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Sinterklaas Not Again

Yesterday was Sinterklaas' birthday, which is traditionally the day when children that were well behaved all through the year find one or more presents in their shoe or boot. Of course, as every parent knows, the phrase 'well behaved all through the year' is up for interpretation, and although Sinterklaas is supposed to know everything, there is a lot of leeway. Every parent knows this, because every parent once was a child too and desperately counted on the good man's sense of humour.

Anyway, because the 6th of December fell right smack bang in the middle of the week this year, Sinterklaas in all his wisdom decided to advance his schedule and pay his nightly visit to our household last Saturday. Much loot was had by both our sons, since it was Sinterdad who did most of the shopping this year because he didn't agree with the quota that Sintermom tends to infringe.

So when the children woke up at a time that is technically morning, but what can only be described by any sane person as 'the dead of night', we quickly climbed down the stairs and opened the door in anticipation... to find that the coffee table had disappeared under the presents, chocolates, marsipain and various other treats. Wolf got a giant Lego truck, a dinosaur hunter from the same brand (Jurassic Parc style), the Who-is-it game and a book on how to draw animals. Tyl got the cash register from Fisher Price, a couple of Miffy books and a Miffy DVD (guess who is currently his favourite). Dad got nothing at all, despite acting as a child for most of the year. Not fair.

So you can't say the children had any reason to complain. Still, on Wednessday evening, Wolf timidly inquired if Sinterklaas was still going to come that night, because his teacher had told him so. No harm in asking, right?

He was a bit disappointed the next moring when he found that Sinterklaas hadn't brought a second load of toys, despite the fact that the first time around, he did forget to bring a number of things that were on his wish list.

Well, Christmas is only two weeks away son!

Wednesdays Are Painful

Wolf has a boo-boo and we have to apply some ointment on it twice a day.

Wolf: 'Mummy, what day is it today?'

Mrs.B: 'Wednesday'

Wolf: 'Oh no, then you mustn't rub the ointment on because it will hurt!'

Brotherly Love



Brotherly love

Brotherly love

Walking Without Training Wheels

'There's a sale in the bike shop', Mrs.B anounced during lunch. 'We should go and look for a new bike for Wolf.'

She was right of course, the boy's current vehicle is a patched up second hand fixer upper his grandmother got him from the flea market. He's outgrown it, and since a couple of weeks it's also clear that he's ready to ditch the training wheels.

So we went to the bike store, and upon seeing the very first children's bike he saw - a bright yellow and red one with teddy bears on it, Wolf exlaimed 'I want this one'.

'Yes well, let's have a look at the other bikes first', I responded. We found another one he liked, but when he tried it we were still in doubt. It was ok, but it was a 16 inch (whatever that means) and it looked asif Wolf would outgrow it rather fast. However, the other bikes were 20 inches (tall? wide? wheel size?) and they were definitely too big. But then my eye fell on the yellow-and-read-teddy-bear-bike again, which seemed bigger than the one we'd selected, but then again not too big.

So we took it for a test drive. It had no training wheels, but that didn't stop Wolf. Within seconds, he was riding on his own, without daddy's assistance. Just like that, a milestone in my son's life.

Sold! We want this bike, and nothing else! The bike shop man took it away to set it up properly (fine tune the breaks and everything), which gave us the time to eat fries (yes, in Belgium you get complimentary fries when you go to a bike sales) and to try out the inflatable jumping castle (they sure know how to woe their future customers). Tyl liked the fries, but was a bit afraid of that inflatable monstrosity with the giant clowns head towering over it. So he stood in front of hit, looking at his big brother go and bounce from one side to the other. And then he let go of the bouncing castle, and stood on his own for a while. And then he took a step, and another one. Without training wheels!

I tell you, this bike shop is a place of miracles and wonder. Next time a kid of mine needs to get potty trained, I'm going there to buy something.

On The Origin Of Lingerie

The following scene played out tonight, at Wolf's bedtime:

Wolf, holding a pair of sunglasses in front of his teddy bear's tummy: 'Mom has these, doesn't she?'

Me: 'What, glasses?'

Wolf: 'No, this thing that she holds in front of her tummy.'

Me, noticing the glasses' shape: 'You mean a bra?'

Wolf: 'Is that what you call it?'

Me: 'Yes, girls wear it. I mean women.'

Wolf: 'Oh'

Me, trying to hide my grin: 'Good night son...'

On The Origin Of Life

We had THE talk with Wolf. He'd been posing questions about where babies come from. He knows they grow inside mumies' tummies, but how the heck do they get out? Does the doctor have to cut that big belly open with a knife?

