Change Came

And so it ends here. My 31 days of blogging which turned out to be 25 days. It was hard getting a post in everyday; I'm surprised I even got 26 days in.

So we are partly transitioned. Family is fully relocated sans our worldly possessions which are still on a truck. Daycare has been identified and will be started soon. Home ownership is sorta on track; still trying to figure out the city.

I probably under-estimated the emotional impact of such a big move. The girls definitely know that something's different and they're both extra-clingy. What's helps is lots of mommy-time and early morning cuddles in mommy's bed.

It's been fun. Don't forget to check out some of the other blogs that participated in the 31 days challenge. I discovered quite a few new awesome blogs.
This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Teething with BRAT

It's only taken 10 days of cleaning up after diarrhead babies while relocating internationally for me to stumble upon the official name of the diet I've been trying to enforce with them. It's called the BRAT diet and is supposed to be good for adults and children losing bodily fluids from either (or both directions)

The girls diarrhea is as a result of teething (in my humble un-medical opinion) and here's how BRAT dieting has been useful for us in controlling the diarrhea.

Banana
Diced banana finger foods plus banana fruit pouches
Rice
Switched totally to rice cereal. Eating the adult rice meals. Baby Mummums, Farleys teeting biscuit (an oldie newly discovered in Calgary)
Applesauce
I'm skipping this because the acidity wrecks havoc on diaper rash
Toast
I put some butter and sliced cheese on this just because that's how I like my toast.

This is by no means a balance diet and these just replace the solid part of the girls' feedings. They still get their bottles and full compliment of nutrients from the ~20oz of formula they take daily.
This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Diaper Rash 1,2,3

Ok, I know what you're thinking and yes this is the second day in a row of diaper-related stuffblog posts and I'm sorry, I can't help myself. Poop has been a big deal around here lately (Pun fully intended)

I am by no means an expert but after 3 horrid diaper rash episodes in the last 6 weeks, I have a thing or ten to say about it. 
  1. You can tell when a diaper rash is coming before it becomes visible by baby's reaction to bath time. Both my girls would cringe and resist getting in the bath tub; probably because the soap was stinging their tushie. I never understood the behaviour until a rash showed up a couple of days later.
  2. Boudreaux's Butt Paste is good great for rash prevention because it's water-soluble and doesn't leave a stain. However, it wasn't that great once the actual rash showed up.
  3. I had good results with Caldesene powder, Triple paste and Burt's Bees diaper cream
  4. After the rash, baby's skin may be dry and itchy and she may still find wipes painful. That's because the skin is still broken from being so dried out (according to pedi)
  5. A bit of baby oil in bath water helps with #4
  6. So does a healthy slathering of vaseline or any store-brand petroleum jelly after every change
  7. If the diaper rash does not respond to a zinc-oxide based diaper cream in 48 hours, it's probably a yeast diaper rash
  8. Yeast diaper rash? Very nasty and painful stuff. A blend of antifungal (clotrimazole) cream and petroleum jelly is what worked for us
  9. Changing baby every 3 hours, even at night, is a very good idea. That way the pee doesn't accumulate to irritate the skin some more
  10. Don't want to wake up every 3 hours at night? Then try using a stay-dry fleece liner on top of the diaper right next to the baby's skin. The liners are one of the remnants of my failed cloth diaper experiment and they do keep the baby bone dry. Only negative to this is that the diaper cream was really hard to wash off the liner
Just in case it wasn't obvious, I am not a doctor or a person of medical training. I'm just a mom blogging about the diaper rashes in her life because I'm participating in a top ten linkup.


This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Huggies Slip-On Diaper Review

I'm the kind of mother who cannot resist a diaper fad (Here's proof!) So when I got a chance to buy the Huggies Slip-On diapers, I jumped at the opportunity because changing Sugar's diaper is now a 5 minute physical struggle that I often lose. Add that to one international flight and the Slip-Ons sounded like a good idea for diaper changes in transit.

So I packed a few slip-on diapers in my bag to use. Now Sugar had been having diarrhea - like 5 times daily for the last few days - and I relished the idea of being able to change her standing up in the plane lavatory. We put on the first Huggies Slip-On diaper and headed for the airport. It did not feel quite as snug around the waist and legs but I shrugged it off. When the flight was ready to board, I went to the restroom to change the girls' diapers. Mr Slip-On was also Mr Leak-On (as in leaked on the back and legs, leak through corduroy pants, big leak on the car seat.)

