More space

This year, for the first time ever, we decided to go the traditional way and also send a postcard to the grandmas.
The process in a nutshell is that I write the text and ask the family members to sign the card – which our children also did, see the place indicated in an arrow.

Me (to our daughter while trying to hide my smile with moderate succes): ‘So you signed it there?’

She (upset): Look. I am 15, and have grown up with a smartphone. I’ve never ever seen such a thing and there was more space there, ok?’

Best mom ever

My daughter (14 – storming in the room where I am reading): ‘Now I am coming and disturb you!!’
Me: ‘And how are you planning to do that?’
She: ‘So that I’m here and not letting you read!!’
Me: ‘You are my daughter, I am happy any time to see you and talk to you.’
She: ‘Mamaaaaa – can’t you just normally play this game??’
Me: ‘Ah, I am awfully sorry… ok, have you visited your bother yet?’
She: ‘You are a genius! The best mama on Earth!!’

How things go

Our daughter (14): ‘Papa!!! A spider!!!! Get it out of here!!!!’
My husband: ‘Relax, Sweetie, 1 little spider sitting peacefully in the corner..’
Our daughter: ‘Yes, 1…. FOR THE MOMENT! Then it gets married, will have babies and live here happily, all of them, more and more!! Papa, I am a teenager, I exactly know how these things go, all right?’


My daughter (14) is currently getting dressed in big rush to leave home in order to meet her best friend. 
The reason for the delay is that in the last 1 hour she and the same friend were on social media carefully discussing all details, among them that they should meet absolutely on time and so under no circumstances should they be late.
They finished the call 5 mins before the meeting itself.
Technology is a blessing.

All science

Me (to my daughter): ‘Noëmi, what are you doing?’

She (14): ‘Measuring my weight.’
Me: ‘Ok, but shouldn’t you put those things down first from your hands?’
She: ‘No, because I measure myself every day and I know myself that I always carry the laptop/ gsm/ charger wherever I go, so I must have had them in my hand yesterday, too, when I checked my weight. And so if I measured myself without these things now, I would get inaccurate results..’
If it is scientifically underpinned then it’s all fine.

Effective problem solving

i hear my children talk this morning:

Walter (10): ‘Noëmi, I don’t know what happened, my mobile phone won’t work – can you fix it, please?’

Noëmi (14): ‘Ok, let me see… ready, here you are. It was quite simple – even mama would have been able to fix it. So may I ask you to next time check with her first, and only if there is a real tech problem, come to me?’


We went out for a drink with our daughter (14), together with her BFF (they don’t have ‘friends’ any more, that’s archaic remains, now they have BFFs, right?), and I managed to take some really good photos. It’s widely known how perfect photo subjects teenagers can be, which issue is deepened by specific circumstances, such as whenever you have more than 1 individual from this very unique age group, and so after this intro you might have found out already that my offspring in this picture is located on the left. I succeeded, however, to take beautiful memories of some total strangers, e.g. look at that nice lady in her perfectly sharp green cardigan..

There is always another solution

School yard, long break.

One of the teachers (dragging a sobbing 5-year old along to my daughter):

‘Noëmi, Tim says you have just called him an Exceptionally Wicked Child.’

My daughter (13): ‘Correct.’

Teacher: ‘May I ask you not to call him this name any more? You can see it hurts him a lot, he is crying.’

My daughter: ‘Tim hit my little brother a few minutes ago so hard from behind that Walter is still in pain.

If somebody is an Exceptionally Wicked Child, I think it is fair to call hem an ‘Exceptionally Wicked Child’.’

Teacher: ‘I understand now – still, could you please find another solution?’

My daughter: ‘Well, OK. Since this level of wickedness is really exceptional and does not occur very frequently in our school, in the future I will call him ‘Limited Edition’.’


Our daughter (13) coming home, changing clothes in the hall, meaning dragging her shorts off through her boots.

She (quickly looking at my face while I am watching the heroic struggle):

‘Mom, I know you have difficult moments right now, and I want you to know how proud I am of you that you do not say a word…and that you keep it this way..’


Our son (10): ‘Grandma, Grandma..!’
Grandma: ‘Just a moment, Walter, you can see that now I am talking to your sister, I cannot pay attention to 2 places at a time..’
Walter: ‘Very understandable, Grandma. I totally agree that it is best if you pay attention only to me.’
Ok, so let that 2020 begin..

