Category Archives: 3rd year

Three to Two

Today I went to the doctor’s, quite moved when he commented on how few moms these days breastfeed their children for so long, not to mention twins.  But we both agreed it’s about time to wean the boys off breast milk due to the symptoms showing breastfeeding and the way they lay on me for long period of time have been depleting my health. Lin and Li will be turning three in two months so they do not absolutely need my milk from a health point of view.

Michael and I decided to spend the next two months, gradually reduce the feeding time, starting tonight. When it got close to bed time, Lin and Li used sign language and real words asking for milk, I gave them rice milk instead, they drank it right away but started crying a bit for mine. I held their hands and walked them to their bedroom with Michael, gave them lot of hugs and kisses, and told them that it’s time for them to have two feedings rather than three, and they will go to bed at night with daddy without mommy’s milk. They would not let go of me at first, and whined a bit, but after five minutes, they quiet down, both said good night and Lin closed the door.

I am so glad that we told them straight forward why they are not getting milk at night any more, and I was pleasantly surprised how much easier it was than I ever expected. It is one of those moments that I realized how much boys have grown, they can negotiate, rationalize, and accommodate now. After all, maybe I am the one who’s having more trouble with this separation – letting go breastfeeding – one of the best gifts I could possibly give to my children.

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My Little Monsters are Destructive

A short note to remind my boys, especially when they get older and read this post, that they have broken three Nexus 7 tablets in three months. Now the tablets are all still on the shelf, so no expensive electronic devices for Lin and Li until they know how to take care of their toys!

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Charles Visiting

ImageThe week having Charles’ family here at our new place was the best! We were pleasantly surprised that he’d hop over from Melbourn, where he’s on a project for work. Michael had just got his 70% work schedule approved so he only needed to take off Monday.

The week went by so fast, we drove to Wellington to pick them up, the bus schedule was too inconvenient for everyone, glad we did it since we all got to spend some there, Wellington is always fun. Unfortunately Li was running a fever and it was Imagethe worst car ride from the airport to the hotel. We decided not to rent a car, so Yiren and Lin sat in the back row, Wenqiong, Charle’s wife and I sat with Li in the middle row then Charles and Michael were in the front. They really got the worst welcome ever, glad that was the rock bottom though.

 

 

 

ImageEveryday was packed, we took them to Pukaha Mount Bruce, and were lucky to see the only white Kiwi bird in the world, Manukura. Kids all had fun there watching the rangers feeding the largest fresh water eel. We also took a trip to Foxton ImageBeach, the New Zealand beach is quite different from those elsewhere, very primitive and natural. Charles said it’s the nicest beach they’d ever been. We also hit all the main playgrounds in Palmy, and were lucky to get on the model train ride at Esplanade on Saturday. On Tuesday, Yiren was able to go to the playcentre with us, she usually gets up at 9am (how lucky for Charles and his wife) so it was a bit struggle for her. We still can’t figure out how Lin and Li’s sleep schedule adjusted to Yiren’s, it’s still a mystery! They usually get up at 7am but the week Charles’ family was here, boys both slept till 8 or 8:30am, but went back to their old habits as soon as they took off. I am still pondering…

The highlight of the visit was definitely the card games, because the kids woke up later, we were able to play card games till 2am. Charles and his wife, very experience Gong Zhu players, taught us how to play this Chinese game. We drew pigs and someone in the end had to crawl on the floor and make pig noise, then tell everyone, I am the pig! It was obviously very entertaining. I am just glad that it wasn’t me 🙂

179063_10151515145808890_106967073_nWe were all sad to see them go. It was one of the best time we had since we had children. I was expecting a house full of chaos, dirty dishes everywhere but it turned out with another family under the roof, everybody helps with the workload. Wenqiong and I were able to make the noodles from scratch (I’d never had the time to do that if I were home alone with the boys), she and Charles went out for dinner on their own Thursday evening, and I didn’t know that was the first date for them after Yiren was born. She’s a little adorable girl, and she was so easy! She’s not shy, not difficult, sleeps and eats really well, and doesn’t cry that loud. I can watch five of her no problem. Anyway, my point is this whole week of spending time together all the time made me think our modern lifestyle is really not practical – as parents, we have to do every little thing, which consumes most of our time, I wish sometimes we could go back in time, and really have the village to raise the children together, it just makes a lot of sense and much more beneficial for our children.

