I don’t know what it is – but Vins has really been playing up recently. It could be the lack of routine. It could be that he’s bored. It could be that he needs to be back in school. It could be that he’s at “that age”, or it could just be that he’s being an ass.

I’ve just given him a talking to about his behaviour, general lack of manners and respect for others. And I may have even threatened him with boarding school. I know – that was a terrible thing to do!

He was silent. He just stared at me. And then he left the room. I felt bad. He looked a bit shocked.

He came back a few minutes later, piece of paper in hand, and said…
“Mama, I’ve made you a behaviour chart. When you’re bad, I’ll give you a cross and when you’re good, I’ll give you a check.”


I stared at him dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say to him!

Eventually, I said, “That’s fine. But what will we do about your behaviour?”

He shrugged and walked off.

Lord help me.

One Month

So, it’s been a month.  A month and two days since I’ve been a mum of two.

I’ve wanted to update my blog before, but I’ve not really had the time!

My mum arrived about three weeks before Baby V did and she’s still here.  She’s planning to leave next week, but I’m doing all that I can to keep her here for longer!

V2 is quite a good baby.  He feeds about every four hours.  We have good days and bad days.  And of course, good nights and bad nights.  There are nights he just won’t settle and there are others where he just passes out!

V1 has been… Ok.  That’s really the only word I can use to describe him. He’s fine with his brother. He helps me with choosing clothes and changing nappies (providing Octonauts isn’t on) and likes to feel needed.  But he has been acting out also.

While LagosDad was here, V1 was getting a lot of attention – they did a lot together.  Bus rides, Science Museum, etc.  LagosDad left on 11th September and V1 is really missing him. He wasn’t happy to start school. He wasn’t happy to go to the park. He wasn’t happy to do his Kumon, nothing.  He has given us all a very rough time. His whole attitude sucked.

He has made me so cross sometimes – but I have to just stop and remind myself… New country, new school, new environment, new sibling, no LagosDad, not as much time with Mama as before. And then I feel like a crap mum!

We’ve had a few visitors come by and see Baby V. During this time V would shout at anyone talking while he was watching TV (including the midwife and health visitor). He would also climb into my lap after I fed Baby V and ask me to burp him (gross) and stroke his hair.  Poor guy – it made me feel so guilty that I wasn’t spending enough time with him.

He’s kind of settled down now – he still has his moments, but he has become better.



We are at our wits’ end and we just don’t know what to do, or how to handle it anymore.

I’m speaking, of course, about V and his behaviour.

I just don’t know how to handle his tantrums anymore.  They spring from nowhere – usually when he doesn’t get his way – and there’s just no reasoning with him, even though I KNOW he understands what I’m saying.

For instance, this afternoon…

It was lunch time.  His meal was something that he enjoys eating (and asked for).  As his lunch was put in front of him, he stood up, walked over to his cabinet and opened it.  This is where all his snacks are kept.  He decided that he wanted a cookie.

I told him that was no problem and that he could have a cookie after he ate his lunch.

The tears started.  This was soon followed by foot stamping and throwing himself around the room.

I told him he could take one cookie out of the packet and keep it next to him, but that he could eat it after his lunch.  This appeased him.  For about two minutes.  Because then he decided he wanted it right away.

I told him again that he could have the cookie after lunch.  This isn’t unreasonable, is it?  And it’s not difficult for him to understand?  I think he just wanted it his way!

After another ten or fifteen minutes more of crying, I told him that if he didn’t want to eat his lunch, that was fine.  But he would not be having that cookie.

Oh.  My.  God.

I held my ground.

But then started feeling a little guilty that he wasn’t eating his lunch.

I gave him alternatives.  He chose one.  And all was forgotten!

He had lunch and then he had his cookie.

I think his rewards and sanctions have to be immediate – otherwise they probably won’t make sense to him.  Right?

But how do I do that when he won’t listen to reason?

Yesterday he asked me to download new games onto the iPad.  I told him I would not do that because he’d made such a fuss to go in the bath (It took forty minutes to get him in).  He looked at me and said, ‘No I didn’t make a fuss.’  I know he couldn’t have forgotten about the tantrum he’d had.  It had only been fifteen minutes since he was screaming like he was being tortured!

