Category Archives: Little Sis

When the father is out…

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Have you heard of parents that are afraid of being alone with their kids? Not because they think their kids will become monsters overnight and eat them alive, but because kids are unpredictable and can be very tiring at times and when you are outnumbered (eg one parent, two kids) it is a bit scary.

Tonight is one of those nights that a mother is scared of her children. Luckily, they are lovely kids and can behave well 85% of the time.

Luckily tonight it wasn’t as bad as it can get. This poor mother is exhausted after waking up at 5am (sleeping at midnight) and working non-stop until 7pm, so the level of patience has been compromised. Yes, there were tears. Because not just the mother is exhausted – the poor girls were also very tired.

Luckily the childminder is an angel and returned the girls fed and bathed. All the mother had to do was brush their teeth and put the pyjamas on (and sing and tell stories and breastfeed and lay down with them).

They are sleeping in the same bed. In their bedroom. For an hour now.

The mother is scared they might wake up. So she is not even moving. Silent is precious.

Where’s the father? Having “work” drinks and enjoying some me time.

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Beatrice 16 months old

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I wrote this post on the 10th September and tried to upload it then, but WordPress didn’t want to include the photos.

In two months time, she can start baby ballet classes. I wouldn’t normally do that if it wasn’t for the fact the she imitates her big sister dancing balley and – even cuter – doing the “heads, shoulders, knees and toes” or the “Let It Go” (as she sings Goooooo Goooooo) choreographies . Watch this space for future explosion of cuteness (or a baby wearing a ballet outfit).

She loves Peppa Pig (“Pappig”).

She loves eating. Even if she doesn’t eat a big portion, she is always eating. Fruits are a winner. And broccoli.

She imitates dogs (au-au; she learned from the neighbour’s dog), cat, horse (she learned from Laura’s toy horse), car (she says ca-o as well, the Portuguese word), sheep (but just when buni asks her in Romanian), duck (cak cak). She says nah-nah and nods her head to say “no” and she says uh-oh when something goes wrong. The cutest moment, though, was when I was with my mum on Skype and Bea got very excited and shouted vovó, vovó! Not only she remembered the word for grandma, but also she associated with my mum, who she hasn’t seen for a while. Other words are coming, but the majority of her talk is still very much shouting and pointing.

When she is overly tired or sleepy, she gets very aggressive, scratching, biting, punching everyone. Having said that, she also punches Buddy, her childminder’s dog quite a lot; sometimes out of excitement.

She is very friendly with people and the adaptation with the childminder could not have been better.

We changed the car seat and now it faces forward so she is much happier to be in the car.

She got a huge bed upgrade, going from her cot to Laura’s 2 meter long bed. She sleeps there all night long with an eventual middle of the night awake. We now have a proper duvet in the bed so I can sleep there if I have too (and quite often I have to). The cot is still there, acting as a sofa-balcony-barrier to the main bed.

She only has 6 teeth but seems to be teething since ever and constantly.

She has been breastfeeding way less than before, mainly at night. I am not planning to stop but she seems to be less interested. She still has milk before going to bed, sometimes in the middle of the night and sometimes in the morning.

As with Laura, she is more dependent of dummies now than she was 3-4 months ago. We try not to encourage her as I know it will be a pain to remove it (which I should have done by now).

She loves hanging herself from door handles or anything dangerous (like the tray of her high chair).

She is adorable but also a full time job. It’s hard to compare her with Laura at the same age – they are so similar in several aspects but also so different in others. Some differences are down to personality but others simply because Laura was raised differently (a separate post on that). The love I feel for both is also different – and it’s not a matter of quantity or quality, I think it’s the same here, but it is a different stage of love. Hard to explain; I don’t think I understand it, I just feel it.

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Beatrice: 12 months old

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This post was meant to be written and posted on the 10th of May. I was away on the day, didn’t have the time to write something beforehand and schedule, I forgot after that.

Beatrice is one year old. One year. When Laura turned one, I was expecting her to become a “big girl” overnight, like she would pop and start walking, talking, dancing, writing, reading. Not only it doesn’t happen like that, but also Beatrice is still… a baby. They call it toddler in English, but I can’t remember differentiating it in Portuguese. There are babies and children and teenagers and adults. So Beatrice turned one and she is still a baby.

