I was really stuck with work until later today, when my manuscript finally went to the designer who will send it to the printer tomorrow morning. That's done, but there's many more to do before the big day. Anyway, now it's time to blog.
So, pakjesavond was just over. Sinterklaas' birthday was last Tuesday, Dec 5th; Lindri could go to Doenja (her daycare) for a short party (only until 11:30) but Dhanu's school was cut short - until 12:00 (instead of the usual 15:00). After picking up Lindri, Syb and Lindri joined me at Dhanu's school before going home together. We had to meet up someplace because the kids needed to make photographs for their visa applications (this time Dhanu was already familiar with the lights and cameras so he didnn't make any fuss, while Lindri was rightaway eager and happy to be photographed). That done, we went through the day as usual..
Approaching dinner time, Dhanu got more and more excited. He kept asking, "Shall we sing our songs now? So Sinterklaas and his Piets can come?". The same answer he received ("After dinner, Dhanu") didn't stop him from repeating his questions every ten minutes it almost drove us nuts.
Dinner started at 18:00 usual, but ended quicker than ever (we had meatballs, potato balls and haricotverts) - mainly due to the absence of the kids' fuss over their food. Everything went down quickly. After I was done with dishes, Dhanu started his broken-tape questions again, which didn't last long because it's near 19:00 already. We made space in the living room as if someone was going to visit; putting some toys aside: Lego and puzzles back in the box, cars and trucks parked neatly on the table, trains and their rails set aside so not to trip anyone who might pass in a hurry. Our big bed, which also functions as a play ground in the day time, was prepared to accommodate the four of us sitting and singing.
Dhanu and Lindri waiting for Sinterklaas to pass by
The course of the evening actually went similar to last year's. Although, this time we were prepared with a CD of Sinterklaas songs to sing along. Silly me, I should have printed out the lyrics from the Internet or something - but since I didn't, I only sang parts of songs that I know (which is not much).
When we started, Dhanu all of a sudden became very sweet and patient. No more of those repeated inquiries. Neatly seating himself on a big pillow, he said, "I know all the songs, I've learned at school, let's start singing!" And he really did sing seriously. Lindri, on the other hand, was rolling and kept positioning herself upside down on the bed, doing acrobatic tricks while yelling, "Sinterklaas! Swarte Piet!". It's really never easy to contain her when she's in one of these moods.
After seven or eight songs, Syb slipped into the back room through the door that leads to the toilet. He sneaked into the kitchen that leads back to the living room, and - without revealing himself - started throwing pepernoten and strooigoed. That was so loud! All those hard candies hitting the floor, our glass table, the tv set, and everything! The look on Dhanu's face was priceless: excited and happy - but cautious. He kept singing (alhtough a bit softer) while keeping an eye on the kitchen entrance. Lindri was rightaway busy pointing at the strooigoed shower and yelling, "Look! There it goes! Another one! And again!".
Syb, who's done throwing the strooigoed, quickly returned to us through the door he went from and asked Dhanu, "What happened?! I heard noises, what was that?!". Dhanu stopped singing and started explaining that Swarte Piet just dropped by. "Let's catch him!" Syb said, then we went to the dark kitchen entrance. We acted surprised when we found our laundry basket (a big woven rattan basket) in the middle of the kitchen with its lid on. "The Piet left this basket here! Come on, he mustn't be far!". We continued our hunting to the back room, where we could feel a cold breeze from a half-opened balcony door. "He went through that door! Hurry, let's see if he's still around!". Lindri ran along with us and seriously looked for the Piet, but Dhanu was more cautious. He went along slowly while examining his surroundings, to make sure that he got no unpleasant surprises.
"Well, it seems like Swarte Piet has escaped really quick. Shall we just see what he brought for us?" We walked back to the living room, passing the kitchen to bring along the heavy laundry basket. The kids positioned themselves on the big bed, sitting pretty. As soon as I removed the lid from the basket, the kids craned their necks to take a peek inside. They could easily see the presents and were bouncing in their seats. This year, only Dhanu and Lindri got presents from Sint in this house, so I told Dhanu to find the letter D or L on each package, that showed which package belonged to whom. They sat patiently, yet eagerly, waiting for their turn to get the presents.
The steamboat of Sinterklaas
Time flies (we were definitely having fun). Lindri happily hugged her 'dog' (actually a Duplo container shaped like a dachshund) and played with her sticker rolls and Looney Tunes sticker boxes (she's crazy about decorating rooms, furniture and things with stickers - it's evident from our apartment's interior). She also got a giant Little Mermaid pen, a Little Mermaid puzzle, a Mickey Mouse racing car that contains candy and a Pucca DVD. Others are a set of mini sea creatures - Dhanu got a similar set, but a dinosaurs one.
Other than that, Dhanu got a small box of Lego (a pirate, a shark and a treasure chest - he liked this a lot), Cars frisbee and sticker box set (which weren't very impressive) and Panic in the Prairie comic book. He also got a giant box of Lego (containing 800 pieces!), but the ultimate present was yet to come: an Exo-Force! He giggled endlessly while unwrapping the package and chanted "I have an Exo-Force! I like Exo-Force! I really wanted this and I've let Sinterklaas know and I've been good and he listened!" The innocence of a young child just might break your heart sometimes.
A quick kiss while waiting for Sint to come by
Things quieted down after all presents were unwrapped. Dhanu and Lindri were busy playing with their new stuff. After started to get tired from sticking stickers on boxes of toys and my arms and face, Lindri wanted to watch Pucca. Dhanu absolutely started constructing his Exo-Force with the help of Syb. We were not too strict about their bedtime that night, but they apparently couldn't keep themselves awake longer than usual. Lindri fell asleep on the big bed before Pucca ended. Dhanu was half asleep while playing with his finished Exo-Force.
After putting both kids on their own beds and all torn wrappers in the laundry basket, we had the quiet night of our own again. There goes another Sinterklaas celebration, perhaps our last one in this house. It could actually turned soothing and relaxing, but we could forget about that because I was catching a deadline. So, back to work, people!
ps. Relevant photos will be uploaded as soon as they are ready