Candle light dinner

No this is not a post about a romantic evening. This is about getting your toddlers to eat. Our latest success formula starts with candle light! Read and learn peeps, hopefully this trick can be used on all toddlers 😉

As the days were getting darker due to winter times I decided it was time to light candles more often. I also thought it was a good idea to make the boys a bit more aware of fire and especially the dangers of it, as many people we visit in winter have candles in their houses. So I put two candles on the dinner table and explained our boys about their use and dangers.

They were mesmerised. Not specifically by the pretty flickering light, but mainly by the idea that they could blow it out. Of course I did not want them to do this yet, I had just lit the candles. So I said they could blow out the candles, one each, after they finished their dinner.

This resulted in them eating quicker than I’ve ever seen. Their plates were clean before I had the first bite of my dinner. Wow! Of course I kept my promise and they could blow out a candle each. It was not easy, as they had hardly ever done this, but they managed. Next day the same happened. And the next. And the next.

It  has been weeks now and every day they finish their dinner in order to be allowed to blow out a candle. Nothing makes them happier, they even ask for candles at lunch now haha.They have gotten really good at it too and it only takes a few blows before they succeed. So when they will turn three later this year, they can actually blow out the candles on their birthday cake, another bonus. And they behave very carefully around the candles, are very aware of its danger.

So all in all this was a great win. But the biggest bonus of course is a relatively hassle free dinner with two toddlers.

The feeding logbook

Our first months with the twins were completely exhausting. Our whole day revolved around feeding them, changing their nappies and sleeping, especially sleeping. Their sleeping I mean, don’t count on getting anything more than three hours in a row yourself.

a page from our logbook

With 7-8 feedings per child, so sixteen in total, the difference between day and night completely disappeared those first months. The only thing that endured was the question: what do they need?
As our sleep deprivation got worse, we quickly realised we needed some way to keep track of what we were doing to whom. I breastfed the twins but we supplemented with expressed milk and formula. I often was so sleepy I had no idea who I had fed when. My husband helped out as much as he could, so we had a lot of half asleep conversations to establish what had and had not happened.
We both realised quickly this was not working, so we started keeping a logbook of things. Just a simple chart.

with the boys’ names, the time they had been fed last and which milk they had had, how much they had had etc.. With one glance at the book we knew if the twin that was awake was already in need of more milk or if it could be something else. This made life a lot easier. No more remembering, just writing things down and looking it up.
When we both realised neither of us could not remember if we had changed any poopy diaper in the last days, we added a nice poopy drawing to our log whenever a baby had done a number 2 to make sure all the milk was going down smoothly.
After about seven months we could quit using the logbook (due to less feedings, not due to more sleep and more memory function sadly…) and I started using it as a log of their activities, accomplishments and behaviour.
When I l read back in the book now and see those first pages I can’t imagine anymore how we did it. I guess you just go with the flow. Sleep is for babies anyway.

© Carien Touwen 2017

How many nannies?

Having twins is exhausting, especially the first three months when they need to be fed at least 7- 8 times a day and there is only a feeding regime, lots of crying, basically no sleep and 16 nappy-changes a day. This is the time you need help the most. The best help you can get is friends and family bringing food, or having someone cook and clean for you.
I was so grateful to have some maternity care the first 5 months, even if it was only a few hours a week in the end. The lady would always make dinner for a few days for us, and that was how I managed to eat healthy and keep my energy up those months.

A few weeks ago I read about Beyonce, also a proud mother of twins now. Apparently she hired SIX nannies to help her take care of the twins. This is on top of the two nannies she already has walking around for her eldest daughter.

It made me think. If I had that kind of money, would I have wanted six nannies in my house those first months? Six faces that my kids would see more than me? So many strangers walking around my house, minding MY kids, while I was still recovering?
Honestly, I can’t imagine. Yes, I might have wanted a bit more help and would have done so for cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping etc. so I could rest a bit more.  But those first months are so important for bonding, I want to be the one to feed and comfort my twins. So no, six nannies is not what I would have done, even if I could afford it.

What would you do if you had unlimited resources? Would you hire six nannies to take care of your twins?