It’s Sinterklaas fever here in the Netherlands.
He’s like a skinny Santa, who comes over from Spain on a boat, looks a bit like a bishop and rides a horse. Instead of elves, he has lots of questionably face-painted helpers. They randomly leave chocolate letters, presents and tiny cookies in shoes and then they all head back off to Spain again…it’s all a bit Dutch really.
The whole ramalamadingdong goes on for two and a half weeks…..My kids have FULLY embraced the tradition.
Such is their adoration, that I decided to use their Sint love to my advantage.
I changed my husband’s contact picture on my phone to Sinterklaas and his name to Sint. Then whenever I needed to, I could put a call in to the bearded fella to give a behaviour report.
Whenever my husband called, it was Sint calling to check up. Of course. I’m aware that it was a bit evil, but it worked like a feckin’ charm.
I suddenly had kids who would stop wrestling to put their shoes on, pick up their stuff and brush their teeth. Parenting WIN.
Ho ho ho mo fos.
Last week I volunteered to help out in my son’s school. They were making ‘pepernoten’ in his class. The teacher wanted an extra pair of hands to assist with the making and baking of these tiny, spiced Christmas cookies.
My Dutch is still in the mainly incomprehensible category, and I wondered how I’d actually be able to chat to the kids. It went surprisingly well. They were the nicest bunch of smalls and were very gracious in trying to understand me.
We were in full flow. The kids were sharing the mixing bowl, no one was rioting and the whole school was full of the smell of baking Christmas cookies.
I was at the oven putting a batch of cookies in and my phone rang. It was on the kids’ table being used as a baking timer. I let it ring out, as I had my hands full with not-very-burnt pepernoten. The kids collective inhalation was so dramatic though, that I glanced around.
They were all staring owl eyed at my ringing phone.
The phone said SINT.
There was a picture of Sint.
To their understanding Sinterklaas was calling me.
They lost their minds. I mean they REALLY fell apart.
The teacher came in. She calmly listened to their hysteria. She translated. Straight faced she said,
“They mainly want to know WHY he is calling you”.
I said what any parent would say.
“To check up on your behaviour.”
The kids gravely nodded and all started outlining for me their various good deeds. Bless them. I promised to pass on the information. What else could I say? If they were well behaved before the call, they were all angelic like for the rest of the session.
I had 4 volunteers helping me clean up.
And my 6 year old is now infamous in school for being the kid whose mum has a direct line to Sinterklaas.