Recently, Mads has had two favourite games. The first one is called 'The Famous Artist Madeleine' and in this game I play the part of an adoring, slightly crazed art fan, who turns up at the studio of the Famous Artist Madeleine to be told by the person in charge of the studio (I'm not sure exactly who she is) that the Famous Artist Madeleine is in today and would I like to meet her? Then, when the Famous Artist Madeleine appears I get to fall about in adoration and the Famous Artist graciously deigns to show me some of her recent artwork.
The other game is 'Visiting the Doctors' in which I get to be a patient and Mads gets to jab needles in my arms, then she gives me a leaf (the bill?) and tells me, brusqely, to come back next week.
Both of these games, I have no doubt, have developed because most of Mads' non-kinder/ non-playground hours have been spent either at a museum/gallery or at the doctors. I don't think Mads has been to the doctors as much in her life as she has in the six weeks since we've arrived here. First there was the finger-jamming incident, quickly followed by the return visit for the all-clear-for-kinder health certificate. Then last week, there was another finger-injury. Thieu took her to a shopping centre and somehow, on the escalator, she managed to cut two of her fingers. Thieu said it was horrific. She wiped her hand across her face and soon there was blood everywhere and he had no idea where it was coming from.
Mads was, not surprisingly, screaming in horror during all this, and she and Thieu attracted quite a crowd. Our two weeks of German language lessons did not help much as he tried to communicate with the well-meaning passers-by, but eventually a couple of staff members whisked Mads and Thieu away to a quiet corner and cleaned them up. Sweets were administed. Mads got some too. And someone gave her a soft toy panda. Her injured fingers were very puffy and Mads couldn't move them, so an ambulance was called. More sweets. The ambos examined the fingers and said it wasn't a serious enough injury to go to the hospital in the ambulance, but that she should probably have an x-ray to check they weren't broken.
Meanwhile, I was oblivious to all this, as Thieu had forgotten his phone and didn't know my number, so he arrived home and uttered those terrifying words: 'Please don't freak out but.'
It was all fine though. The x-ray gave Mads the all clear. She loved the hospital and wanted to stay and play with the equipment, even though it was 9 pm. 'But the park is for sick kids, and I'm sick!' More sweets and a hasty exit. We still don't know exactly what happened but now we do a check of fingers and shoelaces whenever we get on an escalator. The soft toy panda has settled in well. 'He's a cute panda,' I said to Mads as I tucked him in beside her the other night. 'What's he called?' 'He's called Vagina,' Madeleine said, then rolled over and went to sleep.
As for the Famous Artist Madeleine game, well that would be because we've cranked up quite a few hours in the various (and I must say excellent) Frankfurt galleries. I had a deja-vu experience when we went to one called the Communication Museum and saw these:
Earlier this year someone definitely sent me an email with a picture of these sheep and I remember being quite taken with them. I think I may have sent the email on to other people, even. And suddenly, there they were! Right in front of me! It was like I'd walked into my own spam.
Now, jumping to an unrelated topic, I have to admit I've had some trouble getting Thieu to do his guest-blog although he swears he will. I shall continue hassling him about it, and I'll make sure he answers your excellent question about unfranked stamps in Frankfurt, Carolena. But not this week. Because we are off to Paris from tomorrow until Sunday to see what the galleries (and the hospitals) are like over there.