Nursery school, playschool, crèche…

Our boys have started going to nursery school.

They go two mornings a week and so far it seems that everything is going very well and they love it. The one care giver wanted to know which school were they going to previously because they just fit in so easily. I’m so proud of my little boys and I’m glad that going to school is a fun experience for them.

I think the fact that they are twins helps a lot because they have each other.

Having an easy transition to going to school required a little preparation. Here are a few tips on how to make going to school a little less stressful.

  1. Deal with separation anxiety right from the beginning. I read that the best thing you can do when leaving your baby is give them a quick hug and kiss goodbye, tell them that you are going out but you will be back soon. Keep your tone light and cheerful even if they start crying, and then leave without any extra fuss. I also do this when I leave the room. I let the boys know where I’m going even if they are happily playing and absorbed in what they are doing. This means that they never suddenly become aware that I have left the room and freak out because I’m suddenly gone. It was hard in the beginning but now they are a lot less clingy and will let me leave the room without them following me (sometimes). Don’t get me wrong, the boys will sometimes still grab hold of my pants and demand some attention whether I’m leaving the house, going to the loo or walking to the kitchen. In cases like that I find the best way to deal with it is to sit down right where I am and let them climb into my lap for a quick hug and cuddle. Usually within a minute they are happy again and then wander off to go back to playing. I am not advocating that you remove your love and attention just because you are leaving but rather that you develop a good bye-bye routine. DON’T ever creep out of the room or draw out your goodbyes with a whole song and dance. Keep it short, sweet and happy.
  2. Get your little one into the school routine before they start going to school. We got the school’s daily routine and synced our boys’ routine with what they do at school. We did it for about a week before they started school so that by the time they started school they wouldn’t have to deal with a change in routine, environment and people all at once. This includes things like buying them a plastic table and chairs and moving them out of their highchairs because that is how they eat at school. Make the transition from home to school as seamless as possible.
  3. I arranged that their first day was on Wednesday because they have music lessons then and I know that the boys love music. I think they were so overwhelmed with all the new sights and sounds and people and things to do that they didn’t have a chance to freak out. Now this might not work for everyone, especially not it you have a touchy baby or baby with tactile defensiveness. I am lucky that our lads are pretty hardy and deal with changes in surroundings well. I think that it may also be as a result of the fact that we have exposed our boys to lots of different people and environments from very early. We have been on holiday and stayed in strange places, we left them and Angel Nanny at Ouma and Oupa for a weekend, we spend time with DW’s entire family including 6 adults, 4kids and two dogs, we go out to places where there are lots of other kids (like Irene Village Mall and let them play in the fountain) and spend time with our godsons and other kids. I really do think that early socialisation helps.
  4. Don’t transfer your own anxiety and reticence onto your baby. Just because you are freaking out inside at leaving your little one in the care of complete strangers, doesn’t mean that it will be horrible for them.
  5. Finally…research, research, and research! Find a school that you are comfortable with and research the hell out of it. Check up on teachers qualifications, check reviews of the school, check their website, check the school premises, check the teacher/helper to child ratio, check the condition of the toys, play areas and carpets, check that it is clean, check the kitchen if they will be providing food for your kids, ask your friends and neighbours for recommendations, stop and chat to the other twin mom with kids about the same age as yours in the Pick ‘n Pay, and once you are sure that is where you want to send you child go spend a day there with your little one and see how they fit in. And then finally if like me you have twins… ask them for a twin discount or if they will drop one of the twin’s registration fees. 😉 (I ask for a twin discount on absolutely everything!)

The price of day care in our area is exorbitant but I am very happy with the school that we found. I really think we found a school with great value for money that provides a full curriculum and range of fun activities. It also helps that the school is bilingual and are a few blocks from our house. They have a different building each for the babies, toddlers and young children all the way to grade R. I can see our boys staying there until they start big school.

Mommy also loves the couple hours of baby free time. Is it wrong to admit that? I find that I am so productive and get more done in those two mornings a week than I do the rest of the week when the babies are at home. Mommy loves nursery school as much as the boys do. Win win!

 

 

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Happy birthday to my blog!

I was just playing around and changing the look of my blog when I realised that I missed my blog’s birthday. It is officially 1 year and 3 days since I posted my first post.

I’m vaguely suprised that I mananged to keep up with it. I know I have sometimes been a little slack but here’s hoping that year 2 will be a bit better.

What do you think of the new layout?

A twins essentials baby list

Want to know what to buy when expecting twins?

This is my essentials list for twins. I focussed mostly on the items you really need and left the nice to have/luxuries to a minimum. I combined the Layette list and various other lists from other twin and singleton moms.

