What Can Your Baby Do?

As I’ve mentioned (just once or twice) before, Vindoo was born underweight.  And it wasn’t until he was about 6 months old, that the health visitors at the baby clinic said he was at a ‘normal’ weight.  I was a bit worried that maybe he wouldn’t ‘pick things up’ as quickly as he should…  After all, my mum is forever telling us how my brother was up and walking at 7 months (THANK GOD Vinay wasn’t).  And don’t you know, my sister was potty-trained by the time she was 4 weeks old?  FFS.

My mum rings every day and asks, ‘What new things is my baby (yes, her baby) doing today?’  He does lots of new things but… Not *every day*!  Then she’ll ask, ‘Does he know where his feet are?’  Um… No.  ‘If you give him a tissue or a napkin and tell him to wipe his mouth, can he?’  Er… No – he prefers to eat them.  ‘Can he say ‘Mama’?’  YES!  Yes!  Yes, he says mama.  I felt disappointed telling her that he says ‘mamamamamama’ – but not referring to me.

Anyway, so now Vinay is 10 months old, I find myself thinking about my friend’s daughter at 10 months (last summer) and all the things she could do.  She was walking.  She would say ‘tatu’ for ‘thank you’.  If you asked her where her nose, eyes, mouth, feet, etc were, she would point to them and repeat some of the words.  She’s 22 months now and her mum does phonics with her on a daily basis… *eye roll*  Her mum is a teacher – she *is* one of those mums (and she knows I love her)!  And I worried some more – am I not doing enough with him?  Should I be teaching him more things?  He is nearly a year old…  Maybe he should know more?  I know I’m not meant to compare him to other babies, because they are all different.  As a teacher I’ve lectured enough parents about comparing siblings!

Then I started thinking about all the things he *can* do.

(Before you continue reading, please know that I tried VERY hard to get photos to illustrate all my points – but when he sees the camera, he makes it his mission to get it and everything else is forgotten.)

He can crawl and stand and is using a walker now.  Yes, I know – lots of 10 month old babies can (and do).  But this is *my* list!

He ‘calls’ Rolo – eeehheeehhh


(It’s an old picture.  And the Bumbo is purple because we borrowed it!)

The two windows in his room face our garden and the neighbours’ garden – and he likes to look at the birds.  And if you ask him, ‘Where are the birds?’  He looks out of the window for them.  And if there aren’t any, he calls them – the same way he calls Rolo.


If he’s being carried, he points to where he wants to go.  Points and whines.  A lot.  Oh yes – there’s a lot of whining.

His favourite book is ‘Guess with Jess’.  And if you ask him, ‘Where’s Jess?’ he goes crawling off to the book basket and takes each book out one by one until he finds the correct one.


He picks up any mobiles or remote controls and puts them to his ear and says ‘Hey’ (the sound, not the word) as though he’s on the phone (before putting it in his mouth).


(Please excuse the dribble all over his chin and trackies!)

If you ask him to show you the light, he looks up and points at the light.

You can ask him, ‘Vinay, where’s the monkey?  Go find the little monkey.’  And he’ll find the little toy monkey.  


He has started ‘dancing’ to music – he flaps his hands and does a little bounce.

And he has started waving goodbye!

Actually, I think he can do rather a lot!  He never ceases to amaze me 🙂  Maybe I am a little silly to worry…?




To Invite? Or Not to Invite? That is the Question…

You probably already know (because I’ve been banging on about it for weeks) that it’s Vinay’s first birthday soon and I’m trying to organise his party.  I actually think that his birthday should be about *him* – but it seems that I was very wrong and it’s about every one (yes, you *do* detect a note of sarcasm)…  

Anyway, while looking at the list (again) and adding more names to it (again), I began to wonder if it was *really* necessary to invite those two children whose mum I kind of know through those other people that I don’t know that well.  The children’s names?  No, I don’t know…  And what about that other woman?  The one I know through a friend of a friend?  Should I invite her and her two kids also?

Yes – I will invite them.  I will invite them all.  Keep reading to see why.

