3 YEARS - 13 Sept. 2013

We're in Barcelona! :) We've been her for 3 days and we're staying for another 5! :) :) And it's making me realize just how much Liva and Laia have grown and developed this past year and a half since we left.
We go around the city using public transportation and walking a lot, Liva and Laia are doing so great! We walk around, look at things, go to restaurants for lunch and breakfast and they are so well behaved. We have been to some of the playgrounds we used to go to when we lived here, Liva and Laia are bored there - all the playthings are for little kids, not for big girls who like climbing, running, sliding, swinging etc. So we have found new playgrounds, as well as gone to some that they were too small for when we lived here.
Everything is so much easier with big girls! But now they can stop growing this quickly and just get a year older every 2 years....

3 YEARS - 30 Aug 2013

We live in such a provincial town, and I love it! This morning I decided to bring Liva and Laia to daycare in the stroller, they love it, and that way Albert can take the car to the station, which he loves. As we're walking down the stairs we meet our neighbor, she's on her way out for a jog. The girls sit down next to her on the steps while she's putting on her running shoes, and tell her that we're going to daycare in the the stroller because papa took the car.
We walk the stroller along the beach and through the forest, 15 minutes to get to daycare. There, I chat with some of the parents, the adults working there, and Liva and Laia get busy playing with their friends. I walk home along the golf-course and through the forest.
At home I check the map to see where I have to go for a meeting with a possible accountant. For those of you who might not know, I started my own little language school a few months ago, so I need an accountant. (On a side note, starting a company with a full-time working husband and 2 3-year olds is very exhausting! But that's a whole different story, and now that it's up and running I can only say it's been worth it! www.sunshinelanguages.dk). I figured it would take about 15 minutes to get to this accountant's office, hop on my bike, greet the neighbor who's just getting out of his car, then ride through the forest into town. I arrive about 7 minutes early, not realizing that this provincial little town really IS little, it doesn't take long to get from point A to point B. When I arrive, the accountant is on his office balcony, chatting to a friend on the parking lot. We chat for an hour, I get back on my bike to go home again. As I pass the train tracks, he lights start flashing and dinging, the level crossing closes getting ready for the train to pass. There isn't a person or car in sight, I am the only one who sees this, and I'm not even going that direction. But of course the level crossing has to do what it has to do when a train crosses, regardless of whether there are people out or not. As I enter the forest I see the train pass, heading the last 3 stops into Elsinore "center". I ride through the forest, greet the neighbor again, this time out with his dog, and arrive at home, where Tatanka is sprawled out in the middle of the street, enjoying life and waiting for his family to come home. He follows me up the stairs and in the front door, accepts my cuddles before running into the garden again. Now I'm home for a few hours before getting on my bike again, riding to the station (one of my favorite rides!) to go to class. My mom will pick me up after class since she works close to where I teach this afternoon, then drive me to Liva & Laia's daycare. They have some kind of summer party there this afternoon, where I've already agreed with 2 other moms we meet up and chat.
Some days I love life more than others! :)

The view on the way to Elsinore station

The view on the way to Elsinore station

The view on the way to Elsinore station

3 YEARS - 20 August 2013

Having twins is amazing, yes. and they have a lot of fun together, yes. But MAN it's exhausting as well!! I'm sure every parent with kids 2 years and up knows these phrases way too well: "Look at me!" "Look what I can do!", "Are you looking?" "Did you see me?", "You weren't looking properly, look again!", "I want to try again!", "Again!", "Again!", "No!", "Stop it!", "No, you stop it", "I don't want to!", "Why?", "No!", "Why?". "Why?", "I can do it myself!", "Can I have one?", "I want one!", "More!", etc, etc, etc. ALL DAY LONG! Now, imagine it double! Imagine, on top of all these expressions, you also get "What's she eating?", "I want one, too!", "I can do it, too!", "Now look at me!", "It's my turn now!", "My turn!", "Me, too!", "She did it, why can't I?" (even when it's something you've just told the other one she's NOT allowed to do!). And imagine at 4a.m. "Liva? Liva? Are you awake, Liva? I think I heard something! Liva? Let's go to Mom & Dad's bed, I heard something!" followed by the pitter-patter of 4 little feet and next thing you know, you have 2 more people in the bed. For the next 15-30 minutes you hear "Au!", "Move, I don't have space!", "Stop kicking me!", "Mom, she's kicking me!", "I don't have enough space", "Stop touching me!", "Move your legs!", "I was here first!", "Mom, tell her to move!". When we tell them to be quiet or go back to their own beds, they start crying, and neither of us can be bothered at 4 a.m.! So yes, having twins is also extremely exhausting! Luckily there are loads of giggles when they play together, and moments of pure enjoyment when we sit and watch them play or fool around. Double trouble, double fun, double love! :)

3 YEARS - 26 July 2013

Having twins is amazing! :) They have so much fun together now, and it's making life so much easier for Albert and me, and giving us a lot of good laughs!
The weather has been brilliant in Denmark the past couple of weeks, I bought a little pool for Liva and Laia, they can spend hours playing there. I sit on a chair with a magazine (not a book, nothing too gripping) and watch them play. Every now and then they'll yell "Look at me, look what I can do!", I look for a while and clap my hands in utter amazement (sometimes I really am amazed!!), and after a while they play again.
Our apartment is organized so the kitchen and living room is one open space. Lately while I'm in the kitchen cooking Liva & Laia play in the living room with their dolls. Their newest thing is bringing all their playfood to the ottoman in the middle of the room and having dinner with their babies, then putting their babies to bed, either on the couch or in the strollers. I help them dress and undress the babies, settle their twin-disputes, and look when they ask me to look at what they can do. But most of the time I cook, clean the kitchen and organize things.

Sometimes I do feel bad and wonder if I should spend more time actually playing with them, but I think (or at least I have told myself) that they have much more fun playing with each other. And of course I do play with them! We roll around on the couch tickling each other, when Albert comes home he plays hide-and-seek with them, then tickles them and throws them in the air, spins them around, plays airplane and whatever else. In the evening before going upstairs we all sit in the couch and read stories together, then we all 4 go upstairs together and Albert and I both sing to Liva and Laia, cuddle and kiss them, and make sure they have a good end to the day.