Excuse me

We are buying some sweaters to our daughter in NL.
The method recommended by her is the following: I take a photo of her in each piece and then on the basis of the pics she takes the decision.
I pop the question: what if she just takes a look directly in the mirror?
From her look I conclude it was the Ultimate Evidence of Misunderstandings cross Generations. 
I say a quiet ‘sorry’ and back out of the changing room with my eyes downcast.

It’s all perspective

Me (to my 13-yr-old daughter): ‘Can you remind me, please, what the Dutch verb ‘verwennen’ means? I forgot..’

She: ‘It means e.g. when parents pamper their children, do everything for them..’

Me: ‘Ah, now I start to understand. But ‘pamper/do everything for them’ – you mean in the positive or negative sense?’

She: ‘From whose perspective?’


Our daughter (13):
‘Grown-ups always warn children of two things: eat healthy, and never accept anything from strangers.
At Santa time of the year, however, they themselves encourage children to accept in shops and even in the street a crazy amount of candies and lollies from not only total strangers they know nothing about, but also from totally creepy strangers who wear such a strong make up under which it is impossible to recognise anybody, not to mention if you need later to identify the guy.
Grown-ups are not logical.’


A regular Sunday evening home – each member of our family communicating in his/her own temper.

Me (exhausted): ‘I’ve been suspecting for a while that our children have inherited some secret Italian genes..’

My husband: ‘I would love to talk to you about it only I cannot hear what you’re saying..’

Just another key argument

Our daughter (13) started secondary school in September, and now is preparing for the approaching exam period.
She is checking her digital agenda for the exam schedule, and sees the following notes:
– “Catholic studies: EXAM!!”
– “Islam studies: EXAM!!”
She (who attends ‘ethics’ at school – as an alternative for children of non-religious families): 
‘Mama, you and papa were totally right. Just found another key argument in favour of atheism.’


We have an acquaintance – a kind lady in her 60s, she leads a very sporty life, and cares about her appearance in every respect – of which she is rather proud.

At this moment she is trying to chitchat with our little son.

Sporty Lady (sending an encouraging smile): ‘And, Walter, can you guess how old I am?’

Walter (carefully studying her before giving an answer): ’80?’

Walter is a charmeur.

A day in the life of a unicorn

Our daughter, Noëmi (13), this morning travels to Amsterdam, NL, with her music school class to watch a famous musical. The children need to be delivered to the school bus by 10 o’clock (the meeting place is located 15 min from our home by bike).

Now you need to know that Noëmi is not that nervous type.

Readiness status:

9.22 – She has already put on one of her socks

9.28 – And now the other one

9.34 – ..Pardon, it was too early to be so self-confident. True, she has started to put on her other sock – which process was then dramatically interrupted by other Activities of Higher Priority, such as an incoming chat message, the patterns on her socks, remembering a funny story having happened 3.5 years ago, a piece of interesting-shape dust on the ceiling..

9.40 – She finally starts to have breakfast

9.44 – ..No, correction: it’s more accurate to say that ‘she sat down next to her plate’.

I, like some high-ranking military training instructor, give her reminders ranging tone from the ‘soft & friendly’ to the ‘loud & powerful’ in all imaginable styles and genres.

My daughter in the meanwhile is kindly asking about my workplace, how things go there, and is giving me some coaching wherever she feels it imperative. She seems to be ready not only to consume her 2-course breakfast within the remaining 35 seconds, but also to address all issues of her mother’s employer.

9.49 – She starts to brush teeth.

We, parents, encourage her tooth-by-tooth.

9.52 – She gets enthusiastic:

‘Mama, papa, this school trip will be such an exciting experience!!’

My husband (in a somber tone):

’My Dearest Daughter, apart from you for all other family members already your leaving home is rather an exciting experience.’

Ps 1: The label on her T-shirt is a summary of her CV.

Ps 2: From among experiencing the above and reporting about it in my blog, it was the latter one being the more fun.

Time flies when you are having fun

Our son (10): ‘Mama, what is a ‘gramophone’?
Me: ‘Walter, it was similar to a record player, and…’
Walter: ‘A recordwhat?’
Our daughter (13): ‘Thanks, Mama, I’ll take over from here, if I may.
Walter, a gramophone was a device on which mama and her friends used to listen to music: they put a big CD on an even bigger machine, and scratched the surface with a needle. Of course, you don’t exactly know what a CD is, being totally outdated technology by now, but what you do need to remember is that gramophone was just like Spotify, only it took funnily big room in the house.’

Me big – she small

If Saturday, it is table tennis lesson for my daughter.

It’s me biking with her to the training.

