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.

Conversation between brothers: Scene 24

Conversation between brothers: Scene 24

1 pm in the kitchen while cleaning the dishes

 

Big boy:        “When did you shower last?”
Little boy:     “Why are you asking?”
Big boy:        “Well, you smell!”
Little boy:     “None of your business!”
Big boy:        “And look at your hair style!”
Little boy:     “Anything wrong with my hair?”
Big boy:        “Check the mirror, mate!”
Little boy:     “What’s wrong with you?”
Big boy:        “And when did you change your T-shirt?”
Little boy:     “This morning!”
Big boy:        “No, it’s the same as yesterday!”
Little boy:      “I have two of this kind.”
Big boy:        “Can I smell it?”
Little boy:     “No.”
Big boy:        “See! You didn’t change.”
Little boy:     “Stop bothering me!”
Big boy:        “One last question: Did you shower yesterday?”
Little boy:     “Don’t know.”
Big boy:        “The day before?”
Little boy:     “For you: four days ago…!”
Big boy:        “Definitely.”
Little boy:     “And don’t come that close.”
Big boy:        “But I like you.”
Little boy:     “Keep away from me!”
Big boy:        “You know: girls don’t like bad smelling boys.”
Little boy: “How do you know? Did your girlfriend tell you?”
Big boy:        “What? Girlfriend?”
Little boy:     “I saw you hanging around with that blond girl yesterday.”
Big boy:        “She’s not my girlfriend.”
Little boy:     “Ah…!”
Big boy:        “I helped her with our homework in French.”
Little boy:     “I saw you flirting!”
Big boy:        “Talking to a girl means flirting?”
Little boy:     “I’m sure you like her.”
Big boy:        “And your girlfriend?”
Little boy:     “Ha, ha…. ”
Big boy:        “Doesn’t she love you anymore?”
Little boy:     “What do you know?”
Big boy:        “I’m sure, when you wash your hair more often…”
Little boy:     “Stop!”
Big boy:        “You didn’t get up in a good mood today.”
Little boy:     “You know what?”
Big boy:        “Tell me, little brother!”
Little boy:     “Y o u  are in a bad mood!”
Big boy:        “Only because I talked about shower?”
Little boy:     “Leave me alone!”
Big boy:        “I’ll get you a fresh T-shirt!”
Little boy:     “I’ll get you some strokes?”
Big boy:        “Wanna knock me down?”
Little boy:     “I will!”
Big boy:        “Do you dare?”
Little boy:     “And if I dare!”
Big boy:        “Come on. Show me!”
Little boy:     “You know what? Clean up the kitchen alone.”
Big boy:        “Mum… he is so mean. He left without finishing the dishes.”

 

 

Read “Conversation between brothers. Scene 23”

 

 

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Christmas present for mom

Chrismas present_swissmadestory.ch

 
 

Christmas present for mom

I don’t feel old, but this memory dates from 43 years ago. A long time.

I could hardly wait until my mom opened my Christmas present. I was so proud of it. The thing I made at school. I had been working on it for hours.

When I brought it home after the last school day, I had to hide it until the Christmas Eve. A very long time.
And I hear my mom under the Christmas tree: “Oh, this is wonderful. You made this?” I was so happy for hours.

When little boy came home two days ago, we couldn’t eat until he had wrapped his thing from school and he could hand it out to me.

I unwrapped it very, very slowly looking many times into little boys’ eyes gathering his pride and happiness.

This moment will stay in my memory, too. Forever.

I’m so happy.
 
 

Successful performing

Circus Pipistrello_swissmadestory.ch

 

Successful performing

I don’t know why I love the circus, perhaps, because it’s so creative. And I’m so glad my boys do like it, too.

They again spent one week in the circus, again in the circus band as last year. And they had to work hard to play during one hour and a half while their 90 colleagues were performing as clowns, acrobats, mimes and magicians.

Little boy played the electric bass guitar for the first time, and big boy was improvising as a French rapper – with success. I’m proud of them.

I won’t forget this special moment, and maybe, they will always remember later in their lives. I wish it for them, because being creative creates self-confidence – an important factor to be happy.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 17

Conversations between brothers 17_www.esthersviewpoint.com

Conversation between brothers: Scene 17

12.35 p.m. at lunch

 

Big boy:         “He’s always correcting me, mom.”

