I’ve Turned to Mush

I’ve always been a bit of a softy (though not many people know this).  When I was ten, I cried when I watched ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’.  You know the part when the ant dies protecting the children?  It was so sad 😦  I cried when I watched ‘Bolt’ for the first (and second) time.  I cried watching the news, Oprah and a whole host of other shows.  I even burst into tears the first time I saw one of those flash mob mobile network adverts.  Was it T-Mobile?

But all that was nothing compared to what I’m like now.  Since having V, I have, quite literally, turned to mush.

All I have to do is read or watch something about a baby or child and I’m in tears.  Last month, ‘Baby Boom’ had me sobbing.

So if books, movies and TV shows about neglected or suffering children and animals (or even those that just need a hug) have me in tears, imagine what my *own* child is doing to me!

Relaying a story of what funny/cute/silly/ thing V did that day to Hub makes me teary.  Thinking about how much he’s grown already and how many *more* milestones he will reach makes me teary.  Sometimes just looking at him makes me want to cry.  

I know.  I am aware of how ridiculous I sound.

If V’s normal, regular day-to-day routine stuff has me all mushy, you should see me when he’s unwell.

I am, actually, very lucky (touch wood).  V has never been seriously ill.  Maybe a slight temperature now and then, but nothing a dose of Calpol couldn’t fix.  Teething has never really affected him either (so far).  I’ve gone and jinxed myself (and him), haven’t I?

When he was seven months old, he had to have minor surgery.  I say it’s minor, but actually it wasn’t.  From the time he was born, we knew this procedure would have to be done, so it wasn’t a great shock.  He had to be put under a general anesthetic.  His surgery was scheduled for 1pm and he couldn’t eat or drink anything after 7am.  Hub and I were allowed in with him until the anesthetic kicked-in, and then we had to wait in his room.  

He was in his little white vest, lying on the bed.  As the anesthetist pulled the mask towards him, he opened his mouth (poor baby was hungry).  The mask covered most of his face and he started crying and struggling.  We had been warned that he would do that, and that it was actually better as the anesthetic would work faster.  I felt like shit.  I couldn’t do anything to help him.  We left the room as soon as he was asleep – limp and not moving – and that’s when I started sobbing.

They brought him back two hours later, and the surgeon warned us that he would cry a lot as he woke up; because he would be confused as to where he was, etc.  And cry he did.  A LOT.  But he soon calmed down and was almost back to his usual self.  We had to give him Calpol for the next two days and Nurofen if he was in any pain.  We gave him Nurofen only once.  My brave, strong boy was doing just great.  He recovered quickly.

Yesterday we went to the doctor for shots.  I gave the doctor the Red Book and we went through which shots he was due.  He advised me to choose if I was going to go by the UK immunisation system or the Nigerian one.  The Nigerian system, he said, was devised by WHO (World Health Organisation specifically for the tropics).  Because we spend more time in Nigeria than in the UK, I said we’d go with the Nigerian system.  There are many illnesses we need to be very careful about.  So yesterday, he had his chicken pox and yellow fever shots.  He cried at the time, but stopped very quickly and was back to his normal self.

A couple of hours after we got home, he started screaming.  Screaming and screaming and screaming.  And nothing could distract him – not even Animal Planet or the trucks outside the window.  He would fall asleep on my shoulder and then wake up screaming after a few minutes.  From the way he was positioning his body, it seemed that he had a tummy ache.  He soon fell asleep again and when he woke up an hour later, he was back to his normal self.  Playing, crawling, hiding and laughing.

And then it started again before bedtime.  Not as much screaming – but quite a lot of crying.  So we went back to the doctor (a different one this time).  The doctor checked him out and said he was fine, and that it was just his way of reacting to the shots and to give him Calpol every four hours.  He was a nice man, but a little patronising and he made me feel a bit dumb for over-reacting.  As did Hub.  IF Hub had been home during the day and witnessed the screaming, he would have been as worried as I was.

Vinay’s temperature was at 101 last night.  And it is still at 101 this afternoon.  He drank most of his milk, but didn’t want breakfast.  He did, however, guzzle his Petits Filous.  And now, while he’s sleeping, I’m crying quietly in my room and feeling guilty.

