We had to wait till March, but we finally had enough snow to build a snowman!
In January we had one day in which it snowed for about 10 minutes and the moment it was over the boys exclaimed with joy “we can build a snowman now, mummy!”. Mummy had to sadly break the news to them that we really needed longer than 10 minutes to have enough snow. So disappointing.
The built up to snow day was great. B would come home from nursery and tell me all about the snow. First it would start in English, then, when I didn’t show enough enthusiasm for his standard, he would translate the occasional word in Italian (for my benefit): “mamma, snow is bianco and it’s cold… freddo, mamma! I touched it!” To add to the hilarity of the situation, he would also list all the places and things with snow on top: “Mummy, I saw snow on your car and on daddy’s car and on the roof and on the tree and…” all in one breath! Impressive!
When the snow finally arrived, the excitement was topped by both mummy and daddy taking two whole days off work. What a treat!
We built a snowman (obviously!) and had a snowballs fight. We also went for a walk and saw all our neighbourhood covered in this lovely and fluffy white powder… So beautiful. Daddy also took them in an icy stream. They were thrilled!
We had two very special days and some lovely time together as a family. We had time to make a pizza, bake cookies, play with trains and even camp out in the living room. We also had some fights over toys, a significant number of tantrums from T and a perforated eardrum for B… but no snow day is perfect, right?!
It seems unbelievable to me, but this is my third Mother’s day already. I don’t remember much from the first one. I don’t even remember if we celebrated to be honest. I was tired, sleep deprived and depressed. No surprise I can’t even picture if we had lunch somewhere or not.
From the second one I recall having to go out on Saturday instead of Sunday, as my husband tried to book a table too late. I remember breakfast in bed, but also the lack of cards. I was probably very tired (as I’ve been for 3 years now), but after that I don’t remember anymore.
To make sure I had a better day this year, I did what most mums do: I took charge. I booked a table at my favourite pizza restaurant (3 weeks ago!). I made sure my husband knew that “breakfast in bed” was not optional… it was compulsory! And finally I dropped hits about cards.
As most men, my husband is not great at remembering birthdays and special events. I buy, write and send all the necessary cards throughout the year. Once he actually told me that this is the reason most men get married.
I believe him.
Probably it would have been easier to buy my own card, but it would have been extremely sad. So I had to put extra effort in reminding my lovely other half that this event was coming up and a piece of paper was required. I dropped hits in the middle of some conversations, which had frankly no link to the event whatsoever. I bought a card for his mum and made him sign it. I bought cards from the twins to their grandma and great grandma and made him write them too. The preparation was intense and carefully planned. When Thursday evening arrived and it was obvious that no card had been purchased yet, I was tempted to write it on the shopping list… but I didn’t.
This morning not one, but two cards were waiting for me on the dining room table. It worked!
Not only I had two cards to open, but I had breakfast in bed, an extra hour sleep and the boys sang me “happy birthday” (clearly there’s still some confusion about this event). On top of this B was extra happy and spent most of the morning reminding me that we were going to have cake. And T counted down the hours till “pizza time”. What a memorable day!
Can’t wait for next year…
Being a two-year-old boy has its negative aspects, such as HAVING to go to sleep in the afternoon, but it has immense rewards. For example, I haven’t found an adult yet who uses a PIRATES FRUITS toothpaste. I haven’t find many amongst my grown up friends who can spend 2 hours a day building train tracks. And that’s everyday! I also haven’t found many people who ask for cake at every meal, including breakfast. But as I said there are many disadvantages in being a toddler and one of those is being refused cake at every meal!
Yesterday mummy had to work, so daddy took the boys to a real farm. Not one of those nice and shiny with fancy animals and lots of rules to follow. They went to a farm with muddy horses, smelly sheeps and a lot of puddles. There was no petting session and no stickers for visitors. It was just a farm. And the boys loved it. When you are two and you are visiting a farm with your daddy and your best mate, you are bound to have a blast! They said hello to the horses, shouted baaaaaa at the sheeps, moved some muck and even jumped up and down in some puddles. What a way to spend your afternoon, uh?! So while mummy was stuck in a room marking controlled assessments, the rest of the family was out and about having fun. Shame we are not all two-years-old anymore!
After 3 long weeks without daddy, he had finally reached us on holiday in Italy. The effect on the boys has been astonishing…
Obviously they took daddy’s return into their lives very well and jumped around, run and screamed when they saw him for the first time. What is surprising though is that now anything is good as long as daddy is there.
They don’t want to go for a shower? “Daddy is giving you a shower” I reply. They almost killed themselves by running towards the bathroom.
B didn’t want to eat breakfast this morning, but as soon as daddy offered him a spoonful… aaaaaah… I have never seen him open his mouth so wide before!
This picture was taken today… even eating a breadstick is better if daddy is around!
