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Archive for the ‘The Little Hell Hole’ Category

Wave, Wave !!!

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Sep-28-2010

The Baby took off for three days at school camp this morning. I have spent the last few days washing *the perfect* clothes for camp and trying to hustle up the 5, count them 5, pairs of shoes that she will need for this three day adventure.

I helped load up the truck, which I always do, in the pouring rain. I helped her to make her photo book of Destin, *her dog*, the Pyr, to take with her last night. She always takes a little photo book about Destin with her.

This morning, we packed her lunch up – not much, for she gets car sick. She kept asking me if I would miss her. Of course I will, she is my baby, my gift, my balm of Gilead. I would not watch PopStars for anyone else, nor The Best Invention From The Netherlands.

She asked me, this morning, if I would come and wave everyone off at the school. Sure, I said, but I was a bit surprised, for I embarrass her at school : I am older than most mothers and speak English. I know and accept this as a fact of life.

But I went, to wave all of the happy campers off.

Both sides of the street were lined with all of the children ( who were not going to camp) from the school. And as every car, taking the happy campers went toot-tooting by, everyone waved furiously.

I did as well. Even a bus going by toot tooted for them. The Bus driver was rather funny in fact, as he stopped at the stop right in front of the school, lined with people and children : Uh, he said, do you all need a ride ?

Baby was in a black Range Rover, of all things. I waved and waved at her. She did not react, she is now too cool for that, but I know that she saw me there. That is what counts.

I waved at all of the tooting cars, filled with small children furiously waving back, looking like they were going to pee their pants any moment from the excitement of it all.

And when the cavalcade was almost done, over, I felt my eyes begin to burn, tears welling up.

I really have no idea why, but this happens every time that I wave them off, the little happy campers.

School Days

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Aug-25-2010

Today, The Girl’s books came for her new school.  To tickle your memory, this will be the 4th school that she has been in since she left the Little Hell Hole Down The Street, when she was about, oh, 12 or 13. She is now 17. You do the math.

For whatever reason, we have to pay for these books. I have no idea why, for most school books are paid for- lately- by the powers that be. But nope, a little over 400 euro for this small- very small- box of mostly paper back books. Being a very suspicious person, I am thinking- but not saying - Mickey Mouse School. I really hope not.

She opened the box after dinner and passed them around for Daddy and Opa to view.  I did not say a word, I swear. But Opa and Daddy looked at the books, considered the price and thought that it was a bit steep, but they could both help her. I did point out to her that she had chosen just their field, wholesale.I do not think that the study actually goes into manufacturing- they are both good in that as well…

She noted that the bus no longer stopped in front of the chosen-by-her school, and The Boy and I both said, well, if you go the back way from the bus station there, in The Big City, it is tops a 10 minute walk. But, she lamented, she has to carry all of those books.

Well, I said, I am sure that they have lockers. Or she could leave a bike at the Bus Station to toodle back and forth to school with.

Sour looks.

I am walking away from this. I have already passed on some Twilight Zone clues to The Father and am slapping my hands together, dusting it all off.

This Friday or Saturday, The Father and I are going out to dinner. I don´t care where we go, but it is- on August 29th – our 27th anniversary. I can make this even more decrepit, for we have known each other for 30 years. And we are going out for dinner, alone, come hell or high water.

At times, Helen Reddy comes to mind…

And at evil little times, Harry Nilsson…

You're breakin' my heart
You're tearin' it apart......

I can be a very bad Mother...at times.

Sports Day

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Apr-30-2010

Yesterday, the day before Queen’s Day- a national holiday- it seemed to be Sports Day at schools all around.

First, there was Baby’s. She was supposed to bike about a half an hour away to another village ( the same one in which The Boy did his stage), do Sports Day and then bike back. This is never going to happen. She is not allowed to bike to school ( we live too close) and those Swedish granite cobblestones have been ice slicks for months. She has had no chance to practice. She needs a bigger bike.

