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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Wee Little Incident

There is a reason why people don’t take cows into their house as pets. They would piss and poo all over the floor. But who would guess you’d run the same risk with your toddler’s cuddly toy cow?

The other day, it was a bit hectic when we all came home. I was busy in the kitchen making the evening meal. Mrs.B was on the telephone with her sister. Meanwhile, Wolf was happily playing along with his little friends: Bear and Horse and Booh. They were the children and his was the parent, teaching them to use the potty. An innocent game, you know how children imitate their parents.

But then, someone who shall remain nameless and who was too busy calling with her sister had forgotten to empty the potty after Wolf had done a wee. So when Booh went on the potty, Booh’s bottom became wet. And when Wolf noticed that his little friend had dripped all over the floor and living room table, he decided to clean it up himself.

He is such a clean little boy, I don’t know whom he gets it from.

So he used Booh’s pee-soaked bum to rub it all over the living room floor and table. Meanwhile, Mrs.B who was still talking on the phone just looked at her son play and didn’t notice that something was wrong.

It was only when I came in to set the table that I noticed that something was very wrong. It was as if someone had mopped the floor. Then I realized that Mrs.B hadn’t mopped the floor. Then I noticed the potty and the wet trail leading from it. And then Wolf showed me Booh and I could feel that Booh’s bottom was very very wet and very very smelly.

So in the end, Booh went into the washing machine, while Wolf’s negligent mother mopped the floor and cleaned the table - with water and cleaning agent.

Posted by Bart at 9:01 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Well, SOMEONE must have been good this year, because Sinterklaas visited our house on Saturday night. So this Sunday morning...

Wolf enters the room, with little eyes and high hopes  

An airplane!  

An airplane!


Chocolate! And biscuits! And candy! And more biscuits! (And mandarines)

Brand new backpack / trolley  

Someone's going to school in a couple of weeks

Trying out his new trolley  

Wolf playing with his forklift  


Chocolate-eating time!

Posted by Bart at 8:30 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Friday, September 11, 2009


He did it! Wolfy made a big poopoo on his potty! The first time it was not entirely voluntary, as we pressed him down on his potty until he made a rabbit's dropping. But then we rewarded him with a piece of chocolate while praising him above the clouds.

Fifteen minutes later (after he finished the chocolate), he made his big work of art, this time completely out of free will. So more praise was bestowed upon him and a round of chocolate bars for everyone!

It's a small crap for man
But a giant heap for a toddler!

Posted by Bart at 7:55 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Flying High

Wolf on merry-go-round  

The funfair was in town a couple of weeks ago. Not the big one, that's in August, but this one was perfect for little boys that have never been in a Merry-go-round before. We went to the fair for our third honeymoon aniversary - having a large portion of fries with a 'curryworst' (fricandelle) and a desert of 'smoutebollen' (kind of a sweet doughnut but without the whole in the middle), rather than a fancy candle-light diner.

Wolf had a blast, after stuffing his cheeks with fries from daddy and smoutebollen from mummy, he tried out the minicars and the Merry-go-round. Here you see him taking off in a plane, which he could make go up and down by pushing a button. He tries every button in his reach, but that was the best button ever!

Luckily, all that turning around and flying up and down didn't make his dinner come out. And he even got a free ride! But then it was time to head home, and surprisingly we didn't have to tear his little fingers from the cars, planes and horses to make him come with us. He's such a good boy!

Most of the time...

Posted by Bart at 10:08 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Biannual Man

We celebrated Wolf’s second birthday this weekend. Two years ago, a fragile quiet little baby came into our life. It’s difficult to believe how fast he grew up to be an energetic toddler that's running around the house, that's learning the wrong words as soon as you accidentally utter them and who’s favourite hobby is to order his parents and the cats around.

Saturday – his actual birthday – we gave him a puzzle, but the real party was on Sunday. We’d invited his grandparents and godparents for a big barbecue. Mommy had bought enough meat to feed a herd of tyrannosaurs for a year or two and daddy slapped them on the grill, wearing his cowboy hat that went very well with the tepee that he’d set up at the end of the garden. And Wolf and mommy had spent the entire morning blowing up balloons and hanging them in the sun. Two hours later, the same sun had exploded almost half of the balloons. By the time all the guests were there, only four balloons survived. When the strawberries with whipped cream arrived (one kilo per guest plus one litre of whipped cream), our garden was the balloons’ version of the killing fields.

But it was loads of fun! And there were loads of gifts, although faulty communication led to two couples buying the same gift. But he got bicycles (plural, yes), a huge inflatable swimming pool, a Duplo horse riding centre (times two), a bedtime story book and loads of other loot.

Wolf and his nieces had a lot of fun; the sky was filled with screams of laughter, not in the least because the neighbours’ eldest daughter celebrated her birthday on the same day in the next garden. Needless to say, our party was the best party of the whole neighbourhood.