3 YEARS - 13 July 2013

This post is not actually from me, it's something I read via facebook a while ago, and it touched me deeply! Whoever wrote this hit it spot-on, and I just wanted to share it.

Dear Mom,

I've seen you around. I've seen you screaming at your kids in public, I've seen you ignoring them at the playground, I've seen you unshowered and wearing last night's pajama pants at preschool drop-off. I've seen you begging your children, bribing them, threatening them. I've seen you shouting back and forth with your husband, with your mom, with the police officer at the crosswalk.

I've seen you running around with your kids, getting dirty and occasionally swearing audibly when you bang a knee. I've seen you sharing a milkshake with a manic 4-year-old. I've seen you wiping your kids' boogers with your bare palm, and then smearing them on the back of your jeans. I've seen you carry your toddler flopped over the crook of your arm while chasing a runaway ball.

I've also seen you gritting your teeth while your kid screamed at you for making him practice piano, or soccer, or basket weaving or whatever it was. I've seen you close your eyes and breathe slowly after finding a gallon of milk dumped into your trunk. I've seen you crying into the sink while you desperately scrub crayon off your best designer purse. I've seen you pacing in front of the house.

I've seen you at the hospital waiting room. I've seen you at the pharmacy counter. I've seen you looking tired and frightened.

I've seen a lot of you, actually.

I see you every single day.

I don't know if you planned to be a parent or not. If you always knew from your earliest years that you wanted to bring children into the world, to tend to them, or if motherhood was thrust upon you unexpectedly. I don't know if it meets your expectations, or if you spent your first days as a mom terrified that you would never feel what you imagined "motherly love" would feel like for your child. I don't know if you struggled with infertility, or with pregnancy loss, or with a traumatic birth. I don't know if you created your child with your body, or created your family by welcoming your child into it.

But I know a lot about you.

I know that you didn't get everything that you wanted. I know that you got a wealth of things you never knew you wanted until they were there in front of you. I know that you don't believe that you're doing your best, that you think you can do better. I know you are doing better than you think.

I know that when you look at your child, your children, you see yourself. And I know that you don't, that you see a stranger who can't understand why the small details of childhood that were so important to you are a bother to this small person who resembles you.

I know that you want to throw a lamp at your teenager's head sometimes. I know you want to toss your 3-year-old out the window once in a while.

I know that some nights, once it's finally quiet, you curl up in bed and cry. I know that sometimes, you don't, even though you wanted to.

I know that some days are so hard that all you want is for them to end, and then at bedtime your children hug you and kiss you and tell you how much they love you and want to be like you, and you wish the day could last forever.

But it never does. The day always ends, and the next day brings new challenges. Fevers, heartbreak, art projects, new friends, new pets, new fights. And every day you do what you need to do.

You take care of things, because that's your job. You go to work, or you fill up the crock pot, or you climb into the garden, or strap the baby to your back and pull out the vacuum cleaner.

You drop everything you're doing to moderate an argument over whose turn it is to use a specifically colored marker, or to kiss a boo-boo, or to have a conversation about what kind of lipstick Pinocchio's Mommy wears.

I know that you have tickle fights in blanket forts, and that you have the words to at least eight different picture books memorized. I've heard that you dance like a wild woman when it's just you and them. That you have no shame about farting or belching in their presence, that you make up goofy songs about peas and potatoes and cheese.

I know that an hour past bedtime, you drop what you're doing and trim the fingernail that your 3-year-old insists is keeping her up. I know that you stop cleaning dishes because your kids insist you need to join their tea party. I know you fed your kids PB&J for four days straight when you had the flu. I know that you eat leftover crusts over the sink while your kids watch "Sponge Bob."

I know you didn't expect most of this. I know you didn't anticipate loving somebody so intensely, or loathing your post-baby body so much, or being so tired or being the mom you've turned out to be.

You thought you had it figured out. Or you were blind and terrified. You hired the perfect nanny. Or you quit your job and learned to assemble flat-packed baby furniture. You get confused by the conflict of feeling like nothing has changed since you were free and unfettered by children, and looking back on the choices you made as though an impostor was wearing your skin.

You're not a perfect mom. No matter how you try, no matter what you do. You will never be a perfect mom.

And maybe that haunts you. Or maybe you've made peace with it. Or maybe it was never a problem to begin with.

No matter how much you do, there is always more. No matter how little you do, when the day is over, your children are still loved. They still smile at you, believing you have magical powers to fix almost anything. No matter what happened at work, or at school, or in playgroup, you have still done everything in your power to ensure that the next morning will dawn and your children will be as happy, healthy, and wise as could possibly be hoped.

There's an old Yiddish saying: "There is one perfect child in the world, and every mother has it."

Unfortunately, there are no perfect parents. Your kids will grow up determined to be different than you. They will grow up certain that they won't make their kids take piano lessons, or they'll be more lenient, or more strict, or have more kids, or have fewer, or have none at all.

No matter how far from perfect you are, you are better than you think.

Someday your kids will be running around like crazy people at synagogue and concuss themselves on a hand rail, and somebody will still walk up to you and tell you what a beautiful family you have. You'll be at the park and your kids will be covered in mud and jam up to the elbows, smearing your car with sugary cement, and a pregnant lady will stop and smile at you wistfully.

No matter how many doubts you might have, you never need doubt this one thing: You are not perfect.

And that's good. Because really, neither is your child. And that means nobody can care for them the way you can, with the wealth of your understanding and your experience. Nobody knows what your child's squall means, or what their jokes mean, or why they are crying better than you do.

And since no mother is perfect, chances are you are caught in a two billion way tie for
Best Mom in the World.

Congratulations, Best Mom in the World. You're not perfect.
You are as good as anybody can get.


