He Swims!

When he was little (littler), Vins quite enjoyed swimming. We had to coax him to get changed and into the pool, but once he was in, he was happy. As he got a bit older, it got harder to convince him to come in the water.

It got harder and harder until it was impossible. The last time Vin (Vin/Vins same thing) went swimming was in November 2013. He has point blank REFUSED to even put on his swimming shorts after that.

However, we had a bit of a breakthrough in April. We were in Dubai for three weeks. Unfortunately Booni got ill. And then Vin got ill – so we didn’t go to the pool until the end of our holiday. Vin had said all along that he was coming with us – to keep us company – but that he wasn’t swimming. ‘I’m not swimming. I’m a horse and horses don’t like getting wet.’ I said that was fine, but that I was going to pack his swimming things just in case he changed his mind.

We went to the poolside at the Shangri-La hotel and proceeded to get Booni changed. He was going through a phase (at seven months) where two people needed to get him dressed. One to hold him down and the other to put his clothes on. Vins watched. We all (me, LagosDad, my sister and Booni) got into the baby pool. It was Booni’s first time in a swimming pool, so we were all oohing and aahing over him. Vins decided he was going to sit on the side and put his feet in. I told him that was a great idea. He took out his toys (bath toys) and started playing with them. Then he said he thought it would be a good idea to get changed – just so he could sit on the first step. I told him that was a great idea. We pretty much ignored him for five minutes and then he said, ‘Oh ok, I’ll come in then.’ LagosDad raced to get his armbands and shove them on his arms before he changed his mind!

We sent Booni home (to my mum) early (after about thirty minutes) and stayed for the rest of the day. Vins had the time of his life. We were soon in the big pool – and he was squealing with delight. At one point he said, ‘I just love this, mama!’

20150412_151508 20150412_151423







While walking home, I asked him, ‘Did you enjoy the day today?’ His reply, ‘Not really.’


So once we got back to Lagos, LagosDad and I decided that we had to make more of an effort to take him swimming. So we started going on Sundays. And then a friend said she was trying to organise swimming lessons for her daughter and did we want to join. I immediately said yes – better to start while he’s enthusiastic about it!

The first couple of lessons, he wouldn’t get in the pool without me. But the instructor wasn’t too happy. Finally, I told Vin that I wasn’t allowed in the water during the lesson, but that I’d swim with him afterwards – if he listened to his teacher. This worked quite well.

At his last lesson, I told him that I wasn’t swimming with him at all – and that I wanted to see him listening and doing what his teacher told him to. You know what – he’s doing SO well. He’s still wearing armbands, but that’s fine. But he’s actually moving in the water!

Unfortunately it’s rainy season now – so swimming is pretty much out for a while, but I hope he’ll get back into it quickly!

He swims!!


The Same. But Different.

I’ve had over nine months to get used to being a mum of two. There have been ups and downs – but I think we’ve all settled quite nicely.

One thing that I can’t stop thinking about is how different my two boys are. I know V1 (Vin, from now on) and V2 (now known as Booni) are four years apart so there will obviously be differences. What I mean is how different Vin was as a baby. Obviously they won’t be the same, and they’re both their own person. And I’m not saying I prefer one over the other – they’re just different!

Vin and Booni were both born on their due dates – Vin by emergency c-section and Booni by an elective c-section.

Vin was 5.8 lbs and Booni was 7.3 lbs. Vin was still wearing ‘tiny baby’ size at two months and Booni was in 3-6 months clothes by the time he was two months old.

They both put themselves into a four hourly feeding schedule early on.

Vin always needed cuddles to fall asleep. And he still prefers to sleep cuddled up with someone and sleeps better when he is. Booni has only ever slept on my chest once. And he’s only ever slept in my bed once. He hates being cuddled to sleep. Instead, he prefers to be bounced to sleep in his chair!