The items marked with a star are must haves.

Luckily newborns don’t require all that much stuff, just a place to sleep, something to keep them warm, something to catch poop and mom’s boob. Babies are as expensive as you are willing to pay for convenience. I tried to cut down on unneccessary expenses. Luckily family and friends get caught up in the excitement of twins and can very generously kit you out with almost everything you need.

I updated the list as I saw what we used or didn’t use so it should be a fairly good list of what to buy when expecting twins. Obviously every parent is different and we all find our own preferences so please feel free to leave a comment about what you found worked well or was a waste of time for you.

baby list

Here is also a list for what to pack into you own hospital bag which should be packed from 28 weeks onwards.

mom hospital bag

A car trip with 1 year old twins

To say that I was apprehensive about our December trip would have been an understatement. Twins, a car, a 13 hour drive to our destination. It could have gone very horribly wrong but luckily the trip was less stressful than expected. Don’t get me wrong it was still hard but there weren’t any major meltdowns or other unpleasantness other than exploding nappies.

We considered driving overnight but the reality is that the roads aren’t as safe as they were when our parents drove with us sleeping on the backseat. The roads are busier, there are more trucks, faster cars and we know better. So instead we did the trip over two days with a stopover at our favourite halfway point Lushof Lodge just outside Colesburg. Lisa hosts our family every year as we traipse down to the coast in drips and drabs, so it is always nice to see our entries in the guestbook and remember back to holidays past. In 2011 we stayed over with 1 month old newborn twins. A year later we have busy toddlers.

The trip down with the boys at 1 month was a lot easier than at a year. They mostly slept the whole way down and the only challenge was tandem breastfeeding in the back of the car at every other stop. This year was very different. Our boys refused to sleep more than 45min and their usual well coordinated and in sync routine went out the window. The trip down we tried to schedule stops to coincide the boys nap time and awake time but that very quickly went out the window. We survived though and there were a few things that made life immeasurably easier.

Hints and tips for travelling with twins:

  • Happy Little Travellers. These are soft foam lap tables that fit around the car chair and make it easier for your little one/s to keep their toys, bottles, snacks and other bits from falling off their laps while in the car. It is soft enough that it doesn’t pose a danger in the event of an accident. Our boys were irritated by them at first but now are used to them and we use them a lot. We started using the before the road trip so the boys would have a little time to get used to them. We bought ours at the MamaMagic Baby Expo Nov 2012 for about R300 each.
  • A bag of new toys. With the boys birthday being in November the boys were given lots of toys. We kept a whole bunch of the noisy toys aside in a bag and dished them out at intervals throughout the trip. The bag of toys has become our permanent car toys and the boys love having “new” toys to play with in the car. Some favourites are; their electric drum set… of all the toys this is the only one that they fight over, a funny little chameleon that sings colour songs that the got from their great uncle and cousin, and the LeapFrog music player. We also packed so of their favourite books which also kept them busy for a surprisingly long time.
  • Snacks. New and different things to eat which aren’t too messy and are also low in sugar. Winning snacks were pieces of apple, Organ Outback biscuits and Wild-berry Dinosaur biscuits, corn or rice cakes, mielies (corn on the cob for our non-SA friends), toasted cheese sandwiches, blueberries, dried mango strips, biltong sticks and droe wors (kind of like beef jerky).
  • Stop and rest. When the kids get fractious find a place to stop and let them get out and run around and expend their pent up energy. Which leads us on to our brilliant new finds as far as places to stop: Bloemfontein – Windmill casino has a Spur with an AMAZING kiddies play area. Go there! Beaufort West – Go to the Spur instead of fighting for a spot at the Engen Wimpy, the Spur is on the same main circle and is much quieter and has a far bigger play area. Yes I know we all like Wimpy coffee but happy babies are just so much better. Then there is also the Maxi’s in Ventersburg that has a lovely outdoor play area which is worth a stop at.
  • Stop immediately for every poo face. You know the one, their eyes scrunch up and they make a little grunting noise. The reason is, I have tried every nappy on the market and there isn’t a single one that doesn’t leak…or worse still spectacularly explode when a toddler is left in a car seat with a poo nappy for longer than about 3.4 seconds. The addendum to this tip is to pack many pairs of extra shorts/pants, as well as a couple large bottle of water to clean up the mess. We found that Soak-it compressed wet wipes (available from Cape Union Mart R15 for a tube of 10) and compressed towels (about R15 each from Dischem) were an absolute godsend for messes bigger than a wet wipe could fix. Next time I am considering trying a water proof on over the boys nappies to contain the mess and save the clothes.
  • Go with the flow. The boys ended up having a very disruptive couple days. There is no way around it, they won’t be in their usual routine and that may make them, and you a little cranky. Wing it. Change things to make then and you more comfortable. Our boys had their dummies with them even though they usually aren’t allowed to suck a dummy at anytime other than sleep time. Stop for unscheduled stops. Find fun things to do along the way like stopping for pizza at a padstal. Our drive took closer to 9hrs instead of the 6 that it would have taken without the boys but when we arrived at Lushof and then at our final destination, our boys were happy and relaxed and we were only a little frazzled. We are a family who enjoys road trips so hopefully we can instil a sense of adventure in our boys from an early age.