Suddenly, on our way, I realise that she is wearing the wrong shoes (black street footwear instead of sporty ones), so I suggest her to play bare footed today (as 2nd best option).

She (studying my outfit): ‘Or, mama, as you are wearing your white sneakers, maybe to simply change shoes for the training..’

Me (patronisingly): ‘Creative idea, Sweetheart, indeed, but of course there is no way our sizes match..’

The photo is taken of me already on the bench.

Thiiiings can only get better

My husband (during morning preparations): ‘Noëmi, go down please to the living room, but first dress up all by yourself, and then have something for breakfast which is not biscuits, but preferably something healthy.’

Noëmi (13) turning her eyes towards the ceiling in despair): ‘So many unpleasant news, and the day has just started..’

Antwerp – home of fashion

Today with my daughter (13) I participated in a guided tour – ‘Antwerp Fashion Walk’ – where we got a short summary of the history of the most famous local designers & brands, and could look into some of the collections as well.
My opinion about the exhibited pieces was best expressed by my daughter, saying: 
‘Out of the 1000 pieces I would put on 2 – provided I was paid enough..’
Ma Noémivel (13) anya-lánya programon vettünk részt: Antwerpeni Divat Séta – kiscsoportos vezetett túra a legfőbb helyi tervezők és brandek életútjának rövid áttekintésével, valamint a kollekció egyes darabjainak megtekintésével.
A bemutatott darabokról alkotott véleményem lányom foglalta össze legtalálóbban:
“Az 1000-ből kb 2-t felvennék – ha sokat fizetnének érte.”

Complexity reduction

One evening we are returning from the beach.

My children are quarrelling with each other – just like usual: it has been a long day, and they are cold.

But then they realise: we have a blanket with us!


And with this, we have found the basic recipe for world-peace: fewer blankets than freezing angry people.

Things are usually more simple than they might seem.

It’s all so relative..

My daughter (13): ‘Mama, wow, in this outfit you look like a teen!!’

Me: ‘Oh, you are so kind..’

My son (9): ‘What is a ‘teen’?’

My daughter: ‘Somebody, who compared to you, is very, very old ..’


Noémi (13): “Anya, wow, ebben a ruhában most úgy nézel ki, mint egy tinédzser!”
Én: “Oh, nagyon köszönöm..”
Walter (9): “Mi az a ‘tinédzser’?”
Noémi: “Az olyasvalaki, Walter, aki hozzád képest nagyon nagyon öreg..”

Family as unlimited source of innovation

Innovation idea: free Parental Control App.

When you visit huge places where the risk is high that your child may get lost, in order to easily find her back all you need is to install this app which will show you the map of the building with detailed information on the location of the electric outlets.

The 2.0 version of the same app will add the map of the best Public WiFi Hotspots of the same building.


Innovációs javaslat: ingyenes Szülői Felügyeleti app.

Nagyobb épületek, pl pláza családi látogatásakor, ahol fennáll a veszélye annak, hogy a családtagok szem elől tévesztik egymást, tinédzser gyermekek megtalálása a jövőben játszi könnyedséggel!! 
Mindössze ezen app installálása szükséges, mely az épület villamos tervrajza betöltésével megmutatja a helyszínen található konnektorok elhelyezkedését.
Fejlesztés alatt: ugyanezen app 2.0 verziója már az épület legerősebb nyilvános wi-fi hotspotok szerinti alaprajzát is tartalmazza.

Been there, done that..

Yesterday I enrolled my daughter, Noëmi (13) to her secondary school. 
I am having a conversation with the school administrator, if they need to know anything important about her before she starts in September. 
Me: ’She is trilingual.’ 
School: ‘Great!’
Me: ‘She is lazy as hell’.
School (understanding): ’So she is a very normal teenager. Any learning difficulties?’
Me: ‘She will claim she has it in maths – but you should not believe her. See bullet point above.’
School: ‘Of course not. We have many students who try the same trick, she will feel right at home.. Anything else we need to know?’
Me. ‘She will negotiate on everything. I mean eve-ry-thing.’
School (happily): ‘With this attitude she has already well integrated with her peers. Welcome to our school, we are very much looking forward to have her on board in September.’
Tegnap beirattam Noémit (13) a választott középiskolájába, ahova jövő évtől jár majd.
Iskolatitkár Úr kérdezi tőlem, mit írjanak a gyermek fájljába, amit esetleg érdemes róla tudniuk a szeptemberi kezdéshez. 
Én: “3 nyelvű”
Iskola: “Szuper!” 
Én: “Egy lusta dög”.
Iskola (megértően): “Tinédzser. Az volna gyanús, ha nem így volna. Van bármilyen tanulási nehézsége?”
Én: “Ő legalábbis azt fogja állítani, hogy matematikából van neki ilyenje – de önök ne higyjenek neki. Lásd előző pont.” 
Iskola (vidáman): “Oh, ezt ismerjük. Gyakorlatilag csak ilyen diákjaink vannak Bármi egyéb?”
Én: “Mindent megcsellendzsel majd. MIN-DENT.”
Ő: “Ezzel gyakorlatilag már be is illeszkedett tanulóink sorába. Nagy szeretettel várjuk Noémit szeptemberben.”

