Daniel: UH OH
Me: What did you drop sweetheart?
Princess: He didn’t drop anything, he’s lining.
Daniel: UH OH
Me: What did you drop sweetheart?
Princess: He didn’t drop anything, he’s lining.
We came back from Dublin yesterday. I am still a shadow of my former self. On the plane back, the Princess sat by the window, Mr. Waffle sat in front of her with Michael on his lap and I sat beside her with Daniel on my lap. As we were sitting on the runway taxiing about, the Princess and I had the following conversation:
Her: I want to do a poo.
Me: You can do a poo when the fasten seatbelts sign goes off.
Her: But I want to do a poo NOW!
Me: I’m afraid you’ll have to wait.
Her: But the poo wants to come out.
Me: Well it will just have to wait. What is that awful smell? And those funny damp brown marks on Daniel’s back?
Her (giggling): I think he did a big poo Mummy.
Once airborne we retire to the toilet where the Princess sits on the toilet while I try to stop Daniel eating anything dangerous. When she is finished, I change Daniel’s nappy and all his clothes. He wriggles. The toilets on planes are small. That’s probably all the detail you need. When we got back to our seating, the long-suffering man on the outside stood up to let us troop in.
Him: Three children – a lot of work, eh?
Me: Hmm. I suppose. Princess, sweetheart, can you get up off the floor please.
Him: I have two sons 27 and 29.
Me: That’s nice. Are you from Belgium?
Him: Yes from Mechelen.
Me: I like Mechelen.
Him: It’s handy for my work. I travel a lot. I was in Ireland for work. It’s very expensive.
Me: Yes, isn’t it? Sweetheart, what are you doing down there?
Princess (muffled but indignant): I’m picking up papers to put them in the bin.
Him: Are you working in Brussels?
Me: Yes, what do you do yourself?
Him: I’m a businessman. I sponsor the IMPAC literary prize.
Me (vaguely aware that this is the largest literary prize in the world): Goodness, that’s very impressive.
Him (pleased): You’ve heard of it?
Me: Absolutely. Daniel will you please stop pulling your sister’s hair? You must be very interested in literature.
Him: No, it’s really for the publicity. My passion is art collecting. When I’m in my New York office, I like to go to the art galleries.
Me: What kind of art do you like to collect? Are you biting him?
Princess: NO, I’m kissing my little brother.
Him: I like Cobra and I have a lot of these works.
Me (faintly): A lot?
Him: Yes. I also collect….[inaudible]
Daniel: Waah, a bottle, waah, I need a bottle, also she did bite me.
Him:…and a small Picasso that I keep in the kitchen.
Me: Good for you. Here, sweetheart, have a bottle.
Princess: I WANT a bottle.
Me: Well, I haven’t got a bottle for you.
Princess: Can I have some crisps then when the “any drinks or snacks” lady comes?
Me: OK, then.
Him: I’m also really interested in the symbolists.
Me: Oh yeah, did you see that whatshisname, Belgian symbolist, um..
Me: Yes. Horsey, horsey don’t you stop, just let your feet go clippety clop…
Daniel: Big grin.
Princess: When will it be MY turn to sit on your lap?
Him: Did you see that picture of his sister in the dress with all the buttons?
Me (warily, considering that almost all the pictures were of his sister – Khnopff appears to have a number of issues here): Yeees.
Him: Do you collect at all?
Me: No, not really, no.
Him: I had my house repainted in the colour scheme on that painting. Why not, eh?
Me: Why not indeed, um, do you have a very large house for your large collection?
Him: Art nouveau house, 600 square metres.
Me (swooning from envy): Lovely. Sweetheart, look out over England, see all those things sparkling, they’re fireworks (it was November 5 and the English like their fireworks for Guy Fawkes – it was an extraordinary sight).
Daniel: UH OH.
Me: Princess, could you pick up your brother’s bottle?
Her: No, I’m looking at the fireworks.
Him:Have you been to see the Spilliaert exhibition?
Me (holding Daniel on the chair with one hand while rooting round on my knees on the floor for the missing bottle): No, not yet, though I do like Spilliaert. He’s interesting in a weird Belgian kind of way.
Him: You think Belgians are weird?
Daniel: The bottle woman.
Me (inserting bottle in indignant mouth): The home of surrealism, I think so, yes.
Her: Can I see Aunty Publishing Exec’s house?