An adorable baby. Yes, she is quite challenging when it comes to sleeping and I don’t know how to deal with it. Other than this, she is such an easy going baby, she is always happy, she hardly ever complain about something – and when she does, it’s when she overly tired or very very hungry or her nappy is bursting with poo. Most of the times she has her ways of telling us what she wants without crying. Like pulling my shirt and giving me the “what the heck you are hiding these for? I’m hungry, woman!”.

She is sweet and calm, but she also has her anger moments, and can get aggressive and scratches, bites, slaps, screams and throws herself on the floor whenever she doesn’t get what she wants (not that frequent though).

She has very clear facial expressions and, although she is not talking proper words, some times it is just so easy to understand her. And when her expressions don’t help, she just grabs your hand and takes you where she wants to show you something. She also understands everything. My poor memory doesn’t let me remember when Laura started understanding things, so it all seem quite new with Beatrice. If we say “Beatrice, give me Laura’s shoes there on the floor”, she knows exactly what shoes we are talking about, even with other pairs nearby. If we say “time to sleep”, she lays down on the floor and pretends to sleep.

She is so sociable and loves children. She points at children and tries to interact/play (even if they are photographs, bless her). She kisses and hugs them and it is just so sweet to watch (not just me saying, I hear this a lot).

She found her pointer finger and points at everything and every one: an airplane in the sky, a child in a shop, a flower in the garden, a duck on a book… she enjoys it so much that she can spend several minutes (a lifetime in baby time) pointing from one thing to another – as long as she has an audience.

Books are still one of her favourite things. I’m trying to teach her the animal sounds but the only one she can imitate is the fish (open and shuts her mouth) and the pig (she snorts).

She loves playing with dolls – so cute to see her putting them to sleep.

Whenever she does/makes something she feels proud of, she claps her hands. Like going upstairs unassisted or putting objects in a box.

She is very active. She is great at walking, climbing, going upstairs. She figured how to reach higher shelves by climbing boxes, stools and anything she can find on the way. Despite her dangerous explorations, she has never had any serious fall or accident.

She is learning to spin around, like a ballerina. Influence of her big sister, me thinks. She finds it very amusing and loves when we laugh.

When she hurts herself, she comes straight to me for a kiss on the injured area. If she bangs her head, she takes her hands on the head (always between her ears, even if the injured area is a different spot), puts on a suffering face and comes for a cuddle. I’m not sure how she learned that, but I think it’s from Laura, who until now asks for a kiss whenever she hurts herself.

She is very cuddly. I didn’t notice it myself, until several people mentioned it. A few friends even compared her with Laura, saying that Laura wasn’t as a baby. Anyway, she loves to be hugged and kissed and to be cuddled – and vice-versa.

She loves going out. We have to be extra careful whenever we open the door as she just goes.

She discovered TV recently. Laura was watching whatever and she stopped to watch, went closer to the TV, touched it, chatted to the characters and turned her back to play with her books and toys. From time to time she points at the TV and says something, but it doesn’t last more than a minute.

I gave up trying to list the words she says, because they are very random and aren’t frequent enough to say that she actually uses a particular word.

She has three teeth: two at the bottom and one canine at the top. She is teething – and suffering with it – but no signs of other teeth yet. By the way, teething was the only reason to date why she has ever had medication. She had a couple of very bad nights and we just assume it was teething pain and gave her Calpol for relief. Other than that, she is so much healthier than Laura ever was at the same age. (touch wood)

She is drinking cow’s milk now and again, but breast milk is still her main drink, and she wakes up at least once in the middle of the night for it.

No idea about weight, but I’m planning to check it when she has her next set of immunisations (which is on 10th of June).

 

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Beatrice and her mate Deniz

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Beatrice checking out what’s in mum’s bag

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Beatrice making sure the dummy is safe and tasty for her dollie

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Beatrice learning to drive

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Beatrice showing mummy that it is easy to be a mother of two

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Beatrice having a plum

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Beatrice loves bags and shoes – even when they are not real bags (but big sis’ sticker pack) or real shoes (but big sis’ socks)

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Beatrice wearing big sis’ wellie boots (she asked to put them on)

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Beatrice making a mess but who cares when you are being cuddled all the time by such a sweet little baby?

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Beatrice wearing daddy’s sunglasses in Bruges and making mummy wonder when she should cut her (Bea’s) hair.

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Beatrice playing with her new toy

Party season

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I only celebrate birthdays when I’m on maternity leave. We had a party for Laura’s first birthday, then nothing until her 4th, which coincided with Beatrice’s first birthday and the last month of my maternity leave. So either this is the last celebration until they can organise their own parties or I’m having a 3rd child in a few years time. More likely it’s going to be the first option.

