Monkey Business Part 2

After this happened, it was just a matter of time before the crib became the next target to be conquered. I wonder how much time I have before she tries to do this from the inside of the crib!

Teaching Toddlers to be Safe

Today is National Missing Children's day. I'm by no means a safety expert but I know there are a lot of resources and articles available on child safety. Some of them are listed at the end of this post. Instead of rehashing all the advice, I'll like to share with you a few things I'm doing to keep my twins safe - there's still 18 months but it's never too early to start
  1. Order a free safety kit from the Polly Klaas foundation. I ordered mine same time I was ordering my diaper and formula freebies. The foundation sent informational publications which I found to be very practical and helpful. Here's a link to their order page. One big plus is that orders can also be made from outside the US
  2. Download the FBI child ID app which is available for both iPhone and Android users (didn't do this but wish there was a Canadian equivalent)
  3. Allow the "No". One of the developments of this stage is that both girls have learnt to say no. It irks me but it's a trait that should be developed beneficially. Studies show that confident children who are able to say "No" to an adult figure stay safer. As parents are the premier adults in kids' lives, it's important not to smother their demonstrations of confidence and independence.
  4. Manage the stranger-danger stage. Right now Spice clings up to me and does the koala bear thing if a stranger so much as looks at her. My inclination has been to reassure her and encourage her to be friendlier with the strangers until I realized I don't want to go to the other extreme of letting her think every stranger is a friend. The balance I'm working towards (not close to being there yet) is instilling a sense of "it's ok if mommy and daddy say it's ok"
  5. Never ever skip the referee or background check stage of hiring a caregiver or someone who will spend any amount of time alone with the kids. Once the kids know the faces, they're no longer strangers. In the same vein, I'm very leery of daycare centers when the inspection details show that they skipped on background and criminal checks for their employees
Online Resources on Missing Children and Child Safety
Have a great weekend and stay safe. Linking up to Multiples Monday

multiples monday with capri +3

When Babyproofing Is Not Enough

10 things to do after babyproofing

Guess it's the week to talk babyproofing around here. Gates are installed, sockets are blocked off and cabinets are latched shut. What do you do when the kids still get hurt around the house and how can you make it happen less often?
  1. Recognize that babies are rapidly-changing human beings. When Spice was around 6 months old, she fell off the bed with me beside her. Up until then, she had not shown any real ability to rollover much less roll all the way across a king-sized bed but she chose to do that the one afternoon I had her in bed with me and dozed off for all of 4 seconds. The pediatrician has actually said that after 4 months, don't assume that your baby is immobile again
  2. Recognize that walking toddlers move really, really fast. The toddler walking to your right is suddenly on your left with her fingers in the jamb of the door you're closing. They're fast! That happened yesterday morning
  3. Work with personalities. Sugar is the fast, always on the move, won't-stay-when-asked-to baby. To compensate for this, I always pick her up first when using the stairs and unstrap her last from strollers and car seats. When I mix that order up, ugly things can happen. Like yesterday morning - because Spice just had her fingers caught in the door, I was carrying her and getting ready to go downstairs. Sugar (ignoring my calls to stop and wait for me) lunges for the stairs, loses her balance and is falling headlong down the stairs. I manage to dive and grab her by the leg but in the process also bumped Spice's head on the banister. Can you tell yet that it was not a good morning?
  4. Don't be afraid to discipline. Regardless of discipline style, when a child's action puts them or someone else in danger, they need to be firmly corrected. That's what the babyproofing professional told me and I agree with him 100%. After our morning adventure, Sugar got a stern talking to from me. For the rest of the day, in situations where she'll normally ignore my calls and walk away, she's stayed close when I asked her to. I think she got it. I hope she got it.
  5. Practice safety until it becomes a habit. I've had a few episodes of the twins running away in public places lately but left it alone because I didn't want to crush their curiosity and sense of adventure. Yesterday morning showed me that may not be the best approach.We're going to start practicing walking beside mommy and holding her hands when requested until it becomes second nature.
  6. Talk to BTDT moms. Those are mom's who've been there, done that and are honest enough to share. After Spice fell off the bed, I was so eaten up with guilt. What helped the most was talking to a colleague with older kids about the incident and she pooh-poohed me with her own baby falling from bed story. It helps to know we're all human. In the same vein, don't go talking to some super-mom in tight blue panties who's going to give you a list of what you did wrong and pour gasoline on the flame of your guilt.
  7. What kind of an ordinary mother are you?!
  8. Forgive. If an incident does happen, forgive yourself and if the incident did not happen on your watch, forgive whoever was in charge at the time. It could happen to anyone and unless your child was injured out of malice, forgiveness is the key to moving on. 
  9. Call the medical professionals. Sometimes an injury is not ER worthy but it's still reassuring to talk to a medical professional. Quite a few states, provinces, doctors' offices and insurance companies have 24 hour nursing helplines just for this purpose. They'll detail treatments to apply at home and also give a list of signs to watch out for that will necessitate seeing the doctor. I've called the Alberta helpline before and the nurse on the other end was awesome.
  10. There's an app for that. WebMD has a free app that can be used as reference for a lot of first aid situations. There's a listing of all their mobile apps here
  11. Stock up on bandages, alcohol wipes, cotton balls, gauze, pain medication, hugs and tons of kisses. Unless the toddler is wrapped in cotton wool for 24 hours in a room with foam walls, you're gonna need them.
Have a great weekend y'all!

