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26 February, 2004 at 10:27 am by belgianwaffle

In no particular order:

*The Princess will never learn to crawl (10 1/2mths and still no joy)

*The Princess will learn to crawl (and we will have to clear out everything at ground level)

*The Princess has a slight temperature this morning – could this be the start of chicken pox? Incidentally, the evil chicken pox carrier rang yesterday, he’s just back at work. He was mildly contrite. He said “you know it’s good for her to get it out of the way”.
“Not when we’re just about to go on holidays it’s not.”

“No” he conceded.

“And Mr. Waffle hasn’t had it.”

“Oh dear”

“And I haven’t seen anyone for a fortnight and Mr. Waffle has warned people at work that he might be incubating chicken pox”.

“Yeah” he said “I was going to ring you to tell you to do that but I was too sick”.
Has the man no shame? I did not express my annoyance as eloquently as I might have done at another time as a) she has apparently not got it and b) she was screaming blue murder so I had to get off the phone.

*Mr. Waffle will freeze to death on his bike. This morning I heard him rummaging about in the hall. I saw his swimming goggles on the bedroom floor. I thought to myself “ah, today must be swimming day” and appeared with them in paw, saying “Are you looking for your goggles?”

“Yes, oh no, not those goggles, I’m looking for my skiing goggles”

“Do you really need to do that now?”

“Yes, it’s snowing”

“Good grief, let me give you a lift”

“No, no, it’s fine, I’ve found my goggles now” said he unearthing them from the depths of the large bag in the hall.

So he set off into the snow looking like the creature from the black lagoon. Poor Mr. Waffle.

*The Princess may be developing a new and alarming sleeping pattern. She seems to wake up for two hours in the middle of the night (typically 4 to 6) and want to chat and play. Frankly, this is not the joy it might be to her parents.

*The remote control for the nightlight thingy that plays a tune and sends her to sleep (yes, really, only works at bedtime though) has disappeared and, for reasons that I can’t quite explain, I am terrified that I have inadvertently thrown it in the nappy bin (11.23 – one worry less found the remote under her cot, but, alas, not until after I had searched in the nappy bin).

*I will never get more than four hours sleep in a row again.

*I will never find any job.

*I will never find a job that I like.

*Mr. Waffle has volunteered to organise a family thing. I love Mr. Waffle’s family but trying to organise them is like herding mice at a crossroads (in normal circumstances, this is part of their charm). Mr. Waffle is no good at mouse herding, he expects people (yes, including his family) to be as organised as he is. Nobody is as organised as he is (for example, he has left me this morning a list of things we need to pack for skiing). I see challenging times ahead.

*It is snowing today (see above), so I’m not sure that the Princess and I will be leaving the flat and I will go insane. I suppose we could go for a drive in the car but I’m not sure how stimulating that would be for either of us. Suddenly the large out-of-town indoor shopping centre is looking very attractive. You have no idea how depressing I find it that I am pleased about this.

jackdalton is abandoning until April 11. A full debrief will be provided on our return. I bet you’re on the edges of your seats out there.
belgianwaffleon 08 March 2004 at 12:39

No rush to reply as I see, on brief inspection, that you’re sticking to your lenten thing. Look forward to a long update on what you did with all your free time on your return to the land of blog..

And, also, one kitchen sink

24 February, 2004 at 8:00 pm by belgianwaffle

Now that (touch wood) it looks like we are going to go away after all, the vexed question of packing needs to be considered. We have to bring the following:

1 baby

1 travel cot

1 pushchair

Given that we will be travelling by train and by bus, Mr. Waffle has stipulated that only one other bag will be allowed. Into this bag will have to go ski and evening gear for parents and all the Princess’s paraphenalia. I am not convinced this is possible. Last night we discussed minimising our stuff:

Mr. W. – We can assume that we will have to go to a launderette mid-week, so we only need 4 sets of everything.

Me – OK, but we need day and evening wear because we can’t spend the evening in our sweaty ski gear.

Mr. W – Fair enough, but it’s not like we’re going to get out anywhere in the evening so perhaps we don’t need socks for the evening – we can just go barefoot.

Hmm. Total space saving minimal. Potential discomfort due to chilly feet – considerable. Furthermore, we are sharing a chalet with six other people and do they really want barefoot Waffles wandering around?

