1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS - 31 Aug 2011

Yesterday I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Liva and Laia have been soooo cranky, whiny and clingy, it's been driving me nuts!! Yesterday I spent all day listening to their whining again, they refused to sleep in the morning though they were so tired they could hardly stand on their feet. I had to shower with two whining kids pulling at the showercurtain, and get dressed with 2 whining kids pulling at me to pick them up and throwing tantrums on the floor when I wouldn't. We went to a playground, for 1½ hours there was peace and tranquility. It's a new place I've found where they can get up and down the slide themselves, and there's a big open space for running around playing with their little footballs. We had a great time!
But then we got home, and they turned right back into the little cry-monsters they've been for the past weeks. I assume it's the heat, I know Laia has at least one molar coming out, maybe that's bothering her too. While I was in the kitchen heating up their food, they were at the safety-gate we've put at the kitchen entrance screaming hysterically, Laia pulling Liva's hair, pushing each other over, just generally being unbearable. They had an early lunch and were put down for their nap at 13:00 already. I assumed they'd sleep for at least 1½ hours, though I was hoping for 2 or maybe even 2½ considering how tired they were, and that they hadn't napped in the morning. After 1 hour & 15 minutes they were awake again, Liva already crying. I went into the bedroom, Liva flipped - I have no idea what happened, she just went hysterical. I picked up Laia, cuddled her for a while, then put her down to get Liva who was screaming in bed. Laia did not want to be put down, which resulted in her throwing herself on the floor, screaming. When I picked up Liva, she wiggled and wanted to get back down. I put her on the floor, she threw herself on her back and had a tantrum. I put her back in her bed, she started rolling around, having a tantrum. So I picked her up, put her on the floor next to her crying sister, went into the livingroom, sat on the couch and cried! A few minutes later Liva and Laia came. They looked at me, and weren't sure what to do. Eventually Liva came over and gave me a big cuddle. The afternoon went okay, but only okay. There was a lot of crying, from all 3 of us. Albert called at one point to see how we were doing, I almost bit his head off through the phone, then broke down crying again - after which I switched off my phone...
The day finally ended at some point, and a new day started this morning - which didn't seem much better than yesterday at first... The girls woke up at 6:30, though it was my time to get up today, Albert knew I needed a break and got up instead. While he was preparing breakfast in the kitchen, I woke up because of Liva crying and crying at the kitchen gate. I couldn't take anymore of her crying, got up and went out to see what the h*ll the problem was! Albert told me to go back to bed, which I did - the safest thing for all of us.... I had to get up when it was time for Albert to shower, by then the girls were OK. We actually had a nice morning, and at 10:00 Anne Louise came. She took Liva and Laia out for about 1½ hours, then entertained them while I got lunch ready. Liva and Laia napped for a little more than an hour, and 1 hour after they woke up my mother-in-law came. Liva and Laia were in a great mood after their nap, and I enjoyed my hour with them. They'll be out for another 1½ - 2 hours now, then my mother-in-law will be here at least until Albert gets home.
I have a meeting at the language school where I work tonight, I am so not in the mood! I need to relax, I need to get over these past few weeks with Liva and Laia being such cry-monsters, and I need to be with my husband without being in a bad mood!
Tomorrow will probably be another good day, Anne Louise is coming in the afternoon for a couple of hours. On Friday my mother-in-law is coming shortly in the morning and Albert will be home early, as every Friday. And Saturday we go to Denmark! I spoke to my mom today and complained about my rough past weeks, she's so looking forward to seeing us all, and I know I'll be getting a break that week with both Albert and my mom helping out. That'll be wonderful!