At twelve weeks I used the Gina Ford book to put Vin into a routine. I guess it didn’t work that well (I didn’t follow it very well) because he continued to wake at least twice a night for milk until he was three years old! Booni put himself into a routine by eleven weeks. And started sleeping straight through the night – sometimes for thirteen hours. That all changed at about seventeen weeks and he started waking quite regularly again. And now, at nine months – he still wakes.

I’ve got tonnes of photos of Vin – lying on the bed or propped up on pillows – in all his little clothes. The reason I’ve got all these photos? He stayed still while I took them. I’ve got a lot of Booni too – just not nearly as many as of his brother. The reason why? He can’t stay still for a minute. With Vin I was able to put on a Baby Einstein DVD and he would sit and watch it. For at least ten to fifteen minutes. With Booni? Forget about it. He barely sits still long enough to notice that the television is on!

At nine months, Vin was able to identify a few animals by pointing to them. Booni doesn’t know any. Vin could point to his nose and to the light. Booni is more interested in the ‘click’ the light switch makes than actually looking (noticing of) at the light.

Vin loved looking at books. Booni loves chewing and throwing books. He’s not interested in listening to stories.

He can wave goodbye. He is quite marvellous at chewing and throwing things. He does understand ‘no’ (especially when accompanied with a wagging finger). And he understands ‘come back’. So he knows something at least!

I know he’ll learn things in time. But I’m wondering if it’s because he hasn’t had the same input Vin had – you know – first child and all. Or does is he just not bothered? I started feeling a bit guilty about it a couple of months ago and decided I’d sign him up for playgroup. So we’ve started going to playgroup. Again. He loves it. He’s so happy to get out of the house and to go somewhere that has different toys for him to chew.

LagosDad and I were discussing how we thought Vin would be book smart and Booni would be street smart. I know it’s too soon to know what they’ll be like in the future – but we still talk about it.

I wonder if they’ll always be so different to each other. And will it work in their favour? Or against them? Will they be close? Or will they be too different to get along?

I suppose I shouldn’t think about all those things now because:

a. Vin loves Booni to bits (Booni is the name he came up with and now we all use it).

b. Booni adores Vin. His face lights up when he sees him.

c. I love them both more than anything.




We are weaning Baby V at the moment.

He is loving his meals – whether fresh or out of a jar – and always wants more. Fruit, veg, meat, fish, whatever – he wants more.

20150206_125619 20150206_125637

I think this is a good thing. But I’m a bit confused…

I’m tempted to feed him until he doesn’t want any more. I think it’s a good thing to load him up so that he’s full and doesn’t wake at night. No? But, if he eats so much he won’t finish his milk. And then doesn’t take in the recommended daily 600 – 700 ml.


What do I do?

Wasn’t To Be

I’d seen a couple of babies wearing little black and gold beaded bracelets and decided I wanted one for Varun.
I never got any for Vinay when he was a baby as he never liked to wear anything around his wrists or his neck.
The bracelet is to protect the wearer. Protect them from anyone who may be giving them “the evil eye”.
Anyway, since my mum was in India I asked her to get me one. She very kindly did. And she sent it to me through a friend of hers. I received it last Tuesday.


See the bracelet? It was a bit too big for Varun. And the next day I took it off him. Vinay asked if he could wear it.
I happily put it on him.
When I collected him from school on Thursday, he was carrying it. He said it had fallen off.
I put it back on him as I didn’t have any pockets or my handbag. And I made a mental note to give it to LagosDad to have the clasp changed when he goes to India.
After being at home for a couple of hours, Vinay went outside to play. I could hear him and his friends running around, shouting and bouncing on the trampoline.
He came upstairs a sweaty, dirty mess. And I said to him, “Where’s the bracelet?”
It had fallen off in the garden. And we still can’t find it.
I was very cross. But quickly realised it wasn’t the poor boy’s fault. It’s mine.  We’ve been out there every day looking for it but have had no luck.
And I can’t tell my mum.
It has taken me this – losing an expensive gold bracelet – to realise that Vinay is not meant to wear anything.
Let me explain.
As a newborn baby we tied a black thread (same reason as the lost bracelet) around his wrist. It fell off. We tried again. It fell off. We tied one round his ankle instead. Also fell off. This went on for months.
When he was 13 months and we had to shave his head, I put a gold chain with a baby Krishna pendant on it round his neck. The chain broke. I tried a slightly thicker chain. The clasp broke. And when I was sure I’d found the perfect chain, the pendant broke!
So that’s that. My son is not “meant” to wear any of that stuff.
What will I tell my mum??