Oh did I mention that they came on a weekend when Palmy has one of its best event – Festival of Cultures, so yes we were really in luck for tasting international foods, performances and arts.

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A place we call home

cropped-307948_10151435609368890_881500062_n.jpgWell I shall start my story by announcing the good news first, this is our new home, and it’s finally a home that we are comfortable living in. I always took it for granted since the houses we lived in have always been nice, not until we got into the housing crisis which lasted two LONG months, had I realized the importance of having a stable and comfortable house to call home.

The newest rental we have is located near Victoria Ave and Park Rd, very close distance to city center, and within walking distance to Esplanade, Lido and even the Square. The owner is a builder who built it two years ago for himself, he acquired another house and moved in with his new partner so we are hoping that they have a long and loving relationship! It has an air-conditioner/heat pump, double glazing, ceiling, wall and floor (with polystyrene) insulation, underfloor heating, fully fenced, built-in night lights with sensors, central vacuum system, built-in sound system for living room, master bedroom, and garage, built-in multi-media closet, wall mount with an arm for flat screen TV, huge attic space for storage, etc. Overall, a very well thought-out and designed home. Michael used one of the four bedrooms as his office and everything just fit in quite lovely. Even our furniture, they look like they were made for this house, for it’s modern, clean color tones. One can only appreciate it so much if he/she lives in New Zealand and understands the housing situation here.

I immediately noticed that the boys and I can stay home instead of going out to be entertained, they can play in the yard, in the house and it’s comfortable with the air-conditioner on. At Balcairn Pl, it was so hot in the day we were heading to the beach every other day during the week then it got so cold at night , we had to use our portable heat pump. We sure got lucky with this one!

 

 

 

 

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Foxton Beach

Jan 29th, 2013

Weather has been really hot so we decided to try out Foxton Beach. It turned out Foxton is even nicer than Himatangi, for couple of reasons, there’s a huge parking lot above the beach so there were much less cars ON the beach, safer for the boys, and there’re showers and water to wash after getting all muddy. It’s only about 35 minutes drive from city centre so about the same distance as to Himatangi.

Boys didn’t play in the water much, instead they were fascinated by the puddle Michael made, and they each had one.  I just enjoyed so much watching him run around and being silly. And I finally snapped a picture of me and Michael in the car 🙂

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cynthia and michael

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Great Summer Fun

2 1/2 is a great age, boys are on a very good but different routine. They sleep exactly 12 hours a day (for 2-year-old it’s between 12~14 hours) 3 hours in the afternoon and 9:30pm to 6:30am. Lin and Li get the breast milk three times a day now, upon waking up, nap and before bed. It works out fine for all of us, which is great.

This summer holiday which lasted almost 6 weeks by now has been wonderful. It is getting more and more challenging on my part to keep them entertained. Lin and Li are not content being in the pram for more than a short ride, they want to walk, sit in the adult’s chair, and feed themselves. It’s an interesting time when they want to be independent but they don’t understand how to stay safe yet. I find it helpful to hang out with other children, not when they are playing since there’s still much parallel playing going on but more with older children. For example they would hold Stanley and Jack’s hands when we were crossing the street but not mine. Mom must be this annoying person who keeps them away from fun things all the time, so any chance they have to escape you can count on them to jump on it! As a matter of fact, it must be their favorite game to have mom chasing them for changing diaper, putting on PJs, and dragging them away from cars.

I’ve been taking them to the weekly holiday session at Milson playcentre, I do the new person fitting in thing and they jump right into playing there; Michael and I took them to Wellington the weekend before, they loved the StoryPlace at Te Papa and Junglerama followed by a feast at Nature Vegetarian Food; they spend almost every morning outdoor: Esplanade, playgrounds, Te Manawa; and on rainy days we go to the Lido or Lollipop. Palmy is really ideal for raising young children I would not want to be elsewhere for sure.

