I received an email a couple of days ago.  I receive similar emails quite regularly, so I don’t know why this one scared the hell out of me.  I’ve copied and pasted it below (without correcting any grammar!)


Date : 21/9/12


Dear Friends ,


There has been a steady rise in reported crimes within Lagos and Ogun

States and other parts of Nigeria. Security incidents previously

largely confined to the mainland areas have become a daily occurrence

in Lagos Island, Ikoyi, V.Island and Lekki and now in Ota – Ogun

State . There is also a noticeable spike in kidnap and ransom (K&R)

cases, attacks at ATM points, cyber crimes, carjacking and residential

robberies. The majority of the incidents have mainly occurred at

night; however daytime occurrences of criminal attack are on the rise.


As usual every year in the past , The trend seems to be an increase in

crime rates during the Nov/ Dec months (period leading to Christmas

and New Year celebrations). The Indian High Commission is extending

all their efforts for implementing more measures to tighten the

security aspects for the citizens and giving support to all our

community members . However our members are advised to be more

vigilant about personal security to ensure safety at work and at home


General Security Tipss : for a kidnap situation


Victim as well as for Family members of Victims :


Please read below the tips :


Kidnap Situation Tips


If you are a kidnap victim:


· Try to stay calm – comply with the kidnappers. They are generally

after your material goods not life.


· Do give them the number of someone to call – try to have at least

one number memorized.


· Do not aggravate the kidnappers.


· Do not try to negotiate your own release.


· Do not make promises.


· Do not try anything foolhardy, for example attacking the kidnappers

(or aggravating them). Be judicious and stay alive.


· Be patient.


· Be assured – there are people working to have you released.


· Be aware – if you have an automated system from the bank which

shows your balance after a withdrawal via an sms to your mobile – they

may see this



If a family member or colleague is kidnapped:


· Stay calm


· Notify to your Office


· Notify the nearest Nigeria Police station.


· Wait, be prepared for a telephone call


o Try to write down or remember exactly what they say on the call


o Do not make promises to the kidnappers


o Do not mention any figures of cash to the kidnappers.


Security Advice/Tips


The following are helpful guidelines to reduce exposure to security incidents:


· Try to avoid night movements


· Vary routes and times of movements as much as possible.


· Avoid displaying signs of wealth (cash, bags/brief cases,

jewellery, laptop, bank documents especially in cars etc)


· Avoid using ATMs in public places.


· Do not take cabs or commercial motorbikes within bank premises.


· While in traffic, lock the doors and keep windows up.


· Increase vigilance especially when arriving/departing regularly

visited locations such as home, work, Church/Temple / Mosque, petrol

stations etc.


· Look back before the last turning of the street before entering

your residence Gate , to know and confirm sombody is not following

your car . If you find any suspicion then you should not enter the

residence gate and direct your driver to take the car to some other

safe place where ever you feel far from that place or drag the

journey some more time to confirm and ensure nobody is following you.


· Review your residential security and apply hardening measures

(procedure, equipment and trained security personnel) to your

estate/individual residences).


· Watch out for motorbikes (okada riders) and heighten your alertness

at all times for them.


· Don’t linger around after a social event, church or mosque service.


· Limit the number of people that know your personal details and

travelling arrangements.


· Do not enter into any argument in public over sensitive /

controversial matters


· Brief your family on what to do if you or somebody from the family

is kidnapped.


· Be aware of people observing you or your family. If at all

suspicious inform the Police or the Security Department straight away.


In case of any problem or if you have any information to share, please

contact Indian High Commission at Abuja/Lagos at the following



I know it is for our own safety – but how are we meant to live normal, everyday lives like this?  What about ‘quality of life’?

Don’t go out at night?

Don’t use ATMs in public places?  Surely a secluded ATM is just a dangerous?

Vary routes and times of movements?  How are you meant to get to and from work/school at different times everyday?

How long are we meant to watch our backs for?  A month?  Two?  Forever?

Who EVER thought they’d read an email about how to deal with kidnappings and kidnappers?!

Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how careful you are – if you’re the chosen target, that’s it.


