To anyone expecting twins, part. 2

I wrote a post called “to anyone expecting twins” three months ago when the twins were three months old. Now when I read it, it makes me smile. I’ll write a new one here and probably smile at this one later on as well.

Kirjoitin tekstin “to anyone expecting twins” kolme kuukautta sitten, kun kaksoset olivat kolmen kuukauden ikäisiä. Sen lukeminen hymyilyttää nykyään. Kirjoittelen tähän uuden version ja todennäköisesti hymyilen tälle sitten taas myöhemmin.


People will ask lots of questions. But it’s not annoying unless you let it be. You will learn the best way that works for you to react to them. Some like to get sarcastic, some get annoyed and leave the situation quickly. I think that questions like “are they twins?” “can I take a look?” are more conversation openers than anything else. With only one child I usually opened conversation by asking “how old is your child?”. Asking if they’re twins is pretty much the same in my opinion.

This being said, there are uncomfortable situations that you should be prepared to react to. For example I don’t want any stranger to touch my small babies (with their dirty hands) and if anyone tries that they’ll get a strong reaction from me. With one baby no one ever tried to touch him!

And also one time a stranger took a photo of them without asking me. I was so shocked in that situation that she got away with it without me saying anything but next time I’ll be more alert and prepared.

Speaking of the next time.. the older the twins get, the less people pay attention to us. I went to a flea market the other with only my baby girl and no one stared at us. No stranger came to talk to us and I couldn’t hear any one talking about us. It felt strange and it reminded me that this period when people come to talk us and ask questions and tell their own twin stories that seem never ending, is very short. Let’s not waste time getting annoyed by it. I may even miss it soon.

Ihmiset kyselevät kysymyksiä. Mun mielestä se ei ole ärsyttävää, ellei sen anna olla. Jokainen oppii oman parhaan tapansa reagoida näihin kysymyksiin ja kommentteihin. Jotkut vastaa sarkastisesti ja toiset ärsyyntyneesti lähtien tilanteesta mahdollisimman pian. Itse ajattelen, että kysymykset kuten “onko ne kaksoset?” “Saanko katsoa?” on tarkoitettu enemmänkin keskustelun avaajiksi kuin miksikään muuksi. Silloin kun mulla oli vain yksi lapsi, avasin itse keskustelun usein kysymällä lapsen ikää. Jos joku kysyy kaksosuudesta, se on mun mielestä hyvin samantyyppinen tilanne.

Tämän sanottuani pitää todeta, että epämukaviakin tilanteita tulee ja niihin on hyvä miettiä oma suhtautumisensa etukäteen. En esimerkiksi halua kenenkään tuntemattoman ihmisen koskevan mun pieniin vauvoihin (likasilla käsillään) ja jos joku yrittää, reagoin kyllä nykyään voimakkaasti. Yhden vauvan kanssa kukaan ei yrittänyt koskea häntä!

Kerran myös tuntematon ihminen nappasi kuvan kaksosista kysymättä lupaa. Olin niin järkyttynyt siinä tilanteessa, etten osannut edes reagoida mutta seuraavalla kerralla olen kyllä valppaana.

Seuraavasta kerrasta puheenollen… mitä vanhemmaksi kaksoset tulevat, sitä vähemmän meihin kiinnitetään huomiota. Yhtenä päivänä kävin kirpparilla vain tyttövauva mukanani eikä kukaan tuijottanut meitä. Kukaan ei tullut juttelemaan enkä kuullut kenenkään puhuvan meistä. Se tuntui omituiselta ja muistin taas, että oikeastaan tämä aika kun ihmiset tulevat juttelemaan ja kertovat loputtomia kaksostarinoitaan on todella lyhyt. Ei siitä kannata ärsyyntyä. Sitä saattaa tulla pian jo ikävä.


You may easily feel inadequate with twins. Holding them and comforting them at the same time isn’t easy at least when they’re small babies. The other one has to wait his or her turn in many occasions and even if they say that twins will learn to wait for their turn, they learn it by crying out loud for good many times.

What really helped me during those moments was remembering that even if in that particular situation they had to wait (alone, poor little ones), they will have the other sibling closer to them than any singleton will ever have their sibling. And I don’t meant that singletons can’t be really close, of course they can have tight relations, but twins can have their sibling right next to them in the same group when they go to kindergarten or school or take other big steps on their life path. They’ll always have a friend who is going through the same age and phase at the same time.

