October blues

Autumn has really started and its got a lot colder, but the weather is wonderfully clear and sunny, so its perfect for taking long walks on the beach with kids and dog and then going home for pancakes!

Marjolein had a busy time the last while and ended up getting a nasty little ear infection. The quack gave her some ear drops for it which cleared it up quite quickly, but the itching drove her nuts for a few days. That did not prevent her from finishing her advanced Flash course.

School holidays this month, so Marjolein took the beasts to a big playground with one of her friends. They had a nice restful time as the boys go charging off to tire themselves out but are quite safe and Falco (still crawling) trundles around in the neighbourhood. She also took them to Artis (big Zoo in Amsterdam) but that was VERY tiring: everyone going in different directions, Matthijs sprinting off round the next corner and Daniel sitting down to study individual ants. It is much easier when there are two of you… Falco was also unputdownable and so she came home utterly drained.

Falco is standing well but not yet walking. He understands a few words (probably more than we realise) and can point to his own nose when you say “nose”. He is also testing just how hard he can hit mummy and daddy:pretty hard, he is a muscular little toad. We are therfore busily teaching him the concept of “stroke”.

On seeing one of Matthijs’ writing exercises (curly lines) Daniel decided that he could write too. In typical Daniel “construction of reality” style he insisted that the resulting curly lines were the words “Matthijs”, “Mama”, “Daniel” and “Falco”. When Marjolein showed him where Matthijs had written his own name he said that Matthijs had two names. Marjolein answered that they both had four and asked him what his other names were. After some though he answered “Jonathan”, which is indeed his third name and also my brother’s name. When prompted for the other name he thought some more and said “Katy” (my sister’s name) because “they go together”.

Matthijs wanted to make a surprise breakfast for us while I was getting Daniel dressed . Falco was already downstairs and Marjolein was just getting up. He had carefully (mindful of our absolute veto on using the stove or microwave!) made ham sandwiches and two big glass tumblers of orange juice for us but had put them on a wobbly little side table by the sofa. Unfortunately Falco tried to pull himself up on that little table and the whole lot went over: glass everywhere and a dog full of ham sandwiches. So when I came down with Daniel I found that Falco had been carefully moved to the other side of the room and that Matthijs had meticulously gathered up all the fragments of glass into a bowl. I was torn between angry (with him AND me), scared and proud that he had done his best to keep the baby safe. You cannot leave them alone…

The boys are very interested in cooking. This is useful when you are as keen on eating as they are (see Falco and Jimmy doing their vulture impression above). I give myself limitless “Daddy-points” because I sometimes manage to let them help me with the cooking. This adds some comlexity: you have to allocate the right kind of work to each, with enough diplomacy to ensure that the stirrer does not get into a fight with the fryer. Daniel as usual is convinced that he is already a four-star chef, but he is capable of making himself a chocolate-paste sandwich without significant mess, which is not bad for 3.5.

Matthijs quote of the month:”Mama, you do not know if there are others worlds do you? So there might be AY-iens! But on their world the might not know if there are AY-liens either, because for them WE are the aliens!” As always delivered in one long stream of conciousness.

Lots going on in that little round head, but things are not going well at school for Matthijs. We went in to talk to his teacher because we noticed his natural curiosity declining and that he had stopped drawing. He seemed to be escaping into a fantasy world and to be more and more alienated from school: everything bored him. We came away with an agreement that the internal teacher-guidance person would monitor him in class and report back to the teacher. We recommended that his teacher try to introduce him to lots of new material and challenge him intellectually: I suspect that most “routine” schoolwork is too easy for him and bores him rigid. He (like me) is a holy terror when bored.

She gave that an honest try, with initially good results but then less response. She used worksheets that normally only come up at the end of the year: they were all the same kind of exercise: day one was about “1”, day two was about “2” etc. I am not too surprised that she got a declining response to that and unfortunately one cannot expect that this particular teacher will find creative ways to introduce new material or present existing material in novel ways. I am also fed up with him not reading and have resolved to get him reading by my birthday (27th November). No more Mr Nice Guy. I am no longer relying on him “pulling in” the things he needs to know as I believe that his interest has been blunted by the school system: I am going over to “push”.

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