30 Apr 2009

The last bastion falls

At sometime last night Enya succombed. She did it quietly so we walked unsuspecting into the room this morning to be confronted with a spew covered cot and child. Z landed up going to work late as we first bathed both girls (it was everywhere and if I'm going to bath one then I might as well bath both!!) and I needed to run to the pharmacy as Enya doesn't drink the rehydration solution I had at home. I've got an order in for more of the anti emetic just in case (best case scenario we have it for the holiday in June) although I haven't given it to anyone in over a day.

Surprisingly Enya is very chipper this morning and Ciara is the one that crys everytime I try to put her down and who just wants to cuddle. The fact that I'm struggling with a cold doesn't help matters either. Oh well at least tomorrow is a public holiday and Z will be home to help (I feel obliged to add, Z offered to stay home but I said I could cope today alone).

I really hope nobody else pukes in their bed today as I have no more clean sheets!

29 Apr 2009

Sick day 2

We're up to half and half milk rehydration solution. Yesterday Ciara drank nearly a litre of rehydration solution and had 2 snackbreads the entire day. I did offer her plain rice and chicken for dinner, but she only wanted a snackbread. She probably still wasn't feeling back to normal as she had another small oops later while in bed. This morning we gave her half and half to drink and mashed banana to eat for breakfast (following the build up plan given by our paed) which she a) wanted and b)so far seems to have tolerated. Hopefully by this evening she will be back on top form and starving!

So far Enya seems healthy but I'm still not counting my chickens, I'll be making a run to the pharmacy later to stock up on rehydration solution!

28 Apr 2009

How to know if your baby is sick

The first clue would be the 4 wet spots in her cot, but brush it off with "oohhh, she drooled a lot last night" and think nothing of it. The second clue would be when after changing her nappy she spits out a whle lot of phlegm but without retching so brush it off as "I know she's had a runny nose she must have swallowed a lot of slime during the night to spit it out now, I hope she doesn't get nauseous from it".

Begin to start suspecting something when your daughter who normally gobbles her milk down starts pushing the bottle away after only drinking 2/3 of it. Know there is something wrong when she vomits said milk back all over you. Enjoy a long cuddle from the girl who normally is too busy to spend more than 10 seconds cuddling you. Start going into uh-oh mode when she continues to retch even after only bile is coming up. Go into oh-shit mode when even the rehydration solution comes back with interest.

We've given Ciara an anti-emetic and will see if she can hold the rehydration solution down after her nap. If not, then hey ho it's off to the doc we go. Enya is still showing no signs of anything but I'm not holding my breath that she stays healthy. Damn it and she had just reached 9.6kg!

I hate it when the kids are sick, I feel so helpless.

27 Apr 2009


So much for never getting sick, I'm teetering on the edge of getting Z's cold! He spent the weekend in bed and is still feeling so rotten that he's taking a sickie today! I asked what would happen if I got as sick as he did and his reply was he'd stay home and babysit. What I want to know is, would he make me hot lemon and honey

Thankfully the girls are not showing any signs of the cold and even Ciara's red ear was gone by the next morning. We have to be all healthy for our holiday in 7 WEEKS! I can't wait!!

Yesterday was Sunday shopping in our city, isn't it funny how I now get excited about shops being open on a Sunday. In South Africa and England it was normal, in Germany it is a huge deal, the radio reported that they had more trade yesterday than on any single day in the christmas shopping season. Madness, I tell you! I met up with friends in Ikea to get the girls out of Z's (non existent) hair. Ciara and Enya were a bit scared of the slide they had in the kids area but were fascinated by the soft toys lying around, as they still tend to slobber over toys I had to keep them in the pram for most of the visit which was therefore quite short. I have however discovered they really like fruit smoothies and almond tart (even if they then don't eat dinner!).

