The scary ghost

A few weeks ago T came back from nursery talking about a ghost. It seemed a little strange, but we didn’t pay too much attention to it. T seemed fine once daddy made the ghost run away from the living room.

A few weeks went by and everything seemed back to normal. One evening though, the ghost came back. This time he was found in the downstairs toilet. As a consequence T refused to use that toilet for days. Thank God we have another one upstairs!

I contacted the nursery to enquire about this “scary ghost”, but no one seemed to know anything about it. In the main time the ghost had left the toilet (at least according to T), so we all moved on with our lives. Later on that week, a book with a “scary ghost” was found and removed from the nursery library. Surely we had seen the last of him! 

Last night the ghost came back (again!). This time both boys were so scared they didn’t want to eat dinner. They wanted all the lights on and couldn’t be left alone. Strangely though, once we went upstairs to bed, they seemed to have forgotten about the ghost and were even happy to be in the dark. 

Teaching the boys about “feelings” wasn’t the nursery best idea so far. The two main results are: B smiling while saying “I’m sad, mummy” and both boys terrified of a ghost. One thing is certain. I’m not looking forward to seeing the result of the lesson about being angry… They might destroy my living room! 

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The sleepover

It started 2.5 years ago and it has not stopped yet. Every night there’s a reason to be silly and stay up as long as possible and when you have your best mate with you… The sky is the limit!

In the past few weeks we reached the top of the top. We had several giggling sessions. We had one shouting a name of a Paw Patrols pup and the other replying with another name. We had B taking all of his clothes off! Why?? And finally the other night we had the inevitable twin thing: they were both in bed together.

They looked so lovely together, in silence, with no arguing… I had to take a picture.

After contemplating our boys, we moved B back to his bed and noticed that not only he moved to sleep with T, but he brought all his toys with him. He brought a Duplo giraffe, a bear and a pig and his digger which he usually sleeps with. T was asleep with his reindeer and a goat when this happened, so we moved the correct animals to the right bed and left the rest. We now know that if T wakes up in the middle of the night without what he started off with, he will wake you up as well to help the search for the missing item. And looking for a Duplo reindeer at 1.30AM is not my idea of fun!

Gordon in trouble

As for many little boys who lives in the UK, Thomas the tank engine is an obsession. An addiction that cannot be cured. My boys are not immune and in fact they learned at least 10 different train names before they could mention anyone of their friends at nursery. 

“Gordon in trouble” is one of the many books we have about Thomas and his engine friends. For some reason it has become T’s favourite as a bedtime story. We don’t even have to guess which book he is going to choose. We know it will be “Gordon in trouble”.

In brief this is a story of the train engine Gordon, who cannot pull his coaches anymore because he needs a wash, and of James, who takes his place but cannot go up Gordon’s hill by himself. This really simple story has changed our family life…
First of all, my husband has read this so many times he knows it by heart. This is remarkable for someone who cannot remember birthdays and people’s names (without his wife help).
Secondly everything that slope up has become a “Gordon’s hill”. Mummy’s bent knee while sitting on the couch. A ripple on the carpet. The road going up and out of our close. A cushion on the couch with a slight angle. Literally anything that a toy train can climb.

“Careful! The hills are slippery” is the line that Gordon says to James in the book. My husband and I now say that to each other (and the boys) on a regular basis. “Careful mummy” says my husband in the mornings when I am about to leave for work. “The hills are slippery” he adds quickly with a grin. 

If our lives can be changed this much just by reading a 6 pages book. What is going to happen to us when we hit Harry Potter in a few years time? Are we going to wear cloaks and drink butter beer at the dinner table? I can’t wait! 

One way or another I’m sure we will be fine as long as we are careful… because the hills are slippery.

Parents’ evening

As a secondary school teacher, I’m not really a fan of parents evenings. It generally means talking to 26 pairs of adults in the space of 2 hours in a freezing cold gym. Not my favourite pastime. Parents evening at nursery though is very different…

First of all, you need to sit on tiny tiny chairs. This creates an atmosphere which is much better than the aforementioned freezing gym. Strangely my first thought was “is this going to break?”, but my immediate reaction also was “Don’t be stupid! Now, shall I sit on the red one or the blue one? “. As an adult, you don’t usually get to choose the colour of your chair anymore. It is obviously a sad part about getting older. 