The party was last weekend. A beautiful day, very sunny and hot, with occasional clouds to cool us down. It was a bit mental, more because I am too stressed and have high expectations than actual hard work.

We hired an entertainer and I couldn’t be happier with her. Kelly, from Happy Hatters, was super duper. The kids and parents loved her. Laura told me, later in the day, that “Rapunzel was the best thing of her party. It was an amazing surprise!” She “warmed up” 15 minutes before the guests arrived, so Laura and Beatrice got to know her. When the kids arrived, Laura was already friends with the princess and the fun started straight away. Kelly called all the kids by their names and got everybody involved, even the parents. I know as a fact that all kids had fun because none of them wanted to leave.

The youngest ones didn’t get involved as much but they had toys and space to walk around and play. Maybe when Beatrice is 3 and Laura 6, they will have more fun together, but for now, she is quite tiny to follow her big sister’s steps.

Food-wise, I went with a half-healthy, half-trashy menu, but I ran out of time and due to lack of proper planning, I didn’t have any fruits and veggie sticks as I hoped. Yeeks! We did have tofu mousse though. Yes, tofu. And it was yummy. I ordered a few vegan items from my neighbour, who is starting her food business now (and will be at Brick Lane market from June!). We had chocolate, raspberry and mango mousses, mango and passion fruit cheesecake, vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, mushroom tart, chickpea curry, tofu teriyaki wraps and cream cheese and asparagus rolls, all diary/egg free.

I made hot dogs and baked the buns, baked cheese breads and two chicken pies. I had no left overs and all the adults said that the food was delicious. On the sweet side, I made brigadeiro and the birthday cake. No industrialised sweets and candies apart from them Kit Kats and Smarties of the cake.

One of the fathers told me that it was one of the best parties he has been to. We booked it for two hours but I told them they could stay as long as they wanted to.

The decoration was quite simple. When I was still in Brazil, at some point in February, I thought about having a picnic celebration, just because it’s easy and I wouldn’t need to think much about the decor (until you Google images and see how elaborated some stuff can be). Then I thought about adding some flowers , because it is spring, my favourite season. Never mind Laura’s opinion, as you can see. I learned to make fabric tulips and brought some ready made from Brazil. But it wasn’t a priority and my mum and I only looked into it the week of the party and, of course, zero time and patience to make all what I had in mind. Honestly? It wasn’t amazing and magazine-material decoration but Laura, Beatrice and her friends loved it and there’s nothing more honest and valuable than children’s opinion.

Biggest mistake ever: not taking enough pictures and actually making it a priority. Lelei had the cameras and was asking if we wanted to take pictures like this and like that and I didn’t want to interrupt the fun to take pics and I so regret it. Oh, most of the pictures are in her camera, as I forgot to charge mine and the battery drained half way through the party.

P.S.: I’ll share the recipes of the cheese bread, hot dog bun and chicken pie on another post

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Work in progress – although the table was set indoors, the whole thing happened outside

 

 

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The table, with a few bits and pieces. The majority of the food was outside, so the table was pretty bare.

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Party bags: a ‘picnic’ bag with some age-specific goodies inside; and a slice of the cake (which is how they do here)

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Detail of the flowers, including my two favourite ones

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All dishes had a similar label, but I don’t think people really read them

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Cake topper handmade by auntie/dinda Lelei – Laura and Bea Pig. hehe

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Post party clean up – now what do I do with all these? Kids’ bedroom decoration, me thinks

 

Birthday girl

Birthday girl

Photo wall. The idea was to have 12 photos of Bea and 12 of Laura, one for each month, but in the end I just put a bunch of photos I really liked

Photo wall. The idea was to have 12 photos of Bea and 12 of Laura, one for each month, but in the end I just put a bunch of photos I really liked

I {heart} Rapunzel! I want to get an entertainer for my birthday too!

I {heart} Rapunzel! I want to get an entertainer for my birthday too!

Mummy was playing too

Mummy was playing too

Rapunzel getting the kids to play whatever game

Rapunzel getting the kids to play whatever game

Lunch time: the table outdoor and the yummy food!

Lunch time: the table outdoor and the yummy food!

Beatrice between daddy and dindo (Godfather)

Beatrice between daddy and dindo (Godfather)

The cake

The cake

The table

The table

On track

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Not that I had any doubts, but Beatrice is doing very well for her age. Last week we went to the 8 to 12 months check up (*) with the health visitor and she passed with 10 out of 10!

