I’m Still Here!

I know, I know.

For those of you who missed me – I’m so sorry!

I don’t even know where to begin…

So, we spent the summer in Dubai with my parents. My kids were so happy – we swam every morning (it was too hot in the afternoons) and spent most of the day in various play areas.

The kids hadn’t met my parents or sister for over a year, and my brother, sister and I hadn’t been together for four years – so it was lovely to all spend time together.

School started at the beginning of August.

I’m loving being back at work. But I’m also feeling a bit like a headless chicken. I’m trying to balance time with the children and time at work, as well as time with LagosDad and fitting in other stuff. I’m not managing too well, actually. School seems to be winning!

I feel guilty that I’m not always home when my kids might need me. I feel guilty that they might not be getting enough attention from me. And I feel guilty that I’m not spending much time with them. On the other hand, it’s great to be able to be doing something forĀ me.

Anyway… More soon.

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This Is What I Do!

I’m a teacher.

I’ve always taught. My degree is in Teaching Studies with English Language and Linguistics. I left university and went straight into a school in London. I was there for four years and then moved back to Lagos. I taught at an international school in Lagos for six years.

During those ten years, I did various courses. CELTA, SEN, ADHD, etc. Some were online and some were evenings and weekends. I became the SENCo (special needs coordinator) at the school in Lagos (where I was for six years).

I’d like to think that I’m quite well qualified!

I took a break once Vins was born. A five year break. Bit long, yes. But I think I needed it.

I tried to start my own business (selling baby and toddler shoes and clothing). My heart wasn’t in it. So I started tutoring. Kids either came to me, or I went to them for a couple of hours a week. I enjoyed it, but it got a bit boring with only the one child each time. I explained to LagosDad that education is what I “do”, and what I do well. And then I got pregnant with Booni.

Once we came back from London, I started getting a little involved in Vins’ classroom activities – story time, Diwali presentations, etc. And I remembered how much I LOVE teaching and how much I LOVE being in the classroom.

So I thought I’d start substituting. I’ve written about this before

So now I’m substituting in the school that Vins attends. I love it, and it’s a very good school. One of the best in Lagos (depending on who you’re asking).

Anyway, so the point of this whole thing is…

Each time someone asks me (or my ins or whoever) what I’m doing now, and I explain I’ve gone back to school, they’re all like, ‘Oh that’s nice.’ And they ask if I’m back at my previous school. I say no, and I tell them which school I’m in. And all of a sudden I get a flurry of ‘Oh WOW!’ and ‘Congratulations!’ and ‘That’s amazing!’

Umm – Hello?

Is it not amazing that I spent four years getting qualified? Is it not amazing that I taught for ten years before taking a break? Is it not amazing that I was head of the special needs department?

I mean, I’m only a substitute at the moment.

And last week one of my MIL’s friends said, ‘Oh that’s good. It’s good “time pass”‘. I have been told this for YEARS. First I was ‘passing time’ until I got married. Then I was ‘passing time’ until we had children (once people got over the shock that I decided to continue working after marriage). So what am I doing now? Passing time until what?

FFS. THIS IS WHAT I DO!

Rant over.

 

Seven Days

It has been seven days since Booni started nursery – and I think we’re doing rather well!

He started on a Tuesday. And he cried – every day that week. And he cried when he saw me at pick-up. I spent the week picking him up about an hour and a half earlier – just while he got settled.

On Monday (April 11) he was excited to get dressed and go in the car. Once we arrived and he saw the nursery gates, he started whining a bit. And when I took him out of the car and walked through the gates, he started crying. Even though he was crying, he went to his teacher willingly. And he waved goodbye to me through his tears. When I picked him up, he was so happy to see me! He ran to me, laughing. I told him we needed to get his bag before we left. He dragged me over to his cubby-hole and got his bag out. It was a lovely sight.