Enya is still walking around with the remenants of her black eye, it's amusing in a very sick way to see the double looks she (and we) get when we are out in public, yet no one (apart from friends) trust themselves to say anything to us about it. I would probably have been a bit embarrassed if someone did ask us about it, but given what a whopper she had, I would have understood why they did. I'm just going to have to buy her a helmet I guess.

25 Apr 2009


All is continuing as per usual in the House of Z. Z is sick again (a cold, knocks him for 6 at least twice a year) but so far the females in the house are all healthy. I hope Ciara and Enya inherited my immune system as I'm hardly ever ill (watch out, it'll be a case of famous last words). That being said Ciara has a bright red and waxy right ear at the moment, she has no other symptoms so we will just have to monitor her for now.

As I was homebound for the day I decided to make my own pasta- thai inspired chicken tortelloni (thnak you Jamie Oliver). You lucky souls get to admire the fruits of my labour.

It was really tasty and very filling. The dark sauce is a dipping sauce which just made the tortelloni, we'll be eating it for at least the rest of the weekend. I even made the leftover pasta into tagliatelle, which I'm drying and will eat sometime this week.

Last but not least the promised pictures of the fish tank, we even have the first occupants! I think Z did a fantastic job even if he is being very german about the whole setting up and has even started a diary where he can record everything he does with the aquarium in.

The girls love to stand and watch the fish playing peek-a-boo in amongst the rocks, the trick is going to be stopping them from banging on the glass(C and E, not the fish!!!)

23 Apr 2009

Preemie followup reports again

They arrived this morning in the post and for once were better than I expected. Ciara's says she has slight speech delays for her adjusted age, while Enya's said she had slight delay with fine motor coordination but she is on track with her gross motor milestones. Considering that we are back in physio due to concerns about her walking ability (definitely a gross motor ability) I was very surprised to read this.

We are still battling through with physio at home though I had (ahem) dropped back to once a day. Today Mrs W. suggested I do the harder technique only once a day and the easier technique twice a day, since Enya doesn't cry or fight the easier technique I probably will do it. I was hoping she would say we could think about stopping again but although there has been definite improvements in Enya's foot positioning and stability when walking she still has very obvious truncal deficits. They are only really noticable when Enya runs around nekkid as she is able to compensate for them very well. I sometimes wonder if it is possible to "fix" this or if she will always have this weakness, perhaps to a lesser degree though.

After our weekly physio screamathon we went to visit Z at his work. He didn't see the girls this morning as they were up at 6 am for breakfast (due to Ciara going to bed without solids last night-she didn't like what was on offer!) and as he had a very unsettled night's sleep, I let him sleep in and did the breakfast battle alone (aside: it is so much easier than it was with feeding them at the same time, now that they both hold their bottles themselves). We had lunch in the work cafeteria, Ciara tried green beans and even chewed on some pork, Enya nearly choked on some potato and then refused everything except yoghurt. Dinner will just have to be extra healthy tnight to make up for lunch I guess. Z's colleagues were amazed at how much the girls have grown and were suitably impressed by their walking skills and Enya's still present black eye. Z enjoyed the surprise so we may have t repeat the experiment at some stage.

22 Apr 2009


.. I would post pictures of how wonderful the aquarium looks now that the water is clear and the plants are in, or of the fantastic shiner Enya gave herself on Sunday when she fell and hit her head again on the sandpit (seriously when she gives herself such a whopping shiner, does she seriously need to go the next day and flirt with the neighbour who works for the child protection services!!), but Z snuck the camera out this morning so instead you can just take it on faith that they are as great as I say they are.

Life is meandering on in the House of Z, I managed to get both girls to eat ham yesterday- usually if meat is not pureed they spit it out (too much work to chew it, you know) but this time they ate it in omelette and then took bites of my ham matzos. Another case of "if it comes from mommy's plate, it's better than what is on ours". I have however given up and will be taking the blender stick with on our holiday, we'll try feed them table food but for my own peace of mind I want the blender there if they don't eat normal food.