I just poured my guilty heart out people, howzabout a vote to cheer me up.  Clicking here will take you to the Circle of Moms multiple bloggers list. Scroll ALL the way down to vote for mytwintopia blog please (Limit one vote per day)

Baby Gate Review

This is a review of the 3 babygates I used or tried to use in babyproofing our new house for the twins.

Safety First Baby Gate: The worst. Bad engineering, badly written instructions and super-bad installation. I bought 3 from BRU and returned them a week later. You get what you pay for with these gates. Available in Babies R Us, Walmart, Target and online

Summer Infant Baby Gate: This gate has travelled with us across Canada. It's my gate for the kitchen. The wood-metal combo is easy on the eyes and the price is decent. Installation was easy and it comes with 2 extensions. Only negatives are it doesn't stay put and has to be adjusted every few days. If I lived in a one-storey house, this is the only safety gate I would have bought. Available in Babies R Us and online

Kidco Center Gateway Baby Gate: This is the gate of choice for our staircase areas. I chose this gate because it's the only one with an attachement that allows installation onto staircases that only have one wall and the other side is a metal baluster. (Our 3 staircases fall under this category). It has a lot of different sized extensions that allow for it to be customized to fit any opening size. Unlike the Summer Infant gate, it has soft rubber at the end of the spindles which make it less likely to shift once in position even when used on uneven surfaces. Installation takes some time but instructions were very easy to follow. It's pricy but totally worth it. Available in independent baby stores and online.

Other Babyproofing equipment I like

I vote the Kidco door knob lock over the Safety First and the Amazon reviews back me up on this. Kidco is more expensive but easier to use. The Safety First door knob lock required putting your thumb and finger in the opening to turn the lock. After doing this 3 or 4 times a day, your thumbs start to hurt. Kidco is more than double the price of Safety First, but again you get what you pay for.

A year and a half

Sigh! It feels like a lifetime ago that I wrote my first post. It's just been 18 months but 18 beautiful, amazing, won't-change-it-for-anything months. Here's the stats on my little girls

The older by 20 minutes
Born 5lbs13 in the 10th percentile. Now 22lbs in the 45th percentile
81cm tall and in the 54th percentile for height
Wears size 4 diapers and 12-18m clothes

First impression of Spice is "tough chick". She evaluates all strangers with a stern eye before she warms up to them but once she does, they are gifted with the most beautiful smiles and hugs. All the daycare teachers she's had are fairly partial to her hugs. She makes everyone feel so special, I think it will be mean of me to tell them "you're just a warm body" - my baby likes her cuddles. She's big on communication and social skills, enjoys mimicking words and actions and is able to follow simple instructions to identify and bring things around the house. She's also quite self-aware, knows her own mind and is not afraid to express her preferences in any situation.