On Tuesday (yesterday), again, he was thrilled to go. In the car I said to him, “Where are we going?” And he pointed to his lunch box. His face fell a bit when we arrived, but he didn’t make a sound. Usually I carry him, but yesterday I put him down and he held my hand and walked in. He saw his teacher and made a bee-line for her. She picked him up, hugged him and kissed him. He turned to look at me, I waved and his face fell again. Then he started pointing at the swing and his teacher went off with him. When I collected him (at normal pick-up time), he was tired! He saw me and started whining – but got his bag and left quite happily.

Today is Day Seven and we had the same again this morning. He saw his teacher and made his way straight to her. He took her hand. She picked him up and put him on the swing. He looked a bit wobbly when he turned and saw me, but I think he was ok.

He’s adjusted SO well, don’t you think? I’m so proud of him and I my heart feels so light when he doesn’t cry.

Is that a dumb thing to say?

Another MilestoneĀ 

Today we reached another milestone and I have never been so proud to be Vins’ mama.

About 4 weeks ago, Vins’ teacher emailed me and told me that he had volunteered to introduce their class assembly. I was surprised, but pleased. I also wondered if he’d actually go through with it on the day!

Well… Today was that day.

He introduced the assembly confidently and clearly. He had a second speaking part and after that he had a non-speaking part (dressed as a huntsman). The kids sang two songs – he sang both of them. And he did the actions.

He was wonderful. (And I cried throughout.)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or if you know Vins personally, you’ll know what a huge deal this is for us and how much it means to me. 

A Catch Up

I have neglected you all, haven’t I?

It’s ok – don’t feel bad.

I’ve neglected everyone over the last few weeks.

My home, my friends, my dog, LagosDad and yes, even my kids.

Why?

Because I’m back at school!

Since last September, I’ve been feeling a bit restless and discontent. As though there had to be more to life than playgroup, school runs and managing my home. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my children (mostly), but there’s more. Right?

Then I realised that I wanted to go back to school. I missed being in the classroom (And being surrounded by other people’s children!).

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be back full-time, so I applied for a job as a substitute teacher. I had an interview. And I didn’t hear anything for weeks.

Suddenly I got an email asking if I’d be interested in covering someone’s maternity leave in January for twelve weeks. EH? Really? Me? Which grade? Full-time?

I got in touch with the school immediately to say yes, I was interested. But I still didn’t get any more information. I had to come in the following week to meet with the middle school principal. Middle school? That sounded like quite big kids. And didn’t they have different teachers for each subject? Which subject would I have to teach? What if it was science? What if it was *gulp* math?

I Googled ‘middle school’ and found out the age of the students – yes, they were a bit older than the five to seven year olds I was used to. It was only the following week, when I had the meeting that all was revealed.

7th grade. Geography. Errr. Not my age range and not my subject. But I could do it.

So since November, I’ve been in and out of school. Sometimes they ring me in advance to cover for someone. But mostly they ring me at 6 am and ask me if I can come in that day. Since my aim is to get a full-time job, I’ve had to accept more often than I wanted to. I mean… SIX AM!

And since January 11th, I’ve been in full-time teaching geography to 7th graders. The hours are long – 7 am to 3.15 pm (but usually I get home at about 4 pm). I don’t see my children much (is it a terrible thing that although I feel guilty about it, I don’t mind that much?).Ā It’s taken a lot of preparation and a lot of reading up and researching stuff – but I LOVE IT!

Squeezy!

I was drying Vin off after his bath and he said, “Mama! You’re squeezing me!”
I replied, “But Vins it’s because you’re so squeezable!”
He looked at me and in a very matter of fact tone said, “Mama, I’m not squeezable. You’re squeezable. I’m boney.”

I’ve ordered my Clean 9 Detox kit!

Growing Up

Yesterday…

V: Mama! Soon I’m going to be in pre-k (pre-kindergarten)!

Me: Yes! That’s right! Not long to go now!

V: And then I’ll be in kindergarten. Then first grade. Then second grade. Then third grade. Then fourth grade. And then fifth grade! And then no more school!

Me: Umm. Yes more school. You forgot sixth grade. And seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades.

V: Oh. And then no more school?

Me: Well… then you’ll go to university.

