Category Archives: mamablog


Yeah, I don’t know about this age. I’m not really feeling it right now. Not looking it either, since I cut all my hair off and now I look like an 8-year-old with bedhead. And eyebags.

My actual birthday was Monday, and started inauspiciously when I woke at 3 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Which worked out in a way, because I did need to get up at 5 and I had sort of forgotten to set my alarm. However, it would also have worked out if I’d woken at 4:55, so it’s hard to be grateful.

Why 5? Why, to drop Ignatz off at 6:15 for a school trip to Vienna. Oh, so this is why people send their kids to private school! I begin to see a point… Other groups went to Berlin, Barcelona and Venice. Pretty cool, huh?

So then the Sniglet had to get to (the same) school at the usual time, 7:45, and then I had to get to my school from there. I very carefully didn’t tell my class that it was my birthday, so I wouldn’t have to provide cake. Cake is not really in my skillset. Continue reading

New stuff and hilarious kid


Maybe this doesn’t happen to you, but I get it a lot: after carefully shopping around, I buy a thing, and then a better version appears on the market, which I can’t buy because I already have one. On the left you see a pot I bought at IKEA which has seen considerable use. It’s green, which is technically my favorite color, but it’s not my favorite shade of green.

So yesterday DrBob and I were at IKEA  (date night!), and lo, there was the same pot in a lovely ivory color which I now cannot have because I already bought the green thing.

I was lamenting this to the Sniglet today, and he gave me the side-eye and said, “If you really want the white one, I can have an ‘accident’ arranged.”


Song du jour of the day: Let’s Groove, by Earth Wind & Fire

status update

  1. Wow, so that was spring, and now it’s winter again! Not yay.
  2. Had my first migraine in two months and three days, which sucked, but it only really lasted half a day, and having migraines every couple months is a damn sight better than a couple times a month. I think the glasses have made a huge difference.
  3. I think I finally have a usable CV, and I’ve written (and Mr Husband has drastically improved) a cover letter for a job in Mannheim. I hate the photo a lot, but other people seem to think it’s okay, so I guess I really do look that freckly and anxious.
  4. The University put us in touch with a professor who would rather rent his house to another professor than to… um, not-a-professor, so we’ll be zipping down to HD to look at the house this coming weekend. I can’t even express how fantastically fortunate it would be if this worked out and we didn’t have to go through the whole house-hunting-from-another-country nightmare. Again.
  5. Otherwise? Cat’s fine. Kids’re fine. Everything’s fine, I just really, really need spring to get here.

Song du jour of the day: Lemonade, by CocoRosie.


I mean to post daily, or at least open up the blog once a day, if not to write then to clean up around here – that book on Portugal? I read that before we went to Portugal, in August. Since then I’ve read Old Man’s War, Dracula, Pereira Maintains, and Portnoy’s Complaint, so I should definitely update my book page. And read more books. Gah, there are So Many Books! Must read all the books!

In other news, I have a job interview on Monday in Munich, so I’m flying down on Friday to spend the weekend with the Sniglet, then go to the job interview and fly back. Did you know the Sniglet came up to visit? No, because I don’t keep up with the dang blog! But he did, we drove down for his birthday, which was on a Friday which (timing WIN!) was the last day of school before the All Saints’ Day school vacation week that the Catholic states get, so we drove back up with him and he spend the week here and we watched ALL of the first SIX Star Trek movies – yes, even the first one – yes, even the fifth one! We are hardcore Trekkies, y’all. And lo, it was awesome.

We also went to Rotterdam and did a harbor tour, and I took pictures, which is essentially why I haven’t blogged, probably – because the next entry was supposed to be about that, and I haven’t been in the mood to crop and post and caption a bunch of pictures. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow. Along with all the other stuff I have to wrap up, because I’m suddenly flying to Munich on Friday.

Song du jour of the day: Singapore, by Tom Waits


not feeling cheerful, so let’s keep this brief.