To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. I did the best I could to clean up the mess but unfortunately did not have a back-up pair of pants on hand. So my baby started her new life in Canada practically nekkid, wearing only a onesie and mommy's scarf. It sorta felt like deja vu because this is the same baby that left the hospital after birth in - yes you guessed right - a kimono shirt and a blanket due to poop issues. I guess I should wise up right?!

My final word is this: Unless you're planning on some very early potty training, I'd say skip the slip-on diapers. They're not ready for the magic babies can do just yet.


This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts. This post contains an affiliate link to the said diaper, but I do not recommend you click or buy. I just like it for the free picture

Necessary Documents to Relocate With

Paperwork and documentation are going to be a big part of my move or any major international relocation for that matter. Here's my list of critical documents that are necessary to have in my carryon
  1. Passports for all family members
  2. Birth certificates for kids (especially for international travel)
  3. Visas
  4. Medical records for babies and all other family members
  5. Immunization records
  6. Driving record - Can be useful in getting better auto insurance rates
  7. Auto title since we're moving with our car
  8. Bill of sale or valuation for vehicle (a Customs requirement)
This is a makeup/backdated post to ensure that I don't fall off the wagon of my 31 day blogging challenge. You can visit the lovely hosts blogs.

Blog Transition

In less than a month, my little babies will turn one, and so will this blog. I had my reasons for starting this blog and it's been a fun and fulfilling experience.

However, I know that with 2 young babies the first year for a first time mom is critical. So many questions and so much is unknown. As a nervous pregnant woman, I tried to google the answer to every possible aspect of taking care of twins. Sometimes I got my answers but most times I came up short. I hope that in my posts of the last 11 months, someone with the same questions will find answers.

As the girls near their first birthday, I feel my focus as a mom shifting away from the best diaper brand. The extreme focus needed to figure out this newborn parenting business has receded and I'm looking more at balancing all the aspects of my life. I expect that will be reflected in my posts going forward.

This blog will be transitioning from core twin baby parenting to more working twin mom lifestyle. I don't have the full picture yet but am looking forward to it. Stick around and I'll make it worth your while.
This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Buying Formal Dresses for Babies

I confess, I've been frantically looking for the best dress for the girls' first birthday. (There's a possibility I may have bought and returned over 10 dresses in this process). Well, something good came out of my frenzy people. I have learnt a few lessons on my journey in search of the ultimate baby threads.

Here's the 411 on baby dress:
Online vs brick and mortar - The same dress can have different price tag in store vs online. Case in point, one of our best birthday dress contenders (and my favorite) $68 in store at Macys, $45 on macys.com
Is it a potato or a root vegetable - Thanks to the business of mass production, the same dress can have 2 different labels in 2 different stores with 2 different prices but both probably came out of the same factory. Case in point, this beautiful dimple dress bears the brand name Cinderella in JC Penney and sells for $33. Same dress is branded American Princess in Dillards and sells for $30
A picture does not always tell the story - A dress can look wow or drab depending on the picture online. I found that by googling the dress, I could get a range of pictures for the same dress.

 

 Velvet is an option - This time of the year, there's a lot of velvet-topped clothes. If you see a ballgown with a top you don't like, there's a possibility it exists somewhere with a velvet top. Like this taffeta dress.

 

Choose your rainbow - A lot of the styles are available in similar colors in Nordstroms, Dillards, Kohls, Sears, JC Penney, Macys... you name it. Once again, google is your friend in finding the color you want



So how did this race to the dress end? Two of the taffeta dresses.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Munchkin vs Sassy Suctioned Bowls

One of the perks of moving to the older infant room is mandatory self-feeding. Which means finger foods. Which means suction bowls. The daycare recommended the Muchkin bowls but when I got to the store, I saw that sassy had a similar set so I decided to do a comparison and get one of each.

