Last night, we had planned to go to dinner with the program director, but the girls didn't nap and as evening approached, their wiredness got to the point that I begged off and told the girls that the three of us would be staying home for a quiet dinner, a bath, and an early bedtime. They were pretty upset. John and I sat in the living room, on the other end of the hall from the girls' bedroom, and realized in a few minutes that it was really quiet in their direction. They had fallen asleep at 5pm. Oh no! Now what to do? Do we wake them at 5:45, spinning the roulette wheel of preschool moods? Or do we let them sleep, running the risk that non-napper JieJie would be up at 8:30, tucking us in at midnight?
We decided to wake them, and lucked out. The program director walked us to an Austrian rib joint of all things, called Amadeus. There is a menu, but generally people just order the ribs, which are coming out of the kitchen every few minutes or so. It's 13 euro for all you can eat ribs and baked potatoes, plus molasses for the ribs and garlic butter for the potatoes. This was the first time JieJie and MeiMei had ever tried ribs, and they each finished half a rack! They seemed to like the relaxed atmosphere (1920's/30's Hot Jazz playing...reminded me of Little Rascals) and the fact that they were supposed to eat with their hands, the protocol of putting empty bones in an old enamelware bowl. By the end of dinner, JieJie said "take me here again!"
We got back to the apartment and watched Disney's Cinderella in Dutch ("Assepoester") and they went to bed. JieJie woke up at 4am asking for kleenex for her "ruddy doze" and I thought oh no, not a cold!
But we all slept in til about 8am, then had breakfast and watched some cartoons. We get all kinds of kids' shows here, a mixture of English, Dutch, French, German, and dubbed American programs. The one that made us laugh this morning was a very Gothic French cartoon called, I kid you not, Le Petit Vampire. From the looks of it, this story is about a little vampire and his family, a mom like a combo of Morticia Addams and Marlene Dietrich and a dad who is constantly eating scarlet forkfuls of raw meat. His cat (also red) floats in the air somehow. It was tres French.
John took the girls to the Steen, a castle/fort on the River Schelde, and I had almost an hour to myself in the apartment, which was nice. JieJie's cold doesn't seem worse, though we all took that Airborne stuff just to be safe. The girls are napping now, the weather varies between teasing sun and pelting cold rain, and tonight we dine at Samoerai, a teppan-yaki place. The girls are sure to like the spectacle of dinner being cooked before their eyes.
Tomorrow is a school day, and Tuesday our students arrive, all 32 of them!