I have been neglecting my blog. I know, you haven’t noticed but it is all about me.
I am recovering from a week of mid-term with herself. I kept bleating feebly that I was supposed to be on holidays too but we both knew that this wasn’t true. I spent one long and tiring day fielding questions on God, dinosaurs and perjury, none of which is really my long suit; three long and tiring days in Cork and a day cleaning up the house after our latest round of handymen. I think she enjoyed some of it.
One afternoon, in Cork, the boys and I visited the Glucksman gallery while the Princess bonded with her grandparents. I find modern art can be a bit challenging but there was a very good exhibition on conflict in 20th century Ireland which the boys and I enjoyed on different levels (“Meaners with guns!”/”Oh Lavery, Paul Henry, how nice”).
Downstairs there was some more classic modern fare, if I may so term it (yes, you may permit yourself a titter here at my inelegant expression, should you so wish). I think I can best convey the type of exhibit by quoting from the website:
The exhibition also explores strategies of participation, inviting visitors to discover and create conflicting relationships of their own by engaging with the works directly. In Stephen Willats’ Organic Exercise No.1 Series 2 , visitors are invited to re-configure a set of plaster bricks on a grid, without prior rules or instructions. The work therefore becomes everchanging and subject to the alteration of each participant. Visitors are also invited to participate in Mark Clare’s Ping-Pong Diplomacy – a functioning table-tennis table made of pallet-wood; a work that references the famous contest between American and Chinese players in 1971 which acted as a breakthrough in diplomatic relations between the two countries.
In fairness to Mr. Clare, in particular, I must say that the boys got great value out of Ping-Pong diplomacy and played there until closing time when we were chucked back out into the rain. Maybe the exhibition wasn’t really for us because we are perfectly capable of creating “conflicting relationships of [our].. own” without any help from modern art.
[Is this next paragraph a non-sequitur or is it art? Only you can decide.] Daniel’s toilet training appears to be complete. This means that we are now finally in a position to fully appreciate the joys of a house with one toilet and five inhabitants. The other day, Daniel and Michael had the following chat:
Michael: I want to do a WEE.
Daniel [ensconced] : I’m doing a wee and a poo.
Michael [Jumping from side to side] : I want to do a WEE.
Daniel: Tough luck.
The Princess has learnt to read. Just like that over the past couple of weeks. I am astounded and constantly keen to hear her reading things. She is considerably less entranced. She finds it a chore though she does like reading signs when we are out. I was appalled to discover that she had seen part of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” on television at school. At this rate, she will have seen all the children’s classics on television before she reads them herself. The first book I clearly remember reading was “The Magician’s Nephew” and it has a special place in my heart. I do hope that there will be some book like that in her life.
Daniel had his first visit to an Irish ophthalmologist. He has confirmed that our son is quite longsighted (+6). I was, however, delighted to hear that the doctor does not think that surgery will be necessary for his lazy eye. I am not quite sure whether this is because Belgium is more interventionist than Ireland or because it has got better with the patch. We can also stop patching his eye in a couple of months which will be fantastic. Daniel is generally very good about wearing his patch (two hours a day) but it is uncomfortable for the poor mite and removing it from our morning routine will save us precious minutes trying to get out the door on time. When I asked Daniel how the trip went, he said fine but added glumly that he had had “gouttes”. “Did you tell him what they were in French?” I asked Mr. Waffle. He hadn’t. Poor Daniel had remembered the term since last July when he had his parting visit with his Belgian ophthalmologist. I suspect that the eye-drops are not very nice. I know this is all very tedious for you but, you know, how will I remember when all this happened if not for the trusty blog?
Michael continues very manly. He asks me to stop kissing him and when I rub his back he informs me coldly that he is not a cat or a dog. Inspired by their uncle, he and Daniel have begun to throw themselves into impromptu rucks on the floor which, when rebuked for fighting, they describe in injured tones as playing rugby like Uncle Dan. So, now only Michael’s large collection of stuffed toys stands between him and his quest for absolute masculinity. He goes to bed with doudou, nounours, wabbit (the English R is still proving elusive, he can do the French one though), Ingeborg, big Ingeborg and cheetah. Three of these had to accompany us to Cork during the week taking up appreciable space in the small case. This must end.