There are going to be a couple of interesting hurdles to navigate in bringing a child into this very below sea-level of worlds that is Holland.
The language itself doesn’t bother me, learning how to say ‘go ask your mother’ in Dutch should save most of my blushes, while proclaiming ignorance of what is being said will spare the remainder.
The food may even turn out to be an interesting experiment; the Dutch are a giant race, every single one of them directly descended from Gulliver. What better way is there to settle the nature versus nurture argument than by feeding the child of two vertically challenged individuals Dutch food and see if we grow a six-footer? I’ll see it as a challenge.
The traditions are different, but we can adjust. While the rest of the world’s children are preparing for Santa Claus this week, the great Dutch gift giver has been and gone since early December.
Sinterklaas is an elderly Bishop who sails into Holland on a barge from Spain, helped by a crew of black slaves, all named Piet. He fills the kid’s shoes with presents and quickly buggers off again after a few songs have been sung. If the kids don’t behave during the year, the bishop then kidnaps them and takes them away on his barge. We can probably come to see this child trafficking by the clergy as perfectly acceptable, we are Irish after all.
There is one thing I will truly struggle with. One thing that grates at the back of my brain, one thing that send shivers down my spine, one thing that makes me want to read another Tiger Woods story for a pleasant distraction, and that is what Dutch children call their fathers:
I have no desire to live in Walnut Grove, nor to be addressed like an aging Smurf, and certainly not to be brow beaten by a teenage Madonna.
I can be a lot of things, within a conservative and low achieving margin, but ‘Papa’ can’t be one of them.
Time to move.