2

Summer School

I had decided before coming to London that V would have to attend some sort of summer school/camp – at least in the mornings. He generally has better days when he’s in some kind of routine.
Many of the places I found were sports or drama camps and I really didn’t feel that they would suit V.
A friend recommended a place in May or June. I checked it out and got in touch with the head. This seemed like a good place for V. The head sent me the enrolment forms, but I never got round to filling them in. *embarrassed face*
V was super busy when LagosDad was here. They went to the Zoo, the aquarium, the Natural History Museum, Hamleys and were generally just out and about.
Once LagosDad left, it was up to me to entertain V. I managed the park a few times. Usually I leave that to our nanny. I took him to LegoLand one day with a whole bunch of friends. He loved it – but it took me two days to recover! We joined the library and basically ran errands together. V never complained. He loves going on the bus, buying ice cream and helping me sort out baby things. But I felt bad for him.
I had tried getting in touch with the head from the summer school again, but my emails and phone calls went unanswered. I subsequently found out that she had travelled and new students couldn’t be enrolled until she was back.
She got back last week, I went round there and V started on Monday. Hooray!
School is from 9am to 1pm. And he settled really well. No tears or anything.
However… There has to be one, right?
Instead of sending a snack to school with him, the children are given fruit at about 10 or 11 am. This is an excellent practice. But V will not eat fruit. He is a very, very poor eater. So he didn’t have snack. And he refused lunch. So when I picked him up, one of the teachers said he hadn’t eaten anything and they couldn’t give him his own snack as it wouldn’t be fair on the other children. I completely agreed with her.
On Tuesday he nibbled a bit of apple. But still wouldn’t eat lunch. He won’t eat pizza or pasta or sandwiches or fish fingers or any vegetables.
On Wednesday they suggested I collect him at 12pm instead of 1pm as he was just watching the others eat and was getting hungry!
I’ve been feeling bad for him, as he’s so hungry when I pick him up, but I also think it may be the only way he’s going to learn to eat new things.
The fact that he actually puts apple in his mouth, and eats a bit of it, is shocking!
Ideally, I’d like to enrol him at this nursery until half-term or even a bit longer – it depends on when we go back to Lagos – but what to do about this eating thing? He won’t even try the lunches (which means he misses out on dessert).

6

The Wedding

One of the biggest plus points of being in London over the summer meant that I could attend my cousin’s wedding. If I were going to have the baby in Dubai, as was the original plan, this wouldn’t have been possible.

The wedding was fantastic – three nights of partying. Everything went according to plan, the entertainment was brilliant and, of course, the bride was beautiful.

So three nights of partying. For everyone else! I couldn’t drink – but I danced until 3 and 4 in the morning! I had to sleep for two days after the reception, but I enjoyed myself.

I met so many people I hadn’t met in years and got to catch up with lots of family.

There was one girl I kept seeing. She looked familiar, but I just couldn’t place her. I asked someone her name and then realised I had no idea who she was.

She very randomly approached me at the reception and told me she was worried that her dress may fall off. Let me just reiterate – I don’t know her and she doesn’t know me. She then went on to tell me that she had recently lost a bit of weight after going to a nutritionist and that she was feeling great. She then said she wanted to lose more because she wants to look good. I heard about her friend who did some diet and how well it worked, etc. I tried to add a comment here and there, but the music was really loud and we could barely hear each other.

Then she asked me where I was staying. I told her. She said she wasn’t far from there and maybe we should meet up sometime. I nodded. She still didn’t know my name! She gave me her phone to put in my details and then gave me a missed call so I had her number.

Then she said: Isn’t it awful that women don’t support each other or share their weight loss secrets? We should meet for a nice big glass of wine and talk about how we can support each other while trying to lose weight.

Ummm…

I told her I wasn’t drinking until September-ish. She made a face.

I told her it was because I’m pregnant.

She tried not to look surprised!

Basically, she had this very long and boring conversation with me because she thought I was fat. Not pregnant!

9

Here I Am!