Little boy:      “But you said it wrong.”

Big boy:         “But you’re making fun of me.”

Little boy:      “No. Not at all.”

Big boy:         “You think you know all better.”

Little boy:      “No. But you said it wrong.”

Big boy:         “Your tone is so mean.”

Little boy:      “Are you in a bad mood?”

Big boy:         “Mom, tell him to stop.”

Little boy:      “Oh… poor you.”

Big boy:         “I want to change place.”

Little boy:      “You don’t like me in front of you.”

Big boy:         “Yes, because you’re teasing me.”

Little boy:      “Oh… my brother is suffering.”

Big boy:         “Stop…”

Little boy:      “Oh… ”

Big boy:         “Mom, I want to sit in front of you.”

 

 

 

 

Birthday wish

Little boys birthday in India_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

Some want to have a nice dinner for their birthday; some want to go shopping, and this boy wanted to go swimming in a pool.

Swimming pools and India don’t really belong together. But for little boy’s birthday wish, mothers have to make possible everything, even in India.

Of course, our little green paradise with our small hut didn’t help in this situation. As we hadn’t been in the middle of nowhere in India, a few hotels with pool standard were around.

And so, we sneaked in a well-known hotel where we had celebrated New Year’s two years before. We pretended being residents, and swoops… we jumped into the pool.

It was hard to get little boy out of the water. He’s a fish and uses to play for hours being a real fish.

The offer of having some sweets with his older brother in his favorite restaurant took his pool session to an end. Thank Goddess Sweets!

 

 

Crazy life

Being a mother in Switzerland means doing all, and all means all: working 100 percent, looking after my two boys, taking care of the household, and above all trying to have a relationship with a man.

But let’s not talk about the fourth thing! This is another story. Let’s talk about the three other things which are in total already much too much.

I’m not complaining, not at all, because I wanted it this way. I certainly wanted to be a workingwoman and wanted to have kids. But nobody asked me whether I wanted to clean floors, change beds, wash cloths, fix lights, heating, shower nozzles, toilet boxes and so on and on.

I’d rather sit and write than arguing with youngsters about their consummation of computers and smartphones games or telling them twenty times to feed their pets, etc. But I’m not complaining, because I wanted to be divorced and educate my kids according to my style.

So, what’s the point, you may be asking? The point is that I cannot fill well all these roles because it would be a 300 percent job. And it’s pretty hard to confess that I’m not a perfect workingwoman, nor a good mother and at least a busy housewife. I’m constantly facing insufficiency.

And in order not to drive mad, I have to eliminate certain roles at certain times. Some days, I laugh at my kitchen disorder. Some days, I let the boys go on a long leash. Some days, I feel like writing and not working for money. And some days, I don’t know what should come first…

Can you follow me?

 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 15

Conversation between brothers 15_www.esthersviewpoint.com

5.12 p.m. after school

Big boy:         “Why are you so late from school?”

Little boy:     “Am I late?”

Big boy:         “It’s 10 past 5 and your school finished at 4.20.”

Little boy:     “No, it was 4.30.”

Big boy:         “No. It’s always 4.20.”

Little boy:     “Okay… I had to walk back to get my bike.”

Big boy:         “But to walk back takes me five minutes.”

Little boy:     “But I didn’t walk fast.”

Big boy:         “You played games on the phone with your friend.”

Little boy:     “No…”

Big boy:         “Come on. Or you’ve played foot with your other friend.”

Little boy:     “No… I was alone walking back.”

Big boy:         “I don’t believe you.”

Little boy:     “Leave me now…”

Big boy:         “So, tell me what you’ve been doing.”

Little boy:     “I told you.”

Big boy:         “You don’t need 50 minutes…”

Little boy:     “Hmmm…”

Big boy:         “I’m sure you played games…”

Mom:             “Stop…! Please!”

 

Alive

 

Boy jumping_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

 

My boys are teaching me – among a lot of things – one important thing: being open.

Being open for new experiences, new people, new places, new tastes, new colors, new feelings.

For example, I’ve never dreamt of going fishing, cleaning fishes and cooking them. And when you open our fridge right now, you find living mealworms. Thanks, Big Boy.