The conversations were centered around much more important things than GCSE subject options. For example with T’s key person the main topic was “stickers for pooing on the potty”. A much more pressing matter!

Although we agreed that B is not trying hard enough to talk at the moment and that his vocabulary could be expanded, we also agree that we are not to worried about his GCSE English language exam in 2031.

We set targets for T:

1) Learn to count to 5 

2) Learn the colours

For B we decided to let him choose what to learn next as there would be no point otherwise. For example he knows all the sounds of animals (such as cow, lion, snake, et …), but it has been two weeks that for daddy he only does the sealion noise.

In many ways this was a typical teacher- parent meeting, but it was definitely so much more fun not to be the teacher for once! 

I choose, you choose, we choose

Learning to make your own choice is an important part of growing up. For twins though there is an extra layer of complication: peer pressure. As a parent I find it hard to guide them in the right direction. 

If peer pressure can make you do stupid stuff when you are a teenager, think what it could do when you are 2 years old. It can literally make you stand on a table… like it happened this morning when T suggested to B to climb a table to reach a light switch. If T suggests something, B will go along with it and this may have some comical, but also some dangerous consequences. 

The twins can choose simple stuff independently. Every morning, for example, they choose the colour of their cereal bowls. The colours do change often, so it feels like they are actually making a decision (not repeating a pattern). Sometimes though they would want the same colour and this signal the end of the world as we know it. Cries and screams could be heard from miles. For example, B this morning was adimant that he wanted the yellow bowl which T was using to eat his breakfast. He cried and cried. He screamed to the top of his voice “YELLOW MUMMY! YELLOW MINE!”. He kept on pointing at T’s bowl and screaming. Nothing would calm him down.
Not an offer of chocolate milk. 

Not an offer of a cuddle. 

Not even when I pointed out that he already had a yellow bowl. In fact T had a green bowl all along and B simply didn’t know his colours!

The wrong swimming class

After a short break from swimming (caused by being in the wrong country every Saturday morning) we went back to it with a renewed enthusiasm and a “new” class…

Not only people think “New year, new me”, but swimming pool management too. From January a new class appeared Ducklings Discovery. Supposedly from 18 to 36 months. My 28 months old boys should have been fine… wrong! The class exercises required all children to touch the bottom of the pool (75cm deep). B, at the vertiginous height of 85cm, could touch but not breathe at the same time!

We joined in anyway and we had fun. B did all of his exercises balancing on my knee and he loved it. Actually T, who at 94cm could touch easily, was less than impressed with the difficulty of the exercises.The class was obviously aimed at preschoolers, not at little toddlers.

The instructor was a little concerned about the new addition to the class and relieved when they didn’t cry… They are not 5 months old babies at their first experience of water, but she treated them as such. I guess I might do the same if a 7 year old randomly joined my GCSE Chemistry class tomorrow morning. She also looked worried about B when she realised they were twins and she even enquired about his health and why he is so small. My husband wanted to reply “we just don’t feed him as much! ” but his serious side had the better of him… fortunately. 

We are back in our usual  class now and very proud to be part of Ducklings 2. We have a lot more things to learn before moving to a higher class permanently. We have to learn to make some bubbles, kick our legs, remember how to use a pool noodle, but most importantly we need to remember to feed B!

Christmas holiday review

If my Christmas holidays were a movie it would have had to be a 5 out of 5 stars. It had everything! Drama (the cancelled flight to Italy), surprise  (visiting the English grandparents earlier) and a little sadness (missing my mum’s birthday). It also had some suspense (when the new flight was late and we didn’t know if it was going to be cancelled again) and even a grand finale with a trip to lake Maggiore on the first of January. 

Next year though, I would rather have a boring Christmas with no cancelled flight and avoiding arriving on Christmas Eve at 2AM. That’s cutting it too close for conformt.

The boys are getting the idea of Christmas although it’s still more about the lights and decorations that about the birth of Jesus or the presents giving and receiving. Also this year we focused on the introduction to reindeers. In December we went to a theatre performance called “How do reindeers fly?” which took the boys right into the Christmas spirit. They loved it from start to end. Their little eyes showed so much concentration! 

