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 for¬†me.

Anyway… More soon.

ūüôā

(Almost) Time for a Holiday

I’m so knackered.

I wake up and count how many hours there are until I can go back to sleep again! And, I’ll have you know, that afternoon naps are a thing of the past (unfortunately).

At least Easter Break is happening from next Thursday – Hurrah! And I’m going to Dubai – Hurrah! Without children and LagosDad – Hurrah (kind of)!

Let me give you some back story on this…

So… one of my BFFs (H) has a big milestone birthday coming up at the end of May and she’s been talking about getting away for a girly weekend to celebrate. I can’t get away in May and she didn’t want to take time off work, so we decided to go over Easter weekend.

The next step was deciding where to go – Zanzibar? Istanbul? London? Paris? We both knew we wanted to shop a bit lot. Eat a lot. Chill a bit. We knew it was only for about four days, so nowhere too far away. Where would be best?

H¬†decided on Dubai. Nooooo! How was I supposed to tell my parents that I was coming to Dubai for four days, not staying with them and not bringing their grandchildren? I tried to convince her to go to other places – but visas (expense of) were an issue and H just wasn’t having any of it. She had decided on Dubai. LagosDad, very sensibly, said that it was H’s birthday and that I had to go along with what she wanted!

I thought about taking the kids – leaving them with my parents for four days (with the nanny too) and then after H went back to Lagos, I’d move in with my parents. But it really wasn’t worth it. Easter break is only a week long and it was too much money to spend for four of us for only a week.

I thought about how to bring this up with my mum. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried so much because she wasn’t going to be there anyway! While I’m disappointed that I won’t see her, I won’t feel so guilty about not taking the children.

So, after all that, H and I leave next Thursday. S (another friend) will already be there and we’re going to spend four days in Dubai – shopping (first and foremost), eating (can’t wait to go to McDonalds), drinking excessively (maybe only on the first night, as we’re getting old now and our hangovers last about three days) and chilling (if we can tear ourselves away from the mall).

Do you think it’s strange that I’ve not mentioned my children or how I’m worried about leaving them and that I’ll miss them?

I will miss them. And I am a bit anxious about leaving them. But I REALLY need this break. And I know they will be well taken care of.

Vins has agreed to go to Easter Camp (he never ceases to amaze me) – so he’ll be busy every day. And Booni… Booni will have playdates.

See? We’re all good!

 

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 Рstop 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 ūüôā
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!

London With Vins

So as you know, Vins and I went to London for a couple of weeks.

We left on a Sunday Рboth of us excited. But I was sad to leave Booni as well. Vins was amazing on the flight. He only threw up once (at the end). Thank goodness for Kwells Kids!

We got our luggage, our minicab and checked into our hotel. It was his first time staying in a hotel and he spent the first few hours saying, “Mama, this hotel isn’t very good, is it? They don’t even have a kitchen!”

My sister was arriving on the Friday and I knew that I’d want to spend some time with her – shopping and whatnot. So I tried to make the first few days extra special for Vins.

On Monday morning we ran a few errands – picked up a passport application form, did passport pictures, bought a SIM card, topped up my Oyster Card, etc. He was super excited to have lunch at McDonalds (as was I!) and then he insisted that we go to Mothercare to buy his and Booni’s new pyjamas *face palm*

After spending what seemed like days in Mothercare (I usually love going there – but it’s a different story with Vins in tow. And I hate it when the sales are on and everything’s strewn around the place) – all because he couldn’t decide on which dinosaur pyjamas he liked best (we bought both in the end), we went to Geox so he could choose his new sandals. I don’t know why – but he takes so bloody long to make a decision!

We went back to the hotel – he watched CBeebies and I started filling out the passport application form. And we had dinner at Pizza Express. It is actually a blessing that Vins eats spaghetti and pizza now. It really made life a lot easier for me!

The next day we went for an early Chinese lunch and then went to London Zoo. He loved it. And we walked A LOT! I hadn’t been there in years – at least 11, maybe more. I found it a little disappointing. It didn’t seem as big as it used to. And there didn’t seem to be as many animals either? But we had a good time together, anyway. I think his favourite part was the ice cream at the end *smh*

Wednesday was his passport appointment and I took him to the Harrods Toy Kingdom after that. It was, in hindsight, a mistake – but he hadn’t been there and I wanted him to see it. Well… He cried because I wouldn’t buy him a ¬£50 guitar. And then he cried because I wouldn’t buy him an ¬£80 children’s camera. However, I did get him the Transformer he’s been wanting. And a PAW Patrol book thingy. I also got him one of those remote control cars that goes up the walls and stuff (but I told him it was for someone else and I’ll give it to him for his birthday). I got Booni a birthday present from there and I got myself a new jigsaw puzzle. Nightmare. Anyway – at least this way I wouldn’t have to do Hamley’s. Right?

I spent most of Wednesday evening deciding on what we should do on Thursday. In the end I decided to take him to Chessington World of Adventures. He troubled me a bit – but on the whole, we had a really good time. We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 9 pm that night and we were both exhausted! He went straight to sleep – but I had to pack! We were checking out on Friday morning and moving into my sister’s room after she arrived at lunchtime.