I’m not stupid, I know it won’t last forever. Probably it will be gone by tomorrow morning, but today was a breeze and if you are a mum of twins you learn to take anything good that comes your way. Even if it means not getting a goodnight kiss for once, as the boys are too happy daddy is back to even notice you have left the room.
I waited a while to write this story because I was waiting for a verdict and the FULL investigation to close, but I can now share the full extend of what it might seem like an episode of a TV series, but it’s actually what really happened at the boys’ nursery a while ago.
One day my husband was called into the manager’s office and asked to sit down. “I have something to discussed about B” the nursery manager said. My poor husband was already tired from a long day at work and about to have dinner with the twins without mummy. He really didn’t have time for this, but he kept listening, wondering who had B bitten that day and why it was so important today. To his enormous surprise B hadn’t bitten anyone, but apparently he had been the victim of child mistreatment. Child services were called and a full investigation was taking place. “As his parent we thought you should be aware and for your peace of mind we have suspended the member of staff involved in the incident” concluded the nursery manager. My husband’s jaw dropped inadvertently.
What really happened is that someone woke up B by splashing his face with a couple of drops of water. THAT’S ALL!
I can only imagine how B would have reacted to that and I feel I should have apologised to the staff member… sending an Italian child to an English nursery, what was I thinking?! I bet he screamed the place down!
I personally believe the nursery went a little over the top this time, but child safety do come first and I’m glad my boys are in a super safe environment.
The boys have been attending swimming lessons since they were 5 months old. It’s part of our weekly routine now and we are used to it, but we shouldn’t take it for grant it. There are so many reasons to go swimming with toddlers, I can’t understand why most of my friends stopped.
Where to start… The obvious one, swimming is an essential life skill.
Compared to most activities is not too expensive.
It’s the only “sport” you can do before the age of 1. Better start them young!
It improves gross motor skills and built confidence. The first time B held on to the side wall by himself he looked like he just won the lottery!
And most importantly it tires them out, which implies a longer afternoon nap! Excellent to catch up on your housework or maximise on cuddle time on the couch.
Despite all these reasons, for us the original idea behind the swimming lessons was very different. We started the lessons in a time in which I was feeling very isolated. I was still on my maternity leave and I was home alone with the boys for hours and hours every day. Despite signing up for a thousand baby and mum courses, I still felt like nobody could relate to what I was going through except for a couple of other twins mums. On top of that, my husband and I only had one type of conversation “at what time does my shift start?”. T was still not sleeping through the night, in fact he was waking up every couple of hours. We were tired, stressed and occasionally desperate. We needed something to do together. Something to do as a family. After all we were starting to believe we made a mistake and we didn’t really want a family anymore. It wasn’t how we pictured it (it never is) and we couldn’t see when or even if we would ever be that nice little family we dreamt of. Swimming came along as a desperate way to force the four of us to do something together every week. And it worked!
We love swimming now and we wouldn’t miss it for anything in the world. It gave us a chance to see how our unit of four could work. Although it was only for 30 minutes a week. Those were 30 minutes without nappies, feeding, screaming and moaning. It was a small window into the future.
Now that we reached that future. Now that we are a nice little family. Now that we can finally sleep. Now that our conversations are back to normal… Now I can finally write about this.
And like Dory said in Finding Nemo… just keep swimming!
When did you first give chocolate to your child? The twins are 20 months old and have never had chocolate. People find it strange or even cruel, but I can’t see why. Although chocolate is lovely and I have it on a daily basis, it does contain exiting substances and trust me when I say that the twins don’t need any help to be hyper!
At nursery they occasionally serve chocolate, so I asked for the boys to have an alternative dessert when chocolate is on the menu. This request was found so unusual from the staff that I had to explain it to the nursery manager to convince them. They even tried to make me believe that the boys seemed upset when everyone has chocolate but them. That may well be the case, but as they had never had chocolate how would they know what they are missing out on? Do vegetarian children feel upset every time someone in their class has a sausage? Do children on a gluten free diet start to cry at the sight of pasta? I hope not!
One of the hardest moments in this battle happened last weekend. We had guests over and we bought 2 cakes, one with strawberries and one with chocolate. I ate only the non chocolate one and gave some to B, who happily ate it and then moved on to another thing to do. On the other hand, my husband decided to eat the chocolate cake, but gave T only bites from the strawberry one. That did not go down well! T was determined to have what daddy was eating and nothing was going to stand in his way… except for mummy! I immediately convinced daddy that he could say no to his son. Even if he was crying. Even if he was using his best version of the this-is-so-unfair look. If you don’t say no to a toddler, when will you start? When they are 5 and they can argue back? When they are teenagers and taller than you? No, this is the time to say no. No to biting your brother. No to climbing on top of the coffee table. No to another episode of Thomas the tank engine. No to chocolate.
Sometimes I think it’s a matter of principle more than dietary requirements, but I still think it’s a very important lesson in parenthood. When daddy said “Sorry T, mummy said no” and then quickly added “and daddy says no too”. I knew I won a small battle, but the war is still long… I know.