2 YEARS & 4 MONTHS - 29 Oct. 2012

Liva & Laia are 28 months today. I still can't believe how quickly time passes, it seems like only a few months ago they were helpless babies, suddenly they are little going on big girls!
They can do so many things now, they can run and jump really well, they love dancing, they can stand on one leg, and they love playing "bridge" - one girl crawls under the other's legs.
They talk loads, use sentences of 5-6 words. Of course they don't talk grammatically correct, but we understand the basic meaning. They say things like "Liva like no" meaning Liva doesn't like it or "Papa shower now no" meaning Papa shouldn't shower now / isn't showering now, "Laia sleep more now no" meaning Laia isn't sleeping anymore or doesn't want to sleep anymore. Liva is also starting to use the pronouns "I" and "you". Laia talks more, and more correctly than Liva, but Liva is catching up fast. Sometimes we don't understand Liva until Laia explains what Liva is saying. They speak mainly Danish but say a lot in Catalan as well. Albert is very good at talking to them in Catalan all the time, Liva and Laia both love repeating what he says and Laia very quickly understands what the word means. Then she says "Mom says "måne", papa says "lluna"". Laia saying it like that also helps Liva understand it easier.
They can tell us when they are sad, happy, in pain, hungry, thirsty, whatever, and that is a great help! It makes life so much easier when we don't have to guess what they want.
Their favorite pasttimes at home are reading and doing puzzles, and they are very good at the puzzles! They also love Lego (Duplo) and blocks to build huge towers. They love drawing (preferably on themselves, each other and the table, not paper....) and playing with pearls. They still don't care much for dolls.
They dress themselves and are amazingly good at it. Even the adults at daycare have commented on it, and I am surprised every morning when I dress them. This morning Laia even managed to button her shirt - buttons that go through a buttonhole!
Unfortunately we're STILL potty training (I believe we have been training for a year now, it's insane!!) and they STILL wear diapers. When we are at home we take them off, most of the time Liva and Laia go to the potty or toilet to pee, sometimes they do it in their pants. They don't like pooping on the potty or in the toilet, and normally hold it until we put a diaper on them. We still put on diapers when we go out, I tried last week to walk home from the daycare without diapers, they both peed themselves before we were half way home.
We're also still struggling with the pacifiers. In daycare they only have them for sleeping, as soon as we come pick them up at daycare, the first thing they ask for is the pacifier. Though we desperately try not to give it to them at home, the girls often end up winning just because we can't handle the tantrums they throw when they don't get the pacifier.
As mentioned, they fight a lot, and misbehave in turns. It seems it might be getting a it better, we were all out in Elsinore yesterday and they were both little angles! We met up with their little Bulgarian friend Maggie at an indoor playground, all three girls had a fantastic time. But all that being said, they also play together really well at times, they laugh and giggle and have a lot of fun together. This is a hard time for them, there is so much going on in their heads, so many things they are learning and rules they have to remember. They want to do everything on their own but can't do it all yet, which also aggravates them, especially Laia. Because they are so good at so many things we sometimes "forget" that they are only 2 years old, and maybe expect too much from them. Other times we don't challenge them enough, or don't let them try things on their own because we're afraid they could get hurt. So it's not easy for any of us, and looking at the big picture I think they're managing really really well! I love them with all my heart and tell them every night when we put them to bed. We both shower them with cuddles and kisses, and from the way they hug and kiss us, we know they know they are deeply loved, and that they love us as well! They are happy and healthy, and as I've said before, that is the most important of everything!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 23 Oct. 2012