3 YEARS - 11 July 2013

3 is so much better than 2!! It is amazing how much has happened with Liva and Laia over the past months. I assume it also has a lot to do with having moved from "vuggestue" to "børnehave", now they're suddenly the smallest kids among 3-5 year-olds - a lot to live up to when you want to be big girls.
They play really well together, especially with their little kitchen, and the babies and strollers they were given for their birthday. They can spend hours pretending their baby has pooped and wiping her bum, putting them in the stroller and going pretend-shopping or on pretend-vacation. When they go on vacation they give us hugs and kisses goodbye, walk slowly out of the living room while waving all the way, then come running back into the living room after 3 seconds wanting hugs and kisses; they've just come home after a long vacation, we should be happy to see them. Albert and I love this game, hugs and kisses are always great! (And we get to sit on the couch and do nothing except get and give hugs and kisses - perfect!).
They are also much better behaved, and much easier to reason with. They are starting to understand why they shouldn't do things, or why we get angry, annoyed, sad, irritated or whatever in certain situations. Of course they still throw tantrums and tease each other, and of course we are still about to explode at times, but it is getting better, and we can feel it. Every day a bit more.
I just wish Liva and Laia would learn to sleep in the mornings... They wake up somewhere between 5:30 - 6:00. It makes no difference if they don't nap, are put to bed later, the room is dark, whatever. If they don't nap they get cranky and impossible by 17:00, and the evening gets really long. If they are put to bed later they are just cranky all morning the following day, until they finally get to take their nap. We know it's not a 1-day thing, so we have tried for weeks to put them to bed later, hoping they'd sleep a bit longer in the morning. All we got were 2 cranky girls. So they still go to bed around 19:00, and are up and ready for the day before 6:00. Every day.... But at least they are usually rested and in a good mood, and Albert and I have the evenings to rest. We do sometimes feel like chicken when we collapse in bed by 22:00, but hey, that's been a long day for us... We'll probably miss it when they're teenagers, refusing to get out of bed in the mornings! :)

3 YEARS!! - 3 July 2013

Liva and Laia are 3 years old! No more terrible twos... Now for the terrible threes??
Well, we had a LOVELY birthday for them. It started Friday at daycare already, Liva and Laia are always so excited when it's somebody else's birthday at daycare, they come home and explain how they sang songs and ate birthday bread. So I felt really bad about them having their birthday on a Saturday and missing out on such an important event for them. The daycare is great, and when I asked if they could celebrate their birthday on Friday 28 June, 1 day before the actual day, there was of course no problem. Last week we went to a big department store in Hillerød, about 30 minutes away, and Liva and Laia got to choose their own plates, cups and napkins to bring to daycare. They were so proud! Since Iaia (grandma, Albert's mom) arrived from Barcelona Thursday evening, I had planned my Friday so I started work later and could let the girls be at home with her a bit longer. We then went to the daycare, where everybody wished them a happy birthday. They had a lovely day, I was told. Iaia and I picked them up early in the afternoon, and had a nice afternoon the four of us together. Saturday morning they got their presents from Albert and me, and from Iaia. I spent all morning baking bread and cakes, while Albert prepared a vegetable bread (a very delicious Catalan food-thing!) and the girls played with Iaia and their new presents.
Liva had asked for a purple cake with strawberries, Laia wanted a blue cake with blueberries. Their wish is my command... :)

After their nap, the guests came. Family and friends. They all brought nice presents and Liva and Laia were so happy! We ate the cakes, went for a stroll down to the beach, came home and had Albert's vegetable bread, then the guests all left again. A few minutes later our neighbor with 2 twin girls and a boy came by, they stayed for about 45 minutes. Liva and Laia couldn't have had a better day. They played until about 20:00 before we put them to bed, happy and exhausted. All in all a perfect day, everybody was happy and Liva and Laia are now 3 years old. What a milestone!

2 YEARS & 11 MONTHS - 20 June 2013

I was just looking at my blog information, and noticed I had 3 blogs. I have a blog called "Life with twins". I had no recollection what so ever of this blog, and started reading it. Turns out I actually started blogging while I was still pregnant. Talk about baby-brain or pregnancy-brain or whatever you want to call it, I seriously can't remeber having started this blog!
It blew my mind reading it, and brought back some long forgotten memories from my pregnancy. As I have mentioned (thousand of times!!) before, my pregnancy was not an easy one, I guess that's why I stopped writing about it. Having twins was (IS!) amazing, I guess that's why I started writing again shortly after they were born - a whole new blog instead of just continuing the one I had already started....
If you would like to read it, it's quite short, you can do so here. Have fun.
Oh, by the way, when you finish reading, I was in for another shock when I went to the hospital on June 28th and was finally told to stay - there had never been a planned cesarian, they had always planned on me giving birth naturally since Liva & Laia were perfectly positioned for a natural birth. I was terrified and begging for a cesarian, they refused. I am so happy about that now, the actual birth of my children is the most amazing thing I have ever experienced! And the only thing of the whole child-having process I would do again! But since I don't want to be pregnant again, and since I don't want to relive the first 6 months of baby life, it seems that giving birth is also not something that will happen again! :)

2 YEARS & 11 MONTHS - 6 June 2013

Oh. My. Goodness!! Where has time gone?? I didn't even realize Liva and Laia had turned 35 months because I have been so focused on the fact that they will be turning THREE this month!! I can't believe it! Though when I look at them, I can believe it! They are such big girls now! Part of me is so relieved that time is passing fast, that we're done with diapers and messy eating, that Liva and Laia can now communicate, play, do things on their own, have an opinion about things, dress themselves, laugh, fight, hug, hold hands, have friends, help around the house etc. etc. etc. All those things I couldn't wait for when they were still vomiting little poop-machines who only ate, slept and cried. But part of me is terrified! My little babies are turning three! They dress themselves, play, have an opinion about things, have friends (Laia even has a boyfriend!)... It really is true what people say, soon they will be off to college and mom and dad will no longer be the center of their universe... The moment I have been longing for has arrived, now it seems there aren't enough hours in the day to enjoy my 2 little bundles of joy. When I get angry with them I regret it right away. They are getting big so quickly now, I try to enjoy every second they want to spend with me.
Yesterday we had our first real playdate here in Denmark, at someone's house. Though we have met up with friends at playgrounds in the past, and though we have had one of their friend come here with her parents once to play, and we have been to their house for the girl's birthday, this somehow felt different. A family who have 3 kids at the same daycare as Liva and Laia (one of the boys is even in the same "class" as Laia) lives just around the corner from us. We had previously talked about letting the kids play, but it had never really happened. Yesterday was Denmark's constitution day, so we had the day off. In the afternoon I took the girls to this family's house, the kids had such a blast! The weather was brilliant so they had set up a tiny paddle pool in the garden, the 2 boys and Liva and Laia played all afternoon, sometimes inside, sometimes outside. I spent most of the afternoon relaxing in the sun, chatting with and getting to know the mom. The biggest boy is Laia's boyfriend, they are inseparable. Liva and the younger boy get along really well, but the love isn't there like with Laia and Oliver. :)
It is so much fun watching Liva and Laia grow up now, I am so happy with their age and amazed at the speed at which everything is happening. I believe this is where having twins starts getting really fun! And I am so looking forward to every second in the future with them!