The lowdown

Both sets consist of 3 bowls with lids which are dishwasher safe 
Muchkin - The suctions are permanently fixed on the bowls but the bowls are not microwaveable. The suction was just a little harder to break than the Sassy's

Sassy - There is one removable suction to be used with the 3 bowls (that means only one bowl can be suctioned at a time). The bowls are microwaveable but the lids and suction base are not. Speaking of the suction base, it can be challenging to fix on the bowl - challenging but not a showstopper

Verdict: Depends on what you're looking for. It's a tie for me.

This post contains affiliate links and is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

11 Months


11 months. T - 1 month! I'm on cruise control for all issues pertaining to birthday planning. No ideas. I'm waiting for the light bulb to go off. In the interim, here are our 11 month stats

SpIce aka Twin A
Weight: 18lbs 5oz (gained 6oz)
Dress size: 9 - 12months but still wearing 9m Carters sleepers
Diaper size: Size 3 

 
Sugar aka Twin B

Weight: 17lbs 11oz (gained 6oz)
Dress size: 9 - 12 months
Diaper size: Size 3


Schedule
The schedule hasn't changed from last month, but since I discovered the beauty of food pouches, I'll be changing the 3pm bottle feeding to a snack of a pouch food and water. That will put us on a 3 bottle a day schedule and closer to the typical schedule in preschools. 
 
Another big change is the sippy cup has been somewhat successfully introduced. The daycare ladies just stopped giving the girls their milk in bottles so we're more or less transitioned. I am however having a tough time putting the bottles away because it's like declaring my babies are now big girls - this bottle-sippy thing is harder for me than it is for them
Cheese is back in our diet and lunch is now fully finger-foods. Yoghurt is however still in the penalty box as are eggs

Top Gear - My fave 5 
Orthodontic pacifiers that glow in the dark  - will I ever stop loving them?



Development

Physical: Sugar's cruising while holding on to furniture. She can stand on her own but she doesn't know it yet. Spice is speed army crawling and just started crawling on all fours. She can pull herself to a standing position and take a couple of steps but doesn't like to stay on her feet for long. 
Verbal and Social: Both girls can and love to clap their hands. They have alsoe started interacting with each other actively. They love to play the crawling version of tag and peekaboo. First thing in the morning, they beam at each other. 

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Pouch is the new black

If you've been to the baby food aisle of your grocery store lately, you may have noticed some changes. In the old days, pouched baby food was made only by the small, independent, green, crunchy, organic, frufru brands. That's not the case anymore. These days, everyone and I do mean everyone - Gerber, Beechnut, Earth's Best - is selling baby food in pouches.

I didn't get why the trend because the pouched baby foods are generally 50% more expensive than the jars. It's hard to find a pouch on sale for $1 or less. "Why would any parent pay that much for baby food?" I used to wonder. I got my answer today.

I have a stockpile of pouches that I plan on using for our move and they're all kept in a little cardboard box. This morning, Spice crawled up to the box, picked up a pouch and kept gnawing at it. On a whim, I opened two pouches for the girls and handed to them. Last time I tried this, I ended up with 2 unhappy babies, one cut lip and a huge mess. This time around, the girls slurped away happily without missing a beat and in less than 5 minutes, the pouches were empty and I got some majorly happy two-toothed grins.

That's when it hit me. Pouches are a less messy way of getting little people to self-feed. It's like throwing baby food in a straw sippy that doesn't need cleaning or tutorial. The girls instinctively knew what to do with the pouch and there was no choking or gagging. I'm loving this pouch business.

Pouch is obviously the new black for baby food makers and I can live with that. Suddenly, feeding babies while travelling is a little less daunting. One more tool to help with our transition

How's the weekend going for you? I'm linking up to Julia's Mama Loves today.
This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Options for Clearing Baby's Nose

I've come full circle in the world of noses and boogies. I started out with the bulb syringe, blew through 3 Graco Nasal Aspirators, 1 Nosefrida the snotsucker, 1 Safety First aspirator and I'm back to the bulb.

The battery-powered machines kept losing suction and I didn't have the lung power or IQ to figure out the nosefrida. I was tired of blowing through a $20 aspirator every other month so I decided to learn how to use the bulb syringe and I became the boogie guru.

All thanks to this video tutorial on Babycenter.com. Now boogies see me and run (all puns intended. It's Friday afterall) 





This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts and contains affiliate links.