Hooray! We made it! We’re in London!

We’ve been here about ten days and have just been busy sorting out the flat – getting towels, an iron, hangers, a kettle, etc…  And of course the TV and Internet!

V is loving going to the park every day, feeding the ducks and playing in the playground.

I forgot how much I love London in the summer.  Although I am a hot and sweaty mess!

I am trying to be extra organised. I have been buying clothes for baby and V (school uniforms included) in bigger sizes for LagosDad to take back with him. And I’ve even ordered baby’s crib and a new mattress for the cot in Lagos.

I know I don’t have to do it all now, but I need to feel as though I’m doing *something* to organise myself. Plus the sales are on and it is the perfect time to buy summer clothes!

V has been doing a little shopping with me. He is very happy to come and choose things for the baby (as long as there’s something in it for him).

In fact, the other day we were wandering around John Lewis (he likes to call it, “the shop where you buy your bras”), and we were looking at the all the teddies. He said, “Mama, I think my baby brother would love to have this cuddly bear. I’m going to buy this bear to put in his cot.” A lady was walking past at this time and she stopped to listen to our conversation, with one hand over her heart.  A few seconds later he said, “Mama, you don’t worry about the baby ok? Don’t worry about anything because when the baby cries me and yaya (the nanny) will feed him his dudu (milk). Ok? You don’t worry.”

He really is growing up so fast.

Anyway, am off.

More soon!

11

Where I Am…

Ok, so here’s where I am with things…

The first thing I had to do was book-in with my previous ob/gyn.  I booked-in late, but he is squeezing me in.  That was a huge relief!  We still have to pay the extortionate hospital deposit, and I’m hoping that will be done this week.

The second thing I had to do was find an apartment.  I emailed many agents about dozens of flats.  Zoopla is my new favourite website.  I got some leads.  Some didn’t even bother replying.  Finding a short-let during the summer, in central London and in our budget proved to be a bit challenging.  Especially since we were looking for a three bedroom/two bathroom place.

I found one place which was perfect for us (the living area seems a bit small from the pictures, but it will have to do).  The agent and I were in touch for the longest time.  She wanted all sorts of details, which was fine.  And then when we confirmed that we wanted the place, the amount of paperwork we had to produce was ridiculous.  I’m not sure if it’s because we’re overseas, or if that’s what’s usually done.  While this was going on, I was also in touch with another agent regarding a second place.  The price was the same, but it seemed bigger and was in another area which I would have been happy to stay in.  According to the agent, the landlord of that flat wanted to know if we could pay six months’ rent up front.  No.  Well then, did we have a UK guarantor?  Yes.  What was his job/role/company, etc?  Told him.  Did he/she make circa 100,000 GBP/year?  Was this landlord mental?  Could we send them bank statements?  Yes, we could.  In the end I stopped communicating with them.  Not because I didn’t want that flat, but I got so fed up.  If you have a list of questions, can you please send them to me all at once?  Instead of asking me one, waiting for me to answer (all via email) and then sending me another?  Ridiculous.

Anyway, so the first place is confirmed.  The only thing is, there’s no TV, Internet, bedding, tumble dryer.  We’ll have to organise all this once we get there.  Is it possible to get WiFi without a landline?  And is it the norm to not have all this included?  Or does it just depend on the individual landlord?

The third thing on my list was the nanny’s visa.  She has come to Dubai with us.  And she’s even come to Bali.  When we go to Dubai, the travel agent organises her visa for us and when we went to Bali, she got a visa on arrival.  Getting a UK visa was a whole new ball game for us.  Again, the paperwork we needed was excessive.  The online application was looooong!  And it wasn’t cheap either.  We submitted everything and she had her appointment for her biometrics etc on 7th May.  It took two hours to submit all the paperwork and process everything.  They told her it would take 15 working days.  We waited and waited to hear.  It was after 21 working days that we got the text message that the passport was ready for collection.  And…  She got her visa!  Hurrah!

