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!