V: What’s that?

Me: That’s where you go to learn how to be something. Like a doctor or a teacher or a vet.

V: Oh wow! I’m going to learn how to be a transformer! Or a rescue vehicle!

Me: V – people don’t learn how to be vehicles. But you could be a policeman or a paramedic.

V: I know. How long will I be there for?

Me: Mmm. You’ll probably be about 23 when you finish.

V: Twenty – three? Gosh that’s old!

Today…

V: Mama you know that universary you said yesterday? After that no more school?

Me: University? No more school after that. Then you have to get a job.

V: A job?!

Me: Yes. And go to work every day. Like papa.

V: But I don’t want a job.

Me: But how will you get money?

V: From the bank of course!

Me: But you’ll have to get your own home. You can’t stay with mama and papa forever!

V: I don’t want my own home! I will stay with you! Why can’t I stay with you? I don’t want to grow older!

Me: It’s ok. Calm down. There’s still many years before we have to think about this!

V: How can I stay a small boy?

Christmas Concert

They have a classroom blog at V’s school. The teacher updates it once a week (over the weekend) and basically lets us parents know about upcoming events, etc. It’s really useful and great to read all about (and see pictures) what the children have been learning.

At the beginning of December she posted to say that the Christmas Concert would take place on the 19th of December and that the children were going to sing We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Dancing Christmas Tree and that they would need to wear a Santa’s hat.

I groaned almost immediately. 1. Is this boy of mine going to actually sing? On a stage? In front of people? 2. How am I going to get him to wear a hat?

We were asked to practice the songs at home. V was (surprisingly) very happy to sing at home. We sang many Christmas carols together, actually. It made a really nice change. But he kept saying that he wouldn’t wear the hat. Ever.

I asked his teacher to please tell the children in class that they all had to wear one – and suddenly he didn’t mind wearing it! He wore it at home for days before the 19th!

The morning of the concert arrived and I don’t think he really knew what was going to happen.

As LagosDad and I arrived at school, we saw his class walking through the courtyard to the hall. And he was wearing his hat. Success!

As soon as he got up on stage and spotted us (and a sea of other faces), he took the hat off. And when it was their turn to sing – he wouldn’t.

He just stood there. Without his hat. Then in the second song, he started pretending that he was a dinosaur (a brachiosaurus to be exact). He stood on his tip toes, stretched his neck upwards and started ‘eating’ leaves from the trees. While still on stage.

LagosDad and I knew exactly what he was doing. Other parents must have thought he was a bit… Odd. Very odd.

I was a little disappointed. I already knew in my heart that he wouldn’t sing, but I was still disappointed.

When we collected him off the stage, I gave him a big hug and a kiss and said, ‘Hey Vins! I thought you were going to sing?’ And next to me another mum said to her son (in V’s class), ‘I’m so proud of you!’

Crap.

I’ve still got a lot to learn.

What Happened to the Advent Calendar?

So I’ve been very lazy about updating my blog. To be honest, lazy isn’t the word. It’s busy. I’ve been too busy to update! Oh – and tired. So all my posts about Christmas and stuff are a bit late – but whatever!

So remember about the Advent Calendar? I had the brilliant idea of using the chocolate as a bribery for Vinay to do his Kumon each day.

He was actually very excited about it – and we started off really well. It worked! But only for two days.

By the third day he said, ‘You eat the chocolate Mama. I don’t want it.’

WTF? Where was my son, the chocoholic?

Anyway, so LagosDad and I ate all the chocolates (from two calendars). We just stuffed our faces whenever we wanted *ashamed face*.

It turns out that V didn’t mind not having any chocolate because his Dadi (paternal grandmother) had been giving him chocolate every day on the sly (I’m not willing to discuss this right now. All I will say is, ‘GRRRRR’).

So we’ve abandoned the Kumon for now. I’ve tried to reintroduce it from time to time – but my son knows his mind and when it’s made up, it’s made up.

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 neverĀ 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 singingĀ (video)

By the way, how do I embed a video?