25 Feb 2009

All me....

I worked again today and am working half days for the rest of the week. I'm really enjoying being back at work although at the end of the work time I run out the door and hot foot it back home to my darlings. I think the reason I'm so happy at work is because I know it is only for one week and next week I get back to being a fulltime mommy.

My mum is enjoying having her granddaughters to herself and they have been very well behaved for her up to now (or so she says anyway). The girls have warmed up to her beautifully and now go to her for cuddles when I'm not there. Granny even got to help with the bathing this evening, her comment afterwards was she was glad she never had twins!

We checked out the 3rd Kindergarten on Tuesday: it was also really big with 70 children and nicely laid out if a little rundown (but clean). The hours suit as best of all the kitas we've seen so far but I still prefer the first kindergarten as they seemed to offer more activities and work a bit more with the kids. At this kindergarten I had the feeling the kids are just there to be kept busy, the educational development takes a backseat. Unfortunately my boss can't give me an idea in which hospital I will go back to work in which is a factor in our decision to which kindergarten the girls will go, from the sounds of it she will only know next year. There are 3 hospitals in the group and I will be sent where the need for a part time physio is greatest.

Oh well off to bed, I have another busy day tomorrow that is being crowned off by a visit to the dentist tomorrow evening!

23 Feb 2009

Granny is here

I'm not going to be posting much this week as My mom is here and we've got lots of things on the go.

Yesterday we all went swimming which was great. The girls are getting so much more confident in the water now. Enya is even crawling/walking around in the paddling pool by herself, last time we went there she clung to me like a limpet and wouldn't let go. They love being in the big pool too with their swimming rings on especially if there are any bubbles or waves around. The other thing that was much better this time is Enya tolerated the shower after the swim even though there was no warm water left, last time we had a major meltdown in the shower (and that was with warm water).

Today we all went to the Aquarium. The girls were fascinated (as was daddy), watching both little faces as the fish swam by was priceless. I even gave in to Z's request for an aquarium based on their reaction (I've been resisting for the last 6 years). My absolute favourite was the underwater tunnel in the tropical tank, being surrounded by the sharks,turtles and brightly coloured fish. Even the coral seemed to be rainbow coloured, I can't remember the coral reefs I've seen diving being quite so brightly coloured, but then the lighting isn't quite as good when diving in the open ocean. On the occasions that we let C and E out of the pram, they had their noses up to the glass and were trying to catch the fish as they swam past.

The only problem of the day was our twin buggy was too wide to easily thread through the human masses and we couldn't stand anywhere too long as we pretty much blocked the way for all but the skinniest of those behind us. They obviously didn't consider twin prams when they designed the aquarium.

Even though the girls missed their morning nap and were overdue for lunch they didn't start performing until we left the underwater world. Thankfully the food area in the neighbouring mall had a microwave so we could warm up lunch for C and E, one problem less to deal with. After lunch we laid the girls down in their buggy seats while the big people got some lunch, during which time the little people fell asleep (finally). We were then forced (tee hee) to walk through the shopping mall while the little people slept on, as the saying goes: "let sleeping babies lie". I even nearly bought Ciara a new pair of shoes!

Surprisingly after a very long day with only an hour long nap, the girls didn't fall asleep during the hour and a half long drive back home. Instead they entertained their granny and kept her from napping. They did however crash straight after dinner and we haven't heard a peep from them since.

Hopefully they will be nice to granny tomorrow as I'm off to work for 3 hours tomorrow morning. That means my mom will have the terrible two finally all to herself. I'm sure she will enjoy not having me hanging over her shoulder, as try as I might I'm very protective of my little munchkins and tend to interfere more than is probably necessary.

PS still no spell check, when are they going to fix this feature??

20 Feb 2009

toddler tantrums

Ciara continues to believe she is a terrible 2 year old and regularly throws herself on the ground in a full blown temper tantrum. Boy, I can't wait until she is actually 2.

My favourite is when she starts throwing herself around while sitting in her high chair. Z and I have discussed our reaction to temper tantrums and agreed we will ignore her as far as possible but her highchair antics are too dangerous to ignore. Safty first and all that, so I now stand behind her chair but refuse to look at her or react to her until she calms down. Thankfully she calms down very quickly usually when she sees we are not giving her the attention she wants.

So far tantrums are not in Enya's playlist but I'm sure it'll come. I'm just dreading when they decide to do a double blow out in public, up to now all our temper tantrums have been at home! Not a comment on the regularity of the tantrums unfortunately, more a comment on how hard it is to get out the house with twins!

18 Feb 2009

Eye guy....

....is looking wild and wooly these days, really he looks like a mad professor, and made us wait an hour and a half for our appointment (didn't even dilate their pupils so can't use that as the excuse this time).