2 YEARS & 10 MONTHS - 24 May 2013

What an amazing day! The weather is perfect, I had a lovely afternoon with Liva and Laia, and we had a great evening all 4 of us together.
I picked up the girls at daycare at 14:00 already, since we had an appointment at the ear doctor. Liva and Laia for reason love this doctor, and were thrilled to go. He is really good with the girls, and having their ears checked becomes a highlight in itself. When we were done there, we went grocery shopping, I told the girls that if they behaved and didn't ask for things all the time, we could go for ice-cream when we were done. I had 2 little angles who helped me find the groceries and were super behaved the whole time. So we went for ice-cream :). We sat at the square in Elsinore in the sun and watched the other people while Liva & Laia had delicious ice-cream and I had iced coffee, yum! On our way home, I saw the market next to our house this weekend had opened, so we went there. There were rides, horses and booths that sold all kinds of junk.... I bought a candleholder for us for outside, and a silly little cash-register toy for Liva & Laia.
When we got home, we played in the garden for a while, then went upstairs and started getting dinner ready. Albert came home a few minutes later, we had a lovely dinner all together. Liva & Laia were so happy and really well behaved, even though they were tired we had a lovely dinner. After dinner we played a bit, then got the girls ready for bed. Upstairs we played hide and seek with them, the girls were laughing so hard they could hardly stand at the end. At 19:45 we put them to bed, sang to them and after a few minutes they were both asleep. I hope the rest of the weekend will be just as lovely!

Laia riding
Liva riding 

2 YEARS & 10 MONTHS - 22 May 2013

I sometimes wonder if "having kids" is really everything it's said to be?! Now, before you start panicking and calling the children's social authorities or whoever and accusing me of not loving my children, let me set one thing straight: I adore Liva and Laia, I would do anything for them, and I cannot (and don't want to!) imagine life without them! I have loved them from the first second they came into my life, and my love for them has grown by the hour. I have never, not for a single tenth of a second, regretted having children. But I sometimes still wonder why "having kids"is so important to most women, especially young women. And this includes myself!
As far back as I can remember, I have wanted kids. As a little girl I had a baby doll and everything that goes with it - clothes, stroller, changing table, bath, potty, diapers, etc. etc. etc! I have loved being with babies and little children all my life, I started babysitting at the age og 15, I have been a nanny for a family in Germany for 3 months, and a live-in Au-Pair in the US for 13 months. Since I was in my early twenties I envied pregnant women and went gaga when I saw little babies. When my friends starting having babies my biological clock tripled, and I just couldn't wait for it to be my turn.
After a few years with Albert I started talking quite seriously about it, and promised him life wouldn't change. I have been around children all my life, I just knew it. We could still go out to dinner, we would just bring the baby in the stroller and s/he would sleep through dinner. We would still have sex, we would still travel and go out, nothing would change. Little did I know EVERYTHING would change! And little did I know there would be 2 babies. I had hoped, but I had never dared imagine it.
As mentioned before, Liva and Laia are the best thing that have ever happened to me, but I miss going out to dinner with Albert. Strangely enough, we can't just put Liva and Laia in a stroller and have them sleep through dinner... I miss strolling hand in hand with my husband and chatting about everything and nothing. I miss sleeping at night, I miss sleeping in in the mornings, I miss not being tired. I miss spontaneous weekend trips to Hamburg, Rome or other fun places, I miss going on vacation. I miss being able to afford these things.
This does NOT mean I don't love going for brunch as a family, love feeling Liva and Laia's hands in mine when we go for a walk, love the cuddles I get from both of them when they come into our bed in the morning, love seeing their faces when we experience new things together as a family or love discovering that there are still many fun things you can do without it costing a lot of money.
Last week, one of my 17-year old students told me she can't wait to be a mom, and hopes to have her first child in about 3-4 years when she has her education behind her - at least she realizes she should get her education first! I told her that having kids is the most amazing thing in the world, but a few seconds later I tried to take back what I had said, and told her to enjoy her youth, enjoy life and not be in such a hurry to have children. I had Liva and Laia at 35, I always thought it was late for having children, but I am soooo happy to have experienced what I did before having them. Liva and Laia are now so big that we can experience new things together as a family, go places without worrying about bottles, diapers, strollers, etc. As much as I love being a mom, I don't think we send girls/young women the right signals: being a mom is not everything, you should enjoy your life for as long as you can before you give life because even though you don't think it will apply to you, life does change after having children. In every way. I am not saying life without children was better, but life with children isn't always everything it's said to be. No matter how much you love your children!

2 YEARS & 10 MONTHS - 20 May 2013

If I wasn't already 100% sure I don't want more kids, I am now! We've just had my brother-in-law from Barcelona visiting with his 3 kids of 6, 4 and 2 years old. They are sweet, quiet, well-behaved kids, and it was nice having them here. The 2-year old is a girl, the other 2 are boys, especially the girls had a lot of fun together. My brother-in-law ran the Copenhagen marathon yesterday, Albert took the 2 boys to Copenhagen early in the morning while I stayed with the 3 girls. They were sweet and well-behaved, but somehow I got NOTHING done all morning except shower and dress myself, dress the 3 girls and pack a bag. My mom had to come at 10:00 so she could take the train into Copenhagen with me, Albert had used the car and I couldn't bring 2 strollers on my own. My poor mom came all the way to Copenhagen on 2 different trains and a metro, then went straight home coz it was rainy and cold. How do people with more than 2 kids manage? How do they ever get anything not kid-related done?
On the way home the train stopped at the station just before Elsinore, we had to catch a bus the rest of the way (some teenagers had climbed onto a train at Elsinore station and had gotten burnt by the electric wires, poor kids! All trains to Elsinore were stopped for hours). On the bus we, strangely enough, met a Catalan guy who had also run the marathon, he has 4 children. I was speechless when he told us! I love my 2, and I don't want to have more. And now I seriously respect people who have 3 or more children, and still manage to have a life - well done!

