I Went and I’m Back

So I went to Bali without LagosDad or the children. Vins wasn’t happy about it when I told him, but he was ok when I left.
It was so nice to be away and not have any responsibilities. But I really did miss them all. Also, there was no time to just chill! I got there on a Tuesday afternoon and all the wedding stuff started on the Friday morning and was non – stop until Sunday night. (You can see photos on Instagram  (@lagosmum) or #AnViLivedHappilyEverAfter)
During each flight I took, I thanked God that I decided not to take the kids. Eight hours from Lagos to Abu Dhabi. Eight hours from Abu Dhabi to Singapore and two and a half hours from Singapore to Bali. It was so… long. And uncomfortable! And a week later I did it again in reverse order. There was no way I’d have survived with the children. Nor would I have been able to watch all the movies that I did!
Anyway, so I’m back now. I got back on the 23rd. Vins was super clingy that day. And I was thrilled that Booni remembered me. He jumped straight into my arms and gave me lots of cuddles and kisses 🙂
I can’t believe that Christmas has come and gone as well!
Where is the time going?
I hope you’re all having a good time. Merry Christmas and happy new year!

Myself

The following are things I’ve said over the last few months:

1. Ugh, I need a break from my kids.
2. I wish I could go on holiday by myself – no kids and no husband!
3. Of course they’ll be ok without me.
4. Babysitting is one of the perks of having in laws around all the time.
5. I really don’t want to fly with my boys.
6. I’d have no problem leaving them behind!

And this is what I’ve realised about myself:

1. I don’t want to go on holiday by myself.
2. I don’t want to go through a twenty hour journey on my own.
3. I do have a problem leaving them behind.
4. I’m all talk.

On My Own

My cousin is getting married next week. Her fairytale themed wedding (seriously) is in Bali. We’ve known this for months and have been hoping to go.
We didn’t book anything – LagosDad finds it impossible to plan ahead. And I’m a total forward planner! So the last few months have been full of uncertainty as to our plans this holiday.
We were going to go and take the kids. But it wasn’t really making any sense. Firstly, Vins gets airsick and wasn’t keen on taking 3 flights. Secondly, Booni has ants in his pants and I wasn’t keen on flying 20 hours with him. Thirdly, it’s kind of expensive to fly all the way there for a 3 day wedding and then endure the flights back. We thought about staying on for a bit and having a family holiday. We even thought about going to India afterwards (ugh – no thanks). Eventually we decided we wouldn’t take the children.
Then LagosDad and I thought about going on our own and hanging out there for a day or so before and after the wedding. But he couldn’t commit because of his work schedule.
My parents and aunt have messaged almost every day asking about our bookings! Our plans keep changing, so I didn’t want to say anything until I knew for certain.
So over the weekend, LagosDad told me he wouldn’t be able to get away – but that I should go ahead.
I’m going to Bali next week!
I haven’t told Vins yet. And I’ve not given my parents my dates yet – I’m waiting to purchase my ticket first.
I’m worried about leaving the boys. And I’m worried about getting everything ready for Christmas as I won’t be back until the 23rd.
I’m worried as I haven’t got the right clothes for a week in Bali and I’m worried about not really knowing any of the guests (apart from 5 or 6 of my cousins – who will know most of the other guests).
But mostly I’m worried about leaving my babies. LagosDad is here. My ins are here and the nanny is here. So in theory they should be ok…
Oh well. I’m going to Bali!

Bouncy Bouncy

Before Vins was born, I bought a Baby Bjorn bouncy chair for him. He didn’t really take to it much and we only used it a few times.
I was about to get rid of it a couple of years ago, but then discovered I was pregnant. So I kept it.
That chair has been a Godsend for us. Anytime Booni couldn’t sleep, we’d put him in the chair and bounce him. And within a few minutes (mostly), he’d fall asleep.
The drawback, because there’s always one, is that eventually became the only way he could fall asleep! Completely my fault, I know – but I’ll do just about anything for an easy life.
Today the shit has hit the fan. The frame of the chair snapped. We took it to the welder down the road, but he said he couldn’t fix it and told us to take it to another place. So I sent it to the other place, but the guy who would be able to fix it wasn’t there.
E (the nanny) and I thought that this might be a good time to wean him off the chair. You know… since we had no other choice.
It’s 11.08 pm and poor Booni is still screaming. And poor Vins has been woken a countless number of times. So Vins is passed out in our bed and Booni is still crying in his room.
I probably shouldn’t have let him get used to the chair! 🙈

Leaps and Bounds

I know one of my last posts was about Vins and how he’s making so much progress socially – but this one is too. I’m just so proud of him.
Firstly, his teacher said he’s doing really well in school. He’s getting more involved and participating more in whole class activities – especially the singing and dancing 🙂
We still have meltdowns at home. But they’re less frequent than before. And he’s become more independent.
He’s always been happier in smaller groups. But if he spent a whole day with a friend and then I turned up or if his friend’s parent turned up, he’d become quiet. I cannot begin to count the number of times a friend has spoken to him after school and has been ignored. Or the amount of times someone has said goodbye to him after school and Vins has pretended he can’t see him/her.
Yesterday was soooo different! Two school mums and myself took some of the kids out for lunch. There were six children in all. They had a ball. They ran around screaming and playing Hide and Seek. Luckily the restaurant was empty! They ran outside in the garden and they played with a bunch of Hot Wheels cars that Vin took with him.
I didn’t think Vins would join in as much as he did – and he was so happy! It was almost as though I wasn’t there!
The best part was when we were leaving. He put the car window down and started shouting, “Bye X! Bye! See you tomorrow!”
I’m so proud of him.

