Nina Anton plays
# cologne | Nina & Tobi with Anton and the twins | ESCANUTELLS
Triple mom Nina is (almost) 33 years old, lives with her husbands in Cologne and shares her everyday stories on her inspiring Instagram channel ESCANUTELLS. Her motherhood with Anton was a bit more turbulent last year, because in December 2017 the twins Max (imilian) & Oskar were born. In an interview, she tells how it works with the three boys, where she finds inspiration and which playgrounds in Cologne are particularly great.
Dear Nina, tell us briefly who you are:
I originally come from a small town on the Middle Rhine and moved to Cologne to study, where I've lived since then. Even in the same house, because since my studies I haven't changed address, only the floors :) This is now my 3rd apartment in the house. Tobi and I only moved from the student apartment in the backyard to the next larger apartment and when Anton was 2 years old and the twins were out, we moved into our current apartment on the 5th floor, from where we can finally see the cathedral can. I'll be 33 in May and don't feel that "old" at all.
You originally come from a small town in Rhineland-Palatinate, met your husband in Düsseldorf and will soon be moving to the Cologne area - have you always wanted to go to the country?
Actually, both Tobi and I are very happy in the Belgian Quarter in the middle of Cologne city center. Tobi is a real “Kölsche Jung” and until recently I couldn't imagine leaving our beloved Veedel. I think life in the city center is very practical, especially for new mothers. All three of my children were fans of their stroller and loved sleeping in it. So I wandered the neighborhood every day and spent so much time in the cafes around here. My husband once said that most of the shops in Belgium only exist because I spend all the parental allowance on coffee, cake & Co. :)
Since the twins have become more mobile and spread throughout the apartment, we quickly realized that a city apartment with three wild dwarfs might not be the right thing in the long run. Above all, Anton needs a garden where he can shoot the soccer balls around. So a house was needed, which we found at the end of last year. Before we can move in there is still a lot to be renovated. In the summer, when Anton starts the new kindergarten, we would like to move in.
You have little twins and an almost 4 year old son. How do you think about life with the three boys?
The first months after the twins were born were the hardest. My day consisted of a diapering and feeding marathon. And in the short times in between, I mostly sat on the floor of the nursery and tried to somehow keep Anton and the twins happy. You get really creative when it comes to multitasking. Sometimes I would sit on the seat cushion with a child at my chest while I read a book to Anton at the same time and kept the other baby's seesaw in motion with my foot.
When I stopped breastfeeding and switched to the bottle, I was slowly able to take time off again by going to sports on the weekend or treating myself to a visit to the hairdresser :) Meanwhile, my husband and I are so well-rehearsed, that everyone knows how to handle the 3 when the other is not there. And the grandmas are always ready to help.
We also have domestic help, which I have been provided by the health insurance company due to several herniated discs since the birth of the children. That means I have a lot of support for my family, which also relieves me when it comes to shopping, cooking, laundry, etc. Sometimes she also takes care of the twins when I have a doctor's appointment or when I go to pick Anton up from kindergarten. So here and there there are times when I have no children and come to rest.
Wow! And what did you do before being a mom?
After my studies, I first traveled through Canada and the USA for a year and then started working as a media planner in Düsseldorf. That's where I met Tobi. Since he also likes to travel, we tried to take small and large vacations every year until Anton was born in New Zealand in 2014 :) Since then, our trips have been rather limited, which is also ok. Traveling with children is one of those things. At the beginning we thought it wouldn't be a problem and flew to Canada with Anton on Tobi's parental leave - since then we've been a lot smarter about the topic :)
And then the twins came ...
Yes, when we found out that the planned sibling would become twins, we realized that somehow everything would change from now on. Every day is a challenge. You have to discuss everything twice and three times and your own needs are automatically put on the back burner. My husband paused his basketball for the first time and I set up an organizational team of supporters without whom I would be lost in everyday life. Actually, I like to take matters into my own hands, but if you are suddenly not a single mom, but a triple mom, you have no choice but to accept the help of others.
So here at home it is often like being in a dovecote. In addition to our domestic help, there are often helping hands from the family at the start. We have also tried to restructure our everyday life - especially when it comes to errands. Our water and larger household items such as washing powder, diapers, etc. are delivered once a week and thanks to Instagram etepetete regularly supplies us with fresh organic fruit and vegetables. One grandma often brings bread and stews, the other grandma helps me to do the housekeeping to get the mountains of laundry under control. This is how I get the day-to-day chaos somewhat regulated here.
Respect! You even breastfed the two boys at the same time. Do you have any tips on that?
Because I breastfed Anton for 13 months and see how good all the breast milk has done for him, it was clear that I would breastfeed the twins too. Even before the birth, my midwife showed me how I can put on two babies at once and that worked really well right away. At the beginning I still needed help, i.e. I got myself into position with the twin nursing pillow and Tobi brought me one after the other :) Afterwards I was able to do it myself and breastfeed in parallel until the two were too big for it. It is important to get everything ready before breastfeeding; Water and snacks, as well as the remote control and the mobile phone were always within reach, because a still session with twins can take a while. Later on I alternately breastfed them and got used to the bottle from the 5th month on, which thank God was easy.
