My darling two-and-a-bit-year-old son has started at a little German playgroup four mornings a week. It is a Waldkindergarten, which means the children spend as much time outdoors as possible, whatever the weather. Most days he goes togged up in his rain-gear since it is, naturellement, raining. They do have a room where they can retire to play if the weather is completely foul, but the kindergarten guarantees a minimum of half an hour spent outside every day, come rain, snow, hail or monsoon. When the weather is good, they are out all morning long.
All this exposure to fresh air has had the wonderful benefit of Ollie’s sleeping like a log all afternoon. He often falls asleep on the way home in the pram, and if not, then during his lunch or immediately after. He is one tired baby.
Another benefit is that he starting to speak German. In English, he is already a verbal guy (future girlfriends will be happy about this), who talks about his feelings (“I luf you, Mummy”) and expresses his needs (“I need milk. I NEED it!”), so it’s been fascinating to witness his German arrive. In five weeks he has gone from single words (ja, nein, Auto, Polizei) to sentences.
Today, after I had changed his nappy, he stood up on his changing mat, tenderly stroked my cheeks, looked deep into my eyes and declared, “Du bist meine Papa.”
Given the way he feels about his dad, this is the highest of compliments. I am honoured.