This situation happened yesterday as I was looking after my sick 2 year old. She had viral croup, the flu and conjunctivitis. There was snot in her matted hair, she was in dirty pjs she wouldn’t let me change and she was milking the woebegone look.

My kids are sick so often that I’ve renamed them Pestilence and Plague. I’m convinced they do it on purpose for the treats and cuddles. They get sick school friends to lick them.

Plague was on the sofa, feeling crap. I was sitting next to her going quietly mad while watching too much Topsy and Tim, eating grape kebabs (it’s a thing – Plague eats stuff if I put it on a stick) and drinking squash.

Our front window looks out onto the street outside. Our neighbours like to look in and judge our levels of chaos. Yesterday as we were sitting on our sofa, a man in overalls waved at my front window. He was clutching three knives in his left hand. He held them up and gestured at us to open the door. One of the knives was a carving knife.

My daughter chirped up, from her feverish slump, that she’d get the door.

I declined.

I stared at the man. He frowned at me, clearly beginning to feel impatient.

He shouted something incomprehensible through the window. As if this clarified things.

And then he sighed at me. The sigh. That very particular Dutch sigh that told me I had broken a social rule…..For one second I actually considered opening the door. Well, I wouldn’t want the knife wielding psychopath to think I was being RUDE, would I?

I realised that death at the hands of a triple bladed maniac was not better than looking after a sick toddler (….by a very small margin) I shook my head and trilled,

‘No thank you’,

He tutted at me and left.

I was left very unclear as to what had just happened.

I was born in Ireland, grew up in England and met my Cornish husband in Catalonia. We now live in the Netherlands, in Dutch suburbia with our two differently wired, small kids. I spend my days parenting, writing and being amazed at all the Dutchness around me.

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