0

New School

V1 has been at his new school for nearly three weeks now. It’s been a lot for him to get used to – longer days, new teacher, new friends, etc. And it’s been a lot for us to get used to too – new drop-off and pick-up policies, new parents, and a lot more parental involvement than his previous school.

I met with his teacher last week – just to see how he was settling in and coping in his new environment.

I told her that I wasn’t very concerned about academics at this point (it is only pre-school), but more with the social aspect of things. She agreed that academics weren’t something to worry about as he is quick to grasp new concepts and has a good memory. I described some of his behaviours when he was in large groups of children/people. Not only that, but even if I meet someone I know and they want to talk to him. Even if he’s seen them twenty-five billion times. For example, last week a friend of ours said ‘hi’ to him. And he roared at him in response. LagosDad and I later asked him what all that was about. And he said, ‘I roar to protect myself.’ I don’t know if he actually felt that he had to protect himself, or if he was just pretending to be a lion…

Anyway, so his teacher said that his personality is his personality and that can’t be changed. She said that he will not be the kid that gets up on stage and sings a solo in front of the school. And I already knew this. I know. And I know that I can’t change him. I don’t want to. Instead we have to work on ways for him to deal with situations appropriately.

He’s so worried about people looking at him and/or laughing at him, he doesn’t always participate in class or group activities. In fact, even at home he never dances or sings in front of us (though I know he does in front of the nanny). It’s been about eighteen months since he’s let me see him sing or dance.

So… When he sang and danced for me the other day – I had to take the opportunity to record it (with his permission of course).

I was so pleased and so proud, I just had to share it with all of you.

V singing (video)

By the way, how do I embed a video?

3

It’s Like Having Dogs

No one told me. No one told me that having two children would be complete and utter chaos!

I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. And I knew that V1 would require a lot more attention, etc. But I didn’t realise it would be this hard.

I’ve always compared having children to having dogs. And now I have to compare them again.

Having one dog (child) is like having one dog. Having two dogs (children) is like having five!

When (if ever) will order restore itself?

 

4

Sleepy Head

The day I brought Baby V home from hospital was quite terrifying.  I didn’t know how to deal with a baby and an almost-four-year-old. LagosDad was there, of course. And my mum was there too. So I had a lot of help, but I was still overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed and in a lot of pain from my c-section.

That night, Baby V slept for six hours straight. I didn’t sleep (I spent most of the night deciding on whether I should wake him and feed him) – but he slept. He was probably a bit shocked at the change in environment, etc. Anyway, the next morning I was quite proud. Wow – my three-day-old baby had slept for six hours!

The mid-wife arrived. And she looked a bit alarmed when I told her how long he’d slept. She told me that if a baby is under five kilos, they have to be fed at least every four hours (five maximum) or they get drowsy and sleep more and more. I immediately felt like crap. How come I didn’t know that? What if something had happened to my baby?

As it happens, he started waking for his feeds after that. As it got nearer to the time of our 6-8 week check-up, there were a couple of nights when he didn’t wake up for his four a.m. feed, and I didn’t wake up either. I can’t describe the guilt I felt when I woke with a start and realised it had been six hours since his last feed. I’d rush over to the Moses basket in a blind panic to check he was ok.

The morning of our check-ups was hectic. I had to get V1 off to nursery (thank goodness the nanny was there, as my mum had left the previous week), get myself and the baby ready, pack the changing bag and get to the Health Centre before 9.30 a.m. Yes, I packed the bag the night before – but bottles had to go in in the morning.

The GP (a very nice lady) asked me how I was doing (she must have wondered why I was a sweaty mess), and I promptly burst into tears. I told her I was very worried because I’d missed the four a.m. feed again. She really was very kind and said it was ok and not to worry, etc. Easy for her to say! Luckily for me (and my sanity), Baby V was just passed the five kilo mark at this point.