I’ve also organised all the ‘baby stuff’ I need to take with us.  Baby bottles (new), baby blankets (some new), baby clothes (very few, V’s old ones), etc.  I’ve just shoved it all in an empty cupboard for now.

I’ve ordered all the freight from the UK – Pampers – sizes 3 and 4, new light fittings for the children’s rooms, new bed for V, formula for baby, dog treats (not for baby), toiletries (for baby).

I’ve moved all the furniture round, so that all the baby furniture that was in V’s room is now in the playroom (now the nursery) and so that all the toys that were in the playroom are now all in V’s room.  I’ll probably put the children in the same room eventually, but not just yet.

I’ve peeled all the animal stickers off V’s walls so that LagosDad can have the room painted before we come back.  I thought V would be a little upset to see the stickers go, but he wasn’t.  I guess this is just another sign that he’s growing up!  He actually helped me to peel some of them off.  We worked together and chatted.  I mentioned to him that Papa was going to paint the room before we came back.

A couple of days ago we were talking about leaving and how we all had to pack, etc. and I said something about LagosDad coming with us.  V said, ‘I don’t think Papa should come with us to London.’  Oh?  Poor LagosDad.  He’d be upset to hear that V doesn’t want him around.  I replied, ‘Oh?  But why not?’  V responded, ‘Don’t you remember Mama?  Papa has to paint my room!’

So, we’re nearly there.  We leave in 10 days.  But I haven’t booked flights yet.

I better get on that.

 

2

Reading Stories

As you know, because I’ve mentioned more than a few times, I’ve been worried about how V will take to having a sibling. This is why I had to share the following conversation with you…

V: Mama, will you read me this story?

Me: Sure I will, come up on the bed.

V: Mama, when my baby brother comes, you can read this story to both of us. Ok?

I was so surprised and so proud that I may have had to hide a tear or two.
I know, I know – I’m a sad case!

2

Nothing For Me!

My brother and his wife just had the most adorable baby boy about a month ago.

They live in Jamaica and the baby was born in Miami.  Lucky them!

Anyway, so I ordered a few bits and pieces online for my nephew and had it all delivered directly to them.

After everything arrived, my sister-in-law said that I’d ordered two of the one of the things by mistake and what should she do.  I told her she could exchange it or if baby would need two sets of vests, then to hang on to them.

Instead she sent them back to me (through her dad) for when my baby arrives!

Her dad rang me this morning to let me know that he was back and that he had a parcel for me.  My mum had sent some maternity t-shirts also.

Once I received the parcel, I took out the vests and showed V.  He asked if they were for him.  We looked at them carefully, held them up against him and came to the conclusion that they were too small for him.  I told him they were for when his baby brother turned three months old.  V wasn’t impressed.

He then spotted the bag and asked what was inside.  I told him they were my clothes.  He wanted to know where they had come from and why there wasn’t anything for him!

He was so upset that the baby got something and that he didn’t, that he started crying.

Is it always going to be like this?

4

My Pillow

LagosDad went to Amsterdam for work a couple of months ago.  He asked me if there was anything I wanted.

Yes!  I told him I wanted ham.  Lots and lots of ham (but that has nothing to do with this).

But apart from that, I told him I wanted one of those ‘body pillow‘ things.  Actually, I told him I needed one and that he shouldn’t come back without one!

Poor guy, he did struggle to find one for me (because he was looking in furniture stores?!) – but eventually found me one when he went to a baby store!

It has been a Godsend.  I’m so much more comfortable when I sleep/lie down.  And V has taken a bit of a liking to it too.  He uses it when he’s watching TV in my room.

A couple of nights ago, V got in a bit of a strop before going to bed.  I can’t remember what the issue was – but he was cross with me and decided he was taking my pillow to bed with him!  I didn’t argue and just left him to it.

I headed to bed at about 11pm and stopped by his room to get my body pillow on the way.  There he was – looking oh-so-comfortable in his cot bed with MY body pillow!  I peeled him off it and took the it back without waking him.

