Moving house II

The last month was hard. The boys did not react well to all the changes. We had taken all possible precautions to make the move a smooth transition.
– The boys helped with packing (and loved it.)
– We explained what was going to happen many times (and they understood and were excited.)
– We took them to the new house several times before we moved. (they were really looking forward to it.)
– We let them help with little things in the new house (tearing of wallpaper is their favourite.)
– We moved some toys already to show them how moving worked (mom, can we keep this?)
– We read stories about moving (which they loved.)
– We showed them the empty old house after moving (and had them run around to their delight.)
– We explored the new neighbourhood together (they love all the new shops.)

And those things all worked: they absolutely love the new house. They could not be happier that we have stairs now and they love their new big bedroom, the garden and their play area.
BUT…  their behaviour was horrible most of the time. They got upset about everything, said no to anything you would suggest, started throwing their toys around a lot, screamed so much I feel I got deaf, not even to mention the spitting and crying uncontrollably when we said NO to them. It was a nightmare, we did not recognise our boys anymore.

Sadly there was no solution, all the above mentioned things did not work against the endless tantrums they threw. Even the always working solution of taking them apart and giving them love, hugs and special attention would not stop these moods.

And being twins, the tantrum of one caused the other one to get upset too, even if he was playing nicely before.So it really never ended.
The only solution was time. We suffered for weeks and weeks. Now it finally seems to get better. We are still not there but at least there are some hours in the day they are tantrum-free. Let’s hope this phase is over soon. Mommy and Daddy feel like they aged forty years in four weeks.

Sinterklaas

The boys are now old enough to really understand and enjoy my favourite Dutch holiday: Sinterklaas. For those who don’t know this, Sinterklaas is very similar to Santa Clause, but his day is celebrated on the 5th of December. On this day (or a more convenient day around that day) Sinterklaas will bring presents to families. He arrives on a steamboat a few weeks prior and from that day on it is possible to put your shoe in front of the fireplace (or radiator haha) and hope that you’ve behaved well enough for Sinterklaas to bring you a gift.

I love this holiday so of course we told our kids about Sinterklaas and about the possibility to receive presents. This was very much to their liking. They love presents! So we starting by teaching them a few Sinterklaas-songs, which they can now sing by heart.They sang the songs several times… as loud as possible and then they wanted to eat the carrot that we had put in their shoe… yes, the raw and unwashed carrot meant for Sinterklaas’ horse.

The thing I had underestimated about this whole event was the shoe part. The boys took forever to decide which shoe they would use. All their old and current shoes and slippers had to come out of the cupboard. Even their wellingtons. They kept changing the shoe that they wanted to use. When I told them that Sinterklaas would not take their shoe but rather use to shoe to put a present in, their attitude changed. Once more they had a good look at their pile of shoes. One of them decided on the biggest shoe (a boot), the other one rather showed Sinterklaas his nicest shoe. Even for two-year old boys fashion can be a thing…

 

Announcing twins

Keep calm!

We were over the moon when we realised we were expecting twins. Of course it did take a few weeks to get used to the idea of what this meant, so we first took our time together.
But honestly I was also worried about all the things that could go wrong during the pregnancy, as twin pregnancy can be more complicated. So we were quite late in announcing the news.
Our parents were the first who heard and we announced our news by visiting them and just telling them we were pregnant. They were of course very happy and emotional about it. And only when they got used to the idea we added: by the way, its twins!!
The effect of this was quite nice so we stuck to it when we told others. Every time we said it, we thought it was more hilarious. We really had no idea what we were in for, haha!

Anyway, apparently we could have been a lot more original in the way we told everyone. I found this page with 15 great pictures of how you can announce a twin pregnancy. So if you are expecting twins now, take your pick.
I am very curious though and would love to hear your stories: How did you announce your pregnancy to your family and friends?

Sleeping through the night

It still happens. Those nights that I hoped to be gone forever by now.

You fall asleep at 11 pm. Only to be awakened by one of your sons at midnight. He had a bad dream and keeps crying. By 3 am he is finally asleep. In your bed.
Meanwhile your other son has started crying. You try everything, cuddles, milk, music, stories, singing, but he is sooo upset. By 6 am he is exhausted and finally falls asleep. In your bed. Somewhere in between you managed to get your other son back in his own bed.
At 7 am the alarm goes. Another night has come and gone. Yihaa! You managed to get 2 whole hours of sleep!
Somewhere in your head you hear the voices of other parents. ‘Mine slept through the night when he was only 3 months.’ ‘Our kids never had any trouble sleeping.’ Right. Great for you. Not every child is the same, thank you.
The worst one is: ‘Just let them cry, they need to learn.’  What do they need to learn I wonder? That when they are sad, afraid or hurt, no-one comes to their aid?
Even half asleep and in my grumpiest mood I will do everything I can to make my boys feel safe.Till whatever age they need me.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. There is no specific age that children will always sleep through the night. Our boys are 2,5 years old and usually fall asleep without a problem. They can sleep for 10/11 hours but that does not mean they will not wake up in between. And with more than one child that often means that every night has something in store for you…

Dreams-2

My weird dreams did not stop once the boys were born. To be honest, they got more intense. At least 3 times a week I would dream there was a baby in our bed, when there wasn’t. I would start to hug or stroke my pillow or blanket, thinking it was a baby. Or I would suddenly think that the pile of clothes on the floor (that I had thrown there before diving in to bed) was a baby that had fallen out of the bed- turning on all the lights to save him… My husband suffered the most, he had many rude awakenings because I would suddenly pull his pillow away from under his head, screaming at him because I thought he was sleeping on top of a baby.