I was very glad that Monday was a holiday here, because I really needed an hour of rest before I went on the whole day to lay new drainpipes in the bathroom.

Posted by Bart at 9:09 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sharing Is For Loosers

A month ago, we took advantage of one of the first nice days to take Wolf to the playground.

Wolf sitting on the ladder of the slide at the playground

He learned to climb on the slide all by himself. To celebrate this momentous occasion, he crowned himself the Supreme Head Tyrant of the Slide. Other kids were banned from the slide from that moment forth, as far as he was concerned. Sadly for him, we used our Omni-Overruling Parental Veto and spoiled his day by allowing other kids on the slide. He then made a daring bid for power over the swings.

This was also the first time that he actually touched the sand, although not with a lot of enthusiasm.


Posted by Bart at 9:24 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Life Imprisonment

When a baby is born, he is so sweet and innocent. Two years later, Wolf has done enough mischief to deserve years of confinement. We've had enough of his tantrums, of him throwing full plates of food on the ground or stepping on the cats' tails on purpose.

So yesterday, we contacted the local jail – or kindergarten school if you will – to reserve him a cell – or classroom as they call it euphemistically.

Actually, we're lucky that things went so smoothly, because in many places in the country and even in some other parts of the city, there are waiting lists. In order to be sure that their child can go to a school in the neighbourhood, parents will literally camp at the gates of the school. In other places, like Ghent, the schools took the sensible step to organise a waiting list on the internet. This way, children get access in accordance to the distance they live from a certain school. I think it's a good principle, because now parents have to inscribe their children in far away schools if they are too low on the waiting list.

But our part of the city has plenty of schools. Still, we didn’t want to take any chances, so Mrs.B went to register Wolf as soon as the gates opened.

He’ll be forced to 'wear his pants down on the benches' until he’s 18, and then (probably) some more time if he’ll pursuit a higher education. Poor boy, looking up to 20 years of time, and he can't even speak or go to the toilet yet.

Posted by Bart at 9:05 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

1-0 For The Coffee Table

Since the dawn of time, or at least since the invention of small decorative furniture items, there has been an ongoing war between coffee tables and toddlers. For small children taking their first steps, the coffee table is a natural enemy. It is preying on them, while they try to keep their balance. For a toddler, falling on its bum is not a big deal, because of the thick padding that is provided by their diaper. They are even capable of increasing the padding, by doing a big number two. Although the feeling at impact must be a bit wet and slimy, it provides an added pneumatic cushioning effect.

Most furniture will help your little bundle of joy to keep his or her balance by providing support when they feel they’re wobbling a bit too much. But coffee tables are just to low to give that support. Yet they stand in between the soft landing zone of the wall-to-wall carpet and your baby’s lip. And they have sharp edges. The most sadistic ones have a glass top or metal edges. We have a dark wooden one with relatively rounded edges, but they are hard and edgy anyway.

Yesterday, Wolf stumbled over my wife’s slippers, which were illegally parked next to the coffee table. With a mighty ‘thud’ he landed with his head on the coffee table. His mouth hit right on the rim of the table.

Pain! Blood everywhere! A heart-piercing wail followed by inconsolable crying! Parents veering up, father running to the kitchen for a cold washing cloth while mother cuddled and caressed and tried to hush the little baby.

His lower teeth went right trough his lip, but luckily they didn’t wiggle. It took us a long time to comfort our little guy, every time he would put his fingers/thumb in his mouth and then he’d feel the pain again.

We tried to ease the pain with ice-cream, but there was only an itsy-bitsy left in the container and it was so old that it tasted foul. We are really inept parents.

Posted by Bart at 9:07 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Finally found some time to check out the pictures of my sister's brand new baby boy, Ibe.

Baby Ibe in the arms of his mummy  

Baby Ibe with his mummy  

The proud father  

The proud father

The proud teddy bear  

The proud teddybear

Baby Ibe with his godmother  

The proud godmother (picture taken by the proud godfather - that's me!)


I don't like taking pictures in maternity wards. Lighting conditions are generally horrible, with a single TL light hanging on the wall. Outside, it was grey winter weather, so there wasn't a lot of natural light coming in. In such circumstances, my standard kit lens just doesn't produce nice photos. Often, I switch to black-and-white to get more or less decent pictures.

Wolf was a little bit jealous  

Seeing his mom with another baby in her arms made someone a teensy weensy little bit jealous. So we got the enjoy The Big Wolf Show, in which he showed off all his party tricks.

Wolf playing on the hospital bed  

Without any scrupules, he chased poor old sis out of her bed and claimed it as his own. Then he feasted on the sandwiches we'd brought for him. At least he shared a bit with Ibe's teddybear.

