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14 months and moving on

after the twelve months i really thought things, surprising things, would slow down, i really imagined that between their mommy who started walking at 9 months, and their daddy that got up at 2 years-old, it’d take a while before walking was part of their lifes. but their 13th month was really just a space between crawling fast, to too fast and getting up and walking. 5 days before their 14th monthaverssary they got up and instead of the usual and already so common two-steps-fall, F got up and walked from their bedroom to the livingroom (mommy style)… which are about 15steps in their tiny feet… M watched that day still playing it safe and not really wanting to be less than perfect (daddy style)… the next morning M at around lunch time decided it was his turn to shine and did the same, circa 15steps from bedroom to livingroom and clapped in the end. i never thought it’d be so overwhelming, i mean i had seen so much already, between sleeping the whole night, eating everything (only complaining when the plate is empty… which always seems too soon for them), blabbing, crawling, i thought i had prepared myself to see them walk and think “good for you” without tears or ridiculous “awwwws”… but no. no way could i see those proud smiles, laughs, claps and not shed a tear or hold them so tight they’d want to not walk but run away. it’s impossible to watch all that effort for a few steps and not feel an imense joy, and a scary feeling for them. if you look at them while they focus on their feet and overcome obstacles… my kids not only walk but they prefer to step over higher things, they don’t go around the toys, they rather go through them, stepping over boxes and pillows, the harder it is it seems to make them happier and less scared of whatever crosses their way. and i just stare. i cheer, and i hold them at the end of the corridor when they decide that they want to try running and they can’t seem to find the brakes, but just before they fall into my arms laughing and pretending their running from eachother, i freeze time and see every muscle growing, moving and their hearts beating faster and happier. i see their eyes open up as if they just saw the world, i see every little movement as a conquest. there isn’t anything in this new phase that i can’t relate to right now.

as they beging to walk and discover how amazing it is to do things by themselves while still knowing we’re there right behind them, we, the adults, the parents are also about to embark on a whole new world.

i left lisbon in 2002, initially for only 10months… well, that ended up being 9years… he has also left his home in milan in 2005 and what was uncertain became 6years. we are about to go away, towards north this time, to the hemisphere we grew up in, to europe, to portugal… to lisbon. i am finally going home.

i do not know what to expect. yes, it’s the place i grew up in, the place i left but always wanted to go back to… but while doing this i had no idea i’d be who i am right now and so going back is not going back to who i was, it’s a whole new thing. i’m scared of everything that i have missed, or thought i couldn’t live without and did, scared of having made up an idea of what lisbon is, instead of what it became. i am scared of realizing i am part of a much larger world and not of just lisbon. you may think this is contradictory to what i always said, but when the moment finally arrives you notice that you might now know the place anymore. in 9 years i’ve gone back “home” always on holiday or maternity leave and what place doesn’t look, feel, taste new than when you see it on a 24h timelimit? i had no plans, i could visit all my friends in just one day, or divide them up between meals in a whole week. i could climb all the 7hills on one day (except when i was carrying twins obviously!) or decide not to and take the tram (also not when pregnant!). i could decide to explore new shops, new restaurants, new parks, new brunches, new views just because i had time… but what happens when that time in that same city you explored thouroughly is replaces by a 9 to 5 job? do you really see it anymore? do you really live it? in milan we did, in antwerp we did, in maputo we tried… but when you had such an admiration for a place and a almost mystical feeling towards it, it might just come crashing down… and that scares me… a lot. it’s like their tiny steps…

i’m taking it slow, though all tell me to hurry for there is an economic crisis in the world, as if i’ve been living away from it, as if i haven’t felt here any of it. i know it’s going to get very tough, but i need this, i want this and i will do what i can to make the transition easy. my babies will feel the change, i know, even if only through us or maybe because they won’t see their nanny anymore, gosh if i could she’d come with us, but they will have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my friends and their children to grow up with and maybe one day i’ll be able to explain how hard thought needed this decision was. leaving is not leaving, it’s starting… it’s trying harder to give them and us what makes up happy. we chose to have them to ourselves for this year, we decided things for them and we created a world for them with the four of us, it’s time to share, to let them see everyone else to let them know that we also are beginning… also taking our first steps towards something we can’t see but hope and imagine it as a happy place.

