Thursday, 28 March 2013

What's in a Name?

Choosing a name for your unborn child can be a fun and exciting process. It's such an important part of your child's identity. Parents often spend hours and hours poring over lists of names, writing down their favorites, vetoing some of their spouses choices, creating a short-list and finally settling on a name for their baby. We look at family names, meanings, origins, spelling, pronunciation, possible nicknames, even sometimes going so far as to imagine how the name could be twisted and made fun of.

With twins it is even harder! Thinking of names that go together and match the family name. Plus, with twins, people have a lot of different ideas of how you can solidify that special bond with their names. Here are some "themes" that I've seen in articles about naming twins:

I could add a cute photo of a nice
handwritten list - but let's be real here
- it was all done on an iPad app. :) 
(Keep in mind that we're having two girls so these are all girl names)

Seasons: Autumn and Summer

Gems: Amber and Ruby

Virtues: Charity, Harmony, Joy, Hope

"Destination" names: London and Paris

Months: April, June, May

Flowers: Rose, Violet, Daisy, Lily

Then of course there are names that start with the same letter, or names that rhyme, or even one name and the other the same but spelled backwards (like Heaven and Nevaeh - still not sure how to pronounce that one?)

While I think some of these are beautiful names, I don't usually go for matchy-matchy things, and in our family we have a whole other list of criteria that names have to fit into...

The names should
- sound nice together (and also with their sibling's names)
- work well with our family name (Portela)
- have some special meaning to us, or a tie to a family name
- be easy to read, spell and pronounce in both English and Portuguese.

 Not too much to ask for, right?

Ever since we found out we were having girls, people have been asking about the names. It's common cultural etiquette here to announce both the gender and the name of your child well before the birth.

So, without further ado...

Arriving mid May 
How did you choose your child's name?

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Bump: 27 Weeks

How far along: 27 weeks as of March 17
Development: Going to have another ultrasound this week to check on things, but from the amount of movement - they are both doing well! Update: Baby 1 is head down (and most likely to stay that way) and Baby 2 is transverse at the top of my uterus. Hopefully she'll move head down by 30-32 weeks or so. Both girls are over 1 kilo already! (2.2 lbs) and after their ecocardiograph ultrasound the doctor said their hearts are "perfect". 
Movement: Starting to get ripples and waves visible from the outside. They do seem to take turns being active and resting. The best part is feeling some random leg/foot/arm? stretching right up by my ribs.
Weight Gain: Um, I'll update after my doctors visit this week - I don't really make a habit of stepping on the scale. ever. :) Update: Total weight gain this pregnancy: 3 kilos (6.6 lbs). It's basically all in my womb considering both girls together, the amniotic fluid and placentas. 
Maternity Clothes: Oh yes! I was very thankful when my sister-in-law arrived from Canada with a big pile of maternity shorts. It's been very hot and hard to find something comfortable to wear. Of course, now it's cooling down and today I'm wearing jeans!
Stretch Marks: Um, my stretch marks have stretch marks?
Best moment of my week: Getting to see my sister-in-law and her cutie pie son, Kevin. It has also been really interesting to see how Lucas and Elena interact with him.
Summer in Sao Paulo - my kids and I with my sister-in-law Grace and her son Kevin. 
Worst moment: Having to send my little Elena to the emergency room with her daddy this week.
Sleep: Can't seem to get through the day without at least a power nap! Night sleep is still pretty good, but it's getting hard to find a comfortable position. More pillows maybe?
Miss Anything: Seeing my toes?
Food Cravings: Really would love some good coffee, but no matter what I eat I get acid reflux and coffee is definitely not good for that!
Aversions: Nope
Gender: Girls!
Labor signs: Nothing yet.
Belly Button: Out and totally off-center.
Rings: On
Mood: Excited and a little anxious of the transition to a family of six!
Looking forward: Having a baby shower this weekend! I'm sure we're going to get lots of diapers since we don't really need a lot of the other "baby basics". With twins, we are going to need a truck-load of diapers just to get through the first month!

