We started the year with our traditional windy beach walk. This one was very windy and pretty snowy too. Fortunately we were able to defrost ourselves with pancakes afterwards.

Daniels imagination has started up with a bang. Previously games tended to be organised as Matthijs the storyteller and Daniel the monster/helper of the hero/ piece of furniture, but now he makes his own stories up. We even hear him up in his room running impromptu theater with his puppets and cuddly toys: all with different voices.

The flavour of the month with the boys is magic potions: they have been struck with alchemy. Unfortunately the potions get made out of anything they can get their hands on. Marjolein laughed when they minutiously coloured in her vitamin pills with their felt-tips (some even had smily faces). She laughed less when my various currypowders got mixed in with our expensive espresso. Things came to a head when, after having been forbidden to make any more potions with kitchen ingredients, Matthijs did some scary climbing to get the washing powders and did some very messy mixing in a big bowl in his room. She went ballistic, because it was the most toxic potion yet, its was a tough cleaning job and it left some bleached out patches on the carpet. Matthijs caught a tartar and was told that Mummy would not be buying sweeties for some time because she needed that money to replace the washing powder. That must have made an impression, because the next day he came and proposed selling his action man and some handicrafts on Queen’s Day to buy new washing powder…

That, however, was not the worst thing… One day while I was putting the baby to bed for his nap all the lights went out. They went out because Matthijs had taken the (very sharp) nail-scissors from the top of the bathroom cabinet (more scary climbing) and cut the power cord of one of the lamps. Fortunately when we had the electrics fixed up on the house we had a super-fast “grounding” circuit breaker put in: the kind that stops you killing yourslef if you drop the hairdryer in the bath. That stopped Matthijs from getting a BIG shock. Well not quite, because he was shocked by the results of his experiment (darkend house) and very shocked by how much trouble he was then in. We only discovered a few days later that he had first tried cutting the speaker cables: sudden loss of surround sound. I had a moments thankfulness for the circuit breaker when I saw the nail-scissors: a chunk of copper wire core was “spot welded” to them by the short-circuit.

The dear child also announced at the dinner table that he wanted to be a criminal when he grew up and steal things. That triggerd a jeremiad from us about not being able to have a nice job, comfortable life, nice wife (catch the bourgeois indoctrination being passed on) if the did that. Matthijs was not impressed. He told us he would be the kind that has nice neat clothes and always speaks in a friendly way and is therefore NOT suspected and NOT caught. He has it all worked out. So, what does it matter as long a they’re happy….

Matthijs was not very healthy this month. He was very overtired for several weeks and lost his appetite. Marjolein kept him off school for a while, but he seemed alert and was drinking sufficiently so we were not too worried. We did start to get concerned about the eating after a while: Matthijs has never been chubby (even as a baby) and he doesn’t need to lose much weight to look truly emaciated.

Fortunately he then picked up, but then Marjolein went down with something: fever, painful joints and muscles. Given that a bad flu was doing the rounds (couple of my collegues at work were out for 2-3 weeks!) she thought it was that, but when she got a bad throatache with it she finally consented to bother the doctor. He said it was bacterial and mmediately put her on an antibiotic, which cleared it up. Just for once she did not go allergic to the antibiotic. Thank goodness for small mercies.

The sleepybug then tried Daniel on for size but he thew it off quickly. Unfortunately Matthijs felt sick during the night and crept in with Daniel for comfort (sometimes they are amazingly brotherly). Daniel was then rudely awakend by Matthijs vomiting exensivly over him and his bed.

The whole house got involved in the late night bed/pyjama changing, punctuated by further vomiting from Matthijs, poor soul. He kept at it most of the next day and then was fine again. Hopefully he has had his portion of lurgi for the time being. He also went to the GGD (Dutch health authority) for a standard (legally required) preventative check-up and was pronounced healthy, with good vision and excellent hearing, though not as good at hopping on one leg as he might have been. He had a fine time with the doctors who were testing his conitive skills. He had been to Artis Zoo the previous day and regaled them at length with extremely detailed stories of the alligators and big tarantulas he had seen.

Poor Daniel had another (squishy) ear infection. The quack gave him an antibiotic and made an appointment to look at it after it had stopped squishing. We will need to take him to an ENT bloke to see if there is a basic problem that can be solved.

Falco is walking, climbing, can open doors, go up stairs and has NO fear, common sense or inhibitions of any kind. There is nothing more tiring than an active and capable child with abundant curiority. We always expect to find deceased cats all round our neighbourhood given the curiosity radiating off Falco. If things ever wore out from being intently examined he would be (more of) a danger to society.

He also uses a few words now (Mama, Papa, ‘ess, naaaaahw!, ank-oo, bye-bye, nite-nite) and readily understands things like “close door”, “throw it in the bin” and “put it back”. Naturally his understanding of the word “no” is highly unreliable. He hands back his plate with “inishd” and looks sternly at you and says “oh-guuuur” (yoghurt) to indicate it is time for dessert. The previously described ability to throw things at us with speed and accuracy is yet further developed. He is going to be a great fast-bowler, or thug when he grows up.

Given that other two hurled themselves out of their cots at 18 months we decided to steal a march on Falco and shift him into a big bed already. Marjo found and excellent one on “www. marktplaaats.nl” and we swapped. He now had a new room AND a new bed.

We also spent part of the month sleeping in the library between the books and computers because we were having the sliding doors in our bedroom (big things in a casement with side cupbords) replaced with a big fitted wardrobe. Cost us an arm, leg and several tentacles but we DO have a lot more space in the bedroom now – the free standing (IKEA) wardrobe got picked up (marktplaats again) by a muscular young man and I nearly killed myself disassembling it and carrying it down.

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