She has a soft spot for her sister and even though it exasperates her, she'll give her toys to her sister without complaint and go on to other activities (she doesn't do this with the other kids in the daycare)

Notes and milestones
My baby had a lot of firsts this month.
  • She showed why she's monikered Spice on this blog - lost her voice due to a combination of having a cold and screaming at the kids in the daycare who were trying to "share" her toys
  • She tries to and has successfully put on a pair of leggings all by herself. She's also good at taking off her jackets
  • She's peed in the potty twice - first time unnoticed, second time to much hooping, hollering and applause by the captivated audience of mommy and aunty
  • She's learnt perhaps the most important word in her vocabulary - NO!. Usually accompanied by a shake of the head and a firm determination to stand her ground. Other new words in her vocabulary are jacket, baby and the sign for milk
  • She loves to put things away - shoes in the closet, clothes in the hamper and trash in the bin. Her cleaning up habits have me in a tizzy. I think imma get her the whole Swiffer family of cleaning tools for her second birthday and laying back to enjoy the fruits of my child labour.
The younger by 20 minutes
Born 6lbs2 in the 15th percentile. Now 21lbs in the 34th percentile
82cm tall and in the 66th percentile for height
Wears size 4 diapers and 12-18m clothes

Sugar is the friendly baby that waves to random strangers while we are on walks and in the grocery store. She's very curious and eager to explore her surroundings. She's big on developing her motor skills, physically strong for her age and also very competitive. She's the first to climb stairs and wants to be the first to get to the top too. She's so good-natured and un-fussy that when she cries, you know there's something seriously wrong. (In fact, she only cries when she's really hungry or teething). She's so independent that it's easy to miss the fact that she's also an emotional and sensitive kid. She's very conscious of thing's going on around her and will speak up if she feels she's not getting her fair share.

She pretends not to care but she looks out for her sister and will bring Spice toys and even put her paci in Spice's mouth when she's crying

Notes and milestones
I could also title this the learnings and adventures of Sugar.

  • She learnt to and quickly showed her sister the art of climbing the highchair unassisted
  • She's figured out her colors. White paci is mine and green paci is Spice's and she gets mad at me when I give her the wrong paci. HOWEVER, if white paci is somewhere under the bed, she reserves the right to "borrow" the green paci straight out of Spice's unsuspecting lips. Her sugar-sweetness comes out when mommy comes into the room and she quickly removes green paci and hands it back to her sister with the sweetest smile and a loud thank you almost like "I was just tasting it for sister mama, I swear!"
  • She's learnt to play proper hide and seek by staying behind a wall and then jumping out with a flourish.
  • She loves to play dressup and usually gets the daycare teachers to dress her in this fancy sparkly red dress that looks like something an opera singer would wear.
  • Always on the lookout for the next adventure or thing to do. Energizer bunny's got nothing on my baby
Mommy's notes
If I didn't know better, I'd think the girls read my 17 month update post and scoffed at the idea of me taking their pacis away. Immediately after I wrote that post, they became so attached to the nighttime pacifiers, it's blue-murder screaming if they are in their crib and Mr Paci is not visible in the next 3 seconds. The first time I tried to take the paci away, I was back in the room in a heartbeat, shaking and apologising profusely for my audacity.

I use the Babycenter Milestone Chart to evaluate the girls and to be honest they are behind on some things and ahead on others and sometimes it's my fault. The chart says that they should be using spoons or forks at 16 months. My kids are not; probably because I forgot to start giving them silverware at mealtimes. I just serve the food on the plate, they empty it onto the tray, I take the plates away and most meals are eaten right off their highchair trays. I need to work on my table etiquette training I guess. 
multiples monday with capri +3

Baby Onesies Review Update

Way back in September, I went on a shopping spree educational trip to evaluate the different brands of baby clothing. I bought white and colored onesies from each of the popular brands and my plan was to see how they compared at the end of the wearing season. The first two posts are here and here.

With our moving to Canada, I had to ship all the summer clothes and my experiment was put on hold after 2 months. Since we've moved and I've been unpacking, I got to see the bodysuits again and this is the conclusion that I've drawn.

Best Colored Onesie: Carters from Macys. This is the onesie that kept it's color and shape best. I emphasis that I got it at Macys because it appears Carters quality depends on retailer.

