Touching children’s hearts

Touching children's hearts

My first reading close to my Swiss hometown: all 30 chairs at the Bistro Bechandra in Elgg were taken.

What are the most touching moments during the readings of children’s books?

My very special moments are when small girls and boys start telling things like about a cat, who came to their house, who did this and that and how that felt or like today, how a small boy told a long, long story with plenty of unimportant details about moving and so on in order to reveal at the end how it was that the cat purred.

It is amazing to realize that my story about the boy Leonard and the cat named Loulou resonates with children.

But not only with children… Another touching moment was when an adult told me at my very first reading that my story reminded her so much of her beloved dog from childhood that she was moved to tears. Or one colleague bought my story because when he was a kid, his cat always walked him to school as Loulou does with Leonard in my story.

Today, at my first reading close to my Swiss hometown Winterthur, I didn’t expect a big audience. Fifteen minutes before the start, half of the restaurant was full of joyful, small and big children and even elderly people, and at the start, all 30 chairs were taken.

What a moment to stand in front of this big audience and to see all these open eyes and minds to listen to me!

I’ve been reading stories to children since many years. My two boys, now 13 and 15 and in puberty, listened to me every night. We read together so many books, we read all books written by Astrid Lindgren. We travelled with Jim Knopf and Lukas, the train conductor. We suffered with the figures of Brother Grimm, and when we didn’t have a book at our hands, I started inventing stories about an elephant who was too big because he loved eating, and how many times, my boys told me to continue the story about Frederic, the elephant.

Reading to a big audience like today is completely different. It is strange because I am not that close to the children and I cannot feel exactly how they perceive the story. That’s why I love to ask questions in between in order be able to hear what they have understood and what they have been thinking of it.

One thing I was reassured of today: Animals like cats and dogs have such a big impact on people’s lives.

It gives so much color to my life with my two sons. Besides, our cat story only started five years ago with two cats. Then, Loulou joined us, gave birth to four babies. We kept two of them. Meanwhile, we only have three cats because one of the babies decided to stay at the neighbor’s house. I could tell so many stories about our cats, how they disappeared, how we found them again, how many dead mice, but even more living mice had visited us, and how many of them, I had to catch. Funny moments, I can tell!

The sequel to the first book won’t talk about mice but will be the story about «Leonard and Lea», and there will be a dog playing a big role together with the cat Loulou. The story is already complete in my mind, and more than three-quarter of it written down. As soon as I have some quiet moments without running after mice, I will get it finished.

My first children’s book is born


My first children's book is born

My friends are very supportive. They all are very fond of «Leonard and Loulou». Many thanks!

Publishing a book is like being pregnant and giving birth to a child. “Leonard and Loulou”, my first children’s book, is like a child who is taking me on a journey I never thought it would exist.

I had sent the German manuscript to several publishing houses in Switzerland, and guess, nobody wanted to take it. I was sad at the time I got these answers. Today, I am happy that it worked out for me like that.

End of October 2017, I decided to put the book on the Swiss crowd founding platform called wemakeit to raise some money to print the book in Switzerland. And I was so excited to see how the money came in because 34 of my dear friends decided to support me. Thanks so much again.

“3000 Swiss Francs should do it to print some hundred of copies of my book”, I thought. To find a printing office took me a long time. I asked at least 10 printing offices to get an offer. I always wanted to have a nice hard cover with a solid binding because the book should be resistant to a lot of hands to be touched by and to get handed over to the next generation.  How I love my children’s books, which I looked at as a child and I could look at again with my two boys now!

As a multicultural being, having studied French, English and German, I wanted to start with the book in three languages. Again, my friends are so wonderful. They translated the story into English (Marlyse Treichler) and French (Jacques Roch, the father of my two boys), and another friend (Cornelia Schmidt), who has her own translation office (I can give you her address because she’s got no website), lectured it. Thanks a lot to you all!

The very beautiful layout was made up by my neighbor, Adrian Ochsner and Printed Matter. Thanks, Adrian!  You may ask him for editing your book.  But at the moment, he loves doing some big construction works, he is driving construction machines and will be having time for graphic design again in about one year. That’s what he told me when he was devotedly repairing his newly-bought old tractor the other day.

Last but not least, also many thanks to my friend Kiril Charov (Swiss-Bulgarian doctor and artist) who found the great Bulgarian illustrator Teodora Dimitrova. She invented the main characters, my boy Léonard and our cat Loulou according to the pictures she got from us. Thanks to her, the book has been published. Before, Kiril had found another illustrator who didn’t fit at all to the story, and I nearly stopped my project to publish the story because I couldn’t imagine the book with other illustrations than they are now.

And the picture shows the wonderful action launched by my friend Dave Hertig (the big Swiss expert for Content Marketing Services) when he interviewed me in Zurich at his event, and half of the participants wanted to have my book.