2 YEARS & 10 MONTHS - 13 May 2013

It's been way too long since I've written, but every time I thought about writing, it was because I was in a bad mood and wanted to get rid of my frustration by writing. But then I felt sorry for making this blog, which is supposed to be about the happiest event in my life, become so negative and demotivating, and I decided to not write. Whenever something good happened, I didn't feel the urge to write, and so there has been a long break.
I remember about 10 months ago, my mom told me she had been speaking with the neighbor. The neighbor has 3 sets of twins herself, and 1 set of twin grandchildren, I have mentioned this woman before because I am amazed that she is still sane, and it gives me hope for my own sanity! She had asked my mom how old Liva and Laia were, and when my mom had answered that they had just recently turned 2, the neighbor had warned her that this would be the worst and hardest year of them all. I hope she was right!
We're getting very close to Liva and Laia's 3rd birthday, and we can feel the difference every day! It is getting so much easier again!
Liva and Laia are much more independent. For example, when I go shower in the morning I just leave their clothes in the living room. They take off their pajama and get dressed all by themselves. They can even put on their socks correctly, and Laia can button her clothes (proud mom!!). Normally, they go upstairs and play after getting dressed. They are generally much better at playing on their own, with Albert working south of Copenhagen and spending approx. 2 hours commuting each way, the girls have to entertain themselves while I shower in the morning, and prepare dinner (if I'm not in the mood for them to "help" me) and clean the kitchen at night. Lately they actually play more than they fight! :) They can spend hours with their baby dolls and with Lego-Duplo. Especially Liva loves creating things, and has an amazing imagination. She also loves drawing and takes it very seriously when she sits down to draw. Laia loves dressing up, and anything that just resembles gymnastics, jumping and dancing.
Taking them places is also much easier, and much more fun now. For example, yesterday we took the car for about 35 minutes to a big flea market, Liva and Laia behaved the entire time, listened to us, and (hardly!) touched all the things there. Ice-cream and little toys bought at the flea market of course helped a lot... After spending a couple of hours there we drove to a restaurant I had read about, and had lunch there. We were all hungry, and Liva and Laia were tired, a situation that usually ends in disaster. Luckily there was paper and coloring pencils at the restaurant, and waiting time was passed drawing and sharpening pencils. The food was great, lunch was fun and completely disaster free. On the way home in the car Liva and Laia slept. All in all a perfect day, just the kind of day we had been hoping we'd experience at some point as a family.
We also laugh loads, the girls are starting to develop a great sense of humor, and here they are also completely different, so there is plenty to laugh about. Laia talks really well, and says the funniest things, sometimes without even trying to be funny but very often she knows exactly what she is doing. Liva also talks loads, but she is more a little clown, making funny faces and acting roles; pretending to be angry is her favorite at the moment.
I could go on and on, but I don't want to make this post too long, so I'll stop here and hopefully write again soon. I hope my next many posts will be positive and will be all about how lovely and easy life with twins is - again!

2 YEARS & 9 MONTHS - 16 April 2013

I took Liva to an ear doctor this morning, we had her hearing tested some weeks ago, it turns out her ears have been totally clogged by mucus and she has been half deaf, poor little thing! We had an appointment for 8:00, had been told she would be given total anesthesia but that it would all be over within 15 minutes. I had my doubts... We arrived at the doctor's at 7:50, going there I realized we were 10 minutes early and wondered if they had even opened yet. Well, turns out I'm not used to these Danish working hours, the waiting room was well filled up (and well equipped with coffee and tea!), and they were already busy operating kids. At 8:00 on the dot we were called into the doctor's office, Liva was given full anesthesia and I was told to leave the room. 10 minutes later I was called into another room, she was all done and would be waking up any minute. Sure enough, a few minutes later she woke up again. She cried and was a bit confused, but except for that she was fine. She apparently liked being at that doctor's place, coz when I asked her if she was ready to go home she just said no. I eventually bribed her with ice-cream, otherwise we'd probably still be sitting there.... It wasn't even 9:00 yet, all the shops were still closed. Luckily there's a 7-eleven at the station, so we went there. She had an ice-cream, we went home and had breakfast, then we went shopping and bought balancing bikes for her and Laia. When we came home I assembled her bike, and off she went up and down the street. We went inside for lunch but when I mentioned she had to take a nap she refused - she wanted to go play with her new bike. The weather has been warm and sunny all day, for the first time in months, so I didn't need much convincing. We went outside to play, then went to pick up Laia. Liva was so happy to see everyone at daycare, and all the kids were out playing on the playground, so we stayed there for about 30 minutes before going home. We took the bikes into town, had (another!) ice-cream, then took the train home.
And Liva can hear now. Every time there's a loud noise she starts crying and saying her ears hurt. It's going to take a bit of adjusting, I guess... I wonder how she'll cope with all the noise at daycare tomorrow, she doesn't like noise in the first place, now it'll suddenly be at a volume she's not at all used to. But it's nice she can hear, and I hope we can stop repeating everything we tell her 2 or 3 times. Maybe she'll even start listening to what we tell her?! :)

2 YEARS & 9 MONTHS - 29 March 2013

Liva and Laia are 2 years and 9 months today and it's amazing how much has happened over the past couple of weeks. They are getting really good at speaking and say the funniest, sweetest things. They have amazing imagination and make up the funniest stories about for example monkeys sitting in their chairs or things their dolls say and do. They can also tell very detailed what they do at daycare, who they play with, who was and wasn't there, etc. And they sing! They sing really well in Danish and Catalan, and can manage a couple of songs in English.
They are getting much better at playing with each other and can spend hours and hours playing with their babies. The weather is getting somewhat warmer, so we take their little cars and go on excursions in the area, look at trees, plants and above all, animals.
Their behavior is getting better, though it's still not good! I recently posted the following on Facebook:

Help!!! Any tips for getting a 2,5-year old to listen? Liva is totally out of control, I don't know what to do! She doesn't listen to anything we say, she bullies her sister, breaks things and does exactly as she pleases. Time-outs don't help, yelling at her makes her laugh (sooo infuriating when she does that!!). Don't tell me to hit/slap her coz I won't do that. Any tips are highly appreciated!!

Here are some of the tips I received:

Praising him alot for all the good things he does even when he hasnt done anything bad, I found it gets really easy to get in a negative cycle...