I should be happy enough, all my problems are first-world problems, and I will realize this and cheer up any minute now, but I’m just back from a long weekend at the in-laws’, and seeing the Sniglet was really super, but now I’m gone and he’s still there and I miss him so much my heart hurts.

He says the lessons are okay, but he doesn’t like the boarding part of boarding school, the room is cold and lights-out is earlier than he’s used to so there’s a lot of alone-time, which is difficult at first.  Drat, sigh, rats. I’ve reminded him that transitions are difficult and our feelings about things can change over time, and give it a chance and all that, and I know this is true, but right now it’s as hard for me to say as it is for him to hear. I knew settling into boarding school was going to be tough for him, but I hate that I’m so far away while he goes through this.

Argh. No song du jour of the day. Music sucks. So does everything else. Grump.


Popping down to Bavaria to help Secondborn settle into his new school, and not taking the computer! I will probably be feeling lots of feels and thinking lots of thinks, but I won’t be able to tell you about them until I get back. Unless I learn to be less annoyed by the WordPress Android App.

I’ll be back next Monday. And then I’ll start blogging reliably. No, really.

I’m sorry, did you say “Boarding School”?

Well, er, yes. Yes I did.

Of course, DrBob called the Dorfen school first, because it’s across the street from our house, and they immediately said no. Because they’re douchewagons, something we kind of already knew. So then he found a couple of the middle-level schools (here’s a description of the system by the Bavarian Ministry of Education, if you’re confused) in other towns (so, school bus, yuck), and they seemed welcoming enough, but we felt a little bit meh about them. Then we went to dinner at some friends’ house and they recommended (ulp) this boarding school south of Munich.

Well. The She of the family is a lovely, lovely woman and a good friend, but she is also a total hovermom who would be on serious medication for her panic disorder if she weren’t in Germany, so if she was able to consider this place for her kid, it must be pretty nurtury and unthreatening. And the He of the family is a colleague of DrBob’s, and wouldn’t even have looked at this place if it wasn’t academically sound. So it must be good, right, because they have way higher standards than we do. And we visited it, and it’s really quite spiffy and located in the super-‘spensive southern suburb-type willages of Bavaria;  people move there because Munich is just too affordable. It’s in a beautiful setting and the people seemed serious and concerned and capable, and we talked fast enough to convince them to give the Snig a shot.

Because here’s the thing. When the Oompas agreed to kennel him until we could move down there, Oma made all the right noises about being the grown-up and making him eat vegetables and do his homework (nobody has any hope for Opa, so we didn’t even ask) but when we were there everybody fell into the same old patterns.

Moreover, Opa is getting older, and Oma was in the hospital right before we went down to visit. They didn’t fix whatever was wrong, she just got bored and checked herself out, so um. Even though they assured us the Snig could live with them, no problem, in practice, well… we have concerns. And in fact when we floated the boarding school idea they did seem to seize on it with something like relief.

And here’s the other thing. I cannot make my kids do homework, I just can’t. They always find some way to weasel out of it. I’ve tried. I’ve failed. It’s time to try something else, and this school will assign homework and the person who supervises will know what’s been assigned and will make sure the kids have the time to get the work done and if he forgets his assignment book he can just go to his room and get it and no weaselling will be allowed.

And, here’s another thing: there was a boarding school for Ignatzes, back when we were in Germany and Ignatz was… being all ADHD. And we didn’t send him there because I wasn’t ready to miss my kid so much. I figured we’d just muddle through somehow, and that was a mistake. He is not doing well by any rational assessment, and if there’s a way to prevent the Sniglet from going down that road, then we have to try it.

So, yeah. I’m trying to convince the Sniglet that it’s just like Hogwarts? Only without, you know, giant snakes in the pipes and evil notebooks.

We went to Bavaria for two weeks in July…

… and I didn’t get a lot of visiting done because I didn’t take any vacation days because the company has an office in Munich so I took my work laptop and went to a fair bit of trouble and expense to go to the city almost every day to do my job, which was kind of stupid, in hindsight.