I’m sure we should have been in a routine by then. In fact, I was reading THE Gina Fraud Ford book quite regularly and tried to Baby V into some kind of routine. But it just wasn’t happening. She says baby shouldn’t sleep for more than four hours during the day, so that they can sleep well at night. The problem with that is as soon as we were out and V was in the stroller, he’d fall asleep. Often staying asleep until his next feed, or until we got home! Usually, at night, he would wake and/or cry every five or ten minutes until about midnight. This was one of the reasons why I was looking forward to coming back to Lagos – because it would be easier to get into a routine here.

However, before I could even figure out which of the eighteen suitcases the book was in (to check feeding and sleeping times), my darling boy put himself into his own routine. By seven every evening he’s crying when I change him into his pjs. By twenty past seven, he’s asleep. I give him a dream feed at some point between 10 and 11 pm, and then he sleeps through until at least 6.30 am. Sometimes 8 am. Sometimes even 8.30 am. Sometimes he’ll have a feed at 6.30 am and go back to sleep for a couple of hours.

This is something I wasn’t used to. V1 had to be walked up and down ten times a night. He woke for milk at least twice. And he is STILL a terrible sleeper.

Now I’m telling myself that this must just be a phase (although it’s been nearly three weeks now). How could an eleven week old (which is how old he was when we got back) put himself into this kind of routine? I’ve had one or two other new mums ask me how I did it. And I can’t even give them an answer!

Is there such a thing as too much sleep?

 

 

2

Fisbee – The Elf on the Shelf

Now I know most of you already know about The Elf on the Shelf – I already knew about it too. I’ve just been anxiously waiting for V1 to be excited about Christmas before getting one!

image

When he came home from school yesterday, he went straight to his room. And there he saw The Elf. The nanny and I claimed no knowledge as to how it got there.
I sat V down and started to read the accompanying story. He kept staring at the Elf suspiciously and interrupted every other word with, “What’s he doing here?” “Who is he watching?” “Why?”
I told him Santa had sent him to watch over all of us. And that he was going to report back to Santa on our behaviour every night. V looked at the Elf again and said, “I want to throw him in the bin.”
I know the whole elf thing is meant to be about the children – but I’d been looking forward to this for at least three years! No no no. I couldn’t have this.
So I told him to let me finish the story and he could ask me questions afterwards. (Once a teacher…)
I finished the story and explained it all to him over again. And he got excited about it. Finally!
He named the Elf Fisbee  (which was one of the suggested names in the book). I was pushing for Buddy (like in the movie Elf), but he wasn’t having any of that. And I didn’t want to push my luck!
He happily told LagosDad and his grandparents about Fisbee.
And he was super excited to find Fisbee hanging off a light in the living room this morning. He even went so far as to say, “I’m going to be a good boy all day today!”
So fingers crossed that the excitement continues…
And that he is a “good” boy all day!

0

The Advent Calendar

So here a couple of things I didn’t think about before buying V1 his first chocolate Advent calendar…
1. Ants
2. Melted chocolates
3. Can be used to bribe V1 top do his Kumon
4. Dog might get to chocolate before any of us

So the calendar will be kept in the fridge and only taken out to open the door, discuss the numbers and look at the pictures. This WILL only happen after the Kumon is done. And we’ll have to be careful not to drop any more of the chocolates!

4

Personal Shopping

I’ve put on a lot of weight. I’ve gone up two dress sizes. Yes, the same happened when I was pregnant with V1. But I never really lost all the weight the first time round, so now I’m bigger than I was then. Oh – and my feet have also grown. Again. Last time they grew half a size. This time they’ve grown a full size. So they’re a size and a half bigger than they were before V1 was born!

I’m not thrilled about it. And I know I can lose a lot of it (if I put my mind to it) – but it will take time. More likely it will take time until I actually start doing something about it! It’s very rare that I feel determined to do something. It wasn’t until last year that I started looking semi-normal (for me) again. And that was when V1 turned three! I’ll have to start working at it sooner this time I guess.

Before I go any further, it would be worth mentioning that I’m not trying to offend anyone with my comments about size or shape. I’m not saying that big isn’t beautiful or anything like that. I’m talking about MY size and MY shape and how it makes ME feel. I think if you feel good, you look good. And right now, I’m not feeling good. Got it? Good.

