Toddler olympics 

Watching the Rio Olympic Games with the twins around has been a very unusual experience. Another first, as in 2012 I was so baby-free I managed to actually go and see some events. This time all I could watch was only anything past their bedtime.

As Rio is 5 hours behind where I am, it was possible to watch most finals in the evening or at night, but the fencing semifinals at 6PM proved very tricky to watch. My mum was very understanding so she would try to keep the boys away (or under control) for the 15 minutes required for a fencing match. Playing with play dough was always a good idea as it meant for them to be seated down and it’s usually not a very noisy game.

To put them in the Olympic spirit we also made some Olympics rings with homemade dough, cook them and paint them with the 5 colours. They obviously didn’t appreciate what we were doing, but they really enjoyed painting objects instead of paper.

As you can see below, T in particular liked the challenge of painting a 3D object… very tricky!

The diving competition was a real hit. The boys loved watching people throwing themselves off a 10m platform over and over again, but most importantly they really enjoy shouting “shower, shower, shower…” at the end of each dive. They just learned this new word, so they wanted to use it as many time as possible. I have to admit that T did get a little upset when the divers went  straight in the hot tub instead of having a shower!
Clapping after every arrow during the Archery quater finals was also very funny to watch. They even clapped a 3 points arrow!

I’m hoping that the next Olympics in 2020 will really give them a chance to enjoy and understand the importance of the Games. They will be 6 years old then and it will be too soon to take them (and too far, in Tokyo!), but I’m keeping my eyes open for the tickets of the 2024 Diving 10m platform final!

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New words

The world of toddlers is full of magical discoveries, exciting adventures and incomprehensible words. They are so eager to communicate and share!

T, for example, loves trains and that seems to be all he talks about. What I mean by that is that his first word every morning is “choo choo” and his greetings every evening after nursery is still “choo choo”. We are trying to convince him that not everything big that moves goes “choo choo”. No, a bus does not choo and not even a lorry! He lives loves loves loves trains. Then if you put him on a miniature one, he screams and wants to get off straight away, but that’s a topic for another time.

B can’t really say much. Recently he has learned some new animal noises, but words are still a mistery to him. He can say mamma, dada, nonna, door, “denti” (teeth) and fish or his own version of it: “pesch”(the Italian “pesce” and the EnglIsh “fish”). More recently he has learn a couple of vital words: “more” and “Clangers”. Guess what we have been watching a lot lately? Let’s not forget is favourite sound of the week “nee naow”. He enjoys so much pushing around his ambulances and fire trucks! B is actually very expressive and very creative, so he communicates in his own way. If he wants something to eat, for example, he would take your hand and literally drag you to the cupboard. Make sure you pick him up and then point to what he wants. Simple!

My favourite new word is “olo”, it means olive and it’s T fave food by a mile. A little unusual for a toddler but it works. You need him to drink his horribly tasting medicine? Offer him an olive as a reward. You need him to calm down after a toddler tantrum? Here comes the jar of olives. You’ll not be surprised when I will tell you that I buy 1kg jar of olives now! 

T is making enormous progress with words lately. He has learnt to say “come back”. A two-word sentence you need a lot when your twin brother steals your toys on a daily basis! Last month we realised he can sign as well. I knew they could both sign “sleep”, but I didn’t know T signing vocabulary was so extensive. He can say thank you, please, duck, drink and he can obviously choo choo!

Being twins they tend to copy each other a lot, so as soon as T started to sign “thank you” for his drink, B copied him immediately. At the moment it feels like I will need to teach good manners to only one child… and the other will copy! 2 for the price of 1!

Plans B

If you are pregnant with your first child, you may think you’ll do X and Y, and everything will be perfect. After the first 10 days with a newborn you may still think you’ll do X and Y, and everything will be fine. By the end of the first month you KNOW that you’ll do X and Y, but nothing will be alright.  Welcome to parenthood… The magic place where you will need a plan B (and C and D) for everything!

Lots of people being through the traditional mistakes:
“I’ll breastfeed my baby till he is 2!” and then having to give up after a month.
“I’ll meet you at 3” and then leaving the house no later than 4.
“My twins are going to be best friends” and then having to tell one off for sitting on his brother’s head (that happened to me last week!)

When the boys were born I planned to breastfeed them till at least Christmas, so on our trip back home I could feed them at the airport without bringing bottles. Life had different plans for the boys and me. As a consequence, Plan B was put in to place and each family member flying out with us was asked to take a box of formula milk with them to have enough for the entire vacation. A whopping 4kg of formula milk made its way to Italy for Christmas.

Then there are the little things which will surprise you. The bedtime bubble bath proved to help your baby sleeping, which will excite your little one, because of the extra bubbles in his bath! Only a sleep deprived new parent could fall for it as I did. Of course they going to go mad for the bubbles!

The boys’ bedroom was planned so the twins could sleep next to each other. We had this magical idea that if they could see each other while falling asleep, they would feel less alone and cry less. A few days after they learned to sit up, we had to move them apart as B bit T through the bars! Siblings love runs deep in my household.

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In my previous life, I could organise my weekends months in advance. What could stop me from carry on my plans? Now most weekends are planned on Saturday morning at 6.30AM based on B’s temperature. He has a fever so often that last week the lady from nursery noticed he hadn’t had a high temperature for 3 days in a row and felt like she had to point that out to me, as if it was a major milestone. On this week news: T had started to walk, but more importantly B hasn’t had a fever for 3 days!

The biggest thing I look back on and wonder how I ever believed it was going to work is “no screen till 2”. When I was pregnant with the boys, I read this campaign organised by Michelle Obama which is centred on keeping your children away from tv or tablets till they are 2 years old. I have seen convincing evidence of how damaging it can be and I have observed in first person how some children can be almost tv-dependant by the age of 2. So, armed with scientific proof and being unbelievably naive, I explained my new found belief to my husband and we agreed our children would not watch tv till they turned 2 years old. Then my idealism meet real life… and real life won! The twins now watch Strictly Come Dancing every Saturday night.