Or I didn’t have any experience in my childhood with playing with legos. But it feels satisfying lying on the floor of the living-room and putting together a VW bus of at least 10’000 pieces.

Or I wasn’t the typical game player when I was younger. But now I’m spending hours by playing Uno or Rummikub with Little Boy.

Being open isn’t an easy thing to do. But it gives me much more in return. And there will be more experiences in the future I’ve never dreamt of. I’m sure and open.

 

 

Believe

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It was in my first class. I was seven. I had to do those additions: 6+7=12 or 13? 5+8=24 or 23 or 22? I was looking at my fingers, counting, recounting and I was so nervous about these figures. They were turning around in my head.

I walked to my teacher, an elderly woman, a Mademoiselle, certainly not married, with heavy glasses and a strong voice. She sat at a table, two steps above the floor. She took my sheet of calculations. Her red pencil was like a weapon. She destroyed all my nice additions – with a red dash.

I stepped back to my pupil desk – with a red face.

It has been a real fight – my figures and me. My father, a professor of mathematics, was desperate.

My mother even cried when we left after the talk with my teacher. How could I do this? Her daughter was so stupid. It was her first big crisis as a parent.

Wednesday afternoon, when my friends used to play on the street, I sat with my father repeating additions. As I couldn’t concentrate well, he closed the rolling shutters and we sat under the artificial light.

“Your daughter won’t be able to go to a high school later”, my teacher said to my father.

My father believed her and not in me.

 
 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 9

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7.37 a.m. before leaving for school

Big boy:         “Can I borrow your headphones again?”

Little boy:     “Why don’t you take yours?”

Big boy:         “They’re broken. Can I?”

Little boy:     “No, I don’t give them.”

Big boy:         “Oh, come on!”

Little boy:     “You’re always breaking my things.”

Big boy:         “No, this isn’t true.”

Little boy:     “I remember very well.”

Big boy:         “Come on, just for today.”

Little boy:     “Buy you new headphones.”

Big boy:         “I can’t. School is starting soon.”

Little boy:     “Well, this isn’t my problem.”

Big boy:         “But you don’t need yours today!”

Little boy:     “No, but I don’t want to lend.”

Big boy:         “Oh, you’re such a coward.”

Little boy:     “And you’re always insulting me…”

Big boy:         “Yes, because you’re deserving it.”

Little boy:     “Stop now…”

Big boy:         “You’re such a snob.”

Little boy:     “Mom, he’s insulting me again.”

Big boy:         “Oh dear! …mama’s boy!”

Conversation between brothers: Scene 3

Boys daily life 3_www.esthersviewpoint.com

Bathroom at 17.31 p.m.

Little boy:      “Hey, you put on my grey track pants.”

Big boy:          “No, this isn’t true.”

Little boy:      “I am sure they are mine.”

Big boy:          “Come on. You don’t know yours.”

Little boy:      “I am sure I always put them at the same place.”

Big boy:          “No, no…”

Little boy:      “Take them off. Now.”

Big boy:          “That’s what you want.”

Little boy:      “Yes, right now.”

Big boy:          “They are mine.”

Little boy:      “I am sure you put your pants somewhere else.”

Big boy:          “No, no…”

Little boy:      “Take off my track pants!”

Big boy:          “Tell me where are mine?”

Little boy:      “You are such a messy.”

Big boy:          “Don’t blame me.”

Little boy:      “You might have put them in your room.”

Big boy:          “Okay, show me.”

Little boy:      “I’m not that stupid to look for your things.”

Big boy:          “Well, then I keep your pants. Okay?”

Little boy:      “No. You’re so mean.”

Big boy:          “If you want your pants, you’ve to get them.”

Little boy goes to big boys’ room, gets his pants and comes back.

Big boy:          “Don’t throw them at me.”

Little boy:      “These are your pants and this is the last time.”

Big boy:          “Okay. Okay. Professor. You’re so smart.”

Little boy:      “Mom. He is so mean to me.”

Big boy:          “Ha, ha… you’re such a sneak.”

Mother:          “Stoppppppp!”

 

 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 1

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Bathroom at 6.45 a.m.: 

Big boy:          “Why do you look at me this way?”

Little boy:      “What’s the problem?”

