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!

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.

You can’t do anything right…

Raising toddlers is a challenge and you have to have a strong mind in order not to doubt yourself. Otherwise you will very quickly feel that you can’t do anything right…

This is what I heard this morning, all before 8:30 am.

-No, I don’t want warm milk today, I want it cold.
-No, not that sweater mommy. I want the one with the dinosaurs. (It’s in the laundry sweetie) WEEEEH!
-No, I want those pants. (points to the pants that his brother is wearing)
-I want the other shoes! (the ones that are from last year and too small) (how did he find those!?)
-I want to wear slippers to school.
-No socks today! (and he takes them off again)
-Nooo, not honey on a sandwich, I want it on a cracker!
-I want to wear it upside down (his jacket)
-No mommy, papa should take us.
-No banana, I want an orange. (throws it away)
-(Finally outside, on our way to school.) No wind mama, it’s not nice, stop it! (sure sweetie…)

I think that not getting depressed over so many negative remarks makes me a supermama. 😉

Stormy weather

Very stormy weather in the Netherlands and Belgium today. Cold, rainy and really hard winds. Definitely not weather to go outside. I hate it and I know the boys are quite afraid of the wind blowing hard.

But of course they want to go outside. And trying to reason with them and explain they don’t like the wind does not work. So I get them their jackets and hats and tell them they can go outside. I open the back door and don’t even bother to put my jacket on. I take them to the windiest point I can find. My point is made within seconds.

“Mommy, want to go inside,” they cry after the first gust of wind.
Mommy smiles.

Twin politics…

The winter months bring a lot of rain to Brussels. This means I get soaked a lot because waiting for the rain to stop and only bringing your children to school when it’s dry, is apparently not done.
The boys also don’t like the winter weather. They especially hate strong winds. ‘Make it stop mommy,’ they tell me. If only I could. So often the boys are under the plastic cover to keep them warm and dry.

But twins would not be twins if they did not have different opinions. So one of the boys always wants to be under the cover, the other one often does not like it. ‘I want to be in the rain,’ he yells in frustration while trying to kick the plastic off.
Sigh, so what do you do here as a twin-mom? I tried to explain many times that they had to work this out, seeing that we only have one big cover and one of them really does not want to get wet, but somehow their debate skills are not up to that yet.

In the end I tried to compromise and fumbled around with the plastic until I had a solution that satisfied them both but looks very strange.
Not to mention the look on the faces of many passers-by, wondering why one of my kids is getting soaked in the rain. Guess they never had a determined toddler…

Sleeping together -twins

One of the questions that is asked most amongst twin mothers is: do you let your twins sleep together?

For me it was clear even before they were born I wanted our boys to sleep in the same bed for a while. It was not only a romantic idea about twins having a special bond (and looking so beautiful together), but also inspired by practical reasons: I wanted them to be used to each other, especially to each other’s noises and sounds.
When our boys came early and had to stay in the hospital for many weeks, we expressed this wish to the neonatal staff and as soon as it was possible they were put together in the same warming bed. Not only was it a great sight to see them cuddling up together, it also comforted me a lot to know that even when I was not with them in the hospital, they were never alone but always had each other.

When they finally could come home with us we had a beautiful twin crib waiting for them. They slept in that for many months and my theory really worked; the boys were so used to each other’s sounds that they never woke each other up. Now don’t get me wrong here: they did wake up a lot, we did not sleep through the night or anything remotely related to that. But they did not wake each other, so when one had been fed and was sleeping happily and the other one was suddenly crying his heart out, he did not wake his brother.

From the twin crib they moved on to two baby beds. The first year they were put right next to each other, but then we moved them half a meter apart as the boys started partying together and deliberately waking each other.
Soon we will move them to bigger beds, but they will continue to share the same room. I like to think it makes them bond more.

And to this day my theory is still working out, when one of them wakes up in the night for whatever reason (bad dreams, not feeling well, in need of a cuddle, need to do a pipi etc.) the other one is not woken up by his crying.

Today is World Prematurity day!


World Prematurity Day on 17 November is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of the challenges and burden of preterm birth globally. World Prematurity Day calls attention to the special issues facing infants born prematurely, celebrates the development and growth of older babies and children who were born prematurely, and is a great day to support members of your community who work with newborns or premature infants, or are parents adjusting with a prematurely born infant.
The day was initiated by EFCNI and partnering European parent organisations in 2008. The international co-founders LittleBigSouls (Africa), March of Dimes (USA) and National Premmie Foundation (Australia) joined the celebrations and made World Prematurity Day an intercontinental movement. Meanwhile, countless individuals and organisations from more than 100 countries join forces with activities, special events and commit to action to help address preterm birth and improve the situation of preterm babies and their families.

What is Prematurity?

A full-term pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks, and “prematurity” describes when a baby is born earlier than 37 weeks (gestational time). Prematurely born infants face many special issues, which can include breathing difficulties, feeding difficulties, and low birth weight. Prematurely born babies generally have a longer hospital stay than babies born full-term, and many end up spending time in NICU units (neonatal intensive care) or special care nurseries until it can be established that they are stable and healthy enough to be brought home. This can be a very difficult time for many families.

There are some risk factors for having a premature birth, such as the mother’s general health and lifestyle choices, and carrying multiple babies (twins or triplets), but for many mothers who deliver a premature baby, it is unexpected, with no discernible cause or identifiable risk factors- mothers under excellent prenatal care, who do everything “right” can still end up delivering their baby prematurely. If you are pregnant, it is a good idea to learn the warning signs of pre-term labor, which include cramping, regularly times contractions, and backache, and discuss pre-term labor risks and planning with your care provider. If you do believe you are experiencing pre-term labor signs, it is critical to seek medical attention right away, because there are steps that can be taken to manage, delay, or prevent a baby from being born prematurely.
Thanks to advances in modern healthcare, the prognosis for most babies born prematurely has improved dramatically. Statistically, the earlier a baby is born, the more serious his or her health problems are likely to be.

 

A day like this is a great reminder of how grateful I am to live now with the medical advancements of the last century. Our boys arrived very early and had to stay in the hospital for a month. It was a difficult time, but the hospital staff was so supportive. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened, had we lived in different times.