The "correct" way to do time out is to put her in a spot ( it can be in the hall or where ever.. For 1 min for each year if age.. So she would have to say 2.5 min. If she gets up.. U put her back until she stays.. And the time starts over again. YOU go get her after the 2.5 min.. Explain briefly why she was there and tell her if she behaves like that again she will go back to time out.
It becomes a battle of wills..  it's frustrating but if u keep doing it will work. You can give her a warning when she is doing sonething "bad" .. " if you don't stop you ate goin to timeout" .. Etc..
If she comes out of time out ( after u get her) and does the behavior again.. She goes right bak to timeout.. She gonna try your patience.. But u have to follow through EVERYTIME.. Trust me, I have 3.. Been there.. It will pay off eventually

I've also found that punishing Ben's favorite teddy bear works wonders....weird, huh? Just the threat of the toy being taken away for the night does wonders....hang in there!!! They're just testing you! Show them who's boss! 

when disciplining (however you choose) always crouch down so you are on the same level with them. It reduces the power and fear element, gives you a second for a deep breath, and the child feels heard and respected which improves the outcome.

We've done all of the above, and it actually seems to be working. Another thing we've started doing, which might not be super pedagogical or anything, but works, is tell them that little mice will come nibble at their tummy when they throw themselves hysterically on the floor. We've only been saying it for a few days, and they've already stopped doing it! :) So step by step we're getting there.

They love helping out around the house, and picking up toys is like another game for them. I sometimes find cereal having been put away without me even being around, cupboards being closed, shoes being put away, etc. We don't have to tell them to do it, if they see something out of place and they know where to put it and how, they will do it.
They adore Tatanka and are so good with him. They stroke him, want to feed him, ask him what the matter is when he meows, open the door when he wants to go in or out, and always make sure he's ok.

Liva is a very sensitive girl, she cries if other people or animals are in pain, and if she hears someone crying at daycare or on the street she wants to go to the person to make sure they're ok. Liva loves being in big crowds with people she knows, even if it's family she only sees a few times a year. She will sit on everyone's lap and play with anyone who will play with her.
Laia is the leader as long as she is in a small group or with people she knows well. At daycare she makes up games and roles for people, and since her imagination is so developed, the kids normally go along with what she tells them, coz they know it'll be fun. But as soon as there are people she doesn't know she becomes shy and scared and clings onto the people she knows, while refusing to talk with or even look at the strangers.
They are both very loving girls and give hugs and kisses to the people they love - close family, friends and babysitter. And though they fight a lot they always look after their sister and make sure "the other half" is ok.

2 YEARS & 8 MONTHS - 24 March 2013

After about 5 weeks of (mainly Laia) illness in the house, it looks like we're finally all more or less healthy again. I guess I shouldn't complain about non-stop colds with runny noses and sneezing, there's still snow outside and we have experienced real illness for so long that colds are like hick-ups at the moment. We've been through 24-hours a day coughing from both girls, meaning nobody slept at any time for what seems like months but was probably more like 2 weeks. Then Laia got an ear infection, when she was over that she got a fever, and as soon as that was gone she got a stomach bug. Poor thing didn't eat for 5 days and is so skinny - she was already thin before all this illness, there's no fat on her little body anymore.
But last night we slept through the night for the first time in months! And this morning Laia had a yoghurt followed by 3 bowls of cereal, washed down with 2 big cups of fruit juice. I was sooo relieved to see her eat and drink again! And it's darn good timing, since I'll be a single mom for the next week or so, Albert is in Barcelona saying goodbye to his dad. Sad! I really wanted to be there as well, but since nobody knows exactly when it will happen, we can't afford plane tickets for all 4 of us at the moment, and we can't leave Liva and Laia here for an unknown amount of time while we're in Barcelona, I'm here with the girls and Albert has flown down on his own.
Unfortunately it's right around Easter, where it would have been nice to all be together for some time off. Liva and Laia's daycare is closed for a week, so we have to pay Camila for 2 days and my mom will take Liva & Laia one day. Besides that, it's up to me to keep the girls entertained. Luckily they've been really sweet the past couple of days, and today, our first day alone, has been great so far. We had a lovely morning feeding ducks, playing at both indoor and outdoor playgrounds, and enjoying the sun which we hadn't seen in days!

2 YEARS & 8 MONTHS - 10 March 2013

I'm not writing a lot, I would really like to, but just can't find the motivation or the time. Liva and Laia have had a cold and a cough for what seems like months now, Laia has been on antibiotics for a week because of her cough, she wakes up 4-5 times during the night coughing, the antibiotics don't seem to have worked at all, and we are all sooooo tired. Last night she "only" woke up 3 times, hopefully it's a sign that things are getting better. Fingers crossed! :)
Liva and Laia are now 32 months and can do so many things. Since I'm almost 2 weeks late describing what they can do, I'll wait until next month. But I realized I've been complaining quite a bit lately about how difficult life is, I'm forgetting to mention that there are fun moments as well. I've decided to make up for that by adding proof! :)

Having fun mainly in their own twin language, though I do hear some Danish in there as well

Fun in the bath

Gangnam style

Brushing Tatanka

Cool horses at a farm

Painting Easter bunnies

Happy Liva

Happy Laia

Going to feed the ducks

Feeding seagulls (there were no ducks...)
Always remember the good times! No matter how hard times are for whatever reason, Liva and Laia always make me happy - even on the worst of days!