We’re Getting There

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Vins’ behaviour tends to frustrate me.

He’s always been clingy and getting him to go anywhere without me or his nanny has been a struggle. I’ve come to accept this. I mean… That’s just how he is. But it still does bother me a little from time to time.

Having said all that, he seems to be improving.

Last week a friend from school invited him (and a few others) over for a ‘movie night’. At first, Vins said he wasn’t going. Then I explained to him that he’d go at 5 pm and that they were going to play outside. Once they came in from the playground, all the children were going to eat and then change into pyjamas before watching the movie (Peter Pan). I told him his friend’s mum said that he should also take his duvet and pillow. I also told him that E (his nanny) would go with him. The excitement started building!

On the day of ‘movie night’, the traffic was disgusting. It was so bad I even told Vins he didn’t have to go if he didn’t want to. But when he said he wanted to go, I realised I couldn’t hold him back. He came home at 8.45 pm and he was SO happy. He’d had a really fun time, and I was so proud of him.

This week he had a half-day on Friday. This meant that he started school at 8 am (instead of 9.30 am) and finished at 11 am (instead of 2.30 pm). His friend’s mum asked if he would like to go home with them that day (in their car) and have lunch and play. Amazingly, Vins agreed. I say ‘amazingly’ because all of last (school) year another friend offered to take him home after school, and he always flat-out refused. He would only ever go to a friend’s house if I or E were to take him. So this Friday – we had a double victory. He went home with a friend in their car (with another friend of theirs) and he went without me or E.

Vins’ friend’s mum messaged me to say he was fine and that she’d never seen him so animated. Another friend rang me in the evening to ask where I was at pick-up, as she’d seen Vins with his friends. She said he was so happy and that she’d never heard him make so much noise before!

I know he’s better in smaller groups and that we still have a long way to go – but I think he’s turned a corner.

My baby really is growing up!

The Nanny Diaries

I don’t often write about the children’s nanny – but I have to write about this.

Anyway, so our nanny (E) has been with us since Vins was six months old. She lives with us, in our home and sleeps in the children’s room. Vins is very attached to her. He adores her and she loves him. Knowing that she’s with him has allowed me to have a life of my own. I can go out during the day or night (not that I have anywhere particular to go – but at least I have the option!), meet friends or whatever.

She travels with us when we go on holiday, and she spent five months with us in London last year while we were waiting for Booni to arrive.

She goes on leave for a month every year (back to the Philippines). I HATE that month. But I’ve survived so far!

In March this year she was going for her annual leave. The immigration laws over here changed before she came back and we had to redo all her paperwork before she could return.

While E was away, Vins was very insecure – and became very clingy. Everything was ‘mama, mama, mama’. Only mama could bathe him, put him to sleep, drop him off at school, pick him up, etc.

Luckily we had another helper (T). She took over Booni completely. I was happy, Booni was happy, Vins was happy and T was happy.

Vins slowly became more accepting of other people helping him out. He let LagosDad brush his teeth for him every day. He eventually started sleeping downstairs with my in-laws. And he eventually started having breakfast with my father-in-law every morning. This was a huge relief for me.

I was feeling so stressed. Vins wouldn’t let me spend any time with Booni. I felt guilty that I wasn’t giving Booni the same input that Vins had his age. Going out at night was off the cards unless my in laws were home. Going out during the day was off the cards as I couldn’t leave both children at home. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea when E would be back.

Do I sound very spoilt? I realise there are parents all over the world who do everything by themselves all the time, without any help. But this is what I’ve been used to.

Right before the boys’ birthdays I found out that T wasn’t the trustworthy person I thought she was. I found, in her bags, a whole bunch of the children’s clothes. Many of the clothes were brand new, with the tags still on. Some of the things weren’t new – but I was keeping them – either for Booni or for sentimental reasons. I found a pack of Booni’s spoons. A brand new tumbler, bowl and plate set and balloons that I’d bought for the party. Oh and E’s UGGS.

It was night when I checked her things (I’d received a tip-off). I took everything away and put it in my room. The next morning she obviously knew I’d been through her things but she didn’t say anything.

When I eventually spoke with her (when the children weren’t around), she started crying and apologising. She said she didn’t know what she was thinking and that it wouldn’t happen again. How many other things had she taken over the last few months? I asked her – she said nothing. But I know that’s not true.

My first instinct was to throw her out. I’d trusted her! I left Booni in Lagos with her (and LagosDad and my ins) and gone to London with Vins for two weeks!

I decided to give her another chance. How would I cope with the children? Especially with their birthdays and party coming up?

