It’s a toy story

December 6th is coming… the day of “Sinterklaas” or Saint Nicholas.

Sint Nicolas presents on the 6th of December 2008

In our region we have the joy of getting both presents on Saint Nicholas and on Christmas. We have both Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus! I know, sounds confusing but what matters is that we get toys twice in December… how cool is that?!?


So every year kids find out if they have been good or not that year and if so, they get a presents from the holy man. He comes to us from Spain with his steamboat and his Black Pete’s to spread candy and toys and it’s always a wonderful time of year when he arrives with his boat in Antwerp.

I love getting toys… when I get toys, I can’t get them out of the box quickly enough. Over the years I have developed a certain preference in my toys. Not that I’m particularly picky on them, but I do prefer toys that stimulate me through sound and light. So inevitably these toys include some kind or electronics to be able to generate these noises and lights…


The downside of things, is that I have a preference to oral sensations. So I end up licking my toys which is a nightmare for mom and dad. They have to clean and dry my toys constantly. I realize this might sound strange to you but I can’t help it. Every toy I get my hands on ends up in my mouth. The saliva I generate always seems to find its way to the electronics somehow and that breaks my toys.

Saint Nicolas presents on december the 6th in 2011
Playing with the toys of my niece this summer

So my parents have become quite inventive when it come’s to getting my toys. They look for toys that are washable and where the electronics can be taken out in order for them to be able to put the toys in the washing machine (like my teddy bears). Also they tend to buy toys that can be used in the bath because obviously, these are waterproof.


It’s always a stressful moment for my folks when we go out to visit other people that have small children with toys that interest me. They are always worried that I’ll put them in my mouth and that they will break. There’s no special family insurance for these kinds of situation that covers this. Luckily, my aunt and uncle don’t mind when I play with their daughters toys. They know the situation and don’t worry about it!

But it’s true that I can’t go out without my toys. When we go on holiday, my parents usually buy toys locally so that they don’t have to drag them along for the trip. It’s good for the local economy and the songs and sounds these toys produce are in the local language. It’s fun for me to hear different sounds than what I’m used to, and also for my parents, they tend to “not hear” the songs if they are in a different language. I’ve had French, Spanish and English toys so far – so even though I can’t speak yet, I’m sure it’s good for the language development parts of my brain 🙂

I guess I've had over 30 of these tablet things over the past years. They are great but they're not that saliva resistant so they break quickly 🙁
Even when we went sailing in Spain last summer, I couldn't go without a toy that makes noise.

If we end up going places and my parents somehow forgot to bring me a lights and sounds toy, I can start getting annoyed. When I’m annoyed I tend to whine quite loudly drawing all the attention to me. If this happens, my parents usually refer to their “plan B” which is the smartphone. Nowadays these things are getting more and more water resistant but I regret to say I broke two smartphones and two ipads over these past years with my saliva.

This fall, my brother had to go the hospital to get his wisdom teeth removed. When we went in for the pre-operative examination, my mother didn’t hesitate to ask the stomatologist if he could do something about my excessive saliva production. He examined me and proposed to remove some of my salivary glands and divert some of my salivary channels directly into my throat. My mom was quick to propose to plan this surgery on the same date as my brother’s and before we knew it, we both ended up in the hospital next to each other, recovering from both our operations.

My brother and me in the hospital this fall, after both getting an operation on the same day by the same surgeon

It’s been a couple of months now since I had my salivary glands removed (not all of them of course ;-)) and miraculously my toys seem to last longer now! I still like to lick my toys, that hasn’t changed, but due to a much lower saliva production, they don’t get as wet as before and the electronics inside them seem to get less affected by my saliva. So instead of getting new toys every month now, I get to play with them much longer than before.


Me watching the arrival of Saint Nicholas in Antwerp this year - hoping I've been a good boy so that I can get some new toys 🙂

Me watching the arrival of Saint Nicholas in Antwerp this year – hoping I’ve been a good boy so that I can get some new toys 🙂


So that is why, more then ever, I look forward to the 6th of December this year, because hopefully, I’ve been a good boy which means I might just get some new toys now after all!

Hope you enjoyed this weeks post and stay tuned for more next week!


Have a great week!


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