Category Archives: Food

Chocolate? No, thanks!

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.

Advertisements

The wrong trolley

Going for your weekly shopping with twin toddlers is not as hard as it sounds, but you need a twin trolley!

This afternoon I adventured out knowingly that the shop wasn’t going to have twin trolleys and yet I went anyway. I’m not sure what possessed me. Maybe I simply felt brave. Maybe I thought I could handle them. Maybe I fell and hit my head, but I don’t remember it. All I know is that I will never ever do this again…

Getting the twins out of the car and walking to the shop obviously wasn’t a problem as we do that daily. Walking, I mean. Once B was in the single seat trolley and T on a harness, everything started to get worse and worse with each step. At the entrance of the shop there’s freshly baked bread, which T proceeded to grab. So I bought it. Then there’s a fruit and veg area, where I had to stop T from grabbing even more things, but doing so he started to get a little frustrated. When we reached the frozen fish aisle he was determined to open the freezer. When I tried to stop him, he had a proper toddler meltdown (with audience). Fortunately I left quickly and he followed.

After a few more random cries and shouts, T noticed that I put some bananas in our trolley and he was determined he was going to have one. Shouting “nana! nana!” he decided to sit on the floor. He wasn’t going to move! Not till he had his banana! Not even when a woman with a full trolley and a car seat tried to run him over! Fortunately mum is quick on her feet…

T was moved to the trolley and B was set free. Unfortunately he was not feeling so good and he had no intention to walk. I tried to hold him, push the trolley, avoid them kicking each other AND carry on my shopping, but it was too much. I must have said “I give up” out loud, because some people turned to see me walking off in the direction of the tills.

Obviously I picked the wrong queue! No, it wasn’t too slow or too long, but the person in front of me put a bunch of bananas on the belt and the “nana, nana” corus started again!

The naughty corner: twins edition

Discipline twins is not as straight forward as it might sound. What if twin A starts something naughty and twin B just follow him? Is it right to punish both of them? At 18 months can they really recognise when it’s wise not to follow a bad example? I don’t pretend to have an answer to this, but I’ll tell you what happened when T and B got both into trouble.

It was a nice Friday afternoon and it was time for a snack. Mummy prepared something really tasty, so the twins started to eat ferociously. For some unknown reason, T decided to pick up a piece and throw it on the floor. Nothing new there, he is a toddler after all. Before I could react, B thought it was a great idea to follow his brother, but being B he wanted to exceed the previous result and proceeded to throw half of his food on nonna (grandma). They immediately got sent to the naughty corner(s).

Now, if you have one child, you need one naughty corner (or step), but if you have two? Well, send them to sit down together and have time to plot the next mischief doesn’t sound worthwhile; so T was sent to the left and B to the right corner of the dining room. T spent his minute there in silence, then mummy went to explain why was he put there and off he went. B on the other hand…

If a naughty step is a way of punishing children, surely it must be a way to stretch their creativity as well. B tried to leave the corner in so many ways I lost count. If only he could fly he would have tried that as well, I bet. He started by walking away. First to the left, then to the right. Mummy brought him back. Then he thought he could crawl. First to the left, then to the right. Mummy brought him back. So he thought he could stretch by keeping one arm in the naughty corner. Stretching to the left, then to B the right. Mummy brought him back. So he trew himself on the floor and start sliding on his belly. Mummy dragged him back. He also tried to walk backwards and sideways and hide behind a chair and dragged that along with him as a shield. It was getting very funny by this point, but mummy brought him back… EVERY TIME.

The best part, the one that supernanny will not tell you about, is the fact that you can even leave the room if you would like: if B moves a special alarm goes off! It’s his twin who will point a finger and sound surprised and ashamed that his brother could even think of leaving the corner. T’s expression of indignation made it very difficult to keep a straight face in this process, but it made me feel less stressed about having to keep on bringing B back to the naughty corner. Sometimes it’s really fun to have twins!

Snacking

Once I read somewhere on a twin mums forum that all you need to go out of the house is a beaker of water and a snack. No nappies?! No, now they are old enough to “almost” predict if you are going to need a nappy and they are not potty trained yet to need extra clothes for possible accidents; so all you need is a snack!

The other amazing thing is that any snack will do. Cracker, breadsticks, rice cakes, fruit, yogurt, but even something a little unusual like dry brawn flakes. Every night when they come back from nursery I’m there to greet them and B asks for brawn flakes. He never gets them, as dinner is usually ready, but he tries every night: comes in, walk into the kitchen, smiles and points at the cereal box.

Daddy thought he was Superman when on the way back from the swimming pool on Saturday morning, I finished all of the crackers I brought with me and the twins were screaming for more food. Daddy realised that he had a packet of rice cakes in his pocket from the day before and took it out with the most accomplished smile on his face: “look at me, I saved the day!”. For the rest of the weekend, he managed to bring that up so many times I lost count.

image

I have just spent an entire week on my own and “snacking” is what saved my sanity. When you are truly 1 against 2, you are allowed to use all the tricks in the book. Bribing kids with brawn flakes was just the beginning. By the end of the week, both boys were allowed to eat holding their favourite soft toys, Chewy and Mu, a bad habit which I have started to regret already. On the other hand when I took them away we had a proper meltdown including 2 full bowls of soup on the floor, clothes, highchairs and walls. I couldn’t have coped with another change of clothes, so the following meal both boys were holding proudly Chewy and Mu and everything went swimmingly.