I’ve thought about the ‘Calm Down Corner’, ‘Naughty Chair’ and ‘Naughty Step’.  But I just don’t feel they would work.  He wouldn’t sit there, I’m sure of it.  He thrashed about so much, I worry that he’s going to bang his head against the wall or a door or something.

Someone suggested just holding him while he was tantruming – apparently that’s meant to calm some children down?  Not mine.  He hates being held while in the middle of a tantrum!

Plus he knows exactly how to play us all off each other – me, LagosDad and the nanny.

I tried a smiley face chart – I explained it all to him many times.  He understood it.  He knew what it all meant.  But he didn’t care.  After the first day, he didn’t bat an eyelid when he got a sad face.  In fact, he stopped me getting a pen so that he could choose which colour the sad face would be!

Yesterday I realised, as I mentioned earlier, that his rewards and/or sanctions need to be immediate.

But what do I do?  And how do I implement it?

Yes, the twos were terrible.  But the threes…?  There are no words!

No School

Today is Nigerian Independence Day.

We got a letter from school last week asking all children to wear traditional Nigerian clothes to school on Monday 30th.

I found some leftover (beautiful) fabric from a dress I had made a few years ago and called the tailor.  He made shorts and a shirt for V to wear to nursery.

V tried it on.  It fit.  We were all excited about him dressing up on the 30th.  Admittedly, I was a bit more excited than him.

Come Monday morning, the child refused to go to school.  He was screaming and crying and kicking the dog while hanging off my leg.  He just didn’t want to go to school.  I gave him the option of choosing his own clothes, if it was the outfit that was bothering him – but that wasn’t it.  I told him I’d come to nursery with him and stay there (I wouldn’t have, but I needed to get him there) – but that didn’t work.  I told him we’d go to the nursery library and choose a book and come home.  No.

He just didn’t want to go.  I couldn’t work out why.  He’s usually very happy to go in the morning.  So what was different about today?  I thought it might be a good idea to ask him!  So I said, ‘V, why don’t you want to go to school?’  I had to ask him about five times before he calmed down enough to actually hear me.  His response?  He shrugged.

So he doesn’t want to go to school.  But he doesn’t know why.  There was no good reason for his tears.

I eventually (after an hour of crying) told him he could stay home if he wanted – but that everyone at home would be busy and no one would have time to talk or play with him.  He got more upset.  I explained to him that LagosDad was going to the office, I was going to do my exercise and that yaya (his nanny) would be busy ironing his clothes.

I thought that might convince him to go – but it didn’t.

I told him (repeatedly) that he had two choices.  ‘V, you have two choices.  You can either go to nursery and play with your friends and have a lot of fun.  Or you can stay at home and play by yourself and no one will talk to you.’  I showed him two fingers to indicate his two choices.  He kept saying, ‘This one!’ and tried to pull up a third finger!  Quite clever, I thought.

Anyway – so he stayed home.  Everyone ignored him.  And you know what?  He didn’t care that no one would play with him.

I couldn’t force him to get dressed without one of us getting hurt.  I got dressed myself and tried to leave the house, but he just kept hanging off my leg.

So now what do I do?

What did I do wrong?  What should I have done differently?



On Saturday evening we went to a birthday party.  It was a child’s first birthday, and the party started at 6.30 pm.

The timing was really weird, but we had to attend.  We arrived at 6.45 pm.  No one else arrived until after 7 pm.

V was quite happy playing with the balloons.  But me…  I was totally out of my comfort zone.  LagosDad and I didn’t know anyone apart from the hosts – and they were, of course, busy.  The hosts and all their guests belong to a different community and don’t speak English very well.

The ladies were all dressed up.  Hair done.  FULLY made-up.  High heels.  Tight, tight dresses.  One or two of them backless.

All the ladies sat on one end of the table and the men at the other.

I was a bit bewildered, but I dealt with it.

What horrified me was…

A lady came in with her 3 year old son.  She sat down opposite me and her son sat next to her.  He was excited about all the balloons everywhere and said something like, ‘WOW!’