His reaction to the shots, I’m told, is normal.  ‘Don’t worry’, people say, ‘he’ll be fine’.  But I think I should have researched the vaccines.  I should have checked what they entailed.  I should have insisted that he have only one at a time.  But I didn’t.  I trusted the doctor completely.  Did I do the wrong thing?

And now I can’t stop worrying.  

Does it ever stop?  Will I always worry like this when he’s unwell?  Will I always wonder if I’ve done the right thing?  Will I always worry about whether I’ve done the best thing for my child?  Will I always cry when he reaches a new milestone?  Will I always feel so helpless when he’s not ‘himself’?

Am I destined to always be mush?


I’ve Started Again. I’m a Failure.

One of the first posts I wrote was about how I gave up smoking and how proud I was of myself.

And now…?

And now – two years and one month later, I am ashamed to say that I am back where I started.  Smoking.  

I am a failure.  A big fat failure.  

I didn’t want to write about it, because that would mean admitting it to myself – but I decided I had to do it.

It’s been two weeks since I started.  It was the night of V’s birthday party.  It was just us at home and after too much champagne, I wanted a cigarette.  I had three that night.

The next night I had two.

And it has just continued from there.  

At first I told myself I would only smoke at night – after V had gone to bed.  Then I told myself, ‘Well, it might be day time, but he *is* napping.  Isn’t that the same?’

I have been tempted over the last two years, but I have always managed to stop myself.  I’ve never *actually* gone through with it and smoked.

It is still disgusting to me.  More now that the smell clings to me. 

I have never wanted to be the mum who smokes in front of her child (which I haven’t done).  If you are that mum, I’m not judging you – I’m just saying that I don’t want to do it.  I brush my teeth after each cigarette.  I wash my hands with soap and then I use hand sanitiser.  But I know it’s not enough.  I don’t want V to get used to smelling it on me, or to eventually associate the smell with me.

At night I tell myself, ‘Right – that’s it.  No more.  That was my last one.’  And then I’ll add, ‘But I’ll just have one more in the morning.’  I find myself making deals with myself.

I don’t want to be a smoker.  But I don’t know how to stop.

What’s In A Name? I Changed Mine.

Changing your surname when you get married, for some women, is nothing out of the ordinary, right?  Some women choose not to change theirs, and that’s ok too.  But what if you were asked, or told, to change your first name?  I changed my first name when I got married and I’m going to attempt to explain why…

Hindus believe in astrology.  Some strong believers ask their priest (or pandit) to give them the letter with which they will name their newborns.  This is done by checking the precise time of birth against the position of the stars.  (We didn’t do this)  I can’t tell you how it’s done, because I have no idea!

In some families, where there’s going to be a wedding, the stars of the bride and groom are compared to check that the match will be successful.  Some families won’t allow a relationship to go any further if the stars aren’t favourable (yes, it has been done).

And, in some cases (in our community), they say that the initials of the bride and groom don’t ‘go together’ or ‘match’ well.  Which is what I was told by our family pandit.  

My name began with an ‘A’.  Hub’s begins with an ‘N’.  Apparently these two letters don’t go together (if the bride’s name begins with an ‘A’).

I was in Bombay, getting my clothes organised for the wedding and the pandit had come to my grandmother’s house for a prayer ceremony (for my grandfather’s death anniversary).  We were sitting on the floor when he suddenly looked at me and said, ‘You will have to change your name.  Your new name will have to begin with ‘D’.’  I asked him why and he explained that (it’s going to sound strange) the vibrations between us and our names were not even, and changing my name would help make things more balanced.’  

I wasn’t shocked.  I wasn’t horrified.  I wasn’t against it.  

This was not a new custom to me – I had heard of many women that changed their first names when they got married.  My mum didn’t, she didn’t need to.  Neither did my grandmother.  MIL did.  Back in the day, depending on the family you were marrying into, you might not have even had a choice in the matter.  Your in-laws would change your name whether it ‘needed’ to be changed or not.  I’m talking about *choosing* the name as well!