Becoming Older Infants

The daycare has pushed and I finally agreed to move the girls to the "Older Infants Room". That's the room for the babies that are walking with or without assistance and under 18 months old. They first suggested the move 2 weeks ago but I felt the girls (especially Spice) were not ready and said no. Now I think they'll benefit from it so we've been trying it out.

What does the older infant gig entail in a Montessori environment?
  1. Going from 2 naps to 1 long nap in the afternoon after lunch
  2. Giving up the pacifier
  3. Full use of sippy cups and giving up the bottle
  4. Progress to eating independently
  5. Start wearing supportive shoes regularly
  6. Play outside daily (we won't be doing this until the girls are walking)
It's a big change for me and an even bigger one for the girl. We're on day two and so far so good.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

The Back-Up Diaper Bag

I have a back-up diaper bag. "What is this?" You may ask! It's a diaper bag that stays in my car (most times) and contains spares that will come in  handy in  an emergency. As an aside, it also allows me to take impromptu trips with the girls without packing my main diaper bag as I know whatever I may need are in the bag.

What's in the bag?
  1. Similac ready to feed formula 8oz bottles. 4 bottles.That's enough for 2 feedings meaning I can be away from home for 6 hours and the babies still get fed.
  2. 4 sets of bottle nipples, rings and  covers to go with #1 above. I buy the $1 feeding bottles from Walmart, wash and sterilise their parts and keep in a Ziploc in the bag
  3. Pack of store-brand diapers
  4. Resealable pouch of wipes
  5. Diaper disposal bags
  6. Changing mat
  7. 2 weather-appropriate one piece outfit usually either a sleeper or a dress. One for each child
  8. First aid kit
  9. Pacifier wipes
  10. Baby Mum Mum snacks
I love the little bit of spontaneity that my back-up diaper bag gives me.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts. I'm also linking up with Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday

Relocating Without Baggage

All of this month, I'll be writing blog posts dedicated to the various transitions the family will be going through. The biggest will be our relocation from the US. We've lived in our current abode for three years and accumulated "stuff"

I have to throw "stuff" away but I hate clutter even more. My plan with this relocation is to declutter before the move. With 2 babies and a full time job outside of the house, finding time to declutter will be challenging; so the plan is to do it one room at a time over the next couple of weeks.

This weekend, I started with the bathrooms. It's amazing how much junk gets saved in the bathroom. I filled two 13 gallon trash bags with
  • old, unused makeup
  • various cellulite and anti-stretch mark creams that did not deliver on their promise
  • wigs and wig stands
  • empty bottles of shampoo, conditioner and hair lotions
In 30 minutes, I have two bathrooms decluttered. One room at a time is the best way I can think of to get rid of my baggage instead of taking it with me.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

Hair Inspiration Blogs

These are the blogs that give me inspiration for transitioning my little babies into beautiful African princesses with a crown of glorious hair (I'm waxing poetic ain't I?)

First up is Happy Girl Hair - She has twin girls and lot's of care tips and product reviews that I dig.

Chocolate hair, vanilla care is a blog that talks about transracial adoption and this mom's very beautiful hair creations for her young daughter.


Hair evolution to Toddler Hair Care

Hair issues are a big deal for women all over the world, and little girls are no exception. The evolution of black babies' hair is unique and each stage requires a different care regimen. We are now having to move from baby hair care to toddler hair care as the girls' hair texture has changed in recent months.

The girls were born with a head of loose curls (think jheri curls). With this hair, the normal routine was daily washing with baby shampoo and moisturizing with baby oil. I preferred something that wasn't based on mineral oils so I used Burt's Bees Baby Oil which is based on apricot oil.

Then we had our issue with cradle cap and my insane use of every drop of snakeoil acclaimed to cure cradle cap. At the end of it all, the babies lost patches of their hair and I ended up cutting off the rest. The cradle cap did eventually go with time just like the books and doctor said and we're now left with African toddler hair.

The toddler hair of black babies is just like black adult hair. A lot drier and the curls are more compact and tightly wound - detangling and moisture control are critical. With that, our care routine has moved to shampooing weekly and moisturizing daily. Right now we use the Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme and comb our little 'fros with a small afro comb.