Now we are one

23 February, 2004 at 2:42 pm by belgianwaffle

Yesterday, baby L, the Glam Potter’s daughter was one. We attended the party after reassurance that all the other invitees had had chicken pox (still not a sign of a spot). The Princess was delighted with the range of toys and gifts available and beat off all comers so that she had complete access to everything all the time.  This was particularly rough on baby L, who was, after all, the birthday girl and, technically, the owner of all the presents. However, she comforted herself by hunting for electrical sockets into which to force her little fingers. There was a sweet little German boy who brought his own toys. The Princess relieved him of them one by one and he smiled patiently. It was only when she swiped his bottle that he decided that it was time to protest. We were mortified.

A number of childless adults attended the party also, which was very brave of them.  I was cornered by a woman whom I had previously met at a GP event.  She asked how my job search was going. V. depressing to have to report no news.  She asked whether I had thought of retraining as a nurse.

“Noooo” I said.

“I just thought that you might be good at it”.

“I’m really not very good at sciency things”.

“Oh, you don’t need any science to be a nurse”

“Er, yes, I think you do, actually”

“Well, I think you need to be more open to different career possibilities”

“You know, I think I’ll go and get a sandwich”

Baffling.  Maybe attendance at a children’s party had pushed her over the edge.


on 23 February 2004 at 20:35

Oh! I’m so glad she has not been “spotted”. Hopefully you’re now over the chicken scare hump!


on 24 February 2004 at 14:55

Thanks guys for your encouragement on chicken pox front. Becoming increasingly, perhaps foolishly, optimistic.

Why I love the Burlington Free Press

20 February, 2004 at 3:45 pm by belgianwaffle

“Hives a mystery in first-grade class”

Grand Bazar

20 February, 2004 at 10:46 am by belgianwaffle

I know that I haven’t posted anything in a while but every waking moment has been spent inspecting my infant daughter for chicken pox.  So far, so good, but this weekend is when she’s most likely to get sick so I’m obviously looking forward to that.

I did some mulling on Belgian supermarkets this week (look, I said it had been kind of slow).  I shop in the local GB.  The staff there are kind and sweet to my little daughter but in general act as though having customers in is ruining their day. They stack shelves and block up the aisles so that customers have to turn around and retrace their steps. They sullenly ignore your requests to get by.  They are singularly unhelpful when it comes to looking for missing products. For three weeks, there was no dental floss in our GB.  The Waffles were facing a floss crisis, our strategic reserves were running low.  When I asked when they would get floss in, the floor staff, oblivious to our potential crisis, said that they didn’t know and maybe there was a problem with production.  This is the inevitable response when something is missing. I’m just not convinced by this production problem.

Now, I know, the staff probably get paid almost nothing, but I presume that the same is true in Irish supermarkets, yet somehow, staff are more helpful, why is this?  And I bet the holidays here are better; I heard two assistants chatting and one said to the other “Can you believe that I only get 28 days holidays? Isn’t that terrible?”  “Dreadful” said her colleague.  Now not to be all American about this, but that sounds alright to me.  And I suppose that the atmosphere in GB staff relations generally is not outstanding.  When I googled GB and Belgium to give you the link above (yes, I know, the research and effort that goes into this blog is phenomenal), the first two matches were about industrial relations problems.  Still and all, on the whole they’re not a customer friendly bunch.

Then the way the supermarket is set up is kind of irritating. There is only one check-out wide enough to take a trolley with a baby seat and that is invariably closed, so you have to put your purchases through one check-out and scoot down to the one at the end to push the trolley through. Very trying.

Now, wasn’t that fascinating?


on 21 February 2004 at 15:44

Great post.
Did you know GB stands for “Grand Bazar”?
“Ceci explique cel?”!…


on 23 February 2004 at 14:44

PFT, I am disappointed to hear that Tesco in the UK is similar…I labour under the (obviously mistaken) illusion that the service industry in the UK is excellent.
Thierry, thks, no, I didn’t know that. Tout s’explique.

My standards have fallen considerably since I wrote this post.

15 February, 2004 at 11:34 am by belgianwaffle

Last night we went out for dinner for Valentine’s day.  Mr. Waffle’s parents had kindly agreed to babysit, the Princess was almost entirely recovered from her bug and things were looking promising.

