The 5 Love Languages of Children

The 5 Love Languages of Children is a book I've had in my Kindle library for almost 2 years now but I did not finish reading it until May this year. Not because it's not an interesting read, but because it's best applied to older kids. 

The original The Five Love Languages book was a huge bestseller for Gary Chapman and this version of the book delves into the application of the 5 love languages to the parent child-relationship. The 5 love languages concept says  that most people have a primary preference for how they give and perceive love. It would be one of:

  • Physical touch
  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Gifts
  • Acts of service

The book expands on those 5 languages in chapters 2 to 6 before going into the  application of the theory of love languages in the realm of parenting. 

My Review: Here's a few of the many ah-ha moments I had while reading this book
  • My love language is gifts. People with this love language love to give and receive THOUGHTFUL gifts. Emphasis on "thoughtful". The flip side of that is that when a loved one gives a gift that's not well thought out, I could run that gamut of emotions from sad to extremely pissed off. Ah-ha moment #1: I learnt what makes me tick (and sometimes tock and explode)
  • Spice's preferred love language of choice is physical touch. She quick to give hugs and knows how to milk them out of even the sternest caregivers. After reading the chapter on physical touch as a love language, I got a better understanding of why she always asks me to "scratch her back" when she's tired and always asks for a hug after I scold or discipline her. Ah-ha moment #2: Scratch my back is code for "love me mummy" 
  • Sugar's preferred language is quality time: Of late she BEGS to help me in the kitchen and with the laundry and gets really upset when she can't. Occassionally, she would look up from what she's doing and ask me to come play with her. Sometimes I'm busy and tell her "later". After observing and realizing that these were her way of asking for love in her dominant love language, I never brush aside her request for extra time and attention. Ah-ha moment #3: When this little girls asks for attention, she's really saying "do you love me". My yes is giving her my full attention
The author emphasizes the importance of nurturing all the 5 love languages in kids and not putting them in a box or labeling. That's good advice and important because love languages can and do change with age and stage for children and they grow up to be more emotionally stable as adults when they learn to give and receive love using all 5 languages. 

Since reading this book, I've been able to apply the concepts not just to my parenting but also other aspects of my life. I know without a shadow of a doubt that I will be referencing this book at regular intervals forever.

There's a reason why The Five Love Languages has been on the New York times bestseller list for 62 weeks. It's because it works and can be life-changing. 

If you're read this or any of the other adaptations, what did you think of it?

More information and some free resources available on the 5 love languages website

"Do We Have To Share Everything?"

"Do we have to share everything?"

That was the question Spice asked me Thursday night as I was sorting their laundry. I was in the process of hanging a shirt that the twins' grandma gifted them from Nigeria. The shirt was originally meant for my niece so grandma had just one shirt made. Both girls saw the shirt and asked simultaneously "who's shirt is that?".

I replied that it was for both of them and they would have to share. That's when Spice asked that very impactful question above. I was a little taken aback and thankful that reading Emotionally Healthy Twins had made me alert to the girls' requests for more individuality. I asked Spice "Don't you like to share your clothes with your sister?" and she replied "No".

Twenty minutes later, after the girls had finished with their bath, I asked Spice the same question again and she still replied no. I needed to be sure so I asked her the following (Friday) night and she once more replied "No". She definitely wanted HER own clothes. 

Luckily for us, when we redesigned the closet in the girls' room, we did it with the expectation that sooner or later they would want to have individual sides. So I got all their play clothes out of the closet and two by two, we sorted them into Sugar's side and Spice's side. The girls were very proud to do the hanging all by themselves and this morning, they got to go to their side of the closet and pick out what they wanted to wear.

Even though I still manage to forget to not buy them the same outfits, (don't y'all love a nicely complicated almost double negative?!) the girls are rarely dressed alike because they always choose different outfits daily and even bargain and trade clothes with each other. If they continue this way, that's one less battle I won't have to mediate when the teen years come.
The sorting and hanging process
Sugar's side <---  ---> Spice's Side

Yay for independence and individuality!

Twin Parenting Lesson 3: They don't have to share everything!

Life's Little Moments #1

Being three and a half, my twins are at that age when they start saying cute / memorable stuff and what kind of a semi-mom-blogger would I be if I didn't come here and share some of those cutiesms with you.

Scene 1: I'm sitting with my head on my knees just trying to gather some energy for the bedtime ritual
Spice: Mama are you ok?
Me: Yes, just a little tired
Spice: Do you want me to scratch your back? 
Me: yes
She proceeds to scratch my back for a bit
Spice: Do you feel better now?
Me: Yes thank you so much

Now I know why she's always asking me to scratch her back. My baby loves back rubs I guess

Scene 2: Driving home from work
Spice: Mama, put both hands on the wheel!

