Twins 6 months – eating more, sleeping less

So they are 6 months old already! Many things are easier than before. We have finally figured out why the other baby was crying so much and have that under control.

They eat better and more all the time and we have started to give them some fingerfood along with the purees. Cucumber and banana have been great successes. Family dinners are getting a lot easier when they learn to sit in their own high chairs and can concentrate on their own food.

We gave up the pram and started using the stroller (it’s the same Bugaboo but still). They like it better since they can now see around. Ok, in this picture they sleep but you get the idea.

They laugh and take more contact to people around them. N loves it since now the babies respond to his funny faces and other attempts to play with them.

They have started to crawl and like being on the floor more than before. It makes it easier for me to do stuff when I don’t need to hold them all the time.

But here we get to the negative side of this all and it’s that they don’t sleep well anymore! Until now the boy usually woke up once or maybe twice a night to eat and then he continued sleeping. The girl has always waken up twice a night to eat but other than that slept full night. But now.. they eat 3 or 4 times a night each and also wake us up to put the pacifier back on multiple times. Needless to say we are tired. But we’ve been tired all year.

It’s just different. Before our days were hard when the other baby cried a lot and we had to carry him all the time. It was also very stressful when we could see that something was wrong but we couldn’t figure out what it was or how we could help him.

Now that our days are getting better our nights are getting broken. We know that it’s probably about learning to move. Learning new skills. In a way I would like to start some sleep training thing but then I think that what if due to the crawling they need more energy (=more food) than before? Maybe I’m not able to offer that during the day so they demand it in the night?

At the moment my plan is to increase the amount of solids during the day so that we can train them to sleep better as soon as possible if this phase continues for a long time.

Sleeping problems aside, we are doing good. Summer has been great! People complain about the weather but for me it’s been ok. I have learnt not to worry about it, not to spend my energy on this negativity.

At 6 months the twins:

  • smile, laugh and scream loudly
  • turn around and roll over. The boy also crawls.
  • In the morning they eat rice porridge with mango/pear/plum/apple puree, afternoon they have carrot/sweet potato/cauliflower/parsnip puree, then cucumber/carrot/banana/apple as a fingerfood and again rice porridge with fruit puree in the evening. They don’t always have this many solid meals but this is my plan at the moment.
  • they put everything in their mouth and teething toys are pop. Sophie la giraffe is our favorite!
  • they are learning to sit and we have put them in high chairs and a swing for couple of minutes every now and then.
  • they don’t sleep well and we’re thinking what to do about it. I hope it’s just a phase that will pass without further drama.

I welcome all tips concerning how to get babies to sleep! 🙂

Next post will about PĂ€rnu, Estonia!

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Car trip with kids – my tips and thoughts

Our family vacation is coming to its end. Four weeks together traveling and renovating the house. At the same time it feels like we have spent the whole summer together and that time flew faster than ever.

This summer we made two trips by car. First we visited the grandparent, 500 kilometers one way. Then we went to Estonia which meant first a two hour trip by a ferry (we drove our car to the ferry) and then driving for another two hours.

With our first born son we made the long drive to the grandparents when he was 2 months old. We got only one advice: drive as long as the baby sleeps. As a first time parent I had read that it’s not good for the baby to spend many hours in the car safety seat. It would be bad for his back so we had thought that we should have a stop after about two hours and take him out from it. Then drive for another two hours and have another long break. I’m glad we didn’t. Drive as long as the baby sleeps was a great piece of advice. He fell asleep right after we started the engine and slept for about 2 to 3 hours. Then we stopped and after a good break we drove another 2 to three hours and we were there. It didn’t take much longer than our trips before kids. And since that was a very rare occasion, nothing happened to his back.

This summer we have three kids. Twins are about 6 months and the toddler is 3 years old. Since the other baby suffers from stomach problems and cries a lot anyways, we had done some back up plans before the first long drive in case he would start to cry at some point. We had called a family member half way and asked if we could spend a night there if needed. We had checked the train stations and time tables to see if it was possible to continue by train (where I could hold the baby) in case the car seat was too uncomfortable for him. And we had the mindset of spending all day to this trip.