Since Baby V was born (two months ago), I’ve worn leggings every day. Leggings and a maternity t-shirt. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m very comfortable – I won’t deny that. I tried on some jeans about two weeks after he was born. Big mistake. I couldn’t get anything round my waist and zips hurt my c-section site. So I decided I wasn’t going to do that again.

I was tempted to buy lots of winter clothes. You know – layers! But that was pointless as I am only in London for a short time. And I’m glad I didn’t as it’s been so warm. Well, until yesterday anyway.

And now I need summer clothes. All summer long I’d waddle around the shops (buying stuff for the children) admiring the clothes. I wanted to buy loads – but didn’t know what size I’d need. So I didn’t buy anything. And I’m regretting it now!

Anyway – so since I’ve never been this size (very large) or shape (very round) before, I’ve really struggled to buy clothes. I didn’t know how to dress for my shape or what would look good/what I could get away with.

The first thing I did was go to John Lewis to get myself measured so I could buy new bras. I couldn’t wait to get back into underwired bras! After trying on about ten bras, the ‘fitter’ (I don’t know what else to call her) told me my size. She then went on to tell me that they had NOTHING in stock in that size. Lovely. So I went to House of Fraser. I got fitted again. Turns out I wasn’t the size the woman in JL told me, and I was actually another size. But that size wasn’t in stock at House of Fraser. I was ready to have a meltdown. All I wanted was a bra! The lady at House of Fraser gave me another size option. The fit wasn’t perfect – but it would do.

I’d been thinking about making myself an appointment for a personal shopper at John Lewis or Debenhams. To help me with my clothing dilemma. I’ve been to John Lewis A LOT over the last few months – and while I’ve liked a few things I’ve seen – I hadn’t liked loads. So I decided not to do it there. I don’t know why I decided against Debenhams, I just did. So while I was in House of Fraser that day, I made a Personal Shopper appointment for the following Wednesday. The lady who took the appointment asked me if I’d mind a male stylist. I was quite happy with that. In fact, I preferred it.

The next morning I put on my new bra. And I was really upset. It just didn’t fit properly. It had looked alright in the store – but terrible at home. So I went to Bravissimo. Why I didn’t go there in the first place, I just don’t know. The lady who did my fitting was brilliant and I left with four new bras. Hooray!

So the morning of my personal shopping appointment dawned. I was nervous. What would it be like? Would it be like a Trinny and Susannah thing? Would I look like a different person (yes please!)? Would I get to walk round and choose stuff with the stylist? Would he laugh at me and my huge arse? Would he advise me on what I should and shouldn’t wear? Clearly I had too much time to think about it!

Anyway, so I arrived fifteen minutes early and waited. And waited. A man finally showed up. He looked at me and smiled and said, ‘Hi’. I said ‘Hi’ too. And then he said, ‘I haven’t seen you for a long time.’ Errr… Or ever? I told him we’d not met before. He looked a bit confused but shrugged it off.

He led me to a private dressing area for my consultation. I explained that I had just had a baby and needed summer clothes – day and evening. The consultation was about ten minutes long. He said it would normally be longer, but because there’s only winter wear on the shop floor there weren’t going to be too many choices! Great. He told me to wait there and that he’d be back in about thirty minutes with a whole bunch of stuff to try on. That was fine, but I was confused. How was he going to know what I will or won’t wear? He didn’t know that I try to avoid sleeveless tops (the arm holes always gape and my back fat isn’t a pretty sight). He didn’t know that I like sparkly things. Or that I didn’t want to wear any short tops. What the hell was he going to bring me?

When he came back, he brought a rail of clothing. I immediately saw things that I hated. And a couple of things that I quite liked. On the whole I didn’t think he really ‘got’ me. But how could he have? I tried everything on anyway and I have to admit, I was quite impressed with some of the things. He told me I had to dress for the body I have. Not the body I had. NO SHIT? REALLY? Isn’t that why I was there? He also told me that if I wear long tops and t-shirts, my legs would look shorter. Oh yeah! I saw that immediately. I’d much rather have my arse hidden away, but that wouldn’t always be possible. I wondered why he hadn’t bought me some of the evening wear I’d seen when I’d walked around earlier. Did he think I was too old? Too fat? Wouldn’t need it? I let it go and decided I could always try stuff on on my own at a later time.