It was 1989 and my mum and I were planning my 11th birthday party.  We were making a list of all my friends and I was writing the invitations with her.  I told her that there was a boy in my class that I didn’t want to invite because I didn’t like him.  She didn’t say, ‘Ok darling, whatever you like.’  She told me that if I didn’t invite everyone in my class, there would be no party.  I sulked a little, but wrote out his invite anyway.  When all the invitations were ready I took them into school and asked my teacher if I could give them out.  I can remember exactly how the furniture in the classroom was positioned.  I can even remember where some of my friends sat.  I walked up and down the aisles of the classroom and happily handed out my invites.  As I got closer to the desk of the boy-I-didn’t-want-to-invite, I felt a bit annoyed.  Why did I have to invite him anyway?  He was rude, arrogant and obnoxious (he really was – I remember) and I didn’t want him at my party.  I reached his desk and told him that I had forgotten his invitation at home and would bring it for him the following day.  He didn’t say anything.  He never asked me for it and I never gave it to him.  *Hangs head in shame*

I never really thought about it again until I started teaching.  When I first started teaching in Lagos, the school had been open a year and there were only 6-10 children in a class.  And I would see, on a regular basis, children handing out birthday party invitations to their peers and one or two of their classmates would be excluded.  Those poor children didn’t know why they weren’t invited or what they had done wrong and their feelings were hurt.  Therefore, as soon as we (my TA and I) realised someone had party invitations, we took them off the child and put them into each child’s homework folders ourselves.

It was during these few years that I remembered what I had done all those years ago.  I feel so incredibly guilty.  How could I have done something so heartless?  I’m not a nasty person…  I cry during the Ellen DeGeneres Show, for goodness sake!

So, keeping this in mind – I will invite those children I don’t know that well.  And their mums who I also don’t know that well.  Because I don’t want anyone to feel left out – and I don’t want anyone to feel like the boy-I-didn’t-want-to-invite must have felt.

If he ever reads this, I hope he knows how sorry I am 😦


The Gallery – Travel

The theme at Sticky Fingers this week is Travel.  

I have been very fortunate as I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot.  Therefore, I didn’t really know where to start!  After thinking about it, I decided I’d focus on the trips Hub and I have taken together (before baby).

Six months after we got married, we went back to Bali for my Dad’s 60th birthday.  There were 10 of us staying in the most beautiful villa.  Hub and I had grand plans to see all the things we didn’t have time to see during our wedding (it was so incredibly busy), but the villa was just too gorgeous to leave!  I have never experienced hospitality anywhere like in Bali.  I think the Balinese people are so soft-spoken and gentle.  Have tried to convince Hub to move there – but he hasn’t agreed.  Yet.


August 2007 – Jamaica.  My brother had just moved to Kingston a couple of months before we went.  We spent a couple of days in Kingston and went to Negril for 3 days.  Negril is beautiful!  We stayed at Rockhouse Hotel, which was paradise.  The picture below is the view from our personal sunbathing rock.


We went back to Kingston at the right time because Hurricane Dean was heading our way!  The hurricane hit – but we were all fine.  Luckily the eye of the storm missed us.  However, when we were leaving Kingston, the scene at the airport was one of utter chaos!  Our flight was meant to be at 10am, but didn’t take off until 3am!


For Christmas and New Year that year we went to South Africa.  I was amazed that a place like Cape Town could be so European and on the same continent as Lagos.  They had roads without potholes!  And street lights that worked!  We spent a week in Cape Town, then went to Hazy View for 2 nights.  We visited an Elephant Sanctuary there, which was a great experience and then we spent a week in Johannesburg.  We spent a lot of time sunbathing, sightseeing and eating.  I think the most memorable place we went to was Robben Island – where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner.



Summer 2008 was very special.  My grandmother decided that she didn’t see her family nearly enough and she took all of us on an 11 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise.  There were 17 of us and we got to see many new places – Pompeii, Ephesus, Istanbul, Santorini, Rhodes, Athens (to name but a few!).  Hub and I spent four days in Rome on our own first – we walked *everywhere* for the full four days and loved every minute of it.



That Christmas, Hub decided we were going to stay in Lagos for Christmas and New Year since we had done a lot of travelling already.  The Christmas period is *very* quiet – for work and socially.  We were pretty bored and friends persuaded us to join them in Beirut for New Year.  We were there for four days.  We had a brilliant time.  We did a little sightseeing…


And a *lot* of partying!


In the summer of 2009, friends of ours were getting married in Miami.  And yes, we were going 🙂  We went a few days before the wedding started and stayed on a few after it had finished.  Again, we were out every night, hungover every day and really enjoyed ourselves!  I have so many pictures, I didn’t know which one to choose – so I chose the one of all my shopping bags.  Aventura Mall is like heaven on Earth!


Christmas and New Year that year we spent in Vegas.  We weren’t really planning on going anywhere, but after the IUI treatment didn’t work (long story – read here if you want!) we just booked and went.  We stayed at the Wynn Las Vegas (I want to live there).  We went to the Grand Canyon, the Aquarium, shows, restaurants, clubs and casinos.  I think I most enjoyed being asked for my ID at 7.30am at a BlackJack table 🙂  I told Hub that when I die, I want him to scatter my ashes over the Strip!