Then I got a phone call.  A friend had been in Brussels during the week and had spent an afternoon with us.  When he was here, he mentioned that both of his children were down with chickenpox.  It never occurred to me that he might be infectious.  I assumed he had had it.  I would never in my wildest dreams go to visit a small child where there was the slightest risk that I might give them something.   I assumed that, as a parent, he would apply the same standard.  Apparently not.  I am incandescent with rage.  What a stupid, thoughtless thing to do.  Mr. Waffle has indicated that this man is never coming near us again without a medical certificate.  On the plus side, it appears that chicken pox in children is usually not very serious, on the negative side our internet research reveals that it is most infectious in the day or two before the spots come up, i.e. exactly when this wretched man was visiting and sharing biscuits with our Princess, so, odds on, the poor thing will get it.  Furthermore, the incubation period is 10 to 20 days, so she will probably get it when we were supposed to be going on our skiing holiday, so no skiing for us.

Armed with this alarming information we went out to dinner.  We could only get a booking for 9.30, so we were both kind of hungry.  I had come down with the Princess’s cold so I had a sore throat, headache etc., slightly improved by paracetemol consumption.  The restaurant was (understandably) heaving.  We had to wait to be escorted to our table in a distant and less glam part of the restaurant, nobody took our coats which sat on the radiator alongside us for the duration (except when the slid down on top of us).  Our wine failed to materialise until we had nearly finished our main course.  When we asked where it had gone our waitress gave us two glasses of white.  We had ordered red.  We had been given someone else’s bottle.   The red, when it finally arrived, was almost undrinkable. We had ordered water but never got glasses for it despite repeated efforts to grab a waitress.  Starters were expensive and mediocre, main course was, in fact, fine.  However, when we were offered the dessert menu, for the first time ever, I said, no just the bill, thanks.  To get to the bathroom, I had to wait for two members of staff to finish a blazing row (apparently some people had left without paying the bill – could you blame them?).  Naturally, our conversation over dinner related almost exclusively to chicken pox (which, I concede was not the fault of the restaurant) which is not romantic, I think you will agree.  We had a miserable time. I’d rather have gone to Mona Lisa Smile again.

Things are much better today, you will be glad to hear. Princess is completely well again (except for the threat of chicken pox, of course) and weather is lovely. I am on the mend and the Princess has gone out for a walk with her father and grandparents leaving me the run of the house, the Sunday papers and a couple of croissants.  It could be a lot worse.

Illness, it never sleeps

13 February, 2004 at 12:47 pm by belgianwaffle

The parents-in-law have just arrived and have headed out to “flâner around the quartier” as they put it themselves.  It is nice to have doting grandparents on the premises. They admired her beauty, general brilliance and conversational ability. They even admired her hair.

The Princess sleeps. The poor little thing is, alas,sick. Last night she had a temperature of around 40 degrees and her little body was like a hot water bottle, even her toes were radiating heat. However, stoic as ever, she was quite cheerful and lay on her back toasting and singing to herself.  Mr. Waffle said “at least she seems happy”. I said “well maybe she’s delirious”. “Good grief” he said “a problem for every solution”.  This is true, I fear.  She is much better today but I hope that she will be well enough for us to skip out and abandon her tomorrow night…poor baby.


on 13 February 2004 at 18:47

She’ll be fine! Remember last time she was sick and I was there, I too kept saying ‘at least she’s cheerful’ …!


on 15 February 2004 at 11:50

Ok, Mink and Nic, you were right she is fine, but see next post re chicken pox disaster..


10 February, 2004 at 6:00 pm by belgianwaffle

If you have a baby, you will be familiar with the curse of conjunctivitis. If not, you are wandering through life in blissful ignorance. Lucky old you. At the end of last year, the Princess had an accumulation of green stuff in one eye. A kind of trail of snot from the eye as the Glam Potter so eloquently put it. This accompanied by pinkness and unhappy babiness is conjunctivitis. It is supposed to be very contagious. So, the first time she had it I washed all her clothes/bed clothes, wiped all her toys with disinfectant and rinsed all her soft toys. A bit of a herculean task, I can tell you. The second time she got it, I was less thorough (I mean, she had got it again, so, clearly, my previous efforts were in vain) but still reasonably thorough. She got it again at the weekend. I said to Mr. Waffle “Well, it’s obviously not that contagious, neither of us have ever got it”. Hubris, fate, kismet, all these things were lurking round the corner. I have it. Both eyes. I can wipe out the trail of snot (something the Princess is less good at) but I still look like a battered spouse who’s been crying her eyes out. I am actively contemplating wearing dark glasses. On the plus side, the Princess is better now. I am a bit worried about the cleaning up operation, I don’t suppose that it will be as thorough as it was in the past. Now that the Princess is more mobile, her little hands get everywhere. However, I suppose our hygiene standards are not what they once were in any event (as we observed only the other day while we sat watching her eating a beer mat).

