Jouw eerste jaar woonde je met mamma bij opa en oma in Rockanje. We waren zo blij met je en toonden je trots aan iedereen. Je had van die grote blauwe ogen en kleine blonde krulletjes. Je had het opene van je moeder, maar ook het sociale, het warme. Als klein kindje al wilde je delen. Niks fijner dan weg te geven. Ook je spontane omhelzingen had je van je moeder.
Ongeduldig was je ook. Je rustte niet voordat je kon staan. En als dat niet meteen lukte dan protesteerde je hevig.
Elke dag liep ik met je over de Duinzoom. Bij de manege bleven we dan staan. Paarden ver weg vond je wel interessant. Maar van zo’n grote paardenkop dichtbij schrok je hevig.
Mee op visite gaan vond je prachtig. Op je babymanier meepraten, maar vooral lachen.
Leren lopen deed je achter de barkrukken in de huiskamer. Met knarsend geluid schoof je de barkrukken vooruit. Heel fanatiek, want je moest en zou lopen.
Al gauw kwamen je eerste woordjes. Eén zo’n woordje weet ik nog:”maan”. Opa had je de maan laten zien. Dat was erg indrukwekkend. Die maan hoog in die donkere lucht met iedere keer een andere vorm. En omdat je die maan ook een beetje geheimzinnig vond, zei je het woordje ook een beetje “geheimzinnig”als je de maan zag:”maan!”
Vooral voor op de fiets leerde je praten. Eens zag ik een platgereden konijntje op de weg. Ik hoopte, dat je het arme dier niet gezien had. Maar…je had het wel gezien. En met het weinige vocabulaire dat je bezat begon je te beschrijven wat je had gezien:”konijn….au…dood…auto…au!”Je bracht het met zoveel drama dat we hard om je moesten lachen.
In your first year you lived together with mamma with opa and oma’s in Rockanje. We were so fond of you and proudly showed you to everyone. You had those large blue eyes and small fair curls. You had the frankness of mamma, but also her social-mindedness, her warmth. As a small child you wanted already to share. You did appreciate it very, very much to share with others, like mamma. Also the spontaneous embraces were mamma’s.
If you had stomach cramps we blew-dried your stomach. Bit by bit you slowed down and fell asleep.
Also you were impatient. You couldn’t rest before you could stand. And if you didn’t succeed you cried loudly.
Every day I was walking with you along the Duinzoom. Near the horses ‘arena we stopped. In the far distance you thought horses very interesting. But when such a large horse’s head dived up nearby you started back.
Going with us to visit friends or relatives you thought marvelous. Like us you were chatting and laughing in a baby-way.
You learned to walk behind the bar-crutches in the living-room. With a crunching noise you pushed forward the bar-crutches. Very fanatically, for you had to and should walk!
Very quickly you uttered your first words. One of those words I still remember: “moon”. Opa showed you the moon. And you thought the moon very impressing. That moon high in the sky with every time another shape. And it had something secretfully and that is why you said the word also a little bit secretfully if you saw the moon: “moon!”
It was in front of my bike that you had your little bike-chair. Especially there you learned to speak. Once I saw a rabbit lying on the ground, run over and flattened by cars. I hoped you didn’t see the small animal. But you did. And with the small vocabulary you had you started to describe what you saw: “rabbit…ow…dead…car…ouch!”You expressed it so dramatically that we must laugh loudly about you.
Mirabelle van peutertje naar kleutertje in Nederland
Je was een vrolijk soms ondeugend meisje met een leuk expressief gezichtje. Als de zon scheen was je haar witblond, waardoor je heldere ogen nog meer opvielen, zeker wanneer je huid ook nog eens gebruind was. Je was heel spontaan. Kon zomaar een verhaal tegen wildvreemde mensen beginnen, die meestal vertederd raakten door de onbevangenheid die kinderen van die leeftijd zo aantrekkelijk maakt.
Maar boos zijn kon je ook. Vreselijk boos. Dan wierp je je op de grond en was er geen land meer met je te bezeilen.
Mirabelle from pre-schooler till kinder-garter in Holland
You were a cheerful sometimes naughty little girl with a charming expressive face. If the sun was shining your hair was white blonde, by which your bright eyes struck even more in your face, certainly when your skin was tanned as well. You were very, very spontanious. You could start talking to people who you did never meet before. They mostly melted their hearts by the open-mindedness of you. The open-mindedness of children of that age which makes those children so attractive.
But you could become angry either. Extremely angry. Then you threw yourself on the ground and one won’t get anywhere with you.
Toen je drie jaar was, besloten tante Daphne en oma om een weekendje met Lucas en jou te gaan kamperen in de Brabantse bossen. Jullie gingen op oma’s zogenaamde opoefiets. Lucas in het kleine stoeltje voor aan het stuur, jij op het stoeltje achter oma’s rug op de bagagedrager. En de tent en alle andere spullen gingen in de hondenkar achter tante Daphnes fiets. De hondenkar van Gaski en Dranga. Jij sliep die nacht vóór het kamperen bij tante Daphne, Lucas bij mij. Maar wat was je zeurderig, klaagde tante Daphne de andere ochtend. En ook toen je kleine broertje zich zat te verkneuteren van plezier voor op het stuur, zeurde jij dat je niet wilde kamperen en dat je terug wilde naar huis. En als we stopten om te rusten kroop je dicht tegen me aan. En je lekkere broodje lustte je niet en voerde je aan de rode bosmieren. En je had slaap, zo’n slaap.
Daarom maakten tante Daphne en ik de hondenkar leeg en creëerden daarin een lekker zacht bedje en legden jou daarin. We stonden op een open plek in het bos. Algauw dommelde je in, zag ik. Ik bleef bij je. Boven ons hoofd de brandende zon en ver van ons tante Daphnes stem en het stemmetje van Lucas die samen naar de overvliegende vliegtuigen zwaaiden. Zij waren wat gaan lopen.
Na anderhalf uur werd je wakker. Rood opgezet gezichtje en fonkelende koortsogen. Het was onmiskenbaar, je was hartstikke ziek. Gelukkig hadden we een mobiel bij ons, waarmee we oom Leander konden bellen. Die haalde je op met de auto. Ik zie je nog daar bij oom Leander in de auto zitten. Zo aandoenlijk ziek.