2 YEARS & 7 MONTHS - 27 Feb. 2013

We're really struggling at the moment, Liva and Laia are giving us such a hard time, especially Liva. She does the exact opposite of what we tell her. Laia isn't as bad, but she is no angel either.
For example, 2 weeks ago we went to a small aquarium, there was a kiddie fish-pool with different kind of sea animals which the kids are allowed to touch. The only rule is, you're not allowed to grab the animals, only touch them carefully. Liva constantly grabbed anything she could get a hold of. Laia didn't, so we know they understood the rule, she was just being difficult. Also, we told them not to splash with the water, it is the home of the fish and it isn't meant for playing. There were loads of other kids there, everyone behaved well and carefully touched the animals, Liva and Laia splashed water everywhere and were soaked and cold after an hour. So we left. Albert and I couldn't take it anymore, we were ready to explode from telling the girls 1000 times to stop, to behave, to listen to us, to be careful with the animals, to respect the animals' home, to respect the rules of the aquarium - nothing worked...
At the weekends we don't know what to do anymore, if we stay at home we all get bored and Liva and Laia get even more whiny and impossible. If we go out they misbehave and Albert and I get so sick of telling them off.
I know it's mainly the age, I talked to some of the people working at the daycare and asked if the girls were "normal" (referring to behavior), and what we could do about it. Liva is starting to misbehave there as well, and not listen to the adults working there, so now they know what I'm talking about. They told me it is perfectly normal behavior and that it will pass.
Also, Liva & Laia have a cold again, they have been more sick than well in the past 3-4 months, we are all so fed up with the cold and with being sick that I don't blame them for letting it out in other ways. They don't sleep well because they cough, so they are tired. All this combined with the terrible 2s double-up just makes it very, very difficult!
At the same time we do have a lot of fun with them! They say and do the sweetest things, they play together really well, and at times they actually behave. A few days ago I took them to the doctor, I wanted Liva's hearing tested, I don't think she hears 100 %. She has to see an ear specialist, it's possible she has a hearing problem. If that is the case, there might be another explanation for her terrible behavior at the moment. Anyway, while we were waiting at the doctor's they were so good! They sat quietly and played with the toys in the waiting room or looked at magazines, when they were done with one toy they put it away before taking the next, and they listened to everything I said. Today we went shopping after I had picked them up from daycare, again they were so good, pushing their little shopping cart around, laughing and doing as they were told. We then went to the station to pick up Albert, while we were waiting we looked at the ferries going to Sweden and of course at all the trains. They were happy and well behaved the entire time. Unfortunately, this is the exception to the rule, and we are so relieved when it happens. I hope it will soon be the other way around, that they will behave most of the time, and we'll be surprised when they don't!

2 YEARS & 7 MONTHS - 18 Feb. 2013

Fantastic! I went to pick up Liva & Laia shortly after 16:00, and since Laia was being a little troublemaker at daycare, I was prepared for a difficult evening alone at home with them. We got home, sat on the couch and had a snack, then prepared dinner together. Dinner was done way too early to eat - luckily it was just a cold rice & chicken salad and could wait - so we played for about 15 minutes. For the first time in weeks they behaved at the table and ate their food without any major incidences of plates falling on the floor or full cups tipping over. We had pomelo for dessert, a strange fruit for those of you who might not know it, like a grapefruit but somewhat sweeter. It was the first time Liva & Laia tried it, it took a few tries before they decided that they did actually like it.
When we were done eating they asked for their baby dolls, which were upstairs. I told them that if they put on their pajamas really quickly, we could go upstairs and play. That worked wonders, in no time they were changed and on their way up the stairs. I played with them for a bit, then got the clothes for tomorrow ready. After about 20 minutes of playing Liva wanted to go down, she had to poop. Unfortunately we only have one toilet in this house, so we all went down. She then decided that she couldn't poop after all, and I realized the kitchen was a huge mess from dinner still. I told Liva & Laia that they could continue playing if they wanted, I would clean the kitchen quickly and then come back up. To my surprise they agreed! After a few minutes I heard someone come down the stairs and next thing I know Liva is in the doorway with her arms crossed, looking at me with a face expression that was trying to be angry, asking me where her mobile phone was, what I had done with her phone. She looked so absolutely adorable I just couldn't help myself and fell to me knees to give her a giant cuddle. Laia soon came down, and I told the girls that when I had finished cleaning the kitchen it was bedtime, so if they wanted to play more they'd have to hurry back upstairs. I could hear things being moved around upstairs, things being dropped and dragged, and the wardrobes opening and closing. I decided that no matter what they had done up there, I wouldn't get angry. It wasn't as bad as I had expected, and when Laia went straight to bed after only having been told once, I was so surprised I didn't know how to react. Liva didn't want to go to bed and I could see there was something wrong. She had pooped in her diaper. This did piss me off, because she had been to the toilet just 10 minutes earlier but said she couldn't poop, and though I asked her 2-3 times she insisted there was no poop in her belly. I am so fed up with wiping bums, they are more than 2,5 years old now, and they know perfectly well not to poop themselves anymore. So my bubble did burst for a while... But it was soon back intact when Liva went straight to bed after a diaper change, and laid there perfectly still while I sang to Laia. I have also not heard a sound from their room since I closed their door about 10 minutes ago. So I'll repeat what I said to start with - FANTASTIC!! :)

2 YEARS & 7 MONTHS - 17 Feb. 2013

It's once again been too long since I've written, but time just flies and in the evenings we collapse on the couch. I have been doing extra hours since I owed my new work quite a few hours from Christmas, New Year's and our trip to Barcelona, there was plenty of work so I've worked loads more these past 2 weeks. I've also finished off some students from the school I teach for, and I've had a couple job interviews reg. another job here in Helsingør, which I start next week. I'll be helping 15-17 year-olds who are struggling with school one way or another, either because of language issues, problems at home, mental illness or something completely different. After work I organize the house, start preparing dinner, then pick up the girls. We sit for a while on the couch while they have a small snack, I finish preparing dinner and then we eat. After dinner the girls have to get ready for bed, some evenings Albert's home to help with the kitchen, the girls and tidying up after the day, other nights I have to do it on my own. Very often there's laundry to take care of as well, by the time I'm all done it's 19:30/20:00. Once a week I teach late and get home around 20:15. Whatever day it is, around 20:00 I collapse on the  couch. Getting up 2-3 hours later to go to bed is hard enough, I can't focus on writing or anything else.

Well, Liva and Laia are doing great! A lot has happened with their development in the past month. They now sing songs they learn at daycare and I can understand what they sing. They talk more and more and are every day easier to understand. They play much more with each other, especially with their baby dolls. They can spend hours playing with their dolls, it's amazing. I can put away clothes, organize stuff, tidy up, make beds and whatever else while they play with their dolls.
They also love play dough and (though I'm not happy to admit this), they can sit quietly and relax in front of the TV for a while.

We've just had about 1 week where they have been in an excellent mood, they have been happy and singing, it's been lovely. We're doing great with the diapers, they only wear diapers when they sleep, and this weekend they've napped without diapers. Hopefully soon we'll be all done with diapers.