10… 11!

it’s not that the 10th months of their lives doesn’t deserve a post of it’s own, but when i realised it was already too late… it went by not quickly but full of so many things that i couldn’t keep up!

it was their first month when they were sick, they had had a cough or so before, a fever a few times but never long and this time it came crashing down on them, to the point of resisting antibiotics. i hate them specially thinking about using them on little babies, of ocurse i wouldn’t be such an idiot if they had to use it, but risting is a priority to me… but we arrived to a point of doing something other european parents never think of… the malaria test! we tried not thinking of it too much but it’s necessary, and it was negative, thank goodness. of course deep inside i thought it couldn’t be positive, but it’s awful to hear their litle cries and realize that you wish you didn’t have to hurt them and live in a place where these diseases don’t exist. so, i cried too with them and hated that feeling because i’m supposed to tell them “it’s ok” and believe it… but for the first time in their lives i realised that i don’t know if it’s going to be ok all the time… i just wish as hard as them that it will.

we spent a few nights not sleeping very well, between feeding them light things and watching not want to play so long, and helping them breath with air masks and holding them for hours because they really needed to be cuddled and held close to our hearts. it went on for a while and a lot of cough syrup, a lot of aerosol machine noises, but they came ou perfectly well and in the end we know they had a “bronquiolite”, someone please trasnlate this is other languages because i sure have no clue what it is in dutch!

anyway to compensate this as soon as they were better their grandmother came to visit and brought them new shoes making them a lot more eager to stand up and hold on to the dvd collection bookcase and trying to get them out and decide for us which movie we’d see. they were slowly understanding how to reach things higher than themselves and how to get around the room… but crawling… that seemed ages from them!

by the time they were on their 11th month we took a weekend off to Ponta do Ouro and relax with our Mozambican “family” and enjoy what might be the last real summer weekend before the african cold comes around. Mila made sure these boys grew up quickly and made up for their ill days. because she, at 19months old, moves and walks and runs like the wind, these little boys didn’t know what was happening but i«m sure it was because of her energy and that good weather and that amazing beach that made them realize that the world is yet to be discovered!!! so… three days with her and by the time we were home i set them down on the wooden floor as i unpacked their bag from the weekend and off they went, crawling like never bef they had been wound up for a few days and were now crawling for the time they had spent not crawling. and they’re FAST!!!! we can’t keep up, and after 2 hours of running after them and saying things like “no!”, “don’t touch that!”, “not the shoes!”, “not the electrical wires!”, “no, no, no!” we gave up… we jsut let them go and wonder what they do next. somethings they have learnt not to do or touch, but others like computer wires and computers in general are too temptive. they basically explore everything and anything, so from this last month, every toom that is forbidden has the door closed, every cupboard with detergents, plates, pans, toiletries, anything is closed at all times. the kitchen is a NO NO zone and they somehow understand it when they’re already 1m away from the door, other rooms no matter how much we try to explain, they still go stright for it. and where one bunny goes, the other one follows. always! M. tends to be the leading man, he talks ALL THE TIME and it’s almost as if he’s talking to F. explaining what new adventure they’ll go on next, they make a line and off they go. one stands up, the other stands up, one picks up a shoe on the way, the other tries to get to the shoe too, one choses one dvd, the other choses another, and so on…

it’s a lot of fun. ok… also a hell of a job, but we love it in the end. because no matter how exhausting they make us, or themselves they alwasy collapse in our arms at night and know just how to become the perfect, quiet, still little boys they were born as. and i love silence, actually i don’t but now i do!