And in other weird injuries, my right hand seems to have seized up a bit.  I mentioned it to the Glam Potter who said that she and her sister-in-law suffer from this also and her sister-in-law’s GP says a lot of mothers suffer from it and it’s hormonal. Superb. I hope it clears up before we go off on our skiing trip. I can see myself on piste, exhausted after a trying night with the Princess, trying to “plant my baton” (this is how French ski instructors speak) with my sore hand. Great.

On a positive note, Mr. Waffle’s parents are coming for a long weekend. We’re looking forward to having them and not just for the babysitting…however, we will take advantage of their babysitting abilities so I expect the weekend to be a whirl, nay, a vortex, of dissipation.


on 10 February 2004 at 18:20

Oh, I wish that I’d seen your blog before today! Just been to Brussels for the weekend and was looking for recommendations of stuff to do. I plan to go back in May, so will be asking for advice then! Currently suffering from a surfeit of mussels – damn nice though.


on 11 February 2004 at 12:22

Thanks Minkleberry. You will be pleased to hear that she is better and I am definitely on the mend. You appreciate the misery of conjunctivitis, you will make an EXCELLENT mother!
Hi,oipd, will be happy to provide as much advice as I am able for your May trip. Weather is much nicer in May, so if you liked Feb, you will love May… 0

Lost in the 1950s

7 February, 2004 at 12:20 pm by belgianwaffle

Last night we booked a babysitter and with our pre-purchased tickets in paw (8.20 euros a pop, so not cheap) we skipped out to the cinema to see “Lost in Translation”. We were very excited at the prospect of going to the cinema, remember, we’re parents now… It was all very thrilling, so the fact that there was torrential rain and we were soaked to the skin by the time we arrived at the cinema was no problem. We were there in good time to catch all the trailers and then the film started, fantastic.  Except, it was the wrong film. In the thundering rain, we had gone to the wrong cinema (look it’s easier to do than you think, the set up is kind of odd) and in screen one in this cinema they were showing “Mona Lisa Smile”. It was too late to change, so we sat there looking glum. To be fair to “Mona Lisa Smile”, if it wasn’t the only film we were going to see for 3 months, we might have liked it better. But it was pretty dreadful. The actresses were good but they were wrestling with a cliche-ridden travesty of a script. And we kept imagining what “Lost in Translation” might have been like. The fact that the male lead (there for decoration) was in college with Mr. Waffle added mild interest in a “I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales” kind of way. But it was not enough to sustain our interest for the duration as we steamed dry, although we did laugh at his accent in a cruel way. We’re clearly just jealous, after all, he did get to kiss Julia Roberts.

At the end, they showed a selection of 1950s advertisements which were entertaining, in fact, something of a highlight. I particularly liked the one captioned “She’ll be happy with a Hoover on Christmas morning”. I find it hard to believe that this was true even in the 1950s.


on 10 February 2004 at 18:24

Should I take this moment to remind you how brilliant Lost In Translation is?Maybe not.

And despite your assurances I still find it strange you went into the wrong screen. And even stranger you didn’t get up and move to the right screen. Though I can imagine those 1950’s ads would have been fun – though I’m not sure what you mean about the Hoover….surely it IS the perfect gift?

*ducks slap*


on 11 February 2004 at 12:31
Comment Modified) Hello Holts, nice to see another (gorgeous, of course, Irish baby). Thank you for sweeties, very generous and partly they make up for the pain…
As for you Locotes, let me explain that the two screens are in different buildings and were separated by torrential rain (for any Bruxellois out there, UGC, Pte de Namur). Ok, the fact that they are in different bldings makes it sound like a hard mistake to make but it’s not – you’ll just have to take a leap of faith here. 0


on 11 February 2004 at 16:15

So you were in the wrong building entirely…….right…….you know, I’m not sure that’s making you look any better. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt being in a foreign country and all (though how long are you there at this stage?).Damn, Bill Murray was good….

Oops sorry, did I say that out loud? 0


on 12 February 2004 at 08:31

Locotes – Hmm. You be very careful young man or I’ll start dispensing more relationship advice (uses greatest threat..). 0


on 12 February 2004 at 12:03

eep! 0

Liquor is quicker

6 February, 2004 at 4:10 pm by belgianwaffle

Do you know Ogden Nash? I love his poems. He seems to have been a very devoted father and I have copied below, for your delectation, one of his many poems about children.