Posted by Bart at 3:55 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Virus Alert

We've had a fun couple of days, here at the Centre for the Development of Humongously Infectuous Children's Epidemics. Wolf was a little bit ill, in the sense that rivers of yellow muck were squirting out of his ears. As if a double ear infection wasn't enough, he topped it of with a nice little bronchitis.

During the day, he was tired and clingy and in pain. During the night, he was awake and clingy and in pain. We put him into the little fold-up bed in our sleeping room, because at one point we were afraid that he'd choke to death in his own snot. So we didn't sleep that well since, well as long as I can remember. I think by now we're known as the zombie family from down the street in our neighbourhood. Mrs.B is slipping further down the path of death, taking over some of his bacteria in a futile attempt to releave his pain. For once, I missed out on the general virus frenzy, but just for writing me my bad karma will see to it that I'll be struck by lightning when I leave the house tomorrow morning.

Because in all likelyhood he can kill a child at twenty paces just by breathing in its general direction, Wolf was also banned from the daycare centre. I had a fun extra day off work this Monday, trying to keep him entertained and slime-free until he was getting too tired and too whiny and it was time to drag him to bed again. To top it all off, he has mastered an ancient Chinese form of self defense, so getting him up or down a flight of stairs is a real adventure now.

We banned him to his grand-parents for the rest of the week. I'm guessing that he'll be just the little angel over there, not throwing food around or having any tantrums.

I miss him.

Posted by Bart at 8:41 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hi Baby, Bye Baby

We got a long awaited phone call from my sister on Saturday. She had just given birth to a healthy baby boy. Champagne! Fireworks! A general pardon to all convicted criminals!

Ibe is a healthy baby boy, weighing a heft 3.7 kilos and measuring 52 cm dry off the hook. Sis was feeling fine but tired, after a morning in the bath tub to alleviate the pain and three hours in the delivery room. So we promised to come over to the hospital the next day.

But first we had to drive to the Brussels region, to our little filly Hearty. As you may remember, we brought her to a foal day-and-night care centre, to play with other horses and to become a well behaved horse. And she was doing very well at school indeed. But after much tossing and turning and soul searching and pondering and some thinking too, we had to take the tough and inevitable decision to sell her.

It's not only that keeping two horses is weighing hard on our family budget. We also find we hardly have the time to visit the both of them as we should. And it doesn't look as if we'll have much more time in the years to come. We'll manage with Julia, but it wouldn't be fair towards Hearty. A young foal needs a lot of care and attention and training. Mrs.B (and I) just won't have the time for it.

So with pain in our hearts with took our goodbyes from Hearty, whom we sold to a very nice family with three little children but with more time and money than we have.

The donkeys in the meadow next to her stable gave her a blaring loud farewell tribute, as she stepped into the family's horse trailer like a good little girl. A little while later we drove off to see little Ibe.

Monday, November 24, 2008

How To Become A Hood Ornament

I was taking Wolf in his buggy to the day-care centre last week. As usual, this means we have to cross the Big Road that runs to our sleepy Antwerp suburb. The Big Road is a triumph of 1960’s optimism and belief in technological development. It is an ode to concrete, when planners still believed that people could lead very happy lives living in concrete towers surrounded by concrete plazas and linked together by huge concrete boulevards.

The Big Road is one of the two highways that link Antwerp to Brussels. And in this case, you can take the term ‘highway’ literally. It has 10 (!) lanes, four of them on level ground and six of them five meters up on a causeway that stretches from the city border to well into the next town.

To cross it, you generally have to wait for the first traffic light to turn green, then walk underneath the bridge and then wait for the next traffic light to turn green. If you walk at normal speed, there’s no way you can cross both double lanes next to the bridge in one go. However, if you run (at leisurely pace), you can make it in one go. Another advantage is that making a mad dash for it has great entertainment value for the toddler. And it gives me a false sense of doing at least some sports.

So last Thursday, I made a run for it. I was just crossing the last two lanes, when I something big hurling at us at uncomfortably high speeds. I quickly jumped back on the pavement under the bridge, not forgetting to drag Wolf in his buggy with me. A big lorry came to a screeching stand-still, after his driver was alerted by my presence to the fact that – oh look – the traffic lights were as red as the windows of a whore-house run by the Red Army.

The truck stood still in the middle of that decorative zebra pattern that many drivers just ignore. But this driver was suddenly very aware of where he had finally managed to stop his vehicle. And to the fact that he almost run over an 18-month-old and his father.

His face turned red.

Mine was still white.

I crossed while the little green man was still green.

Posted by Bart at 9:01 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

One Small Step...

About a month ago, Wolf started to stand up on his own. As he gained more confidence, he tried to bridge the distance between the couch and the living-room table, or the dinner table and the chairs. And a week ago, he made his first few steps.

