Posts Tagged ‘grandparents’

Thomas’ university entrance score.

December 14, 2018
photo Thomas without tablet

without tablet (de)vice

The magic of the internet showed up again when our grandson, Thomas, managed to receive his HSC scores through the manipulation of his iPhone. The magic isn’t so remarkable while within range of civilisation, but in the middle of Sulawesi jungle? Mind you, once tourism rolls in, the www’s follows. We have both been able to ‘message’ each other which, as I have been told, is different from texting. I can never get my head around all that technical stuff. It is a penalty I am glad to pay. You won’t see the likes of us, old fogeys, heads bend over iPhones in one hand and cappuccino in the other, while crossing the street with giant semi-trailers roaring past, missing us by mere inches.

Thomas worked very hard. He is not a practical boy with two left hands unable to clean up or acknowledge a laundry basket even remotely. He used to visit us when things got too much back at home. His teenage years weren’t spared and as his grandparents we used to counsel him assiduously with pearls of wisdom coming from his mother more than me.  I still get admonished for not putting the butter back in the fridge in its predetermined space. I have watched Thomas doing the dishes at our place and had to smile at his awkwardness. I actually had to restrain myself in not encouraging his clumsiness. He put plates and cups standing up and would at times just walk away. He is somewhat of a dreamer and easily distracted by his own thoughts, whatever they might be. Thoughts are the stuff of life, and to be encouraged even if it doesn’t fit in with domestic chores or logic. Of course, our daughter does get fed up with her son’s chaotic habits and domestic clutter. Not that she is all that organised. Perhaps the reason of her annoyance! Thomas got his mother’s genes.

When Thomas was small around 5 or 6 years of age he used to wander around our farm’ paddock just reading. Helvi used to do the same when she was young, she told me.  His younger brother raced around the house on his bike which Thomas had difficulty mastering. He thought that by pushing the handlebars this would somehow propel the bike forward. It wasn’t till I took the trouble explaining the mechanics of pedalling with his feet activating  a chain for a wheel to turn that he finally got going on his bike. While his younger brother plays and watches sport, including soccer at 3am in the morning, Thomas could not get quick enough away from any sporting activity. It is amazing how the two grandsons are so different. You should see how organized his younger brother is. His room always spotless!

Thomas was over the moon and so were his mother and us. He scored 93 out of a top score of 99. For a complicated reason the top score is not 100.  The world of further study is now open. He tells us he might want to get a job for a years or so, save up, and see more of the world. His mum would have been happy with a score of 75 or so. You can just imagine her joy. (And ours) All credit to him though, he worked so hard.



The Toy Story: To buy or not to buy

August 3, 2010

Helvi Oosterman


Little boys love rummaging in those two-dollar shops that are mushrooming in the poorer parts of our cities and country towns. They are never happier than when you empty your purse or handbag on the table and divide the collection of coins in equal lots. ‘Oh, so much money,’ says the youngest who has not yet developed his monetary skills, and who still thinks that having $ 4, 76 equals being rich.

They find weird things like slime, and ‘stuff’ that you throw at windows or smooth painted doors, and that sticks there if you are lucky, and not if you aren’t. The rubber skeletons made in Taiwan are huge favourites. On the way home the skull usually comes loose and this will cause some grieve.

A quick promise of another one on the next trip, usually dries the tears and allows the welcome sleep to come and sooth the pain. Then there are the little hard balls that bounce and which you usually lose on the street on the way to the car, but thank god your brother or cousin has a six-pack of soft balls, that don’t bounce but allow themselves to be squeezed into any shape by sweaty little hands.

The little boys also always find a game that consists of a tiny plastic box and an even tinier ball that you have to shake through a maze, and finally out of the box. After a few tries, and no success in releasing the box-prisoner out, the game becomes boring and it’s carelessly dropped on the floor at the back of the car.

Gold coloured swords, and hatchets so blunt they that can’t cut butter, let alone hurt a friend, are high on the boys’ shopping lists. The first duel is not even finished when one fighter’s sword breaks in half, and this in turn breaks the dueller’s heart. Luckily you still have your inflatable plastic animals, dragons and dinosaurs to blow up. This kind of hard work is best left to kindly granddads. It takes a while to get them fully shaped, almost painfully slow for the little boy who wants to take his zoo into the swimming pool. It’s not a long walk to get there, long enough to deflate the dragons though, too many prickly things on the way…

When the three year old turns into five year old, the amount divvied up for a shopping trip has to be doubled. A couple years later it has to be enough to buy a Nintendo and so it goes. Finally they are not cute toddlers anymore but have turned into nice ten year olds who come to stay with their musical instruments and laptops under their arms.

They don’t cry so easily anymore over minor breakages; they know more about computers than their grandma, who in her turn still knows a little bit more about spelling and comes in handy when all are  sitting at same desk.

Those endless excursions to dime stores have paid off handsomely; the boys understand maths, and can do adding and subtracting without calculators. They have also learnt about the value of money and are all saving up for their BIG purchases, and they thank Opa for teaching them about frugality, that most wonderful of Dutch virtues!

Mother’s Day

May 7, 2010

Mother’s Day

Helvi Oosterman

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, but I feel it ought also be a celebratory day for Grandmothers, and let’s be generous and include the Pops, Diddas, Opas, Grandpas and Grands-peres, Abuelos and Isoisa too.

When grandson Jak was in six or seven, he supplied the following excellent reports of his maternal grandparents. They are of course about us:

Grandma is fun to play with.

Really good to me.

Always loving to me.

Never really angry to me.

Darling grandma.

Mostly always fun.

Always caring to me.

Grandpa is fun to play chess with.

Really nice to me.

Always loving to me.

Never angry at me.

Darling grandpa.

Perfect all the time.

Always caring to me.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you, and have a nice lunch with your extended families as well!