1 YEAR + 2 MONTHS - 29 Aug 2011

Liva and Laia are 14 months old today - and they have been driving me nuts!! We're still trying to get into the routine of not sleeping in the morning, which is made quite difficult by them actually sleeping some mornings. Today they were really tired, were pulling their pillows out of their beds and lying down on the floor. But when I put them to bed for a morning nap, they screamed and screamed. I tried twice, eventually I was worried about what I would do if I had to continue listening to their screaming.
Besides the whining and clinging in the last couple of weeks, they are still lovely girls, though! They interact more and more, are getting really good at playing together and interacting with other kids, their vocabulary is expanding, besides the words from last month they now also say "pilota", "ja", "caca" and often we hear words come out of their mouth at the right time in the right context, but then they haven't been repeated again. Liva shakes her head for "no", which makes life so much easier! Laia is extremely helpful always, wants to help carry things, gets everyone's shoes when we're getting ready to go out, gives cookies, pacifiers, water etc to Liva when we ask her to. The newest thing we've started doing is teach them to pick up their toys before going to bed, they don't quite get it yet, but seem to find it quite fun.
They love playing ball, they are starting to understand things they watch on TV - the newest hit is Barney....
All in all they are just lovely girls, even though they can be hard work at times.
This week I have a Danish girl coming for 8 hours in total, if we stay in Barcelona she will most likely be our new babysitter. It's great to have help again, and it makes the next couple of months seem more manageable.

1 YEAR + almost 2 MONTHS - 28 Aug 2011

This morning we put the girls down for a nap, Liva fell asleep pretty quickly, Laia stayed awake for about 20 minutes. By the time Laia fell asleep, Liva woke up. We took her out of bed and played with her while Laia slept, but it was so clear that Liva missed her sister. She went to their bedroom door 3 times in the approximately 25 minutes that Laia was asleep, and when Laia woke up, Liva went running to her bed and was all happy and giggeling. I took Laia out of bed and put her down next to her sister, Liva hugged her and they started babbeling and walking into the livingroom, giggeling and happy to be together.
In the afternoon we all went for a walk, we have 2 single strollers now, so Albert and I had a stroller each. Liva and Laia thought it was loads of fun being in seperate strollers, and loved holding hands across the strollers. It's becoming more and more obvious how close they really are.

1 YEAR + almost 2 MONTHS - 25 August 2011

Today has been a really good day, for the first time in a long time! It was Albert's turn to get up with the girls this morning, they woke up first time around 4:30. Luckily they fell back asleep, I have no idea when they woke up the second time, I was completely passed out! I woke up at 7:00 because Liva was just crying and crying. I could tell it was her hysterical, tired crying, and was already dreading the day - we have had some tough days, I don't know how I would survive another one. But very surprisingly, we had a lovely morning. Liva and Laia were in a really good mood, we all played together a bit, then they looked at their books while I checked mail, facebook, etc. Around 8:30 I put them down for a nap - they still sometimes sleep in the morning, but not every day - they slept for 45 minutes. Our elevator hasn't been working for a few days, so I take the girls down to the park behind our house, they can walk there on their own so I don't need to take the stroller down. We had a fun time at the park, then went for a coffee with a friend. I had prepared pasta and fish for lunch, Laia loved it and ate loads, Liva like it and ate about half. When I put them down for their afternoon nap they fell asleep straight away and slept for 2½ hours - the second day in a row they do that. They woke up in a brilliant mood, all giggeling and playful in their beds. My mother-in-law came at 16:15 and took them out for a walk. At 17:30 a Danish girl came over, she is our possible new babysitter. I liked her instantly, when Liva and Laia came home they took just a few minutes to trust her, which is always a good sign. They let her pick them up and were very quickly comfortable with her. She was here for about 30 minutes, we agreed she'll come back 3 days next week for a couple of hours to help me out and get to know the girls. The following week Albert, the girls and I all fly to Denmark for the week, hopefully by then we'll know whether this possible change in our life will happen or not. If not, the Danish girl will come 15 hours per week and be with Liva and Laia, that will give me a break - maybe I'll even join a gym..... The few kilos I lost for the summer have all come back during this dreadful month of August....
Tomorrow is Friday, meaning Albert will be home early. I hope tomorrow will be as wonderful as today was!