The first half of the trip went well. Drive as long as the baby sleeps was our motto and so we drove. As fast as possible, as far as possible. Half way the babies woke up. We stopped, fed them, changed diapers and ate our self. It was a good stop. We decided to continue our trip but after about 20-30 minutes the crying started. We were middle of nowhere. We stopped by the road side to calm the baby. We realized that we hadn’t hold him in the upright position after eating long enough so he had gotten stomach problems. We held him, carried him around, watched the cars that were bypassing. After some time we decided to continue. Maybe 2 or 3 time we stopped by the road to calm him before arriving to the next town.

We had bypassed the family member where we could have spent the night at and there was no train station nearby. After arriving to the town we parked our car and decided to spend as long as we needed to normalize the situation with the baby. We spent there little over 2 hours. We ate dinner at a restaurant while holding the baby. When he got tired we packed everyone back to car and drove to our destination. The trip took us nearly one full day.


I had this chicken&goat cheese waffle while we stopped for a few hours..

What I learnt from that trip is

  • Know your kids. My baby needs to be hold up for about an hour after eating. Rushing with this one backfired big time. Most kids don’t need this and in that case..
  • Drive as long as the baby sleeps.
  • In case you are not sure make many backup plans (can we spend a night somewhere if needed? Are there nice hotels, amusement/water parks, family members on our route? What sights or cities there are on our route where it would be nice to stop for a couple of hours if needed?).
  • Be ready to make a plan on the go. The odds are, you are going to be in middle of nowhere when all hell breaks loose.
  • Try to make the new plan sound like fun for the other kids. “Let’s have dinner in a restaurant/Let’s have a picnic! We have never stopped in this city before! That amusement park/zoo sounds like fun, let’s go there!”

When we were coming back I tried to book train tickets but since it’s the summer holiday season all the seats where you can take a pram nearby were taken. Our plan b was to book a hotel night somewhere on our route so we booked a night at a spa hotel. It was fun for the older boy who loves water parks and hotel breakfasts and the trip was less stressful to us.


The spa hotel was by a beautiful lake.

Our next trip was easier. We knew what our baby needed. We were better prepared. The maximum drive was two hours. At the ferry he didn’t need to be on his car seat. We held him up as much as he needed, we had some medicine in case he needed it. We were well prepared.


Driving to the ferry was exciting especially to the boy!

I have heard many parents, especially twin parents, say that they are scared to go because so many things can go wrong. I would like encourage them to prepare yourself well, be ready to be spontaneous if needed but don’t be afraid to go. It’ll be worth it and it’ll go well! 

Have you done long car trips with kids? How did it go? Do you have any tips?

Have a nice week end!

Mannamaria

Funny stories

With the 3-year-old it’s sometimes tricky to get him to do as I’d like. For example, going out or getting in, cleaning up his toys or brushing his teeth are quite often difficult situations.

I try to avoid yelling at him no matter what. I do not want to bribe him with sweets or screen time, and threatening him with restrictions also feels uncomfortable. Usually, I try to make up a play and get things done without him even noticing that he did as I told him to do in the first place. For example, if we should get him overalls on and go outside I could say “Let’s play that we are firefighters and we have to put on our overalls and boots and go quickly outside to put the fire out! Let’s go! There is a fire! We have to be quick!”

It doesn’t work every time but when I try different things I usually find something that works well enough. One thing that he finds hard to resist is if I promise to tell him funny stories. He usually starts to laugh already when I say something like “if you come to brush your teeth now, mommy will tell you three funny stories”.

The stories can be anything. He will laugh and ask for more no matter how lame the story (or joke) was. In that way he’s the best possible audience. 😄 One of our classics goes like this: “one day mommy saw a man walking on the street eating a banana. Accidentally, he dropped the peels on the ground but didn’t see them. So he stepped on them, slipped and fell on his butt!”