Best White Onesie: Janie and Jack. This was the only white that did not hold onto stains.

Worst Quality: Old Navy. It got holes and a tear after a few washes. Out of all the baby clothes I've purchased, the Old Navy clothes are the only ones that ever got rips and tears. Boo!

Best value for money low price range (below $4): Walmart Garanimals. Can't beat the range of styles and colors and usually priced at $3 or less

Best value for money mid price range ($4-8): Oshkosh B'Gosh. With a good combination of sales and coupons, these can be got for the same price as lower quality brands

Best value for money high price range ($8-10): Janie and Jack. Looks like new after all we put it through so if you've got the moola, why not?

I'm glad to finally close this out. Now onto other fashion challenges! (Hint: there's a similar post but on toddler jeans somewhere in my future)

Babyproofing Weekend

Our house has 3 levels and this was the weekend to bring out the big babyproofing guns. I'm proud to report that we've installed
  • 4 baby gates with various lengths of extensions
  • 2 toilet bowl covers
  • 6 doorknob thingies
  • Numerous outlet covers
  • 3 cabinet locks
  • 1 nightlight (so mommy doesn't keep running into the gate at night while playing pacifier fetch)
I'm sure we may still have to add a couple of items to that list but for now it's save to say we're 90% babyproofed. I plan on writing a review on the various items later in the week but for now, I leave you with the before and after shots of our staircase.
Blocking staircase with play yard

Dapper Snappers Review

Even without the help of growth charts, it's pretty obvious that I have the quintessential tall, skinny toddlers. The clothes tell the story. Dresses have to be worn with leggings otherwise they look ridiculously short and skimpy. 12m pants fit at the waist but are too short. 18m pants are the perfect length but gape (and sometimes fall completely) at the waist.

So it was with a lot of pleasure that I made my latest impulse buy - the Dapper Snapper. The concept is simple but effective; a toddler half belt that fits into belt loops and is fastened in place. I love it. I know if I had a crafty bone, I could probably sew something to serve the same purpose but I don't and I didn't. Since I bought these, the girls have been able to wear better fitting pants. Bonus points for all the colorful designs available.

This mama loves her Dapper Snappers

I'm linking up to Julia's Mama Loves. I enjoy linking up  every time I can because it gives me an opportunity to blog about some of the little "unimportant" things that I love and make a difference in my everyday twin mom life. So hop over to Julia's blog and see what the other mamas are loving this week. 

Calgary Daycare Options Part Deaux

In the last couple of weeks, I've been on the lookout for a new daycare.

So I followed my own advice and came up with a shortlist of 5 accredited daycares to visit and inspect. NEVER sign up for a daycare without visiting and this post will tell you why. You'll notice the things I look out for when evaluating a daycare

Daycare 1: I got through the door very easily (bad security). I introduced myself and told the manager I would like some information about the daycare. She disappears and returns with a waitlist which she tells me to fill. Thanks. Can I have some information about the daycare please? She points me to the fees listed on the noticeboard. Information about your programs please? She looks at me quite blankly. I thank her and leave. FAIL

Daycare 2: This was in a complex with a public library (good, I love public libraries). The outside was a bit untidy but when I got in I was impressed. The center was very roomy. The manager greeted me and told me about the center (good stuff). She let me peek into the toddler room. The kids were happy and the room looked clean. (mama's happy). Then she tells me they can only accommodate 12 toddlers (sticking to low child-teacher ratios is very good). Then I get to put my name on the waitlist. I'm on the third page, number 93. I love this center but I'm sure by the time they get to my name on the waitlist, the kids will be ready for college. NOT A PASS

Daycare 3: Looked ok for the outside. One side of the yard had dirty toys that were obviously not in use and the other side had nice clean toys. I got in and was greeted by the manager. She tells me about the center and shows me the preschool room. I notice the steps don't have railings. (Safety issue but not a showstopper). They have a lot of signs on diversity (a plus in my opinion). I ask to put my name on the waitlist. I fill out the form and the manager makes a big deal about the girls' names. Oh she can never pronounce this. Can she call them something else (eh no!) She then proceeds to call two other workers in the daycare and goad them into trying to pronounce the names; like its some kind of game. This goes on for over 5 minutes filled with insensitive comments and shouts of laughter (AND the napping toddlers are 5 feet away from where we stood). I am fully aware that my girls will face challenges being born to Nigerian parents in North America but I expect that their caregivers will shield them from some negative behaviour and not be the originators. May I add, that the woman also happened to be Nigerian, just from a different part of the country. Their "diversity" was not impressive at all. NOT A PASS In case you're wondering why I didn't put a stop to their silliness, it's because I needed to see real behaviour in the centers I visit. They can put up an act for me but what happens when it's just them and the kids?