Anyway. Ack, where should I start? Let’s start with the Sniglet. As you may recall, I was NOT happy with his first school – you know, where they help foreign kids integrate by making sure they don’t interact with any actual Dutch children for at least a year? Yeah, that one. They finally ran out of excuses to hang onto him, and we got him into a real school, with Dutch children and Dutch teachers who did mention that the integration-school thing wasn’t really a requirement and we probably should have gotten a second opinion. Argh.

But it was a pretty good school, and he had a good time and made friends and all that, but… well… um… if you’re used to Bavaria, the standard of education is not what you’d call rigorous. Frinstance, his teacher did sort of casually mention that the Sniglet hadn’t been doing his homework for the last few weeks – about a week before the school year ended. Huh? I mean, what do you expect me to do about it now? Which shows how much I’ve changed, doesn’t it? Because the German teachers were all over that $#!%, and at the time, my line was, “You’re the teacher, not me. Figure something out.”

Stop looking at me like that. Consistency is for the gainfully employed.

Where was I? Oh, right. So um, Snig really missed Germany, and we kind of felt he was losing out academically, and his German is really slipping, and… we have other reasons, which I will probably address in other posts, for wanting to return to Germany, so we floated the idea to him and he was VERY keen. But we can’t move yet.

But he really shouldn’t do another school year here, because by German standards, he’s well behind his agemates, and after another year here, he’d be even behind-er: see, he’s headed into 8th grade, which is the last year of primary school in the Netherlands, and it’s ALL about testing into  secondary school. The Dutch themselves admit that there is little or no real academic work done in that year, just the CITO test. Which, fair enough – it’s really important to get into the right secondary school (which I don’t mean in the snobby way, it’s just that there are a skillion options and it’s important to find the one that best suits your kid’s personality and needs, and make sure he meets their requirements, which I don’t know what those would be because all the homework I’ve seen was laughably easy but whatever), but he’s not going to a Dutch secondary school. He’s going to a German one, eventually, and the more time he loses, the rougher that transition will be.

So, he’s there, with the Oompas, and in September he’ll start as a fifth grader. At a boarding school.

Um, ack?

Song du jour of the day: The Hogwarts School Song

ain’t all bad

Yesterday we rode our bikes to Zeist! About 18 km in all, just me and the Sniglet. It was the first really nice day this year, and we stopped for french fries and salad and saw lots and lots of countryside. Um, and some freeway…

Actually, Jack, the Sniglet doesn’t usually cry at school, that was new. Usually he gets red and growls and clenches his fists and makes threats, and if you push him too far he opens up a serious can of whoopass. And I’m not defending the whoopass, I’m just saying it’s not a spontaneous event. It is triggered by behavior that I think is also unacceptable. So from the teacher’s side, you know, yay, he didn’t beat the soup out of someone this time. But the behavior that makes him want to, continues unabated.

I haven’t heard back from the teacher yet. She emails a lot less often since I called her a Liar McFlamey-pants to her face.

What? The Dutch are supposed to be plain-spoken. I didn’t think she’d be that upset…

Song du jour of the day: Holiday in Spain, by Bløf & Counting Crows


It’s a really long story, which is why I haven’t tackled it, and every time something else happens, the story gets longer. Basically, this Taalschool (language-school) was established to help foreign children learn Dutch and adapt to Dutch society so they can fit into regular Dutch schools, is what I was told. I was also told – by the director – that students can’t switch to their new at any old time, only at Christmas and summer. When I thought the Sniglet would start in September and transfer to a real school in January, I was okay with it. But this is his second full year at what is basically a separate-but-equal school for icky foreigners, and they told us lie after lie to convince us to keep him there, and to put him in a class that we knew was the wrong choice but they led us to believe we had no other choice and now they want him to go into therapy because he reacts badly to being picked on by the kids in his class, who are all 12. Or 13. And he’s 10. I hate. This school. I hate the lies they tell us, and the lies they tell themselves so they can continue to believe they are good people while screwing over little kids.

There will be more detail later, but it’s after midnight and writing that paragraph has made me unutterably weary.

Song du jour of the day: Miniature Disasters, but K.T. Tunstall