'No', smiled Mrs.B; both our sons were born the natural way. But still Wolf remained curious.

So we've been looking around for a good children's book that explains the fact of life. Finally Mrs.B found one in the library. 'You can read it to him this evening', she said when she returned home. Reading stories is mostly my task, so Mrs.B therefore put the burden of giving sex-ed to my eldest son squarely on my shoulders.

But at bedtime, she decided to join us. Wolf and I exchanged glances: something peculiar was going to happen. Expectations mounted. Once we'd all settled down in Wolf's room, I started reading.

In the book, the parents try to evade the difficult question by saying that babies come from flower beds, or from cabbages, or from snails and worms. Wolf looked at me in bewilderment. Then the parents say that their kids came from a giant egg, that their mother laid in the sofa. Even Wolf knew this was bull.

Then the kids start to laugh, and then they turn the tables and explain to their parents how things really work. They draw the little egg in mummy's tummy, and the little fishies in dady's balls. And they show how mummies and daddies 'fit together', like a key in a lock. And how they can do it: on a skateboard, hanging upside down, riding a horse and other things which frankly we've never tried. It makes me wonder if we're good parents after all.

And then when the fishies meet the egg, a baby develops and gets bigger and bigger inside mummy, until it pops out through that funny little hole between mummy's legs.

Wolf was wholy satisfied by the explanation, although still a bit bemused. I was glad he didn't have any more questions. I'd stuck to the script the whole time, while at my side Mrs.B was almost jumping up and down on the bed from excitment. So we kissed our son goodnight, put out the light and left the room.

Ever since, Wolf hasn't come back to the subject. So either he's informed and willing to accept what's in the story, or he's still trying to figure out how you can make a baby riding on a skatboard. I must say I agree on that one, maybe we should try it out in the summer.


Programing Is Child's Play

I've been working on a computer application for a while now, learning Visual Basic and C# in the process. Yesterday afternoon I was tinkering away - although not with much gusto - until Mrs.B called me to set the table for dinner. So I went downstairs, not bothering to close the IDE (Integrated Development Environment, or the application you use to write applications).

While I was setting the table, Wolf sneaked out of the living room. I assumed he was going to his room. I was wrong.

A short while later dinner was ready, so I went upstairs to find Wolf. I found him not in his room, but next to my computer, wearing his Guilty Face.

He had been asking me to use the computer, to visit his favourite websites. Mrs.B was working on the laptop, and I was writing code, so we both said he had to wait. When he saw me coming down, he spotted an opportunity. And when he saw the IDE, he thought it resembled the web browser. So he pressed a couple of buttons - in fact he pressed a lot of buttons.

And he wiped away about two months worth of coding.

Thankfully, there is something like the 'undo' button. If it hadn't been for that, I would still be kicking his little butt. Not that I'm a violent father, of course. But in this case the father would have looked away until the short tempered programmer had cooled down. As it was, the father explained to his son that he should never do it again.

Ok, maybe I shouted. Just a bit, to get the point across. And then I felt like an oaf and helped him with his dinner.


As I recently mentioned to a friend: it never rains but it's showering tidal waves during an earthquake. In fact you can also throw in a massive volcano eruption and a deadly comet, and some hurricanes for good measure.

Last Saturday, Tyl was readmitted to hospital. He would barely eat since his return home, and on Saturday morning he puked up everything he'd eaten half an hour before. So Mrs.B took him to the doctor, who said he'd better return to the children's ward.

Wolf had to go back to school, so we couldn't sleep over like we had done the first week of January. So Mrs.B rushed to hospital after bringing Wolf to school, and when school was out she took Wolf to Tyl. Then at five she got back home to make dinner for us all. When I got back from work I'd eat, and then it was my turn to go to the hospital. Tyl won't go to sleep before ten o'clock, so I'd be home around ten thirty. Very busy days, as you can imagine. The last thing we needed was for Wolf to turn sick too.

Yesterday Wolf turned sick too. We were at the dinner table, and he wouldn't eat his fish sticks - which he eats by the box normally. We wrongfully assumed he was faking it to get attention now that his little brother got all the focus of our love. Even when he announced that he had to throw up we were having none of it. Five counts later we were having a lot of it, as he puked over half the dining room.

So now I'm at home from work looking after Wolf, while Mrs.B is in hospital taking care of Tyl.

We wished you a spectacular 2012 a couple of weeks ago, and spectacular it is...

Puzzled About Breasts

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