Also in preperation of our holiday I'm trying to get them used to sleeping when their room is not completely dark. Up to now we have had their room pitch black for naptimes and nights (roller blinds outside the window, great insulation and makes the room nightlike) however we won't have the luxury in Turkey so they need to get used to napping when it is light. Naptimes now start with a half an hour to an hour playtime but eventually they do fall asleep, the plus is naptimes are now longer which gives me more time to get chores done but also means we have less time to play together.

ON the mobility side, we now definitely have 2 toddlers, neither girl crawls much anymore. In fact Ciara never crawls anywhere and Enya will crawl if she falls down a lot but usually only for half a meter before standing up and walking/running off again. Both girls have mastered the step up from our patio, we can trust them to go up and down it alone with only the occasional mishap (hence Ciara's grazed elbow and Enya's grazed knee). They love to be outside on the grass, playing in the sandpit or on the swing and slide set (no, we haven't spoilt them, our nextdoor neighbours have all these toys for their granddaughter and have generously allowed us use of them, not that we could really stop C and E from using them as there are no fences between the backyards in our block).

Talking about the lack of fences, Ciara and Enya escaped my watch on Monday and managed to get outside without me being aware of it. I thought I'd closed the patio door when I brought them inside to change their nappies but I hadn't. After the nappy change I set them free to run inside while I finished cleaning the fridge, gradually it dawned on me that they were way too quiet (quiet=danger), I went running through to the lounge to see that the patio door was wide open and they were nowhere in sight. I ran outside and immediately saw Enya playing with the washing line but Ciara was not in sight- my heart was pounding! Thankfully the wind set the washing flapping so I then saw Ciara playing with the swing seat, before I totally flipped out. I have already joking suggested we fit lines to their harnesses and peg them in the backyard so they can't get away, like people do with dogs. Surprisingly enough no one else finds the idea very good ;0). I'm dreading the day they learn how to open the doors (particularly our front door) by themselves, as we have no fences or gates or secure areas without direct access to a road!

20 Apr 2009

It's been a week!!

I haven't had a lot to say so just never got around to posting. I really enjoyed having my baby sister here for a fortnight. The girls adore her (so much so they were going to her for cuddles instead of me!!) and she was fantastic with getting Enya to eat including getting Enya to use the spoon to feed herself. Quick aside here: Enya hadn't vomited in a while and Z happened to mention this on Saturday evening during dinner, not more than 5 minutes later on the 3rd last spoon she spewed the entire meal back at him. The old motto from NICU still applies never praise my girls where they can hear it!! I kept trying to convince Ren that she really wants to stay as a fulltime Au Pair for board and lodgings but she wouldn't be convinced ;0).

Enya got her first two molars in the last couple of weeks and looks to be working on the third, Ciara has her first four and I believe may be working on more as she is drooling which is very unusual for her. The last 2 days she has also been very whingy which may be due to missing Ren or due to teething although up to now teething has had no effect on them behaviourly. We have stopped sticking our fingers into their mouths to check for budding teeth as they now bite down and those baby teeth are VERY sharp.

Ren left early on Saturday morning and Saturday day itself was spent getting things ready to put the aquarium together, Saturday night was spent actually putting it together. When I agreed to the aquarium I was thinking of the normal little tank with pretty fishes in it, Z had other ideas! We now have a huge 350l tank taking up one corner of our living room. It is going to be a Malawi tank with fish from Africa, something from my home contienent. Hopefully the first fish will be swimming in it by this weekend. I'll post some pitures when it is all finished!

13 Apr 2009

Happy Easter

I hope everyone had a wonderful easter, our's was very quiet. We've discovered Ciara loves chocolate, Enya not so much. In fact Enya tends to spit it straight out again, DARN another potential calorie bomb bites the dust!

