2 YEARS & 6 MONTHS - 30 Dec 2012

Wow, 2,5 years already! And it's a GREAT age! So much has happened in the past month. First of all, we are diaper-free!! Well, they still sleep with diapers, but except for that there are no more diapers in our lives. We conquered the pooping-problem by giving them 2 pieces of candy each whenever one of them pooped on the toilet. After a few weeks they got only one piece of candy, until we ran out of candy for a few days and it was, very conveniently, Christmas so we couldn't buy more candy (at least that's what we told them....). Now they just poop on the toilet because that's what big girls do!
They also talk loads more, and are easier to understand and communicate with. They behave themselves really well when we go out, both of them at the same time, and listen to what we tell them. Maybe it has to do with them being able to communicate better, we can understand 100% what they want and need, and can consider their needs much easier when we're out. Maybe that makes everything less frustrating for them, and it's easier to be happy and behave?
We had a lovely Christmas and Liva and Laia of course got loads of nice presents, they play on their own much more, and Christmas eve when we were at my brother's, all the kids were on their own playing in my niece's and nephew's rooms. It was wonderful, and one of the first times we we could all sit as adults and enjoy some adult conversation. I don't know if it's the age or the new toys that has brought it on, maybe it's a mixture of both. Regardless, we love it!
Camila has been to babysit once this week, Liva and Laia loved her, didn't care about me when I came home from work after having been gone for 8 hours, and cried when Camila had to go home. So she's a success, and we're so happy to have found someone to help out!
All in all, 2013 seems to be a good year for us. But I must admit, I think we deserve it, 2012 has not been easy!

2 YEARS & 5MONTHS - 23 Dec 2012

We're all ready for Christmas, and I'm so looking forward to tomorrow. It's the first year Liva and Laia really understand what's going on, and they understand that tomorrow we're all going to my brother's house with my parents and there will be loads of presents. They also understand that the "log" we have been giving food every night will give presents in return tomorrow. Confused? A Catalan tradition... It's the Caga Tió, a log decorated with a face and a Catalan Barretina (a kind of hat). You bring him from the forrest into your home, then feed him nuts, cookies etc. At Christmas you beat the shit out of him (literally - excuse the language but caga tió translates to shit log or shit uncle....) - his shit is small presents - chocolates or small toys. We have our caga tió all ready, Liva and Laia even understand that we have to bring him to my brother's house tomorrow.
So the plan for tomorrow is that we relax and do the last preparations tomorrow morning, after Liva and Laia's nap we all get more or less nicely dressed and go to my brother's house around 15:00. We will do the caga tió for half an hour or so, then the kids will play while we get dinner on the table. Around 17:30 we'll eat - roast, duck, potatoes and gravy followed by a rice/almond dessert (which I'm making this year!). After dinner we will clear the table and get the kids out of the room while my dad and brother light the candles on the tree. Then we all come into the living room and admire the tree, hold hands and walk around the tree while singing carols - a Danish tradition... After 4-6 songs we FINALLY start with the presents! One present at a time so everyone sees what everyone gets. I'm excited to see how the girls will manage such a long night, but they've been sleeping until about 7:30 the past couple of days, and are managing the evenings much better, I am sure they'll be fine tomorrow. There will be so many presents and so many things going on, they won't have time to realize they're tired (I hope!). Christmas with kids is so much fun, I haven't been this excited about Christmas for many years! :)

If you want to know more about the Caga Tió, you can see a funny video on youtube.

