We wanted Matthijs and Daniel to end school on with a positive impression so we told them that if they were good for the entire last week we would take them to the cinema. Given that the last day was a holiday and that the previous day was a big party to celebrate “Teachers group birthday” in the playground it was not a Herculean task and they succeeded with ease. So we took them to “Shrek 2”.

It was Daniel’s first visit to the cinema so we asked Matthijs to explain it to him on the way there. We had expected something like “big room with a giant television” but this is of course Matthijs so Daniel got “well there is a projector at the back of the room that projects light on to a screen there (points)…and you can buy POPCORN!”. Fortunately Daniel liked the cinema (particularly the popcorn) without needing a better explanation. They sat quiet and still and were mesmerised. In fact they behaved a lot better that most of the teenagers who were also (mostly) watching the film. Yes, I know, I sound like an old fogey. Towards the end of the film they (Matthijs and Daniel, but probably the teenagers too) got rather cuddly and ended up sitting on our laps: parents are just furniture that can cook and tidy. They were not scared but they just wanted to be close. It was a fun film: these days they have mastered the art of putting enough layers in the film that mummy and daddy are not totally glazed by the end and that the beasts are not perturbed by the jokes they do NOT get.

Marjolein’s brother Roy made the mistake of celebrating his birthday at our house and was promptly buried under a mass of writhing children. He is very muscular and so walked around most of the time with all three boys hanging on to parts of him: rather like a particularly active tree. He is the brown, sporty person in the picture on the right: we promised him that we would put his holiday picture on our page so that his friends could see it.

Daniel is still VERY cut and dried. When we met a neighbour with her (very neatly trimmed) version of our dog Jimmy Marjolein quipped that it was tidy-looking because it was a girl. Daniel then stated that it was not a girl, it was a dog. He would not be persuaded that there were girl and boy dogs. No fooling him… When Marjolein asked him where baby dogs came from (typical doomed win-by-logic attempt there) he said that they came out of “dog eggs”: furry ones presumably. Matthijs in answer to the same question said “Huh, of course I know, out of their mummy’s tummy just like people. The boy dog puts his penis in the vagina of the girl dog…”. Marjolein’s grin took on a forced and what the neighbour lady thought is anyone’s guess.

Falco has become a toddler and has a scary talent for puzzles. He can name himself and his brothers when pointing to their photographs and is talking nineteen to the dozen. The pragmatic, opportunistic tendency we saw in the others is also coming out in him: when hungry he firmly pushes Marjolein towards the kitchen saying sternly “Mama COOOOK”. He can take care of his comforts: “wadtch ‘elevision, ‘Ingu!” he declares, waving the appropriate (Pingu the penguin) DVD at you. Useful sentences also get directed at the siblings: “‘Attiys get ogort?” He is all ready for playschool and he will start next month.

Daniel is out of nappies. He stays dry all night but has the occasional accident during the day. Weird. Matthijs is never dry at night but has practically never had an accident during the day.

Matthijs is going on fine. He has angelic days and then gets bored and out of sorts because of the holidays. We bought him a wooden Dinosaur skeleton to practice his precision and working from a plan. With a little help he got it together and was proud as punch. Fortunately we took a picture immediately because it got squashed soon after. He is full of energy and gets much to little sleep: Daniel and he want to sleep together most days and we have had big fights when we separated them because they would not settle down.

We started jogging three times a week this month. We got a very nice schedule that will end up with us being able to run for 35 minutes. That seems a long way off but we intend to stick with it. My holiday started on the 24th, which took some pressure off Marjolein. Perhaps now we can do some family things together.

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