what else? oh yes, new foods have arrived, beans, bread (it took my a while to give it to them… seeing how much i love bread and how much it has given me, i wanted my kids to wait), fruit juices (again, unnecessary sugars), minced meat, a bit of ice cream (oops), one or two french fries (oops again), pizza (they say once they’re 1 they can eat anything… what’s 2 weeks going to change anything?? trying to make them have dinner at the dinner table has been a challenge, i try but i’m so lazy. so we end up giving them their dinner watching “toy story” so they can stay still… because if you’re not careful they’ll be inside the bathtub in one second! it’s a challenge.

and what can i say… they’re growing… and it’s so nice to watch from such a close angle. and hear sounds that almost make sense but only they get it and we pretend to our friends that we’re experts in it, but what do we know? ppfff!

in 17 days we’re off to lisbon and milan for a deserved holiday and 2birthday celebrations (we’re this type of family), one with PARABÉNS and another with AUGURI… soon another with GELUKKIGE VERJAARDAG  hopefully. it’ll be an experience, besides plane rides… and my babies will turn into little boys!

more than 37 weeks…

my baby boys are now out of me for more than they were in… don’t mean to be gross, but that’s how i saw this moment. they are now completely free. i am no longer the one who protected them the longest, i am the one with him who show them the world…

they have been growing up fast, indeed very fast, and sometimes i realize that i never really knew what nine month old babies could do. standing up on their own, trying to walk every change they can, or crawling backwards but still crawling, chatting as if they are grown ups are all thing i thought older children did, and not babies… not mine at least. but as i sit on the couch and look at them playing, i know that this is what it’s supposed to be like. i’m supposed to feel overwhelmed when i see them “understanding” what we ask and say, i get teary when i see F walking, when M talks as if making ocnversation. i am just one old fashioned mommy.

i get worried when someone says “i think he has a fever” or “he’s a been quiet”, but i also know that my babies have never been ill, and have never forgotten to smile at us, to us and with us. my babies are known for their beautiful smiles, funny sounds, admirable atitudes, amazing interaction, there is not one person we know here that hasn’t been able to hold up and play with them without having this true, warm and funny reaction. they allow anyone to get close, look at them but it takes a song, a smile, a toy and the sounds of their names to make them clap their hands and laugh out loud.

watching them adapt to everything that is new to them is almost as if i’m watching myself. i wonder if i was the same way, if i got scared when a heard a scream, or if i got happily excited when i heard a dog barking in the neighbour’s yard, if i also clapped my hands really hard when my dad came home from work, if my mother also picked me up and allowed me to caress her with my tiny fingers. i imagine myself also trying very hard to crawl, getting upset because the toy i try to reach seems to get farther away, but feel proud when someone picks it up for me anyway. was i also an early morning baby, and did i also have a bed full of soft toys with which i played for hours by myself?

was i like F that jumps up when he seems me and asks for my arms to hold him, or was i like M that dances everytime i sing to him. was i also nto afraid of much and happy with most. was food such a pleasure as it it for them, i mean these boys eat anything: carrots, potatoes, sweet-potatoes, eggplant, mushroom, corn, tomato, spinach, green beans, rice, pasta, chicken, rabbit, turnkey, fish, apple, pears, papaya, mango, banana, peach, prune, avocato… and pápa cerelac, cookies and sometimes a birthday cake!

going to work has been a challenge, i’m not as professionally fulfilled as i used to be when i had only myself to worry about, ok sometimes with him to, but now i leave them while they’re still awake and no matter how much they wave good-bye to me, and seem happy and healthy from the door, i think about them a lot during my five hour workday, i just can’t wait to see them again, for i feel sometimes so lonely without them. they say hello when i get home in a way i can never explain but my heart skips a beat, i know it, and relaxes when i kiss them hello. all my worries from home seem so small, so ridiculous around them. they are the cause of my lack of concentration and i admit i have made some bad calls, i’ll pay for it in the long run, but my excuse is real, and tiny and cute. i wish work was more stimulating as they are, but it will get there as they will grow i’m sure.