So even if they have to wait alone little now and then because of the other sibling, they will have a huge support in each other later in life.

As small babies when they both wanted to be held at the same time, I sometimes put them in the same cot facing each other and they calmed down looking at each other. Now it doesn’t work any more since they grab at each other’s face or roll over and kick the other one to the head or bite the other one’s finger. It always ends up to a massive cry.

Kaksosten kanssa tulee helposti riittämätön olo. Niitä ei ole helppo pitää sylissä ja lohduttaa samaan aikaan. Toisen pitää odottaa vuoroaan usein ja vaikka sanotaan, että kaksoset oppivat odottamaan vuoroaan, he oppivat sen itkemällä monet kerrat lohduttomasti, kun sisarukselta vaihdettiin ensin vaippa tai toinen pääsi ensin syliin.

Se, mikä minua on auttanut noissa tilanteissa on itseni muistuttaminen siitä, että vaikka näissä tietyissä tilanteissa heidän pitää odottaa (yksinään, voi pienet), heillä on kuitenkin sisarus lähempänä kuin yksösillä ikinä voi olla. Enkä tarkoita nyt sitä, etteikö yksössisarukset voisi olla hyvin läheisiä, tottakai voivat, mutta kaksosilla on toisensa esimerkiksi kun he aloittavat päiväkodin tai koulun ihan siinä samassa ryhmässä. Heillä on aina lähellä ystävä, joka on juuri samanikäinen ja käy läpi samaa kehitysvaihetta.

Joten vaikka he joutuvat vauva-aikana odottamaan sisaruksensa takia toisinaan, on heillä toisissaan valtava tuki myöhemmin. Isossa kuvassa he varmaankin jäävät voitonpuolelle läheisyysasiassa, kun saavat sitä toisiltaan niin paljon.

Kun he olivat aivan pieniä vauvoja ja halusivat olla molemmat sylissä yhtä aikaa, hoksasin jossain vaiheessa laittaa ne pinnasänkyyn katselemaan toisiaan. He rauhoittuivat usein siinä köllötellessään. Enää se ei oikein toimi, koska he tarttuvat toisiaan naamasta, kääntyvät ympäri ja potkivat toisiaan päähän tai purevat vaikkapa sormesta. Yritykset päättyvät aina valtavaan parkuun.


Accept any help you can get. This one I wrote already on the previous post and I’m glad I realized it already when I wasn’t too tired. With a heavy fatigue I’m not sure if I would have had the strength to search possibilities of getting help from the city. We’ve had a nanny helping every week, and my mother in law has come monthly for a couple of days. Now we have a nurse student coming for a training period and we’ve had friends and family helping regularly.

I’m not going to say that we could not have made it without them. It’s insulting for anyone who doesn’t get help. We would have made it even without any help (and so will you if you have to) but boy am I glad we got it.

Don’t worry about messy home. Everyone will understand. Invite them in anyways.

Ota vastaan kaikki apu, mitä voit saada. Tämän kirjoitin jo viime postauksessa ja olen niin tyytyväinen, että ymmärsin tämän jo ennen kuin olin ihan loppuunväsynyt. Jäätävissä univeloissa en olisi jaksanut alkaa selvitellä, mistä voisi saada apua. Meillä on tosiaan ollut lastenhoitaja joka viikko, anoppi on käynyt muutaman päivän kuukausittain. Nyt on tulossa opiskelija harjoittelemaan ja lisäksi on ystäviä ja perheenjäseniä ollut apuna tarpeen mukaan.

En tahdo sanoa, etteikö oltaisi selvitty ilman apuakin. Se on loukkaavaa niitä kohtaa, jotka eivät apua saa. Oltaisiin varmasti selvitty (ja niin selvitä sinäkin jos täytyy) mutta oon mä kyllä kiitollinen kaikesta avusta mitä ollaan saatu.

Älä murehdi kodin siisteydestä. Kaikki ymmärtävät kyllä. Kutsu apu sisään jokatapauksessa.


I wish I could tell you more general advice for twin life but twins are usually as individual as singletons. Some sleep well, eat well and develop as they should, others have their challenges.

But here is something I’d like to say to you:

Don’t worry, it will go well,
You can do it  and
You are enough, just try your best.

Have a nice week!

Mannamaria

P.s These photos are from our date last week.

