Category Archives: Siblings love

My work here is done, folks

{This morning Una climbs into bed next to me for a cuddle. The nasty flu has kept me out of the normal family life for three days and the first she does is she feels my forehead to check whether the fever is gone. This already starts melting my feverish heart. What happens next finishes it off}

Una: “Mama, I love you more than anything in the world. You, Daddy and Nestor. {Pause} Sorry mama, but I actually do love Nestor a tiny little bit more”

Una The Nurse caring for her little patient with "broken" leg

Una The Nurse caring for her little patient with “broken” leg (check out the paper “cast”)


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Filed under Out of the mouths of babes, Siblings love

Sorry sliced bread…

…but having an older sister is best thing ever.

I knew this, of course, I have one (in fact I owe her my very existence as my father, an only child himself, was perfectly content with one child, and I was born because my sister begged for a sibling).

But here some additional proof from our family:

– We celebrate Christmas twice. On Dec 25 and Jan 7. Gregorian calendar, Julian calendar, mixed (a)religious family, long story short but Sinterklas into it and our kids are thrilled with this never-ending celebration. The down side is that by the time the “second” Christmas (disputable, my dad used to argue that our Christmas comes first, the rest have to wait almost a year :)) rolls around we are kind of tired of all the merriment. Add to it that by that time everyone is back at work/school and the holiday feeling is gone, I always get slightly nostalgic for “real” Christmas atmosphere. This year the “second” Christmas fell on a Wednesday, Mark took a day off and we decided to let the kids go to school since Wednesday is a short day anyway (til 12) and asking for permission to take a child out of school in NL is a pain. As soon as he opened his gifts on the 25th, said his thankyous and proclaimed his undying love for the toys he received, Nestor started counting down sleepies and talking about  the”next” Christmas to anyone who would listen, or not listen, he doesn’t really care. So on Christmas Eve, Una told Mark that she thinks that it would be wise if we talked to the teacher in the morning and explained that today was our Christmas and that Nestor will probably talk a lot about it and other kids may tease him that he doesn’t know when Christmas is. But if the teacher knows she can help him if other kids make fun of him. Neither of his parents even remotely thought of that, she did.

– One day they came home from school and Nestor told me that no one wanted to play with him during recess. I was kind of surprised as he makes friends very easily and even though he had just started school a couple of months earlier seems to have found his place. I told him that I was sorry and asked him what he did then. He said: “Una saw I was alone and came to play with me. And then a girl from Una’s class started teasing Una that she has to entertain her little brother” I said that that was not a nice thing of her to say and asked what Una did then. Peer pressure is no joke at that age, and Una is a very sensitive little girl. Nestor was puzzled: “Nothing? She continued playing with me”.

– She is as sore a loser when it comes to board games as her mother. Today, she let him win. She went so far as to ask me to let him win. If that is not love I don’t know what is.

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Filed under Out of the mouths of babes, Siblings love

The One Who Knows (Almost) Everything

I was away for three days for work and when I came back it shocked me how much Nestor changed in those three days. All of a sudden he is giving these all-knowing, cheeky answers in English, talking about things he had never talked about before and all in all just seems, I don’t know.. a lot older? I guess this is what going to the “big” school will do to a four year old.

So yesterday, while Mark and Una were at the pool for Una’s swimming lessons (she now does snorkeling and advanced swimming, so proud of her!), he was telling me about what he did at school while I was away. I can’t remember exactly what but he answered something in such a wise way that totally threw me off and I said: “Wow, you know everything now!”

With a slight sigh he replied: “No, mama, I don’t know everything.

I: “Sure, no one knows everything, I just meant you’ve learnt so much.”

Nestor: “No one knows everything, indeed. But Una knows almost everything.”

Not his parents, not his teachers, not even his one-year-older best friend. His big sister.


Dancing together

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Navigating the maze together


Needs no caption

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Filed under Out of the mouths of babes, Siblings love, They are outsmarting us

Day 56

Today I am grateful for N’s easy going nature. Today he was dragged to and from U’s school, her swimming test, her music class, while being tired and without really complaining. Maybe this is what makes second children so flexible in life?

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Day 54

Today I am grateful for the bond that is forming between my children. Una has always been very patient and caring with Nestor, but lately he has been showing more and more affection towards her and it melts my heart. Out of the blue he says things like: “I really like my sister” or “Una, ik vind je echt lief” or yesterday he was making noise banging something onto the wall between their rooms and when I asked him what he was doing he answered “I want to make Una smile”.

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Filed under Daily gratitude, Out of the mouths of babes, Siblings love

She makes us happy

Since she was born Daddy has (not so) secretly hoped she would turn out to be a fish, like him. A couple of days ago she passed her swimming diploma A exam and wants to go further, in her words “for B, and C, and snorkelling and everything else there is”. Daddy happy. 




Since she was born Mama has (not so) secretly hoped she would turn out to be a bookworm, like her. When asked what she would like to get from us as a gift for her swimming diploma, she chose this.


Last night she went to bed earlier than usual and took the book with to read. When I went to her room an  hour later she was still reading. Mama happy.


When he was born, she was already there. Nestor happy.


Kite flying


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Filed under Family, Siblings love


I know it is a cliche and I know that parents of young children all over the world say the same thing all the time, but seriously, how are you 3 years old already? THREE. Mind boggling.

I still remember so vividly, no, not remember, I still feel your newborn tiny body (yes, I know with your 3910g birth weight you weren’t exactly tiny but your big sister beat you by half a kilo so yes, you were tiny to me) nestled in my arms. If I close my eyes I can still smell the sweet scent of your baby skin. And if I open them, I see a boy (that baby is long gone, no matter how desperately I was denying it). A happy boy. This is the word I mostly use to describe you to those who haven’t met you yet. Happy. You have a sunny personality (minus the recently developed love for tantrums, then it is more like a thousand thunders), you laugh and smile and make everyone around you do the same. Strangers on the street, neighbours, teachers, no one is immune. Least of all the three of us, you are our very own little grapjas. You greet each day with such zest, the wind in your back and the sun shining on you.

You are a big boy now, at least that’s what you say about yourself. You have started looking up at your father, identifying with him (“I am a boy, like Daddy”), doing boy stuff with him, the two of you fixed my bike yesterday, each with your own screwdriver. Seka is, hands down, still your very favourite person. Even though you are not nearly as gentle and sharing with her as she is with you, the bond between the two of you, manifested in moments of every day, is one of the most rewarding aspects of parenting for me and Daddy and the one that tells us that we are doing something right. I am still the one you look for when you are tired, sad, sick. I am still the one you come to in the early morning hours, the pitter-patter of your little feet and your sleepy head next to mine make me, the least morning person in the history of the universe, look forward to every morning.  I cherish these moments with the wistfulness of a second time mother, I know how fleeting they are.

You have brought SO much joy into our lives, so much laughter, so much love. I hope you always know how loved you are.

Happy birthday, my darling boy.

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Filed under Cherished moments, Family, Siblings love