Tim Notermans (36) is married to Shirley (34) and father of Nala (5) and Bodhi (2).
“Shirley and I had a child’s wish and she really wanted to be pregnant before she turned thirty. We succeeded. We were lucky that it hit both times quickly. Before I became a father I already thought that a child would bring me a lot of love and I looked forward to passing on my love and knowledge. You often hear that babies are boring for men, but that was not my experience. I loved cuddling and tutting.”
“I expected that I would be very clear and consistent as a father. In practice, this works out differently. When there’s a lot of crying and whining, I start to question my position: shouldn’t I just give in? And to be honest, sometimes I go for the easy way: okay, you watch television for a while, then daddy has a rest for a while.”
“Sometimes Nala and Bodhi push the limits, then they play wild or grab something dirty from the floor. Then I try not to intervene too quickly, they can try anything as long as it is not dangerous. I leave them free to develop themselves and I don’t want to limit their imagination and creativity. We also rarely have coloring pictures at home, let them think of something themselves on a blank sheet of paper. Coloring within the lines will come later.”
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Breath in breath out
“The most difficult are the moments when it is all too much. For example, if everyone asks something from me at the same time while I’m busy. And Bodhi can sometimes cry or scream like a real toddler if he doesn’t get his way. Then I have to take three deep breaths to stay calm.”
“Nala is very calm, caring and sweet. With our second child I expected a kind of copy of Nala, but Bodhi is very boisterous, wild and energetic. Funny how children of the same parents can be so different from each other.”
“Nala sometimes, while unaware of any harm, sings along with English songs with dirty words that she really shouldn’t know yet. That makes me laugh. She makes me happy anyway. When I pick her up from school she runs up to me for a big hug, that gives me so much energy.
The best part is when Nala, Bodhi and Shirley all fall asleep on the couch next to me. Then I look at those faces and consider myself lucky.”
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