When I spoke with Hub and told him what had been said, he wasn’t happy.  We’d known each other for 10 years, it was going to be difficult.  My in-laws never said I *had* to, but were pleased when I told them I wanted to.

Yes, I wanted to.  Some women, even in our own community, are outraged by the thought and refuse (in this day and age, some women have the option to refuse).

I didn’t want to change it because I wasn’t happy with the name I already had, you understand.  But if someone, who you respect and admire and knows what he’s talking about, tells you it would be better for your marriage, you’re going to listen.  Well, I did anyway.

So I spent the next three months deciding on what my new name was going to be.  I was lucky.  I could choose my own name.  Hub and his parents had some input, but ultimately, it was my choice.  So I chose Dia.  Traditionally spelt, it’s Diya – but I thought I’d be a bit different!

My family and all the people I knew before I got married still call me by my maiden (first) name.  But my in-laws and all of Hub’s family call me Dia.

Some women change their first name – but keep their original first name on all their documentation.  I decided that if I was going to change my name, I was going to do it properly.  It took me a year, but I changed my name by deed poll, changed my passport and bank accounts.

Hub found it really difficult.  For the first three months of our married lives, he called me, ‘Hey’!  I wouldn’t let him call me by my old name!  Eventually, it became more normal for him.

Was it difficult to get used to?  Yes.  I didn’t/don’t always know what to introduce myself as.  Now I use both, depending on who I’m speaking to, or meeting.  I’ve walked down the corridor at school and had the HR manager following me, calling, ‘Dia!’ for ten minutes, and I didn’t realise she was talking to me!

When I was teaching, I’d wake at 5.30am to get ready as the school car would come and pick me up at 6.30am.  One morning, Hub was calling, ‘Dia!  Dia!  Wake up!  It’s 6.30!’  I was in a very deep sleep and had no idea what was going on and the first thing I said was, ‘Who the f*ck is Dia?’  He started laughing and that’s when I jumped out of bed!

So yes, it was difficult to get used to.

But I’m still the same person.  Some have said, ‘But it’s like you’re a whole different person.  You have a different identity.’  

All I can say is, No.  I’m still me.

ShowOff Showcase


I’m A Versatile Blogger? Seven Things About Me


Thank you Cat for passing on this award to me!  I just don’t know what to say!  No, really…  I don’t know what to say… 

There are rules to follow for this meme and this is what they are:

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you (check)

2.  Share 7 things about yourself ( Have I not revealed enough (or *everything* about myself) in the A – Z of Me Meme?  Or in the Ten Things You Don’t Know About Me Meme?  Or through various Gallery and Listography posts?  I’m not sure what else is left!  *scratches head and ponders*)

Here goes…

a.  I changed my name when I got married.  No, not just my last name, my first name too.

b.  My mum wouldn’t let me grow my hair until I was 16.

c.  I don’t know how to drive and have no desire to learn.

d.  Remember when Sunset Beach was on Channel 5?  I spent every Saturday afternoon at home watching the omnibus.

e.  I have recently realised that I have no desire to go back to teaching.

f.   My closest friends are male.

g.  I watched ‘Christian the Lion’ and sobbed like a baby.  If you haven’t seen it, search for it on YouTube.

3.  Pass the award on to more bloggers

Ok – you’re tagged, ladies!

Not My Year Off

The Boy and Me

Mummy Mishaps

Living In My Parents’ Home

My parents moved to Lagos permanently when I was two months old.  They had both already been here…  My maternal grandparents moved here when my mum was a child (she stayed in India and came here for holidays), and my dad had been in and out since the sixties.

When I was two, we moved house.  The house we moved into was lovely.  Master bedroom, children’s room, playroom, tv room.  And we had a huge garden in which we would play every day.  On the swings, monkey bars, slide or rocking horse.  We would play with one or all of the 14 cats (not ours, they just showed up) or with the 17 rabbits (ours – but regularly hunted by the cats!).  And later, we’d run in the garden with the dog (half Pomeranian, half Japanese Spitz called Champion).

We made many happy memories in our home.