So he did quite well. I bought quite a lot. I won’t tell you how much I spent or how many items I bought. But I will tell you that because it was all mostly summer wear, it was pretty much all on sale!

The experience has bolstered my confidence a little. I feel a bit better about going into shops and trying on (and buying) larger sizes than I’m used to.

But I am going to miss my leggings and maternity t-shirts once I’m back in Lagos!

 

 

0

Right on Time!

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I (like millions of other women) immediately (and excitedly) calculated my due date.

Baby’s due date was August 31st. I was, to be honest, a little disappointed. I checked to see if I’d made a mistake. I checked to see if there was any way I could change my due date to September 1st!

Yes. School cut-off dates. Yes. Many people thought I was (and still am) mental. No one else seemed to think that being the youngest in the class would be a disadvantage. In fact, many thought I was being a bit silly and that it didn’t matter at all. But it does matter. I’ve SEEN it in classrooms time and time again. And I found this article, which just proved my point.

As you probably read, because of some issues, I had to see a specialist early on in my pregnancy. When I saw the her, she told me that if I was going to have a c-section, it would have to be about ten days to two weeks before my due date. Not having a c-section actually didn’t cross my mind. I felt it was a matter of ‘better the devil you know’.

This made things more difficult. So I would definitely have a ‘young’ baby (it makes sense in my head) and I had to choose which day he would be born. How would I choose?

I spent the next few months annoying the hell out of LagosDad. Which date would we choose? Would it be a ‘good’ day? Etc. The one date that I was thinking about didn’t thrill me much as we know many children with the same birthday.

Having the baby in Dubai didn’t happen (a good thing, I think) and I saw my consultant in London at thirty weeks. I told him that I really wanted to have a September baby. He knew why immediately. He suggested just waiting to see what happened. He said we’d schedule the c-section for September 1st, unless I went into labour before, of course.

I was ecstatic. I was in with a chance of having a September baby!

I reported this latest piece of news to my parents and my in laws. Forgetting that they don’t actually give a crap and that having a September baby isn’t all that important to them. Instead my mother-in-law gave me a list of (August) dates which were ‘meant to be very lucky’. And told me that the first few days in September were very unlucky. I was livid – combine that with raging hormones and… Well you wouldn’t have wanted to see me.

My mum was in India at the time. I asked her to PLEASE go and see our pundit (priest) and ask him if there was any truth in what my mother-in-law was saying.

I’d like to say that I don’t believe in all this lucky and unlucky nonsense, but the fact of the matter is that if I can do something that may be better for my children, then I will – even if it’s reluctantly! Also, sometimes my mother-in-law’s facts need double-checking.

Anyway, so my mum came back to me to say she (my mil) was right (damn!) and that September 1st would be ok as long as it was before mid-day. Relief. I was scheduled for 8 am.

Everything was back on track. Unless I went into labour before.

On the 29th of August I was feeling like hell. My legs hurt. My head hurt. I didn’t want to move or go anywhere or do anything. I just wanted to sit in front of the television with a pile of Magnum ice creams (only the Classic kind). I went to bed early and felt much better on the 30th.

That day (the 30th), LagosDad and I went to the Lindo Wing for some blood tests. Then we went out for lunch and to run one or two errands. The next day was my due date, but this baby was going to stay in until September 1st!

Alas, I was wrong.

Lots of (possibly unwanted and too much) information coming your way now – so you may not want to read any more.

I woke up on the 31st morning and needed to pee (for the millionth time). And I saw that I was bleeding. I knew I’d bleed a bit, but I didn’t realise it would be quite that much. I nearly had a breakdown (in private). My first thought (and I’ve not told anyone this) was that there was something wrong with my baby. All I could think about was the bleeding at the beginning of the pregnancy. Once I snapped out of it, I figured that my waters had broken.

