Reflections

One of the stories we are reading a lot at the moment is Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson. It’s a great rhyming story, not the easiest one to read to be honest, but with a lot of hidden meanings and discoveries to make. The story is about Drip, a duckbill dinosaur that ends up in the wrong nest and is raised as a T-rex. But he really does not feel at home with this family and one day he runs away and ends up with a herd of duckbills, the dinosaurs that the tyrannosauruses want to eat. –spoiler– When the T-s finally have a way to get to the duckbills, Drip scares them off with their own disfigured reflections in the water.

Our boys find this concept very interesting; of course they know about mirrors and they have seen reflections before. But recently I realised that the story really had stayed on their minds… Last week it had been raining and there were quite a few puddles on the street. On the way home from school, they suddenly stop their bikes in the middle of the sidewalk.
‘Mom, I see the clouds’, one of them says, pointing down.
‘Mom, I see the sky’, the other one says, also looking down.
At first I am confused, but then I see what they mean. The sun has come out and the sky is reflected in the puddle.
Then one of the says: ‘It’s just like the story, mommy.’
From there on they run from one puddle to the next to see what else there is to see ‘in the ground’; houses, windows, street lanterns, cars, even an airplane. And then of course their own faces. It was so great to see how much fun they had.

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 timeย  to ease the clean-up ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ย ย 

5. Puzzles. 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.