Osaisinpa kertoa muita yleisiä neuvoja kaksosarkeen mutta kaksoset ovat yhtä yksilöllisiä kuin yksösetkin. Toiset nukkuvat ja syövät hyvin sekä kehittyvät niin kuin pitää, toisilla on oman haasteensa.

Tämän haluaisin kuitenkin sanoa sinulle:

Älä huoli, hyvin se menee,
Selviät kyllä ja
Sinä riität, yritä vain parhaasi.

Mukavaa viikkoa!

Mannamaria

P.S. Kuvat ovat viime viikon treffeiltä.

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 Pärnu, Estonia!

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

Baby photo shoot

This text is for encouragement to anyone who wonders if they can go to a photo shoot with a baby that cries a lot.

We did it finally. Went to a proper photo shoot with the babies. Our life has been so hectic that I hadn’t even thought about it until now. L had been crying a lot for the past months and we didn’t think it would be worth the trouble of going somewhere and get photos where the other baby is crying.

During the past weeks things had gotten better and the crying nearly stopped. Last week, after seeing my sister’s beautiful family photos, I finally made a reservation.

I was really nervous of how it would go. We had had many good days with him before that day. The photo shoot was around noon and I thought it was good since the crying usually started in the afternoon and got worse towards the evening. But in the morning of the photo shoot the crying started. It was worse than what we’d had for weeks.

When we left for the studio L fell asleep and I kind of hoped that he had just been tired and would wake up happy.  First we photographed M and it went well. She did really good.

We had to wake L up and at first he was just confused and we got some nice pictures. Then the crying started. And it got bad. We tried feeding him. We tried holding him. We tried everything we could think of but nothing worked. By making some funny faces we got some smiles. Everyone was stressed and when we left home I wasn’t sure if we were going to get any good photos of everyone. The photo shoot had been hard. Had it been possible I would have changed the date but it wasn’t.

But the photos turned out great. I can’t believe that in that noise and stress we managed to get photos with amazingly peaceful and serene atmosphere. I have to thank our professional photographer, Aino, for working miracles with us. I honestly don’t know how it happened.

The photo shoot wasn’t easy for anyone, but it was definitely worth it. I’m glad we went after all but I also hope that the next time will be easier.

Mannamaria

15akerberg_a.jpg
Photo credit: vauvakuva

A day of twin life

People often ask me how is it like to have twins. Of course twins are as unique as any other babies, some are easier than others, but in all honesty our every day life is quite hectic or at times even chaotic. I feel like I’m in an endless circle of warming milk bottles, changing diapers and putting someone to sleep. With our first born son we already had more structured days at this point. With the twins every day is different. Some are more structured than others.

I decided to write down our happenings for one day. This was written last Friday. It was a National holiday (Midsummer) so the hubby was at home. Usually people go to their summer cottages for this holiday but we were too tired to leave the city. The babies got ill on Saturday and that might be a reason why they didn’t sleep or eat well the day before.

Here is how the day with the twins went:

03:00 Baby M (girl) eats and continues to sleep.

05:00 Baby L (boy) eats and falls back to sleep.

06:50 Both of the babies wake up. I give a milk bottle to M hoping that she would fall back to sleep for a little while. I go change diaper to baby L and dress him up. When I come back the older kid, N, has woken up and is talking to the baby on her bedside. He’s amazing.

I warm up a milk bottle to the baby L (who doesn’t want to eat) and change diaper to the baby M and dress her up.

7:20 The hubby, J, makes oatmeal to N. They eat breakfast (it’s oatmeal with strawberries) and I play with the babies.

After finishing his breakfast the kiddo watches cartoons.

7:45 I change diaper to baby L.

8:00 The babies get tired so we dress them up for their first nap. They sleep outside in their pram. L finishes his morning milk. J goes out with them and I eat breakfast.

8:15 The babies are asleep and me and the hubby take a cup of coffee and join N to watch some cartoons.

9:00 J and the kiddo go out to mow the lawn and play. I do some chores. Our lawnmower got broken a week before so they borrow one from the neighbors. N is excited about this ‘new’ lawnmower. He also has his own toy lawnmower that he uses to ‘finish up’ after daddy.

9:25 Baby M wakes up.

9:40 Baby L wakes up.

9:50 I warm up milk for both of them but they’re not hungry yet.

10:15 I change diaper to M.

10:30 J and the kiddo come in. J changes diaper to L while I start preparing lunch with N. The babies get tired so J feeds them and takes them back out to sleep. The lunch is prepared so I continue with my chores.