So we drove her there. I knew the order in which the classes were leaving the school, and so, as we passed the first group, I said, there is group 7. They were being led by a teacher wearing a fluorescent green vest, and I remarked that it looked like a bunch of ducks, flying overhead, there is always that lead duck.

We next passed her group, look who the lead duck is ! I said. Then Group 5, I recognized that lead duck as well.

We parked outside of the sports field, and waited. Baby was getting very agitated. She doesn’t like her school friends to hear me speaking English and she didn’t like The Father’s choice of music. She was embarrassed. We are saying, no one from your school is here yet, we are inside a car, they cannot hear us, but she was jumping up and down.

And then I saw the first lead duck turning the corner. Duck coming, I said. Sure enough, there they came. Then we waited for the next duck, her group. I spotted that duck right away, here they come ! She doubted me, but I was correct. Here came her class. She was so excited. Led by one very tired looking duck. She jumped out of the car and ran to join them.

She had a wonderful day, her face is rather burned ( I did not even consider sunscreen, for this is The Netherlands). I walked into the fields to pick her up, for I did not think that her duck would let her go without a parent showing their face ( which The Father cannot do right now) and she hissed at me : what are you doing here ? I explained it . She really dislikes me speaking English in front of her school mates, although only Best Friend was nearby and has heard me speak English a zillion times. I was like, well, tough t*tty.

The Boy also had a rather sporty day yesterday : his class or his school was doing a sponsored 45 km bike ride to raise money for some place in Africa. Considering that The Boy bikes 45 minutes, each way to school, I am surprised that his tires did not explode.

The Girl did not have an official sports day, instead, she spent the day with her Grandparents, biking through the dunes.

Back to The Boy. So he has his group to bike with, including his 4 good friends and a guy who has reached high levels in the world of scouting. They have to bike through the dunes and the scout knows a way to cut 10 kms off of their journey. They follow him.

Guess who they see ? They see the girl in the 1956 Ford Thunderbird. The Boy waves to her.

The friends who do not notice his wave ask if the other guys saw that girl biking by.The friends who noticed his wave are stunned. You know her ? Yes, it is my sister. How can someone who looks like you have a sister who looks like that ?

The Boy came home with a bad burn as well. He went to bed at 8pm and we finally woke him up at 11am. He enjoyed telling The Girl about his friends reaction to seeing her and she loved hearing it, even though she sniffed and said, they are only 15.

Kinderlokker

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-31-2010

I don’t think that I am spelling this right, so someone help me out.

Today, Baby brought home another ( yet another) paper from her school. It seems that there is some guy with a beard ( from Baby, not the paper, the beard bit) terrifying the children as they walk to school.

Two official complaints have been made to the Police and as of tomorrow, there will be a special police officer keeping an eye on things.

Baby and I talked about this, seriously. She does not think that Bas still lives here in town, so that makes her the kid who lives the closest to the school, 3 minutes, max.

She likes her independence, this is very important to her.

I gave her the updated version of what I once told The Girl and The Boy. First off, if you are in town, go into a store. Go to the baker, go anywhere. If she goes into one and says that some man is scaring her, they will take care of her. She knows our phone number.

If she is walking to school and someone scares her, she has my permission to be rude. Scream as loud as you can, draw attention to yourself, bang at that door, that woman is always up early, she knows you. Kick him with those vampire boots, shins. Pretend that you are The Girl: loud. If you are closer to home, come home, if you are closer to school, run to school. Don’t worry, we can always say that you are very upset and a bit high strung about this paper. People will understand.

I have thought this over carefully. We are on the very last bit of the main route to the school, the street is never empty, there are children walking to school, mother’s pushing buggies and talking kids to Kindie, this is never an empty strip of street at going and coming back from school times. Never.

I do not want her to be afraid.

I do not want to take her freedom away.

I hope that I am making the right choice.

Nope. I know that I am.