Travelling tips from Pampers

Firstly happy 2013! Hope you are all refreshed and ready for the new year.

Sorry for the silence on my blog, but twins and no nanny meant that I was exhausted and didn’t have time to blog. I’m back and will hopefully be blogging more often this year.

The wonderful people at Pampers sent me these fabulous tips for travelling with a new baby. I found them very helpful with our trip down to the coast this holiday.

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Travel Tips for Baby

For many couples, December is about packing bags and heading off to a beautiful destination to relax, rejuvenate and recover from a year filled with the usual comings and goings of a busy life. If, however, you’ve just had a baby or a toddler is a member of your household, you may feel hesitant about booking that accommodation. The good news is that according to the expert panellists of the Pampers® Institute, travelling with baby this festive season needn’t turn into a stressful ordeal.

 

On the road

If you’re travelling by car, Pampers® Institute member and leading paediatrician, Dr Hari recommends planning the trip around baby’s routine. “Try driving at night or early in the morning when baby is most likely to sleep. I also suggest sticking colourful pictures of babies or flowers to the back of the seat facing baby. A good baby car seat is essential to ensure safety.”

Renowned parenting expert and Pampers® Institute representative, Sister Lilian offers the following advice: “Long car journeys need to be broken frequently to take into account the short concentration span of your little ones and their need for movement. Also ensure that baby is not hungry when setting out, and avoid any foods that give unnatural energy highs like sweet or savoury treats and flavoured drinks.”

 

In the air

For baby’s first plane ride consider the following top tips suggested by paediatric nutritionist and Pampers® Institute expert, Claire McHugh:

  • Feed during take-off and landing:  babies can’t pop their ears, so it’s helpful to offer a bottle to ease this pressure.
  • Pack plenty of formula, bottles, food and enough water for bottles and cereal. If you’re nursing, stay well hydrated so that you produce enough milk throughout the flight.

“Flying with baby from a week or two after birth is possible if all is well with mom and baby. With that said, it is often advisable to wait for the first six weeks to give both mom and baby time to get to know each other well and adjust to their new life together, so that mom is quite comfortable handling baby. It is also a good idea to be sure that baby is well which is usually confirmed at the first check-up at 6 weeks.”

“It is important to treat any colds or blocked noses and upper respiratory or ear infections, as excessive mucus can increase the discomfort experienced from pressure in the ears on take-off and landing. Baby should not drink for between one and two hours before take-off, so that there is a strong urge to drink when in the plane to help equalise pressure,” adds Sister Lilian.

 

Travel Bag Checklist

Sister Lilian suggests the following essentials for your travel bag for car and plane travels:

ü  A bag of special little toys that are only used in the car. Make sure the same toy is not given on each journey

ü  Music that soothes both little ones and their parents

ü  Mobiles dangled from the roof of the car

ü  A bunch of keys and a magnet are very useful for fascinating older babies endlessly

ü  Older children respond well to recorded stories

ü  A change of clothes for inevitable spills and leaks

ü  Pampers® nappies and wipes

ü  Bottles and a non-spill cup

ü  A security item from home like a blanket (also for warmth as flights can be very cold)

ü  Rubbish bags

ü  Baby food utensils and cups

ü  Toys that baby hasn’t seen before

ü  A jacket and cap for small babies

ü  Healthy snacks like dried or fresh fruit

ü  A dummy for those who make use of one

Bon Voyage

Perhaps the best piece of advice put forward by the Pampers® Institute is to plan ahead. The experts recommend mentally working through your holiday plans as you pack so that you are prepared for every eventuality. Sunblock for the beach is as important as a good quality bucket and spade, while gloves and beanies will find their way into your suitcase if you picture your baby in colder climes. Whatever the weather may be, being prepared will ensure a happy stress-free holiday for mom, baby and indeed the entire family.