Pyjamas

What do you wear when you sleep? … Okay, and now think back to the time before you had children. Is there a difference? No? Wow, I am not sure how you managed that.

See, before I had I my boys, my mood decided what I wore at night. If I wore anything at all. But there was definitely the possibility that I wore something that looked a little sexy. But those sexy negligees have been at the bottom of my wardrobe for some years now. It all changed when I was pregnant. I suddenly realised that I would be in the hospital for a while and might need something that covered everything if I had to roam the hallways. So I bought my first full pyjama since I was a kid: a pair of long soft baggy pants and a vest with buttons, so I would have easy access for breastfeeding.

Once the boys arrived I realised that one of ‘those pyjamas’ was not enough. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not the kind of person that wants to walk around in pyjamas all day. But when you have to get up at night to tend to your children and you’re wearing only a short negligee, you’ll get cold very quickly. So then you have to put on socks, slippers, a bathrobe and/or pants, depending on the season. All this takes time and effort, and you are seriously sleep deprived. And now imagine doing that six times per night. You have to prepare for the worst every time, as you never know how long it takes to get your child back to sleep. So, very soon I had more soft and cosy but very not sexy pyjama pants in my possession than I had ever had in my life. Because really, the only thing you want when you are woken up in the middle of the night is to be back in your bed as soon as possible, preferably while you and your bed are still warm.

As the weeks and months go by, and you are still doing this 3 to 6 times per night, the negligees end up at the bottom of the pile. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it still has not changed. My children were born more than 3 years ago and I still have to get out of bed at night regularly to comfort them.

I don’t care about negligees anymore. All I care about is sleep.

Father’s Day – some craft ideas

Father’s Day is coming up. Yes, I can just hear you think– Yaiks, there is no time, I am too busy and I have no idea what to make or buy.
We all know how busy we get, so here are some quick ideas to still be able to give your man a present from the children and you.

  • Take a walk to a photo-boot (to be found in metro- and train-stations) and take a (funny) picture of you and your kids together. Either make 1 picture or a set of 4 for in his wallet. Frame it, or not. Just see how much time there is. This idea is perfect when you have a very small child.
  • Get the finger paint out, put your child’s hands or feet in it, put them carefully on a canvas and your are done. Best done before bath time  to ease the clean-up 🙂 Perfect with a very small child and also great gift idea for grandparents.
  • Get the finger paint out for your toddler/ older children and give them a canvas to make their own art. Cheap canvas can be found at any Action shop.
  • Buy some white cloth handkerchiefs for men (Hema has them) and some permanent clothing markers. Have the kids draw on them. Wrap them up. Can also be done with tea towels, t-shirts or an apron, but I find that handkerchiefs are the most likely to actually be used.
  • Design some labels for beer or wine bottles. This sounds more fancy than it is, just cut out some white cardboard or thick paper and make sure it fits around the bottle you have picked out as a gift. Give this paper to your children to be drawn or painted on. When they are done you use sticky tape or glue to fasten is around the bottle and you have a perfect gift.
  • Make cards. Go to Action or Hema and buy loads of stickers and some empty cards. Let the kids design their own card for daddy. They can of course also use their markers, pencils and stamps.

Hopefully this was helpful. Enjoy the fun!

Silence

Sometimes she has a few moments

of quietly floating amongst the clouds

then the noise starts

again

like a helicopter whirring

closer and closer

a crescendo of voices

mom, mommy, mom!

silence

is a twin mother’s

needle in the haystack

 

(c) Carien Touwen 2018

*PS. This weekend I went on a writers retreat and this is one of the pieces I wrote during the workshops.

Blackboard paint

So I bought blackboard paint and painted a big piece of one of the walls in our living room with it. When it was all dried and finished I explained to the boys that they could now write on this wall with their chalk. They were very happy with my surprise.
‘Wow,’ said the first. And he started scribbling on the wall.
‘Wow,’ said the second. And he walked to another wall and before I realised what happened he had scribbled some huge scratches on our normal walls.
Aaargh!

The why-phase

The Why-phase has started. I don’t think I have ever had so many questions per day. Here are some examples of the questions I got in the last hour.

  • Why are you wearing shoes?
  • Why are you not wearing shoes?
  • Why are dogs not wearing shoes?
  • Why is the grass green?
  • Why is it not orange?
  • Why can I not draw on the table?
  • Why do I have to draw on paper?
  • Why is the white not working?
  • Why do we not have black paper?
  • Why is it finished?
  • Why does the shop not have black paper?
  • Why don’t you go to the shop to get black paper?
  • Why can I not put white on the wall?
  • What is this?
  • Why is this a bellybutton?
  • Why do I have a bellybutton?
  • Why do you have a mole?
  • Why do you have so many moles?
  • Why do I have moles?
  • Why do I not have more yet?
  • Why are you sitting there?
  • Why are you drinking tea?
  • Why are you thirsty?
  • Why are you tired?
  • Mom, why are you tired?
  • Mom?
  • Mommy?
  • Moooooo-om!

Sticks and stones

These days I often walk with the boys. I am teaching them about traffic, traffic lights, trams and other important rules. The boys however are more interested in their surroundings. If they see something of interest on the ground (usually garbage) they want to grab it. So teaching them about trash is one of those other important rules.

Their favourite things to find are sticks though. We can’t walk past a tree or bush without them diving in the soil to get a half rotten, dirty, wet stick. This stick is the most precious thing they have ever seen and it has to come home with us. If it’s not so big it has to be put in my handbag (yuk). If it is big, it will be in their hands until they find a better one. Or until it breaks and they cry till I have fixed it (em, yes, till I have found the perfect replacement that is). Or till we get home and they leave it in our hallway for later. (And when they are in bed I throw them in the garden, the sticks are piling up like crazy.)

There is something that tops the stick though: stones. The best thing that can happen is finding nice pebbles (or horribly dirty ones, sometimes they get confused with hardened dog poo). When we come across a yard that has stones instead of grass they jump for joy and dive in. What usually happens then is that they fight about the same stone, even though there are hundreds of similar stones. All the while I am waiting/ freezing in the cold/ getting wet in the rain / burning in the sun. A 10 minute walk usually takes about 35 minutes with these two. But hey, soon we’ll have enough stones to build my own pebble garden.

The smell of… paint thinner

A few days ago I painted some woodwork in our living room. I did this while the boys were in school and when I was done I cleaned up and opened the windows to get the smell out. By the time the boys were home, there was hardly any scent left. The paint was still drying so I told them to stay away from the wood, which they did (or so I thought).

The next morning I woke up the boys in their bedroom and I smelled paint thinner. How strange I thought, as I had not painted there. But as we are living in an old house I thought ‘maybe all the smells went up through the ceiling?’. So I opened up the windows to make sure it would evaporate quickly.

But as soon as the boys were home from school, I could smell that nauseating smell again. And I had not even been painting. I sniffed everywhere to make sure I had not left anything with paint on it. I threw out the rags and the newspapers that I had used, even though they were not so smelly. And still I could smell paint thinner when I was around the boys. I sniffed and sniffed. Maybe I was going crazy? Was I smelling things that were not there?!
Right. I admit it looked a little crazy, me going sniffing through the whole house…. but the next morning I finally found the source of the smell. My son’s favourite stuffed animals had a slightly black ear. He hardly lets go of that animal so when I got it from his grip, I nearly fainted. YAIKS, that thing stank!
I have absolutely no idea how he managed to get his animal anywhere near my paint stuf, my guess is he probably threw it against my painted wood. Anyway, the mystery has finally been solved and is in the washing machine right now. Toddlers: never a dull moment.

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.