Z arrived back at 2 am this morning and after briefly surfacing to help with breakfast, has returned to bed. Before he collapsed again he did say that Enya appears to be walking better than a week ago! They were so excited when they heard his voice, squealing like little pigs but Enya needed a few minutes before she would cuddle him, Ciara jumped right into his arms and wouldn't let go. Z really missed his little girls, his comment was a week and a half is too long to be away from them (and me). Poor thing, he has another week away next month, this time for work though!

In honour of his return we (my sister and I) are baking him rye bread for brunch, I forgot to buy bread last week as we've been baking our own this week. Almost everyday a different sort, we've had wholewheat banana bread, beer bread, naan bread , russian potato bread and chocolate twist bread. This has not been a good week for dieting!! At least we haven't started on making biscuits yet.

10 Apr 2009

One thing I love about Germany is come sunny public holidays, the whole country goes walking! Even on a Sunday morning when we look out our kitchen window I see streams of people marching up our road, heading for the forest trails at the end of the street.

Today was a beautiful sunny warm day and so in honour of the germans we went for a walk. Although we took the buggy with, Ciara and Enya weren't too interested in riding in it. Most of the time they spent running every which way, inspecting the stones and sticks lying around, attemting to climb onto the wooden bences lining the trail and generally expending loads of energy. We probably only walked about a kilometer before stopping for coffee and cake, it was a welcome refueling stop for us all.

Enya fell quite often, she seems to only have 2 speeds- still or full speed ahead and on the uneven surfaces she kept going sprawling. She doesn't like having her hands dirty, everytime she fell she'd hold her hands out for one of us to dust the dirt off. Enya kept having brief rides in the pram, she obviously still has to build her endurance up whereas Ciara is like an everyready battery- she keeps going!! Ciara is fascinated by stones, she collects them and then carries them with her. Every so often she'll come up and give us one with a "bitte" (please), although she usually demands it back immediately after. We have to watch her quite closely as well as she keeps putting the gravel in her mouth, because I never feed her you know!! ;0)

Anyway enjoy the pictures

PS you may notice the girls are wearing summer sandals with socks, what can I say they are half german!!

8 Apr 2009

Shoe guilt

Today we went shopping, firstly I needed to get good sunhats that fit the girls. Then I wanted to get some summer sandals for Enya as Ciara already had a pair from a good friend and if the weather certainly warrants them.

I had a blast finding the sunhats. Thank goodness Ren was with me to help me choose between the gorgeous hats we found. In the end I chose different hats for them althoug both have a neck protector flap so the hats will definitely come in handy in Turkey. I just need to sew on a strap to keep them on the girls' heads, don't ask me why but none of the hats had chin straps!

While we were in the shoe shop looking for sandals with buckles, (why don't they have any shoes with buckles anymore? My girls don't keep velcro fastening shoes on for very long!) Enya tried on a pair of shoes that are a size smaller than her present pair, suddenly she was walking steadier and with a narrower base. I knew her shoes were a bit big, but we got her measured at the specialist childrens shoe store and this was the size they recommended (yes for the same shoes). Part of her problem with walking outside has certainly been due to the uneven surface but even more has been the difficulty balancing with boats on her feet. Thank goodness we've only had them on her when she was outside and only for the last few weeks.

So Enya now also has a new pair of shoes that fit and she is feeling a lot more confident about walking around outside. Onward and forward!

Zoo visit

Playing with the car in the physios waiting room

After our 9:15 physio appointment we hightailed it up to Cologne to enjoy the fantastic weather and finally visit the zoo there. I had to haul out the sunscreen and sunhats (last years do NOT fit this year!) and we were all in short sleeves. I felt really sorry for all the babies bundled up in winter fleeces and sheepskin pram bags, especially as most of their mommies were wearing short sleeve t-shirts!!
Ciara taking herself for a walk

Enya wandering around

The girls seemed to enjoy themselves especially when we let them out the buggy to run around. I felt it was too cruel to expect them to spend the whole visit in the buggy and with two of us there we could watch/rescue one child each. They particulaly enjoyed pushing the buggy around with our supervision- this may be a trick to keep track of them in public places in the future, unfortunately I didn't get a picture of them doing this :0(.

