A weekend with the kids

This weekend my wife and I spent mainly at home with the kids. The nannies and ayi all had days off, so we could spend some private time with our kids. I enjoyed it very much. Especially Elaine has suddenly grown a lot bigger and is changing from a helpless baby into a little person with her own will. Of course she is still completely helpless, she cannot sit yet on her own and if she manages to roll over she cannot roll back, but she is capable of expressing a lot more things than just a few weeks ago. She smiles a lot when she likes things, and she tries to talk back when I talk to her. Mostly just some random sounds of course, no real talking, but it’s fun to see her reacting.

I also played airplane with her (which used to be Scott’s favorite game with me), but she looked more confused than happy after flying through the room above my head. Either she is not as much into rough games as Scott or she is just too young. Then I put her on Scott’s neck, and Scott walked around the room with her – with me holding Elaine of course. She seemed to like it, and Scott liked it even more. I often walk around the compound with him like this and he was really proud that he can do this now with his mei mei.

Walking home with Scott after a short swim

The weather was still very nice during the past two days, with blue skies and temperatures around 25 degrees. So I decided to have a last swim in the outdoor pool. I was the only one there, and probably rightfully so: the water was much colder than before. Either they put cold water in or the night temperatures (around 16 degrees) cool the water off more than it heats up during the day. Anyway, after it took me a minute to get used to the temperature I still enjoyed it, but it will likely be my last outdoor swim this year.

Scott also keeps on developing. He starts to make real sentences now, although still very short ones, but only in Chinese: he still understands Dutch when I talk to him but he does not use any Dutch words anymore (except for ‘nee’ which means ‘no’). He also knows how to make coffee with my help. We have been making coffee in the Senseo machine together for the past weekends and he now knows the routine. He is always very happy when the coffee comes out and claps his hands when it’s finished. He now also knows how to ride his tricycle: so far he used his legs to push himself forward or backward, but now he uses the pedals to move. I tried to teach him for weeks, but he did not (want to) pay attention, and suddenly he starts doing it by himself!

Having a conversation with Elaine

I am very happy with our two kids, they are the best thing that’s happened to me. A few years ago I would not have believed this, but kids literally give more meaning to my life. Of course I am very happy with the businesses that we are involved in and with the comfortable life that we live, but Scott and Elaine are most important to me. I am glad I could spend a lot of time with them this weekend.

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  1. net naar parijs geweest met susanne en sebastian. was zo leuk. je leven verandert big time. die kleine staat voorop. je krijgt meer energie en zelfs als je moe bent, ga je door.

    je ziet er gelukkig uit marc! leuk!!!

  2. Hi Marc,

    Something I've always wondered in reading these more family-oriented personal posts — which I also think is the concern of most European pairings, more generally — is how you've dealt with the language issue with your wife and kids? Given that you and your wife communicate in a language which is not "native" to the both of you, English (please forgive me if I'm making too many presumptions here, but this on the basis on your previous posts), and that your children speak a third language that is the main tongue of their mother (are they speaking Shanghaiese, by the way?), what sort of compromises did you make when you decided to have kids?

    These are things I've been thinking about myself…the reason why I'm asking…

  3. My wife and I are both fluent in English, to the extent that we dream in the language and normally don't realize that we speak a foreign language. So even though it's not a native language for either of us, it is very similar to communicating in a native language.

    The kids grow up speaking Mandarin (with the nannies and my wife), Dutch (with me) and English (at kindergarten or when they hear my wife and I communicate). I don't see it as a compromise, it improves my spoken Chinese as well and when they get older it's a huge advantage to speak several languages already.

  4. We have the same situation with my firends daughter here. Only difference is "Turkish" instead of "Dutch".

    I also think that, growing up with three languages around is not a bad thing. She is not even 3 years old but understand words from three different languages and react it..