My sister went to boarding school, followed by me in 1989 and followed my brother a few years later.  We would go back to Lagos for Easter and Christmas holidays.  And for October half-term since Diwali was usually around that time.  Coming back to Lagos was amazing.  Each holiday became more and more fun.  Once I reached my late teens, it wasn’t that much fun.  Everyone had grown up a lot and had other responsibilities, they couldn’t just hang around doing nothing all day.  

Once my brother went to school in the UK, my mum started spending more time there than in Lagos.  She spent her time between the two places, but was in London more and more.  

My dad felt lonely – but he travelled between the two places also.  He had his routine in place (I know, I’ve made him sound like a child).  He played cards, he went out to dinner, he watched his favourite TV shows, and he had a good set of friends.

When I moved back in 2004, I moved in with my dad, into my childhood home and into my old bedroom.  The white paint couldn’t hide the fact that the walls used to be purple! 

In April 2005 dad left Lagos (unforseen) and moved to London/Bombay permanently.  I refused to move too because it was half-way through the school year and I didn’t want to leave my kids.  So I stayed and lived with my cousin.  

I got engaged over the summer and since I would be living in Lagos permanently after the wedding, anyway, I came back to start my second year at school.  Again, I lived with my cousin.

In the run-up to our wedding, we decided that once we were married, we would live in my childhood home.  There was still a year left on the lease, it was empty and…  And why not?

We moved in three weeks after we came back from our honeymoon and there was stuff *everywhere*.  My mum didn’t know that her previous trip was her last (she has been for two visits since we married) and my dad left most of his belongings behind.

While I was very comfortable, surrounded by familiarity, Hub was not so happy.  He didn’t feel like it was *his* home.  Everywhere he looked there was a family photo, or other item that reminded him that it wasn’t home.

Slowly, I tried changing things.  I removed all my family photos and started putting up *our* family photos.  I had the sofa reupholstered and new curtains made.  Mum sent me new bedding and towels, etc.  We painted the walls – now instead of all of them being white, one is turquoise and another orange (don’t ask – but it works).  And moved the furniture around.

Sometimes I think we are SO lucky – we moved into a ‘ready-made’ house where *everything* was already there!  All the dishes were in the kitchen, tableware, barware, furniture, televisions, DVD players – the LOT!  We’ve saved ourselves quite a bit of money, I’d say.  And it’s *our* home now.  I love that Vinay had his first birthday party in the same garden we all had ours in.  And that his room is the same room I used to sleep in (no purple in sight!).  And I love that we have space.

What’s the downside?

Well…  My parents spent thirty years living here.  My mum is very used to how things *were* not how we have made them.

We regularly have conversations that go something like this…

Her:  You know what we used to do…?

Me:  Hmm

Her:  We used to put x, y and z like this…

Me:  But that’s not how I’m doing it.

Her:  You’re very silly.  You’re doing it wrong.


Her:  I *never* did it like that (or, It never used to be like that).

Me:  Well, this is how I’ve decided to do it (or, That’s what it’s like now).

Her:  I see.  Well it sounds very silly to me.

I once mentioned that we wanted to get new furniture – a new dining table, sideboard, dining chairs, etc.  She *freaked* out.  ‘What do you mean you want new furniture?  The furniture at home is good American furniture!  You’ll never find anything like it!’  I tried to explain to her that while it was very nice furniture, it wasn’t *ours*.  And it was thirty years old (but in good condition)

But, instead of selling it and buying new stuff, we re-arranged the living room with the help of a friend.  We were all very pleased with the result – it looked fab.  I took pictures and emailed them to the family.  They all replied with compliments on how great it looked.  Apart from mum.  She replied with, ‘Why is that heavy Ganesh statue on the piano?’  And, ‘The curtains need washing.’

Don’t get me wrong, she’s actually very supportive about a lot of things.  She helps me find upholstery, bedding, appliances, etc.  Helps with V and is very hands-on.

I think she’s found it very difficult to let go.  It must be hard for her to see people living in what was *her* home and running it differently to how she would do it.  Especially since all her belongings are still here.  All her crystal and silver dishes (which I will return once they’ve settled somewhere permanently).

