Warts and All

After years of ignoring my problem the time has come to take action.

I’ve got a crop of verrucas on my feet. They’ve been there for a very long time, but weren’t bothering me until recently. A couple of years ago I had them frozen and I thought that would be it, but they were just dormant, obviously so deep I didn’t notice them and now I have a new small dark-centred spot on the second toe of my right foot.

It’s 8am. I ring the doctor. To get an appointment for the same day, you have to ring my doctor between 8am and 8.30am. The answer machine tells me I am in a queue and will be answered shortly. I put the phone on speaker and shove the kids into the bathroom to brush their teeth. S is resisting. He grabs the brush, licks all the toothpaste off and wiggles it about on his tongue.

“Go get your shoes quick” I snap at A. “We’re in a hurry”

The assistant is busy and will answer your call shortly

I try to wrestle S out of his pyjama bottoms to put a clean nappy on him.

“No no no!” he shouts at me

Holding firmly onto his left leg I manage to open the poppers and pull the old nappy off. I try to lie him down on the sofa but he screams uncontrollably, tears are bursting from his eyes, he’s red in the face and he’s rotating from side to side.

To any innocent person who had never met a 2-year-old before he would look like he was having some kind of seizure.

The assistant is busy and will answer your call shortly

“Keep still” I’m pleading with him. A has to be at school in 5 minutes.

OK shall I push him down flat with all my force or just carry him to school with a bare bum?

The assistant is busy and will answer your call shortly

“Help! I can’t handle this anymore” I’m starting to have my own tantrum.

I run to the door to find my jacket, run back to S, try to lie him on the sofa, he pushes me back and escapes again, I run back to the door to help A with her boots, I run to the kitchen to grab an apple and stuff it in A’s bag.

The assistant is busy and will answer your call shortly

 P is on his way down the stairs and supposed to be leaving for work, but I‘m starting to panic.

“We’re late! We’re always bloody late! I’m just trying to get his nappy on! I can’t stand this!”

“Ok go, just go” says P “leave him here, I’ll wait”


I hold A by the hand and run out and across the road to school.

A is taking her coat and hat off in the hallway. The phone is still in my pocket. I can hear the same message still on repeat.

The assistant is busy and will answer your call shortly

We go into the class and A takes her place in the circle. The teacher starts her gentle lyrical singing. The room hushes and the children start to join in. I quickly move to the doorway of the classroom, turn the speaker phone off and hold it to my ear. The display tells me that I’ve been on hold for 11 minutes, so I’m not giving up just yet.

The assistant is busy and will answer your call shortly

…“Good morning, Dr. Meeuwvis, how can I help you”


“Um yes I need to make an appointment” I’m whispering in the hallway next to the open door of the classroom. As quietly as I can I try to explain to the woman on the other end of the phone that I have several verrucas on my feet (I’m actually using the word likdoorn which I think is the Dutch word for corn because I don‘t know the word for verruca).

I get an appointment, hang up and look around to see if anyone has heard my conversation. Then I creep back into the classroom and stand behind A until they sing the goodbye mums and dads song. I give her a big hug and head back home.

S has got his nappy on! Yippee!

Now for the trousers and shoes. P and I spend another half an hour coaxing him out the door with apple flavoured rice cakes. For a crazy moment I forget the crucial rules of managing a 2-year-old and I open the front door. No!

“me do it, me do it”

More screaming. We have to close the door again. Go back inside and spend 10 minutes of S trying to reach the catch, lifting him up, fiddling and straining, him pulling at the handle. Now we’re out and we bundle him in the bike. He goes rigid and won’t get in. We give him biscuits. He screams when I try to get the safety belt over his head, but I just have to go at this point and zip up the front of the bakfiets (bike with a front container). He’s kicking and yelling under the plastic cover as I cycle along.

The doctor is a stand-in trainee doctor today. A young man of about 30.

Yes they are ‘wratten’. Foot warts.


This sounds a lot more harsh than ‘verruca’ which is a rather pleasant word, and could almost be a girl’s name. Now the doctor offers to freeze them for me and I agree.

He fetches a huge tank of liquid nitrogen, some small sticks and cotton wool. We discover that I have a total of nine ‘foot warts’. He dips the cotton wool into the liquid nitrogen. There’s a white icy fog billowing out of the tank. He presses down hard onto the sole of my foot. Wow this is intense! It hurts like hell! S is looking at me closely. I grimace at him but try not to cry out. I breathe out in a long controlled out-breath. It reminds me of all those breathing exercises I learnt for giving birth. The doctor takes a new stick and continues on to the next spot.                                                                                   

S is standing glued to my leg with his toy bunny in his mouth. He peers at the white marks appearing under my feet,

“Mummy got a ow-ie”


When we’re finished with all nine we wait a minute or two and then the doctor repeats the whole process again.