11:50 L wakes up.

12:00 It’s lunch time. We’re having salmon and potatoes with sour cream sauce. I had planned on making also a salad but am too tired for that.

12:15 M wakes up. We eat holding the babies.

12:40 I change diaper to L. N goes to bed for his nap. J changes diaper to M.

12:50 We get a video call from the grand parents. N was already in bed but runs out to talk with them.

13:15 Video call ends. N runs back to bed and we put the babies out to sleep again.

13:25 All kids are asleep. Coffee, please!

13:55 M wakes up, eats and continues to sleep.

14:50 M wakes up just as we are getting ready to leave for a Midsummer family gathering. I change her diaper and put her to the car safety seat.

15:10 L hasn’t woken up so we move him from the pram to his car seat.

15:20 We are all already sitting in the car when we decide to give them some milk before going. It’s the boy who should be hungry but we can’t pass the girl if she sees the bottle. Neither of them wants to eat.

15:30 Finally we start the engine and go! The babies fall asleep in the car.

16:00 We are there and the baby L eats properly. N eats. Me and J try to eat something while the family members hold the babies.

We didn’t go to the summer cottage but are having a barbecue at my father’s house. My cousins haven’t met the babies yet so it’s nice to introduce them. There is some Formula 1 program on TV that some watch, someone is talking about making a trip to China and some are going for a road trip in Finland this summer. It’s nice to hang out with them. I forgot to take any pictures.

16:40 Baby M eats.

17:00 Baby L goes to sleep.

17:30 M goes to sleep.

17:45 L wakes up.

18:00 M wakes up.

18:30 I change diaper to L and we head home.

19:00 I start the evening routine by giving N his evening snack (grapes and milk tonight). I put pajamas on for both of the babies. This is where the craziness starts. All of the kids are tired but we can’t get all of them to sleep at the same time yet. In sport terms, they’re on power play and we’re trying to keep our game together.

19:30 J goes to the nursery to put L to sleep. L eats before falling to sleep. I’m holding M while we do the evening chores with N.

19:50 Baby L is sleeping. I’m reading a bed time story when J comes to pick up baby M and feeds her.

20:30 N is sleeping. 

21:00 J changes diaper to baby M and we then watch some House Of Cards and SKAM.

22:00 Baby M falls asleep finally. I pour myself a glass of wine for Midsummer.

23:00 I go to bed myself.

That was one day! Currently the sun rises at 3:56 and sets at 22:49 in Helsinki. Further north they are enjoying the midnight sun. 

Have a lovely week!

Mannamaria

These photos I took at 22:00 in our backyard. The burnet rose is called Midsummer rose (juhannusruusu) in Finnish since it blossoms always on Midsummer.



Starting The Baby Food Factory

The twins are 4 months old and it’s time to start thinking about solid food. With the older boy I waited until he was 6 months old but this time we’re ready earlier.

Stage 1 baby food is soft cooked and thinly puréed. This food is also lowest on the allergy scale and should be those veggies that are easiest digested by tiny tummies. You should start by introducing single ingredient at a time and 4 days apart with introducing new ingredients. (1)

This time I have started by making sweet potato and carrot purées. The babies will start tasting with such small amounts that I froze these self made purées as ice cubes. This way it’s easy to take one cube at a time and later I can mix and match different flavors.

Our girl is definitely ready for the purées. She seems excited to see the spoon and opens her mouth nicely. She doesn’t seem to get any stomach problems and is as happy as a baby can be.

Our boy on the other hand has always had problems with eating and he has had quite much stomach problems. I’m not sure if trying some solids has made it worse or not but with him I’ll take it slower. Trying even smaller amounts first and introducing new ingredients slower.

Next I think that I’ll try avocado (not frozen obviously!). Then maybe some fruit.. plum? I’m glad the summer is ahead and we have lots of fresh veggies available and even more to come. 🙂

Please share your tips and thoughts. 🙂

Have a nice week end!

Mannamaria

To anyone expecting twins

Or to anyone meeting someone who is expecting twins.

I wanted to make a list of things I wish someone had told me when I was expecting my twins. It got too long so I split it in half. 

Here is the first part of it. I hope you like it!