I should really tell her to punch him in the balls. As hard as she can. I know that I can find a sensible way to explain to her the pain that this will inflict.

Babies are really cute.

Bekakt

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-29-2010

Bekakt is a Dutch word that I cannot translate well, it sort of falls between posh , prissy and pretentious.

Tonight I have to go to a Parent / Teacher conference at Baby’s school. I have a very long history of abhorring one of her teachers, but I am trying to be fair, maybe Teacher has changed. Miracles can happen.

So Baby and I spent a long time together yesterday, talking, about this, about that. And she tells me that one of her teachers said that English was a bekakt language.

Now there are two native speakers of English- or bilingual- children in The Baby’s class. Baby was offended, but the other child started crying. I am not sure if Other Child was boo- hooing away or if only Baby noticed this.

I find this so very tactless.

I hope The Other Child’s famous parent speaks to the teacher about this, for I cannot. I am going to be too busy biting my tongue and trying to be civil.

Report Cards

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-26-2010

Baby brought her report card home today. I really have problems with Dutch report cards . This thing is like 7 pages long. Now, all three of our children have been dragged out of a class, doing translations from Dutch to English and back again, visiting teachers and all of that rot.

Why have not one of them ever gotten the highest grade, a P ( for prima) for English ? Baby has told me that it is because they do not use the P any more. Then why is it there ?

She is doing well enough. Weak in Math ( all of our children have problems with Math, it has a lot to do with being bilingual), handwriting, well, I disagree, I think that she has very nice handwriting.

Let the weekend begin…

A Boot Sale In Brabant

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-24-2010

There is another raise money for the poor folks action going on at The Baby´s school. I am thinking, well, what is next month´s flavor going to be ?

She would like to have some things for a rummage sale. We have tons of things, nice things. I am at an age where I really have to start unloading all of our things.

But I am finding this so very hard. I had picked out two kokeshi dolls that my parents bought together in Japan, when they where dirt poor and went to the Big City in the early 1950´s.

Can´t do it.

How about that Erawan incense burner ? It stood there for a while on my desk. But it is an Erawan, I can´t do this.

I have some pressed glass, art deco, I could lose a piece or two of that. But for a euro ? And the ladies are starkers.

I loathe this peer pressure. Why don´t I have anything nice, cheap and with no sentimental value in this house ?

3. Zen Swearing 2

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-15-2010

All of three of our Dutch children swear in English. It is simple swearing, rarely beyond one syllable, although The Baby is indeed showing a talent for it.

It drives me…nuts. But swearing in English is such an established part of the tiny town that we live in. I remember taking The Girl to Kindergarten, and the teacher had something go …wrong… and she said sh*t. I was simply appalled.

And then I started listening : all of these kids swear in English.

It makes me cringe.

For a long time, here at Casa Kitchen, the worst epitaph was *Stupidhead*, the very, very worst one. We are talking spittle flying from the lips.

I found *Stupidhead* fine, no problems at all.

Then we moved on to * douchebag*. I don’t even know if that is a swear word, but I do know that polite , American Society would not take too kindly to this. They don’t even know what a *douchebag* is, although I did try the rather vague, informative route, thinking that if that knew what it was, they would be so embarrassed that that would nip that baby in the bud. Wrong. Right over their heads wrong. They relate it to the Dutch word for shower ( most likely coming from my arch- nemesis, The French) and Mummy Dearest jumping up and down. We finally imposed a 5 euro fine and we do not hear this word any longer at Casa Kitchen.

At different points in my life, I was able to swear in German, Polish, Thai, Chinese and Dutch.

Wait, I could swear in American quite fine, you know, almost poetry, involving, you, the horse that you rode in on , your mother, and everyone who looks like you. Tedious, long, but effective.

It was different.

I can no longer do most of these things.

If no understands what you are saying, are you swearing ?

This is where that tree comes in…

I. A Part Of The Hair

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Mar-14-2010

A few weeks ago, it was carnival. They had a dress up party at The Baby’s school, you know, come as a clown, come as a pirate, come as Pippin if you want.