But it’s been nearly six years!  How much more can I take?  I have to remind her every now and then that it is now *my* home and that the way she did things doesn’t necessarily work for me!

Go on – tell me.  How selfish am I being?



The Type of Teacher Your Child Could Have…

Yesterday, while on Twitter, I saw a tweet from @Clairelouise82 saying: 


Claire Sarcone
Still spreading the word disgusting teachers thread is your childs teacher one of the 600?wp.me/plAS9-wq /via
Being a teacher myself (now a SAHM), I wanted to see what this was all about.
I clicked on the link, read the post and can only say that I was horrified by what I read.
I retweeted the post – I think people should be aware that things like this are happening in schools, and I received a response from @mummybarrow who was as disgusted as I was.  She very quickly found @timesed on Twitter and asked them if they were aware of the thread on their forum and wanted to know why it hadn’t been removed.  I have to say that I was quite impressed that they replied promptly, thanking @mummybarrow for bringing it to their attention and removed it from their forum.
HOWEVER, @timesed then tweeted her again and said:
 We’re sorry you’re offended, but our website is for teachers – a place they can blow off steam providing they don’t ID anyone.
People disagreed with this, say that these comments should have been in private.  When @mummybarrow said this, @timesed replied:

 Clearly we wouldn’t defend every comment. But if teachers defuse a situation with a joke it’s better than disciplinary action
I replied:


  I don’t think the student that is humiliated would see it as a joke.
No other tweets were answered by @timesed.
@mummybarrow went on to write this post.
I cannot express how disgusted I am by it all…  Not because the TES defended their members.  And not because these people posted their insults on an open forum.  So why I am so appalled?
It is because these people call themselves teachers.  A teacher is not meant to put down, humiliate or verbally abuse their students (no matter how old they are).  A teacher is meant to help boost self-esteem and nurture a love for learning.  
All teachers have bad days, I know that.  I’ve had enough of them myself.  And sometimes, the kids can be very difficult – I know that too.  But *never* have I spoken to a child in that manner.  I would never make them feel self-conscious or embarrassed.  Especially in front of their peers.
Sometimes a situation can be defused with a joke – but sarcasm and insults aren’t funny.  And if the matter were serious, and the student is being particulary difficult (and other ‘by the book’ avenues explored), maybe disciplinary action *would* be best?  Isn’t the child more likely to learn something from their actions that way?
I know I’m not over-reacting, I know many are as repulsed by the comments they have read.
Are teachers not receiving enough support?  Are students becoming more ‘in your face’?  Is behaviour getting more out of control?  Can *any* excuse even be accepted?  
How did this happen?  How did we get here?
The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if the thread has been removed or not, these are the people in classrooms, calling themselves teachers.  Educating the future.


Save The Children #healthworkers

I have regularly complained about the fact that I can’t find a doctor that I like for V.  I have also regularly complained that I’ve had to wait an hour or two in the waiting room to see the doctor.  I have also questioned why (over here, at least), I have to pay to see the doctor, receive shots, collect medicines in advance.  Before we’ve been seen by anyone.  

It’s all terribly inconvenient.  

Until you hear about the Save the Children Campaign.  


It certainly put things into perspective for me.  I can still *see* a doctor.  My baby will *still* get treated.  I complain – but I shouldn’t – because we are lucky.

It is time for change, and you can help to make a difference in the lives of children all over the world.  You can support the campaign by signing the form here.

Mummy from the Heart and Hello, it’s Gemma are hosting a blog-hop to raise awareness of the need of healthworkers.  They’ve asked people to:

“Write your 100 words about a great health professional you have encountered in your life.”

This is my contribution:

His heart was beating faster than it should have been and we didn’t know how he’d manage through contractions.  The doctor said I could be induced, or he could take him out immediately – knowing a c-section would be better, but letting us talk about it.  We toyed with the idea of being induced and having baby naturally.  Luckily, the doctor said he thought taking the baby out now was a better plan.  I look at my boy every day and mentally thank the doctor – because the cord was around his neck.  Twice.  If it weren’t for him, would my boy have made it?  Thank you TG.