I woke LagosDad and my mum. I rang the hospital to tell them I was coming in. And it was during that conversation that I realised that my waters hadn’t broken before. I knew that because they broke during the phone conversation!

I was a little concerned about a few things. All my fault for leaving it so late – but I was going to shave my legs and have my bikini line done, as well as get a mani and pedi that day. I even thought I’d try and fit in a blow dry!

How could I go to the hospital and have people see me when I hadn’t ‘groomed’ myself?! I was so embarrassed! Apparently, according to the midwives, they’d seen worse – so I was ok. Phew.

They monitored baby’s heart rate and everything was fine. My consultant came in to see me and said we could still wait and see what happened.

It was about half past eight in the morning. How long did he think I was going to wait? I hadn’t had any contractions. I didn’t feel anything really.

So I decided, if the baby wanted to come that day, he was coming. Whether we I liked it or not. And I told the doctor to take him out.

Vinay was born by emergency c-section on his due date. Everything happened fast that day. People were rushing around. With Varun, it was very different. Everyone was so relaxed and laid back. I found myself wondering why it was all taking so long and trying not to twiddle my thumbs (in between bouts of throwing up because of the anaesthetic).

Once he was born (9.41 am), my mum and my in laws all said that he was born on a very, very lucky day. It was Ganesh Chaturthi. I had to accept that this was a good thing!

One thing though… And I asked LagosDad about this… See he, his brother and his dad all have terrible time-keeping skills. What’s worse than terrible? Whatever it is – it’s worse. So what I wanted to know is, if all three of them are ridiculously late for everything, how come both his sons arrived right on time?

 

2

Enjoying It

Baby V is nearly two months old now. In fact, now that I look at the date, I see he’ll be two months old tomorrow.

He’s growing fast and really is quite adorable. Even at four in the morning (sometimes).

A few weeks ago while we were having a chat (yes, Baby V and I), my mum asked me if I was ‘enjoying him’. I was a bit confused by the question. He’s a baby, of course I’m enjoying him. But when I went to sleep that night, I started to think about what she had asked me (I really should have just gone to sleep – God knows I get so little of it these days!).

When V was born (V1. Big V. I never know what to call him.) I didn’t have to think about anything apart from him. Sometimes I took him out with us, sometimes I left him at home with a babysitter (I’m talking about when he was a newborn – before we went back to Lagos when he was twelve weeks old). At the time I’m sure I agonised over every decision, but looking back on it – I literally had nothing else to worry about. Apart from going back to Lagos with a baby and how to deal with a whole host of different issues.

And this time?

Apart from (again) agonising over all the usual baby decisions – Should I bathe him if he had a bath yesterday? Should I wake him for a feed? Will that rash go away? Is it because of the baby products? Should I change the products? Well, they were good enough for his brother, why shouldn’t he use the same? (By the way, it turns out I did need to change the products) Never ending.

I’ve been worrying about V1 as well. How is he coping? Is he getting enough attention? Have I told him to stop talking too many times today? Is he watching too much television? Is he settled in nursery? Why won’t he eat anything apart from chocolate? Why is he having another meltdown? Have I got all his school uniform for when we go back? Is he missing too much? Will all the other kids be fully settled? Why won’t he leave the house? Why does he want to wear the same bloody vest every day? Why is he obsessed with buying toys? And on and on and on.

Baby V hasn’t had his eight week vaccinations yet. Because of that I don’t want to take him on the bus and have people breathe all over him. So anywhere we go – we walk. There and back. Because of that I can’t always take V1 because he can’t manage the long walks. The nanny is here and being super helpful – but she can’t handle both children (and I wouldn’t want her to) at the same time. So one of them has to come out with me at all times. To be honest, it’s easier to take Baby V. Mostly because he doesn’t talk! But it means I have to walk whether I want to or not. It’s much easier now that LagosDad is here (after being away for six weeks). V1 and he are busy doing all sorts of things from Lego to errands in Marks & Spencer. Basically, what I’m complaining about is the logistics and having to think everything through three times before committing to a plan! It’s not a big deal – it’s just something I have to get used to!