Bloody Mosquitoes

About three weeks ago Baby V woke up with a whole lot of mosquito bites on his face.

I felt terrible. But also a bit confused. I spray the room every evening. I use mosquito cream on him and I put a mosquito patch on his pjs. So how did this happen?

I used Sudocrem on the bites and hoped that they’d disappear. But of course, it’s not the marks on his face that I was worried about – it’s malaria.

After that incident I increased the number of patches to three! One on the sheet near his head. Then a couple of hours later I’d stick one on his sleeve and then at about midnight (sometimes later) I’d add another. But now that he’s moving around so much, I don’t stick them on the sheets any more.

Anyway, a couple of days after the bite marks disappeared I was feeling better about the whole thing when I thought I’d better check how long it takes for malaria to develop. When would I see the signs? Two to three weeks. That’s a long time to worry about whether your baby is going to get malaria or not!

There were no more mosquito incidents after that. Until two nights ago. He woke yesterday to a bite on each cheek, two on his chin and one on the eyebrow. WHY is this still happening? Even after spraying the room – sometimes twice. And after increasing the use of the cream. And after increasing the number of patches?

Someone did recommend using a mosquito net to cover the cot – but with the amount of times he’s been waking, I don’t think it would really help much. And wouldn’t he feel claustrophobic?

So yet again, I’m worrying.


For the last two nights, Baby V (now 5 months old) has been… Troublesome.
I complained a few weeks ago that he wasn’t sleeping through the night anymore. But you know what? At least he bloody slept!
Now he just won’t sleep!
He was up every five minutes from 5 am until 6.30 am yesterday morning. And last night he’d sleep for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. But only until 11 pm. From 11pm, he was awake until 1 am. Not just lying in his cot and gurgling to himself awake, but whinging and whining awake. He didn’t want to lie down, he didn’t want to be carried or walked. He wasn’t hungry. He wasn’t windy, he was just… Awake!
I don’t let him sleep for more than 3 hours during the day, so it wasn’t that he wasn’t tired. He was yawning and rubbing his eyes a lot. But still… Awake!

At some point during the night I made up a little song (which I only sang in my head) for him. Thought I’d share it with you. Sing in tune to Hush Little Baby.

Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep,
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep,
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep,
Go the f*ck to sleep.

Repeat as many times as necessary.

Seriously though – what should I do?

Not So Sleepy Head

I knew it. I just knew it.

I knew if I talked about it, I’d jinx it.

But what are you supposed to do when people keep asking questions like, ‘Is he a good baby?’ ‘Does he sleep well?’ ‘Is he sleeping through the night?’ ‘How many times does he wake up?’

I was feeling quite smug about the fact that Baby V put himself into a routine and started sleeping through the night at eleven weeks.

Alas – it was not to be.

He got a slight cold just before Christmas and that threw everything off. Then he went through a growth spurt (at least that’s what I’m telling myself), which didn’t help.

So now he still sleeps at 7 pm. And I still dream feed him (timing depends on his last feed), but he’s started waking. He spent a few nights getting up at 5 am. A few at 4 am and some at 3 am.

I took to waiting up until 1 am and feeding him and then going to bed at about 1.30 – 1.45 am.

Awake at 1 am.










But I became exhausted and unable to function properly.

Then I thought I’d try the Gina Ford book. That lasted about a day. Maybe half a day. It was my fault. I just wasn’t ‘feeling it’.