Books and their covers

My daughter (13) has recently received braces on her teeth.

She could choose between many different colours, finally ending up with a pink set.

The dentist, a lady in her 50s, gave her a big smile and confirmed that she could totally understand the colour choice, being ‘nicely girlish’.

My daughter listened to her politely, eventually remarking: 

‘It could be also a reason for my choice. 

..But actually, this is the shade of colour that best matches the anti-theft alert app that I installed on my smartphone a while ago, and use as a Wallpaper ever since.’

Never judge a book by its colour – nor a generation Z female by her braces colour.


Noémi (13) a napokban fogszabályzót kapott.

Rengeteg színből választhatott – végül a rózsaszín mellett döntött.

A fogász, egy 50 körüli hölgy, mindezt széles (és hibátlan) mosollyal nyugtázta, és biztosította lányom, hogy teljességgel megérti döntését, mert “a rózsaszín az olyan aranyosan lányos”.

Lányom udvariasan végighallgatta, majd a kedvesen megjegyezte, hogy akár ez is lehetne döntése alapja, bár ő történetesen azért ezt a színt választotta, mivel árnyalatban ez passzol leginkább ahhoz a lopásgátló app-hez, amit a napokban installált, és amit screen-saver azóta is használ az iPhone-ján.

Ne ítélj meg egy könyvet a borítója – egy tinédzser lányt pedig a fogszabályzó színe alapján.

Dietary restrictions for teenagers

Our family in the furniture store. 
I am still checking for an item, we agree that in the meanwhile they’ll get something in the shop restaurant for lunch.
Returning to our table I find the following products in front of my 13-yr old daughter:
– 2 giant pistachio macaroons 
– 1 slice of chocolate cake
– 1 box of whipped cream 
– a bottle of chocolate drink.
Me (casting an amazed look): ‘Wow. Let me take a picture of this first.’
My husband (in an educative tone): ‘Please do not further encourage her by even taking a photo!!’
Me (patiently): ‘Fair point, darling. Let us maybe try to remember for a second under whose Close Surveillance she could purchase these things and call it ‘lunch’..’
My husband: ‘Well… of course we shouldn’t go personal and pointing fingers here… And anyway, she bought a fruit salad, too!!!!’
As it turned out, the latter one only from practical reasons – poor teenagers do need something to keep their smartphones, after all..
Családi bútorvásárlás. 
Én rövid kitérő után csatlakozom hozzájuk ebédre az étteremben.
Lányom szigorú étrendjét a következő fogások képezik:
– 2 óriás pisztácia macaron
– 1 szelet csokoládétorta
– 1 doboz tejszínhab
– 1 üveg kakaó.
Én: “Noémi, ezt muszáj lefotóznom.”
Házastársam (rosszallóan): “Ne bátorítsd azzal, hogy még fotót is készítesz róla!!”
Én: “Jogos..egy pillanatra idézzük csak fel, pontosan kinek a Szoros Felügyelete alatt is sikerült mindezen élelmiszerekre szert tennie..”
Házastársam: “Najó najó, nem kell rögtön személyeskedni.. És egyébként is gyümölcssalátát is választott!!!”
Mint kiderült, ez utóbbit tisztán praktikus okokból – végülis szegény gyereknek valamivel a mobiltelefonját is csak ki kell támasztania.

The long term benefits of having a teenage sis

My son (9) trying to snuggle to his teenage sister (13): 
‘Noëmi, may I give you a kiss & hug?’
Noëmi (13) (with a savage look): ‘GRRRRRR!!!!!!!!’
My son (rationally): ‘I see. Then I guess I will try it again within 3-4 years..’
Walter (tinédzser nővéréhez bújósan) (9): “Noémi, adhatok egy puszit és ölelést?”
Noémi (13) (vad tekintettel): “GRRRRRR!!!!!!”
Walter (racionálisan): “Értem. Akkor talán térjünk erre vissza úgy 3-4 év múlva..” 