it is definitely something i want to have close to me, and nothing this simple has ever made me so complete. but also so exhausted.

these first nine months have been like another pregnancy, in a strange way now i’m ready to see them agian after this last period of being tired. because of work i’ve been running from one place to another and eventhough i work only mornings the rest of my day is spent between organizing baby food, supermarkets, supply shopping and making sure i don’t have one meal not taken care of for them, this has made me hate being in the kitchen for too long and skipping lots of dinners for my stomach is full from the smells of healthy baby soups such as potatoes, pumpkins, green beans, spinach, apple, pear, papaya, mango, banana, lettuce, courgettes, spaghetti, rice, peach, chicken, fish, rabbit, lamb… my oh my how i wish i didn’t have to feed them all these vegetables. it makes me lie all the time, for they are my enemies, the veggies i mean, and i have to pretend “it’s good for you!”… when i know one day in their lives, if they’re anything like me, they’ll hate them all. but i’m persistent and they will try everything if it depends on me! stay strong mommy!

so i guess in nine months i feel tired but somehow relaxed. my boys eat well, sleep well, crawl (backwards), stand (with help), talk (…don’t ask what…), play with eachtoher (more like stealing eachothers toys and smiling as if it will last forever this freindship!), get angry (and scream my ears off), touch stuff they can’t, and take two baths per day in this too hot country! my boys are growing and we’re right behind them.

seven

no matter how much i get amazed by them each month… the month later takes my breath away. i hope it never stops and always perfect like this. always with nothing less than happiness in my heart.

these little boys are seven months old. we as a family as seven months old. and i just awww… i am fulfilled, i am happy and complete… as if never before i knew what that meant.

my boys can sit up straight and wave at their mommy with smiles, giggles and somewhat funny and ma da ba be words in M’s vocabulary and a few uuuu eeee iiiiiiii aaauuuuuuu ooooo in F’s… words indeed that make us crack up laughing because their faces are esquisite and almost make us understand what they say. that’s probably what i loved about this month, it’s that need for them to start expressing themselves not just through crying, but through sounds that don’t brake your heart. for instante, they cry now very seldomly, crying was never their favorite thing, and i confess i hated hearing it too, but now it seems it only happens when they fall backwards when sitting and mommy’s distracted, or when i insist on making them swim in the ocean, and instead they “call” us now with sounds, words if you like and giggle when they actually realize it works. and we love it.

the seventh month was also their mommy’s favorite month of the year, it’s my birthday month, i became 31 and enjoyed every minute of it, my day was my day with them for the first time and man did i love thinking that deep down they were singing “happy bday” for me hoping i’d hear it with my heart… i heard. i felt it and i’m sure they did.

xmas and new years was a beautiful experience, it’s indeed amazing how much more special these dates are when you have children around. in my family things were literally getting boring by the year and i confess it always brought me down. everyone spoke of dead people, sick people or alone people… presents sometimes felt had no personal intention and sometimes when they did… it didn’t seem appreciated. so i started giving myself less and less to the xmas spirit and just made it an excuse to go home, be on a holiday for 3weeks, enjoy my beautiful city of lisbon and pretend it was just another visit home. i even started imagining what it would be like if one could just sleep through it… like i use to with new years…