Oom Leander bracht je bij opa. En opa bracht je naar mamma en pappa. Maar eigenlijk wilde je bij opa blijven, want je had je zo verheugd op dit uitje. Je voelde je ziek en verdrietig. Door ziek zijn werd je immers een leuk uitje door de neus geboord!
When you were three years old, tante Daphne and oma decided to camp with Lucas and you in the Brabant woods for a weekend. You two went with oma on oma’s so-called sit-up-and beg bike. Lucas in the small seat in the front on the handlebars, you on the seat behind oma’s back on the luggage carrier. And the tent and all the other luggage was put into the dogs’ car. The dog-car of Gaski and Dranga.
The night before the camping you stayed with tante Daphne. Lucas stayed with me. But you were so nagging complainted tante Daphne the other day. And also when your little brother was enjoying himself very much in front of the handlebars, you were nagging that you don’t want camping and that you do want to go home. And when we came to a stop you huddled against me. And you didn’t want your delicious breadroll. You fed the red wood ants wit it. And you were sleepy, so very sleepy.
That’s why tante Daphne and me emptied the dog-car and created a small soft bed in it and laid down you there. Very soon you fell asleep, I saw. We were on an open place in the wood. Above our heads was the blazing sun and far away from us I heard tante Daphne’s voice and the little voice of Lucas who were waving to planes flying over. They went off for a little walk.
You awoke after one and a half hour. A red swollen face and sparkling fever eyes. It was indisputable, you felt very, very ill. Fortunately we had got a mobile with us, with which we rang oom Leander. Later on he picked you up by car. I still do see you there in oom Leander’s car. So touchingly ill.
Oom Leander brought you with opa. And opa brought you to mamma and Daddy. But actually you preferred to stay with opa, because you had been so eagerly looking forward to this camping-trip. And just you were diddled out of this unique trip. Poor little girl!
Je broertje Lucas en jij hadden een levendige fantasie. Dat bleek ook toen we een weekend in een huisje in Drenthe doorbrachten. Opa was namelijk 60 jaar geworden en dat moesten we vieren.
Mamma en oma waren in een lollige bui, toen jij een plasje moest doen op de wc. De wc lag aan een donkere wat ver van het leefgedeelte gelegen gang en had geen goed licht. Aan de andere kant van de achterwand van de wc bevond zich de keuken, waar mamma vast aan het koken was. Koken en bakken deed mamma immers altijd graag om iedereen te verwennen met lekker eten.
Oma liet je een plasje doen, terwijl aan de andere kant mamma bezig was aan het rommelen met pannen en dergelijke. “Hé, wat hoor ik daar? “ zei ik, reagerend op het geluid aan de andere kant. “Is dat een spookje?” Aan de andere kant ging mamma die mij gehoord had eens extra met de pollepel op de muur tikken. Je grote blauwe ogen verwijdden zich van angst. Een spook. Je was overtuigd.
Als Lucas of jij in dat weekend een plasje moesten doen, moest één van de volwassenen mee zó bang waren jullie voor het wc-spook.
Your little brother Lucas and you had a lively phantasy. That also turned out when we were for a weekend in a small cottage in Drenthe. Opa has reached the age of sixty namely and we must celebrate that.
Mamma and oma were in a jolly mood, when you had to do a wee. The toilet was situated on a dark passage rather far from the living-room and had a faint light. On the other side of the backwall of the toilet the kitchen was situated. And there mamma was preparing the meal. Mamma always liked cooking and baking to surprise everyone with delicious food.
I let you do a wee, while on the other side mamma was busy with pans and so on. “Uh, what do I hear there?” I said, reacting on the noise on the other side of the wall. “Is it a phantom?” On the other side mamma who was hearing what I said reacted by knocking on the wall with a wooden spoon. Your large eyes widened because you were frozen with fear. A phantom. You were convinced.
If Lucas or you had to do a wee in that weekend, one of the present adults had to accompany you because you two were so very afraid of the toilet phantom.
Zolang ik je meemaakte, deelde je graag. Zo ook, toen je als driejarig meisje een weekje bij opa en oma logeerde. We gingen een boek dat opa geschreven had naar de universiteitsdrukkerij in Leiden brengen. Van de man die ons daar hielp kreeg je zo’n rolletje waar zes van die kleine snoepjes in zaten.
In de auto terug kreeg opa een snoepje van je, oma ook. Je at er zelf één of twee. Toen had je nog twee snoepjes over. Je besloot dat die voor Lucas en mamma waren. In elk handje hield je één snoepje vast, vastberaden die voor hen te bewaren. Maar je kreeg zo’n slaap door het ronkende geluid van de motor en de lentezon die in de auto scheen.
Je viel in slaap. Langzaam ontspanden zich je knuistjes en vielen de snoepjes eruit op de vloer van de auto. Toen je wakker werd vond je twee vieze snoepjes op de grond. Ik kon je alleen maar troosten door je twee andere snoepjes voor mamma en Lucas te geven.
As long as I knew you you liked to share. That was also when you stayed for a week with opa and oma. We went to the printing office of the University of Leiden. Opa had written a book and it has to be printed. From the man who was helping us there you received a packet filled with five or six sweets.
On our way back in the car opa received a sweet from you either did oma. You yourself ate one or two of them. Then you had got still two sweets. You decided that those were for Lucas and mamma. In each little hand you clenched one sweet, determined to save those for them.But you get sleepy of the droning sound of the motor and the sun of that early spring shining in the car.
You fell asleep. Slowly your little fists unloosened and out of them the sweets fell on the ground of the car. When you awakened you found two dirty sweets on the ground. I could only console you by giving two other sweets for mamma and Lucas.
Je was één brok beweeglijkheid en levendigheid. Alles wat met lichamelijke uitdaging te maken had, vond je geweldig. Zo leerde je ook bij opa en oma in de rustige wijk op twee wielen fietsen. Of opa of oma moesten dan wel naast je fietsje meehollen om de nodige aanwijzingen te geven. Zo holde opa deze keer naast je mee, terwijl oma in de voortuin aan het wieden was. Ineens kwam je daar aan fietsen, enthousiast schreeuwend “oma, ik kan fietsen!” Helaas niet remmen, want je vloog zo de heg in.