So far I've always said that the first 6 months are by far the most difficult with twins. Babies are generally boring (in my opinion! I know there are people who adore babies, I don't belong to that category of people!), having 2 x boring doesn't make it any more interesting. Having two helpless lives to feed, change, dress and undress countless time per day drains any parent, trying to get any sleep with 2 babies is a feat in itself - and I know we were lucky, Liva and Laia were super synchronized, it was still hard - and getting basically no response in return for anything you do eventually becomes quite demotivating. At least that is how I remember the first six months... I know there was the first smile, the first babble, the first eye contact, the first finger-grabbing and many more firsts during that time, it just wasn't all that earth shaking.... After six months it starts getting fun, there's real communication in some form, you start to really understand why they cry and most times know exactly what to do to make them happy again. They can sit on their own and maybe even drag themselves along the floor like a zombie. They are (again, this is just my opinion!) finally starting to show a little bit of human nature.
But all that being said, I'm starting to think that the first six months is not the hardest time! NOW is!! My parents' neighbors have 3 sets of twins - yes, 6 children with 3 pregnancies!! Imagine that! And they have 5-year old twin grandsons. They know a bit about twins, in other words... The lady recently asked my mom how old Liva and Laia are now, when my mom answered "two years" the neighbor just breathed out deeply and told my mom to warn us that the next year would be the most difficult of them all. I decided to ignore that comment, Liva and Laia are little angels and NOTHING can beat those first six months. Boy, was I wrong!! If you have ever heard of the terrible twos you have an idea of waht I'm talking about. If you have ever experienced them, you might even think you know what I'm talking about. Imagine it double! Imagine going out and ALWAYS having at least one child misbehaving. It seems that when Liva behaves Laia doesn't, and when Laia behaves Liva doesn't. I don't know if it's something they have agreed upon between each other, but there are not many seconds of the day where both of them are well behaved. This whole myth about twins being each other's best friends - don't believe it, it's a trap so parents will have twins! Liva and Laia fight all the time! They bully each other - hit, kick, bite, pull each other's hair, poke each other, etc. - they tease each other - takes the sister's toy and runs away with it or hides it somewhere, pretends to want to share toys or food then quickly takes it away again and says "No, mine!" - and they disagree about everything - if one likes the food the other doesn't, if one wants to play outside the other wants to be inside, if one wants to watch Barney the other wants to watch Teletubbies. They argue - "My mom!" "NO, MY mom!", "My cat!" "NO, MY cat!", "Big car!" "NO, small car!", "Red house!", "NO, pink house!". ALL DAY LONG!! Albert and I are seriously going mad! Which is why it's lovely that we can drop them off at daycare in the morning or at my parent's house for a few hours at the weekend. This weekend where we actually had a full 24 child-free hours was priceless. Getting up Sunday morning and just sitting in the couch talking over a cup of coffee, it seemed too good to be true!
Of course we LOVE Liva and Laia. More than words can say! With all our hearts, souls, minds and bodies! Our world would end should anything bad happen to either of them! We haven't regretted for a single second having twins, especially not our two twins, and we are convinced they are the most amazing children in the whole world and that having any other child or children would be at least a hundred times more difficult! But that doesn't mean we don't get tired at times! And it doesn't mean we don't enjoy our breaks! And it doesn't mean we don't find it very, very difficult at times. Coping with the terrible twos x two is exhausting, and though we wouldn't change it for anything in the world, it feels good to admit it!!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 20 Oct. 2012

We have our first night off since Liva and Laia were born tonight! Just before lunchtime we dropped the girls off at my parents' house, then left as quickly as we could (well, not really, we did hang around and say goodbye to Liva and Laia for about 5 minutes). So far Albert and I have been doing "our own" things - I went clothes shopping and Albert continued his restoration of an antique bed we have. When I came home he had just started watching some movie that I have NO interest in seeing, so I have been getting to know my new Mac - a huge change when I've been used to cheap laptops with windows.
We have a reservation at an Italian restaurant just down the street from where we live for 20:00 tonight, I am looking forward to that. Then we can celebrate our 4-year anniversary last week which we didn't really celebrate (sushi for dinner and a lovely flower arrangement was as far as we went), and we can celebrate that ALBERT HAS A NEW JOB! He doesn't have the contract yet, but he was told on Friday that he has the job. He has to give his current employer 1 month notice, as soon as he can get out of there he will start the new position since they want him to start asap. We are both very, very happy about it! It's a job he's sure he'll be happy with, it's within his field, and it pays well! Finally things are looking better for him, I am so happy and relieved because he really doesn't deserve the crap job he has at the moment! Now all we need is for me to find a normal job, but at least I have my teaching and am doing translations for the German company on a regular basis again.
I am sure we will enjoy the dinner and a nice bottle of wine tonight, there are two very positive things to celebrate! :) And tomorrow we can sleep in, together!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 18 Oct. 2012

We've had our first experience with the Danish "out-of-hours-healtcare-system" today. Liva and Laia have, as mentioned before, had a cold pretty much since we moved here (at least that's how it feels!). The cough medicine from the doctor last week helped loads and they're much better, but still with runny noses. Last night Liva didn't sleep very much, after having put her in her own bed 3 times I eventually gave in and let her sleep in our bed. She was quiet this morning, but seemed OK. When they came home from daycare she was crying and complaining about an ear-ache. She wouldn't eat her food, she only ate half the yoghurt Albert offered her, she was hot and crying. Eventually I checked on the net what to do with a sick child in Denmark - we didn't know, we don't know how these things work in Denmark even though it's my country.
I found out I had to call a doctor, who would then tell us whether we should relax and wait until tomorrow when our own doctor is available, or whether we should take action straight away. We were told that if she had a fever and an ear-ache we should go see a doctor. So, at the hospital they actually have an out-of-hours doctor consultation. I was super impressed! I don't know how it works in other countries, but in Barcelona we had to go the the hospital emergency room if there was anything wrong with the girls out-of-hours. We were seen to in order of urgency, meaning we have spent hours and hours at the emergency waiting room. Here, we took a number and 20 minutes later we were called in by the doctor. Liva spent those 20 minutes playing at the indoor playground right next to the waiting area. The doctor checked her, said she was fine, we should just give her some painkillers if she complained about pain, and less than 10 minutes later we were done. Amazing! This country doesn't stop impressing me.
I was thinking about it the other day, and I am actually surprised about how little I miss Barcelona... I loved living there, and I wasn't too crazy about the idea of moving back to Denmark. I liked the idea of being close to family and friends (though I hardly see my friends here now either), but I wasn't too thrilled about the whole Denmark idea in general. Had it not been for my working situation, I don't think I would have moved back here. But I am so happy here, we have met new people and made new friends, Liva and Laia have developed so much after starting daycare, and as mentioned before, we love where we live! I also think that I'll be writing very soon about good news regarding Albert's work. Now we just need a normal job for me, and life in Denmark will be everything and so much more than I had ever dared hope for!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 12 Oct. 2012