Next steps in our our journey includes
  1. Getting used to sitting still and having their hair made
  2. Sleeping with a satin cap to prevent hair breakage
  3. Procuring lots of beads and clips and doodahs for our little braids 
I'm looking forward to #3 but I suspect #1 will be a bit of a challenge


Wonder Week 37 - Baby learns to categorize

Earlier in the year, I reviewed The Wonder Weeks book in glowing terms. I still love the book and read the necessary chapters at least monthly to have an idea of the mental changes the girls are going through.

Sometimes I question if it's just a flaky idea, then I get this type of validation.

See, Wonder Week 37 is called "World of Categories". This is where children are able to understand that particular things belong together. An example the book gave that really stuck with me was children understand something like a striped cat, a yellow cat, a spotted cat are all cats. It took a while, but one day I just noticed that Sugar really demonstrates this in her choice of toys. She always likes to hold a toy in each hand, but guess what? It always has to be two of the same toy in a different color. It's 2 links, 2 balls, 2 weebles, 2 tamborines. Never 1 of each

Either The Wonder Weeks study is really validated or she got that little bit of OCD from mama's gene pool 

PS: Noticed how this 31 days of blogging is making me post a lot more pics than I normally would? Not sure it that's a good thing yet.

This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.

What to look out for in baby feeding gear

I've had a number of hits and misses when it comes to buying feeding gear for my babies. I guess these are the lessons I've learnt about baby feeding gear only by looking in the rearview mirror

  1. Plates and bowls - Should be microwaveable if making and freezing own baby food. It's amazing how many are not
  2. Bowls - To suction or not? Yes babies have a tendency to grab bowl, wave in the air and create a food shower. The thing with suction bowls is the ones with permanently attached suctions (Munchkin is the most popular) are not microwaveable.
  3. Sippy cups - Valves or no valves. There is a place for both. No valves for when the babies are just learning to drink and valves for when they become rainmakers
  4. Sippy cups - What type valve? The Playtex sippies I just got has a valve system that consists of 2 joined pieces of rubber that fit into the spout and air hole. Guess what? My babies have really strong arms and enjoy banging their cups against the high chair tray. A few hard knocks and the cup that used to be spill-proof is spill-proof no more. The Avent type spouts have a different more baby proof mechanism for spill-proofness but they are hard to suck out of
  5. Sippy cups - Handles or no? To eliminate problem highlighted in #4, I now use the Take and Toss Spill Proof Cups that do not come with handles. The girls still try to bang and create rain but it's so much harder *insert smug mummy face*
  6. High chairs - Full versus booster! If floor space is an issue, then go for the ones that attach to normal chairs
  7. High chairs -Cloth versus plastic? No matter how easy to clean the cloth material is, the high chair is still going to be a grimy mess after just one meal. Plastic can be wiped clean, cloth has to be laundered
  8. High chairs - Tray washability. A lot of high chairs now boast of trays that are dishwasher safe. The problem is that they are not however dishwasher sized. Can't fit into the dishwasher or the sink. If you really want to be washing the tray in the dishwasher, shop with a tape measure
  9. Spoons - Bowl size. When the babies started solids around 5 months, some of those cute spoons had bowls that were too wide to fit into their mouths. Really?!
  10. Washcloth and bowl - Easily accessible and washable because ovens come with a self-cleaning button, babies do not
Yes, these are suctioned bowls!

Transitioning babies from bottle feeding requires a bit more thought than I expected.
This post is part of my 31 day blogging challenge thanks to the lovely hosts.
Linking up to Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday

Change is Coming

Happy 1st of October to y'all and Happy Birthday Nigeria. I for one am very grateful to God for the way 2011 has turned out. It's been a year of many blessings and the next 31 days are going to be even more special. We will be undergoing a lot of transition here in mytwintopia:
  • Family relocating from Hot Houston to Cold Calgary
  • Twins changing daycare
  • Going from apartment dwellers to home owners (by God's grace)
  • Transitioning babies to table and finger foods fully
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. To help me better handle and document all our changes, I'm participating in a 31 day blogging challenge being hosted by several lovely ladies. Yes, that's a blog post everyday. *Deep Breath*
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