While Anton took neither the pacifier nor the bottle, Max and Oskar were very easy to care for. Right from the start, they took the pacifier, drank on my breast and accepted the expressed breast milk from the bottle at night. Here again the proof that a lot is easier with children 2 and 3.
What does a typical day look like for you?
With us it's really like the military, every day is structured from front to back. On a normal day with no appointments, the process looks something like this:
- The day starts at 5 a.m. (on good days only 6 a.m.), Anton and the twins are early risers and wake up independently at this much too early time :) My husband and I take turns getting up every day. One of them makes breakfast for the boys and gets them dressed, the other is allowed to stay in bed for a couple of hours, so we take turns to get some sleep back
- At 8 o'clock we all leave the house; my husband takes Anton to kindergarten and I do my rounds in the park with the twins and go shopping with them
- For a few weeks now I have been taking the two of them to a morning daycare center in the house across the street for 3 hours at around 9:30 am. During this time, I have time for myself, but mostly I dedicate myself to household chores and Instagram (writing bills, answering emails, preparing posts)
- Between noon and 1 p.m., the twins then take a nap at home or in the stroller.
- At 3 p.m. I pick up Anton from kindergarten. From then on we are all at home or, in good weather, on the playground.
- Our evening procedure begins at 5.30 p.m. and takes about 2 hours. Dinner, washing, changing diapers, putting on pajamas, putting to bed.
- From 7.30 p.m., I'll be off work and enjoy the peace and quiet :)
You are currently on parental leave. What's next after that?
I actually thought that after parental leave I would go back to my old job. Since I started my own business through Instagram and things are going very well at the moment, I honestly don't yet know if, when and how much I will work as a media planner again after parental leave.
What do you as a family like to do on a sunny weekend around Cologne?
We spend a lot of time in the city garden, on the playground or sometimes drive into the surrounding forests, as there are great forest playgrounds there, e.g. in the Diepesrath Forest in Bergisch Gladbach.
Do you have a favorite café?
That actually changes for me. In the beginning I always went to the Spatz, then for a while to coffee & cake and at the moment I'm a big fan of the cinnamon rolls in Woyton. We actually go to Miss Päpki at least once a weekend with the whole gang, because Anton can ride his bike or play football in the "alley" and we can sit outside under the awning with the large twin stroller. But I also love Törtchen Törtchen in Apostelstrasse or Deli & Smooth in Brabanter Strasse.
What about your top 5 playgrounds in Cologne?
I would say spontaneously:
- City garden
- Brussels Square
- Media park
- Green belt
- Rathenau square
A question I absolutely have to ask you: How long have you been on Instagram and how did the name escanutells come about?
After Anton was born, I had a severe herniated disc and spent several weeks with Tobi and Anton in a spinal clinic. In the evenings, when the two of them slept next to me and I couldn't sleep because of the pain, I was on Instagram a lot and enjoyed all the beautiful pictures and inspirations in this app. I've always loved taking pictures and slowly started to post the first pictures. At that time there was still a lot of interior from our old apartment. When I got pregnant with the twins, the focus changed a bit and I slipped into the mum blogger, which suddenly gave me completely new opportunities. I benefited from the exchange among all the active mums on Instagram and, thanks to many wonderful cooperation partners, was able to discover new products for me and the children.
Escanutells is the name of the resort in Menorca where we always go on vacation. I had signed up for Instagram under the name a long time ago and have never changed since then. Now he stays too :)
Where do you get inspiration for the topics of interior and kids?
For Interior mostly on Pinterest meanwhile and for Kids Stuff still on Instagram. Thanks to the lovingly designed instastories of many mom bloggers, you are made aware of great products quickly and without long searching around, as if you were watching television.
You like to travel! What has changed in your travel planning after the twins?
In fact, we haven't traveled very often with the twins. The five of us as a large family were once on a press trip with Weleda in an Alpine village in Switzerland - Weleda had kindly booked us a room for our babysitter so that we had support on the way there and back and of course on site.
Shortly afterwards we flew to our holiday home on Menorca for 2 weeks with the children and my sister and her boyfriend. That worked surprisingly well, as the flight time is short and it is not so hot in the Balearic Islands in September either.
Have you already set your destination for your next summer vacation?
We will fly back to Menorca in May and stay there for 2 weeks.
How do you give yourself little (quiet) mom breaks?
I go to the massage regularly and also try to go to the gym once a week. But the many walks with the twins are also a break for me. As soon as the two of them fell asleep, I head for the nearest café and order anything I want :)
In addition, my husband and I have since the twins 1 introduced a data night once a month, sometimes every 14 days. Then the grandma or our babysitter takes care of the (mostly) sleeping boys and we go to eat something around the corner or, for example, to the cinema next week.
What is the most annoying thing about being a mom?
Definitely the little sleep and that you simply no longer have the freedom you had before.
And what do you love about being a mom?
Everything else :) I always wanted children and more than two. As annoying as it is sometimes, the loud, chaotic and unforeseen are all the more beautiful. There's always a lot going on here and Anton, Max and Oskar are all three of them kind of wild and funny in their own way. My husband and I noticed recently that we've definitely laughed more since we became parents. Sometimes the three of them do so crazy things that I get a real flash of laughs. That’s priceless.
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