I’ve been rather anxious, as you know, about V settling into nursery.  It’s only his second week – and I *do* know that some kids take longer than others to adjust to such a huge change.  I thought I’d help him along…

On Monday morning he was a bit teary and clingy in the car.  We were five minutes late, so all the other children were already inside.  The nursery helper came and took him, and he went without any fuss.  When I picked him up, I had a packet of Buttons.  He’s never tried them before.  He’s never had chocolate before (chocolate cake doesn’t count!).  I tried to give him one on the way home.  He resisted at first, but then decided he wanted to try it.  

His face was priceless.  He immediately said, ‘More!’  Dammit.  I should have known better.  

I told him I’d give him another one after he had his lunch (we were back home by now).  He started throwing himself around the room until he got another one (yes, I gave in).

On Tuesday morning, he was a bit fussy again.  I told him I was going to drop him off and go and buy dudu (milk) and yogurt (which is what I tell him everyday).  Then I told him, ‘And I’ll bring you a chocolate when I pick you up!’  No jokes, he was ready to leave in five minutes!

I took the packet with me, as I promised and gave him a Button in the car.  And the ‘More!’ started.  We’d already agreed I was only going to give him one, so what was this nonsense all about?  Repeat tantrum like the previous day.

Clearly the boy didn’t understand bribery.  Clearly I was dumb enough to think he did.

Yesterday I had a brainwave (maybe common sense to others?).  I put three Buttons in a clear sandwich bag and handed the bag over to him on our way home.  He ate them all.  And said, ‘More!’  I made him look at the bag and see they were all gone.  ‘Mama buy more!’ was the response.  I told him I would buy more tomorrow after I dropped him off.

And that was it.  Problem solved.  No more crying or screaming for more!

If only I’d thought about this on Monday.

Now I have to figure out how to stop the Button thing!


Yesterday morning V got ready for nursery without any fuss.  He put his backpack on and got his lunchbox and called for me.  Smiling and laughing.

Wow!  This was amazing!  I’d woken up with a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach – and all for nothing!  

Just the night before he got all cranky and whiney when the ‘s’ word (school) was mentioned.  He got upset when I opened his cupboard to take out his clothes for the morning.  He screwed up his face and threw himself onto various bits of furniture.  It was actually quite funny.

LagosDad said, ‘Wow!  Are you ready for school already?’  

And V replied, ‘No! Birthday party!  Mama!  Birthday party!’

Uh-oh.  He thought we were going to a birthday party.

I explained that we *were* going to a birthday party, but not until the afternoon.  He had to go to school first.  He ignored me.

In the car, he became more anxious, repeating ‘Birthday party! Birthday party!’

In hindsight, I’m sure he knew he wasn’t going to a party.  He’s a clever one, that one.  Not much gets past him – and I know he doesn’t associate his backpack or lunchbox with birthday parties!

I tried to distract him with buses, tankers and trucks.  It didn’t work.  He just kept repeating it over and over!

We pulled up to the gate and he started wailing.

I took him out of his car seat and carried him into the school.  I felt terrible.  He was clinging to me, arms around my neck.

His teacher came, took him from me and went inside.  

I was standing with the two owners of the schools – they were telling me not to worry, and that he’d be fine in a few days.

And I burst into tears.  

They consoled me for a few moments and I left.

I could hear Vinay crying inside.

Fingers and toes crossed for a good Friday morning.



Karma Bit Me

As I mentioned previously, I don’t want to be one of *those* mums.  

I don’t want to to call school all the time because I’m worried about Vinay.  

I don’t want the teachers to snigger behind my back because of my anxiousness.  I don’t want them inwardly groaning when they see me coming.  Or even worse, hide in a colleague’s classroom in order to avoid me completely.  

I know that teachers do these things.  

And the reason I know is because I have done all of the above.  At least once.  *ashamed face*

Ohhh how I wish I could take back the eye rolls that were directed towards the mother who wanted her child to drink half a bottle of water before eating.  I have to admit, I’m not that bad – but the first thing I do when I pick him up is take out his water bottle for him to have a drink!

Ohhh how I wish I understood then why the mums had to hug their children every morning when they dropped them off.  We are not at the ‘hugging goodbye’ stage yet.  We are at the ‘scoop up child and take him inside while he’s crying’ stage.

Ohhh how I wish I hadn’t laughed at the mother who paced up and down outside the classroom twenty minutes before school finished.  That was me on Monday.  I was thirty minutes early to pick him up.  