You were very lively and activ. Everything which had to do with a physical challenge, you adored. So in the quiet area where opa and oma lived you learnt biking on two wheels. Wether opa or oma had to run beside you when you were biking to give you the necessary advices for save biking. This time opa ran beside you, while oma was weeding in the front-garden. Suddenly you arrived there biking, enthusiastically shouting “oma I can bike!”
Unfortunately not braking, because you flew right into the hedge.
Alles wat dier was oefende een enorme aantrekkingskracht op je uit. Zo konden we nooit het “zielige paard” passeren. Je moest en je zou afstappen en het beest eerst wat gras geven. Voor het “zielige paard” bewaarde je een speciaal plekje in je hart.
Het “zielige paard” zag er nooit lekker gezond en vrolijk uit. Stond altijd maar alleen op een armetierig stukje grond vol stoppelig hard onkruid. Verlangend keek het beest naar al dat lekkere groen rondom haar stoppelveldje.
Als jij aan kwam, draafde het beest luid hinnikend op je af om dankbaar handenvol gras die je in de buurt geplukt had te verschransen.
Feest was het voor je om in het voorjaar in de stallen van schapenboer Dudok te zijn. Een ruimte waarin het geblaat van pasgeboren lammetjes en het geruststellende antwoordend geblaat van hun schapenmoeders al het andere geluid overstemde. Ik kreeg je er niet weg. Je mocht van de boerin lammetjes aaien, knuffelen en de fles geven. Helemaal enthousiast was je over dat ene lammetje: “Kijk eens oma, het lammetje loopt achter mij aan!”
Passion for animals
Everything which had to do with animals did extremely attract you. So we could never pass the “zielige paard”(miserable horse). You took this horse in your heart.
This “zielige paard” never looked healthy or merry. Always she stood there lonely on that miserable piece of stubbly and weedy land. Longingly the beast was looking at all those delicious green grasslands around her own stubblefield.
When you arrived the beast came loudly neighing in a trotting speed towards you and gratefully ate handfuls of grass which you pulled out in the neighbouring grasslands.
In spring it was a feast for you to be in the folds of sheep-farmer Dudok. A place where the bleating of the just born lambs and the reassuring responding bleatings of their mothers drew out all the other sounds. It was difficult for me to take you with me, because you wanted to stay there all the time. The farmer’s wife allowed you to caress, cuddle and feed the bottle to the lambs. Especially enthusiastic you were about that one lamb: “Look oma, the lamb is following me!
Als je in reïncarnatie gelooft is wat je me als peutertje tijdens een logeerpartij beloofde erg overtuigend: “ Als ik later groot ben en jij bent klein, mag jij bij mij logeren.”
En je had vijf baby’s in je buik. “Opa en oma krijgen ieder één baby van mij”, beloofde je. Opa wil liever een jongetjesbaby met wie hij later kan voetballen, zegt hij. “Nou dan krijg jij een jongetjesbaby.” beloofde jij opa.
If you believe in reincarnation is next what you promised me during a stay very convincing: “If I ‘ll be great later and you are little, you are allowed to stay with me.”
And you had got five babies in your tummy, you told me. You promised: “Opa and oma each will get one baby-girl from me.” But opa preferred a baby-boy with whom he will play football later on. “Okay, then you will get a baby-boy,” you promised opa.
Pianomuziek en dansen
Oma had je verteld over Sneeuwwitje. Wat een mooi sprookje vond je dat. Sneeuwwitje die in slaap viel, doordat ze de appel at die haar jaloerse boze stiefmoeder, vermomd als lief, oud vrouwtje, haar gaf.
Oma kon bij datzelfde verhaaltje ook een mooi stukje op de piano spelen. Het pianostukje werd aan het eind steeds zachter en zachter, totdat Sneeuwwitje in slaap gevallen was. Dan speelde oma piano en mocht jij dansen in oma’s zonnejurk met daaroverheen oma’s mooie sjaal. Je voelde je heel mooi. En aan het eind van het pianostukje als de laatste tonen wegstierven, viel je zogenaamd net als Sneeuwwitje in slaap. Je was even mooi als Sneeuwwitje.
Music of the piano and dancing
Oma told you about Snowwhite. You liked that fairy-tale very much. Snowwhite who fell asleep, because she ate the poisonous apple which her jealous, angry stepmother gave her, disguised as a sweet, old woman.
Oma could play a piece of music which belonged to that fairy-tale. At the end that piece of music became softer and softer and stopped when Snowwhite fell asleep. Then oma played the piano and you were dancing in oma’s sundress with oma’s scarf wrapped around you. You felt so very beautiful.
And at the end of the piano-music when the last tones faded away, you supposedly fell asleep like Snowwhite. You were as beautiful as Snowwhite.
Mirabelle as a pre-schoolchild
Birth of Finn
Only ten days after your fourth birthday your little nephew Finn Rane was born with tante Daphne. You were very fond of him. When he grew older and you were here you took Finn on your lap all the time and you were reading books for him. Finn has been missing you and your brothers a lot. He still has got photos of the three of you hanging in his new room in Middelburg. He quite doesn’t understand why you disappeared so suddenly.
Last time with Child care Sjakie
On the 14th of July 2004 you were for the last time with Sjakie, the Child Care in Rotterdam. Do you still remember the names of the ladies who run the child care? Here they are: Linda, Yvon, Cynthia, Elizabeth, Sharita and Ellen. From that time on you were a pre-school child.
Openbare Montessori Basisschool “De Clipper”
On the 16th of August 2004 it was your first day on the kindergarten. Mamma brought you to school. It was very tense for you. It was especially tense, because one of the also starting at school children was crying. You clung mamma and promised her that you won’t cry. Brave child!
But you liked school. You liked juf Masja. I still remember that mamma and I brought you at school. Enthusiastically you opened the class-door, because juf Masja began already. But seeing all those children sitting in a circle, you decided to sit down quickly and quietly beside your best friend Skhenca.
On the fourth of October it was pets ‘day. Juf Masja allowed the children in her class to take cuddly toys with them. You chose Mrs. Hare ( juffrouw Haas) and your most beloved teddy bear.
How were you as a pre-schooler
You were still that spontaneous girl who wanted to share everything with others. Intelligent, but also notably social intelligent.
For a short while you were less spontaneous: with the start of the new school year you missed your best friend Skhenca so much. She and other girl-friends, who were older than you, started the primary school. You didn’t. And you had another problem. You had to defend yourself against annoying children. At first you went to juf Lenny ( your new teacher) to complaint about those annoying children, but mamma told you it was better to defend yourself. And you succeeded.