Another routinely snack are the crackers of the 9 AM Sunday service. Without those crackers we would have a pair of extremely loud toddlers running around the church. I didn’t even consider bringing food to a mass, till I saw another parent arriving with 3 bread rolls, a few breadsticks and a croissant. And he didn’t have twins! I thought, if that boy can have all of that, mine can eat a couple of crackers without guilt. I still maintain that there’s no food allowed when we cross the church door to go and get the communion. B wasn’t very pleased about it on Sunday, but he reluctantly started to walk with me and T without a cracker in his hand. He looked confused though. I bet he was wondering why all these people were queuing up for food and yet he wasn’t allowed any!

Why mums can’t ever drink a hot cup of tea

Here in the UK, when someone asks you if you would like a cup of tea, they mean so much more than a hot drink. They are asking if you would like to take a break, to sit down, maybe have a biscuit and possibly even a quick chat. They are simply trying to help you slow down.

I know this, not because I’m English (as I’m not), but because I’m a teacher and I get offered a lot of cups of tea during my usual week. I also have a lovely husband who does the same at the weekend. So why do I feel like I NEVER slow down? The answer is simple: I’m a mum.

I don’t recall the last time I had a hot cup of tea. Maybe I was at work a couple of years ago or maybe it was sometime in the 90’s. Since I became a mum I drink cold tea… If I’m lucky.

I’m not sure why, probably just to look at their reaction, but months ago I let the twins try my tea (it’s decaf anyway). That was a serious mistake. Since then I can only drink tea alone and quickly standing up in the kitchen or I have to share it with both of them! I guess they like drinking from a big cup or the fact that my tea is sweet, but whatever the reason, I haven’t drunk a cup of tea by myself for months.

Although back wash and sticky fingerprints are not my favourites, tea really is the solution to all problems. If one of the boys is upset, the sudden appearance of a cup of tea makes everyone happy. To drink from the big cup he had to stop crying so the problem is immediately solved!

Every parent has a secret to keep their children happy and calm. I saw parents at the supermarket offering a snack to stop a toddler crying. I saw the classical, but never out of fashion teddy bear appearing from a mother’s handbag. I even saw some parents desperately trying to bribe their child with their car keys (and then ended up locked out of their own car). I must confess I have never seen a parent stopping a child tantrum with a cup from Starbucks, but I am volunteering to be the first to try.

Wish me luck!

The holiday are definitely over

Somehow we managed to survive week 3 of the after holiday period and I barely noticed the past weeks have gone, but now the holidays are definitely over.

Our morning routine has changed so much after being away in Italy for 2 weeks. The twins had no idea at what time to wake up, so they tried 5.30 one day and 7 the day after. Now we seemed to have reached a good compromise with 6.45AM, which is as late as we can let them sleep, but also as late as we want them to sleep to. You don’t want two screaming hungry little boys when you wake up, you need a minute to compose yourself, another minute to prepare their breakfast and finally a minute to inhale your breakfast (yes, mums of twins don’t eat breakfast, they don’t have time).

At the weekend, we are trying to make them believe that they can wake up later. There’s no extra breakfast if they wake up earlier! Unfortunately it doesn’t work all the time and it may just work for one and not the other. For example last Sunday T woke up at 6.50 and while having breakfast he kept on pointing at B’s highchair as to say “where is he?”. Daddy’s response was simple and to the point “B is still sleeping. He’s good!!”. An understandable although regrettable response!

T soon realised that he was an only child for the time being and it was time to take advantage. In fact he managed to eat most of the breakfast (prepared for both) and some of daddy’s cereal. He loved the extra attention! When B finally woke up, T asked to join him at breakfast for a second round! He wouldn’t want to miss out, would he? Sometimes I don’t really know where they keep all this food…

Another sign that the holidays are over is the mess. If you work part time or you are on holiday, you have the time to clean and keep your house tidy. When you have twins and a full time job… If you have the time to pee it will be a miracle! Tonight for example, I arrived home at 5.45PM to find a half drunk cup of milk on the dining room table and simply realise I never got to finish my breakfast this morning. Oops!

Althought the holidays are over and the house is a mess, I’m not disheartened… I’m a teacher and half term is behind the corner!

All I want for Christmas is olives

Exactly as it happened this summer, the twins appetite had double since we landed on the land of the pizza. The amount of bread they can have for a small mid morning snack could fill Homer Simpson’s stomach! The latest crave is olives. Their nonna (grandma) bought some Sicilian olives marinated in chilli, garlic and olive oil. I had the bad idea to let them try one…

The following two days were spent eating olives. I tried to stop them, but if the box was taken out of the fridge they could smell it a mile away! Their healthy afternoon snack usually consists in a yogurt or some fruit, but after their discovered olives, everything changed. Bread and olives became the standard. Obviously I couldn’t let them eat as many as they wanted as they were salted and spicy, but taking them away resulted in screams and cries like I have never seen before (not even for biscuits). We resorted to eat them only after they went to bed!

Now that they believe olives taste that good, it’s going to be hard on them when they’ll go back to England and have a “Tesco olive”; but that’s part of being Italian and growing up knowing that Italian food is after all the best!