Since I'm expecting a lot of growth in the final stretch, I'll try to keep up with weekly photos.

Want to read my other "bump" updates? 15 Weeks18 Weeks21 Weeks and 24 Weeks

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Thursday, 7 March 2013

9 Reasons not to leave your child unattended...


You may find:

1. A sticky mess of a toddler with a half full bottle of honey. The other half is all over his bed; sheet, pillow and blanket...

2. ALL the books from your children's bookshelves piled onto a bed...
Or - all the toys and books from the shelves into the crib - on top of little sister...
3. Your budding athlete/magician showing off his new "trick" - throwing all the sidewalk chalk over the 8ft wall into the neighbors yard...

4. Six empty yogurt containers strewn across the living room...

5. A masterpiece of epic proportions on your wall, created with crayons and color pencils...
Clearly it got worse before it got better - and I think a whole layer of paint came off with it when it finally got cleaned. 
6. ALL the clothing and shelving removed from one half of your toddlers closet...
(to make a hiding place, of course)

7. Your independent daughter in the bathtub, clothing on the floor and the hot water running...

8. Two sweet smelling toddlers with half a bottle of baby powder. The other half is all over their floor, shelves and beds...

9. What you thought was your potty trained boy "doing his business" in the bathroom turned out to be an attempt to flush an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet...
(thankfully it didn't work, or we'd have one badly clogged john)

Some days it really is a wonder I get anything done at all with these two mischievous munchkins running around!

What do your kids get up to if left unattended? 

Monday, 4 March 2013

Can't we all just get along?

or Sibling rivalry rears its ugly head.

or Now I know why there's a fine line between love and hate.

It's been a challenging few months weeks in the Portela household. We have hit new highs and lows in relationships, behavior and discipline. I wrote a while back about Lucas and his Ferocious Fours and with Elena bringing new meaning to the term Terrible Twos it's been tough to keep the peace between them. Increasingly vocal, stubborn, opinionated and loud, it's a wonder we get a minute of peace and quiet in our home! Add to that growing strength, force and power (from both of them) - and I basically need to keep a hawk eye on them all day long. They are not happy being apart, not happy being together. Seems like one of those, "can't live with them, can't live without them" situations! Here are a few of our most common scenarios...

I don't want to do that!
Whether it is getting dressed in the morning for school, taking a bath, going down for a nap or simply putting on shoes to go outside and play; there's been a lot of resistance from Elena. I think it is mostly her desire to do things independently, "yet [let] me do it!" Lucas more or less responds, but often in his own time and is distracted much too easily by other things. 

Leave me alone!
Lucas is often happy playing by himself, and any attempt on Elena's part to play with him is often met with severe resistance, usually including loud screams and hitting/kicking/pushing. To deal with this I try to get Elena involved in her own activity, in a separate room, but somehow the two of them are drawn together like magnets! Which leads to the next point...

I want to "share"!
If I do manage to get Elena away from Lucas, heaven forbid I get her any noise making toy - iPad, sound book or musical instrument. Because then, all of a sudden, her toy is much more interesting than anything Lucas was doing and he declares, "I want to share" - which of course, is only when it is convenient for him. Occasionally Elena acquiesces and we get a few minutes of peace, otherwise there is more screaming and yelling. 

Rare Moments
Of course, there are times when Lucas and Elena somehow manage to find some common ground and play together nicely. These, however, often coincide with doing something they are not supposed to do and we start back at square one (after the mess has all been cleaned up). 

I'm sure this is all a pretty normal stage for close siblings to go through, it's just not made easier by the fact that momma is becoming less and less mobile and more and more exhausted as the twins grow bigger by the day. My only consolation (and a tenuous one at that) is that I'm glad we're dealing with this now and I hope that somehow we will get past this aggressive/rebellious stage before the twins arrive. I can hope, right? Otherwise it's going to be a very tough transition into a family of six! 

Hmm, wonder why I can't find any photos of them fighting? 
  So, how do I teach my kids to just get along?  
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