Using Youtube

I’m a great proponent of technology and you can even see that in the way I interact with my sons. We regularly use our devices (iPhone, iPad and the laptop) to play with our kids. We especially like using Youtube.

At first, I was skeptical of using Youtube for my sons. I  mean, do two-month-olds really understand any of that? But we initially used Youtube to play them lullabies because we didn’t have any of our own lullaby music yet. And also, we used Youtube to play them Filipino nursery rhymes and children’s songs. We wanted to expose them to some of the songs we knew as children and this would not have been possible without Youtube.

Over time, as the boys appreciated the videos more and more, we were able to do action songs with them. In fact, one of the first action songs they learned was Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Wheels on the Bus. Using Youtube not only was a great way to interact with the boys but also was a great teaching tool. It was with the help of Youtube (and Mommy and Daddy singing and acting out the songs over and over again) that they learned to do the action songs. Plus, they really enjoy it! More than once, I catch one of my twins doing the actions of the song when he hears it play.

So if the boys enjoy it and its available to them, why not use it? (Of course, this also means using it in moderation. Read: not all day, everyday.) It has saved my sanity more than once. (Scenario: Boys screaming and I have to cook dinner? Want to watch some Youtube videos, boys?)

It is with this line of thinking that a few friends and I decided to create our own Wheel on the Bus animated video. It’s our first effort but I think we did a really good job. Let me know what you think!

Please subscribe to our Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/aralclub

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Taking Out Tots

One of the challenges of having a toddler is making sure he or she has enough energy-burning activities during the day. In other words, you want to make sure your toddler had enough exercise during the day so he or she will fall asleep easily at night. Okay, easy enough. But what if you have twins and you have to take them out by yourself?

This is still a challenge for me and my husband.We thought this was difficult when the boys were little babies, but it’s even more difficult to control toddlers! One night, we went to a Super Target for a quick trip and the boys were walking all over the place. Lorenzo, in particular, did not want his hand to be held and wanted to walk wherever he pleased (and not necessarily where we needed to go). My husband and I would just quickly look at each other and wordlessly (something that can only be achieved by eleven years of marriage) agree who would run after who. It was so difficult. I can’t imagine going there by myself! Maybe I can manage it if the boys either sit on the shopping carts or on the stroller. But I don’t think we can go in there with both of them walking. My husband feels the same way. Although I’ll probably feel differently when the boys get a little older and are able to understand (and follow) general instructions such as “Don’t run in the parking lot!”

I’m not complaining. At least now I am able to load the walking toddlers into the car at the same time — without much fuss. We just simply walk up to the car and I put them both into the car at the same time. (One baby stands inside the car as I buckle the first one in.)

I used to have to employ their old Jumperoo toy (see photo above) when putting both non-walking but older babies in the car. It was a whole process:

Step 1: Open garage door. Open door leading to the garage. Load baby bag and other necessities in the car. Leave the car door open. Position Jumperoo in front of door leading to the garage.

Step 2: Put Baby#1 (aka as Ignacio just because his car seat is positioned behind the passenger seat) in Jumperoo.

Step 3: Put Baby#2 (aka as Lorenzo) in his car seat, which is positioned behind the driver’s seat. This is strategic so Ignacio can not only still see me (and vice versa) but also is actually just about three feet away from me.

Step 4: Take Baby#1 in Jumperoo and put him in his car seat. Meanwhile, Baby#2 can see me from his seat the whole time.

Step 5: Lock the house. Close car door. Get in the car and drive away. Oops, don’t forget to close the garage door.

It seems like such a funny and drawn-out process but it was so effective (and efficient) for me! I guess when you have twins (or kids for that matter), you just do what you gotta do!

If you have two little ones (not necessarily twins) how do you prepare to go out? Leave a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Dividing Time

As I write this, I am sitting at the dining table and drinking my coffee. The boys are still down for their morning nap, although I’m pretty sure they’ll be up (and very hungry) soon.

It’s now five minutes later and the boys are awake and are currently enjoying their favorite breakfast – Cheerios.  Thankfully, they already feed themselves (at least with their fingers) so while I am typing away; they are happily watching Team Umizoomi as they eat.

One of the challenges of being a Mom is dividing time between Mom duties (changing diapers, kissing booboos, playing Peek-a-boo and refereeing conflicts, among others) and other duties (in my case, housework, blogging and research on an upcoming project). If this wasn’t hard enough, imagine doing this for TWO babies who are the same age and have more or less the same needs. (It would be a different challenge I imagine, if I had two kids of different ages.) I can’t imagine how OctoMom does it or even Kate (as in Kate Plus Eight).

True, it’s a lot easier now that they have some measure of independence.  It’s not as tedious as it was when they came home from the hospital. (I still haven’t recovered from all the sleep loss after the boys were born.)

Nacho and Enzo at one-week old, just home from the hospital.

But here are some things that I do to keep myself from going crazy:

1. It is okay not to be able to do everything.

Repeat this to yourself over and over. Breathe. If there are dishes to be washed and laundry to be folded but the babies are screaming their heads off, breathe. Accept that you can’t do everything.  Instead of worrying about having a spotless house, enjoy spending time with your child.

2. Prioritize.

You need to prioritize. What’s more important? Feeding the babies or washing the dishes? I always take care of whatever the babies need first. For example, I periodically wash their bottles throughout the day but wait until after dinner to wash the rest of the dirty dishes.

I’m a list person. Before I had kids, I had post-its for everything. I like to know what I’m doing each day and what I’ve already accomplished. Obviously, this all went down the toilet the minute my boys arrived. I didn’t even have time to write anything down! So just to keep my sanity, I mentally list just one to three main tasks I need to complete each day – for example: continue my research, fold the laundry and go to the supermarket. This way, a) I remember my daily tasks and b) I actually feel like I finished something at the end of the day. I only write one to three tasks because more than this and chances are it won’t be completed. And I’ll just feel guilty.

3. Don’t forget me time.

I feel like a lot of Moms get burned out because they don’t spend any time on themselves. It’s important to have at least weekly me time. It could be as simple as taking a few hours to go to your favorite store for some retail therapy or reading a book or even taking a 15-minute soak in the tub. It’s important to detach yourself sometimes in order to recharge your batteries.

4. Use your kid’s downtime to your advantage.

When the boys were little, my Mom used to tell me to sleep when they sleep. Of course, you had to when they were waking up every three hours and it took one hour to feed one and then the other. Nowadays, unless I’ve had a bad night (like if one of the boys woke up screaming at 2am and wouldn’t sleep until 4am), I don’t use the babies’ nap time to catch up on some sleep. I use it to do other chores I can’t normally do when the boys are awake – like take a shower or do some writing.

5. Enjoy your kids.

A very good friend of mine once told me that you usually get more enjoyment out of other people’s kids. At the time, my babies were just a few months old, and I couldn’t quite understand. But what she meant was, sometimes we worry too much about our kids – are they getting enough nutrition? Are they on point developmentally? – that we forget to just enjoy being with them. And it’s so true! With other people’s kids, you’re free to just enjoy playing with them or holding them. Someone else is worrying about their well-being.

I don’t claim to be an expert about mommy time management. But one thing I learned so far, your children are babies only for a little while. They grow up so fast. My babies are boys now.

So as a Mom, you need to remind yourself that your children are not going to remember if you did the laundry or washed the dishes, they’re going to remember that you spent time with them.

Have a good weekend!