Lines To Be Embroidered On A Bib

The Child Is Father Of The Man, But Not For Quite A While

So Thomas Edison
Never drank his medicine;
So Blackstone and Hoyle
Refused cod-liver oil;
So Sir Thomas Malory
Never heard of a calory;
So the Earl of Lennox
Murdered Rizzio without the aid of vitamins or calisthenox;
So Socrates and Plato
Ate dessert without finishing their potato;
So spinach was too spinachy
For Leonardo da Vinaci;
Well, it’s all immaterial,
So eat your nice cereal,
And if you want to name your ration,
First go get a reputation

If you liked this, there are lots more at http://www.poemhunter.com/ogden-nash/poet-6637/.
Also “Candy is Dandy the best of Ogden Nash” makes a tasteful gift and is easy to wrap. OK, enough proselytising for today.

What do you do all day?

6 February, 2004 at 3:40 pm by belgianwaffle

This is something that the working world wants to know. I will tell you.

I bring about present inflation. You know the way there is always someone who has the perfect present, beautifully wrapped? I have become that person. I spend my days buying tasteful gifts and wrapping them in attractive paper (not very beautifully wrapped I must concede as I am no good at that). I buy presents for godchildren, birth presents, birthday presents, wedding presents, christening presents, you name the occasion, I am out there buying a gift. Scarcely a week goes by when I am not in a shop selecting something light (a lot of our presents need to be posted) but wonderful.

I buy sewing machines. A picture of the machine is below:

It may not be there forever as I think I only have a certain amount of space for pictures on 20six, so feast your eyes on it now, while it’s there. You will be relieved to hear that, in exchange for a well-spent tenner, the nice men who delivered it carted it up the stairs as well. I was round at the Glam Potter’s yesterday and she is very keen to inspect my purchase and will be over next week to admire. The Glam Potter is very arty and has sealed bids in auction houses all over Brussels. Her house is full of interesting things she has picked up in unusual places. I would like to go to an auction with her, but, you will recall, we don’t need any more furniture. I think Mr. Waffle may come over all Victorian and forbid me to fraternise with her futher if I start buying things at auction with her.

I cook, as discussed in an earlier posting. The other night I went into the kitchen saying “I’ll just check on dinner.. oh, doesn’t the sewing machine look nice in the hall?” Mr. Waffle asked “Are these words you ever, in your wildest dreams, thought that you would utter?” I must say, the answer to this is no.

Occasionally, I apply for jobs.

Often, I meet people for lunch. A friend said recently that when he hears the expression “ladies who lunch” he thinks of me. Hmm.

I wash clothes. This is a judgement on me. When I was growing up, my mother used to complain that I would throw things in the wash when I had only worn them for five minutes. I used to think, well what is the problem here, we have a washing machine… Now, everyday, I put on two washes and then bring them down to the basement to the drier and then put the clothes away. Now, ok, now, I’m sorry, that I was a stroppy teenager (I am reminded here of an Ogden Nash poem on adolesence, and if you click on this link, you too can read the poem). We are the grubbiest, or possibly, the cleanest, depending on how you look at it, family in Belgium. Every evening the laundry basket is empty. Every morning it is full to the brim. It is a cornucopia of dirty laundry, it never runs out. I’m thinking of buying a larger laundry basket.

Sometimes, I go to the art gallery.

I blog. I email. My emailing is not great though. My responses are usually deemed inadequate and far too short. I just can’t work up the enthusiasm for long emails. I tend to reply “yes” to two page missives and my correspondents get a little tetchy.

I mind the Princess.

I read, a bit.

I talk on the phone, although this has become more difficult since the Princess has discovered how to hang up the phone.

So now you know.

If you have not yet been the recipient of my largesse, hold your breath because, probably, even now, a tasteful, light gift is winging its way to you.



on 07 February 2004 at 10:47

I love the way you write!
Speaking of art, don’t forget to visit the “Khnopff” exhibition at the “Mus?e d’ Art Ancien”, rue Royale.
And speaking of art auctions, you can find all the details (dates, address)each week in Thursday’s “Le Soir” (suppl?m?nt “Immo”) (^_^)


on 07 February 2004 at 12:28

Thierry, you are very kind. Thank you for info on Le Soir, we only get it on Saturday, so now will have to go for Thursday also. Will alert the Glam Potter. Must stop buying furniture though…

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