In addition, whenever I’ve been to London before or gone to Dubai, I’ve lived with my parents. Even when V1 was born. Now we are renting the flat we are in. LagosDad hasn’t been here much and things I’ve never had to do have come up. I realise that these are small things – but these are things that I’ve never had to do before… Reading gas and electricity meters and paying the bills. Paying council tax bills. Paying Internet, cable TV and phone bills.

Being able to pay everything online makes it all so easy – but it’s just extra things to think about!

It’s all been a bit overwhelming – but not unmanageable!

In spite of all that, I’m trying to convince LagosDad to let us stay here until Christmas. But he’s not having any of it.

While I’m stressing myself over everything (as usual (I’m a worrier, I have to face it)), I have to admit that I don’t enjoy everything about motherhood. I don’t enjoy waking up at four am. I don’t like that I’ve not had a chance to catch up on some of my favourite TV shows. I don’t enjoy changing dirty nappies and being vomited on.

But, I love my Baby V (and my Big V). I love talking to him and getting a reaction. A coo or a smile. I love massaging and bathing him. I love kissing his nose and counting his toes. Looking at him melts my heart.

So yes, I am enjoying him.

And I wouldn’t swap places with anyone. Unless, of course, they had five nannies.

 

 

10

A Day Out

I’ve been feeling so guilty about not spending any time with V (and about all the negative attention he’s been getting) that I decided to take him out yesterday. Luckily my mum is still here and was able to watch Baby V for the day.

I collected him from nursery and took him out to lunch on the High Street.

Lunch on the High Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took the bus from St John’s Wood, went down Baker Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and got off at Piccadilly Circus and walked through Leicester Square.  Leicester Square has become such a dump! Or has it always been that way? Maybe I was too young/drunk to notice?

We walked past Cafe de Paris…

Cafe

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh… The (very hazy) memories! I hate to think about how much money I spent on disgusting Bazooka Joe shots!

Anyway, we finally reached our destination…

London Transport Museum

 

 

 

 

I hadn’t been to Covent Garden in years. I forgot how much I loved going there. I was desperate to wander around, but V was having none of it!

V was in heaven. He was surrounded by buses!

Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

And their wheels!

WHEELS

 

 

 

 

 

 

And he got to ‘drive’. He couldn’t ask for more!

20141002_143112 Driving

2

One Month

So, it’s been a month.  A month and two days since I’ve been a mum of two.

I’ve wanted to update my blog before, but I’ve not really had the time!

My mum arrived about three weeks before Baby V did and she’s still here.  She’s planning to leave next week, but I’m doing all that I can to keep her here for longer!

V2 is quite a good baby.  He feeds about every four hours.  We have good days and bad days.  And of course, good nights and bad nights.  There are nights he just won’t settle and there are others where he just passes out!

V1 has been… Ok.  That’s really the only word I can use to describe him. He’s fine with his brother. He helps me with choosing clothes and changing nappies (providing Octonauts isn’t on) and likes to feel needed.  But he has been acting out also.

While LagosDad was here, V1 was getting a lot of attention – they did a lot together.  Bus rides, Science Museum, etc.  LagosDad left on 11th September and V1 is really missing him. He wasn’t happy to start school. He wasn’t happy to go to the park. He wasn’t happy to do his Kumon, nothing.  He has given us all a very rough time. His whole attitude sucked.

He has made me so cross sometimes – but I have to just stop and remind myself… New country, new school, new environment, new sibling, no LagosDad, not as much time with Mama as before. And then I feel like a crap mum!

We’ve had a few visitors come by and see Baby V. During this time V would shout at anyone talking while he was watching TV (including the midwife and health visitor). He would also climb into my lap after I fed Baby V and ask me to burp him (gross) and stroke his hair.  Poor guy – it made me feel so guilty that I wasn’t spending enough time with him.

He’s kind of settled down now – he still has his moments, but he has become better.