I stashed some notes of a few 0f our families funnier moments and they got forgotten in the mad rush that is everyday life: work, family, house, homework, cooking, laundry etc. The first one is from when Little Mr. was six, almost seven years of age, the rest from more recent months.
Mid November is a special time for small Dutch Children because “Sint” (Saint Nicolas) arrives in the Netherlands (from Spain) to get ready for the festivities and present giving day (5th December).
Tradition dictates that he arrives by steam boat in a Dutch harbour towns or cities (one is chosen each year and it’s rotated through the entire list of possible sites)
Children appear to have no problem with the fact that on exactly the same day that the “real” Sint arrives in a port on a steamboat (the whole event is hugely televised and avidly watched) that every other town and city in the Netherlands there is also local parade to celebrate Sint’s arrival in the county, also featuring a Sint.
Little Mr. at six years of age is still a staunch believer and declares haughtily that he knows that “those extra ones are “mep” (fake) Sint’s“. But that doesn’t explain why if he sees the one in our city parade that he’s as awestruck and excited as if this one were the real thing.
Belief in these things is, like a child, devoid of logic sometimes and I’m very glad of it because as a parent it would take quite some explaining without shattering his illusions.
Luckily he hasn’t yet asked why or how we manage to have Saint Nicolas appear in early December to give out presents to boys and girls and then have Father Christmas arrive later in the same month to do the same.
Strangely enough it doesn’t even make him remotely suspicious. (In our house we celebrate both Christmas/Father Christmas and Saint Nicolas so we’ve split the gifts between the two, we don’t think it’s materially right or necessary for the kids to build up any expectation that they can double dip.)
Sooo… it’s Sunday 13th November 2011 and Little Mr. is eating breakfast glued to the replay of yesterday’s grand event (he was out yesterday and only caught a snippet of the parade in The Hague, so wanted to watch a “Sint Special” that is re-televised on the Sunday morning from yesterdays big event in Dordrecht). Sint Nicolas is coming to the outskirts of Dordrecht, as he gets closer, a flurry of support boats join him to form a flotilla, suddenly several people on jet-skis zoom close to the stream boat and the TV camera’s zoom in on them for a moment…
Little Mr. suddenly shrieks excitedly: ”Look at them on the water Mama! … Scooters!!!!”
Ah ha… a jet-ski on water + kid logic = scooter!
Little Mr come in to my room “riding” a broom … I ask him if he’s a witch, he says “no silly, witches are girls and I’m a boy.”
Oh, I said, I think that makes you a sorcerer
Oh yes Little Mr replies… that’s right, I’m a saucer!
Um, no I explain, a saucer is the little plate that goes under a cup… the word is “sorcerer”
Little Mr is now dancing in the middle of the bedroom with the broom “I leave the window open to fly out and in, but there is always someone at home so no robbers can came in….(starts singing) I’m a saucer, saucer, saucer, I’m a saucer, saucer, saucer!”
Little Mr. has been playing regularly with two little neighbour boys. I’ve dubbed them the Lego Gang…. they take turns at Lego building together at each other houses and on this occasion Little Mr. comes home from his play date just as my best friend (and his godmother) is visiting.
Without saying hello he flops down on the couch and says dramatically “ it’s NOT fair !” . Himself handing out hot drinks to the adults and asks “What’s not fair darling?“ to which Little Mr. replies in an annoyed voice “(name neighbour boy 1) and (name neighbour boy 2) both have parents who are divorced and you guys are still married! I’m the ONLY one in the portiek who’s parents are married! ”..For some reason he wanted to be in the “divorced family club”
I laughed and said “ ok honey, Papa and I promise to work on our divorce… just give us 50 or 60 years!” Stupidly Little Mr. was very pleased with the answer but meanwhile both best friend and Himself were laughing so hard they almost snorted tea and coffee up their noses.
(in case you are wondering if divorce in the Netherlands is rampant, please be aware that Little Mr. conveniently forgot to mention the other immediate neighbours who are a) happily married but have no kids, b) happily married but kids are grown and have flown the nest, c) was long and happily married but is now a widow.)
Overheard: Little Mr. … playing down the other end of the living room with two little friends… translated from Dutch…
Little Neighbour girl: I’m five, How old are you?
Little Neighbour boy “I’m five and a half
Little Mr: “I’m seven
Little Neighbour girl “wow, you are almost a big person! (groote mens)
Little Mr (sagely using his oldest and wisest voice) “well… noooo, you only get to be a big person when you are 18 or so… but when you are bigger you’ll know that too”
Ninety year old Oma ( Oma = grandmother)… on the telephone to Himself, recounting her side of a heated argument with one of her daughters (my SiL) on the subject of her independence and ever increasing lack of it, and the level of demands she is now asking of family members in order to stay in her own apartment.
Sister in Law has suggested that Oma might need to start considering a assisted living situation (Oma is fiercely independent and is adamant that this is something she will never even consider) (said with an angry huff) ” (name daughter) is wrong, I still do everything for myself, Everything!! … Himself, Can you pick me up a new coffee pot when you come over to do the shopping?“
Obviously the irony of the last phrase was completely lost on her.