Monday, November 16, 2009

Mijn mannetje (or My little man)


N. and I spent last weekend in Holland to celebrate Sinterklaas' arrival from Spain. Sinterklaas stays in Holland until 5 December when he hands out his presents and then returns to Spain for his birthday on 6 December. For the past five or six years I have taken both children to see Sinterklaas arrive on his steamboat, but this year I. wasn't too keen on coming along. I suspect that at 10 1/2, she has stopped believing, although she hasn't said anything yet. I had had a few days with her and my mum in Yorkshire recently, so it was quite nice to have some time with N. on my own. When you look after two children on your own, it's sometimes hard to take time out and just be with them. There is always something that needs to be done and a lot of the time you are just looking after them and you forget to actually enjoy them.


So that is exactly what I did during the last three days: I just enjoyed spending time with N. He's 7 1/2 and he is so different from his big sister. He chats from the moment he wakes up, which is usually early, until the moment he goes to bed, which is usually early too as he wears himself out. He is constantly on the go - he jumps, he runs, he skips, he hops. He sings, he wonders, he asks. He is a bit shy, but gets over it very quickly and also brims with self-confidence. He is funny and makes people laugh - and he knows it and uses it to charm them. He is enthusiastic and loves learning new things. He is happy with very small things, like going to the nearby station and just watching the train arrive. He's even happier if you go on that train, even if it is only for one stop.
When I first had children, I never thought it would be the small things that give so much pleasure. But seeing his happy face when we get a ticket, feeling his hand in mine as we board the train, listening to him chatting about the different types of trains and the level crossings we pass, that is exactly the sort of thing that makes me love him so much. I found in the last three days that he is growing up very quickly and as he is quite tall already, I am certain that one day he'll tower over me, but for me he will always be mijn kleine mannetje.