I’m not going to tag anyone, because everyone I know has already been tagged!  Please sign the form and show your support and/or write your own post and link-up.



Lego and Mega Bloks

V got a whole bunch of Mega Bloks sets, Fisher Price building blocks and (I think?) some Lego.  Anyway, so I gave one of the Mega Bloks sets to my two year old nephew who is visiting from London.

On Wednesday we went to a birthday party (there are birthday parties coming out of our ears right now) and I met a lot of the mums and kids that had come to V’s party.  I thanked them for their gifts and for coming, etc.  

One mum (who gave one of the Mega Bloks) asked if I had decided if I was going to go down the Mega Bloks or the Lego route.  

Errr… I didn’t know there was a route to choose?  

Someone please explain.  


Yesterday as I was completing the A – Z of ME meme, I couldn’t stop laughing while recounting my most embarrassing moment.  And it made me remember something…

When my brother was about 15 (I was 19), he would come home from school every two or three weekends.  He was witness to the state my sister and I would come home in on a Saturday night!

So one weekend he was home and told us about something that had happened in one of his classes (I just asked him if he could remember which class – but he can’t).  They were reading a text and the word ‘sloshed’ came up.  The teacher asked the class if anyone knew what it meant.  According to him, everyone just looked blank and then my brother said, ‘It means being drunk.’  The teacher was impressed (apparently) and asked him how he knew.  Before he could answer, one of his friends piped up and said, ‘Because his sisters always are!’

I suppose we weren’t the best role models for him (not at that stage anyway)!

The Party

This is the last you will hear of Vinay’s 1st birthday.  Promise (I hope it’s a promise I can keep)!  I just wanted to share who/what/where and quite a lot of some photos.  

The party was last Saturday (10th September) and at our home.  I had the invitations printed in April when I was in London – so I had to choose the date, time and place then and there!


I had 38 children on my list – but many had still not come back from summer holidays or were away for other reasons…  So, there were 25 children that came.  And most of their mums.  And nannies.  Some mums with more than one child brought two nannies!  And, some dads came too.  I also invited some of the aunts I grew up with and some friends who don’t have children.  

I was very nervous – this was the first time (obviously, since it was a first birthday) that I was hosting a children’s party.  A lot of the children were between 2 and 6 years old, so they (and their mums) had been to a lot of birthday parties already and I felt a bit under pressure to make sure that everything was perfect!

So, the day before the party, we moved all the furniture out of the living room and started blowing up balloons.  My sister and I also started putting together the Little Tikes Crazy Coupe.  Silly idea.  (See previous post).  I set up the table – with table cover, sorted out the plates and cups, etc.


The next morning I was up earlier than usual – I just couldn’t sleep because of how stressed out I was!  I wanted to start decorating with the balloons – but knew it was too early and that they would all pop in the heat.  So I waited.  I sorted out the play area for the babies instead.  The bouncy castle arrived, and the little tents were set up in the garden and I finally got to sort out the balloons!


The children loved the bouncy castle.  Some of them had their faces painted and got to do some art and craft as well.

I was very worried that V would become a bit overwhelmed with all the activity going on around him – but he was brilliant.  There were no tears – but he was a little ‘serious’ all day.  He barely cracked a smile!  Until, that is, Hub took him down the slide!


He loved the cake and was quite happy to eat as much of it as he was allowed (which wasn’t much).


Once the children started leaving, it was time to give them their return gifts.  Everyone got a little animal back-pack and what they got with it depended on how old they were (see pictures below).  Wrapping them all was a pain in the backside, and my gift-wrapping skills are atrocious!


AND – the ‘done’ thing over here (or so I’ve seen at the last 4 parties we’ve been to) is to have a ‘nanny bag’ as well.  This is a gift bag for any nannies that come.  The bag consists of chocolates and sweets.  We made up 36 of these.


I was *so* relieved when everyone had left.  I opened all of the presents (without Vinay.  Bad?), wrote down who gave what and drank champagne.  A lot of it!

All I said, all week, was that I’m never going to do this again.  And I’m not.  Not until my boy is old enough to choose if he wants to have a big party.  Or even if he wants to have it at home (please God, no)!