he 2nd of May is Daniel’s birthday. That fell on a Sunday this year, so we held his party on the day itself and combined it with Marjolein’s birthday (which is actually a week earlier). I was home from the funeral in Ireland (see April) just in time. We had a nice little party with just family. Daniel got his presents in the morning and was very happy with them. He was particularly fond (as was Matthijs) of the haunted house pop-up book with spider and skeletons leaping out of the pages. He is a pretty rewarding recipient as all presents are accepted with great enthusiasm.

We went down to Brussels next weekend, where Daniel got yet another party and loot from his grandmother and uncle. Falco surprised us at dinnertime while we were there: he got a biscuit after the other two had got down from table to play and immediately turned round and called “Daniel, Matthijs, fooo-oood!” He is talking more and more and is already making short sentences: “mama daahn sters” (mama, go down stairs please – I want my breakfast). He is very fond of his bed time story and of books in general. His absolute favourite is sitting on your lap and pointing at the pictures (“Caaahw”, “MOOOOOO!”). We do latch his door at bedtime though – his is perfectly capable of opening it and going exploring otherwise.

Naptime is on the way out. Though he really still needs the rest, it is a big fight to get him to bed in the afternoons so we are gradually giving up. He is also a very sociable creature. He goes up to other children and squats down next to them with a cheerful grin, brings them toys and (if they are big enough) creeps onto their laps for a see-saw: that worked less well with the neighbour’s eight month old daughter.

Daniel is now at primary school. Though he likes it the first comment we got was “goodness, isn’t he STUBBORN!”. Indeed. Incidentally, the “Daniel” is the official international unit of stubbornness. A normal person is about 2 to 3 miliDaniels (mDan). While Marjolein was at school she happened to see a long line of children heading for gym in their knickers, vests and gym shoes, followed by one very grumpy Daniel in his outside clothes and gym shoes…

The next day he was very cross with his teacher (and she was a bit ticked off with him by now) and did not want to take of his gym shoes at all. Marjolein finally managed to decipher his involved explanation and discovered that he wanted to do gym because Matthijs had had gym in the other school when he started. Fortunately we managed to find a really great gym class (Matthijs loves it too) just after school so we were able to fulfill his wish, though school gym will not start until next year.

Mothers Day was celebrated with the traditional (dangerous) breakfast in bed, a poem Matthijs had learnt at school and a necklace he had made. Daniel liked the necklace very much and made the same one next day at school, telling Marjolein sternly that this one was for him, not for her.

The fair came back to town again and they children ate sticky stuff and were whirled around. Surprisingly enough Falco did not like the (rather gentle) ride we put him on: floods of tears. Usually he likes exiting stuff: he loves to jump and climb and slide, but I think he prefers to be in control.

We let the big boys choose 5 things. Daniel and Matthijs enjoyed the haunted house and dodgems. But then Matthis chose more dodgems and Daniel wanted the pony-ride and mini ferris wheel. The wild-water ride was too creepy for Matthijs, but Daniel thought it was a blast… twice. Lots of fun for all.

Matthijs decided to stay on a scouting, though he is the only boy in the troop: the activities are fun and some of the girls are pretty tough… They had a big ceremony and he was made an official Beaver with scarf, woggle and patches.

Marjolein is still feeling rather tired. She is probably still getting over the pregnancies and a day with the toads tires anyone but she is gradually pulling out of it.
The month ended with a lovely sunny Whitsun so we all went to the beach. The sea was too cold for swimming but the toads had a great time anyway. Though there was a fresh breeze the sun was fierce. I found out the hard way. I had sunscreened the kiddos but forgotten myself so I ended up looking like a Brighton postcard, all white body with scarlet shoulders… Ow!

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