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Archive for August, 2014

Trendy Tot Thursday (28/08/2014)

Yes, I know it’s not Thursday! But I was incapacitated on Thursday and The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex leave their #TT_Thursday Linky up until the weekend so I am sneaking it in!!

This week we managed to get away with my family to Bude in Cornwall. It was a drive and a half to get there, but once we were there the twins loved it!

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Biscuit’s dress was a birthday present from my brother and sister-in-law. It’s from Carter’s (possibly this Carter’s, but I know they got it from T K Maxx) It came with a white vest to wear with it, but that was in the wash and I thought the pink vest picked up the pink whale on the front. Her tights are obviously from the ever-brilliant Slugs and Snails, we took 7 pairs (of different patterns of course) with us and either Biscuit or Cracker wore every pair. I know I have talked about them before, but I will continue to sing their praises at every opportunity so you understand! Biscuit even wore a pair under her pyjamas on a particularly chilly night, they are so comfortable- she didn’t even have a mark around her waist the next morning. These shoes are £5 beach shoes from a surf shop in Bude, proper holiday shoes!

IMG_1597.JPG When we went out, we swapped them for her sturdy Clarks, which we’re wearing out before their next Tamba discount day! She also had a white sweatshirt on from Isola Del Giglio, Rob’s home.

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Something a little different for Cracker this week, as I’m sure you’re bored of his usual shorts/trousers and t-shirts. It’s his wetsuit! He is a little water baby, every puddle, stream and sea we came across he had to jump into, and as the photo shows, he also likes getting really sandy on the beach! I saw these Surf It wetsuits on Zulily ages ago and figured they might come in handy (especially as Biscuit gets cold really quickly whenever we go swimming). You can also just about see his jellies, which I got from Boots, in the sale at £3, who can argue with that? And perfect for the beach, they just get rinsed off and are brilliant!
All the kids in Cornwall are wearing wetsuits, and even the local Sainsburys stocks them, so I guess I was on a winner! They kept the twins warm in the water, relatively sand-free and offer factor 50 protection (have you seen the colour of Biscuit’s hair?! This is a necessity)!

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I hope you enjoy reading our slightly delayed Trendy Tot Thursday as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Hope to see you again next week for another Trendy Tot Thursday, and please feel free to stop by and say ‘hi’ whenever you have time!

Trendy Tot Thursday (21/08/2014)

How is it Thursday already?!?! I can’t believe how the week has flown by. Thank goodness The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex reminded us on Twitter!!

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Once again we found ourselves at our favourite little park in Bloomsbury Square and the twins got to run around and burn off some energy.

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Cracker is looking very gorgeous this week (if I do say so myself) in his Superman t-shirt from T K Maxx, his JoJo Maman Bebe trousers, his Bibetta dribble bib and his fantastic Batman shoes from Junk Food Clothing, bought at Gap. I know I’ve mixed Superman and Batman, but apparently that’s okay as they’re from the same Universe!!!!

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Biscuit, looking equally gorgeous, is wearing a lovely denim dress from Boots Mini Club, a long-sleeved pink vest from Disney Store (it has Winnie The Pooh on it), a Buff Wear headband (one of those fab multifunctional things that can be worn as a headband, scarf, hat, bandana etc and is UV protective), some Gap socks and her brilliant Primark trainers. You can also see her Boots rein-harness still attached to her. It’s so easy to unclip the reins and leave the harness attached, meaning it’s easy to just leave it on whilst she plays.

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I also had to include this last picture of Cracker in his Superman t-shirt, as he was kissing Rob on the nose and generally being the cutest boy in the world 😉

I hope you enjoy reading our Trendy Tot Thursday as much as I enjoy writing it!
Hope to see you again next week for another Trendy Tot Thursday, and please feel free to stop by and say ‘hi’ whenever you have time!