Me: No, sweetheart, we’re too high up and anyway, we’re over Belgium now.
Him (pensively): Having children, it’s a lot of work; I’m not so sure about having another baby. I think I will offer a million to the first of my sons to have a grandchild.
I’m not sure whether he was serious or not but I bet he wished that aer lingus hadn’t dispensed with business class for the weekend flights.
Peggy (in French)
Peggy is a working mother of two little boys. She works on European stuff but is Belgian. I know this sounds odd, but it is hard to meet Belgians in Brussels. Please trust me on this. Peggy is like a Belgian friend. Through her blog, I get an insight into what it must be like being a Belgian in Brussels. I won’t say anything further because I don’t want to unnerve her by behaving like a weird foreign stalker but I do like her blog.
Julie, mother of one after (trust me here), not inconsiderable difficulties. Polemical, opinionated, funny – what’s not to like?
Last time we went to the Hague, the Princess was sick, she vomitted on all of our friends’ sheets. All night. This time there were no sick children. There was one sick mother, but it wasn’t me. And she was recovering from the vomitting bug. And, so far, none of my children appears to have caught it. So all in all, city of vomit is an unfair appellation but give a city a bad name and all that.
We had a lovely time in the Hague over the weekend and the problem with having a lovely time is that it gives you no bloggable material. Everything was lovely (except for the Dutch Mama’s illness and she struggled womanfully to conceal it, so it didn’t overly affect us). Mr. Dutch Mama spent part of the weekend building a bike shed in the front garden and all of the time being tall therefore effectively reinforcing all my stereotypes about Dutch people which was deeply gratifying. The Princess was charmed by the toys available for her delectation and, in a high point for her, got to have a bath with her little hiberno-dutch hosts. The Dutch Mama, illness nothwithstanding, spent all of the weekend with one or other of our babies in her arms thereby freeing us up to read, eat, stop our daughter from savaging our hosts etc.
I was struck by what very good little children our hosts were and though their Mama said that it was really down to them and nothing to do with her parenting, I can’t help wondering whether this is actually the case. And they eat everything. The Princess consumed an apple and a morsel of chicken over the weekend. Oh, and plenty of biscuits. Why is my child a fussy eater? I blame her father, I enjoy that.
And we left with a supply of cute little boy clothes; please admire Daniel in Dutch jumper:
9.20 Michael stops crying. Most upsetting. Thought we had cracked it when the night before last they only cried for ten minutes but obviously, they’re made of sterner stuff than I had realised. Very traumatised. Mr. Waffle less so “they don’t remember it”. “Well, if that’s so, why do they start to cry when they see their little sleeping bags laid out on the bed. The heartless one started to laugh “clever little boys”.
10.30 Mr. Waffle in to tend to screaming child.
11.40 Princess up and crying (yes, still sick, no have not been outside the house since Sunday)
11.45 I take over from Mr. Waffle, he puts herself back to bed.
12.00 – 5.30 Mr. Waffle on Princess duty (up several times) and me on baby duty;D (up constantly as far as I can recall).
5.30 Mr. Waffle on baby duty.
5.50 Princess comes in to our bed.
6.20 Mr. Waffle puts Princess back to her own bed.
6.30 Baby wakes up -am back on baby duty until 7.30 when they fall asleep.
7.30 Mr. Waffle gets up.
8.00 Boys and I get up.
Minks, all appears to be um improving. Why am I tempting fate this way?
Sarcastic Journalist on 05 March 2006 at 04:35 That’s something like my life, just with one less child. And uh, less of my husband helping.
on 06 March 2006 at 22:28 SJ, not really, because your older child is at home with you ALL DAY. Hideous thought, I think I might die, if this happened to me.
The no sleep regime continues unabated. Daniel is like a briar. I suppose Michael has never really slept at night, so he’s used to it, but Daniel is finding the regular waking every bit as trying as his parents.