Door-slamming vortex

My daughter (13): ‘Mama, I would like to kindly inform you that you and papa are really lucky with me that despite I am a teenager, I do not do the usual pubertal things such as ups and downs in mood, irritating tone, speaking over my shoulder, or lecture you on what to think and what not.’
Me: ‘We are grateful’
Noémi (13): “Anya, elmondanám neked, h elképesztően szerencsések vagytok velem, amiért én nem produkálom a szokásosan idegesítő pubertás dolgokat, úgy mint váltakozó hangulat, irritáló hangsúlyok, félvállról beszélgetés. Én nem mondom meg nektek, hogy miről mit gondoljatok. Remélem, tisztában vagytok vele, milyen kegyesen bánik veletek a Sors!!”
Én: “Nem lehetünk elég hálásak.”

Juan Carlos for President

My daughter (13 years old) has been learning to play the jazz saxophone for 5 months. 
Her teacher, Juan C, a gentleman from Cuba, is a professional musician, who has taken up teaching not so long ago – meaning he does not necessarily follow the ‘music school protocols’ in each and every aspect.
Now e.g. in order to introduce his students to the Real World from a very early age of their studies, for today he organised a small concert for them in one of the local jazz cafes in Antwerp.
I find it simply gorgeous – at least I still clearly remember that the peak moment of my music school studies was when I could play at the Christmas concert in the local old-age home.
My daughter’s concert performance has been recorded, which – in order not to hurt the sensitivity of those of my readers here who are not completely deaf – I’m not going to show now. 
Rather a photo: this was taken 5 months ago, the day when she could touch her saxophone for the first time.
By the way, approximately the same day when I last saw her practicing.
– Hungarian follows –
Szóval az úgy volt, h Noémi (13) 5 hónapja a helyi zeneiskola szervezésében jazz szaxofonozni tanul. 
Az oktatója, Juan Carlos, egy kubai úriember, aki főfoglalkozású koncertzenész, valamint saját produkciós céget irányít. 
Utóbbi okán, tehát hogy a tanítás inkább mellékszál az életében, és amúgy gyakorló előadó, az oktatási módszertanról alkotott nézetei sem a zeneiskolákban (legalábbis számomra) megszokottak. 
Annak érdekében pl hogy a gyerekek ne csupán az iskola elzárt világában zenéljenek, hanem már rögtön a hangszerrel való ismerkedés kezdeteitől megtapasztalhassák, hogy mire is (lesz majd egyszer soká) jó ez az egész, szervezett nekik mára egy fellépést az egyik helyi jazz kávéházban.
Szerintem az ötlet káprázatos, legalábbis én még élénken emlékszem, hogy zeneiskolai hangszeres tanulmányaim csúcspontját az a délután jelentette, mikor karácsonyi műsor keretében felléptünk a kerületi idősek otthonában.  
Lányom mai szerepléséről egyébként videofelvétel is készült, amit a nem teljesen süket olvasókra tekintettel most inkább nem tennék közzé – majd ha már a játszott dallam is felismerhető lesz. Az addig hátralevő 10-15 évet a fentebb csatolt fotóval kívánom áthidalni: ez a kép aznap készült, amikor 5 hónappal ezelőtt először fogta kezébe a hangszert. 
Megjegyzem, gyakorolni is hozzávetőlegesen ekkor láttam utoljára.

Some words on different perspectives..

Just seen this photo on the internet.

I asked my family members to interpret the picture:

My older child (13 – a Generation Z teenager..): “The 2 birds are fighting for food!”

Then I asked her little brother (9): “They are sharing food/ feeding each other..”.

Asked myself, a lawyer: “It’s what we call a ‘joint possession’..”

Asked my husband, an engineer: “The fish is too big, the birds are trying to cut it into two.”

Whatever the interpretation is, it would most probably not be the right moment to run a satisfaction survey on the fish, as the client.

Diamonds are a girl’s best..

My daughter (13): “For my birthday could I have a necklace, please?”

Me: “Sure. Today is Sunday, the shops are closed here in Antwerp, but next week..”

She: “But I know some shops do stay open – around Antwerp Central Station..”

Me: “I see.., what you have in mind is apparently the diamond salons.

Risking that now I probably seem unreasonably difficult in your eyes, still may I ask you darling to limit yourself to jewels that cost less than the double of our mortgage..?”