Other’s can be something like “what is white and is peeking behind the corner? -shy sourmilk” or “what is red and goes up and down? -lingonberry in an elevator”

Telling funny stories or jokes is also a good way to turn negative atmosphere into a positive and relaxed one.

How do you get your kids to do what you want? Do you know some lame jokes that I could add to my repertoire? I would love to hear them!

Mannamaria

How does it feel to be a big brother?

Ok, I’m back. It took me couple of days to recover and get back on my feet after the past weeks but now I feel good. The other day I complained to the husband that I had lost the joy or fun in my days when he was working so much and I felt like I was just carrying out tasks one after another after another for so long that it felt endless. But anyways I’m glad that things are back to normal. The joy has made a comeback into our lives.

Today I thought I would talk about our older son and how he has reacted or accepted the new siblings.

How does it feel to be a big brother is a common question for older siblings. My three-years-old is not very keen on talking about his feelings so when one asks him that question he usually rolls his eyes and leaves and I’m left there explaining if there has been jealousy. If the person asks “is it nice to have a baby sister and a brother?” one may hear a yes before the boy is gone.

I know that the situation may change at any point but the first four months have gone surprisingly well. He is a proud big brother, always ready to help with the babies. It’s lovely to see how he takes care of the babies, kisses them good night and always makes sure that I remember to mind the babies too. Couple of weeks ago he did something that he was first very nervous of doing. Afterwards I told him “mom is very proud of you”. He thought about it for a while and said “mom is very proud of the babies too”. “Yes, mom is very proud of all of her children”.

He wants to know where the babies are at all times and if one starts to cry and I can’t get there immediately he runs to the baby saying something like “don’t worry baby, mom is coming, it’s gonna be OK, don’t worry”. The babies start to smile when they see their big brother and I think that’s all he needs as a reward.

I know that the biggest reason that everything has been so well is his character. He’s very kind and caring and always wants to do the right thing. I can’t take credit on this good situation. It’s all his own merit. But there are things we try to keep in mind.

I think that in our case, involving him to take care of the babies has been the most important thing for us to remember. He doesn’t feel left out but very important when we give him tasks. Those tasks involve for example measuring the temperature of babies’ bath water. Sometimes he doesn’t want to help because he’s playing and that’s ok. On the the other day I asked him to bring me a pacifier and replied “mommy I can’t do that right now, can’t you see that this boat is just about to get through a canal” . “Ok, hon”.

Another thing I try to keep in mind is giving him one on one time without the babies. Every evening we read a bed time story and that is a moment he gets alone with mom or dad. Once a week the nanny is with the babies and I go to the playground or do something else alone with him.

There are many things in our life right now that I’m hoping are just phases and I hope will pass quickly but this one I hope stays the same for a long time.

Have a lovely day!

Mannamaria


 

 

Some days it’s hard to stay positive

When looking out of the window you see this


Or this


when it’s mid-May. Everyone is talking about the weather. Even the meteorologist burst out laughing when talking about the weather (clip with English subtitles). These pictures are from earlier this week.

The only person I know who is not horrified by this weather is my son. That snowy day I went to pick him up from daycare and told him we couldn’t go to the playground. He looked at me with puzzled face and asked “why?”. I told him that it’s cold and we have to go home. He asked if there are no toys at the playground and I said yes there is but there are no children. That puzzled face asked me again “why?”.

I wish I could be more like him. Not whining about something I can’t change but taking it as it is and making the most of it. Dressing up appropriately and going to the playground.

Luckily the sun is shining again and it’s getting warmer but this weather whining is something I fell too often to. I have to do something about it.

Do you complain about things you can’t change? Does it bother you?

Mannamaria

Difficulty of relaxing – my tips

I told you about the difficulty of relaxing previously on this post. After that I’ve become better at this. It’s not that difficult for me anymore and that’s why I wanted to share some tips with you.

Today I had some me time and decided to head to Helsinki center to spend it. We live in the suburbs and I find it easier to relax when I go little further away from home. And I love Helsinki. One day I’ll write an ode to Helsinki. It’s such a beautiful city (in my opinion). 🙂

This time I only wandered around. Stopped somewhere to sit in the sun and look at people. Did some shopping. Had lunch at my favorite Café. It was finally warm enough to eat outside.