1 YEAR + almost 2 MONTHS - 22 August 2011

It's almost 1:00 in the morning and almost 30 degrees out, making it impossible to sleep. We live on the top floor of an eight storey building, it's wonderful never having noise above us, but it's dreadful when Barcelona experiences a heat-wave. Last year it happened in July, when the girls were just a month old. At the time it didn't affect us much, they slept in our bedroom and we moved their bed right under our window. They slept every few hours, for a few hours. Albert and I were so sleep-deprived we could sleep anywhere, anytime at any temperature. But now it's affecting us all. Liva and Laia's room is the warmest room in the house, which is great in the winter but sucks at the moment! They didn't sleep until almost 21:00 tonight, 2 hours later than normal. I was in bed around 23:00 but got up 1½ hours later, after tossing and turning and desperately trying to cope with the heat. I've just done some translation work, and will go back to bed now. I hope sleep finds me soon, I'll be up in less than 6 hours again. Liva and Laia sleeping later does unfortunately not mean them sleeping longer in the morning. It just means they're more cranky the following day... And they really struggle with this heat, Liva keeps vomitting when we're in the apartment, and they're both all sweaty. We've used their little paddle-pool loads these days, and have enjoyed playing with the foutains at the different playgrounds around the city. According to the weatherforecast, temperatures will be dropping one degree every day next week, I hope that's true!

1 YEAR + 1½ MONTHS - 19 August 2011

Laia can run!! And she loves doing it.... Wherever we go where she can run, she's off. She usually falls down after a few seconds because she is laughing so hard. Liva walks as quickly as she can, trying to keep up.
Yesterday afternoon we went to the park behind our house with their little cars, they had loads of fun there. It's so wonderful that they are walking and playing now, and that I'm not as limited to baby-playgrounds anymore. The park behind our house has 2 regular swings, Liva and Laia are both really good at sitting on them, and the swings are close enough together that I can stand in the middle and hold on to an arm each. There's a little water fountain in the park, so we fill up buckets and sandtoys with water and create castels which Liva and Laia destroy, or they just pour the water over themselves. I love being able to leave the house without the stroller. Today we went to a mall, I let Liva and Laia walk the first few minutes until we got to the first street we had to cross, then I put them in the stroller. They loved being allowed to walk on their own.
Not sleeping in the mornings has worked out great all week, and they've napped 2 hours in the afternoon. Today they woke up shortly after 6:00, Liva was already cranky when she woke up. So they napped for 1 hour this morning, but were tired at the usual time. I've just put them down for their afternoon nap, I doubt they'll slepp 2 hours, but I hope they'll sleep at least 1½!
Today is Friday which means Albert is home early. My mother-in-law is coming so Albert and I can go out without the girls, I am sooooo looking forward to that. It's been a tough week, I'm starting to really realize how much Heather meant to us!! Depending on what happens the next couple of weeks, I'll start looking for a new babysitter, it's great having my mother-in-law when I need her for the rest of the month.