Ohhh how I wish I hadn’t groaned every day when the same mum asked me what we had done that day.  I so want to know what V does in school – I want every minute accounted for – from 8.45am – 12.30pm.

I remember sighing everyday when it was time to write in the children’s ‘Communication Book’.  I wish his nursery had such a thing!

I remember groaning at the start of every term when I had to do my ‘Welcome/Topics We’re Covering Letter’ for parents.  I wish his teachers had to write them!

I remember the frustration of most teachers when parents would just pop in and out of classrooms at the beginning and end of the day.  We are not allowed into the building.  I do not know where Vinay’s classroom is or what it looks like.  I don’t know where he sits and I don’t know if any of his work is displayed on the walls.  Is that because we’re only three days into the term and they want the children to settle first?

It’s karma.  It has come and bitten me on the ass.

And I am in danger of turning into one of *those* mums!



Nursery: Days 1, 2 and 3

Vinay started nursery on Monday.  Between his birthday, his party this weekend and about 4 other birthday parties we have to attend, I didn’t get a chance to become too nervous before he started.

He was very happy to get ready and go on his first morning.


We met his teacher when we arrived and he sensed something was up, because he started clinging to my leg.  The teacher tried to get him to go and play, which he was reluctant to do.  She kept telling me to leave as soon as possible, because the longer I was there, the harder it was going to be for him.  I was only hanging around because I needed to see someone in the office!  After finishing in the office, I spotted V on the swings – he was quite happy.  So I left.  Without saying goodbye.  I felt so guilty!

It was the longest three hours!  I picked up LagosDad from home, dropped him at work and ran some errands.  That didn’t take too long and I didn’t know what to do with myself for the rest of the time!

V was very happy to see me when I went to pick him up and his teacher said he cried a lot, but settled after a while.  

I asked him lots of questions about what he did…

Me: Vinay – did you cry at school?

V: No – other babies (other babies were crying?)

Me: Did you eat your snack?

V: Dentyne! (his word for yogurt (!))

Me: Did you draw pictures?

V: No – other babies

Me: Who changed your nappy?

V: Aunty

Me: Did you have fun?

V: Yes

I immediately started talking about him going back the next day, and he was happy.

On Tuesday morning, he was excited to get dressed and go.  A good sign!


As soon as we arrived, his teacher scooped him up and took him inside (while he was crying) and I was told to leave.  

How could they?  How could they just tell me to go and leave him?  

I am desperate not to be one of *those* mums – one of those anxious, neurotic mums that I’ve come across while teaching.  One of those mums I rolled my eyes at (after they had gone).  So I left.  

As on Monday, I picked up and dropped off LagosDad and ran errands.  

I had so many things to do at home, but I played games on my iPad and checked the time every five minutes.

V was perfectly fine when I picked him up.  His teacher said he didn’t cry for long and settled soon.  The owner said he was fine, but preferred to be out in the playground rather than in the classroom.  She also said that it was quite normal as he wasn’t used to the structure/routine.

My conversation with Vinay was pretty much the same as the day before.  

This morning (Wednesday), he was reluctant to get dressed.  He only agreed because he wanted to go in the car.  But he was quiet and seemed a little nervous.


It was raining quite heavily, so instead of parking outside and walking in, the gates to the nursery were wide open and the cars could drive right in.  As soon as we were in the drive, I opened the door and one of the helpers came out, picked Vinay up, took his bag from me and disappeared inside.  I could hear him screaming, ‘Mama! Mama!’ from outside.  

I didn’t know what to do, so I got back in the car and left.

The owner of the school messaged me to say he wasn’t crying and she sent me a picture of him playing.

Thirty minutes until pick-up time.

Why is it going so slowly?

Happy Birthday, Baby!


My Dearest Vinay, 

Today you are two years old.

How did that happen?  How did you get so big so quickly?

This time last year, you couldn’t walk and you couldn’t talk.

Now we have to run to catch you and you won’t stop talking!

For you I wish only the best.  

I wish for you to be happy.  And I wish for your to be healthy.

I wish for you to be the best that you can be – no matter what you do.

Always remember that I love you – more than anything in this world.

You are my sunshine.

God bless you always.