and then all of a sudden they’re here… and you wonder why the hell the spirit was gone… the spirit actually, that funny xmas spirit is still alive and kicking, because opening presents is just as amazing as creating someone’s first xmas… and all those traditions to come. we decided after much discussion that we’d have dinner at a cousin’s house like we0ve done the past two years, open their presents to us, and ours to them there, but keep the boy’s presents, from us, and anyone who was so kind for the morning of the 25th. this way mommy’s lifetime tradition and daddy’s were kept. on the morning of the 25th i was awaken by the boys chit chatting waiting for me to feed them and as i did i realized i was anxious for them to see the few presents they had in front of them… because the boys can0t climb into our bed yet, i woke him up and told them “the boys are up!” we both ran to the living room and together watched them try to understand why all of a sudden there was a tree with colorful balls and presents in front of them. mommy helped and slowly they started playing with their new toys. toys from italy, clothes from portugal, animals from maputo, decorations from mom and dad… it was something to see. i loved it. and maybe yes, opening presents in the morning has it’s beautiful moments, drinking coffee watching them play, still being in your pijamas and after so much happiness fall asleep altogether on the livign room floor… so maybe i can handle it, i can start this new thing, and slowly year by year make it perfect.

as for new year’s, we had no traditions to follow, but it’s true that last year, we were here, and this year we thought we should not go back to the same spot, but yet to the same feeling of summer, so off to the beach we went and enjoying the year end and start again in the sun, with swimsuits, ocean waves. we headed south to Ponta do Ouro and enjoyed a perfect long weekend of pure relaxation. we had the best company, grandparents and greatgrandparents for our bunnies, lots of cutenees and amazing food. no more, no less. just us.

and so another year begins and i have no intention of making resolutions i cannot keep, i have made some wishes, i have dreamt of certain things i’d like to happen this year… as a true portuguese i have 12 things i wish for, each with every raisin (tradition in portugal) but i have forgotten them already and that will make this year again a surprise. let it be.

i never imagined 2010 like it was, never thought how happy, loved, tired, overwhelemd, exhausted, smiley, sad, fullfilled, used, naked, complete and with two beautiful boys and a great “husband” i’d be… so, all i need for xmas and new year is them.

a very BUNNY xmas!

to all of you who see us all over the world. we hope your xmas was as lovely and cute as ours.

our first xmas of many as a family.

a very BUNNY xmas to all of you… from far away Mozambique… where the heat is unbearable but the sun shines for all.

sei di noi

not six of us, no i’m not expecting twins again, but six months of this new life we have started.

it feels just like the beginnning, it feels like it has never been any different than this.

the 6th month is indeed an exciting one, it has blown me away the amount of things happening in 30 days of the lives of such tiny people. m. and f. have grown up so much, not in height, not in weight, thankfully, but in abilities. smiles stopped being innocent and silent, they have become laughs, with loud giggles. giggles that i thought would come much later but that surprised me one late afternoon when tickling them and m. started making a sound i didn’t recognize to hear it again from f. and realizing “my kids giggle” while alone in the house with them. being a mommy is wonderful but to be the first to hear their giggles is something out of this world! i remember my mother always showing me a picture of my first laugh, and one of her friends is next to me, so she was always “the one who you laughed to for the first time” and now i’m always going to be, even if they hate me when they’re 16, the one that heard them giggle first. and funny enough i giggled with them, except i had also tears coming down from my proud eyes, it was very emotional to hear it from both of them at the same time.

of course i don’t cry all the time they do something new, like for example eating!! they have started their long way into discovering food, and believe me, i’m very picky when it comes to food, or at least used to be very picky, since i met him i have changed my diet, not so much in taking things out of it, but introducing ingredients to my stomach, palat and life… such as… vegetables!!! things like: carrots, pumpkin, potatoes, sweet-potatoes, green beans, brocoli, cauli-flower, zucchini, apple, pear, banana, papaya have become my boy’s favorite things, ok so potatoes didn’t really go that well, they hated it really, and i don’t blame them, all the rest is so sweet why would they?! i didn’t mind because i’ve heard horrible stories of kids that don’t eat anything and i really was a bit worried to think that i could have one of those… worst, two of those! but my babies are his’ kids and that could mean only one thing, they’ll eat anything!!!! and love meal time, seating on their little green chairs, which everyone loves, and sit on the dining table looking out onto the tree tops with birds singing (it’s funny to see them follow the birds not looking at the food, but cry when the spoon takes too long…) it’s been a treat to watch them experience new things everyday. it’s even a good exercise for me, because seriously i can’t pretend too well that brocoli is a tasty thing, so i sing-along and say things like “yummy brocoli, a little green tree that tastes sooooo good!” and they smile and i think how silly must i look when i absolutely hate brocoli. anyway… i know it’s good for them so i’ll keep pretending.