But also you could be angry. Mamma thought it sensible to let you blow out, to give space to your anger.
For me your bright, cheerful, blue eyes in your expressive face were the most striking. You were able to disarm everyone with them. And further that flexible, slender body of you that wanted to be active all the time until it was bedtime. Special you.
On the fifth of December in Holland the birthday of Saint Nicholas is celebrated. It is a children’s feast. Mamma always made a great feast of Saint Nicholas. You must remember.
In 2004 mamma together with you constructed out of boxes, colored paper and dye a beautiful steamboat. You may remember that Saint Nicholas always came by steamboat. Behind the windows of your steamboat you could find on present evening small letters on which was written where you could find your present. Mamma even made light in it.
You enjoyed Saint Nicholas very much and asked why the Saint was so short in the Netherlands.
A very pleasant Christmas which tante Daphne, oom Leander, Finn, opa, oma, you, Lucas and Robin celebrated that year together. Mamma made a beautiful pie. It was a large castle-pie. She put this pie outside on a small chair, so that everyone could look at it and so that no one could destroy (especially your little brother Robin was a robber. He was a crack in sneakily having a nibble from that pie. The glutton!)
On that Christmas you received a small make-up bag. You were so glad with it. You put on lipstick on your lips just like mamma and also mascara on your eyelashes. You felt as beautiful as mamma. Alas your daddy won’t like. So the make-up bag stayed with us and every time you came with opa and oma we found a beautiful Mirabelle with red cheeks and lips and black eye-lashes.
The rest of Christmas was pleasant too. Mamma sang Christmas songs with her beautiful voice accompanied by me on the piano. And oma, opa and tante Daphne and mamma told the fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood. You thought it so beautiful that you played it out together with Lucas and Robin.
Poems and songs
You liked to read out poems you learnt at school. It stroke me that you quickly learnt them by heart, like all the children’s songs. Poems and songs of the Easter rabbit and the wizard. And every time I saw you making a beautiful drawing for me. I still have many of your drawings. They are very precious to me.
One of your favorite games was hide-and seek. Once we were on the children’s farm near the Elephant’s house on the Dorpsweg. Lucas has to take a crap. I accompanied him and left you with your little brother Robin in the buggy. I shut the door after some moments, because it was stinking very much. But how I was in a panic to find after the toilet visit only Robin in his buggy, but not you. After a while of looking for you, you appeared laughing. You played hide-and-seek.
Orange hair on Queen’s Birthday 2005
Mamma came to celebrate Queen’s Birthday with opa and oma. Tante Daphne and Finn were also there. But the three of you looked specially: mamma painted your hair orange, because of the Queen’s Birthday. And I? I didn’t like that so much, because it gave me a lot of work to get all the orange out of my furniture.
Your first birthday party. You were excited, but also your mother, because it was the first birthday party she had to organize. But it was a great success. Mamma made a beautiful piñado from papier-mâché. The invited children were allowed to destroy the piñado , because within there were all kinds of sweets. Great success was also throwing water-balloons towards mamma who was standing in her bikini on the balcony.
Biking with oma
You know that I like biking. So when the time was there you could bike yourself the two of us went for a biking-tour. But wow!…you biked to hard and flew in the bend nearly towards an approaching biker. I shouted very hard. Thank God you fell down in the grass beside the cycle track. First you reacted angry, but when I had to laugh about your act, you had to laugh either.
As a stop we climbed a small flight of stairs up to the dike and were then in the midst of numerous sheep. How you enjoyed that. And then all those silly slugs on the track. You won’t hit them. So you had to zigzag around them with your bike. You enjoyed it.
Staying with opa and oma
After my birthday you wanted to stay for a night with us. I always liked it to have you with us. When mamma went away with Lucas and Robin we played your favorite game “happy families”and then I laid you in your favorite bed in the linen-room after reading your favorite book “Babeitje”. It was a story of Jacob who was getting a little sister. The book has beautiful illustrations of Jacob’s mother being pregnant of Babeitje. That was the name Jacob gave to the little baby in his mother’s belly. Every time again I had to read out this book to you.
In the morning at a quarter to eight you switched on the light to watch TV, while I prepared breakfast. After breakfast we played another “happy families”, you colored in one of the many coloring-books we have got here in the computer-cupboard and you drank your self-made chocolate out of your own mug (the one which was formerly of tante Daphne). But what you enjoyed the most was playing with our cat Wammes. You had a long woolen thread and stuck on that thread a plastic cock roach. You ran through the room holding the thread with cock roach and behind that cock roach-thread Wammes was running to catch that stupid cock roach from it.
Further you biked with opa and oma to the Amer. There near the water-side you sat down beside a fisherman. You were counting all the boats passing by, but there were also geese which were gaggling. You were understanding what they told you said. And you translated it for opa and me: one time the geese say that there were sharks in the water, the other time the sea gulls said to the geese that the weather would be fine.
Back home. You liked to bike over the tree roots on the cycle-track. Sometimes you jumped with your small bike for half a meter in the sky. You roared with laughter. And then still a moment with us for eating chips and drinking juice and at last going back to mamma and daddy with opa.
Your second-hand bike
On your fifth birthday you received a second-hand bike from us. Mamma bought the rusty thing on a second-hand market and opa and I had the cycle repairer look at it to make the rusty thing suitable for you to bike on. He put a new lamp on it and also a brand new cycle-bell. You were glad with it and together with tante Daphne, Finn and oma you biked some months later to a camping near the Belgian border. Finn liked the blueberries we saw on our way very much and you couldn’t stop spoiling the little boy with lots of blueberries. At last the two of you looked like blueberries. Your lips, teeth, cheeks were blue. When we were on our way again we saw a deer. The beast didn’t run away immediately. So we could watch the deer grazing there quietly until he noticed us and jumped away.
Around four o’clock we reached the camping and found there our tent put up by oom Leander amidst trees full of small apples. You played with some children of the camping.
That night on the camping was very hot. Except for the warmth we couldn’t also sleep very well by the buzzing of many biting mosquitoes. You were the favorite victim of those beasts: the other day your body was full of mosquito-bites and we had to buy something to suppress the mosquitoes.