The Baby was very sour about this, commenting that she did not like happy-happy people and did not want to dress up as a fool .

I knew that she would enjoy this party, and after long talks and with The Girl’s help, The Baby went as a pop star. The Girl picked out her outfit.

The Baby swore me into secrecy about just whom she was going as, and I have kept my word. I did not tell The Girl, The Baby did, for hair was an essential part of this transformation.

This was well planned out. We are talking military operation well planned out. I had to wash The Baby’s hair two days before, as it would never have been dry after a night before wash, and I had to change her center part to the left.

The Baby was stunned with how she looked with a left part. It does suit her.

On the morning of the party, The Girl, The Baby and I arose around 45 minutes earlier than usual. The Girl, armed with the accouterments of beauty ( which included two sorts of hot irons, one that I very quickly had to learn to use) , bottles, sprays and makeup, told me what to do and there sat Baby, I was using the hot iron to straighten her hair on one side, while The Girl was putting loopy curls on the other side. ( already straightened, and the curls were just on the top layer of hair and gelled to the point of friable ). A flick of mascara, some lip gloss, and The Baby was a pop star.

It was amazing how wonderful she looked, The Girl did it perfectly.

I wonder how many times we can recognize the turning points in our life while they are occurring ?

When I changed The Baby’s part, Regan moved into our house.

To such a degree that I also wonder if The Exorcist is a parable about adolescence.

Or a parody.

I want my Baby back.

Dumb, Dumber And Dumbest

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Feb-19-2010

When I was about 11 years old, I took one of those Iowa Basic Skills Tests. Everyone did. But what was odd about this test, was that BOTH of my parents were called into the school to discuss the results.

I simply could not have been there, and yet, I imagine myself sitting on a high stool, ala Edward Gorey, and watching the teacher explain the test results to BOTH of my parents in the gym , of all places. And I was very frightened, BOTH of my parents. At school.

I still have that little paper with my test results * somewhere* ( read : never to be seen again). That test changed the course of my family’s life and my life. For I basically went off of the graph. In this day and age, I would have a sticker on my forehead that proclaims * gifted*, but in that day and age, no one knew what to do with me. Certainly not the schools, and my parents eventually moved us to Massachusetts, in the vain hopes that I would grow up to be Candice Bergen. You know, The Group.

Throughout my life, that scrap of paper, my test results, have been a sort of lodestar. Shy almost to the point of incontinence, utterly true to myself and what I am, which leaves me looking like a bag lady, I have always known that I am smart. It is my only redeeming feature.

And so when I receive bits and scraps of paper telling me that one or the other of the Cherubs is a dunce, I simply know that it is not true. While The Boy and I tease The Girl and call her Kelly at times, there is no one more astute about people and what motivates them than our Girl. She instinctively knows who has power and who does not. She is extremely savvy.

She was adjudged to be a prime candidate for the nail styling studio. Right now, she is studying bookkeeping and shows a strong interest in business administration.

The Boy has always been fey, no two ways around that one. We fought the scrap of paper that said that he would be happiest learning how to repair lawnmowers, he went through some fool test that lasted about 6 hours , came out shining and is still flunking his rather mediocre level of High School , VMBO/t. He should have flunked last year, but I saved his ass with only a week of tutoring.

The Boy´s good qualities , he can talk to anyone. He has never had a shy bone in his body and he likes everyone and it shows. If he is interested in something, the depth of his knowledge is unbelievable. Right now, it is Che and Fidel. He would make a good face for some company, for excepting his sisters, everyone likes The Boy.

The Baby. Who knows. She is caught up in the throes of puberty. In about 4 years, she will be human once more. She sings like an angel and is very good with words and spelling.

While a small bit of paper changed the course of my life, I shall never let these bits and scraps over shadow the talents of our children.

Guh, I sound like Helen Reddy.