“It’ll take a couple of weeks to heal”

I shake the doctor by the hand and we leave.

I hobble into the lift. S has a great time pressing the buttons and then we go outside hand in hand.


The baby has started talking. Well he is a toddler really I suppose. He totters about in his dungarees kicking a ball, chasing balloons, tripping over and banging his head on tables a lot. Maybe from now on I will give him his very own grown up letter – S.

Anyway he is talking, just a few words, like ‘mooo’ for a cow, ‘nose’, ‘ow!’ (when the said bumping and banging happens, he is very dramatic about it). He can also say ‘wow’, often when there’s a large rubbish truck going past or I produce strawberries from the fridge. It is all very cute really and like any parent I coo in wondrous appreciation as his vocabulary grows (even if other people can’t distinguish a moo from a shoe, or a juice from a cheese for that matter) His current favourite word is ‘toast’! He loves the stuff. The only time I am a little less charmed by this new ability to talk is at 6am. When he wakes up in the morning he stands up in his cot and shouts ‘toast!’ at the top of his lungs, he doesn’t stop until I go in and get him. He used to accept a little cuddle in mum and dad’s bed in the morning, but now it is no-nonsense, dead-on target, ‘let’s get down those stairs and get the toaster going mum’ and he will not tolerate a single moment of faff in between. If mum is not properly organised the night before with socks, pyjama bottoms, a handful of nappies at the ready, if I need to go back into my own room to pull on my slippers for instance I am greeted by a full on tantrum. And tantrums at 6am are a whole new kettle of stinking rancid fish that you don’t even want to know about. So I try to minimise the risk and have the necessary clothing/changing equipment piled up on the landing.

Then we run downstairs in the dark, and I slice the bread. He continues saying ‘toast’ until I tell him he needs to wait for the pop. Then he changes his mantra to ‘pop…pop’

P claims that I have already infiltrated little S with my English toast obsession. I have mentioned before in a previous post the Dutch crazy love of bread, and it having an almost holy place in the average Dutch diet, they wouldn’t pollute the pureness of the beloved ‘broodje’ (sandwich) by toasting the stuff.

Once the toast is ready and S is happily in his high chair munching we can relax and chat, as long as we stick mostly to a conversation using one-syllable words that contain the letter ‘O’.

Another new word that I’m not overly keen on is ‘phone’. Typical up-to-the-minute baby that he is, he grabs the phone out of my hand and uses his grubby little teeny weeny index finger to slide through all the various apps looking for something that he can accidentally buy for me. It is amazing how fast things seem to be moving along. A is 4 and a half and when she was his age and she grabbed the phone out of my hand it still had buttons to press.

Unfortunately he also likes throwing things. Yesterday he grabbed the iphone and threw it on the floor. We have a wooden floor and the impact cracked the front panel of the phone. I picked it up and bellowed in that half drill, half ox giving birth like way that P is always telling me off for. (Quick aside: In my opinion if P was a 24 hour parent like I am and didn’t get to escape to ‘work’ he would have developed his own equally annoying noise).  It is a noise of utter frustration that I make instead of swearing or hitting anyone.

I am shouting “I DO NOT BELIEVE THIS!!”

I wouldn’t have reacted so severely, if it was not for the fact that this has just happened to me not even a month ago. I had been holding onto my bike with one hand, I had leaned across to pick up the potatoes I was buying at the market and the phone had fallen out of my pocket and onto the ground, where it had royally smashed. I had had to ring a whippersnapper of a young iphone fixing boy to drive over (charging me petrol money by the kilometre) to replace the glass. It cost 80 euros!

How could I be so idiotic? How could I not have bought a cover for it the first time this happened? And why did I let a toddler anywhere near the damn thing? Now I start directing my frustration at the stupid thing itself and those abominable people at Apple for making it. It is clearly a way of fleecing all of us suckers who fall for their ‘must-have’ marketing. How can it be so easy to break that a hock high teeny toddler can smash it by dropping it on a wooden floor?

This is the cycle of thought that I am trapped in for the rest of the afternoon. I stick sellotape across the screen and set about grumpily trying to get dinner ready. S totters about with his bare feet pat-patting on the wooden floor bumping his head on the dinner table. He occasionally runs into the kitchen and climbs up onto a high step to examine the vegetables I am chopping. He fingers the courgette without enthusiasm and shouts ‘toast!’