But you enjoyed our trip. We went biking to Belgium the next day, while tante Daphne who was pregnant of little Kirse, stayed at the tent to have a little rest meanwhile. Later you proudly told everyone you biked to Belgium. But really you were a good biker, who didn’t nag, because you were tired. The next day we biked back. But we lost our way. So opa had to pick up tante Daphne and you with the car and I with little Finn in his bike seat in front of my bike biked back. We finished the bike-trip by eating Chinese with tante Daphne and oom Leander.
Your fifth birthday
We as a family celebrated your fifth birthday on the 17th of May, but on your birthday you had your birthday-party.
That Saturday before your birthday-party you fell ill. I took care of the three of you then so mamma had the time to prepare the party. We went to the Indoor-playing-Palace near the Central Station in Rotterdam. But in the Indoor-playing-Palace you had to vomit. I pitied you, poor thing, because you had your party the next day. I went back with the three of you and received two plastic sacks of a kind flower-sales-woman in the case you had to vomit another time. Fortunately you had not to vomit in the underground.
At home we laid you into bed. You were so sick.
But yet you celebrated your party. With some medicine you could enjoy the disco mamma had organized in her bed-room. And this party Mark was the victim of the water-balloons thrown by the invited children.
We had our week’s holiday in Tredrez-Locquémau, a small seaside-resort in French Brittany. “We” is standing for tante Daphne, Finn, mamma, you, Lucas, Robin and me. We rent a large old house with a large garden. Around the garden, where you often played, were watching shy French children out of the windows. They didn’t dare to come and play with you after inviting them. At the end of the street was the coast. The typical Breton seacoast with lots of rocks and the sudden upcoming flood which overwhelmed everyone if you don’t pay attention to it.
We often were on the beach to enjoy the sun and the water. But you also rode horse back with mamma and we all went by boat to the seven islands, which were spectacular because of the many seabirds which were staying there. It was a marvelous holiday in a marvelous region.
And do you know who was buying bread in the morning? It was you. You weren’t shy and asked for “deux baguettes et sept croissants” and after you received the bread you paid the money.
After a time in which you stayed with opa and me, I went with Lucas and you to the Zoo (diergaarde Blijdorp). The two of you helped me by finding the direction to the zoo by pointing out all the plates with black elephants. We finished really near the zoo. There we parked our car on the parking place and you two helped me remember the place where our car was parked. It was place Gorilla B6. Years after this visit you two still remembered that parking place. Maybe you still remember.
Then your holiday finished and you became a schoolchild. But about that period I will write another time.
Mirabelle at the Primary School
How were you
You appeared to be an intelligent girl. Still spontaneous and very, very social. You had got a lot of boy- friends and girl-friends. Had also somewhat of a leader. And you were handy and able to make wonderful colored drawings.
You were always active like your brothers and always wanted to start some game.
Opa is Mr. Prick-moustache
I had to say to opa that he is called Mr Prick-moustache, you said. You and your two brothers had to laugh very much about that name.
Day for grandparents and grandchildren in the Biesbosch
It was at the end of October 2007 that opa and oma went with you, our eldest granddaughter, to the nature reserve of the Biesbosch. There together grandparents with grandchildren could enjoy themselves with activities belonging to the character of this nature reserve.
You greatly enjoyed the attention of all those grandfathers and grandmothers. Were you for us the eldest granddaughter, amidst all those other children you were one of the youngest.
The most favorite activity for you was the research of the water of the Biesbosch. You went and checked the water with the help of a fishing net, a small tray, a small aquarium and a magnifying glass. One child out of your group found a rare snail which couldn’t be identified by the adult experts present there.
Further we made standards of sticks on which we had to bind hollow, sawed up bamboo sticks, over which we had to lead water to a swampy area. Or you made a little raft of little sticks, corks and leaves. I have got still a photo on which you kept afloat your little raft in the water of a small stream. And the three of us made a trip by a rowing boat by rowing the boat ourselves. But oma was rowing against the stream so that the boat started to turn around. And you started to scream, afraid as you were that we would drift off to the Amer. However we managed to get the boat back.
As a luncheon we had rolls, crispy baked rolls, sponge cakes, eggs, currant buns and fruits. You ate more than I did.
The day after
You painted. On a paper you drew all kinds of surfaces. Together we chose paint colors to fill the surfaces. Proudly you showed Mark this beautiful painted paper when you were at home again.
Later that day we discovered three frogs in our pond. I made coffee and chocolate milk while you shuffled the cards for the game of happy families (one of your favorite games).
Then we went out biking. We had to stop with every animal we saw on our way, because you wanted to feed and to caress every horse, cow or goat on our way. We went eating our rolls on a bench near the Wagenberg lake. But alas a dog had left a large muck and you stepped just within it with your boot. Fortunately we could clean your boot in the water of the lake. But after this incident your appetite to continue eating your rolls was definitively stopped. So we went on biking again to the woods where we found lots of acorns. The other day you went to school with a plastic bag full of acorns. And on our way back the pitiful horse received the rest of your rolls.
That you loved to color coloring pictures everyone knew. But you always won prizes with it too. One of these prizes was the Saint Nicholas feast in the Ahoy. You was allowed to go there with mamma and Lucas and Robin. The subject was “disappeared drawings”. Perhaps you do remember still that great feast in the Ahoy.
It was nearly Saint Nicholas and the three of you were staying with opa and oma in Hooge Zwaluwe. You had sung for Saint Nicholas and put your shoes. In the middle of the night you came out of your bed and went down the stairs. I got out of my bed to ask what you were going to do. But you said you were so afraid and cried. I laid you down on a mattress in the room of little Robin, because you were so afraid.
The next day the truth came out: you were going down the stairs to see what Black Peter might have put in your shoe. But then you had the idea you saw Black Peter and got frightened.
A beautiful painted box
I received a beautiful painted box of you. You painted it yourself. The box was filled with delicious chocolates you and mamma made.
Your teacher of the third group was Miss Toos. She was even older than oma.
The relation of mamma and Mark was broken. It gave you a lot of grief. Certainly because Mark went back to the States. And when you were with opa and oma together with mamma, Lucas and Robin, you were so sad when you saw Startrack on television. Crying you told me that you always watched Startrack with Mark. I put you on my lap, close to me to console you.
Your seventh birthday
It was your seventh birthday. You had your birthday-party in “De Ontdekhoek”. In “De Ontdekhoek” you could make soap, photos, dikes, bake chips and so on. Which boys or girls did you invite: Oscar, Willem, Hannan, Skencsa, Delphina and Tanja.