At 2am he woke up and started screaming.  He wanted to know where HIS pillow was!  I told him to lie down and I was bringing it.  I went back to bed.

At 7am he stormed into my room, stomped over to my side of the bed, ripped the covers off me and snatched the pillow away!

He brought it back soon after and said, ‘Mama, let’s make a deal.  You use it in the day time and I will use it at night.’  EH?  This ‘deal’ didn’t suit me.  I didn’t say anything to him at the time.

Later in the day I brought up the pillow again.  I told him he could take it to bed with him and that when I went to bed I’d come to his room and get it.

This was unacceptable to him.  He wanted it ALL night.

I told him that only mamas with babies in their tummies could use the pillow at night.  He looked at me and sucked his teeth.

I started to dread the evening.  How would I convince him to go to bed and leave MY pillow behind?  And if he did take it with him, how could I get it back and not suffer the consequences when he woke?

In the end, as usual, I needn’t have worried.  He seemed to have forgotten all about it when he went to bed that day.  He didn’t mention it.  I do think, though, that is because he didn’t see me using it.

Had he seen me with my feet up, all nice and comfy, he would definitely have made a play for it!

Typical, really.  Isn’t it?

2

Pre-School Assessment

Before I even had V, LagosDad and I talked about which school we’d send our children to.  The choices aren’t vast, but there are certainly more than when we were growing up.

I went to the American International School (AIS) from kindergarten until I was 11.  At 11 I went to boarding school in the UK.

LagosDad went to the Indian Language School (ILS) until he was 13.  At 13 he went to boarding school in the UK also.

So, it makes sense that I wanted my children to go to the same school as me (not boarding).  And he wanted his children to go to the same school as him (including boarding).

Let me just say that one of the main reasons that we were sent to boarding schools is that there weren’t many (any?) high school options here at that time.

Anyway – so LagosDad was quite adamant that our children would need a solid foundation and that ILS was the place for them to be.  There was no way in hell I was allowing that.  I know about the Indian school system.  And while they do provide a good foundation, I think there are more important things that children should be learning at the age of three, rather than their times tables (I jest – I don’t know if they learn them at three!)  They are very strict and I don’t want my child(ren) rote learning.  Shouldn’t a three-year-old be learning how to share?  How to use scissors?  How to colour in the lines?

Anyway, after V actually arrived, I started thinking the British system might be better.  Not for any reason.  It was just a thought.

Of course there was lots of talk between all the mums.  The mums that already had their kids in school were like cheerleaders for the educational choices they’d made for their children.  And those that had babies (yes, this talk started from when our kids were about a year old) got more and more confused.

I ended up registering V at both schools – NOT ILS, but AIS and another British one.  LagosDad knew ILS wasn’t going to happen and (finally) accepted it!

I registered V at AIS when he was two and at the British one on the “first working Monday of September after the child turned two” (those are their rules).  He wouldn’t start at the British school until September 2015, but I thought I’d register him anyway because of waiting lists.

After the AIS registration, I received an email from the school saying I had to email them every 90 days to keep the application active.  So I did that – every 90 days without fail.

I started to understand (eventually) that it didn’t really matter what any of the others (mums) were doing with their children and where or when they were going to school.  What mattered was MY child and what suited him.

Yes, the British curriculum is more advanced than the American one.  But in the end, the children all learn the same things – it’s just a different process of getting there.

During this light bulb moment, I began to see (and so did LagosDad) that the American school environment is just what V needs.  He’s a smart kid – I know everyone says that about their children – but I really think he is!  He wouldn’t struggle in a British school.  But because he’s an introvert and a little shy and nervous in large groups of people, AIS is just what he needs.  They focus on the whole child.  They’ll help with his self confidence and maybe even bring him out of his shell a little.

So now we were decided – it was going to be AIS.

I’d heard stories from other mums about how difficult it was to get their kids in and how some kids were on the waiting list for a year and still hadn’t been offered a place.  Apparently, also, the later you apply, the harder it is to get in.