My petit is around the 25th centile, not only in terms of weight, which is what we have been tracking until now, but also height and head circumference, both following this line. Very proportional.

The test checks her ability to grab small things using her thumb and pointer finger and to pass an object from one hand to the other, if she shakes a rattle, if she claps, is saying da-da-da, ma-ma-ma and other sounds. Her eyes were checked and they are fine and so is her hearing.

Apparently it is quite normal not to have teeth at this age, as this didn’t seem to bother the health visitor. And she was impressed that Beatrice is walking (she is quite a confident walker now, spending more time on her feet than crawling), but I know lots of babies that walked before their first birthday.

On another note, we are all delighted with the cute things she does and learns every day. Also last week she was imitating us sneezing. And because it was so cute, we kept faking sneezes and she kept imitating us. And laughing hard at the whole thing. My mum also showed her how to cover her hands with cups (as in plastic toy cups). She was so excited about the novelty! She would hold her hands up high, each with a cup covering it, and laugh in excitement! I had forgotten how simple things can be so much fun for babies.

(*) In the UK, it is common to have health check ups at the first 72 hours, 5-8 days, 10-14 days, 6-8 weeks, 8-12 months, 2-2 1/2 years and then at school.

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Beatrice: 11 months old

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Little Bea is not as little as before. She is such a cheeky monkey, so happy and smiley and curious. And a little destroyer. Maybe it’s because Laura didn’t have so many “big kids” toys and it’s harder to break baby toys, but every day Beatrice destroys one of Laura’s toys, way more than Laura used to destroy at this age.

The big news of this last month is that she decided to practice some steps forward and apparently she enjoyed the experience and every day she goes further. Crawling is still the quickest (independent) way to get from A to B, being held is her preferred way (how she loves to be carried…) but walking will soon be part of our lives. She gives about 10 steps before falling and/or giving up. We make such a big deal out of it that even Laura cheers whenever Beatrice gives more than three consecutive steps.

The sisters love grows by the day. All the challenges and issues I find with being a mother of two disappear when I see how happy these two are together, how they can entertain themselves, the kisses and cuddles. Beatrice’s fascination with Laura and Laura’s patience with Beatrice are the two highlights of my life (for now).

Her appetite improved quite a bit. It is super cute to see her chewing, that miniature of a person. She wants to eat everything the we are eating. Sometimes I don’t even bother to cook special meals for her and instead I adapt what we will eat. At least we have been eating more vegetables that usual (and less salt and more homemade food). She loves green beans, peas, cauliflower and broccoli. Eats tomatoes like we eat apples. Not a massive fan of butternut squash and carrots. And she enjoys her sticky rice, just like her mummy. Her favourite are still the fruits though; she loves something really sweet.

No teeth. But she bites and bites hard.

She loves playing peek-a-boo, now she hides her face. She likes pretending she is talking on the phone. She loves all type of music (including noises) and she dances to any rhythm. She loves chasing her sister. She loves riding her sister’s bicycle, despite it being too big for her (her laughter in excitement is contagious).

She absolutely adores having a bath. When she sees the water running, she can hold her excitement and even tries to take her clothes off. She doesn’t stay still and wants to explore the bath tub.

She tried dirt for the first time at a barbecue a couple of weeks ago and she seemed to have enjoyed it as she keeps going for it every time is she in the garden.

Speaking of garden, we have a relatively high slide there and she loves sliding almost on her own – we only hold on hand (for safety purpose) and she can go on and on and on on that thing .

She has a “fake” laugh that seems more like she is mocking on us. Something crazy like a HA-HA-HA.

But her real laugh is just so delicious that as soon as we find something that will make her laugh a lot, we repeat it on and on and on.

She is getting into books. She likes to turn the pages on her on but also likes when we read stories for her. If we stops, she gives the book back, very serious and says “uh”, which I interpret as either “uh, again” or ” uh, why did you stop? Carry on”.

We are brain washing teaching her to clap her hands when we sing happy birthday. Although it is not common in the UK to clap while singing happy birthday, it is in Brazil.

She is so nosey and is always putting her hands where she isn’t supposed to and is always getting her fingers stuck somewhere. One of her nails fell off thanks to her locking her fingers in a drawer. Still, she keeps on doing it.

Sleeping… Bad days and awful days. Her day naps are ok-ish though. Two naps of one hour and a half each is more than double than what I used to get with Laura.

Impossible things: to change her nappy (still), to cut her nails, to keep her on the high chair.

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