Vins really was very good for those first few days. We spent time together and did a lot of fun things. Unfortunately, once the weekend came round, he changed! I just couldn’t understand why he was playing up all of a sudden – having more tantrums, etc. Then I realised – he was used to it being just me and him. He had my undivided attention. And then when my sister arrived – I was suddenly distracted. And he didn’t like it!

Anyway – my sister arrived. She had her own stuff going on – so Vins and I were still spending time together. Lots and lots of time. I was beginning to feel a bit suffocated!

On Saturday evening Vins and I met with LagosDad’s brother and family. Vins gets along with his cousins and chacha (father’s brother) and chachi (father’s brother’s wife). It’s amazing – he’s so reserved with so many people; and although he doesn’t know them very well – he’s totally comfortable! I won’t tell you about one of his cousins or about Vins throwing up at the table at ASK…

I had booked tickets for Dinosaur Zoo¬†for the Sunday – it was brilliant! If you have a kid interested in dinosaurs – go see this! Vins was a bit scared – but it really was good. I won’t talk about the tantrum that happened afterwards (all because he wanted popcorn but the kiosk was closed)!

We spent the rest of the afternoon on Oxford Street.

On Monday afternoon I got my haircut. It was such a pleasure to go to Sam at Le Beautique Spa again! And yes, Vins came with me. He was very good, actually.

I’d booked tickets to go and see The Gruffalo for the following day and I (and Vins) were quite excited! In the afternoon I had an appointment at Debenhams (more on that later) and my sister took Vins to the park. She brought him to me a couple of hours later before she went out for the evening. We ran a couple more errands and then went home.

We went to Croxley on Wednesday – to visit Vins’ cousins. Actually – we ran errands in the morning and went to them in the afternoon. The kids played in the garden and my sister-in-law and I were able to catch up in peace!

My hairdresser, Sam, had convinced me to do keratin treatment – so that’s what I was doing for three hours on Thursday afternoon (more info to come) while Vins went to the Natural History Museum with my sister. In some ways I felt as though I was wasting time sitting there for three hours and not doing anything – but I was also so happy. It was the first time I was just sitting down and doing nothing. And without a child!

Poor Vins – on Friday he spent the day with me – going to House of Fraser, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer to get all the VAT forms sorted. We also had to pick up a few other things along the way!

We were leaving on Saturday evening, but of course there were things I’d forgotten – like shirts for my FIL, and the cooking sauces my MIL wanted. So we rushed out again on Saturday morning to get those sorted.

And that was it. I tried to make it as much fun as possible for Vins.

Two weeks went by in a blink of an eye!

(You can see photos on Instagram – lagosmum)

 

Can’t Wait

Going back home in 3 days and I can’t wait!
I’ve enjoyed being in London and spending time with Vins (more on that soon), but it’s been rather full – on.
I still have stuff to do here – there’s never enough time to shop and do other people’s errands!
And of course I can’t wait to see my Booni Boo ūüôā

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??

 

 

Where I Am…

Ok, so here’s where I am with things…

The first thing I had to do was book-in with my previous ob/gyn. ¬†I booked-in late, but he is squeezing me in. ¬†That was a huge relief! ¬†We still have to pay the extortionate hospital deposit, and I’m hoping that will be done this week.

The second thing I had to do was find an apartment. ¬†I emailed many agents about dozens of flats. ¬†Zoopla is my new favourite website. ¬†I got some leads. ¬†Some didn’t even bother replying. ¬†Finding a short-let during the summer, in central London and in our budget proved to be a bit challenging. ¬†Especially since we were looking for a three bedroom/two bathroom place.

I found one place which was perfect for us (the living area seems a bit small from the pictures, but it will have to do). ¬†The agent and I were in touch for the longest time. ¬†She wanted all sorts of details, which was fine. ¬†And then when we confirmed that we wanted the place, the amount of paperwork we had to produce was ridiculous. ¬†I’m not sure if it’s because we’re overseas, or if that’s what’s usually done. ¬†While this was going on, I was also in touch with another agent regarding a second place. ¬†The price was the same, but it seemed bigger and was in another area which I would have been happy to stay in. ¬†According to the agent, the landlord of that flat wanted to know if we could pay six months’ rent up front. ¬†No. ¬†Well then, did we have a UK guarantor? ¬†Yes. ¬†What was his job/role/company, etc? ¬†Told him. ¬†Did he/she make circa 100,000 GBP/year? ¬†Was this landlord mental? ¬†Could we send them bank statements? ¬†Yes, we could. ¬†In the end I stopped communicating with them. ¬†Not because I didn’t want that flat, but I got so fed up. ¬†If you have a list of questions, can you please send them to me all at once? ¬†Instead of asking me one, waiting for me to answer (all via email) and then sending me another? ¬†Ridiculous.

Anyway, so the first place is confirmed. ¬†The only thing is, there’s no TV, Internet, bedding, tumble dryer. ¬†We’ll have to organise all this once we get there. ¬†Is it possible to get WiFi without a landline? ¬†And is it the norm to not have all this included? ¬†Or does it just depend on the individual landlord?