I had the feeling Ciara and Enya are still not that interested in the animals, not even the rhino that came within one meter of us behind a full length window. But Renee and I had a great time and C and E had a day out. We only got home around 6 pm and after food and a bath, the girls crashed for the night and we didn't hear a peep out of them again.

Ren with Ciara

Sippys don't get too excited, C and E believe these are teething/ chewing toys

I haven't included any photos of the animals because shortly after we arrived my camera battery died, followed quickly by my video cameras battery so not a lot of photos/film!

6 Apr 2009

T-6 hours

My little sister arrives in 6 hours and I can't wait to see her! She hasn't seen the girls since their birthday last year and so much has chnaged since then! At that time Ciara just started to crawl properly (literally the day before her birthday) while Enya could army crawl about 1m. Now they both walk/run everywhere, babble constantly and are into everything. NOTHING IS SAFE anymore!!

I've enjoyed the last 2 days having C and E all to myself and not having to consider anyone else's schedule or needs in my planning, but I must be honest I was counting down the minutes yesterday evening until bedtime. They turned ratty and whingy yesterday afternoon, I think they are missing Z.

Ciara ate her yogurt last night all by herself, I think I gave her 2 teaspoons , and she didn't even spill much of it. Enya has also made a huge leap forward in self feeding and was this morning loading her spoon with cereal and bringing it to her mouth without any assistance. Admittedly I could have fed a third child with everything that was spilled on the table and floor but the progress is exciting. That is definitely been the plus of this weekend alone, I'm being forced to leave the comfortable routines and allow the girls to experiment and develop independance at the table. And I would say the rapid progress shows that it was overdue!

I'm not even panicking (much) that Enya only ate half a small rissole and half a slice of snackbread smeared with peanut butter for lunch. She ate what she wanted and good is. I'm reading a book called "Child of Mine" by Ellyn Satter, it's all about feeding, and she stresses how important it is that the child be allowed to determine how much of whatever they eat. The amount is their responsibility, my responsibility is the what, where and when. Of course this only really applies when there is no underlying medical/psychoogical reason for children not eating.

The weight difference between my girls is increasing again, we are now at nearly 2.5kg difference after staying at only 2kg difference for a long time. I honestly don't understand why, as the amounts of food they are offered are not that different. Ciara does eat more but not every meal or even everyday, she just seems to use it more efficiently. Oh well in the long run it has certainly made the twins experience cheaper as Enya inherits all Ciara's clothes!

4 Apr 2009

Toy box wars

The latest craze in the House of Z is fighting over possession of the toy box: Enya voicing her displeasure

given that Miss C outweighs Miss E by 2.5kg, it will be no surprise who the winner was!

I had a really enjoyable day today, it started off a little dicey with Ciara refusing to eat any breakfast. Probably because I've decided to ramp things up a bit, we go on holiday (fortnight in Turkey, I can't wait) in 2 months and they need to be able to eat at least some table foods by then, so they got grated apple with their instant baby oats this morning. Ciara hated it but Enya ate all of hers and some of Ciara's as well!

I then cooked most of the morning which made them grumpy but thanks to no breakfast Ciara gobbled down lunch. Lunch was spaghetti bolognese with normal spaghetti that I cut into 1-2 cm pieces (up to now they've only had a few little pasta shells or more usually noodle granules), both girls managed this easily. The best part was they also ate a salmon football (firm salmon paste in a crumb mantle-delicious even for me, a fish hater) for the first time. Usually when it's offered they'll only eat a bite or two. Then this afternoon while they were napping I made them Tofu rissoles and let them have a bite when they woke up (actually for lunch tomorrow) and they both came back for seconds so that hopefully bodes well for eating tomorrow!! We still have some episodes where Enya gags on the more solid foods but she now seems to be able to stop the vomitting that always used to follow a gag. She is also taking proper bites when we give her a biscuit instead of just gnawing around the edge and she is also making chewing motions which is a distinct improvement over a few weeks ago!