You can order “Leonard and Loulou” as a hard copy by sending me an e-mail or you can buy it as an eBook at Amazon or iBooks.

My latest and craziest idea is to bring the book into the Chinese market. Chinese people are very fond of Heidi and a lot of Swiss products. And I already see “Leonard and Loulou” in front of my inner eyes in Chinese. I let you know when this idea will be starting to fly.

Confidence

 

I feel so amazed, when I look at my nearly one-year-old cat. This young cat is lying on our sofa without having any fear. The world could go under, but this cat is confident. It feels protected by us humans. Did I ever feel like this in my life? I would say no.

Since years I’ve been looking for confidence, feeling at home and protected.

This small cat has reached what I’ve been looking for years. How possible?

Many people tell that animals teach us a lot of things. This might be true. I didn’t believe it. I might be wrong.

Since years I’m looking for being at home where I am at home.

Since years I’m trying to be confident.

Since years I’m trying to be confident in what I am.

Since year I’m struggling.

And this small cat shows me how easy it is.

Just let you go.

Be confident.

Don’t bother.

All the beings around you will be taking care of you.

Just let you go.

The most difficult thing.

For me.

How about you?

Babies grow fast

blacky-and-loupi_swissmadestory-ch

 

Babies grow fast

It’s obvious: Babies are growing fast. Humans or cats: it’s the same. And there wasn’t enough time to write about each stadium of getting older. I’m so sorry.

I could have told you about these precious moments when they had opened their eyes or when they had started walking around. We had spent so many hours watching them and discovering the four different personalities of these four babies.

They’ll be soon half a year with us. Two of them left us because we couldn’t keep all four. Their mother is now so furious when she get’s across them. She was much too soon fed up with nurturing them.

We kept these two: Blacky and Loupi. The first one is eating all the time, and the second one, a real baby, is still sucking, not its mother but our skin. And this can last for half an hour. It’s very sweet.

Blacky walks around very often while Loupi is staying at home, sleeping or playing around by itself. But when Blacky comes home, Loupi is very happy licking it thoroughly. And then, they’re joking around in the living room, from one end to the other. It’s a real joy to watch.

One brother, the four babies are all male, has already died. A very sad story… It joined a couple that was taking care of it in a very loving manner. But Lou, that was its name, was so curious. It couldn’t wait until the garage door was open… We were very sad. But this is life.

Fortunately, the two babies staying with us are full of life and very affectionate. We wouldn’t miss this year’s miracle: the birth of our four kittens.

Birth of our four kitties

Birth of our four kitties

Kittens_www.swissmadestory.ch

 

Baby cat Loulou got pregnant before it turned one year old. But even at this young age, it is a wonderful mother.

When I got to bed that special night, Loulou slipped under my cover. It was rather hot there and Loulou realized after some minutes that this wasn’t a good place to give birth to its babies. I made it a nest on the matrass beside my bed and felt asleep very quickly.

Three quarters of an hour later, I woke up and saw Loulou with two wet kitties very busy with cleaning them. I had promised my two boys to wake them up in case…

Excited by this little wonder happening in my bedroom, we three observed Loulou and its two charming creatures. We thought two babies would be enough. So we could keep them both. But suddenly, Loulou laid down again. It sounded like a fart when a black ball rapidly got out of its body. Loulou took of the bag of waters and dried the third baby by licking it softly.

Okay, three babies would be enough, we thought. But after a few minutes, number four slipped out of its mother, very quietly compared to number three. Oh, dear! We’re so proud of our cat mother.

Loulou did all as I had read before. It ate all four placentas. “It looks like a dark brown slug”, Little Boy said which was a very precise description.

It was 1.30 a.m. 10-year-old Boy and me, we two were not tired at all. “I go to bed now,” Big Boy said, “and I’ll look at the details in the morning!” That was a clear statement by my 12-year-old.

The exciting adventure with our cat family is 10 days old today. Nature is gracious to us. All four kittens and its mother are healthy, drinking, sleeping, drinking, sleeping, getting washed by its mother, smelling wonderfully like newborn, peeping from time to time when they cannot find a free teat.

We could spend hours and hours by watching this small miracle.

 

 

 

 


 

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Relationship

Cat harmony_swissmadestory

Relationship

It takes quite a while to get along.
When I think of the two cats, it took four months until I could take this picture just two days ago.
They didn’t like each other very much at the beginning.

Couldn’t it be the same with humans?
It doesn’t have to be something like a firework while coming across a new person – at school, at work, in courses, with new neighbors.
It could take time, a lot of time,
Days, weeks, months, and years.
Do I have this time?
Am I patient enough?
Can I wait until I get the permission to enter the new person’s territory – slowly, but steadily?

The two cats showed me: it works.

 

 


 

Fox on visit

Fox on visit

Eight o’clock in the morning. Working on my computer, I had a look outside.