On the 11th T was going off and coming back the following evening. After another tip-off, I asked her to open all her bags and show me what was inside before she left. She showed me everything confidently and happily. Until I went back to the first bag she opened. I asked her to take out the plastic bag that was at the bottom of the bag. She did and told me it was clothes. The shape of the bag was oblong. So I asked her to open it. She did everything she could to delay the process. She pretended she couldn’t undo the knot she’d made at the top of the bag. She pretended she couldn’t find the scissors she needed to open the bag. I brought them to her. Once she undid the knot, she put the bag on the floor. I was carrying Booni at the time and told her that I couldn’t open the bag, so could she please open it and show me what was inside. She nudged the bag in my direction. I got a bit cross because I’d been waiting at least ten minutes to see what was inside (though I knew by now). She eventually showed me. It was a brand new pack of 52 Pampers. Not Pampers that Booni had outgrown (those are also easily accessible), but the 4+ size, which he’s currently wearing.

How could she do this to me again? How naive was I? I was so cross with myself.

I told her to pack up her things and leave. I watched her as she packed all her stuff and then I instructed the security not to let her back in the compound.

That was a terrible weekend for all of us. Vins was fine – my mother-in-law looked after him. He slept downstairs, ate downstairs and spent a lot of time with my in-laws.

Poor Booni, though. He was missing T a lot. He wasn’t used to me putting him to bed. I wasn’t used to putting him to bed. Or doing all the other things that T normally did for him. It took us both a couple of days (and a few VERY long nights) to readjust to each other.

And finally… on the 14th (five and a half months later), E came back! Vins was super excited. I didn’t tell him she was coming back (just in case something went wrong).

Vins is happy. Booni is used to her again and is happy. LagosDad is happy (I’m not bitching and moaning at/to him any more). And I’m ecstatic. I’d never have found the time to sit and write this post otherwise!

 

 

 

He’s Five!

I’m absolutely terrible.

Vins’ fifth birthday came and went – and I didn’t acknowledge it on my blog. I’m so ashamed. I didn’t write a post for him or anything.

Oh well.

Anyway – he’s FIVE! I’ve been looking at pictures of him as a baby, and can’t quite believe it.

His and Booni’s birthday pawty is over (THANK THE LORD). It was so stressful – but they had a ball. I’ve got some pictures – but they’re still on LagosDad’s laptop – so I’ll post a few soon.

 

Booni! We’re Back!

I loved being in London. But I missed Booni terribly. I knew he was fine – LagosDad took him to playgroup and spent a lot of time with him – as did my MIL.

I just couldn’t wait to get back home. I was willing the plane to fly faster. I was willing for the 6 hours flying time to go by quicker. I was willing our luggage to hurry up. I just wanted to see Booni.

Vins was quite indifferent about it all. Until we got home. Then he got excited! He went running up the stairs. Rolo (the dog, who was more excited than anyone) following and me racing behind them.

Vins went slamming into their bedroom and shouted, ‘BOOOONI!’ and then the dog started barking. And the nanny exclaimed, ‘You’re back!’ And Booni… Booni got the fright of his life with all that noise. He burst into tears and wouldn’t stop crying!

He cried and he cried. He looked at me and he cried. I went near him and he cried.

I also wanted to cry! I wanted a cuddle!

He was soon ok with Vins – he was happy to go to him and give him a cuddle. But he was still wary of me. I was so disappointed. He’d forgotten me! How does that happen? How can my child forget me after two weeks? Or was he angry with me? Did he think he’d been abandoned?

I decided to sit in his room and mind my own business. I ignored him and played on my phone. It took him over an hour before he finally came to me. And now he’s back to his usual self.

Phew.

Two Weeks

Today is Wednesday. And on Sunday Vins and I are off to London for two weeks.

Yes, just the two of us. For two weeks.

He needs a new passport and apparently you can’t renew British passports over here any more. I didn’t dig too deeply to find out more information, because hey – who doesn’t want to go to London?

The thing is… I’m leaving Booni behind. Not on his own, obviously – LagosDad will be here. The nanny will be here. And my in laws will be here. So I know he’ll be very well taken care of. But I’m still worrying. What if he’s lonely? What if he misses us? What if he thinks I’ve abandoned him? LagosDad has promised to take him to playgroup at least twice a week – so at least he’ll be getting out a little.

I’ve left Vin before – once when he was 15 months and once when he was 21 months. Each time I only went for a week. And that was pretty hard. While I loved being in London, and I loved being on my own, I had the feeling that something was missing. Like a part of me was missing.

London with Vins will be…. exciting interesting. I’m used to having either LagosDad, or the nanny or my mum around to help out. So this is a first for both of us. My sister will arrive four days after us – so she’ll be there to help! And also, thank God he’s decided he likes spaghetti and pizza now – so we have a couple more meal options!

I am so excited to get out of here and escape for a couple of weeks – but now that it’s all confirmed, the nerves have set in. What if Booni’s lonely? What if he misses us? What if he thinks I’ve abandoned him? (I know, I’ve said all this already) And… What if he forgets me??