Yeah! the 3 year old backseat driver is telling me how to drive. She's lucky I didn't stop the car and make her walk home ;)

Scene 3Both girls are sitting at the dining table arguing about being best friends (or not)
Spice: Be nice to me "Sugar", I'm your favorite twin 

Now THAT was this weekend and had me howling in laughter for the next few minutes

Insanity is not the reason I travel with twins

Our recent flights from Calgary to Lagos and back were the twins 13th and 14th flights respectively. Let that sink in for a bit! I've willingly got on airplanes with twin babies/toddlers/preschoolers 14 times in the last 3 years. I'm not crazy, I was motivated by 2 moms who had gone before me.

First one was my oldest friend O. We had lost touch for a few years and out of the blue she called me while I was still living in Houston and before I had the twins. We spent over an hour yakking on the phone and catching up on life. I found out that she

  • lives in the UK
  • got married a couple of years back
  • had a baby the previous month
  • was visiting friends and relatives in the US
  • was leaving for Lagos and Abuja within the next week 
WITH AN INFANT IN TOW! I may have actually yelled this when I asked her "What the?!"

She simply brushed my shock aside and said the baby's got to get used to life with the mother he has. Very matter-of-factly. No drama, just fact.

Cue a few months later. A couple who were colleagues and used the same Fertility Clinic as we did had a baby and later mentioned to me that they were driving down to the beach in Alabama. With a 2 month old baby.... after much fertility treatment. I always assumed that in their shoes I would wrap my kid in cotton wool and only leave the house for emergencies. Definitely not drive to the beach with all that heat and light and sun and people and germs. Remember people, I practice active paranoia

I believe I raised an eyebrow and asked why? The husband shrugged and said "Hey, he's got to get with the Smith* lifestyle"

Those two sets of parents probably don't know it but they inspired me to not change my life in a restrictive way because I had young kids who happened to be twins. Instead I try to involve them in the things that I love doing so that we can all enjoy the same activities as a family. And I like to travel so travelling just has to be something they are used to doing.

14 flights and no regrets. The girls are becoming travelling champs and I'm a happy mama

Twin Parenting Lesson 3: Enjoy your passions with your kids, instead of restricting yourself because you have kids

*Smith is of course not their real name

Red eyes and globe trotting

In the last couple of months, I've been on 4 flights with the twins that tested the extremes of travelling with kids:

  • First was a red-eye return trip from Calgary to Ottawa to process our Nigerian travel documents
  • Second was a globe-trotting 19 hour return trip from Calgary to Lagos, Nigeria with a connection in Houston
Phew. I'm glad for all the previous practice sessions I had because they came in useful and the flights were really uneventful. Apart from all the things I'd learnt from previous flights, here are some additional tricks I incorporated since the girls were now older
  1. Tell the kids what's going to happen (but not too early or they'll drive you crazy with questions). At almost three and a half years old, the girls could understand the concepts of airports and planes. Telling them what's going to happen and treating it all as an adventure meant they were excited instead of apprehensive and cranky. If possible, watch a few shows on planes and flying before you leave so the kids can relate. (We watched the Gup, Gup and Away! episode of Bubble Guppies on repeat for a few days prior to the Ottawa trip)
  2. Individual carryons for everyone travelling. I let the kids have their own carryons and it lightened my load considerably. I got both girls the Skip Hop Little Kid Backpacks and we've used them on our last 3 flights. I managed to squeeze in their travel pillows, crayons, coloring books, headphones, drawing board, jigsaw puzzles, cameras and a few snacks. Those bags look small but are quite roomy.
  3. Call ahead of time: For the red-eye flight, we got into Ottawa after midnight. I had called the hotel the day before to inform them of our arrival time so the front desk was waiting for us and actually had little goodie bags for the kids as well. 
  4. Don't count on the plane having individual TV screens: I was banking on the plane entertainment system to keep the girls engrossed. Imagine my shock when I got on board and saw this!! Hey United airline, the 80s called; they want their planes back!
  5. Get health necessities: Call travel clinic at least 6 weeks before and make an appointment to get the necessary shots. If you have local knowledge of your destination, use that in making the decision concerning shots. BE INFORMED. The travel clinic recommended 6 shots for going to Nigeria but with my local knowledge and consulting with friends and family who had recently traveled to Nigeria with their kids, I opted for just 2 of the 6 shots. 
  6. Everything on this list adapted for current age. Yep, even the notarized letter which I've never needed until this last trip when the border officer actually asked for it. Let just say it was one of the few moments in my life when I said "thank you" to my over-planning gene
  7. Beg, Bribe, Threaten, Enlist Help: I tried one or more of those methods and had my younger sister on the same flight with us for the Houston-Lagos flights. The girls loved knowing that aunty "Mutan" was just a row away and I definitely enjoyed the extra pair of hands to hold the girls while I attended to other airport matters. Thanks boo!
We traveled happy, made good memories and are back home safely. I'm glad to add one more continent to the twins' travel map. Happy Monday peeps!  

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