The weather was beautiful this weekend. On Saturday we went to the park; the Princess was on her bike (which is excellent and has really extended our range of destinations on foot) and the boys in the buggy. Michael objected loudly to this and for the length of our street sobbed and said “bicycle, bicycle”. Daniel tired of this and whacked Michael on the head, a move which I outwardly condemned while, inwardly, having every sympathy with him. One of the training wheels loosened on the royal bike and Mr. Waffle was sent sprinting home to get the spanner while the children and I continued carefully. No sooner had the offending nut been tightened than the chain came off. Please bear in mind that as all the repair work was continuing Michael was howling determinedly. By the time we arrived in the park, fine weather or no, we were all a little tense. Everyone had a lovely time in the park, though, and they were very good when we went to our friends’ house for cake (the Princess even used cutlery) and on the trek home.
On Sunday, we went to Mass where the children were all miraculously well behaved. Te Princess went to a Sunday school type class – hooray – and emerged commenting that she had no idea that Jesus wanted her to be a good girl and why hadn’t we told her; I feel that this is a very promising development. Afterwards, we went for a walk around the Etangs d’Ixelles picking up various things in the market. It felt like being on holidays (a feature of my childhood holidays in France being Mass on a Sunday and market afterwards) and I wondered why we don’t do this kind of thing more often. Possibly because it is not always wonderfully fine and sunny on Sunday mornings in Brussels.
That afternoon we went to a showing of “The Little Mole” which the children loved. It was the boys’ first trip to the cinema and they were enchanted. A bit like an old silent film, the showing was accompanied by two musicians with a range of instruments (explained and identified to the audience) which the kids were allowed to inspect afterwards. It was described on the poster as 6 short films by Zdeněk Miler which, as Mr. Waffle pointed out, made it sound a lot more intellectual than it actually was. I did spend some of my time wondering whether it was communist propoganda. The little Mole stole a watermelon from a pile that a man was selling to children; then the Mole cut it up and gave it away to his friends. The watermelon seller does not come up smelling of roses. In another of the films, with the help of all the animals of the jungle (except for the mean lion), the Mole digs a well. Perhaps all cartoons for small children emphasise the value of co-operation and it is only later that we urge them to compete and assure them that they will stand or fall on their own efforts alone.
All in all, it was the first weekend in some time where that hasn’t left me desperate to get into work on Monday morning. Could we be turning a corner?