There are still 2 major issues that we struggle with, pacifiers and behavior... They are completely hooked on their pacifiers, especially Liva. We try to only give it to them when they have to sleep or are sad. But there are so many struggles during the day with other things that we just don't have the energy to take the struggle over the pacifier as well. But the main problem is their behavior, again it's especially Liva. Whenever we tell her to do anything at all she answers with a totally indifferent "no". She does whatever she wants and has no consideration for other people, rules or anything else. We talk to her, give her time-outs, yell at her, but nothing seems to help. Laia is also difficult at times, but nothing to the extend of Liva.
At daycare they all say Liva and Laia are little angles and cause no problems. On the contrary, actually. They help the adults with tidying up, they take care of the smaller kids and Liva especially loves the little babies. Camila, our babysitter, says they are OK with her, not little angels but nothing she can't handle. My parents say the same, so I guess it's just when they're with us, she really has to try her limits. Hopefully it's just a phase she is going through, terrible 2s, or whatever. There are moments where Liva can be sweet and listens to us, but that is more the exception to the rule.
As always, though, I can only say that I love them with all my heart every day, and we do have a lot of fun with them. I also know that a child's behavior has a lot to do with the parents and the upbringing, I'm not blaming Liva and Laia's behavior on them! I'm just saying we're having a really hard time at the moment, and though I know it is mainly down to Albert and me, it's still hard!

2 YEARS & 6 MONTHS - 27 Jan. 2013

We took Liva & Laia to a museum for the first time ever today, and it was actually a huge success! It was a child-friendly museum with ancient mummies and sculptures of animals and people - Liva & Laia loved the lions and giggled at the naked people where you could see the bum: "He's not wearing any pants", they said... There was also a small rainforest with a little pond with fish, and of course we went to the café to have a snack - coffee, juice and chocolate cake, yummy!!
When we finished at the museum it was Liva & Laia's nap-time, but since we were in Copenhagen we wanted to get something out of the whole day, so we went to a mall where there's an indoor playground, a small aquarium with fish, shopping-cart cars, and entertainment. We spent a couple of hours there, and all in all had a lovely day. The girls fell asleep in the car in the way home, we had a nice couple of hours at home before dinner and bath-time, Liva and Laia slept about 15 minutes after putting them to bed. Definitely a day we'll repeat soon again!

Playing in front of the museum

Looking at the fish

Fighting over who gets to stand in the middle - because we can't just both stand there together....

Looking at the fish from the shopping-cart car at the mall

Fun entertainment at the mall

2 YEARS & 6 MONTHS - 21 Jan. 2013

Time just flies, and there seems to be no extra time for anything...
Well, we had a lovely few days in Barcelona, the flight back and forth went really well, even with girls who wouldn't sleep. They are now so big that books, stickers and - of course, as always - snacks keep them happy and entertained. Liva and Laia loved staying at Iaia's house, I loved seeing Susan and Luca and Emily, Albert and I loved time to ourselves, both completely alone and just the two of us. Seeing Barcelona again was nice, it made me realize how much I miss the city, but also made me realize that I would not live there at the moment; life is just too difficult there, I'm still sure we made the right decision back in April when we decided to leave.
We also went to the doctor once, Liva fell about 2 meters down, head first. She was kind of out of it for a while, so eventually we called our doctor in Barcelona. Liva was checked from head to toe and we were assured that she was just fine.
Though 5 days was way too short to see everyone, especially with 3 Kings and spending time seeing (far out) family as well, we were all ready to go home after 5 days. Liva and Laia were having a really hard time adjusting, I think seeing all the old, familiar places really confused them. We also didn't sleep well, the girls often didn't nap, sometimes because they didn't want to, sometimes because it didn't fit into our plans. So all in all, it was great being back in Barcelona, it was lovely seeing everyone there again, it was wonderful to spend time walking around the city, but it was also nice to be going home again.

And now we're home! Albert and I are busy with our new jobs and both enjoy it. Besides it being below zero degrees 24 hours a day and all of us struggling with the cold (and poor Albert having to walk more than 3 km to the station every morning!), we're all doing good. We're having fun playing in the snow (when we're dressed warm enough), Liva and Laia love being at daycare, and they were thrilled to see Camila when she picked them up on Tuesday. Our routine is working out well, the days are getting longer, and everyone's healthy and happy. I just wish it would start getting warmer soon!

2 YEARS & 6 MONTHS - 3 Jan. 2013

Happy New Year! A new year, a new start! We are not sorry to see 2012 end, it was a very difficult year in many ways. It brought a great change which we are all happy about, especially now that Albert and I both have good jobs, and Liva & Laia are completely settled and happy here and in daycare. But it has taken a long to arrive at where we are now, especially for Albert and me, and it hasn't been easy! But here's hoping for a lovely 2013!

We had a fun New Year's Eve at my brother's, as always the 4 kids had a great time playing and we all had fun. We had talked about whether we'd be able to stay awake until midnight, but that was no problem - we left their house around 2:00, some things I don't remember quite clearly.... For the first time in about 3 years! :)

Today Liva and Laia were back at daycare for the first time since Dec. 22. Though we had been talking about it for a few days, I was still a bit worried about how they would react when I left them there. Absolutely no problem, they were so happy to be back and to see all their friends! My mom picked them up, when I came home I asked how their day had been, they talked about how they had played with pearls, played on the playground and on the swings, the food they had eaten and that they had slept. Such wonderful girls!
Tomorrow we're going to Barcelona for almost 1 week, it'll be interesting to see how the girls react when we are back there - we haven't been there since we left in April. They understand that they'll be seeing Iaia and Avi soon, as well as Luca. But how much they really understand we don't know.
I'm looking forward to it all, the trip tomorrow, Three Kings on Sunday, meeting Susan and Luca on Monday, and hopefully seeing our Barcelona babysitter Emily on Tuesday. Albert and I get to have time on our own together, as well as just time on our own - alone! I hope it'll be a great week, we all need to relax and have some time off. There is of course the sad part that Albert's father is quite sick, he's doing fine but has an incurable illness, and we are very sad about that. Liva and Laia don't know, they would understand if we told them that he was very sick, but so far we haven't told them anything yet. For now we will enjoy 6 days in Barcelona, and spend as much time with Avi and Iaia as possible.