He was sitting there, in my garden. Quietly. Looking around.

He cleaned himself like a cat.

He watched the cars passing by.

And then, he disappeared.

I don’t know where.

And I wonder what was the purpose of his visit.

 

 

 

 


 

A heart for animals

Heart for animals Kopie

A heart for animals

Big Boy rescued a little bird. Mister cat wanted to play with it, and he could watch this scene.

A heart for animals, you’d say. Right.

But it depends very much of the situation.

Big Boy likes playing with the baby cat, putting it under a cover or putting his T-shirt around its body and letting it try in vain to break free.

Or he enjoys cutting earthworms or snails or dissecting locusts.

It was also Big Boy who came home from Kindergarten with a dozen of cottage snails in his hands and pockets.

At that time, I remember, I wanted to take out the laundry from the washing machine. Two cottage snails were wandering on the freshly washed jeans. They survived an hour turning around by 40 degrees Celsius.

As Big Boy’s mother, I’d say I have to have a big heart for animals too, in order to survive Big Boy’s zoo without a heart attack.

 

 

 

 

 

Deep relaxation

Let you go cat yoga_esthersviewpoint.com

Deep relaxation

Looking at my baby cat that is sleeping most of the time when I’m writing I understand what my yoga teacher always wants to tell me.

Breathing and letting go…

Relax.

Most of the time, my thoughts are walking around during the yoga class like my curious baby cat when it’s chasing butterflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers or even a toad.

My dear cat, can we change lives – just for one day? I’d like to sleep beside your computer while you’re writing my stories and get the sensation of deep relaxation.

 

 

Farewell

Cat lady Nara_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

Our cat lady Nara will be leaving us soon. It’s a sad moment because we really love her.

Nara grew up somewhere far from us. She must have been beaten and treated very badly. She is so shy and wants hardly be caressed.

Over this year and a half, since she came here, she became a tiny bit less anxious. The first week with us, she was hiding under the sofa. Now, she jumped onto the sofa from time to time, laid down and started purring and stayed a while there.

Nara started even licking our Mister cat and was lying with him in the basket. Everybody was convinced that she’ll be adopting our baby cat with an open heart.

When our baby Loulou arrived three weeks ago, Nara was very curious at the beginning. But then, her elegant tail grew very thick, as we’ve never seen it. She developed such anger only by seeing the baby cat.

Three days ago, she bit the tiny cat into its leg when chasing it in the garden. The baby cat’s leg was terribly bleeding.

It’s too much stress for both of them and all family members as well. That’s why Nara will leave us for a better place for her. Farewell, Nara, we love you.

 

 

 

No time for homework

Cat Loulou_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 
 
It is our new baby: three months old, silky coat and not shy at all. Loulou tells our two other cats who is the boss in this house. Hissing und growling like a big old cat, this tiny thing already knows how to make upset the others.

The cat is the late birthday present for nine-year-old Little Boy, and he is the new mother of this creature. He takes his role very seriously. I found him yesterday sitting in his room with his cat, reading with his softest voice little stories to his four-legged friend and looking at me proudly like a mother with her baby.

This morning, Little Boy first complained when I woke him up with his cat. “Loulou crawled under my duvet tonight and bit me in my big toe”, he told me and asked, “do you know how much painful this was?” I understood very well. Although, he had been warned of these kinds of coincidences by the former cat mother.

But Little Boys’ dedication to Loulou is still unbroken. He didn’t have time to do his homework after school because it wanted to play with him and he found it an excellent idea.

Well, we’ll be talking soon to the cat in order to get some free minutes for homework.

 
 

Long-term investment in a friendship

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They didn’t know each other. One came from Spain, one from Switzerland.

One wanted to be close to the other, the other one hated it. Black Tomcat always stood up and left the place when Tigress, the Spanish cat, came in its neighborhood.

Tigress stayed at home on the sofa, during Tomcat was chasing mice and enjoying long walks. Tigress always stood at the door when Tomcat came back.

A few months ago, Tigress was meowing very loud in the cellar. I didn’t get the point. She didn’t stop until I realized that Tomcat was locked in one of the cellar rooms.

After a year of sharing the same household, Tomcat obviously started to be friendlier; from time to time, he licked Tigress when she was very demonstratively standing in front of him and wished to be caressed. Or, Tomcat shares now their cat basket without meow.

A few days, they started fooling around, playing, turning and rolling on the floor. And after that, it seemed as if they were playing hide-and-seek.

What did I learn of Tigress?

Patience is a long-term investment and is certainly valuable for all sorts of relationships.

 

 

Dreaming of dogs and cats

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While taking this picture of my younger son today, I remembered when I was his age; and we had summer vacation. I felt so happy and free of all school stuff.

I spent some weeks with my grandmother and was playing all day long with my cousins. Only at mealtime, I had to go home to eat together with my grandfather and my grandmother.

