Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kabouter conversations - April 2016

  • K: "Platte buik" (flat belly/stomach)
    G: "Wie heeft een platte buik?" (who has a flat belly?)
    K: "Mamaaa, baby uit a buik"

    (haha, he's well trained what to say to new mommy's :D )

  • K: "Pizzaaaaa pizzaaaa  yippeee"
    (while some big boxes with online ordered pampers are delivered at the door)

  • (I'm doing some ordinary household chores)
    K: "Jaaaaa mama, goed gedaan mama, dank je mama"
    (well done mommy, thank you mommy).

  • "Ms Elke is een meisje.....mama is ook een meisje.....mama is niet jongen.
    Yasmina een jongen???"

    (months after he learned the concept of boys and girls it's still interesting to inventorise everybody regularly into boy or girls. It structures the world, I guess).

  • The pharmacist asks Kabouter how his little brother is doing
    K: "Beertje moet protjes laten"   (Beertje has to fart)

  • Kabouter and daddy have been baking pancakes for breakfast together. Kabouter claims all of them are for himself.  While I'm on the sofa feeding Beertje, he comes to announce

    K: "Kabouter 1 pannekoek niet gegeten.   Nenoeg." (I didn't eat 1 pancake, enough)
    G: "Ooooh is that last pancake for mommy? Yippee"
    J: "ah no, daddy ate that last pancake, they are all gone"
    G: "Papa nog pannekoek bakken voor de mama, kom"   (daddy has to bake nother pancake for mommy, come on)

  • K: "Beertje heeft pipi gedaan in de pamper?? Dat is niet flink"    (now that he's pottytrained, it's confusing that his little brother may still pee in the pamper.  the 'dat is niet flink' is accompanied with a pointing finger.  He didn't learn this sentence from us.)

  • G: "Come on Kabouter, let's go upstairs to brush our teeth"
    K: "ik ben nog bezig mama, nog niet klaar"

    (I'm still busy momma, I'm not ready yet)

  • Conversation snips on our walk to and from school:

    K: "Kijjjjjjk!    Een dikke duif op het dak"
    (this kid sees everything, including a fat pigeon on the roof)

    K: "Lange bus vuil. Die in modder gereden"
    G: "Oei is de bus vuil? Wie gaat die wassen? Gaat de buschauffeur die wassen?"
    K: "Neeee"
    G: "Oh, wie gaat dan de bus wassen?"
    K: "Meneeer"

    K: "Winkel is open!!! Die is niet toe meer" 

  • K: "Beertje heeft geen tandjes. Kan niet eten nog." (Beertje has no teeth, he cannot eat yet)

  • G: "Mommy is first going to do this.... then that...then we'll do that"
    K: "Goed plan mama"

  • (he takes a bite out of my pastry)
    K: "ikke mamakoek ook geproefd"
It's also very cute how he tries to conjugate verbs. Unfortunately the most common verbs in Dutch are irregular while he tries to apply a regular conjugation
"Ik heb beker helemaal opgedrinkt"
"Mama heeft vleesje gesnijden"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Parenting 2 children

Jan's been back at work for over a month now, so I've been able to experience what it means to parent 2 children when I'm the only adult around.

In summary it seems to mean:
  • Breastfeeding a baby = a toddler wiggling himself into 10 free cm on your knee, elbow or neck to join in for a cuddle 
  • Too much youtube time granted to the toddler
  • Often crying kids
  • Food burning on the stove or food turning cold in the plate
  • Everyone is in bed too late
That may sound very negative. The truth is way more nuanced.  Often I look at myself and those 2 little boys and I can't  believe they are mine.   Those 2 wonderful boys.  My 2 treasures.

But it is a fact that it's hard to parent 2 little children on your own. It scared me before I gave birth to Beertje and the first evenings weren't very easy.
My first test came after 2 weeks, a bit earlier than intended as Jan had to be absent a few times unfortunately when a friend passed away.   Beertje was only 2 weeks old, my fatigue still peaked and as cherry on the cake, Kabouter got ill and also woke us up more than 5 times a night.  I managed but as I said, there was often a crying kid involved, I behaved like a grumpy zombie and my FB statusses filled with self-pity.

2 weeks ago Jan was gone for most of the time and when I saw that agenda upfront, I must honestly admit that I panicked:  first week of school for Kabouter (more fatigue?) combined with the 6 week growth spurt for Beertje on my own?   Whaaaa, impossible. There were some tears. I called in a lot of help : maternity help, in-laws and babysits and got through that week quite well.  The evening rush proofs to be the hardest. Then there's always a few hours where I wish I'd be a hindu goddess with many arms and hands. Murphy's law ensures that both kids always need to feed at the same moment and that the peak of cramps comes in the mid of the bedtime routine of the oldest, ... And of course potty training accidents happen at the worst moments they can happen.