Today after work, we went to Downtown Shopping Center for dinner and bubble tea, boys climbed up on a tree for the first time, Lin now likes to pose for me in front of the camera 🙂

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Pohangina Valley Blueberry Farm didn’t have as much berries as they did in previous years but still I was able to get enough for the year with the help of Michael and Elaine. Lin and Li are absolutely crazy about blueberries!

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Esplanade can always be counted on, great gardens, great playgrounds, and great walking trails.

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And sometimes they helped me hanging up the clothes…and play with their tablets.

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Li at Milson Playcentre, fighting over the driver seat at Junglerama Lower Hutt, Snack time at the Plaza and at Te Manawa,

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Himatangi Beach AGAIN

Yesterday I was brilliant to leave behind the most important bag, which was packed with everyone’s swimwear, boys’ diapers and towels. So boys got all wet in their day clothes…the car was full of sand and boys went naked all the way home. It was okay though that we kept it quite low maintenance. Today we decided to go again, with proper gear of course! Honestly I don’t think the boys (including Michael) cared a bit.


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Himatangi Beach

603037_10151379577678890_1176692700_n 379199_10151379577608890_1935822204_n 428044_10151379577773890_42842542_n 397478_10151379577748890_1015012202_n 269583_10151379577403890_1090436437_n 156364_10151379577853890_1035900722_n 149336_10151379577743890_1224297584_nI have to confess, maybe it was because I didn’t grow up near ocean and I’ve always been afraid of water in darkness, beach is not my cup of tea. My best memory of a beach was in Osa Peninsular, Costa Rica, I even stayed overnight right on the beach in a tent, the soothing sound of waves was nice and the view was amazing, walking on the white sand early in the morning, having the ocean on one side (after the sun was out, of course) and the rainforest on the other.

This best beach experience was replaced, now, at Himatangi Beach. I learned from Danielle the other day, that the closest beach from Palmerston North is about 30 minutes away. Keep in mind that the most inland point from the beach in New Zealand is 119.44km (or 74 miles) therefore per New Zealand standards, its pretty far (lol). It was one of those spontaneous moments that I called up Michael right around 5pm and asked if he wanted to go to the beach, he was keen so I packed all the clothing and the boys and went.

Himatagni was not the usual tourist spot, quiet, primitive, no shower stands, just a beach where you can still drive on, and take the dogs, kids, whatever. It was definitely the boys that made the whole time of one hour filled with joy. They were so excited, running wild, testing the water (literally), splashing mud around, picking up rocks and chewing them…and they did the sign language for swim just before bed, still begging!

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27 months old

Boys turned 27 months old on Oct 2nd. They weighed 14.5kg each, about 32 lbs, very heavy, thanks to their good eating and sleeping. This past month has been really exciting. Lin and Li talked more, now they can say the word “more” while they do the sign. Li likes to say “let’s go”, and they picks up words from different places, “wheel”, ” egg (they say it more like letter I)”, “why”, “where”. They are definitely more active than an average 2-year-old boy. I can take them to Lollipop by myself but definitely not the park yet. Every chance they get, they run and they are so fast I can’t catch them both. They don’t listen too well still.

The biggest challenge is probably Lin being strong-willed. Li is much easier to handle, he doesn’t throw tantrum (yet!!!), but at times he gets quite attached, for example, Elaine came this Thursday and Li could not bear that both of us are leaving, he ran after me when I was leaving couple of times, and I sat with him at his dinner table, while I was talking to him about leaving for a bit, he was heartbroken again. He obviously understood everything I said. Elaine told us later on that Li stood by the door and sobbed for about 20 minutes. Well Lin is a piece of work, he continues to throw tantrums, but I read an article about parenting strong-willed children, and I found it easier to deal with if I try to diffuse the situation, and just hold him for a while when he’s upset, he usually gets better. Thankfully his tantrum doesn’t last too long, even though very intense. Children who are strong-willed want to do a lot of things on their own and they don’t like losing that control. So trying to discipline them the same way is not going to work. I learned to offer him choices, and it worked really well. For instance, when he refused to put on this shoes when we get to the playcentre, I will take out  2 pairs of shoes, he will choose one pair and let me put it on. Then I asked him if he wants to stay in the car (and betting on his answers will almost always be a loud “No”), he will be out of the car. If I just try to force him to wear his shoes and pull him out of his car, I will end up with a screaming monster.