Finn’s third birthday
Finn had got three years old and we celebrated his birthday in the children’s wood near Castle Bouvigny in Breda. You were playing that you and Finn were living in a hut between the trees. You made a beautiful pie for his birthday existing of twigs and leaves. Fin was enjoying it very much. After that you tried walking over tree-trunks or over rope bridges. On the ground lay a wiggling tree-trunk. Lucas, Robin, Finn and you were swinging on it, playing that this tree-trunk was an aero plane in which you were flying to all the countries of the world.
Miss Toos was fit to burst
Miss Toos was sad, because her brother had been cremated the day before. You gave her a drawing on which you drew two hearts and a butterfly that was flying away. Miss Toos was fit to burst, because she considered the butterfly was her brother who flew away.
Awoken during midnight
Mamma had to work late, so I had to stay with you three at the Roosestraat during the night. Suddenly I heard you crying during midnight. When I went to see what was the matter, I saw you lying amidst lots of boxes with games and puzzles. I could imagine that that was not comfortable to sleep on. Probably you knocked against the shelf with games above your bed. I cleared up the mess on your bed and thought you could sleep again. But good heavens then followed your blanket. I had to lay it in a special way on your bed. It cost me a lot of time to lay that blanket the way you wanted.
It was your best girl-friend, Skencsa. And she came to play with you on Wednesday-afternoon. We first went to children’s farm “De Kraal” near the Kralingse Plas. You gave food to the sheep, goats, horses, rabbits and guinea pigs. Then we went to the botanical garden and walked on the slippery wooden path amidst the water. You played on the swing and had a lot of fun. Then we went home and while I prepared dinner the two of you were playing with the barbies. And after dinner we brought Skencsa at home. It was a pleasant afternoon.
Conversation between Lucas and you
It was one of those cozy evenings. You could feel the atmosphere was all right. Lucas and you were drawing at the round table in the kitchen.
Lucas to you: “At first I liked Robin alone, but now I also like you. You are not so catty anymore.” “Uh”, you said, “if I am catty, you have to say that I have to behave nicely.”
Tanja celebrated her birthday-party during the holiday. And on that day the three of you were staying in Hooge Zwaluwe, because mamma was working. So I had to bring you by car to Rotterdam to the party. One of your favorite games during our car-trips was looking from which countries the lorries were. When we reached the Roosestraat I brought you next by bike across the Erasmusbridge to the theatre where Tanja had her party. There you had a dance-party run by real dancers. Everyone of the children enjoyed this dancing a lot. At the end you ate chips in a restaurant and there it was that I picked you up. You gathered all kinds of sweets to share with Lucas and Robin. You nearly didn’t eat anything yourself. In Hooge Zwaluwe the three of you had a real banquet with all kinds of sweets.
With Tanja you followed circus lessons in children’s circus “Rotjeknor”. There you learnt biking on a one-wheeler and many other circus-acts.
I took you with me to Hooge Zwaluwe, because you had red, inflamed eyes and could not go to school. You would stay there during two nights.
It was always a feast to make chocolate milk for the three of you. So now being alone with opa and oma that was also a feast to make. And of course we had to go to the pitiful horse. However it was cold and bleak and the pitiful horse didn’t want the grass which wasn’t as delicious as in spring or summer.
Back home you were playing a game with marbles meanwhile listening to CD’s with told fairy tales.
Together with opa you went to the environmental centre to bring chemical rubbish and pruning. You were helping me with preparing dinner and after we play “sorry” and I read aloud one of the many children’s books we have got, I laid you at last in the small linen-room on the black mattress in your favorite blue with white stars sleeping bag.
Because you didn’t believe anymore in Saint Nicholas you were allowed to help handy mamma with a surprise for the feast. Together with mamma you were cutting houses out of paperboard boxes. The houses formed the houses of a street. Mamma and you painted the houses in beautiful colors. And behind the windows mamma and you stick copies of photos of opa, oma, tante Daphne, oom Leander, Finn and little Kirse, Lucas, Robin, mamma and yourself. And behind those photos there was a present for the person depicted on the photo. The street with houses was a great surprise for everyone.
Certificates of Black Peter
At school Black Peters present certificates to the children who were able like them to climb in ladders and ropes and do a somersault or a handstand.
Washing the dishes
Lucas and you were helping me with washing the dishes. You were washing and Lucas was trying to dry with the dishtowel. The two of you were still unhandy with your small hands. I was enjoying the scene because it was so funny to see.
At the second of February 2008 you were qualified with Certificate-A for swimming. Swimming in clothes you didn’t think difficult. Swimming twelve lengths you thought the hardest. And diving through the hole was a piece of cake for you. You even stayed much longer under the water.
Who is the leader?
With admiration I looked at you in the playground near school. You were playing tag with some boys and girls. When you were sitting during the game you were free. You were nicely playing together and the children were listening to you, because you were the leader. Even that naughty Mashamee or annoying Iwaldo were listening to you.
You, just like mamma, were fond of games: Halli Galli, old maid, I am a banana, koppie-koppie (kind of memory).
It was not difficult for me to guess that you should love riding horse-back. I discovered that it was possible to get lessons in riding horse-back in Hooge Zwaluwe with the sheep farmer, whose daughter was giving horse-back-lessons. So I informed, and yes, it was possible that you would follow a trial-lesson.
You got on a real cap and horse-riding-boots and climbed the horse-back. And from that moment you shone. You were so happy on that horse-back.
And Lucas and Robin? They were allowed to walk and play everywhere on the farm. Also they were amusing themselves.
The scullery in our house in Hooge Zwaluwe is a kind of gymnasium. You were doing there the somersault or the cartwheel.
The three of you always had a lot of energy and that is why I always let you run freely at school until the zebra path. There you had to wait until I was coming to cross the street with you. So nearly always you ran before me and when I came near the zebra path you were hidden away behind the small walls there. It gave you a lot of pleasure.
One morning, not long before the removal to Dordrecht, we found Rosa death in her cage. It gave Lucas and you a lot of sorrow. We buried Rosa on the isle of Brienenoord. Everyone of you had a spoon to make a hole in the ground and then when the hole was big enough we laid the dead Rosa in it and bade her farewell. Everyone of you was allowed to say why he or she loved Rosa so much.