what else… f. likes to always have his feet on the ground standing up whenever he can, thinking he can do it on his own, but no! m. discovered he has a voice, a boys’ voice, and talks all the time, yells even and gets confused when we speak to him in his own language.

they discovered their feet and even though haven’t started eating them, love playing and  rolling sideways and even turning themselves off the turtle (the turtle being a great sponge play mat offered by Rita and Hugo that has become a center piece in our living room since we arrived with m. and f.), sometimes hearing a little cry, sometimes getting just smiles and we hope they really don’t fall off of it… it’s 7cm high…

nothing is really boring with these two. they were also treated to the grandparent’s visit for two weeks and with them a twin stroller arrived and it’s been a great thing, if it’s good weather and have nothing to do, i pack their milk, their lunch, their diapers inside the stroller and off we go, direction? everywhere! as long as we can sit somewhere and feed them i’m ok with anything, they love looking around, having toys in it with them aaaand it takes them about 20m to fall sleep. perfect for a mommy that has regained her coffee out addiction!!!

so as you see it’s been a full month, between new abilities, grandparents that taught them how to fall asleep by themselves (thank you mom and dad!), dummies that no longer stay attached to their mouths 24/7 seeing that now they take it off if they’re not sleepy, fingers in mouths when they need a cuddle, diaper sizes that change, toys that all of a sudden seem too babyish for them, utensils for eating that i hadn’t thought of and can’t find here so had them sent with the parents, a stroller that makes all the times they cried with the little car seats unbearable worth it, the heat that let’s us take them to the Indian Ocean and watch them look at the little waves and smile but cry when i dip their tiny toes in it, seeing them feel ticklish with their feet in the sand, watching them learn how to sit straight and lift their hands to their lips just two cms and fall sideways with no support, breastfeeding them still (to those who ever thought i could never do this… it’s been almost 7 months of good mommy milk, very proud of myself too!) and all those other little details that they put into my life, i could keep going forever, i hope to register them all in my mind, if not in photos and videos, but that will keep me company for a very long time.

and just to finish off, twins really to share things differently, they complete each other and they know the other is always there. until now we haven’t seen any jeaulousy scenes, no baby gets upset if the other gets something, they are more and more aware that they are two and that mommy and daddy cannot be with just one all the time. we try our best to play with both so that they can also learn to play together but sometimes we realize with been with one for too long and feel the need, and miss the other. that is not because we’re doing something wrong but it’s because all this twin business can be an overload of feelings. it takes time, but it’s been though a rollercoaster and mighty fun one and a rewarding up hill. they are developing differences in their characters and soon i’m sure we’ll be able to answer everyone’s important and annoying question “who cries the most”, poeple actually seem sad when i say that they almost never cry for no reason at all, and if that wasn’t enough of a dissapointment they seem almost strangely surprised when they see how calm, and smiley and friendly they are. this is my special reward for all that good milk and all those 5 month of breastfeeding continuously, they are beautiful and the most friendly babies ever and even though they have only starting sleeping all night in their 6th month, i know that whatever we did, helped them feel safe, secure, happy and healthy.

to you my boys, thank you for these wonderful 6months, dreams do come true, sometimes twice as much!

p.s.: just so this blog doens’t become a baby blog… too late… we moved! yes we moved from the mithical Rua do Sol to Argelia… closer to good coffee, walking distande from the parks, friends right around the corner and lots and lots of sunshine coming in from my little breakfast room! it’s a blissful life sometimes… ah sure, it’s 36º almost everyday for those stuck up there in the winter.

detail #044

the most important part of having twins that sleep all night… is that mommy and daddy do too!