Please, someone give me strength!! For about 1 month now Liva and Laia have both had a cold and a pretty bad cough. That in itself isn't a big problem, and after living in Barcelona and suddenly coming to this cold country, I guess it's also quite expected. But they cough a lot at night, meaning nobody gets to sleep! Laia coughs and cries, but at least we can get her to sleep in her own bed. Liva coughs, wakes up and comes into our bed. When I know it's the middle of the night I take the fight with her and put her back in her own bed, handling screaming and hysteria at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. But since they always come into our bed when they wake up in the morning around 5:00 (THAT has to stop as well!!!) or 6:00, and since I am soooo sleep deprived, I sometimes don't realize that it's still the middle of the night when she comes in, I think it's already morning and let her crawl into my bed. Only when I realize hours later that she's still tossing and turning, it's still pitch black outside, and I am even more tired than the day before, do I realize that I should have put her in her own bed. But by then it's too late. Eventually she falls asleep, normally with her head pinned against my back and her legs thrown over Albert's belly, but at least she's asleep. I finally doze off again, only to be awoken by Laia waking up and coming into our bed. Of course Liva wakes up with all the commotion, and happily shouts "look mom, Laia's here" - just in case I hadn't noticed. She makes sure Albert knows as well. This is normally around 5:00 or 5:30, and that is the end of our night!
Ten (or often less) hours of sleep just isn't enough for 2 tired 2-year olds, so we have 2 cranky girls who are constantly complaining, crying and bullying each other. We are two very tired adults with a lot of stress and worry because of work and our financial situation (hopefully there will be good news about that next week!), and our patience just isn't what it should be.
The past few weeks have not been a lot of fun in our little house, I really hope it changes soon and that the girls learn to sleep through the night again! We finally managed to get the doctor to give us some cough medicine for the girls yesterday, maybe next week will be good in various ways! 

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 4 Oct. 2012

Laia said "Laia elsker mor" (Laia loves mommy) for the first time today!! :) I tell both Liva and Laia almost every night when we put them to bed that I love them very much, as well as many other times during the day. Today we received a huge box from my mother-in-law full of clothes for the girls. Liva and Laia were thrilled, and can't wait to wear the clothes (they are such girls! :)) so we were talking about this clothes when they were in bed. I told Laia that tomorrow she'll wear a body that says "I love dad" to which Laia replied "Laia loves mommy". Then she said she loves, daddy, Liva and Iaia (grandma). Aaawww, how just a few words can completely melt my heart!

2 YEARS & 3 MONTHS - 2 Oct. 2012

When I go to pick up Liva and Laia at daycare, it's a 10-15 minute walk through a forest. At the moment it's fine, but the other day I got to thinking, what will I do when winter comes and it'll be pitch black at 15:00 or 16:00 in the afternoon? I don't want to be pushing their stroller through some scary, dark forest! So I went out exploring the area, and managed to find a path which is lit all the way. Only problem is, it has stairs. Not good with a very heavy double stroller. But it's also much shorter than the way I knew before, so the last few times I've gone to pick up Liva and Laia without the stroller. It takes me a little more than 10 minutes to walk to their daycare, it takes at least 30 minutes to walk home! Not because Liva and Laia walk slowly, they actually manage the walk surprising well! But because we stop to look at trees, bushes, flowers, berries, birds, snails, cats, dogs, ducks, leaves, busses, cars, bikes, airplanes, clouds, etc, etc, etc. Since I'm never in a hurry to get home, it's actually a very enjoyable walk and it's fun talking about all the things we see.
We pass an old chestnut tree, which is full of chestnuts now. Yesterday we stopped and picked up chestnuts from the ground, some were still inside the shell, Liva and Laia loved stepping carefully on the shell and taking out the nut. We managed to collect 40-50 chestnuts (I didn't count them, it's a rough estimate!), which we washed when we got home. I divided them evenly in 2 bowls, and gave the girls a bowl each along with 2 small see-through plastic bags. That has so far given hours of fun, both yesterday afternoon and this morning before going to daycare. They put the chestnuts one by one into the bag, then turn the bag up-side-down into the bowl, then start all over again. Lovely free entertainment with an educational value at the same time! :)
If just Albert and I had normal jobs and made decent money, life here in Denmark would really be prefect! But it looks like things are getting better, I was contacted by one of my former translation clients last week, he asked if I was interested in helping them out again. Of course I was, so I am now working on my second project from them already. Teaching and translating isn't my dream, and I'm still looking for "real" work, but at least there's more money coming in. There also light at the end of Albert's tunnel at the moment, but for various reasons I won't get into that right now. If there's interesting news, I'll get back to it!