2 Year Health and Development Review (also known as Health Review 2)

Today Biscuit and Cracker had their Health Review 2.
For those of you who don’t have a health visitor (or whose kiddiwinks are younger than my two) children see their Health Visitor (public health nurse for a family with children under 5) as a newborn, at 8-12 months and at 2-2 1/2 years to assess their development, check for milestones and see if early intervention is required (e.g. for a speech and language problem). And today, the twinks had their health review as they have now turned two.
If your children are coming up to two and want to know what sort of thing is assessed, then this post may help you!
Do the parents have any concerns about their child?
Does the child use a variety of common objects appropriately? (e.g. spoon, cup, comb) Can they play skilfully with toys?
Does the child engage in simple pretend play? (e.g. feeding dolly, putting teddy to sleep)
Does the child use approximately 50+ words?
Can they join 2 or more words together in a simple sentence?
How does the child eat, do they eat family foods and a balanced diet?
Do you brush their teeth Are they registered with a dentist?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it gives you a gist of the areas that your child will be assessed on (speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, social interaction). Your child will be assessed through a health visitor/child development worker/nursery nurse watching them play as well as by asking you questions, so be prepared to be asked a lot about your home, what they do (i.e. nursery or playgroups) and how they eat/play/sleep.
If you do have any concerns about your child, whether that be because of health, speech, vision, sleep etc, it is important that you let them know so that they can refer you on to get the help that your little one needs.
We were lucky that Biscuit and Cracker were on top form in the Health Centre, playing really nicely and pre-empting things that would be asked- by demonstrating role-play, fine and gross motor skills, speech etc and they were very happy with them.
If your little ones have either of their health reviews soon then good luck, speak the truth and trust in your instincts. Let me know how it goes!!

The Meanest of Them All…?! How to wean a toddler off their dummy.

Despite our very best intentions, the twins are real dummy-lovers! Having twins means that you do look at ways to comfort two babies at once and dummies were real life savers in the early months.

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When they were around 18-months-old we’d done really well at getting them to have their dummies just at nap time and bedtime. Then they both got poorly with tonsillitis and Biscuit had all her breathing problems, so we relapsed and let them have them all the time.

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Fast forward six months and my now-two-year-olds love them still. Biscuit seems to be self weaning herself off them. She will often not want it during the day and mostly goes to sleep without one (as long as she knows where it is, you can’t trust these sneaky Mamas with dummies you know!). But Cracker is a different kettle of fish. He is obsessed with his dummy and wants it all the time, in bed, in the bath, when out and about, when playing at home, you get the gist! He doesn’t have one when he’s at the childminders, I was afraid of him losing it so never sent him with one, and he’s mostly okay. When he’s really interested in playing at home, he’ll forget about it then too.
We are now seriously trying to get him to leave it just for sleep times (whether that be nap or bedtime), but I feel SO mean! At his age he knows what he wants and how to ask for it (at ever increasing decibel levels) and has been getting so upset at times. We have reinforced that dummies are just for bedtimes, so yesterday he spent the afternoon asking if he could go to bed! So far this morning is going a little better, with only a few requests for it.
My mum and dad hate “not being able to see their faces” when I send them pictures of Biscuit and Cracker with their dummies in! And dummies can cause issues with speech (as some children don’t want to open their mouth to talk for fear of losing their dummies) and teeth-alignment. Biscuit and Cracker were always happy taking their dummies out to talk and we made sure that they had ‘teeth-friendly’, orthodontic dummies. But still, if we can then I would prefer they didn’t have them.
I have given advice to many parents about getting their children to ‘leave it for the fairies’ or (at Christmas) ‘leave it for Rudolph’s new babies as they don’t have Boots at the North Pole’ over the years, but Cracker doesn’t seem interested in them. Maybe he’s too young? Or maybe he’s simply too attached to his beloved dummy to care?!!!!
Do any of you lovely people have any other hints or tips, or even words of support that it does get easier and we should just stick with it?

Language

I have been thinking a lot about language recently. For a start, I am married to a full-blown Italian. He may be fluent in English (so much so that people often forget he is in fact, gasp, foreign) but his family aren’t.
Raising bilingual babies brings about challenges of it’s own. Plus, with Biscuit and Cracker having just turned two, I have their impending health review coming up with the inevitable questions regarding their speech and language development.
Speech and language development provides a fascinating insight into your little ones brain and the speed at which it grows and matures. Children go from being able to say 0 words at 6 months, to around 1-3 at 12 months, around 10-20 at 18 months, 50+ at 2 years, 200+ at 2 1/2 years (yep an increase of around 150 words in just 6 months), 500-1000 at 3 years, 1000-1500 at 4 years and 1500-2000 at 5 years. That is enormous growth, and absolutely amazing. I find myself open-mouthed at how the twins seem to have new words every single day. Biscuit came out with a four word sentence the other day, what a genius!!
On top of this, as I mentioned, Biscuit and Cracker are learning two languages at once. Rob only speaks to them in Italian and I only speak to them in English (probably a good thing as the words I know in Italian are not for little ears!). This includes our reading books- Rob is currently reading them the Harry Potter series in Italian and they have lots of kids books in Italian too.
An issue we did think of was that about 90% of the twins’ language influence is English. So we looked for kids DVDs in Italian (and found Bob The Builder and Everything’s Rosie) which they really enjoy watching. We also now get films in Italian, so they watch Frozen on a daily basis whilst learning another language (that also helps me too, it’s amazing what you pick up from Disney films and songs).
If you’re interested in getting your kids (or you) into a second language, watching familiar films and listening to music really does help. Rob says that’s how he started learning English- by watching Jurassic Park over and over again!
As they get older, we will probably have a look at them having some formal Italian teaching (to help with the grammar etc) but for now I stay amazed at how they soak up words and know more every day. They already put me to shame!!!

