Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The twins at {18 months}

18 months!  Where’s that time gone?!  And who’s replaced my babies with two strapping toddlers?!
18 months feels like a strange milestone.  At 12 months the boys still felt very much like babies whereas now they’re confidently walking {running}, climbing {up big slides eeeeek!} and starting to talk and understand more and more every day {tractor! duck! hiya!}.  Suddenly they have an air of independence about them - putting on their own wellies or investigating new areas of the park, all of which brings with it huge changes for us too – trying to balance safety versus giving them space to explore and make {measured} mistakes.  Learning how to gently discipline and guide their actions whilst keeping our heads and patience {deep breaths} and re-arranging our house {again} as newly perceived dangers appear {how did you get THAT?!}  New territory again – no wonder my brain hurts!  But I have to say, for the most part I am LOVING it!  Bye bye pukey babies, hello daredevil toddlers!

Oliver and Noah {18 months}

Buggy-free walks:  So for us the buggy is still a must have at this stage but it’s also really nice being able to go out buggy-free {although I always have it in the car boot just in case!}.  We love to go for walks around the block or I might drive into town and we’ll investigate the lake and stop for a snack at the local coffee shop.  Even little things like walking from the car into twins club without all the baby paraphernalia makes life so much easier!  As I tend to be on my own a lot with the boys I usually to use reins but as I’m getting braver and they’ve actually really good at holding my hands so I tend to tuck them into their hoods and have them more as a back-up for when we’re near a road/water etc.  We use a combination of the Lindam reins and Little Life Backpacks, the latter of which I found better for when they were more sturdy on their feet.  I also love to let them have some independence too and will let them go ‘freelance’ whenever it’s deemed safe to do so. 


Talking:  Oh my goodness our boys have so much character, something which comes through even more so now they’re starting to talk.  They crack me up and make my heart swell all at the same time - in my mind there is absolutely nothing cuter than Noo saying "da-deeee" or Ollie "noooo-dles" {heart melting}.  They’ll say “hiya” to anyone and everyone when we’re out and about and Ollie will introduce his brother to people, pointing to him saying "noodles" haha!  They come out with new stuff all the time, usually mimicking {mind what you say!} but at the moment most things are a duck, tractor {including the postman’s trolley} or da-deeee.  On that note they are absolutely obsessed with daddy {rolls eyes}.  They’ll literally sit and stroke photos of him lovingly but when asked “where’s mummy?” they're like “who?”  So much so that my friend Alex and I have an ongoing joke that they actually think I’m their Nanny haha! 
It’s also true that toddlers understand a lot more than they can say.  If you ask Noo to put piglet in the wheelbarrow chances are he’ll do it and if you mention the ‘S’ {snack} or ‘L’ {lunch} word you better be sure you follow up on it because they will hunt you down until you give it to them!

Discipline:  Babies aren’t born with the knowledge of what’s right and what’s wrong.  This may sound obvious but it’s worth remembering as you step into the realms of how and when to discipline your child.  It’s up to us to teach our children what’s acceptable and what’s not {as well as what’s potentially dangerous} and every family will have their own take on how to tackle this subject.  As with most things it takes a bit of trial and error and you learn to pick your battles – somethings we were quite strict on to begin with we’ve now relaxed a bit on and other things {such as biting and hitting} have become ‘big no's’.  Staying consistent isn’t always easy but we’re trying to start as we mean to go on and even though an 18 month old may not be able to compute the whole “if I hit I will get told off and therefore I won’t hit” mentality, I’d rather start working on that now rather than when they’re older and running completely riot.  I’m also a fan of explanation and distraction, e.g. “we don’t climb the table because it’s unsafe, why don’t we play with truck instead?”, asking them to say sorry {through a cuddle or kiss if appropriate} and giving warnings such as “you've got 5 minutes then we’re going to go”.  Again they may not understand it all and nothing is fool proof but hopefully good habits to get into and above all remember that patience is definitely a virtue.  Losing your s**t in the middle of Tesco isn't fun for anyone {more deep breaths}. 

