The mother of my children (MOMC) is in Norway for a few days, leaving me with the kids for the long weekend and the school days following. This is a reversal from our usual roles, where I'm galavanting about to Free Software conferences and she's at home dealing with the kids (and acting as editor for the town paper). It's been great weather so far, but how do you keep the kids busy?
Oddly enough it was the EU parliamentary elections that provided a solid friday afternoon's entertainment. I don't know how it is elsewhere within the union, but the distinguishing trait of the run up to the elections has been a total lack of a campaign, debate, or even information on what the whole darn thing is about. Sure, there's a few posters up saying "party X is against Brussels" (have you been there? the Brussels cheese is awesome in its horribleness). Friday's Trouw had a column decrying the lack of content in the election; saturday's NRC had a half page on this same lack.
Anyway, the Greens were out on the streets handing out invites to a picknick in the park. Since the kids were tagging along on my shopping expedition (shopping list: blue cheese, espresso coffee and soy sauce) I figured it would be a good thing to attend. I added a baguette and some camembert to the list. The campaign trail was said to contain a trampoline and a speech by the leader of the Greens in the Netherlands; one of those must be applicable to a 4- and a 6-year old.
One thing that particularly struck me was the lack of security at the event. National politicians who wander into a park and give a speech and then stick around for a glass of apple juice just seems odd. Good, but odd. Also I realised that explaining democratic structures to small kids is kind of complicated: "but dad, why is there a Dutch parliament as well as a European one?" Is that the principle of subsidiarity at play there?
I'll leave out the actual political content of the afternoon -- it was quite light in payload, but at least there was something, and that made for a refreshing change.
PS. The alternative would be to send the kids to the Glory Hole with Paul Adams (congrats on completing your thesis, dude). That would be humongous indeed.