They are very sweet boys they smile a lot, kiss a lot, they are curious and excited about so many things. I love their age now, even though at times, I feel that my head is going to explode. I feel so fortunate to be able to watch them grow up, taking lots of pictures and videos, and keeping a good routine for them. Routines are so important to keep everyone happy in the house. For Lin and Li at this stage their routines are:

Eating

I now make our own bread everyday, for the time being, it’s the mixed flour (wholemeal and plain), pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame, and raisins. They get the breast milk first thing when they wake up, then fruits: banana, gold kiwi, apple, bread with either almond butter or peanut butter. They eat throughout the day, about every 3 hours. Each has 1/2 avocado, one egg, and main (fried rice, vegetable soup, bean soup or tofu). I also give them the home-made soy yoghurt, mixed in with flaxseed oil and LSA. Dinner usually is organic tofu, and definitely a bowl of dark green vegetables. And they love it, for now either broccoli or chard. They also have breast milk before and after their nap then sometime in the evening. So I breast feed them at least 3 times a day.

Sleeping

They are the best sleepers ever, if they are not sick. Their nap time is around 12:30 to 1pm, and usually for a good 2 hours. At night, usually after dinner, Michael take them for a shower, they would shower themselves now, then straight to the bedroom without seeing me. This way it’s easier for them to go to sleep, they will go to bed between 7 and 7:30pm, and wake up around 7 or 7:30am. When the day light savings hit in early Oct, they actually sleep one more hour, because they went to bed earlier but still wake up the same time so that’s great.

Play

Our boys play a lot, every morning, we take them somewhere. During the school term, they love going to the playcentre, and they are occupied all the time. During school holiday, I take them to Lollipop, or when Michael is with me, we go to Esplanade, or Te Manawa where they have a cool kids’ playroom. They also just love running around and spend their energy. In the afternoon they usually just love playing with each other in the house. I noticed they are not very interested in the toys, but more on real things, they can play with a key by the door for hours, or climbing everywhere (sometimes on the dining table), or picking flowers in the yard (by the way this is a real great example of play). They are really fun to watch! They also get a bit of show time in the morning, in the car or at night, but only for a very short while, when we make the compromise to take care of the household chores but they get absolute 0 commercials.

Things are getting so much easier now with the boys. I feel that we are slowing getting our life back. Michael and I still go out every Thursday evening for a dinner or a quick board game. We continue to host the Friday board game night, having fun with his co-workers, and our friends. We usually stay up pretty late till 1 or 2am, but we have Saturday to recover 🙂 I am organising events for the Palmerston North Veg*n Group . Michael is doing much better dealing with the boys, and enjoying them a lot more. They are really precious.

Language Development

Lin and Li are picking up words very fast, and they start talking in short sentences, which is very encouraging. Being twins they seem to talk to each other all the time, which is the cutest thing although most of the words we can’t quite understand. They can understand both Chinese and English.

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Almost 27 months and it’s a great age!

