Twins 8 months – moving around

I can’t believe that they are 8 months already! And at the same time I can’t believe that they are only 8 months old. Looking back this year the colic time and all seems distant. As I predicted I don’t remember much of it. When I think about last spring, I have to check photos from my phone or blog posts to see what we did and how it was back then. Oh boy it was tough.

We are living in a calm and serene period of time at the moment. It’ll probably get harder again when the twins learn to walk but I enjoy this easier time with all my heart.

The boy has learnt to crawl and he has also created a quite unique way of moving around. He puts his head down to the floor and lifts his butt up and sometimes raises his hands up as well. It looks like he’s saying “yes mom, I can walk, I just can’t keep my head up”. ūüėÄ He keeps getting stuck under the table, chairs or the sofa all the time and is then crying for help.

The girl likes to roll over but she is more of a watcher. She is monitoring her brothers and laughing at them. She is also more advanced with her language skills and I’m pretty sure she means mom when she looks at me and says ‘mama’. I really think it’s her first word! Or maybe not. We’ll see haha. ūüėÄ She is also better than her brother in eating herself and learnt the pinch grip last week. The boy still basically just throws the food around when given the opportunity.

They still have 3 naps per day and eat 4 meals. In the evening they go to sleep at 8 and they wake up at 7 in the morning. They still get milk twice a night.

We have sleep trained them earlier and gotten to only one eating time per night but when we stop the training they start demanding food twice a night very soon. With our first born son we slept full nights already at this point but now with three children the sleep training is not as easy. It includes pretty much always little crying but now we can’t let them cry or they wake everyone else up.

If anyone has tips on how to do sleep training when you have many kids I’ll hear them gladly!

Have a nice day!

Mannamaria

Children’s Culture – Opera And Ballet For Babies

Yesterday marked a big milestone for me and the babies. For the first time I went to the city center with them. With a colic baby we have stayed mainly near home. Now we can start moving around more. Yey!

We had a good reason for going. Helsinki Opera & Ballet organized an event where parents could take their babies to the Helsinki Opera House and get their first opera and ballet experience.


High quality children’s culture is close to my heart. In my opinion it’s not only fun for both the kids and the parents but it’s also a great way to teach children to consume and value culture.

With the older boy we have been to concerts, theatre, music theatre and museums. Also children’s festivals, theme parks and library visits have been part of our life.

Yesterday was twins’ first culture event and what would have been a better way to start than the National Opera and the beautiful Helsinki opera house. The staff had created a wonderful, warm atmosphere. The music was beautiful. The babies and mothers participated in the act occasionally. The most rousing part was when a ballerina came front and danced for us. My babies stared at her, mesmerized. It was a small group. I think 20 babies with their mothers.


It was fun. Attending cultural events is always fun. We’ve created some great memories. At least for us adults. The boy has been so young that he won’t remember most things that we have done. The babies obviously won’t remember anything from yesterday.

Does it matter? What’s the point in attending events that they won’t remember anyway?


Even if they won’t remember the events itself, they will remember our positive attitude towards these events. And I believe they remember how it felt to be there. We have photos of the events and we talk about them later. Children are curious about happenings concerning themselves. Many times have we watched photos and answered questions like “why did we go? Who was there? What did we do there? Why? Is it far away? Can we go again?”

And those conversations are what it’s all about. That is what educating children to consume culture is all about. I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to offer my kids these experiences. The events are by the way usually free of charge like the opera experience today.

Do you like to attend children’s concert, theatre or other events? 

Have a beautiful day!

Mannamaria



Pretending To Be a Good Mom 

Now that I can finally say that the baby colic is behind us, I have started to reflect that time. How did we get through it? What kind of coping methods I used? Could or should I  have done something different?

Things started get harder with us later than in colic cases usually. We had first¬†many good weeks. The twins were two month old when it turned hard. Right after this post. The hardest period lasted until the twins were 4,5 months old. Then it started to get better but we still had many highs and more lows. It took more or less 1,5 months until we got to the “normal” life. They were 6 months old that time. Now I can say that for about a month we have been back to normal situation. It’s still not perfect but it’s good. The baby boy’s stomach hasn’t been hurting anymore.

But back to my coping methods. The other day I realized that for me one key strategy of coping was pretending to be a good mom. I mean little like ‘fake it ’til you make it’ but still different. That saying suggests that you are aiming towards something you want to be but are not. In my case I felt like I used to be a good mom but with the colic baby was slipping away from it. Slipping towards crazy, screaming, insensitive character of a mom.