Today, I decided to go out and buy various things. Just to get out in the car where, I hoped, my cranky Daniel would sleep. I have just moved them to a double buggy which is wonderful etc. but despite being, you would think, an old hand at buggy folding and unfolding, I have found it just a tad challenging. This morning, I had the two boys sitting in their car seats in the hall and I tried to fold the buggy to get it into the car. No joy. Then discovered that the sling had become enmeshed with it and began trying to wrestle it out. Michael gurgled mirthfully at the sight of his mother becoming flushed and unhappy. Daniel began to howl. That boy can howl. I dislodged the sling and discovered that because the seats were still reclining when I tried to fold the wretched thing, that it was stuck half open, half closed. I wrestled some more. Daniel howled some more. The people who work in an office on the ground floor tried to ignore us. I gave a muffled howl of frustration. Daniel didn’t bother muffling his howls. I stamped my foot. Still, the wretched thing wouldn’t yield. I put screaming Daniel in the garage where he screamed some more; Michael was enjoying the show so much that I let him stay put. I eventually managed to reopen the buggy but I fear that its canopy is fatally injured.
Did young Daniel fall asleep in the car? No he did not. As I type he sits gurgling in my lap looking as though butter wouldnt melt in his mouth.
Meanwhile, saintly Michael sleeps.
on 24 February 2006 at 19:58 Having read this and your other sleep post I must say how impressed I am about how sane you’re sounding. We introduced the baby girl into the little boy’s room earlier this week, despite complaining of headaches when she cries and a bed-wetting incident which resulted in the little boy coming in to sleep with us, things seem to be going fairly smoothly. I’m only getting up 3 times a night now instead of every 2 hours – sorry this must sound like a luxury to you, but I’m sure things will smooth themselves out soon
on 25 February 2006 at 21:18
why is it that the stroller only malfunctions during moments of stress, like trying to board a plane or pack the munchkins into the car? the stroller gods are evil, methinks.
on 27 February 2006 at 13:02
FT, um, probably…
Lilo, I dunno, I am slightly despairing.
Kristin, the stroller gods are evil and cruel.
on 27 February 2006 at 16:11
I hate it when people offer useless advice when you’re quite literally at the end of your tether- however, the end of my tether was what prompted me to read http://www.babywhisperer.com/ No crying out necessary xxx
on 02 March 2006 at 22:01
Minks, thanks for the sweeties and the advice…in fact, I don’t want to tempt fate here, but tonight they went straight to sleep at 7.30 and here I am (most foolishly) still up at 11.00 and not a peep out of them.
“Does not man have hard service on earth? Are not his days like those of a hired man? Like a slave longing for the evening shadows, or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages, so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me. When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get
up? The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.’
Job had twins, who knew? Yes, I know I am very lucky. Really. But last night I was at my wits’ end. Poor old
Daniel has a cold and he howled. And he woke Michael and when he got back to sleep, Michael woke him. And I didn’t sleep at all. And nor did my poor husband. And today I am like a zombie and I have two cross babies on my hands and one sick one. And school ends at 3.00.
And in other religious news, my daughter is fascinated by the story of Samson and Delilah. For this, I hold Tom Jones entirely responsible. Our poor daughter is subjected to a barrage of schlocky songs sung by her loving parents. If she bumps herself she sings “I didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m sorry that I made you cry, I
didn’t mean to hurt you, I’m just a jealous guy..”. When dancing she accompanies herself with “I’m in the mood for dancing, romancing…”. When wearing her boots “These boots are made for
walking…are you ready boots?” You get the picture here. When she wails, I try to jolly her out of it by singing “Aie, aie, aie Delilah”. They love it in the supermarket. Anyhow, the other day, she asked me “What’s Delilah, Mummy?”. “Not what darling, who?” And I told her the story, leaving out about Samson being blinded (she is only 2 and 3/4) but including how he brought down a building with his bare hands and crushed his enemies. God, she loves it and I am exhausted from recounting it. I shudder to think what will happen when she finds out about the plagues visited on the Eygptians.
on 13 February 2006 at 14:48
There is something about being Irish and religion, a TV programme, can’t quite remember it at present…
Anyway, showing such an interest can only make you feel less guilty about sending princess to Sunday School and the free hours you will gain from it.
on 14 February 2006 at 03:59
Good thing the story of Susanna isn’t read on Sundays!
on 14 February 2006 at 10:07
We were reading Samson and Delilah to our 2 the other day, albeit a slightly sanitised version, and I said to my other half – “So is Samson the prototype suicide bomber and should we really be reading this to our children?” Not sure what messages it sends really!
on 15 February 2006 at 09:48
Murrain! Frogs! er… the Darkness! The plagues ROCK.
on 15 February 2006 at 12:54
Gosh, you lot are a bundle of joy. Bobble, you should know, catholics don’t do Sunday school. That’s protestants, they actually know their bible.