However everything is looking good, both girls even saw the 3-D image this time. We didn't think Enya would but at the last minute she reached towards where the star was on the image card, so she also got a tick for depth perception. Even their lenses got a clean bill from the orthoptic lady (that was a worry as Z had congenital cataracts which were inherited from his dad).

Apart from the interminable waiting time it was a reletively painless visit, yet again Ciara has made a dozen new friends while she wandering around the waiting rooms. Enya did her usual observer routine and checked out everybody thoroughly where Ciara just walked up to various people and started patting them on the hand and babbling to them. Amazing how completely opposite they are in some regards.

We don't need to go back for another 6 months thank goodness. I can't wait to see how long and unkept the eye guy's hair is by then!

Other news: Ciara has teeth 9,10 and 11 coming through, Enya has tooth no. 5 coming through. I'm going back to work a few hours next week while my mom is here, I need to keep my finger in the pie so to say. Ciara can now take her shoes off unaided, the only problem is she keeps chucking it on the floor, not good when we are out shopping!

PS excuse my poor spelling, spell check isn't working right now!

16 Feb 2009


Missed the girls' 18 month anniversary!

We were away visiting family this weekend as Z's grandmother celebrated her 87th birthday. It is so stressful staying in someone elses house that isn't set up for toddlers, there were nicknacks everywhere and paper lying around and stairs, my girls are fascinated by stairs. The nice thing was we also had about 5 babysitters (not counting the kids who thought C and E were great new toys), I didn't even get to give Ciara her bottle on Saturday night. Z's brother took her and the bottle off me which really surprised me as up to then he hadn't shown any interest at all in his nieces. Finally our girls have met all their aunts, uncles and second cousins, they only have one more cousin to meet and then the german introduction is complete. Oma (Z's gran) enjoyed seeing her great granddaughters and even said if she is still around in summer she's going to come down to visit us again. I think we will take pity on her poor bones and come up to her instead, she doesn't like to travel!

The journey home was really tough as the girls woke 40 minutes in to the 2 hour journey and then cried and performed the rest of the way home. They were so tired as they hadn't slept that well away from home and bored with being supervised the whole time and then being fastened in their carseats was the last straw. Both Z and I sighed a huge sigh of relief when we finally got home, them bathed, fed and into bed. They were in bed by about 5pm and slept through to 7am (with small squawks in between). To be honest Z and I weren't much better, it was an exhausting weekend!

Anyway tomorrow we have our next appointment at the eye guy, I'm hoping the trend continues and their eyes remain good. Although I wouldn't mind if the waiting time is less, trying to entertain 2 toddlers in an overfull doctors room by myself will not be fun!

12 Feb 2009


We got to visit two of the Kindergartens today to have a look around and start the registration process. Two more different institutions I couldn't imagine. What I'm listing now is more for my benefit than yours, so I can record the pertinent facts to compare with the other 2 kindergartens when we visit them at the end of the month

The first kindergarten is set on the edge of a wood and is an older building which has seen some hard use, but has a very comfortable atmosphere. I found it quite messy almost chaotic but I liked the informal feeling and that the kids were allowed everywhere. It is very nature orientated with Wednesdays being wood days (exploring and walking) and they even grow potatoes and peas in a small plot of land. They accept children from 2 years old although this year is already full, but at least they are used to younger kids. They have place for 65 kids so it's quite a big kiga but they divide into 3 classes with 2-3 teachers per class. They are building a sport hall and sleeping/nap room this summer, which will help with the claustrophobic feel when the kids are all there. They also only close over Christmas which gives us a lot more freedom with holiday planning.

The second kindergarten is a much nicer building, with a lots of space although the grounds are not as nice. I found it very structured, only 4 kids allowed in the sports room at any one time, 45 minute music lesson on Wednesday afternoon, every second Monday morning is walking in the woods and scheduled gym periods. It was very clean and tidy though which I did like. They also do take younger kids apparently but are also full for this year. They have 3 teachers for 22 kids and only offer 45 hours of care per week. The meals are prepared by the catering service from the Kinderklinik and from experience I can say they are mostly very good. Unfortunately the kiga is on the other side of our village and they closed up to 30 days per year (2 weeks over summer, a week in autumn and a couple of days over Easter plus a few others as needed). We are number 5 on the waiting list for next year August.

Both Z and I have preference, surprisingly for the same Kiga and reading over my list I think it is quite clear for which one. We won't however be registering the girls definitely until the end of the month when we have visited all of them.

Preemie support group

Well it's finally come to fruition.