Obviously these dreams never occurred on all the other nights, when we did have one or two boys in bed, in need of consolation or milk. You have to sleep to be able to dream, right? 😉

© Carien Touwen 2017

Dreams

I have always been a vivid dreamer, but when I was pregnant with our twins I had even more interesting dreams. I often dreamed about how it was to give birth. And in my dream I always heard the same thing after number two was out: ‘O, O, we missed one. There is another baby!’

So when the twins were born, I checked with the doctor to be sure there were not three baby’s. I even had an extra name ready,  just in case. And honestly, a tiny part of me was a little disappointed that there were only two 😉

© Carien Touwen 2017

Mistakes- the slide accident

So our boys like slides. One day we found ourselves a play area with a big slide. I went ahead with one of the boys and he climbed on it, but when he got to the top, he did not dare sliding down. It was a bit higher than the slides he was used to. Usually I stand next to the slide, to help them come down. This time I decided to climb the stairs and help him there. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
I pushed him down gently, told him it was not scary at all. It was just a bigger slide.
Sadly, it was also much steeper. My son braked with his shoes… causing him to tumble forward and end up with his head on the edge…
Normally I would have caught him, but now I was in a completely useless position to help. It was horrible! Poor kid. His cheek was blue and yellow for a week. He did not dare going on any slide for a month. I felt so stupid and guilty.

© Carien Touwen 2017

The hospital bag – some advice

After week 30 of your (twin-)pregnancy it is time to get your hospital bag ready. It may sound a bit early, but trust me, it’s better to have it prepared. You never know when you have to go.
Usually hospitals provide you with a list of things to bring and a lot of these items are very logical. First of all: think of your ID-document, to register you in the hospital.
Of course you need to bring your chosen ‘first’ clothes for your baby’s, but also important, little hats, socks and body’s and warmer clothes to bring them home in. In Belgium, hospitals will provide you with the other firsts, like nappies, cream etc. So no need to pack those.
Then of course you need to pack your own stuff like toiletries, clean underwear, breast feeding bra’s and pyjamas.

My advice; please make sure your pyjamas fit this description:
– loose and wide fit, so it will not hurt anywhere it already hurts
– big enough so it will cover everything if you need to wander the hallways
– buttons at the top for easy breast feeding
– pretty enough so you can wear them receiving the first visitors ( if you care about that stuff)
– pretty enough to be seen with in the first pictures (if you care about that stuff)

These are all the necessities that the hospital will mention, but I urge you to add the following to this list:
FOOOOOD!
I am not joking. Hospital food is crap and a natural delivery can take a long time. The hospital will not feed you in the delivery room, instead they hang the scary thought of emergency C-section over your head and in the meanwhile you have absolutely no energy to do what needs to be done. (making that C-section more likely to happen I think…)
So please bring energy bars, chocolate cookies, bread sticks etc. and anything else that fits in your bag. If you don’t need it during the delivery be grateful and it will still come in handy when you realise, in the days after, that hospital food is never sufficient. I am talking from experience here, I had my partner bring me fast-food every evening I spend in the hospital to silence my ever growling tummy.

 

PS. And for those of you who are pregnant now: please don’t worry about a prolonged hospital stay! If that happens there will be loads of time to get other things you may need there. Your partner can bring it and so can visiting family. So don’t look for troubles that are not there, take it one day at the time and prepare that bag so you don’t have to think about it anymore.

© Carien Touwen 2017

Welcome to TwinTales!

Welcome to Twintales! My name is Carien and I am a mother of non-identical twin boys born in 2015. The first two years after they were born I was not able to do much besides taking care of them. It was great spending so much time with them, but I also was always tired and my body was (and still) is not 100% recovered from the pregnancy and birth. Even writing was too much then. Luckily I made lots of notes, so now that I feel better again I can start sharing my experiences from then and now.

On this website I will share my thoughts, our adventures and everything else that seems worth sharing or discussing regarding raising children, but also the consequences of that for your body, mental health and social life. Not everything has to change when you have kids, but a lot usually does.

We live in Brussels (Belgium) and are raising our boys bilingual. I speak English and my partner speaks Dutch to them. Two years down the line I can say this: it’s easier for them than it is for me!

This website is not specifically aimed at parents of twins, although there will be quite a few anecdotes regarding things that only happen with twins. I am sure this website will speak to all parents (-to be) as I often feel that having two kids whom are exactly the same age means you will experience everything there is to experience at a certain age… When I hear another mom telling me about her child I usually think; hey, one of my boys did or does that as well. When one twin sleeps trough the night, usually the other one does not, if you get what I mean… No child is the same, that is for sure, and having twins is double trouble and double the fun.

Enjoy our adventures and share in our exhaustion 😉