And now I’ve just left it. If he wakes, he wakes. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t.

Last night he had a feed at 8.30 pm and then woke at 5 am for another feed. And then slept again until 8 am.

So he’s still sleeping well – it’s just that his timings have changed.

I think I’m the sleepy head.

Christmas Stuff

This is the first year we’ve been in Lagos for Christmas for a really long time. My third time in the last ten years. The last time we were here was when I came back with V1 when he was twelve weeks old. We put a tree up that year – but didn’t do presents or anything like that.

This year, I wanted to make it really special for V1 and for V2 as it was his first Christmas (not that he would remember.

So I just wanted to share a few of our Christmas pictures.

IMG_20141201_164109 IMG_20141211_204725 IMG_20141221_004555 IMG_20141224_104605 IMG_20141224_195353 IMG_20141225_093347 IMG_20141225_100937 IMG_20141225_101144 IMG_20141225_102645

Sleepy Head

The day I brought Baby V home from hospital was quite terrifying.  I didn’t know how to deal with a baby and an almost-four-year-old. LagosDad was there, of course. And my mum was there too. So I had a lot of help, but I was still overwhelmed.  Overwhelmed and in a lot of pain from my c-section.

That night, Baby V slept for six hours straight. I didn’t sleep (I spent most of the night deciding on whether I should wake him and feed him) – but he slept. He was probably a bit shocked at the change in environment, etc. Anyway, the next morning I was quite proud. Wow – my three-day-old baby had slept for six hours!

The mid-wife arrived. And she looked a bit alarmed when I told her how long he’d slept. She told me that if a baby is under five kilos, they have to be fed at least every four hours (five maximum) or they get drowsy and sleep more and more. I immediately felt like crap. How come I didn’t know that? What if something had happened to my baby?

As it happens, he started waking for his feeds after that. As it got nearer to the time of our 6-8 week check-up, there were a couple of nights when he didn’t wake up for his four a.m. feed, and I didn’t wake up either. I can’t describe the guilt I felt when I woke with a start and realised it had been six hours since his last feed. I’d rush over to the Moses basket in a blind panic to check he was ok.

The morning of our check-ups was hectic. I had to get V1 off to nursery (thank goodness the nanny was there, as my mum had left the previous week), get myself and the baby ready, pack the changing bag and get to the Health Centre before 9.30 a.m. Yes, I packed the bag the night before – but bottles had to go in in the morning.

The GP (a very nice lady) asked me how I was doing (she must have wondered why I was a sweaty mess), and I promptly burst into tears. I told her I was very worried because I’d missed the four a.m. feed again. She really was very kind and said it was ok and not to worry, etc. Easy for her to say! Luckily for me (and my sanity), Baby V was just passed the five kilo mark at this point.

I’m sure we should have been in a routine by then. In fact, I was reading THE Gina Fraud Ford book quite regularly and tried to Baby V into some kind of routine. But it just wasn’t happening. She says baby shouldn’t sleep for more than four hours during the day, so that they can sleep well at night. The problem with that is as soon as we were out and V was in the stroller, he’d fall asleep. Often staying asleep until his next feed, or until we got home! Usually, at night, he would wake and/or cry every five or ten minutes until about midnight. This was one of the reasons why I was looking forward to coming back to Lagos – because it would be easier to get into a routine here.

However, before I could even figure out which of the eighteen suitcases the book was in (to check feeding and sleeping times), my darling boy put himself into his own routine. By seven every evening he’s crying when I change him into his pjs. By twenty past seven, he’s asleep. I give him a dream feed at some point between 10 and 11 pm, and then he sleeps through until at least 6.30 am. Sometimes 8 am. Sometimes even 8.30 am. Sometimes he’ll have a feed at 6.30 am and go back to sleep for a couple of hours.

This is something I wasn’t used to. V1 had to be walked up and down ten times a night. He woke for milk at least twice. And he is STILL a terrible sleeper.