The third thing on my list was the nanny’s visa. ¬†She has come to Dubai with us. ¬†And she’s even come to Bali. ¬†When we go to Dubai, the travel agent organises her visa for us and when we went to Bali, she got a visa on arrival. ¬†Getting a UK visa was a whole new ball game for us. ¬†Again, the paperwork we needed was excessive. ¬†The online application was looooong! ¬†And it wasn’t cheap either. ¬†We submitted everything and she had her appointment for her biometrics etc on 7th May. ¬†It took two hours to submit all the paperwork and process everything. ¬†They told her it would take 15 working days. ¬†We waited and waited to hear. ¬†It was after 21 working days that we got the text message that the passport was ready for collection. ¬†And… ¬†She got her visa! ¬†Hurrah!

I’ve also organised all the ‘baby stuff’ I need to take with us. ¬†Baby bottles (new), baby blankets (some new), baby clothes (very few, V’s old ones), etc. ¬†I’ve just shoved it all in an empty cupboard for now.

I’ve ordered all the freight from the UK – Pampers – sizes 3 and 4, new light fittings for the children’s rooms, new bed for V, formula for baby, dog treats (not for baby), toiletries (for baby).

I’ve moved all the furniture round, so that all the baby furniture that was in V’s room is now in the playroom (now the nursery) and so that all the toys that were in the playroom are now all in V’s room. ¬†I’ll probably put the children¬†in the same room eventually, but not just yet.

I’ve peeled all the animal stickers off V’s walls so that LagosDad can have the room painted before we come back. ¬†I thought V would be a little upset to see the stickers go, but he wasn’t. ¬†I guess this is just another sign that he’s growing up! ¬†He actually helped me to peel some of them off. ¬†We worked together and chatted. ¬†I mentioned to him that Papa was going to paint the room before we came back.

A couple of days ago we were talking about leaving and how we all had to pack, etc. and I said something about LagosDad coming with us. ¬†V said, ‘I don’t think Papa should come with us to London.’ ¬†Oh? ¬†Poor LagosDad. ¬†He’d be upset to hear that V doesn’t want him around. ¬†I replied, ‘Oh? ¬†But why not?’ ¬†V responded, ‘Don’t you remember Mama? ¬†Papa has to paint my room!’

So, we’re nearly there. ¬†We leave in 10 days. ¬†But I haven’t booked flights yet.

I better get on that.

 

More Confusion

Before V was born, I did a lot of research on which pushchair to get. ¬†I know I’ve written about this whole pushchair thing before – but this has a different point. ¬†I promise. ¬†Bear with me!

The one I really wanted to buy was the Bugaboo Bee. ¬†But after discussing with LagosDad (read after LagosDad said ‘no’), he we decided that it was too expensive. ¬†If we lived in London, or somewhere else where we’d get regular use out of it, then it would have been fine, but alas…

Anyway, so we bought the Mamas & Papas Urbo.

It looks great, doesn’t it? ¬†There are a number of irritating things about it though.

1. It can be rear or forward facing, which is a real plus point.  However, to fold it down, it needs to be forward facing.  That means taking the baby out, turning the seat round and then using BOTH hands to collapse it.  What to do with the baby?

2. As mentioned above, you need two hands to fold it down, which is inconvenient.

3. It’s heavy.

4. It’s quite wide when folded.

Anyway – so that’s the one we bought. ¬†And it was used very regularly until we came back to Lagos when V was twelve weeks old. ¬†After that it wasn’t used again until he was six months old and we went to India and then London. ¬†And after that, it wasn’t used until he was eleven months old (for one week) and then at fifteen months.

When V was 27 months, we went to Dubai for the Christmas holiday. ¬†I didn’t take the pushchair with us. ¬†I figured he was old enough to walk. ¬†I, stupidly, didn’t take into account how much walking there is to do in the malls. ¬†I also, stupidly, didn’t realise that we don’t really walk anywhere here. ¬†Everywhere we go is by car. ¬†So he wasn’t (and still isn’t) used to walking for long periods of time.

After having to carry him every five minutes, I went out and bought a cheap, lightweight buggy from Mothercare. ¬†I left it in Dubai and we’ve used it each time we’ve gone back.

Now – here’s the important bit. ¬†As I wrote before, we’ll be spending the summer and some of autumn in London.

My mum asked me if she should send the buggy (with my sister). ¬†I told her I wouldn’t need it, as I have the Urbo (which I’d like to sell so I can buy a new one. ¬†So if you know anyone….?). ¬†I’d misunderstood her. ¬†She was asking if she should send it for V.

I told her not to send it. ¬†He won’t need it, will he? ¬†He’ll be four in September. ¬†Do nearly-four-year-olds use buggies? ¬†I’m hoping we’ll be within walking distance of the park/playground. ¬†And we’ll be taking the bus or Tube everywhere we go…

Is it frowned upon to have a four-year-old in a buggy? ¬†Does it matter if it is? ¬†I’ve never seen ‘big children’ in buggies.

Maybe I should get hold of it anyway, in case?  For long days out like the zoo?

What do you think?