If there’s one thing we need to work on before next Christmas is the presents. Although the vast majority of presents were really good and enjoyed by the twins. We had too many “opening days”. We opened some on the 22nd with the English grandparents, some on Christmas morning (obviously!), the “socks” on the Epiphany (Italian tradition), but we still have their biggest present to open yet! It is too big to transport so we didn’t take it to either Suffolk or Italy and now we don’t really know when to give it to them… mmh… it’s the middle of January!!!

Possible future careers

A few months ago there was a lovely advert from a well known formula milk that showed toddlers and their future careers. For example a boy drawing on a piece of paper becomes an architect and one climbing on mum’s bed becomes a professional climber. A little unrealistic, I know,  but it made me wonder what could my boys become in the future based on their passions now (limited obviously by drinking “only” cow’s milk and not an expensive formula milk!).

B loves lots and lots of things. He mainly loves animals. He could become a zoo keeper or travel to make documentaries around the world, maybe he could be a vet. He also loves trains, but all 2 years old boys love trains and only a small percentage actually becomes train conductors, so I’m not considering this option just yet. He also likes music. A lot! He is always playing his keyboards or asking daddy to play the guitar. He likes dancing and singing and he’s very much at ease in front of the camera, so maybe he has a future in the performing arts. Maybe a stand up comedian, when I consider how cheeky he can be. Whatever he ends up doing, he will do it with a smile on his face as everything he does now! And whatever he ends up being, it will apparently be better than T…

T has a few interests, but mainly he likes trains. He really likes trains! As said previously, this probably won’t be his chosen career anyway. The other thing he truly enjoys is fiddling with fingernails. If he can reach your hand, he can reach your nails and if he can do that, he will play with them for hours. Watching a movie on the couch used to be a nice chance for a cuddle, now it’s a constant fight to have your own hand back. Going to the supermarket used to be fun, now you can barely touch the trolley and your hand will be taken hostage! According to the advert this will surely lead to T opening his own nails salon. Can you imagine a 6 ft tall man with dark hair and a deep voice greeting you for your monthly nail treatment? I certainly can’t!

Why my children have no chance of learning Italian over English

Everyone knows English is a very easy language to learn. Words are short, sentences are simple… it’s beyond me how Shakespeare could do so much with so little! 

Italian on the other hand is elegant and classy, but it’s certainly not easy. All words are looooong. Most words are complicated. Some words are unpronounceable! Asking my own children to learn something so complicated at such a young age can appear to be more like torture than a privilege. 

Do I really believe that my son will choose to say “rubinetto” instead of “tap”?  Maybe I can ask for”automobile” instead of “car”, but surely I can’t expect a 2 year old to say “scavatrice autocingolata” instead of “digger”! It’s probably considered child abuse anyway.

When they choose an Italian word over the English correspondent I’m always very pleased and full of praises. “Balena” instead of “whale” and “nanna” instead of “sleep” are my personal favourites. Sometimes I wonder how confusing it must been that all colours have different names except for blue, then I remember that all colours are “green” according to B, so… 

I will persist and do my very best to teach them. I’ll be rude and speak Italian to my children even in front of English people. I will correct their bazaar pronunciation of “buio” (dark) till it’s perfect and doesn’t sound like a new Teletubbies character anymore! I will read them book after book and talk to them in Italian, so that one day they will be able to say all those long and convoluted words. For tonight I’ll settle for “Babbo” (Santa). 

Nanna

“Nanna” means sleep in Italian and it’s the boys favorite word. They don’t like sleeping at night, but they love to “play nanna”. They pretend to sleep and then jump up to surprise you. They close their eyes and snore. They are proper little actors! 

They can play this game anywhere. Obviously in their beds, but also on the couch or in the car and lately even at the dinner table. They just love it. 
Level 2 of the game is forcing you to sleep and then jump on you or scream to wake you up. In my house,  “mamma nanna” doesn’t mean “I’m tired and I want to go to bed”. It means “mummy close your eyes and pretend to sleep”… so I can awake you up by screaming in your ears!

The best part is when they play together and they both shut their eyes really tight, make a loud snoring noise and then jump up super smiley and start to giggle! 

I know this is not the most exciting post you have read so far, but I am writing this blog so that they boys could read it when they are older and wouldn’t want them to miss out on this lovely happy memory, would I?