During whole this colic situation I had only one rule for myself. “The colic is not your children’s fault – make sure they don’t feel that way”. This may sound like an obvious and easy rule but I think that only a mother of a colic baby can really understand how hard it is.

When the baby cries hour after hour and nothing, and I really mean literally¬†nothing, helps you end up walking a circle in your home with the crying baby. At the same time you should feed the toddler, change him the pajama, brush his teeth read him the bedtime story, do all other evening routines and try to calm him down to sleep. And there is this horrible noise. I’m grateful for my husband for standing by me those evenings and really doing his part.

And of course there is also the other baby. Who is also tired. And cranky.

I admit that I was frustrated. Irritated. Tired. And disappointed. Disappointed that our life was like that and I didn’t know how to fix it. I spent nights googling about gastroesophageal reflux, frenulum of tongue, allergies and all that I could think of. During the days I tried out everything that I found from Google and thought was worth trying.

Biggest task with my rule was to always speak to the kids with a gentle voice. That they couldn’t hear my irritation. (Harder that you’d think in my situation!) I wanted to speak nicely to not only my older son and the baby girl but also to the crying baby. Since it was not his fault either. Quite soon I realized that when I talked to them with a soft voice it soothed myself as well. I didn’t feel that irritated anymore.

I also tried to make sure that my older son would get to the playground and one kids’ club that he used to go as much as before the babies came. And that all the other activities and rules would stay as similar to him as they were before. Even if I was extremely tired and it would have been so much easier to stay on our backyard I tried to force myself to the kids’ club.

I pretended to be a good mom.

I did snap sometimes. I’m not perfect (though I wish I was). But I can count those times with one hand. I didn’t participate on my son’s play as much as I would have liked to. I didn’t cook as good meals that I would have liked to. We didn’t go to the kids’ club every time. But quite often we did. In my opinion I did pretty good job pretending even if I sometimes wanted to give the crying baby to our neighbors so that I could get some rest.

I thought, and still do, that looking back that time is hard but had I acted differently towards the kids it would be so much harder. I truly hope that this colic didn’t affect the relationship between my kids and me.

The point of this text was not to glorify how marvelous pretender and fake good mom I am but to tell one coping method in a hard situation.

This might work in many other situations too.

If you pretend to be a good mom, the odds are you probably are one.

Mannamaria

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 ik√§isi√§. Sen lukeminen hymyilytt√§√§ nyky√§√§n. Kirjoittelen t√§h√§n uuden version ja todenn√§k√∂isesti hymyilen t√§lle sitten taas my√∂hemmin.


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 kyselev√§t kysymyksi√§. Mun mielest√§ se ei ole √§rsytt√§v√§√§, ellei sen anna olla. Jokainen oppii oman parhaan tapansa reagoida n√§ihin kysymyksiin ja kommentteihin. Jotkut vastaa sarkastisesti ja toiset √§rsyyntyneesti l√§htien tilanteesta mahdollisimman pian. Itse ajattelen, ett√§ kysymykset kuten “onko ne kaksoset?” “Saanko katsoa?” on tarkoitettu enemm√§nkin keskustelun avaajiksi kuin miksik√§√§n muuksi. Silloin kun mulla oli vain yksi lapsi, avasin itse keskustelun usein kysym√§ll√§ lapsen ik√§√§. Jos joku kysyy kaksosuudesta, se on mun mielest√§ 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… mit√§ vanhemmaksi kaksoset tulevat, sit√§ v√§hemm√§n meihin kiinnitet√§√§n huomiota. Yhten√§ p√§iv√§n√§ k√§vin kirpparilla vain tytt√∂vauva mukanani eik√§ kukaan tuijottanut meit√§. Kukaan ei tullut juttelemaan enk√§ kuullut kenenk√§√§n puhuvan meist√§. Se tuntui omituiselta ja muistin taas, ett√§ oikeastaan t√§m√§ aika kun ihmiset tulevat juttelemaan ja kertovat loputtomia kaksostarinoitaan on todella lyhyt. Ei siit√§ kannata √§rsyynty√§. Sit√§ saattaa tulla pian jo ik√§v√§.


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.

√Ąl√§ murehdi kodin siisteydest√§. Kaikki ymm√§rt√§v√§t kyll√§. Kutsu apu sis√§√§n 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:

√Ąl√§ 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! ūüôā

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.