Next week I'll be mostly on my own again and I planned less help (but still some). A clear sign that I start to feel more confident and a bit more energetic. Let's hope I don't regret that!  I know that sometimes a crying kid for a short moment is the only way to get things done: I'm not Shiva yet. I'm in the mean time an expert in breastfeeding while feeding a toddler with another hand, pull up/down his pants to let him go on the potty, hug him or simply continue feeding while he performs some acrobatics on my body to gain some attention. I'm also a lot more grateful for youtube and iPads and try not to feel too guilty about it. And I need to learn to wear Beertje more often in the household and not only when we get into town.  It's not easy and it will never be easy. But it should all become a bit more routine each time, I hope.

Let's go rock that week with my 2 big loves.

A weekend in Leuven in pictures

Jan went to buy a bigger bike for Kabouter and I went to meet them on their way back in the nearby park. We watched a BMX contest for a while at the skatepark in the ice cold wind. Kabouter is still a bit intimidated by his new bigger heavier bike where he needs to learn to find the balance himself. With a lot of encouragement he tried it again for a minute , only to search his old easy small bike again afterwards.  It'll take some time but I'm sure he'll learn to love his new bike when he masters his balance skills more. 

In the afternoon we went downtown and pleased Kabouter by taking a complete unnecessary short bustrip to get there. Some walking and shopping downtown ended with a nice break in our favourite pub restaurant downtown at the Museum where Kabouter placed his regular order "a pancake please".

Sunday's weather was even colder and darker. Jan and some of his friends had subscribed to participate in a charity walk event against cancer in order to honor a friend who has passed away recently and who was going to walk there to raise money. So they replaced him.  It took place at the nearby army base. I joined for a short bit but returned quickly home with Beertje to take care of him in the warmth. Gosh, it even snowed at one point! Yikes.

In the afternoon we went to the open door weekend of the regional police station in our neighborhood.  There were a lot of events for young and old and a lot of people had turned up. We watched the demonstration of the police dogs for a while eg an exercise how to immobilize a hooligan on top of a car.    Hmm impressive, I'll better behave when I'm in town ;) .  We strolled along the cars, moto's and displays and got in line to receive a balloon.
Back outside, on our way to the kid's traffic park, we got hit by a big hail storm which made Kabouter's balloon fly away.  After a successful chase by myself, I hugged the balloon very hard and we rushed back home to take off our soaked clothes and to defrost our cold hands. Brrrr

Friday, April 22, 2016

Count your blessings - April 2016

  1. A few times a week a basket full of folded clean ironed laundry, taken care off by others
  2. Walking hand in hand with a little boy with a green frog backpack to school and listen to his counting of the looooong busses that come by
  3. The sight of a budding tree in the garden and multiple blossom trees in the city
  4. Going out for dinner for the first time since long
  5. Enthusiastic babysits
  6. Pants that fit again after 9 months and very favourable numbers on the scale
  7. House of Cards on Netflix
  8. Getting a building permit approved to renovate (that's a blessing but it's scary and stressful at the same time)
  9. Snuggling with one kid in each arm
  10. Getting a haircut on a very sunny day

Some bloggers like Gerhildemaakt  or Upje blog regularly about simple things in their lives that make them happy.  Those are fun simple posts that are recognisable and make me smile. And as the world often seems full of negativity and disaster, I also want to list some things that make me happy in my daily life. This is the 2nd edition. the first times you can read here , here and here

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Picking flowers

Klein klein kleutertje wat doet gij in mijn hof.
Ge plukt er alle bloemetjes af, 
ge maakt het veel te grof 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eyes and smiles

Since last week, Beertje has become much more alert when he's awake...looking into our eyes with big curious eyes absorbing us and ...smiling more and more often !

Monday, April 18, 2016

Plankendael Zoo

We live in Leuven at only 25 min from the 2nd nicest zoo in Belgium   (I think Pairi Daiza's park is still a bit nicer) but I have only been there once before in my life. Quite a shame, don't you think? So we intend to change that and we bought an annual season ticket today.

Plankendael is linked to the oldest and official zoo of Belgium which is located in Antwerp but here they have a much bigger park with fun playgrounds and much nicer displays of the animals. They can often boast new baby's in the park e.g. the little rinoceros that was born at the end of 2015, a baby elephant last summer and just last month a few baby lions and a baby Bonobo.  We have not seen the latter. 

We were welcomed by the many storks that live freely in and around the park . We met up with Kabouter's best friend, whose family conveniently have annual season tickets too.

Mommy and baby rinoceros

The boys were happy to be reunited after Kabouter started school.  Much to our surprise they started walking/running adorably hand in hand. "Handje pakken". Oooooh cuteness overload! 

The little friend who knows Plankendael well, took the lead in showing us around and we all happily followed. The nice thing about a season pass is that you don't feel pressure anymore to see everything...we'll just hop by for a short visit another time when we want it.

Beertje got help getting pushed around by the older boys and he seemed to enjoy it very well, dreaming of all the animals he didn't see himself.

Highlight was probably the pinguins that were unexpectedly taking a walk on the trail and almost bumped into the 2 boys.  They both squeezed the mother's hand very hard as they were quite nervous about the animal all of a sudden being so close-by without any fence.

We were lucky that most of the nasty April showers stayed away while we were out in the park and when we were shielded from the icy wind, it was in fact very lovely to sit outside all together.

So if there's any readers with a season's pass...give a shout and we might join you another time at the Zoo.