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!

 

 

 

Bye, Curls!

We reached a real milestone on September 14th. That was the day of Booni’s munan.

I wasn’t as emotional about it as I was when we had to do it for Vins. And even the barber commented on it afterwards. He said I was much stronger this time than with Vins.

Booni cried. He screamed and he cried and he howled. He wasn’t in any pain, though. I think it was mainly because he had to be kept still for about twenty minutes. This is a feat that is practically impossible for him!

I had him in my lap – my legs keeping his still and my arms around him – keeping his upper body from moving. LagosDad had to hold his head still. It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But it had to be done.

I miss his crazy curls. And somehow his bald head makes him look like more of a little boy than a baby. But I think he looks much cuter without the hair – you can really see his face now.

My gorgeous baby boy.

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You’re 1 Already!

My darling Booni,

I cannot believe that it’s been a whole year since you were born!
You have amazed me every day.
I love how you dance when you hear music.
I love how you roar like a little lion.
I love that you remind me of a puppy.
I love your wobbly steps.
I love your hugs and soppy kisses.
I love that you’re in all our lives.
Happy 1st Birthday.

Love,
Mama
x

It’s Time To PAW-TY

Booni is going to be ONE on Monday (31st August). HOW did that happen?

The following Monday, Vins will turn five. FIVE!!

After Vin’s 3rd birthday party, I decided I wouldn’t have any more parties. It’s just too stressful (and expensive).

Then I got pregnant. And very quickly realised that I’d have to do at least one more – for their first and fifth birthdays.

So this year, I’m doing a combined party for them. In the past Vin’s parties have been indoors and outdoors. However, all our new furniture arrived a few months ago and I refuse to have anyone inside! So it will all be outdoors.

Vins has been “planning” this party since March! We decided we’d go with the PAW Patrol theme. Booni, obviously has no say! He spent a couple of months looking at PAW Patrol cakes online and chose about a dozen different cakes that he liked.

I ordered all the return gifts in June – 60 of them. But the guest list keeps growing and growing and growing. Vin’s whole class, friends from his class last year who are in the other class this year, friends not from school, children whose parties they’ve been invited to and we need to return the invitation. The list doesn’t end. And I can’t cut it down without offending anyone. Oh well – the more the merrier! Let me be clear – I’m happy to have the kids – I’m just worried about not having enough return gifts.

I’m feeling a bit stressed about it all already as there’s so much to do. So far I’ve given out all most of the invitations, ordered the cake and cupcakes, booked the photographer and got the party planner.

This week I have to go to the market to get more balloons (no more helium balloons – I’ve learnt my lesson!), extra tableware, gift bags and some extra return gifts.

Keep you posted!

V&V 2

Has He Learnt Anything New?

Has he learnt anything new? This is the question my mum regularly asks me about Booni. And my standard reply is, ‘He hasn’t learnt anything at all! He doesn’t know anything!’

Booni is a completely different story to Vins (yes, here I go again – comparing). He has no interest in learning anything!

I’ve been worrying and worrying about him. He can’t sit still for three minutes, so I don’t think he absorbs anything. He won’t look at the pictures of animals in our books – he usually just throws it on the floor. Or chews it. He won’t watch anything on TV for more than one minute (I know they shouldn’t watch TV, but I actually think they learn a lot from it). He won’t sit still long enough for me to touch his nose when I ask him where his nose is.

So what does he know???

I came across a post I wrote about Vins when he was ten months old – about the things he could do at that stage. It wasn’t an extensive list – but it was pretty good.

Booni… What can Booni do? He’s going to be a year old at the end of this month!

  1. He can crawl.
  2. He can walk while holding onto furniture.
  3. He can stand unsupported for a few seconds.
  4. He dances when he hears music.
  5. He can wave goodbye (if he’s in the mood).
  6. He understands ‘no’ if you waggle your finger at him and say ‘no’ at the same time.
  7. He holds up various objects to his ear and pretends it’s a phone.
  8. If he’s holding a comb or a hairbrush, he tries to brush his hair.
  9. If you ask him where Rolo is, he points to him.
  10. He can say ‘mama’ (although I don’t think he’s referring to me).
  11. He can roar like a lion. (Explained below)
  12. He can identify the lion toy. (Also explained below)
  13. ‘How does Booni clean his mouth?’ (More below)
  14. He climbs into his bouncy chair when he wants to sleep.

8 & 9 – I came back from London with a new determination to spend more time with him and really teach him something. I don’t know how it happened, but that something was to roar like a lion. I’d ask him (a few times a day), ‘Booni, what does a lion say?’ And I’d roar. And Vins would roar. And then Booni would roar. We practised this for a few days – me asking, me roaring, Vins roaring and then Booni copying us. Eventually, when I asked him, he’d roar on his own. It’s really the cutest thing. YES! He knew something! Then I took a little toy lion and kept showing it to him. ‘Look Booni. It’s a lion! What does the lion say?’ Honestly, by day 3, every time I asked him what the lion, he looked at me as if to say, ‘not the f*cking lion again!’. Anyway, so eventually I started taking out two toys and I’d ask him, ‘Booni where’s the lion?’ He was eventually able to choose the lion. And the smile on his face when I cheered for him… Heart melting.

10 – After a messy snack, I got a wet wipe and cleaned Booni’s face and neck (how food gets onto his neck, I just don’t know). Then I gave him the wipe and said, ‘How does Booni clean his mouth?’ I didn’t think he’d know what to do with it (apart from chew it). He looked at it. And I asked him again, ‘How does Booni clean his mouth?’ He looked at me and smiled and before I knew what had happened, he’d launched himself at me (we were sitting on the floor) and started cleaning my face with it! It was cute. But gross.

I guess he does know some things?

 

 

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.

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 🙂

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??

 

 

What Will Booni Be?

Booni will be elven months at the end of this month and I still can’t get over how different Vin was as a baby of the same age.

I look at him and wonder if babies are meant to be the way Booni is, or if they’re meant to be the way Vin was. By the way, I do realise there’s no right or wrong answer here.

By this age (yes, I’m going to compare again), Vin showed a strong interest in animals and books.

Booni… Booni is like a cross between an excitable (and extremely loveable) puppy and a hungry hamster. Booni actually sounds like a puppy dog’s name!

There’s a shelf in the playroom which holds all the boxes of games and puzzles. Booni loves to crawl up to it, pull himself into standing and either:

a. pull boxes down one by one, or

b. chew the corner of one particular box.

He’s got a whole bunch of toys. He usually picks one up, looks at it, puts it in his mouth and then throws it behind him. And he repeats this four or five times!

If there are clothes in the laundry basket, he removes each item and chucks it on the floor.

If there’s anything on the bed, he’ll reach for it and throw it on the floor.

Whatever he can reach ends up on the floor!

I remembered writing a post about Vins might be when he grows up and although he was much older when I wrote it, I started wondering about Booni.

And I could only think of two things that he (Booni) might be when he’s older.

1. A professional food taster (since he loves to chew things and just eat in general).

2. A waiter in a Greek restaurant – where he can smash all the plates he likes every day!