We realised I was pregnant once we were back, so that was the end of all our travels…  I’m hoping we can start planning a holiday for after Vinay’s 1st birthday!

Dear So and So… Please Let Me Sleep

Dear Hub,

When I worked, I woke up at 5.30am *every* morning.  I ensured that I did not wake you while I was getting ready. 

I did not open and close various cupboard doors and drawers (I took my clothes out the night before).  

I did not slam the bathroom door (I turned the handle first).  

I crept around like a little mouse, walking on my tiptoes (I did not sound like an elephant had been let loose in our bedroom).  

I did not answer my phone while you were sleeping (I went to another room). 

I made sure that I got everything I needed before I left (I did not leave and come back 6 times).

Yours forever, Wife x

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear Rolo,

I know you are a dog, but I have always said that you are like my first child.  You sleep in our room and yes, on our bed.  But that does not mean you have to bark at *every single* noise you hear in the night.  I know you are frightened of thunder, but just curl up on the bed with us – you don’t need to bark! 

STOP it!

Your owner.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear BlackBerry,

Please stop ringing and pinging while I’m still asleep.  

I do love you to bits – but sometimes I forget to put you on silent.

Don’t know what I’d do without you…

Love, Me

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Dear So and So...

All The Things I Said I’d Never Do

Before I had a baby (or was even pregnant) I think I may have been one of those women that was quite ‘judgy’…  How could she take their baby to her bed at night?  And how could she give her child a pacifier?  I had decided that when I had a baby (and ohhh, how I wanted one), I would do things quite differently to others.  Below is the list of things I said I would or wouldn’t do when I had a baby.  Did I stick to it?  And has it affected him in any way?  

Here they are:

1.  I would breastfeed baby.

2.  I would not rock, walk or bounce baby to sleep.  Ever.

3.  I would not allow baby to sleep in my bed.

4.  I would not let baby use a pacifier (or ‘chupa’ as they are called in my house).

5.  I would not take baby for walk in buggy to try and get him to sleep.

6.  I would not let baby sleep on top of me.

7.  I would not carry baby too much so that he gets used to it and wants to be carried all the time.

8.  I would follow Gina Ford, Baby Whisperer and any other parenting books I had so we could get into a routine as soon as possible.

9.  I would not pick up crying baby from cot – he will learn to soothe himself and go back to sleep.

10. I would follow Annabel Karmel weaning advice ‘to the T’.

So now… The Truth.  Keep reading to see what I did or didn’t do!

1.  I did not breastfeed my baby.  I’m not going to go into it right now – but here is my story if you want to read it.


2.  Baby has been rocked, walked and bounced to sleep and he is still sometimes walked.  I tried *really* hard not to do any of these things…  But you know, whatever works!


3.  Baby has slept in my bed.  We travelled to India and to London when he was six months old.  We were away for seven weeks and didn’t have a cot for him in either place – so he slept in our bed – and he slept really well!  Even before we left, there were nights when I brought him in to bed because I was just so tired!


4.  Baby used pacifier.  And still does.  While I was pregnant, I had no intention of buying pacifiers.  And then someone told me that I should have them just in case.  And also since we travel – it would be easier on his ears during landing. (Little did I know that he prefers to scream than take his chupa)  So I bought a set of two.  And at two weeks old, when I was worried he was ill (he wasn’t), the doctor suggested I give Vindoo a chupa to help settle him.  He actually wasn’t happy to take it at first, but that soon changed.  He uses one mostly when he’s tired and cranky and about to fall asleep.


5.  I did take baby for a walk to try and get him to sleep.  Only a handful of times.  And it worked.  But only until we got back home!


6.  Baby did sleep on top of me.  Sometimes that was the only way to get him back to sleep when he woke up.  He doesn’t do it anymore though!


7.  I *loved* carrying Vindoo when he was a newborn.  He was so tiny and (still is) perfect.  How could anyone *not* want to carry him?  It was my mum, more than anyone, who kept telling me not to get him used to it…  But I did it anyway!


8.  I read a whole bunch of parenting books while I was pregnant and was quite gung-ho about following a routine.  But when he actually arrived – it was so difficult!  Luckily, he quickly fell into a routine.  Feeding every 2 hours.  And then 3 and 4 hours.  My problem started when he was about 14 weeks.  He was feeding every four hours, which was great – but they were never the *same* four hours!  I didn’t know what was happening from day-to-day.  So I decided I would follow the Gina Ford feeding and sleeping times.  It was great 🙂  But he still doesn’t sleep through the night.


9.  If you are a mum that let your baby cry it out and put himself to sleep – Well done to you!  I wanted to do that.  I just couldn’t.  There were nights when I ended up in tears while listening to Vindoo crying.  I just couldn’t do it.


