Gift ideas for 2 year olds

After the success of my earlier post about gift ideas for three year old children, I decided to make a list for two year olds as well. These ideas can be used to make a wish list for friends and family that are coming over for the birthday. I again have not mentioned any bicycles, cars or other big toys like slides, sand pits and play houses.

This toys on this list were the most used toys in the year that our boys were two.

  1. The classis Fisher Price register. They can use this for years.


2. Books. Some of the stories that our boys enjoyed over and over again.

3. Duplo. One of their favourite toys in the world. Building, playing, making up stories… Small sets, big sets, there is always something within budget.

4. Play figurines. Perfect toys to take on the road, when visiting friends, in the car, in a restaurant etc. Our boys absolutely love dinosaurs, but there are many sets available like farm animals, wild animals, fish, horses etc.

5. Wooden train set. Another toy that will last years and they can start playing with it from this age onwards. Ikea also has a really nice and affordable set.

Just a last tip: At this age, children usually have many toys already and unpacking presents can be quite overwhelming, especially when they get a lot of new toys. When we celebrated our boys’ birthday I also put some clothes on their wish list, especially items for the season ahead. It was a great way to make sure they boys did not get too many toys and to stock up on clothes as they really could use some new ones. Just make sure you mention the sizes you want, you can never be too specific when it comes to clothes 🙂

 

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.

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.

Beware! Beware!

Beware! Beware!

Toddlers’ ears are everywhere

They hear everything and more

especially when you think they snore

And when you least expect it, they repeat it aloud

preferably in front of a big crowd

embarrassment ensured

and don’t think that the ‘not-listening’ is somehow cured

everything you want them to hear

they ignore, that much is clear.

 

(c) 2018 Carien Touwen

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 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.

 

Back from holiday – elbow pains…

I apologise for the silence here. There was a school holiday in Belgium and we took the boys to a holiday park last week. We had a great time, although with every holiday we somehow don’t end up very rested. Haha, as if!

It was the first time we did not use our buggy at all, we walked everywhere with the boys and they did really well. I did discover something interesting though. You can have muscle ache in your elbows!

It took me a while to figure out how this came about. But in the end the answer was simple. It was the walking of course, one boy on each side holding my hand. You’re not just dragging them because they walk slower… when they get in a mood and don’t want to walk (faster) they will work against you and pull. So this week no pain in my shoulders due to pushing a heavy buggy, no, this week my elbows had their turn… 

Indian food

Going out to dinner with the boys can be a lot of fun. We got a list of restaurants and cafe’s we know they like and usually we go to one of those places. But some days we feel brave and try to expand our list. Most of the times I research this carefully and make sure that there is something for the kids to do and to eat. Sometimes I don’t think enough and we just do it…

So earlier this week we went to an Indian restaurant. Silly me forgot to bring some books, crayons and paper, so entertainment for the twins was not easily found. Luckily serviettes and spoons kept them busy till the papadums were put on the tables. The boys absolutely loved them, especially with the yoghurt sauce. That was as far as our succes went…

We had ordered some veggie samosas, thinking they would be a nice and mild dinner for them, but they did not like the spices in there at all. One of the boys even started crying when he had some in his mouth…
We had ordered mild curries to share with them, but after the samosas he did not dare to try anything. Luckily we ordered lots of naan and once he tasted that, he was okay to eat it, but anything that looked more coloured than the bread, he refused.
Our other boy did try a few things, but he got rather red from eating the spices. I felt a bit worried so we decided to give him naan as well. We ate our curry’s quickly, but not quick enough.
“Mom,” they said. “This is NOT a nice cafe. Can we go somewhere else?”
No need to explain that things only got worse after that…

Lesson learned: our next craving for Indian food has to be saved for date night..

© Carien Touwen 2017