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 21 Dec 2012

We're actually starting to get a routine going now. Unfortunately, it doesn't involve me jogging anywhere, but I hope we can get that in there in the new year - New Year resolutions and all that....
So, Albert gets up before I'm even conscious and leaves the house around the time I kind of start stirring... Liva and Laia come into our bed around the time Albert gets up or shortly before - so around 5:00. The first few days they insisted on getting up when papa got up, but soon learned that was pointless - and NO fun since mommy was in a terrible, terrible mood at 5:00!! So now they actually sleep in the bed with me until 6:00 or 6:30, yesterday until almost 7:00 and this morning - when I didn't have to get up coz I had a day off - until 7:30. WOW!! Anyway, on a regular day we'll get up around 6:00 or 6:30 depending on whether I have to go into the office in Copenhagen or am working at home. I get breakfast ready for Liva and Laia, then shower while they eat. If they finish eating before I finish my shower they just play or come into the bathroom and touch all my creams and lotions they know they're not supposed to be touching (they're smart enough to realize I'm in the shower and can't do anything about it). They "help" me dress - pass me my clothes - then brush their teeth while I do my make-up. They get dressed when I'm all done - and yes, they pretty much dress themselves, I just make sure the clothes is the right way around. They can even get their socks on by themselves! (Proud mom!) Between 7:20 and 7:40 we leave the house, I drop Liva and Laia off at daycare, then either go to Helsingør station and take the train to Copenhagen or back home. When I work from home I'm back home around 8:00, giving me an hour before I have to switch on the computer. I spend that time organizing the kitchen and living room (which doesn't get done the days I go to Copenhagen, we come home at 17:00 to a messy house), doing laundry and mostly quickly vacuuming since I normally have students here the afternoons I work at home. I make coffee and at 9:00 I start working. I normally finish at 12:00, have lunch and get ready for my student at 12:30 for 2-2,5 hours. If I don't have a student I continue working for another 2 hours. After work I prepare dinner, go shopping, then pick up Liva and Laia. When we come home, we all sit together on the couch for a bit while they have a small snack, then I cook dinner, lately with Liva and Laia's help which is great fun for all 3 of us, though it does create a HUGE mess... Albert comes home around 18:00, just in time for dinner, and around 19:00/19:30 we put Liva and Laia to bed. The days I work in Copenhagen I pick up Liva and Laia from daycare as soon as I am back in Helsingør, I try to have dinner already prepared, usually from the night before. That gives me more time with Liva and Laia, and kind of eases my bad conscience for leaving them at daycare until almost 17:00.
I have started "interviewing" potential babysitters and house help, I was forced to take a day off today since the daycare was closed, my mom was ill, my nephew was ill and the twin-girls next door were working, so we had no babysitter. There will be more days in the future where the daycare will be closed but Albert and I will both need to work, so we need to have someone who can help us. We also need someone to come once a week to pick up Liva and Laia from daycare and be with them at home until Albert gets home around 18:00, since I will be teaching late one day a week from mid-January. And it would just generally be nice to have someone to help out if the girls are sick, have to be picked up and we can't do it or if Albert and I want to go out and my parents for some reason can't babysit. We hope that whoever we find will also be willing to clean once a week! :) That might give me time to go jogging those 2 days a week I work from home... I interviewed a very sweet girl today, 22 years old, half Danish, half Colombian, Liva and Laia instantly liked her, as did I! I have other potential babysitters who I am supposed to arrange a meeting with after Christmas, but I liked the one today so much, I'm considering just giving her the job. On the other hand, I don't like not exploring the market to see what's out there. But if we were lucky enough to find one of the best ones out there straight away, why spend more time meeting others? And what if I meet some real freaks who will just make me worry and make me reconsider the whole babysitting thing? I'll think about it over the next few days, Albert said if Liva, Laia and I were all happy with the one today he was fine with taking her without meeting others. We need a babysitter on Friday since we both work Thursday and Friday next week but the daycare is closed for christmas. The girls next door might be available, but if they aren't we'd need someone else since my parents and brother can't help out that day. So maybe it will end up being the girl from today... I'm actually quite excited, it will be nice to have a babysitter in our lives again and get some more free time!

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 12 Dec. 2012

I went to a meeting at Liva & Laia's daycare today, a meeting they arrange with all the parents after the children have been there for 3-4 months. They talked about Liva and Laia's social skills, their motor skills and their speech development. First Laia, then Liva. The main difference between the two is that Laia is very extrovert and a typical leader. Liva is much more introvert and needs security and comfort in her life. They are both very happy, fun girls who care about other people - they take very good care of each other (though they also fight loads) and of the other (mainly younger) kids in the daycare. They love helping, they always help put away the toys and are some of the only kids who help clear the table after meals. Their motor skills are very advanced, the educators are especially amazed at how well they dress themselves, and say that for Danish standards their potty-habits are also quite advanced - it's supposedly normal to still wear diapers at 2,5 - 3 years here (according to the educators, I don't know!). They are very good at running, climbing, jumping and balancing. So basically, they are fantastic at everything! :)
However, when we got to the speech section, it was a different picture. We were told not to worry because they are bilingual twins, they clearly have their own "coded" language and speech development naturally comes slower to them. They love singing songs and are starting to learn rhyme - though that is much harder for them since rhyme is all about pronunciation, and that is where they really struggle.
With all the praise Liva and Laia got in the first two sections, I am not at all worried about them being a bit slower at speaking!

I also solved the dinner-cooking "problem" - involve Liva and Laia in the whole process! We brought their chairs to the kitchen counter and they got to help as much as they could. When they couldn't help I let them play with cooking spoons and cans, or nibble from the fresh, clean vegetables. Though we got home very late because of the meeting at the daycare, and they were both extremely tired, we've had one of the best evenings for a long time tonight. All in all, a perfect day! :)

2 YEARS & 5 MONTHS - 11 Dec 2012

We're really starting to feel what life as a "normal" working family is like! But we're enjoying it - I'm actually loving it! :) I started my new job 1 week ago, I go to the office in Copenhagen 3 days a week, Tuesday and Thursday for 3 hours and then I teach for the other school, Fridays 4-5 hours in the office and home again. The other days I work from home for 3 hours, then have a student here. This past week my students have cancelled quite a few classes, so I have worked some extra hours for the other job (saving up so I can take time off over Christmas). With Albert leaving the house at 6:00 (or earlier) in the morning, and not getting back until 18:00 (or 20:15 twice a week when he has Danish class), I'm the one dropping Liva and Laia off at daycare, and picking them up again in the afternoon. But it's all working out great, I still drop them off around 7:45 every morning and pick them up quite late, between 16:00 and 17:00. They are always happy and busy doing things when I get to the daycare, one day I arrived at 17:30 and felt really bad for having left them there that long, they didn't want to come home with me! There were only 5 kids left, they were playing with play-dough and having a lovely time. So it seems we're all enjoying this new life of ours! The most stressful time of the day is when we get home in the afternoon, Liva and Laia are tired, they want to be with me but I have to get dinner ready. So often I just cook something very quick (read: boring!), I do wish I were better at planning all that. But it'll come, we're still getting used to this new situation.