That night you were coming twice walking in your sleep. You thought it hard the definitive of death.
But mamma bought a new guinea pig, Sjaakie. The three of you were very fond of this longhaired white animal.
Mamma had created a grab-bag with surprises for the three of you. It was a great success. I used the grab-bag too as a help in the education. It helped to reduce your quarreling with Lucas. You were allowed to grab if you were not so catty towards Lucas and didn’t hit him and asked him to stop to be so irritating. And Lucas was allowed to grab if he stopped being irritating when you asked it not catty to him. The grab-bag helped me, but also you.
Last day at “De Clipper”
Thursday the third of April 2008 was your last day at Primary School “De Clipper”. On this last day the three of you treated the children from your classes stuff from the grab-bag. And from the teachers of your class-room you received a small book which was called: “You are the sweetheart”. The teachers wrote in the front of the book: “Goodbye little sun! Stay shining.” Miss Toos, Miss Carmelita and Miss Tamara.
Loaded with things you received at school you came from school. Everywhere at school and at street people bade farewell to the three of you and the Surinamese neighbourwoman said she would miss you dearly and called the three of you “her dear little hearts”.
And when we came at home everything in the house was upside down and the new inhabitants were painting and had taken off the doors. I made some drink for you, which we drank sitting on the floor in mamma’s dismantled bed-room. We didn’t feel at ease there and went as quick as we could to Hooge Zwaluwe.
The new home
When mamma, tante Daphne, oom Leander, Ischa and Femke removed the household furniture to your new home at the Frank van der Goesstraat, it appeared that this house was very, very dirty. They had a lot of work to clean it.
In the mean time the three of you, Finn and Kirse were staying with opa and oma in Hooge Zwaluwe.
When I took care of the three of you the other Tuesday you were already invited by a girl from your new class, called Eva. By car I brought you to the house of Eva at the Palissander 420 driving behind Eva on her bike. In a short time you made lots of friends at your new school.
Your first time at the Johan Friso-school
Compared with the children in your new class you were a bit behind. No wonder, because Miss Toos from your class at “De Clipper” had been confronted with a lot of problems with children from the lower social classes. With regard to that Miss Toos and Miss Tamara were much more busier than Miss Anita from your new class.
Although Miss Anita thought you a bit behind, she thought your social qualities very striking.
When you lived at the Frank van der Goesstraat school was too far away to go on foot or even by bike. So we had first to go by car to school and at lunchtime you ate with William’s. And then at the end of the day we went back again to the Frank van der Goesstraat. Mamma chose this school because you were going to live with William in his new house. And that house was near the new school.
Swimming certificate B
On the twenty seventh of April 2008 you were passing your second swimming-test and you got your swimming certificate B.
To make you aware of the value of things I let you save pocket money I gave you every Friday. You were saving to buy silver earrings for mamma costing € 12,-. Because you had no patience to save quietly for that amount of money, you were doing some little jobs for me to earn that money. After you bought the silver earrings for mamma, you saved for a striped T-shirt for Mark, earrings for me and a garden checkerboard for opa.
Catching up with you class
After school time I did exercises with you with the help of exercise papers for language and arithmetic Miss Anita gave you to catch up with your new class. To stimulate making your exercises in a higher speed I gave you money when you finished your work in the time we agreed on. You were working very diligently.
Your eighth birthday
Your eighth birthday was on sports day. Mamma and I had to pick up you and your boy- and girl-friends at the sports fields. Then to William’s house where you first decorated cakes. Then we went to “Villa Zebra” in Rotterdam. There you did different activities within the framework of the theme “houses”. You drew your own house, climbed in a climbing-house and constructed with all kinds of materials your own house.
A visit to your old class at “De Clipper”
You still visited one time your old class at “De Clipper”. The children from your old class were performing a dance for you. It was very chaotic, because the children didn’t listen. You were glad you were at a new school where the children were not so impertinent and where the children were listening to their teachers.
You were playing with Audrey’s. Her mother told me laughing that you had been hiding during hide-and-seek in one of the small kitchen-cupboards. You were so flexible.
Fair in Lage Zwaluwe
We went to the fair in Lage Zwaluwe. Each one of you received € 2,50 to spend. And then suddenly you have squandered the money, while you didn’t win anything. You wept bitter tears.
When I brought you later to Dordrecht to William’s I saw you running to your new boy-friends and girl-friends on the playing field. Still some time and you should have lived among those boy-friends and girl-friends.
You gave me a jujube. You received this jujube from Miss Jolande and saved it for me, because you knew that I am so fond of jujubes. It is typically you.
Mark in Holland
Mark was in Holland during six weeks. You were ringing. I told you Wammes had died and you had to cry and laid down the phone. I quickly phoned you again. I told you that it was the best for Wammes and that opa and oma were sad either and missed Wammes very, very much. You told me that you were often swimming in Aquapulca. And that Lucas and you dared to jump from the high springboard. And Robin was able to swim without spare tires in the deep swimming-pool. And that you were going with mamma to Disneyland in Paris for three days.
After the summer-holidays
At this school you got a lot of girl-friends, but Skencsa was still your best girl-friend. And after the holidays you were much more better in arithmetic and language. You had caught up with your class.
How shocked was I by discovering that Lucas’ bike was not in William’s garden. I thought Lucas’ bike was stolen. But when you came on bike from your school, you said: “But I have seen Lucas’ bike oma!” It appeared that mamma hid Lucas’ bike outside William’s garden in a hedge. And you knew this place. How glad Lucas and I were.
I had got migraine, but yet went to the three of you, because I had to take care of you. Mamma was shocked and said that I had to lay in bed. She organized that you had to warn me at a quarter to eight, as I had to bring you at school. There simply was not someone else. The three of you were silently playing until a quarter to eight, when you warned me. And I brought you away to school. Fortunately tante Renske picked up you from school later. In the meantime I lay in bed. You came with me and brought me a small letter: “Oma I hope you will be better again soon.” Mamma thought I had to stay at the Frank van der Goesstraat and refused me going back so ill to Hooge Zwaluwe. She and the three of you went to sleep with William’s then.
