Friday, May 26, 2017

The swimming pool phases

Phase 1:  the illusion

It was a lovely day out, but it wasn't very hot yet in the shade (and wind) in our backyard.

"Get a few buckets with warm water and put it in their pool shell so they can play", Jan said while he was cutting the grass
"I believe it's still too cold to go in the pool.", I replied
"Oh, they won't go in, they'll just fill cups or so", he said
"If that's what you believe...."

Phase 2: Told you so
A few minutes later I found this situation when I came out of the bathroom.
I brought a dripping wet baby to his dad with a big "told you so" smile on my face.

Phase 3: adapt to the reality

So if they'd not stay out of the pool, I'd better get them dressed to go in the pool. But it truly was chilly in the shade.  So we quickly moved the whole thing into the sun where they could have water fun

Phase 4: the warming up hugging

they play and play and play...and all of a sudden both of them are miserable: they are cold. So then you can only roll them up in towels, squeeze them all on your knee and do a long family hug.  As long as they sit still and enjoy the hug, they are warming up....Once they wiggle of your knee again, they are warm again. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Singing and dancing children

Last Sunday, we almost didn't go to the Canteclaer parade for the simple reason that we just wanted to spend a lazy afternoon in the sun and it was really gorgeous out in my parent's garden.

The kids were having a good time: Beertje enjoys climbing up and down and up and down any staircase endlessly  while Kabouter engineered some submarines and entertained us all with singing and dancing. It was nice to have a relax moment together with the family.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Last night in Leuven, not Manchester

1 AM 

I sit with Beertje in my arms on the edge of my bed, feeding him back to sleep. I curse because the warm weather apparently makes him drink more frequently again while I was just cheering the fact that he finally seemed to start sleeping long blocks at night, only drinking once.

As usual I grab my phone to log the feeding in an app and I see a push alert of breaking news on an explosion in Manchester. I curse, I push it away, I don't want to see such stuff in the middle of the night, but it's too late... I am aware. While reading a tweet reply that it was something in the backstage, I hush myself and turn off my phone again.

I sit with the sleeping Beertje in my arms for a while and I watch his face.  He has the cutest round cheeks.

4.10 AM

Beertje is awake again and I couldn't resist picking up my phone again. More push alerts are on the main screen which leave no doubt that there are many casualties due to a terror attack.
I rock my baby and watch him. I turn on the webcam to watch Kabouter sleep for a short moment. My little world.

I remember being sleepless during the Bataclan attacks end 2015, feeling nausea and fear, watching Kabouter asleep as well while rubbing my big pregnant belly. I worried in which world they'd grow up. I felt very distressed.
So much has happened since then: #prayforIstanbul,  #prayforBrussels, #prayforNice, #PrayforStockholm, #prayforBerlin, #prayforParis, #prayforLondon, .... I'm shocked when I realise that all has happened in Europe withing the last 1,5 year.

I think about the 2 busy parades where we were last weekend, where I took my children with me into the crowd without any second thought (thank goodness for that); about the loose powder gun shots that were shot in the parade from the "French army" which were extremely loud and smoky, where Jan commented that he was surprised they got permission to do so during this terror security level. (and the public just reacted really normal to those shots, thank goodness).

I see the images of the drowned toddler in Turkey, the doll of a little girl in the middle of the road in Nice, a little afraid boy in a hospital in Aleppo, crowds burning candles.

The weirdest thing is that I don't feel many emotions. Whereas the Bataclan attack had a major impact on me, right now I don't feel scared, not sad, ...just numb.

Beertje's eyes fall down heavy and he glides back to sleep in my arms. We sit together at the edge of the bed in silence.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Canteclaer parade

One can never have too many parades and too many giants in one weekend, was our motto last weekend.  After the giant parade "Reuzeleuven" in Leuven on Saturday we visited my parents on the day that the 5-yearly Canteclaer parade went out in my childhood town.

We were in doubt whether we wanted to see yet another parade in the same weekend, especially since it'd be rather late.  Jan and I were simply tired, had not seen much of each other all week and simply longed to an evening at home.  I had the feeling I know the Canteclaer parade by heart: the history of Deinze, the history and the importance of the local chicken market, the epic tales of the fox Reynaert and the rooster Canteclaer.

But a parade that only leaves every 5 years is an excellent marketing tool. If it'd do so every 2 years, we surely wouldn't have gone.  But in 5 years, Kabouter would be 8,5 years already and his attitude to parades would be totally different again. And where would we be in 5 years, chances are we'd not be around.  And so you doubt. It's a big parade after all, that in its succes years in the 90ies was even broadcast live on tv.

Last minute, we left with Kabouter while my parents would babysit Beertje. While walking downtown , there were more and more people walking the same direction.  And then we saw the first groups.

We saw the history of Deinze coming by with some new aspects eg the a tribute to Lucien Buysse who won the Tour de France in 1926  and a tableau vivant of the famous local painting "De Bietenoogst" of Emile Claus

De Bietenoogst - tableau vivant after Emile Claus

The fluidity of the parade was sometimes interrupted  (and once an ambulance had to come through) but the sunny weather kept everyone cheerful.

The last traditional part of the parade about the chicken market and the tales of Reynaert and Canteclaer seemed a lot shorter than I remembered. And the float of Canteclaer itself seemed small! 

Beware of your geese (chicken) when the fox preaches 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Giants and knights

Since 2013 the men of the year 1973 have relaunched the folklore of giants in Leuven. They have given the city a new giant and relaunched the tradition of a giant parade every 3 years.

This year the men of the year 1952, 62, 72 had the concession of a big bar tent at the main square so Jan was quite busy with all preparations this week. As a result we had not seen him very much this week. At lunch time we joined him downtown for a quick lunch after which I joined the helpers. Beertje's godfather was so kind to take the boys for some walking and shopping in the city until the parade came by.

It was rather quiet until the parade had passed by. As a result the ratio of helpers was too high and I could watch some of the giants passing by in the parade.  Before and after a knights re-enacting organisation gave some tournament demonstrations on the square. 

In the middle of the afternoon it was finally time for the giants. The biggest one had been installed on the square as the structure was too heavy to parade through the city.  All the others enjoyed a stroll through the city. 

At the end of the afternoon all giants arrived on the square again together with a big curious crowd.  One of the Leuven giants got baptised by the priest and it all ended with a giant dance. 

See you in 3 years again??