It’s somehow easier to breathe when it’s warm. Relax your shoulders and walk a little slower. I don’t have words to start describing how happy I am that it’s finally warm. I waited for this for too long.

I didn’t do much but it was a beautiful and relaxing day.

The nanny asked me in the morning if I had any special wishes for her last day with us. I asked for cinnamon rolls.

It was great to come to a cleaned home that smelled like cinnamon. For the last time with her.

Here are my tips for relaxing me time:

  • Try to get the time regularly. Set the dates weeks or even months beforehand. It really helps when you don’t have to keep asking for help all the time.
  • Leave your kids with someone you trust.
  • Lower your standards. It doesn’t matter if the babysitter has different rules or if she does things differently than you. When it comes to raising kids it’s the big picture that matters.
  • Plan beforehand what you are going to do. So you don’t spend your me time planning but be ready to change your plan.
  • Don’t make too tight schedule.
  • Make a mental list of things you would do like to do. If the possibility to spend some me time comes unexpectedly you can pick something to do quickly.
  • Sometimes it’s good to spend your me time resting, sometimes taking care of chores and sometimes doing things that you love.

When you have me time regularly you can do it all.

Have a lovely weekend!

Mannamaria

All I need is sleep

When our first child was born I came home from the hospital feeling exhausted. I started the life with him extremely tired. I actually didn’t realize back then how tired I was, but now looking back the tiredness was quite bad. I wasn’t thinking straight. For example I couldn’t come up with ways to ease the baby’s stomach pain. Going to the doctor’s didn’t come to my mind. Almost like I didn’t remember there is someone called doctor or a place called pharmacy. Back then we didn’t get any help from anywhere.

At night when the baby was sleeping I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking that there is no point in falling asleep as the baby will wake up shortly anyway. I hated the sentence “sleep always when the baby sleeps”. As if it was that simple.

This time I have focused my energies on trying to avoid ending up in that kind of situation. No one can choose to have a child without any stomach problems, allergies or other things but I will try my best to get enough sleep to act when needed. Luckily our babies haven’t had any bigger problems but I want to be aware of the possibility of seeing the doctor or going to the pharmacy if things change. I want to remember the possibility of getting help. Because if you are really tired you may forget that. You just try to survive from one day to another without thinking anything else but surviving that one day.

I really want to enjoy this baby time. This will be the last time we have small babies and I would like to look back to this time period smiling and cherishing the memory. I’m hoping it’s possible.

When it comes to sleeping better, here is what we have come up with so far…

  • We analyze every evening how did the day go. How much did the babies sleep? Did they have stomach or other problems? What do we expect for the following night? Then we make a plan.

  • We update the plan before going to bed and make a plan b usually for a scenario that the babies don’t sleep as expected.

  • The other parent starts the night with the babies and the other one sleeps in the boy’s room with ear plugs. At some point during the night we make a change. This way we both can have one longer sleeping period every night which we find important.

  • We have asked for help. Mother in law comes once a month for a couple of days and other friends and family members come every now and then for a day.

  • We hired a nanny. She comes once a week for couple of hours. I can either sleep or do something fun with the older boy.

  • We don’t go to grocery store. We order groceries home delivered from a super market. It saves so much time!

  • We lowered the standards. Before I couldn’t think of letting anyone in our home if I hadn’t cleaned it up recently. Now I realized that I can’t always clean before the nanny comes for example, and when she’s here it’s often better to go to sleep than start cleaning the house.

  • I read all the books I have considering baby’s sleeping already before we have problems. Last time when I bought the books I was too tired to read them so I didn’t get any help from them.

I am tired, yes. I will probably look back this time and think “how did I ever manage and survive?” but right now I feel like I can do this and it’s a good feeling.

Any tips except “sleep when the babies are sleeping” are welcome!

Have a nice day!

Mannamaria

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