10.  Weaning.  I started feeding Vindoo baby porridge and baby rice from when he was about 5 months.  He loved it!  Once he turned six months, I started on the carrot puree and the others suggested in Annabel Karmel’s weaning books.  A few days later, we left for Bombay.  We were staying with my grandmother – and it was a full house.  My aunt, uncle and cousin were there too.  And my parents.  And everyone ridiculed me for making the poor child eat vegetable and fruit purees.  And how could he eat dinner at 5pm and sleep at 7pm?  Together they convinced me to let him eat what we all ate (without the salt, sugar, masalas and chilli obviously).  He eats really well (touch wood) and likes almost everything.


Now…  The question is – have any of my choices affected him negatively in any way?

Nope – not at all!  He is happy and healthy 🙂  I suppose the fact that he still needs to be walked to sleep sometimes isn’t a good thing…  But the only thing I’m a bit worried about is the pacifier thing.  I figure we’ve still got a few months to deal with that.  Suggestions for weaning him off it would be very much appreciated!



The Gallery – Grandparents


This is my maternal grandmother. She will be 81 this year.  She is the most elegant, graceful woman I know and never has a bad thing to say about anyone.  When we go to Bombay, she feeds us like we’ve never eaten before – and the food is always delicious.  She knows how to text.  She learnt how to use a computer and send emails and even has a FaceBook account!  She is a little forgetful though, and still needs help sometimes.  And just recently, all her grandchildren bought her a BlackBerry so we can message and send her pictures.  And she’s got to grips with it quite well!  She does her accounts every morning without a calculator.  I asked her why – she said she needs to keep her brain ticking!

I took Vindoo to meet her this year – when he was six months old.  Her first great-grandchild!  

The picture below was taken in March when we were in Bombay (my mum organised a party to introduce Vindoo to everyone).  

Four Generations!


Listography: 5 Things I Want To Do This Summer

I can’t believe it’s Summer already…  It really doesn’t feel like it – mostly because I don’t usually spend my summers in Lagos (oh London, how I miss you).  I suppose it’s a good time to start checking things off my list of things I want to do over the next two months…

1. Organise Vindoo’s First Birthday Party

The thought of his birthday party is really making me nervous.  The first birthday is a pretty big deal, and I’ve been told come to understand that it is NOT just about the birthday boy – but about his parents and grandparents also.  I have, so far, got the decorations: banners, balloons, candles, tableware and printed the invitations.  So – what’s there to worry about?


* Invitations are printed already – with our home address – because I plan on having the party in our garden.  September is, however, still rainy season and I’m taking a pretty big risk.  I may just move all our furniture out and have the party indoors.

* Since I now know that the party is not just about (God forbid) the birthday baby, I have about 30 kids on my list so far and the age range of children that will be attending is 6 months – 9 years.  How to keep everyone entertained?

* Gift bags!  We went to a first birthday party a few weeks ago where Vindoo got a huge Finding Nemo beach towel, Go Fish card game, a Cars alarm clock, a Toy Story CD and a whole bunch of chocolates and sweets.  Organising this is a little more difficult since I’m in Lagos.  I have ordered half the gift bags and am looking into the second half.

2. Continue to Try and Lose Weight

Seriously?  What does one have to do to shift the weight?  I’m working out, watching what I eat, using a Slimpod and will soon be using Hotpants.  Come ON!  What’s taking so long?


3. Get the House Organised

There are many little things that need to be done at home.  Stupid things like buying light bulbs, light fittings and taps.  I need to get the store-room cleaned and organised as well.  Hub keeps on at me about it.  In the past (before baby), I was leaving for school at 6.20am and not getting back until 4pm.  I was too tired to do things like that.  Now I’m home all the time and have help for Vindoo – I have no excuse!

4. Plan a Holiday

We haven’t had a holiday since we went to Vegas for Christmas and New Year 2009-2010.  I’ve been to London and India – but those don’t count!  I’m thinking Bali or Zanzibar or somewhere like that…  We don’t have to *go* this summer, but I’d like to plan it and book it – just so Hub can’t back out!  Then we need to decide what to do with Vindoo… Should we take him?  Or leave him with his grandparents?  And if we leave him with grandparents, which set do we leave him with? (Am stressing already – might be easier to NOT have a holiday!)


5. Decide What I Want To Do With My Life

I know I don’t want to go back to school yet.  The thought of having to wake up at 5.30am and go and come back at 4pm is just too much to bear.  BUT I miss the independence that working brings.  So what should I do?  Tutor at home?  Start my own Pampers selling business?  Work for Hub (not really)?  Actually, I’m happy just being at home for now…

Wish me luck – I’ll need it!