Sleep:  Sleep is still a contentious subject in the Hully household.  How our day goes is pretty much dependant on how well the boys {and mummy and daddy} have slept.  They still have one daytime nap {see routine below} and this still has the ability to make my anxiety levels soar.  9 times out of 10 they will go down to sleep at around about the same time every day and I'm pretty much on edge until they do.  I'm not even sure why I get so worried about it.  Eventually they will grow out of daytime naps but for now I still feel like it's a really important time of our day.  Same with bedtime.  They used to be asleep by 6:30pm no problem but since transitioning to an afternoon nap bedtime has become much more hit and miss.  Because of this I’ve changed their routine slightly to include more wind down time {no more nakey rampage} but the line between tired enough to sleep and becoming overtired is a fine one and we’re still trying to find a bedtime routine that works.  On an average night Ollie will take longer to go to sleep but will sleep through and Noo will be up once or twice in the night but will usually go back to sleep until 7-7:30.  This I can cope with.  When they are teething or unwell we can be up 3-4 times a night for ~20mins at a time and occasionally they’ll come into our bed when we’re too shattered to function otherwise.  Then come morning  toddlers have an uncanny way of waking up full of beans ready for the day ahead regardless of how much {or little} sleep you’ve all had and so life goes on.  Dig deep my friends!  And drink coffee.  Lots of coffee.  Worth also noting that they are still using a dummy at nap and bedtime.  This is partly why I think Noo cries in the night as he can't {be bothered to} find his dummy.  Rod and back comes to mind. 

- Routine:  We still have the boys in a routine for the most part although I’d say it’s getting easier to be more flexible as they get older.  So here’s how our day generally goes:
7:00-7:30:  Good morning!   Change nappy and put on PJ bottoms
7:30: Breakfast – 5oz warm milk in Munchkin 360 miracle cups followed by cereal and fresh fruit with splash of whole milk
8:00-9:00:  Playtime {mummy shower and dressed}
9:00:  Boys wash faces and dressed
9:30: Snack {like fruit or fruit loaf with peanut butter} and water
9:30/10:00:  Out for morning activity {twins club/walk/soft  play}
12:00:  Lunch {usually something simple like sandwiches, crisps, fruit and rice pudding}
12:30:  Nappy change {if not needed earlier} and play
1:30-3:00:  Nap
3:00:  Cuddles on sofa and snack {like malted milk biscuit or Organix Goodies soft oaty bars and water}
3:30: Afternoon activity {buggy-free walk or longer walk to the shops in the buggy, painting, gardening}
5:00:  Tea {something cooked like chicken pie, sweet potato mash and peas then yoghurt}

5:30-6:00:  Play and In the Night Garden whilst I get bedtime stuff ready
6:00:  Bath and into PJs
6:25:  Into sleeping bags, 6oz warm milk {in the 360 miracle cups again} and a story {or 2}
6:40:  Cuddle, lights out and night night
~7:15-30:   Asleep {in theory!}

- Top buys:
- Calpol vapour plug:  A bit costly but great for when they’re full of cold to help keep noses clear overnight
- Little Life Back-packs:  Double up as reins and they can carry their own stuff {as well as looking super cute}
- Puddle suits:  Keeps them warm and dry on rainy days and cleanwhen pottering in the garden and you can’t be bothered to change their clothes again
- Joie Aire Twin Buggy:  Lightweight, loads of basket storage and the boys love the space it gives them to sit up and {when the mood takes them} have a cuddle haha


In summary:  So as hard as having two toddlers can be I love watching the development of their little {big!} personalities.  They're boisterous and brave but also kind, helpful, gentle and empathetic.  They squeal with glee and giggle hysterically but also whisper and quietly observe.  They dance around the living room full of beans then pull their bean bags across the room to sit and look at books and share their snack together.  They wriggle and fight but then offer condolence when the other is upset.  They hold hands in the car and play peekaboo.  They wait at the bottom of the stairs whilst the other is still napping.  They are a whirlwind and a breath of fresh air all at the same time.  My two little pumpkins.

Best Buddies
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