1. People will ask you very intimate questions. Prepare to have an answer at least to the following: Were they conceived the natural way or via infertility treatment? Did you have a normal labour or c-section? Do you have twins in your family? That is not a very intimate question as long as the answer is yes. Answering no causes a bunch of new questions. And a bonus question: Are they identical? I have a girl and a boy.

2. It’s not a good idea to buy them similar clothes. I have a boy and girl. I didn’t think I would have trouble remembering who I last fed or changed the diaper to. But when you are tired and keep feeding and changing their diapers all the time you do forget it. As annoying as it is, it helps if you have color coded them. The older boy started to call them “the blue baby” and “the red baby” when I stopped using similar clothes on them. This way I have a better chance remembering if it was the blue baby or the red baby I last fed.

Vs.



3. Give a real chance to the things you think are important. Things are probably not going to go as you planned anyway but pick the ones you wish to work and make your best effort at them. For example, if you would like to breastfeed them, buy a good breastfeeding pillow and a pump while you are still pregnant. When I was pregnant I thought “we’ll see how it goes. I don’t want to worry about it.”.

But by thinking like that I never learnt for example to breastfeed them at the same time. Having a proper pillow would have helped a lot but after a while I started to think that there is no point in buying an expensive pillow now when I don’t know if it would work out anyway. And now I feel bummed because I don’t think I gave it a proper chance.

4. Try to get some regular help. Having a nanny once or twice a week has been a real blessing. It feels easier to stay up at night with them when you know that in a couple of days the nanny will come and let you sleep for couple of hours during the day. Or you can clean the house while she’s there. Take care of the things that you never have time to do. Have a lunch date with your husband. Update your blog. Get a reminder that there is still other life than the babies. Or just get some rest.

5. Don’t listen to other people too much. People will give you many advice concerning how to raise twins. Of course you are the only one who knows what works for your family. For example, you say that you are tired and get a response “you should keep them in the same sleep cycle and wake the other one up to eat at the same time with the other one”. They mean well but it can be hurtful if you have tried it and million other things but still feel tired.

This is it for now! Do you have other tips, questions or comments?

Have a lovely day!

Mannamaria

Our lovely nanny drives me crazy, part 2

You can read the first part of the story here.

You remember the time when you had to break up with a nice boy? Someone who tried his best, bought flowers and took you out to dinners. But you knew something was missing. For quite some time you tried to make it work but eventually you knew it would never work. You knew breaking up was the right thing to do but it was killing you knowing how much it would hurt him. You knew that he didn’t expect it and for weeks you thought how to do it. What would be the least hurtful way to say it?

And then one day you just did it. Made some excuse like “this is not a good time”, “I’m too busy right now” and of course that “it’s not you, it’s all me”. Afterwards you second guessed yourself. What if no one will ever treat you the way he did again?

Well I broke up with our nanny.

Tomorrow is her last day with us.

She worked for us for three months. Ever since the twins were born. We had some ups and downs but right now I’m convinced that this is the right thing to do. This decision has been a hard one. I’m still sad I had to make it. She is an absolutely wonderful person. Very nice old lady.

But every time she came by there was something I had to point her out. I decided that I would give max one negative comment per visit to keep the good spirit up and have her motivated. But the things started to pile up and I couldn’t keep up with them. To give you some examples, I’ve talked her about the following:

  • not doing our laundry (she ruined lots of clothes by putting whites and blacks and everything together in the machine)
  • not using metal tools on Teflon pans (still she ruined two pans, a cake tin and a cupcake pan)
  • to not put clothes from washing machine to the dryer (since not all clothes can be put there and she couldn’t sort the clothes)
  • not putting wooden tools or sharp knives in to the dishwasher
  • showing up on time

After that I gave up.

One time she asked me how to use an electric steam sterilizer for bottles and I was happy. I explained it in detail and thought that for once she didn’t just do as she pleased. When I was about to use the bottles I noticed that she hadn’t washed them before putting them in even though I had explicitly told her so.

I knew it was time to let the winds of change blow.

Sometimes I think about all the good times and start second guessing myself. She does the best cinnamon rolls ever! I loved coming back to a clean home that smelled like cinnamon rolls and I didn’t have to start cooking since she had cooked us meals for many days.

Next week we’ll have a new nanny. She won’t cook us meals, bake bread buns and cookies and it won’t be clean and all. But I don’t also have to worry about broken things.

Now I’ll head off to buy her a thank you gift and hope that she finds a lovely new family.

I hope we can still stay friends.

Mannamaria