For the rest of the time, I was hanging around in the backyard, riding my bicycle for hours, taking care of my grandmother’s rabbits or visiting the few week old kittens on the pavement of my uncle’s company. And I wished to have my own pet. A dog or a cat – that was there just for me, to sit with, to talk to and to caress.

My turtle I had since I was five wasn’t actually my thing. I wanted something furrier.

Then, my mom allowed me to have a guinea pig. But my dream of a dog or a cat stayed.

 

 

Same same

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A cat is a cat, and a cat is eating, sleeping, walking and again eating, sleeping, walking. Nothing else. Right.

But a cat is more than that. A cat starts being in a relationship with the human being, which is taking care of it. At the beginning, the two, the cat and the human being, are connected on a low level. The more time they spend together the more they get involved.

Now, the one comes home, the other is standing behind the door and saying hello. Now, the one is making a tea, the other is coming to the kitchen to have a bite.

Isn’t it the same thing with a relationship between two human beings? Just a little bit more complicated?

In fact, the principle is exactly the same. The two beings are connected to each other and acting most of the time in correlation to each other. Right?

 
 

Walk a parrot

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I met Sri Swamiji in Mysore. Before I met him personally, everybody told me his or her own story about Swamiji. What I gathered was that ten or fifteen years ago, he was a good friend for a small group of people, Europeans and Indians as well. His ashram was a tiny place where everyone quickly felt at home.

Since then, things changed. Now, Sri Swamiji is being followed by hundreds of people, Indians as well as Europeans. Everybody wants to have a personal talk to him who prefers to talk to his parrots. That’s why he is walking around in public with a parrot on his shoulder. It is some way like other people walk a dog; interesting thing about a guru.

The elephant joke

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One morning, a waiter told us that there would be fifty elephants in Varkala. Okay, nice dream but we didn’t believe him. Later during the day, another India man said: “You will see fifty elephants tomorrow. What a lucky thing!” Must have been a joke in India to tell the tourists about upcoming crowds of elephants. We laughed. The next day, there were the elephants, not fifty but about thirty-five and I was rather scared. I was even more scared when I saw the animal police with their injection guns ready to shoot at any moment of panic alert. But nothing happened and this parade became one of the most unforgettable moments in India.

Welcome to the rainbow loom zoo

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Who doesn’t have kids, doesn’t know the paradise of rainbow loom bands.

You’d say: must be something for girls. You’re wrong.

He is an eight-year-old boy and spent all his pocket money of the last months, nearly 100 Swiss Francs, on rainbow loom bands. He spends hours on checking the Internet about new models: spiders, owls, mice, frogs, swans, penguins and so on; he spends even more hours on trying, failing, retrying these animals.

Wherever I go, I see now tons of rainbow loom bands boxes waiting for clients. It had become a worldwide mania.

Already in Italy this summer, the sellers on the beach tried to get my boy. Today, he got into it by heart and soul. I’m wandering what will be the next global boom we are heading at.

 
 

Of birds and boys

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Sometimes children have got strange ideas.

It was springtime when my elder son came home telling me: “I found these four birds on the floor in the forest. They must have been thrown out of their nest”.

Everybody in the family felt sorry for these naked and hungry creatures. My son was convinced that he should take care of them as their mother.

Nobody could stop him with his ideas. He organized a lamp to keep them warm; he started feeding them with worms every two hours and feeling totally responsible for their well-being.

After a day, my boy realized what it meant to be a mother. He confessed that he had taken them out of the nest because he wanted to have something to take care of. “I know now”, he said, “that this means a lot of work and responsibility. I am not ready for it”.

PS. Nice ending of the story: the bird couple accepted their four children although they had spent an overnight elsewhere, and we could observe how the little birds started leaving their nest and exploring their surroundings.

 
 

Of cats and guys

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Whoever has got cats or has had in the past, can tell a lot of stories. Cats are like kids; they bring a lot of joy into our lives as well as sorrows. Our first two cats, brother and sister, had spent all their cat life in a small apartment with two nice young guys. The two cats didn’t know how much noise two boys could make. The only place they felt safe were the top of the cupboard in the kitchen. They even discovered a hole behind the fridge where they could easily hide for a day without being found. When they got the chance to explore our garden, they disappeared for weeks. Coming back the male got used to the noisy boys and our sofa; the female decided to live elsewhere and found a quiet place at an elderly woman’s house. Cats’ decisions are straight.

Money with dog biscuits

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Some people bring their money to the bank, to a Swiss bank hopefully. Some only keep money in their drawers; some others always fill and refill dog biscuits in one compartment. They are definitely Swiss people as you may notice. There are a few pieces of five Swiss francs with the Swiss cross. The Swiss dog belonging to this Swiss drawer knows that the tinkle of the cashpoint always means money and food. What a simple equation!