing as long as it gets him to his goal. He is also considering skipping crawling altogether and often stands (when we try to sit him on the floor) very firmly on his little fat (surprisingly muscular) legs. He is also starting to try and pull himself up and always stands on our laps if he gets the chance. The books say having a “crawling stage” is better for development, but if it comes to a difference of opinion between Hulk-o and the books my money is on him.

He is still the sweetest, jolliest and easiest baby imaginable. He is also much like a maddened salmon when it comes to changing his nappy and apparently has the ability to rotate his hips 180 degrees (exorcist anyone?), particulary when you are changing his poopy nappy.

My mother and sister were here for a few days and got the kiddo treatment. We had a big tidy so that they would not trip over the mounds of clothes, toys and baby shoes. In the course of this Marjolein asked Daniel to put two of her jumpers in the laundry-basket (next door, in the bathroom). After hearing him going upstairs she got suspicious, went to investigate and found a very small wash, consisting of her jumpers and Daniels pyjamas, and complete with washing powder in progress in the washing machine. That child is way too capable…

It gets worse. A couple of days later she came downstairs and found that he had started making his own breakfast by breaking eight eggs into a pan, putting the shells neatly in the bin. He also made a sort of porridge our of baby-milk powder. He had not yet worked out how to get the gas on and the electric spark going, but it is just a matter of time. Be afraid…

Daniel loves eating and in that logical little round head of his has concluded that someone who likes to eat had better be able to cook. We just hope that we survive his learning process.

The little round head has also worked out that talking has benefits and so he is getting much better at it: we currently expect that he will not need more help from the speech-therapist at school. He has also emulated Matthijs; talent for sophistry. We insist that our beasts try a bite of everything in the meal, even if they “don’t like it”. That is how Daniel discovered that he actually really liked red cabbage with apples (Dutch staple vegetable). But he refused to eat a bite of courgette and carefully put it on Marjolein’s plate so it could “be with it’s friends”.

Matthijs is also pretty shifty. He got punished (after being a complete rat all day) with the words “no more nice things for you today”. At supper he said “Mummy, I think you cooked very nice food. May I eat my supper even though I am not allowed nice things?” Very pitiful, poor maligned little monster.

When we were in the car Matthijs found a little red spider. I told him he should look after it because it was a money-spider (British tradition). After a while Matthijs said that he had squashed it (NOT the tradition) because “I waited and waited and it didn’t give me any money”. Stand back while Matthijs mugs the Leprecaun, strip mines the rainbow and fillets the mermaid…

We got spoiled rotten this month, with two fabulous birth-presents for Falco. Firstly we all got taken out to the zoo (and pancakes) in Amervoort by our friends Heleen and Fallo. Its a very nice zoo and you get nose to nose with the animals. The first thing you see is a group of big brown bears right next to you (behind glass) and the boys were struck by how much fiercer they looked than teddy-bears…There is also a monster climbing frame/web/cage into which our little gibbons dissappeared for half an hour. They also went on a minature train-ride: Daniel was so taken by this that he held on to the paper ticket for the rest of the day. A good time was had by all.

Other brave friends of ours swapped houses with us on Ascension weekend and looked after the full set of three. We had a fabulous restful time in their house, mostly just sitting in their sunny garden reading books. It is such a change to just be ourselves and not “on call”.

Marjolein also got a couple of financial windfalls and got us/her an extra bufdy prez: a cheapo digital video-camera. It is not a supa-dupa one (they cost a mint, still) but it shoots nice little web-sitable mpeg films as you can see below. For your viewing convenience flash-wife has made the film into a flash-thingummy so you wont need any special browser doobries to play it.

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