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!

Gift ideas for 3 year olds

Children usually have a lot of toys already and with a birthday coming up, you usually don’t want to add to the existing pile. For me a birthday is great moment to get rid of some toys that they don’t use often anymore. Either by giving some toys away or selling some on a second hand place before they actually get so annoyed with it they break it. However, there is still the issue of ‘new toys’ because a birthday with no gifts to unwrap is not a real birthday. My family usually works with wish-lists that we make available a few weeks in advance, so people can buy something that your kid can actually use. This also avoids doubles (although with twins, some gifts have to come in doubles).

When our boys turned three I asked around a lot for good ideas and was very grateful with the input I got. So here is my list with suggestions for when your child has his or her third birthday. I am not going to list bicycles, tricycles or other vehicles to ride on as this is very individual, every child is different in his development and it what he likes. Instead I list some smaller gifts that are great to ask for.

  1. Books. This will always be my first choice. It’s really good for children to listen to stories being read aloud. Here are three books that we are currently reading that our boys really enjoy.

2. Marble run. This only works if your child is not putting little things in his mouth anymore, as the marbles are quite small. They are also not able to make it themselves yet, but if you build it together with them, they can play with it for a long time. They simply love seeing the ball run through the maze of tubes.
3. Watercolour paint. They absolutely love this. And so much less mess than finger painting!
4. Guitars. For their musical ambitions.Our boys really like playing them and singing an absolutely not related song at the same time 🙂 🙂  

5. Puzzels. Something to do together first and then let them learn by themselves. Start with 4-6 pieces and work them up to 20-24.

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.

Moving house

As we are in the process of moving house within Brussels, I have been (and still am) a little too busy (and tired) to sit behind the computer to share our twin stories.

The boys are trying very hard to help with everything and are really excited. They thoroughly enjoyed pulling wallpaper of in the new house for instance and they seem very keen to help out painting walls…

Packing up our old belongings is proving to be a bit of a challenge. I am trying to explain to the boys that we are bringing everything. Still that does not reassure them. They insist on grabbing each toy and book in their bedroom and ask me: ‘Is this coming to the new house?’
And when I pack a box they often take things out again because even though they did not look at the item in weeks, now they really need to play with it.
So sorry for my absence here, and don’t worry, I am sure there will be plenty to share once we are a bit settled.

 

The latest toddler games

The following games are apparently the latest thing in toddler-world. Not sure I understand but I guess you have to be a toddler to enjoy these games.

  • Throwing coasters and cards between the sofa and the wall. Then move the sofa and sweep them up. Climb on sofa and do it again as often as needed. When finished leave all coasters and cards behind the sofa or on the floor.
  • Quickly make a drawing and cut it up immediately after it’s done. Then throw all the little pieces of paper on the floor (toddler 1). Or (toddler 2) wrap the pieces up really small, paper in paper in paper, and give it to mommy and yell: ‘present for you!’
  • Throw all stuffed animals in bed. Climb in bed, throw all the animals on the floor. Repeat often until it’s time to throw the sheets and duvet out too. Then leave the bedroom as messy as possible.

The first sunny day of the year

Yesterday it was the first sunny day of the year in Brussels. Blue skies, freezing cold but loads of sunshine. We took the boys to a park and WOW, they could not be happier. While we sat in the sun they ran around, putting their hands in the sand to make piles and throw them over again. They found little stones and flowers to show us. They found sticks and leafs to play with, ran up and down on little hills, felt the trees and plants and looked at ducks. Time flew and we did not feel the cold at all. We go outside everyday but they usually don’t last that long. It’s incredible how much a little sunshine can do. It was like a whole new world outside had opened up to them.

The Styrofoam incident…

So last Sunday morning we were quite tired after having some friends over for an end of the year-party. But as anyone with children knows, sleeping in is not likely. So when I heard one of the boys waking up, admittedly only around 8.15, I was really not ready to get up yet. I gave him his milk and tried to convince him to sleep a bit more. But he wanted to play. So I turned on the lights and the heating and told him to enjoy himself with the toys in the living room. I would be 3 meters away, in bed, if he needed anything. He seemed all right with that.
I heard him play nicely with the Duplo and my mind quickly faded into sleep. Around half an hour later I suddenly realised it was too quiet. And too quiet is never a good sign.
I got up and found my son in the hallway, very happy and surrounded by something that looked like white snow. I rubbed my eyes, what was this? The snow got thicker and thicker towards the Christmas tree in the living room and there the whole floor was covered in white stuff.

Then I realised what had happened. He had taken one of the decoration gifts from the Christmas tree and opened it. And then he had taken the Styrofoam block inside and crumbled it into a thousand pieces. I did not know whether to cry or laugh.
I managed to get the next block out of his hands just in time to prevent an even bigger mess. Of course this is when our other son woke up and wanted to play with all this cool white stuff on the floor.

Lesson learned: even the most gallant toddlers can not be trusted. And another one: the sound of the vacuum cleaner is not what you want to hear first thing in the morning, before you’ve even had your morning tea.

 

Shoe presents

Sinterklaas has come and gone. The boys were quite impressed, especially with the recurrence of getting presents. They also were lucky enough to meet Sinterklaas in person this year. That was not something they liked too much. Especially meeting Zwarte Piet made them frightened. The reason for this was that Piet repeatedly threw candy on the floor. This caused them a lot of stress, especially when other children started running around to collect the sweets. I explained about Piet being naughty and nice at the same time and how he liked to have fun.
But when they got sweets themselves they started warming up to the idea. One of them even dared shaking Piets’ hand 🙂
But the best surprises for them were the ones they got in their shoes in the morning. Waking up and finding presents to unwrap, a chocolate and some pepernoten to eat before breakfast… that was what made it all worth it for them!