1 YEAR + 1½ MONTHS - 17 August 2011

A whole new era seems to have started: Liva and Laia no longer take a morning nap!! It started on Sunday, 4 days ago. Albert had put them down for their nap at their normal nap time, after 45 minutes of listening to them crying, we gave up. Since we were going to Albert's dad's house for lunch, it was convenient that Liva and Laia slept later, so around 11:00 we put them down again. They slept for a little over an hour, and that way managed the rest of the day without another nap until we put them to bed, an hour earlier than normal. However, Monday morning was the same spectacle, they adamently refused to nap. Instead they slept for 2 hours in the afternoon, which was lovely. Tuesday Liva napped for about 15 minutes but Laia didn't sleep at all. The thing is, when we put them to bed and they don't want to sleep, they scream. When they scream, I get all stressed out. So today I decided to not even put them down. I showered with the bathroom doors open so I could hear them at all times, and see them most of the time since they thought it was quite funny watching me behind the see-through part of the shower curtain. After getting myself ready I got them ready, gave them their fruit, and we left the house before 10:00 - I can't remember the last time we've done that. We had a great morning at the playground, they both fell asleep on the way home. Once home, after washing their hands, I prepared lunch. Laia loves eating on her own and is getting really good with a spoon or fork. Liva has started wanting to eat on her own as well, it really makes feeding them so much easier. We played for a bit, and 2 hours ago I put them down for their nap. I could hear them laughing and playing for a while before falling asleep. About 30 minutes ago they woke up, but since neither of them cried, I decided to leave them and see what would happen. They're both asleep again. Lovely! As I've said before, I can live without them napping in the morning as long as it means that they'll nap for longer in the afternoon.
In 30 minutes my mother-in-law is coming, this means that when Liva and Laia wake up they have to have their snack and then I get the afternoon off - wonderful! We've had a couple of difficult days because of this whole not-sleeping issue that's been going on. Today we've all 3 finally learned how to deal with it, and the day has been great. But getting time off is a relief anytime, no matter how wonderful the day has been.

1 YEAR + 1½ MONTHS - 11 August 2011

It's been forever since I have written, and quite a bit has happened. Most importantly, Liva and Laia turned 13 months on 29 July! Not a lot has happened since they turned 12 months, except that their hand-coordination gets better and better every day, and they can walk quicker and quicker. They love walking, they chase each other around all the time while cracking up. They're both starting to say a couple of words which actually make sense, and are used in the correct context: "papa", "aigua", "tak", "hej", "hola", "vaca", "mam-mam" (not actually a real word but it means food), "Laia", and of course still their favorite: Tatanka. They also know what sound a horse makes, and Laia says "mhmhmh" for woof woof and for muh muh. They both love waving, Laia waves at anything that moves when we're out on our walks, Liva waves whenever she hears a word meaning hello or goodbye in Danish, Catalan or English. They seem to understand everything we say to them in both Danish and Catalan.
Liva loves looking at books and magazines, and can spend a really long time telling stories - she babbles and points to different pictures, turns the page, babbles and points, turns the page, etc etc.
Laia loves moving, she's not still for a second at a time. She climbs like a little monkey, and can get down most things without getting hurt - though she has a black eye at the moment after a wipe-out on the couch...

We also spent a week in Denmark, all 4 of us. It was absolutely wonderful! The trip started out quite stressful, since I open the stroller with Liva finger stuck in it. We couldn't get the finger out until we closed the stroller again, by then the finger was all blue, swollen and deformed. Liva was crying and crying. So we took our bags, the girls, the stroller etc and went to a private hospital for kids just a few blocks away from where we live. They told us the finger was fine, gave Liva some painkillers, and off we went to the airport. Though it's been 2 weeks, her poor finger is still all blue and the top part is swollen. But it looks much better, and she can move it and uses it normally.
The weather in Denmark was great, we saw my family loads, saw my friend and her family one day, spent a day at a farm with my brother and his family, and all in all just had a lovely time being together. I worked for about 2 hours in total the whole week, Albert didn't work at all. A long-needed and well-deserved vacation for both of us! We both got up in the mornings and helped each other with the girls, breakfast, etc. It was great being together like that for a whole week!

Now we're back in Barcelona, which is also wonderful! My mother-in-law works what they call "intensive days", meaning she works from 9:00-14:00 without a lunchbreak. She has come 3 afternoons and has taken the girls out, which has been great for me, especially since Heather isn't in the country anymore. Liva and Laia are always extra difficult after a vacation with so many people around them all the time, and so much attention, mom just isn't enough when we get back. So it's been great having my mother-in-law here. Starting on Monday she will have 3 weeks vacation, she has already offered to take Liva and Laia out in the mornings some days. I happily said yes!!