Wolf's first steps  

Wolf's first steps  

Wolf's first steps - whoa, watch out there!  

Whoa! This is tricky!

Posted by Bart at 9:51 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bar Brawl

Yesterday, Wolf came home from the day-care centre looking like a street fighter. He had a series of cuts and bruises around his left eye.

It seems he got involved in a fight with another toddler for a bottle of hard liquor – still water to be precise. It was unclear who was going to win the brawl, because Anna (who runs the day-care) intervened.

Apparently, Wolf wasn’t the one that picked the fight, but still there’s no excuse for resorting to violence. We sent him to bed early, with only two portions of banana yoghurt and a cookie for supper.

That’ll teach him to behave.

Posted by Bart at 6:58 PM
Edited on: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 9:38 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stand-up Comedian

Wolf can stand upright, all on his own. Not for a very long time, mind you. His current world record is 20 seconds.

But he loves it! He’s having a blast standing up, falling on his bum, standing up again, falling down again, standing up again… He really cries with laughter.

He only does it when one of us is sitting with him on the ground though, he’s still too insecure to do such mind-boggling experiments on his own.

Posted by Bart at 9:44 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Modes Of Transportation

For a long time, Wolf didn’t make haste to start crawling. Instead he kept extending his action radius by bending his body further and further to grab things, up to the point where he would be seated with his legs stretched forward and his nose touching the ground.

His first attempt to move was the ‘bum hop’. It didn’t get him far, it was just enough to bridge those final few millimetres between his finger tips and the toy/forbidden item he wanted to grab.

Then he discovered the ‘bum shuffle’, moving around seated while making swimming motions with one leg at a time to get forward. He perfected his technique at the day-care, because the wall-to-wall carpet in our living room provided too much friction. But then he mastered even that, and there was no stopping him any more. Soon he reconnoitred through the dining room and into the forbidden territory of the kitchen. His wanderings had a bonus to it, because he cleaned the floors at the same time. Although it did get a specific part of his clothes very dirty. Together with his irresistible urge to steal the other kids’ toys and pacifiers at the day-care centre, he earned the nickname ‘Blackbum The Pirate’.

For a long time, he was quite happy with this somewhat inefficient way of moving about. He did lift his bum from time to time when he set off, and tantalizingly stretched his one leg back as if he was going to crawl, but then he would revert to the bum shuffle. When we would set him on hands and knees, he immediately let himself fall on his belly. But then finally, he took to crawling in a matter of days.

Now there’s no holding back to him. He races from one end of the house to the other, and beyond if you don’t watch him. One minute his opening the cupboard doors (‘No Wolf!’), the next he’s tampering with the stereo installation (‘Wolf bad!’) or trying to crawl through the cat flap (‘Get away from there, you’ll get your fingers stuck!’).

The cats don’t know what’s happening to them. No more naps in the sunlight while the baby’s babbling just a couple of feet away. Terror can strike at any time now. He means well (Aaaaaye puh! Aaaaye puh!) but the difference between caressing and whacking a cat are subtle and cat tails are just irresistible. Macka, our tiger-striped cat, takes better to this harassment than Snijeg, the white one. He often allows Wolf to caress/molest him and even comes over by himself to get a pat/whack. Snijeg on the other hand has started his own one-cat underground movement and keeps the largest distance possible between himself and the Crawling Monster of Drool. We have to grab him by the neck and force him on the ground when Wolf insists on stroking/plucking him.

And neither parents nor cats will get any rest in the future, because our little boy has already learned to stand up on his own while holding on to a table or chair. We’ll have to stack our valuables one shelve up again.

Posted by Bart at 9:35 PM
Edited on: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 8:55 PM
Categories: Next Generation

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Fries

Today, my son became a true Belgian:

Wolf's first fries  

He ate his first fries. A true son of his father, he cried to get out of bed and when he discovered we were eating fries (or chips), there was no stopping him. After this tentative first fries, he continued to empty my plate. I can't tell you how proud I am.

And wait until he discovers mayonnaise!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Birthday Boy

Guess who celebrated his first birthday today?

Birthday boy  

A very happy birthday my sweetheart, from your daddy who loves you very very much and from mommy who has almost forgiven you for tearing her lower half apart in the middle of the night one year ago.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Wolf on the swing

If it were up to Wolf, he'd spend the whole day on the swing. Either a real one, like in my sister's garden, or a live one - sitting on my hands and swinging between my legs.

Posted by Bart at 8:34 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Little Clown

My little clown  

For my father, who joined the ranks of the pensionner class today, a photo of his grandson who couldn't make it to his celebration because of a bacterial infection. The make-up is tomato based.

Posted by Bart at 9:02 PM
Categories: Framed, Next Generation

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