Boys will be 27 months old in a week, and the past few weeks have been so wonderful. Lin and Li got their appetite back after getting over the cold, they are eating really well, Elaine watched them last Thursday and fed them a whole plate of chard, they split a can of baked beans and then each had a slice of home-made bread with peanut butter. I am really happy they are eating their vegetables, it seems to work every time when I offer them green vegetables first before anything else. Tonight they each had a plate of purple cabbage and chard, when Li was done, he tried to steal from his brother’s plate, and within seconds, Michael and I watched them clean up their plates with absolutely nothing on it, they they each had 1 and half bowl of fried rice, boy, they can eat 🙂

I’ve been experimenting with making lots of food at home, bread, soy milk, soy yogurt and tofu. It’s really fun and we are able to have delicious bread for example, with organic mixed flour and lots of seeds, and the price is so much cheaper, actually with the bread machine, it’s not time consuming at all. My recent adventure was to get the EasiYo, a yoghurt maker, to make soy yoghurt, that cuts down the cost for a 250g organic soy yoghurt from NZD$3.25 to about $0.60. And boys love them especially when I mix in blueberries and kiwi, it’s amazing they are used to eating the very sour plaine yoghurt without any sugar or honey. They also love the adzuki bean soup that I grew up with, without sugar. I am buying bulk dry goods now from Chantal Organics and it’s great, as well as their bi-weekly vege box. All of a sudden, my boys have grown up a lot, they bring so many laughters, mainly because they can communicate better, and listen better even though they are very destructive but that is the inevitable part of bringing up boys so I can’t complain.

I take Lin and Li to the playcentre on Tuesday , Thursday and Fridays, they are too busy at the sessions to make trouble so this term I actually get to talk to other moms and be more involved now as the C0-social/PR officer and I really enjoy organising events. On the other hand, Michael and Jessie are leaving town so they asked me to run the Palmerston North Veg*n Society, there’s the Oct 1 World Vegetarian Day planting session and the Vegan Hotpot on Sept 27th. These social events keep me happy and make me feel that I am still have some sort of social life. I find it inspiring to learn from other parents, and the support we get from the playcentre is overwhelming. I am happy that there’s a lot lined up for the school holiday. Thanks to the boys, who are the best sleepers ever, I have some extra time during their afternoon nap, which starts around 12:30pm till 3 or 3:30pm. After Michael comes home from work, I cook dinner and serve it around 6:30pm, then he takes the boys for a shower (yes they are showing now and they are great at it, turning on the faucet on and off on their own), then at 7:30pm they go to sleep and won’t wake up until 6am, if they are not sick. Having twins at this age is actually so much easier even though at times Lin throws some tantrum, but it doesn’t bother me too much. He did it last Thursday and Friday at the playcentre, I took him for a walk one day and the other time, I took him for a drive then he fell asleep on the way back, it’s really wonderful other moms are so supportive and they watched Li while I was soothing Lin.

Boys are very curious and creative at this age, they are more independent when it comes to play, they also know when to go into the corner when they get themselves into trouble. I do not like to punish them or say “no” too much to them (at playcentre parents are very discouraged to say no, instead we need to tell them what we want them to do, I find this really helpful). They are also talking a lot, and learning to negotiate, I find it much easier to nicely ask them to do something, than using force, this is especially true with Lin. He does not take forcing well at all, but he is very sweet and generous if you ask him to do something, like giving food to his brother, it is really funny though that he would sit down and whine or cry if he doesn’t get what he wants, I just ignore him and usually after a few minutes he will come around.

We are getting to know more parents as well, every Sunday we meet up with our neighbor, the couple has a son Neil he’s just about a few weeks older than Lin and Li, three of them played so hard over the weekend running around their beautiful yard I wish I brought my camera! I am so happy that we are living here, even though there’s not a huge Chinese population, there are enough Chinese students at Massey, last night we went to the Mid-Autumn Festival celebration organised by the students, had great fun, Michael even got picked out to participate some game, because he was good-looking, they matched him up with a young student, so I think he had a great time 😛 and also I must be too old to be chosen :(. Friday night is our game night too, Arno, Michael’s coworker and Arnt, Michael’s officemate’s younger brother have been coming here for couple of weeks now. I really love playing board games now, the only problem is we usually tend to stay too late, often till 2:30am.

Overall we are very happy with everything, we are able to go out at least once a week, can get plenty of sleep and have a better network of friends. It seems our hardest time is behind us now.

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