This evening, for the first time while bathing them alone, I put them both in the bath together. We usually bath them one after another, with one of us in the bath with them, as they tend to be all over the place in the water. Today though I left out the bath seat, made it a very shallow bath, stripped them both before putting them into the bath and removed them both from the water before trying to dry them. It worked a dream and they had so much fun splashing each other that this is going to be my method of choice. Excepting, of course, the pee on the carpet and the telephone and the sleeping bag that landed up in the bath water, tonight was an all round success.

Now if only I can work out how to clean their teeth without me physically having to hold them down!! They don't cry (much) when we clean their teeth they would just "rather not thank you mommy!".


Z has gone off to his beloved scottish mountains and left me all alone with the girls, I hasten to add with my full agreement. Z gets cranky when he doesn't see mountains for a while and he hasn't been near mountains since before the girls were born! I mean come on, we spent our summer holiday last year in the Netherlands, it doesn't get much flatter! Thankfully my younger sister arrives on Monday so I won't be alone for long.

It's not that I can't manage the girls by myself, I do everyday. But with no family close by and friends that have their own families, it's nice to get a break and have another pair of hands when feeding them bottles or solids.

Ciara now refuses to eat unless we give her a spoon too, unfortunately she needs very close supervision as she is a bit unpredictable. Enya needs to be encouraged to use her spoon which requires a lot of input from me and neither girl is prepared to wait for the other to finish so solids are given simultaneously. Hence the relief when meals are one adult per child!

In return for Z going to Scotland, I get to go visit my sister in Houston in the autumn. I've only been to the States once so far (a shopping weekend to NYC)so I'm really looking forward to this, especially when my sister tells me how warm Houston is. I was only going to book for a week but Z keeps telling me to go for longer, I think he just wants C and E all to himself! Up to now he has spent a maximum of 8 hours all alone with the girls without me and is definitely not used to their tricks. I'll be very interested to see how he survives the week and I think he will have a steep learning curve. Perhaps I'll even get a bit more understanding when the house is in a state when he comes home from work! We will see.

2 Apr 2009


Well spring has finally arrived, we've had 2 beautiful semi warm sunny days on a trot and the forecast is that it will only get better, for this week at least.

Yesterday we met up with another set of twins from the NICU. They are about 6 weeks older than C and E (adjusted of course, actual they are about 2 weeks younger) and so much bigger, even than Ciara! We had brunch together and then took the 4 kids to the local park to play. Somehow it was a lot easier this time although I had to keep herding Ciara away from the stream. Enya had a wonderful time on the roundabout (a sit down roundabout, veeeerry nice!) while Ciara enjoyed playing with the ball Maren, the other twins mom, brought.

Even in the couple of weeks since we were last in the park I can see a huge improvement in Enya's confidence and mobility, she still falls over on the the uneven ground but she gets up and runs off again. Two weeks ago she would have crawled to me and refused to go anywhere unless I was holding her hand.

Unfortunately we only had about 45 minutes in the park before Maren needed to leave to pick up her older son from Kindergarten, but we all had fun and have agreed to do it again in the very near future.

I had to laugh though at the reaction we got as 2 sets of twins walking down the street. The funniest part though was when we met a friend of Maren with only one 6 month old son also in a pram going in the same direction. As all 3 of us were pushing prams and walking together down the street together, a passerby called out that we were missing a baby. Twins, the new normality!!

In the afternooon I took them out again to run in "our" huge backgarden, I wanted the girls to get a bit of sun as I'm feeling a bit guilty that they are no longer getting Vit D supplements- our paed told us to stop after 15 months actual, I kept on until February (15 months adjusted) but the Developmental follow up doc thought they should be on it for the first 2 years. My compromise is to let them enjoy the late afternoon sunshine when we get it!