Daniel and Matthijs love playing with Hannah, the girl next door. After having suffered their efforts to paint their own faces with watercolours and felt-tips she ran up a clown for Hannah, a monster for Daniel and a ghost for Matthijs. The clown was easy, but she had to invent the others from first principles…

Father’s Day came round again and I relished being woken up nice and late with an extensive brekker a painted paper tie from Daniel (not socks thank goodness) and a plastified hand-drawn bookmark from Matthijs which I have used faithfully ever since. He has also written “for Papa, Matthijs” on it in slightly drunken but very recognisable letters. When you are heavily laden with a lap-tray of hot coffee, cold OJ and sloppy muesli and three active boys are bouncing around you the “Father” part really hits home…

It was stunning weather and so we took the whole circus to Marjolein’s mothers place near the lake and the monsters and I had tremendous fun with a blow-up boat. Tired but happy, we then trucked the whole circus out to Schiphol to watch aeroplanes and eat hamburgers in the MacDonalds at the plane-spotting area. The boys loved the aeroplanes and loved the big playground at MacDonalds even more. Though neither of us are fans of fast food it has to be said that child-friendly food with little toys included and tables in the shade where you can see every part of the playground make them hard to beat. The evil empire has got us at last…

The boys also had school trips this month. Daniel went to the local playground and Matthijs went (by bus) to the “Julianatoren” (Juliana Tower) theme park in Apeldoorn. It was quite a trip for the infants, but they had lots of fun. Marjolein was not too happy because there were six children per adult, which we regard as unmanageable with such small children: it one of them runs off you cannot go after it… Fortunately Matthijs behaved well and stayed with his group, so nobody got lost.

National street-play-day turned up again (lots of streets are closed for traffic and the children can play on them) and the local parents put together lots of fun things for the children to do. There was skipping, bowling, baloons, hula-hoops, shove-ha’penny and lots more. They boys particularly loved the game where they had to bite cakes that were swinging on a string.

Falco had his hearing test this month and failed, so he will have to go for another one. We are not too worried because he reacts well to speech and is starting to imitate things he hears often. Just like Matthijs at his age he is slowly moving towards average length, though he is still much heavier than average. We are not too concerned about that either: he is a chunky monkey and weighs, at 10.9 kg more than a kilogram more than Matthijs and Daniel did at his age. He was 74 cm long which is about 1 cm longer than Matthijs and similar to Daniel. His motor skills are fine: he passed things from hand to hand, follows object with his eyes (and hands!) and picks up small objects between thumb and fingers.

He is also now sitting stably and crawling rapidly. He also tries going along on his hands and knees but forgets to move his hands and then ends up on his head with his bottom in the air. At the end of the month he managed to pull himself up and stood triumphantly in his playpen. That is now his most favourite thing and he spends a lot of time motoring around the floor looking for objects that are stable and low enough for him to do the standing trick with.

Daniel is still doing nightmares and wakes us up practically every night. He does not get scared by monsters or the dark but by “Daddy gone” or “Matthijs take book awaaaaaaaay” (Matthijs was sound asleep at the time). It seems to be diminishing and we hope that the phase will pass sooooooon, pleeeease!!! Everyone assumes that we look grey and wall-eyed because of Falco, but he sleeps though until the morning and then gently wakes up and plays until his tummy starts rumbling (about 8:30).

Daniel is in a super-naughty phase right now, running right up against our boundaries to see if they are still there, doing things that were forbidden a moment ago and then laughing at you (charm-war attempt) etc. His high point to date was sticking scissors into the brand new dining-room chairs. I think he did it because the seats are rather rounded and baloon-y and he wanted to see if they would go bang. Typically he recalculated after he had done it and attempted to conceal the damage with strategically placed pieces of sticky tape: that is why we call him “Daniel Planiel”. This subterfuge impressed Marjolein but not enough to stop her being VERY cross with him and taking away all his priviliges for the rest of the day.

He also added most of Marjoleins luxury bath-oil to his own bath (creating massive foamscape). This was great fun for him and gained him lots of points with Matthijs who cheerfully benefits from the criminal acts without taking any responsibilty. We are firmly disabusing Matthijs of that notion. We nealy lost Falco in all that foam and ended up dumping all three in the shower.

Daniel is trying every trick in the book right now: twinkling eyes and angelic smile, blaming Matthijs for EVERYTHING, screaming and lying on the floor…. We are hoping that the strategy “not driving Mummy and Daddy nuts” will turn up some time soon.

Matthijs is running into a new batch of philosophical questions, mostly concerned with scale: “are we all bacteria on the head of a huge giant?” for instance. The bacteria are a big theme right now and many of things he says are hilarious, but it is fascinating to see him building a (sophisticated) picture of the world. Marjoleind remembers being much older than Matthijs when she started thinking about such things and her mother just grins and says “revenge at last” when he asks us impossible questions…

School is going a bit better, particularly as Matthijs had supply teachers for a couple of weeks and got on well with both of them. He needs a challenge and a strong framework to function in. Not all teachers can provide that.

His current teacher told us, just before the summer break, that he wants to get his own way too much. Though we would agree that he often seems bossy, we both feel that he is more interested in things being orderly and well-worked out than necessarily being under his control. He is also seized by floods of ideas that he needs desperately to express and get responses to. It is the typical “geek” problem that you are trying to win a beauty contest by saying the cleverest thing…

At the teachers (joint) birthday there were four differen kinds of present with four different kinds of wrapping-paper, corresponding to the four teachers. He noticed that some children still had presents with green wrapping after the green presents had already been given and went over to tell the children that they should give their presents to teacher X. Matthijs is trying to work out the rules of the world and be “good” and he does not understand why everybody does not know the rules and live by them.

We very much want him to have a better time at school than we did: we were both geeky kids with a popularity problem. We will try again after the summer holidays (middle of August).

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