Big boy:          “Stop starring at me.”

Little boy:      “Did you get up with the wrong foot?”

Big boy:          “You look terrible today.”

Little boy:      “You’re in such a bad mood.”

Big boy:          “I was in good mood before I met you.”

Little boy:      “I don’t believe you. You started this.”

Big boy:          “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Get your hair brushed.”

Little boy:      “Leave me in peace.”

Big boy:          “Your hair looks awful. Didn’t you look in the mirror.”

Little boy:      “Get out of the bathroom. You’re disturbing me.”

Big boy:          “You’re disturbing me. I was in first. You have to leave.”

Little boy:      “Oh, you’re in such a bad mood.”

Big boy:          “Leave me in peace. Otherwise I show you the way out.”

Little boy:      “Let me go. Don’t touch me.”

Big boy:          “It is your fault. You started all this.”

Little boy:      “Shall I show you who is the stronger of us two?”

Big boy:          “Stop beating me.”

Little boy:      “It is your fault.”

Big boy:          “No, it is all your fault.”

Little boy:      “No… ”

Big boy:          “For sure. Yours…”

Mother:          “Stoppppppp! Come on… Breakfast is ready!”
 
 

Feeling sorry

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I feel so bad. We went to the hairdresser today, and as their father always tells the boys to cut their hair shorter, we did it.

Little boy is now running around with his winter woolen hat. He is so ashamed of his look. The picture shows the situation “before”, and it will take me a big while to be allowed to take another picture of little boy.

I remember when I left the hairdresser with curled hair many years ago, I went home crying. It felt as a robbery to my identity. And that’s why I can feel with little boy today.

I wonder how I can repair it. He will be telling me everyday, and I will be feeling sorry for a long time.

 
 

The gift of friendship

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Being together with some friends means enjoying life. I don’t need to be very intellectual or very funny. I am just the way I am.

I remember when my parents invited their friends, my family had to spend some very dumb hours. My father tried to talk as intelligently as possible. My mother tried to tell funny stories about our pets and about my brother and me.

Very often, my father was making fun of my mother and vice versa; and the guests tried to help the one or the other in order to prevent a big scene.

When the invitees left, the invitation always ended in a nasty fight between my mom and my dad. I don’t remember it without it. Never.

Nowadays, when my friends leave, I feel nurtured by love. It is as if I received a great gift.

 

 

Talking like a fish

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First, he didn’t want to talk. He was three years old when the doctor asked me rather worried whether he was talking at all. I didn’t notice much his incapability because he was the first child.

We had to see a speech therapist every week. My boy didn’t like it too much but he went there bravely.

Two years passed, he spoke a little bit more but not as the others. He seemed happy and we always understood what he wanted to say.

When he had to go to the kindergarten, his situation slightly changed because his teacher and the other children didn’t get always what was his point of view.

The speech therapist told us that she couldn’t do more and she sent us to a psychiatrist.

My boy was very brave. He went there three times a week, although he didn’t like it again very much.

Suddenly, we noticed that he had a tremendous passive vocabulary. He started explaining difficult words to his little brother. From time to time, he still mixed up the order of the words in his sentences. But everybody understood him.

And today? He speaks like a boy of his age with a surprisingly bigger vocabulary than his brother or his friends and with as much swearwords as his schoolmates. Everything is fine with my small slot ear.

Orange trousers

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When you have to start your day with a discussion about orange trousers, I guess you have pubescent teenagers in your household, too.

If you don’t live with kids, I guess you imagine this discussion rather funny.

But I tell you: it is not funny at all. Big boy puts on his younger brother’s trousers because he thinks them being so much cooler than all his collection of jeans.

Little boy doesn’t have a big collection of jeans but just two pairs of trousers and only one pair washed at the moment: the orange ones.

Big boy being pubescent thinks that he couldn’t go to school this day without orange trousers.

I guess you think it will be easy to handle that this pair of trousers will be handed from Big boy to Little boy.

No, you are wrong because you don’t know how teenagers are functioning.

They want to argue half an hour, they want to check out the limits and nerves of their mothers. And as their mother you have to argue if you want to or not.

Today, three days after the discussion, I am already laughing. But I tell you: honestly, I was so angry and felt so powerless that special morning.