Last year a new star was born: Eline van Hees. The parents: Janina van Hees, former CD member, and Michiel van Hees, honorary member of AEGEE-Europe. Both were are Les Anciens board members. The Golden Oldie asked Michiel about his parenthood experiences.

Golden Oldie: Michiel, you became father of a daughter last year. When was she born and how did you experience that moment?

Michiel van Hees: Well, the year started for me and Janina with the absolute highlight. The birth of Eline was very special. It is amazing to see such a little human being in your hands, look at you, smile, touch. I can absolutely recommend it to everyone!

Golden Oldie: Was the birth like you expected?

Michiel van Hees: Hmm, I’ve had to have a good idea how the birth would be like. We’ve been on a eight-week course for new parents to prepare yourself for the birth. They explain the physical part of it, prepare you on the breathing techniques and even show you how to massage your wife. Janina liked that. So in the end, the birth itself went more or less like I expected. It was the days afterwards which were completely new and overwhelming. I must say it really depends on which department of the hospital you are, it can be very calm or complete chaos. The difference in homecare is from a babbling old woman, who had no clue what to do, to a very sweet but firm nurse who helped us for eight days.
Golden Oldie: How did you prepare for fatherhood?

Michiel van Hees: I’ve read a few books, asked my friends what to expect and in the end I was amazed that without preparation I was prepared to change diapers, give milk, stop the baby from crying and console Janina. There is some inner force in men that makes you very capable of taking care of a child at this point. The weird thing is that at the moment Janina was out of bed and took over more of the tasks, some of the tasks that I did before got more complicated. The whole thing is: don’t think about it, just do it.

Golden Oldie: So how can you contribute with your talents to raising your daughter?

Michiel van Hees: I am pretty well-prepared in storytelling, but it will take a few more months before that will pay off. I am pretty good in cooking, but most stuff I make Eline can’t eat yet. What I am saying is that being a father is completely different. I’ve got three new women in my house. Janina, who turned into a great mother, Eline, who is the sweetest girl in the world, and Tessa, our au-pair, which helps us very much. Everyone should have one.

Golden Oldie: Which are your best moments with Eline?

Michiel van Hees: The best moment is when she looks at you and gives you a great smile, and then she wants to hug you with her little arms. And when she does she gets a little dimple in her cheek, just like her mother. By the way, this happens almost every day, so you can imagine my life is very good.


Eline van Hees.

Golden Oldie: What are the rather difficult moments?

Michiel van Hees: In April, when she was only three months old we had to go to the hospital cause she had high fever and the doctor couldn’t find the cause. She got an infuse and x-ray, and she was really, really scared. She looked at me and just wanted to be in my arms. That was a very hard moment to go through. In the end it turned out that she had an infection in her ears and that got solved. But now I realise it is very normal that you go to the doctor about 10 times more than normal.
Golden Oldie: How do you and Janina cope with the duties of work, household and baby?

Michiel van Hees: Very well, from March we got an au-pair from South-Africa, Tessa. It is a cultural exchange programme, a bit like AEGEE, but then with babies. She helps us out with the baby and the household. Basically I do the groceries and cook every day. Janina washes and irons and Tessa cleans the kitchen. And for some magical reason all the baby stuff is restocked every time it uses it. Probably we’ve got some dwarves in the house as well.
Golden Oldie: To whom does Eline resemble more in looks and character – to you or Janina?

Michiel van Hees: From looks it is easy, she has Janina’s smile, chin and cheeks and my nose, eyes and hair. For character, that is still difficult to say. She likes to travel around the house as often as possible, does not sleep late, loves milk, hates long car rides and has an affectionate relationship with a cow and a hippo. She could be both of us.

Golden Oldie: If your baby had been a boy, how would you have called him?

Michiel van Hees: We were thinking about Gunnar, but that would be the same as calling him Elvis. He would have to answer the question: are you named after the famous … all the time. No, we had a name but I won’t tell, hopefully we will need it in the future.

Golden Oldie: So Eline will get brothers or sisters?

Michiel van Hees: Hopefully so, I am still aiming for six children, but only when nature allows us.

Golden Oldie: What about your plan to get 25 grand children?

Michiel van Hees: Well, the first step is having children, around 6 would be great. If that won’t be enough then by the time I am 85, you can probably lease grandchildren. Let’s say: 20 kids, aged 4 to 14 for Sunday morning storytelling.

Golden Oldie: Do you think Eline will join AEGEE one day?

Michiel van Hees: I surely hope so. It gave both Janina and me a lot of great friends and good memories. If she wants to join, she will surely have that as well.