First we brought Lucas to the Biesbosch and then Robin, you and me with binoculars and illustrated books about birds went to the Biesbosch. We were gazing through our binoculars into the distance to discover the mars harrier, the graylag, the bean goose and the grebe. You thought it very interesting to find the illustrations of those birds in the book. On the meadows cows, horses and sheep were grazing with amongst them foraging geese. We ate our rolls on a bench and Robin and you made drawings of the beautiful surroundings. It was so peaceful.
As I told you already you received pocket-money every Friday-evening. We once decided to use this pocket-money to go with a beaver-excursion in the Biesbosch during the evening to discover one of the 200 beavers that were living there. I promised I would pay half of the prize. So the day of the excursion we went to the Biesbosch Centre near the Merwelanden (place where we often went to swim and play in the playground), because the boat would leave from the water there. Several people were assembling there, meanwhile looking at the exposition made about beavers.
I heard your spontaneous voice saying to the lady behind the bar: “My mother doesn’t give much pocket-money, but we are always doing pleasant things with her.”
Yes there were and are 200 beavers in the Biesbosch, but we didn’t see any. We did see their fortresses in the water near the banks, and their typical sliding-trees. These are trees which interiors have been worn away by the tails of the beavers. We received chocolate milk and a large beaver biscuit. We gazed through our binoculars and you meanwhile made fun with other children on the boat. At the end it was getting dark and cold. That’s why we were sitting close to each other on the benches in the boat. It was totally dark when we arrived. At home we ate pancakes to finish this pleasant evening.
Alone at home with Robin
It was only one time that I had to decide that you had to stay at home together with Robin, because I had to go with Lucas to the swimming-pool for one of his last swimming-lessons before his swimming-test. And it would be too late for little Robin to take the three of you with me to the swimming-pool.
So Robin was put in bed and Lucas and I went to the swimming-pool. You were allowed to stay up until I would be back with Lucas. I took my mobile with me in the case you should need me or should get afraid. And just after Lucas ‘swimming-lessons, at the moment that Lucas fell down my bike because he mounted the bike wrongly, you phoned. And when I phoned you immediately back, when Lucas sat safely on the luggage carrier behind me, you were phoning someone else I discovered. When I biked quickly to the Frank van der Goesstraat I found you at the phone, talking with opa. I said to you in the case you couldn’t get me on the phone you were allowed to phone opa. And you did, because you were afraid.
Birthday-party of Björn
It was a special birthday-party of Björn. It was Halloween and the children of the party were allowed to go along the doors to gather all kinds of sweets. It was only half past ten when you came home with a plastic bag full of sweets. Agitated you told that the mother of Björn had to cry, because some children were so annoying. You thought it very unpleasant and said to the children they had to stop to do so. I was so proud of you.
The new house
William bought a new house for mamma and the three of you. It was a large house near the water and near your school. You had got a beautiful room which mamma nicely furnished for you. Lucas and Robin would share a large room. You were going to live in there in April 2009.
Mamma’s last birthday
For mamma’s last birthday you bought a string of fake pearls, which were looking real.
Oma living in Dordrecht
Near the railroad crossing in Dordrecht were built small nicely looking houses. I said I could move to those houses if I should stay alone after opa’s possible death in the future. Then you said: “Oma in that case you can live with us. Then you are always able to take care of us.”
Your talk about guinea pigs
We often exercised your talk about guinea pigs. But then it was the day and it was a real success. You brought Sjaakie and Willem with you to school and the children of your class were allowed to caress them or even carry them. As grade you received a fat “g “ from Miss Petra.
In the case of a talk you were allowed to appoint an assistant. You chose one of the not too popular girls from your class-room, which would never be appointed otherwise. As mamma would do.
As I wrote you caught up with your class and had even become so good that if the result of an arithmetic-test would be convincing good, you may even get extra difficult work.
You didn’t feel well, but you wanted to go to school with your surprise. With mamma you made a beautiful big dolphin for someone of your class. I brought you to your class-room and said to Miss Petra that you were a little bit ill.
Later I saw you happy and excited awaiting for Saint Nicholas with your girl-friends on the school yard. Pink hat and pink shawl, every now and then waving to me, who was looking with other parents at the festivities.
Fire early in the morning
In the flat opposite to your flat in the Frank van der Goesstraat had broken out fire. Mamma discovered it and rang awake everyone who was living in the opposite flat, so that they were able to fly away before the fire would expand. The three of you followed everything what mamma did on the balcony. She really was a hero, who saved the lives of all those people there. The fire department was able to extinguish the fire.
For the three of you this incident was so scaring, that you were and stayed afraid the whole day. I was not allowed to go away and had to stay with you while going to the toilet or laying in your bed until you fell asleep.
Celebrating Christmas in your district
In connection with Christmas the district, in which the Frank van der Goesstraat was situated, organized a Chinese lantern-parade. When we went to the place from which the parade should start, there were no other children. Only the three of you. We have to wait half an hour until half past six and then only two girls added for the parade.
There we walked: five children, three adults and father Christmas singing loudly: “I wish you a merry Christmas.” Every time the small bell of father Christmas fell down its stick on the ground. You were spoilt with lots of chocolate milk, doughnut balls, biscuits and mandarins, because there were only five children instead of the mass of children the organizers expected.
When the lady who organized the parade asked you if you would come the next year again, you said that you would have been moved to Stadpolders in Dordrecht then.
The last contact-moments with you
It was on my birthday, that I took care of you for the last time. On the sixteenth of January Mark would come. In between and in the first weeks when Mark was there you often sent me SMS-messages to tell me how the three of you were. I did like that, because I had got very attached to the three of you. One time you phoned me that Sjors, the old cat of William, had to be put down. Another time you phoned that Fleur did annoying to you, but your girl-friends Fezui, Eline Veere, Eva and Nina supported you fortunately.
In one of your last messages you wrote that you had fallen down your bed, when you had to go to the toilet. Your back ached. You promised me to send another message when you would have been to the doctor’s.
The last time I saw you was on tante Renske’s birthday. I was shocked, because you looked so very pale. I thought you didn’t feel well, because your back was aching. It wasn’t you said……………
The three of you went away with mamma. Still Lucas was there and I was helping him with his shoe-laces. You came back on sock-feet to pick up Lucas and embraced me …………..
Suddenly the three of you were left with Mark, without warning mamma. It gave her such a lot of sorrow…..
And at school in your class-room your empty chair and empty table stay standing there on your place. The children of your class did want so. And on the twenty first of May they decorated your chair.