While C and E were still in NICU and at their most poorly Z and I were desperately looking for some support, unfortunately the local branch of the German Preemie Association was no longer functioning (they were all in the midst of 2nd pregnancies apparently) so we were left hanging. Thankfully a preemie mom from a neighbouring area took pity on us and came to the hospital to chat to us and cheer us on for which we were very grateful. To have someone to speak to who has lived through the hell of NICU and can empathise and encourage was fantastic, she also gave us great tips for things to watch for and post discharge tips.

However the Children's hospital has now set up it's own group and last night was the first meeting. Our good friend J came to babysit so both Z and I could go as we felt it was very important to be there. The nurse running the session was one of C and E's NICU nurses so it was wonderful to see her again and to update her with what our girls are up to. There were 3 sets of "new" preemie parents and 3 sets of "old" preemie parents so it was quite small but lots of interesting topics were raised and discussed. I just hope we get the opportunity to offer the "newer" parents the same support we received.

I had to laugh though as at the beginning of the meeting the nurse said Z and I were partly responsible for the group being established, as while we were on the PNZ (small NICU at the obstetrics hospital) and so desperate for support they felt bad as they couldn't offer us anything and that helped push the development of this group. Now we are going to have to keep attending these meetings ;0).

9 Feb 2009


I don't know what I did right but the girls have had a 3 hour nap this morning and are one and a half hours into their midday nap. Hopefully they will be so well rested that they will be in a good mood this evening and we get to skip the 2 hour moan session from 4pm until 6pm!!

Ciara has been practicing walking in her first pair of proper shoes, at first she would only crawl with them on, but yesterday she started walking as well. She walks like she has concrete blocks on her feet whick looks very awkward and ungainly but at least she is now trying again. We decided not to get Enya shoes yet as she is still mostly crawling (although there has been a dramatic improvement in the last week in her walking ability) and we also got a bit frightened by the shoe sales lady saying that they grow out of shoes in 6-16 weeks at this age. Enya has smaller feet so we were thinking in a month or so we might go and buy a second pair of shoes for Ciara and give Enya the first pair. Depends if the girls have another growth spurt in the next few weeks!

8 Feb 2009

monkey's wedding

In good old South Africa we used to call it "a monkey's wedding" when the sun shone while it was raining. So what do you think it's called when the sun is shining while it is snowing? Funnily enough it never came up in SA, although that is what it was doing here this afternoon.

I'm beginning to worry that people will think I'm beating up on my girls, Enya has her first black eye. I didn't see how she did it yesterday but she had a huge egg just below her right eye and this morning she has a black eye. Given how often they fall over and the fact we have no carpets o our tile floors, I'm surprised they are not completely black and blue. I guess the paediatrician was right, babies bounce although please don't test that theory out at home!!

Some good news is Enya has made a huge stride forward this week in her walking ability, basically since we started the exercises given to us by the Heilpaedegogin. She is more stable and not swaying quite as much when walking, she is also walking more and more. However if she wants to get anywhere fast, crawling is still her method of choice.

6 Feb 2009

Cookie snatcher

I remember way back when, when I was planning my "world trip*" with my best friend in South Africa we arranged to meet up with a friend of a friend's boyfriend who just happened to be english. We wanted to pump his brains for the all important information we needed as first time overseas travellers so we didn't stand out as yokels when we arrived in London. One of the things he told us (and the only thing that really stuck in my memory) was the english (London) slang names for children: sprog = infant, snot gobbler = older baby, cookie snatcher = toddler. Where am I going with this you ask? I have my own little cookie snatcher!

I was baking biscuits yesterday for Z to take to work in honour of his birthday (better late than never), and it was getting quite late in the afternoon. Ciara had done her usual spit out of the teatime yogurt as it had tiny cubes of pear in it (Ciara does not do fruit bits!), so she was quite peckish. I'd put the first batch on the cooling rack and turned back to get the second tray out of the oven, when I turned back to the table I saw Ciara taking a huge bite out of a cookie. By the time I'd got rid of the hot tray and oven gloves she'd eaten half the biscuit! It was still hot from the oven and it was very gingery cookie, even I can only eat 2 of these cookies at a time as they are so spicy and I love ginger. As it was nearly dinner time I took the remains off her and put them on the table, when I turned back to her I caught her snatching another cookie from the rack!

In other news, Enya has taken to trying to get into all the nooks and crannies behind or between furniture. I've even found her edging herself between the wall and our freezer which is so narrow a gap that she couldn't even turn her head when she wanted to come out, she scared herself silly there and I landed up having to rescue her as she was stuck. Unfortunately she hasn't learnt her lesson and continues to explore behind her bed, edge behind the bathroom cabinet and crawl under our rocking chair. I'm now just waiting for her to try crawl under our bed, she'll get eaten by the dustballs there! That'll teach her ;0)!!