Trendy Tot Thursday (13/08/2014)

Yay! Another Thursday is here, meaning that I get to (through the ever-lovely Clearly Bex and The Mother Geek) show off what Biscuit and Cracker have been wearing this week.

There has been quite a lot of grotty weather around this week, so I am glad we made the most of the lovely sunny Saturday we had with a family trip to the park.

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Cracker wore this gorgeous top from JoJo Maman Bebe that my auntie and uncle gave him for his birthday. I love the vivid red colour, how soft the material is and the lighthouse picture on the front (Rob proposed to me by a lighthouse in his native Isola Del Giglio so we’re quite sentimental about them)! I paired them with his comfortable Boots Mini Club shorts and his fabulous Scruffy Dog Shoes. And, of course, his ever-present Bibetta dribble bib- when will the teething end?!

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Little Biscuit is wearing a dress that was handed down to hear by one of my friends, it doesn’t have a label in it so I (unfortunately) can’t find out where it’s from. I love the yellow on her, it is lovely material and it suits her. I teamed it with a plain short-sleeved vest as there was a nip in the air (and, as I’ve said before, it saves her removing her nappy). She’s also wearing her fabulous Scruffy Dog shoes which I love and her own Bibetta dribble bib.

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They also both have their Boots reins on (with the long bits I clipped to leave them unemcumbered). I know people have mixed thoughts on putting reins on their children but let me tell you how quickly having two two-year-olds in Central London will change your mind about that! Both Biscuit and Cracker are going through that lovely toddler period of wanting independence but not having the thought process to keep them safe, so having their reins on means they don’t have to hold our hands when we’re walking down the street as we’ll always have hold of them! It is our decision as parents that we chose this way of ensuring our twins safety and so, please be kind!

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I hope you enjoy reading our Trendy Tot Thursday as much as I enjoy writing it!
Hope to see you again next week for another Trendy Tot Thursday, and please feel free to stop by and say ‘hi’ whenever you have time!

Trendy Tot Thursday (07/08/2014)

This week has been so busy with work and I have had barely two minutes to myself. But I have had time to do Trendy Tot Thursday, couldn’t let a week go by without sharing Biscuit and Cracker’s clothes with you via The Mother Geek and Clearly Bex (btw, if you don’t already follow @TheMotherGeek and @ClearlyBex on Twitter then I thoroughly recommend you do)!
Three days a week the twinks go to a childminder. When they’re there they have so much fun going to parks and museums, and generally burning off all their energy. Of course this makes for mucky clothes, and I struggled at first with them potentially ruining their beautiful clothes. That is why I get so much of their stuff from cheaper shops (like Primark and Boots). Plus, they’re growing like proverbial weeds.
Now I have pre-warned you for Biscuit’s ensemble…. The majority of which is from Primark!

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This is actually a skirt and a top, although put together like this it looks a bit like a dress. You get two tops in a pack, this one and a white one with a picture on the front. The skirt is dead simple with a nice, wide and comfortable waistband. Underneath she is just wearing a white vest, I always try to put a vest or a nappy cover on her when she’s in a skirt or a dress as she loves undoing her nappy! The socks are from Gap (we love their socks are they’re comfy, funky and have a great non-slip sole) and she’s picked her pink Primark trainers to go with the outfit. Biscuit is nothing if not colour co-ordinated! The dribble bib is from Bibetta, which we found at Mam. They are both dribbling furiously at the moment and these are double thickness and made from the same sort of fabric as their normal bibs. It means that they can dribble away to their hearts content without it soaking through onto their clothes and giving them a sore neck.

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Cracker’s outfit also contains some Primark, but not all!

20140806-211519-76519019.jpg Rob is 100% Italian and very proud of his heritage. In the run up to the World Cup 2014 he bought Cracker an Italian polo shirt from Sports Direct and I, for one, think he looks incredibly handsome in it! It’s a little thicker than his normal t-shirts so we had to wait for a day that wasn’t as hot as it has been. His shorts are the input from Primark and are actually swimming trunks. I think they look good as normal shorts with the added benefit of being incredibly fast drying if he spills his drink on himself! He is, once again, wearing his Clarks Doodles sandals. I always let them choose which of their pairs of shoes they would like to wear that day so he must like them as they are what he always picks! He also has a colour co-ordinated Bibetta dribble bib on.

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Hope to see you again next week for another Trendy Tot Thursday, and please feel free to stop by and say ‘hi’ whenever you have time!