Daycare 4: This center was on the quiet corner exit of a one way street. The street had cars parked on both sides at lunch time in the middle of a weekday. I could imagine that dropoffs and pickups would add an additional 15 minutes to my morning commute. That's 15 minutes I don't have as I can barely get to work on time as things stand. NOT A PASS

Daycare 5: I identified this center from the toys I saw on the porch. It looked a bit shabby on the outside but that's not a showstopper. As I got closer, I saw a man painting so I figured out they were probably renovating. I got even closer and realised that he was actually painting over some graffiti that had been spraypainted on the wall. It read "Kill all niggas". I kept driving and did not stop until I got back to my office. SUPER EPIC FAIL

As I picked up the kids later that day, I realized that there was an intangible thing I was paying for in the daycare they attend right now - it's called peace of mind and you can't put a price on that. 

Adios Crib Shoes

Adios Crib Shoes
  1. Our naming ceremony shoes. Worn once. Carters newborn size
  2. (Not pictured) Ballet flats currently hanging on my windshield. First Impressions size 0-3 months. I loved these shoes. 
  3. I suspect I got these to go with some church outfit. Worn less than 5 times. The Childrens Place size 2
  4. Really wide fit. Worn twice. Gymboree size 3
  5. Never worn. New in box complete with tag. Stride Rite size 3
  6. Love, love, super loved these shoes. Worn very regularly. Very cute and hard for baby to kick off as the 3 stripes are actually one thick velcro strap. Adidas size 9-15 months purchased from Amazon
  7. We took our first steps in these shoes. Worn regularly to daycare. Koala by Babies R Us size 4
  8. Our first birthday shoe. Worn thrice. First time for the birthday, second time for the weekend birthday party and third time for the birthday photo shoot at Sears. Robeez size 4
  9. I like to call these "the St John's special". We wore them throughout our stint in Newfoundland and the girls became proficient walkers in these. Stride Rite size 4
  10. The blister maker. How I hate thee brandless shoe!
  11. Supposed to be our Christmas shoe but was too big. Also our last crib shoe. I totally dig the color and the price inspired this post. Compare the size of the first crib shoe to the last. Isn't growth a beautiful miracle of God?! Robeez size 5
Hola Big Kid Shoes
(Can you tell mama loves her colors?!)

So I got nominated for Top 25 blogs by Moms of Multiples and lets be honest here, I don't really expect to be in the Top 25, I just don't want to be in the bottom either. So would you please vote for me? You'll have to really scroll down the page to find us and you can vote once a day. Pretty please with a little red flower on top :)

Monkey Business

One of my pet peeves is that I hate it when people refer to kids as monkeys (lovingly or not). I just didn't get the correlation. Until now! 

Picture this scenario: I'm in the kitchen fixing dinner - a 7 minute event. The girls are in the dining nook beside me playing. It's a little quiet but I give it no heed. I come out of the kitchen with the food and almost passed out from shock. My two little angels - Sugar and Spice I call them - are sitting on their high chairs looking at me. No I'm not talking about the tiny booster chairs. I mean the full size high chair. I can't even fathom how not one kid, but two managed to climb and get themselves seated. I am also in a state of panic as obviously the high chairs are not safe anymore if the girls can climb on anytime. I'll bet a silver dollar they don't know how to get down safely. Is this where I buy a little dining set? Or revert to using our Fisher Price booster chairs?
Don't they just look guilty?!

AND, I still don't like it but I totally get it - this kiddie monkey business. 

PS: The highchair cover was in the wash after some minor vomiting episodes from breakfast.

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