*the world trip was literally supposed to be around the world, I got stuck in England for 2 years before finally getting to Australia for a year. I returned to England for another couple years before moving to Germany. I haven't even seen much of the rest of Europe, so so much for around the world!!

4 Feb 2009


Sorry no spiffy title today, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night and we were up and out early this morning as we had an early doctors appointment (vaccinations, thankfully the last set until the girls go to school).

Ciara was up multiple times last night and was calling so loudly that the last time I went in to their room Enya was also wide awake, standing at her cot side and calling "mama" too. Ciara just wanted a cuddle that last time and then slept through from 3 am until 6 am this morning.

Unfortunately the lack of sleep means I'm feeling all out of sorts and have the patience of a grizzly. Today is not a good day for Enya to decide to play games at mealtimes!! Her latest trick is to turn her head away when we are trying to feed her and then to keep looking back before quickly turning her head away again. Now before you think well maybe she's full or doesn't like it, if we then try to feed Ciara, Enya whinges until we turn back to her again where after one spoon the cycle repeats. Meals are now taking over 3/4 of an hour, so much for the 20 minute meal limit we were given by the behavioral therapists.

Hopefully things go better at dinner as Z is getting his birthday dinner tonight (birthday was yesterday but he was playing volleyball), it would be nice if we could all eat peacefully together!

3 Feb 2009

Kindergarten (Kita) and Fruhforderung

Well we have appointments to visit all 4 Kindergartens (yup I forgot one yesterday) over the next 3 weeks. The response was quite positive from all of them i.e. it doesn't sound like they are full yet so hopefully it will all work out. Thankfully I could arrange it so that Z will be coming with to at least of 2 of the Kitas, he always has sensible considerations and questions where I tend to get fixated on superficial things (colours on the wall and such like).

The Fruhforderung* appointment went much better than I expected, I think it helps that I went in with very low expectations! The therapist (we'll call her Mrs. R) noted after observing Enya briefly playing that she is all over the place. She can't settle down and concentrate on a game/task and this means she is not getting a chance to practice her fine control/coordination. Within 10 minutes Mrs. R said one appointment was not enough, she could give me a few things to work on at home but that is not enough. Enya needs help so that she can centre herself and concentrate on a task, right now she is unable to filter out extraneous objects and sounds and so is constantly distracted.

I have to pack away the toys so we only play with one toy at a time, for instance if we play with the building blocks, only have 10 blocks out so she is not distracted by the other 100 blocks or toys lying around. We also have an exercise I like to call "pack the parcel" : I have to pack Enya in to a cuddle with her arms and legs pressed to her body and give her a gentle squeeze and hold this for 3-5 seconds. This is supposed to help with her body awareness and to teach her how to keep still for brief periods. She gave us a couple of other games to play, the only problem is I'm supposed to play one on one. My girls get very jealous if they think I'm paying more attention to the other, if I try read a book to one, the other usually comes and grabs it out my hands or starts pulling/pushing on me to gain my attention. Now I'm supposed to try get 5 minutes alone with a child multiple times a day (she wants me to work with both Ciara and Enya), I think I'm going to have to try distraction and then hide behind the baby gates!

All in all it was a very informative and productive day, hopefully I will be able to put most of what I was shown today into practice without scaring Enya too badly (Mrs. R wants me to sing to her, now that is a frightening thought!).

*The best description for Fruhforderung is play therapy. They take mostly an advisory role showing how to encourage normal development through play.

2 Feb 2009

Busy busy

I was gently reminded this evening that if I want the girls to go to Kindergarten then I do actually need to register them. Before I do that of course I have to visit the 3 establishments in our area and decide which one I prefer (and find out if I'm not already too late to get them in, aaah the delights of twins). So tomorrow morning will be spent on the phone hopefully arranging visits. We only really want them to start when they are 3 but early registration is vital as places are limited.

Then I have just realised that my passport is only valid until September this year and we have booked a 2 week holiday in Turkey in June. Turkish entrance requirements state your passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry so I need to get a new passport and quickly as I also need to get a visa. As a British national I don't often need visas and apparently german passport holders don't so lucky that I thought to check. Tomorrow midday nap will be spent trying to get everything put together for my passport renewal application. Come to think of it I have to get the girls passports too, now that will be fun. They are very strict about the biometric photos, how do you get a baby to look straight at the camera, not smile and not close their eyes. I think Z can take them to get their passport photos, I wash my hands of it!!

Then just to round things off nicely we have the Fruhforderung ("early intervention") appointment tomorrow afternoon, I'm really not expecting much from it, they have pretty much flat out said it is a once off appointment and they do not feel they can offer us any help. Before we go though I have to go to the paediatrician to pick up the referral. I hate the stupid bureaucracy here, we need a new referral every 3 months even when we just come for preemie follow ups!