Monday 21 December 2009

Was Madonna Dutch?

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.


Horse Chick said...

You seem more like a "Daddy" to me! Especially when I think of your post about the tiny little sweater....only a Daddy writes like that.
Merry Christmas (on 12/25) and Happy New Year to you, ET and baby

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] said...

We use "asshole" to call our fathers over here in the States.

Erin said...

David Sedaris wrote a hilarious short story about international Santa Clauses called "Six to Eight Black Men." You must read it if you haven't already. A classic.

Korie said...

And in Ireland it's...Dad? Daddy? Da?
I'm not being a jerk, I'm really curious.

Ms. Moon said...

Erin is right about the David Sedaris story.
And what's wrong with Papa? I think it is one of the most beautiful words in any language.

Russ said...

So if the Dutch are descendant of Gulliver, are the Irish descendants of the Lilliputians?

Just because the Dutch call their Dads, 'Papa' doesn't mean Lil Fitz has to! Pops should work just fine!

Putz said...


Tara R. said...

So what do you want the little nipper to call you? Pops, old man, Da or the old standby Dad?

Edith said...

Just let the little one call you old fart!


Bonnie B. said...

The "aging Smurf" thing might be closer than you think, if you're "vertically challenged" and are prone to wearing blue...

Out of curiosity, what do the Dutch call their mothers?

AnnB said...

Papa - that's not such a cross to bear - I've been called Chicken Licken for the last 6 years by my boy wonder! None of the normal maternal nouns in the English language have ever crossed his lips when he's referring to my good self. It's amazing what you get used to.

AnnD said...

I like Papa, it's sweet!

The baby will call you whatever she/he hears you and ET use the most for the first few years. But, after he/she enters school and begins to hear all of the "Papa" talk from the other kids, that is when it might change...

Enjoy having total control over that kid while you can!

James (SeattleDad) said...

My parents seem to be intent on getting Lukas to call grandpa 'Papa'.

We are doing everything we can to discourage it, even though I have no desire to be called it either.

Irish Mammy said...

Not long to go now ... the last few months fly by :-) When the little one comes he or she will have you wrapped around their little finger...and it won't really matter a damn by what they name they holler at my dear will dance to their merry jig... in the wee hours of the morning...with a heavy hangover head...that little voice will call you to many ugly, frightening and down right uncanny situations. Truly (from a mom trying to get one potty trained).
Treasa x

J from Ireland said...

Yeah "Papa" is shite but "Da" in a Dublin accent is worse(sorry if your a dub but it is.). I live in the the part of Ireland where Dads are "Dad" or "the/my auld fella" never ever "Pops"
Best wishes from Louth.

Anonymous said...

I so totally agree with Horse Chick---you are a daddy for sure! My father is now 86 years old and he is still and always will be 'daddy' to me! Yikes, coming soon!!!!!

Alexicographer said...

I quite like "Papa."

I don't have a "Mommy," but a "Mummy," my mum having originated on your side of the Atlantic. I'm now exploring what my 2 y.o. son may call me, other than "Mama," his current label for me. Actually I quite like "Mama," too.

My mum points out it's useful if your kid uses something other than whatever is standard in your region, so that when 1 kid in a playground of 20 falls and starts shrieking for its mother (or father, presumably), you know immediately whether it's yours.


Anonymous said...

Fitz will call you and ET the names you use to refer to each other.

I was in the same boat here in Italy. I hate "mamma" but love "mommy" and that's what they use. My husband likes "babbo" not papa' and the kids call him that, too.

It all depends on how you refer to yourselves and each other.

No sweat. You can stay in Dutchville and let him suckle on giant cow teat.

Dan said...

My kids keep calling me "Dan"

The little bastards.

River said...

Just because all of the Dutch call their fathers Papa, doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Teach your child to say Daddy, it's not hard. Papa sounds very snobbish to me.

I Am Emily... said...

Whatever you start calling yourself and your partner is what your children will call you aswell.

I like being mummy, yet I still havent been called mummy yet. She says 'Dad' and 'Bub'. Typical.

Veronica Foale said...

Oh but Papa!

Yeah, sounds terrible.


Veronica Foale said...

Also, I seem to be making very little sense lately. Sorry.

Jo said...

Yeah. You're much more of a Da alright.

You know Papa Smurf is called Papa Pouffi in Italian?

Horse Chick said...

To Hotmamamia,
Same here, I've always called mine Daddy!! (I think he liked that too!)

and to Dan,
my (step) kids called their parents by their first names until they reached middle & high school and then it became Dad and Mom totally.
(I'm still called the "wicked step mother" just kidding!!!)

Martin said...

@Horse Chick - Thank you, many happy returns.

@Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] - Nice people you lot...

@Erin - I've read a couple of his books, one where he referenced the Dutch Sinterklaas, indeed VERY funny.

@Lilacspecs - Actually all three in equal measure I'd say.

@Ms. Moon - ...Smurf...?

@Russ - Watch it you.

@Putz - and did you listen?

@Tara R. - i was thinking about 'Mister'

@Edith - you really want to bring age into this?

@Bonnie B. - Mama! a nation full of Mamas and Papas!

@AnnB - That's er, original!

@AnnD - RoboMan!

@James (SeattleDad) - No, not good, not at all.

@Irish Mammy - :-)

@J from Ireland - hahaha, like the Snapper?

@hotmamamia - Hmmmmmm ;-)

@Alexicographer - An 'in case of emergency' title... I like that

@geeksinrome - The language used in daycare will win in the end I fear....

@Dan - You sure it's not Dad, and you're just going deaf?

@River - Its certainly not posh here, its what all the kids use.

@~Tanya~ - I fancy...Julio!

@Veronica - You need sleep

@Jo - I should have been an Italian, dont fancy Da much either.

@Horse Chick - I'm imaging a 19 year old in hot pants...'hey Daddy...'

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

So this is my Christmas present isn't it?

Papa Smurf. So much easier to spell than leprechaun.

Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

oh, and my present to you... two comments in one post.

I am thinking the kid could call you The Donor. Much more fitting like.

Horse Chick said...

get your mind out of the gutter, he wasn't Hugh Hefner, just a man with four daughters, the poor thing!!
lol :-)

Mwa said...

My joke radar is malfunctioning - are you really moving? Babes is "daddy" and we even convinced the school to put this on the new year's letters. No problems whatsoever.

Martin said...

@Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo - shut up and open another bottle

@Horse Chick - where's the fun in that!

@Mwa - *sigh*... no, not moving....

Ed said...

It's taken some getting used to--my kids call me Dad, sometimes Daddy. But what really grates my nerves is when my wife calls me Dad! She's done it so long now that I can't bring myself to tell her it drives me crazy.

Maternal Mirth said...

I am Dutch, but I call my father 'Pops'... Papa is so weird.

Martin said...

@Ed - Oh no, thats not good. Not at all.

@Maternal Mirth - Ah but you've escaped! Not sure Pops is much better!


Sadia said...

Oh, I hear you. I'm a British-Bangladeshi transplant in the US, and I had hoped to be either Mummy or Amma.

No, my little Texans call me Mama. Or, if I were to be more honest in the spelling, Momma. Americans!

Martin said...

@Sadia - hahaha

Not Afraid to Use It said...

We mainly use "Pappa" here because of my husband being Swedish. It is odd to hear the kids refer to him as "dad" once they've been around their English speaking friends. Growing up I never thought I'd have kids use anything but dad, but life throws lots of curve balls.

I also agree with PP, whatever you have the baby call you is what they will, until they develop a mind of their own. Do what feels right.

Martin said...

@Not Afraid to Use It - Agggh, gives me the shivers!