So you can imagine my joy when I received an email from them last month, inviting V to come in for his pre-school assessment.  I called them immediately and made an appointment for 12th May.  They gave me a time of 8.20am, which wasn’t ideal – but I wasn’t going to complain!

I do wonder why you need assessments for a three-year-old.  And I think it’s a little silly – but if that’s how they do things, then that’s how they do them!

So friends told me, ‘If you get the email, you’re basically in.’  And that the assessment is just ‘formality’.  And what they’re looking for is learning difficulties.  One friend told me they asked her son when his birthday was during his assessment.

So I knew, V would have to play with blocks or do a puzzle or something and that the teacher might ask him when his birthday is.  And I also knew that I’d have to wait in the office for him to come back.

I started getting anxious about him going with a stranger to another room.  Would he actually go?  Would he make a fuss?  Have a tantrum?  Then I started worrying that he wouldn’t speak to the teacher.  And if he did speak to her, would he give her the answers she wanted to hear?

I started ‘preparing’ him about two weeks ago.  I explained we were going to AIS and he was going to meet a teacher who would take him to play, etc. etc.  I told him almost every day.  He’s one of those that needs to know what’s coming!

I also asked him when his birthday was (just in case)…

Me: V, when’s your birthday?

V: I’m going to have a Batman party and everyone has to wear black.

Me: Ok, that’s fine.  But when is your birthday?

V: July.

Me: Mmmmm… No it’s not.  It’s in September.

V: No mama.  It’s in July.

Me: No Vins, it’s in September!

V: IT’S IN JULY.  I SAID IT IS IN JULY!

I dropped it for a few days!

Each time I (very randomly) asked him about his birthday he always had the same answer.  I didn’t even know he KNEW the month July!

Last week we had a breakthrough.  I told him I knew his birthday was in September because he shares his birthday month with Rolo (the dog).  After that he was very happy to say his birthday was in September *face palm*

Anyway, so the morning of the assessment dawned and off we went to AIS.  We had to wait in the office for a bit as we were slightly early.  But this was good, because he saw the teacher come in and he saw two other little boys go with her.

Then it was his turn.  She came in and asked for him by name.  I said, ‘Here he is.’  She approached him and said, ‘Hi V!’

And what did V do?

He growled at her.

Yes.  He GROWLED.

I apologised and told her he was being a cheetah that morning.  She tried again, ‘Oh!  Are you a cheetah?’

He growled.  AGAIN!

Luckily she got distracted with the secretary for a moment and I was able to tell him to ‘stop that nonsense’!

I’m actually relieved he didn’t hide behind my legs!

He was reluctant to go with her, but he went.  And he wouldn’t hold her hand, but that’s ok.  She was a stranger, after all!

I waited for him – laughing in my head about him growling, but hoping she wouldn’t think he was nuts and that it wouldn’t affect his chances of getting in!

Finally he was back!  She said he was very quiet and only spoke with a lot of prompting.  Hmmm…  I guess that’s to be expected?

She gave me a list of ‘skills’ that he needs to be able to perform by August and I had to sign the paper and return it when he started.  They were things like being able to go to the bathroom by himself, asking for water or to go to the bathroom, etc. Being able to sit still/concentrate for short periods of time, being able to share toys, eat by himself, etc. etc.

He is quite proficient in most of them, so I’m not worried.  Plus he won’t start in August as we won’t be here, he’ll start in October.  So we have more time to work on things!

What I’m wondering is, does this mean we’re in?  Why would she give me a paper to sign and tell me to bring it back if he wasn’t in?

(Once we left, he told me he did a puzzle in the classroom, but he wouldn’t tell me anything else.  He won’t tell me what the teacher asked him or anything and it’s driving me crazy!)

Anyway, this is one more thing to cross off my list of things to do/worry about!

*Just for your information – I’ve had many people ask me why I don’t want to put V in the school where I taught for six years.  I left four years ago and I don’t know what it’s like there any more.  But you know when you know the inner-workings of a place?  And what the management, etc is like?  Well…  That.  It put me off.