Now I’m telling myself that this must just be a phase (although it’s been nearly three weeks now). How could an eleven week old (which is how old he was when we got back) put himself into this kind of routine? I’ve had one or two other new mums ask me how I did it. And I can’t even give them an answer!

Is there such a thing as too much sleep?



Enjoying It

Baby V is nearly two months old now. In fact, now that I look at the date, I see he’ll be two months old tomorrow.

He’s growing fast and really is quite adorable. Even at four in the morning (sometimes).

A few weeks ago while we were having a chat (yes, Baby V and I), my mum asked me if I was ‘enjoying him’. I was a bit confused by the question. He’s a baby, of course I’m enjoying him. But when I went to sleep that night, I started to think about what she had asked me (I really should have just gone to sleep – God knows I get so little of it these days!).

When V was born (V1. Big V. I never know what to call him.) I didn’t have to think about anything apart from him. Sometimes I took him out with us, sometimes I left him at home with a babysitter (I’m talking about when he was a newborn – before we went back to Lagos when he was twelve weeks old). At the time I’m sure I agonised over every decision, but looking back on it – I literally had nothing else to worry about. Apart from going back to Lagos with a baby and how to deal with a whole host of different issues.

And this time?

Apart from (again) agonising over all the usual baby decisions – Should I bathe him if he had a bath yesterday? Should I wake him for a feed? Will that rash go away? Is it because of the baby products? Should I change the products? Well, they were good enough for his brother, why shouldn’t he use the same? (By the way, it turns out I did need to change the products) Never ending.

I’ve been worrying about V1 as well. How is he coping? Is he getting enough attention? Have I told him to stop talking too many times today? Is he watching too much television? Is he settled in nursery? Why won’t he eat anything apart from chocolate? Why is he having another meltdown? Have I got all his school uniform for when we go back? Is he missing too much? Will all the other kids be fully settled? Why won’t he leave the house? Why does he want to wear the same bloody vest every day? Why is he obsessed with buying toys? And on and on and on.

Baby V hasn’t had his eight week vaccinations yet. Because of that I don’t want to take him on the bus and have people breathe all over him. So anywhere we go – we walk. There and back. Because of that I can’t always take V1 because he can’t manage the long walks. The nanny is here and being super helpful – but she can’t handle both children (and I wouldn’t want her to) at the same time. So one of them has to come out with me at all times. To be honest, it’s easier to take Baby V. Mostly because he doesn’t talk! But it means I have to walk whether I want to or not. It’s much easier now that LagosDad is here (after being away for six weeks). V1 and he are busy doing all sorts of things from Lego to errands in Marks & Spencer. Basically, what I’m complaining about is the logistics and having to think everything through three times before committing to a plan! It’s not a big deal – it’s just something I have to get used to!

In addition, whenever I’ve been to London before or gone to Dubai, I’ve lived with my parents. Even when V1 was born. Now we are renting the flat we are in. LagosDad hasn’t been here much and things I’ve never had to do have come up. I realise that these are small things – but these are things that I’ve never had to do before… Reading gas and electricity meters and paying the bills. Paying council tax bills. Paying Internet, cable TV and phone bills.

Being able to pay everything online makes it all so easy – but it’s just extra things to think about!

It’s all been a bit overwhelming – but not unmanageable!

In spite of all that, I’m trying to convince LagosDad to let us stay here until Christmas. But he’s not having any of it.

While I’m stressing myself over everything (as usual (I’m a worrier, I have to face it)), I have to admit that I don’t enjoy everything about motherhood. I don’t enjoy waking up at four am. I don’t like that I’ve not had a chance to catch up on some of my favourite TV shows. I don’t enjoy changing dirty nappies and being vomited on.

But, I love my Baby V (and my Big V). I love talking to him and getting a reaction. A coo or a smile. I love massaging and bathing him. I love kissing his nose and counting his toes. Looking at him melts my heart.

So yes, I am enjoying him.

And I wouldn’t swap places with anyone. Unless, of course, they had five nannies.