His mother said to him, ‘Lower your voice!’  His enthusiasm for the balloons didn’t lessen, and again, she said to him, ‘Lower your voice!’  The third time, she threatened to beat him.

A little while later, she was feeding him and he knocked over his glass of juice by mistake.  She smacked his hand so hard, her ring flew off!

She then realised that the spilled drink was dripping off the table onto her handbag (which was on the floor).

She slapped him across the face.

She then looked at me, saw me watching her, and said, ‘He just won’t sit still!’

I replied, ‘He’s three.  He’s not meant to sit still.’

I don’t think she understood me very well.

The worst part is that when she slapped him, he didn’t cry.

He didn’t flinch.


How often is this child being slapped at home?!

He was a little terror, I was watching him play with some of the other children.  I have to admit, he was very rough.  LagosDad even commented on that – and he never says anything.

But surely slapping the child at every opportunity is not going to make him behave any better?

I really wish there was something I could do!

What Do You Mean, ‘No!’?

Here’s a scenario that happens in our house on almost a daily basis.  Usually more than once a day.

V is watching television, but it’s time for his bath.  I’m not so mean as to switch everything off in the middle of a DVD (even if he’s seen it five million times).  

So I tell him, ‘Vinay, it’s time for your bath.’

He immediately starts making a fuss.

‘Vinay, you can watch one more song and then it’s time for a bath.’  

He agrees.  

I make sure he has understood what I’ve said.

‘Vinay, how many songs can you watch?’ He tells me, ‘One’ and holds up one finger.

‘What will you do after that?’ He replies, ‘Go for bath.’

So he understands.  

After his chosen song is over, I remind him it’s time for his bath and that he AGREED that he will come without a fuss.

Cue tantrum and a whole lot of ‘No, no no!’

I don’t let him watch any more, but he can spend anywhere between ten and thirty minutes stamping his feet and throwing himself around the room.  

This SAME scenario happens throughout the day. 

When it’s time to eat, time to sleep, time to get dressed, whatever it is.  We agree on something. I check he understands, but then he has an absolute shit fit.

I’ve tried it the other way round as well.  E.g. ‘Yes, you can watch Wheels on the Bus, but you have to have dinner first.’  

Doesn’t happen.  He screams and cries and then nothing happens for the next hour. 

I find myself losing my patience more regularly and really need to come up with some strategies to deal with this nonsense.

Am I being too soft?

Any advice?

Hurt My Child And Deal With Me!

There are (identical) twin boys in playgroup – about four or five years old.  They are a *real* handful and it must be very difficult for their mum to manage them, which is why I was reluctant to write this post.  I didn’t want to judge.  You know – putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, not knowing their circumstances, etc.

BUT…  I have to.

Those two boys are a complete and utter nightmare!

They can regularly be seen on the ride-ons bashing into eachother, picking up the ride-ons and throwing them at each other, throwing toys, games and books *everywhere*, being rough and generally causing havoc wherever they are.

A couple of months ago, one of them was playing with the ironing board and iron; and V went up to him to look at what he was doing.  He got pushed over.  I didn’t say anything to anyone.  Vinay wasn’t hurt.

Today one of V’s friends was sitting in a Little Tikes ride-on (and V was in another nearby).  V’s friend wasn’t moving – just sitting there, and out of nowhere BAM! one of the twins had smashed into the front of his car.  Poor child didn’t cry, but was a bit shocked.  I ran over and said, ‘Please be careful!’  The twin’s mum appeared and had words with him (in a different language, I didn’t understand).  He was, meanwhile, eyeing up V in his car.  He was ready to take-off in Vinay’s direction as soon as his mum turned around.  He caught me glaring (I’ve been told I’m very good at giving the evil eye) at him and went off and did something else. 

A little while later, V was walking around (deciding what to do) and (again) out of nowhere one of the little buggers on a ride-on motorcycle was speeding towards him.  He saw me running towards Vinay and stopped *JUST* before he made contact.  His mum was watching.  She said nothing.

People have had words with the mum about the twins’ behaviour.  And they’ve complained to the committee.  It’s all been very ‘hush hush’.  But nothing has been done…  And the mum (as far as I have seen) does not discipline them.

I am not blaming the mum for her children’s behaviour.  It can’t be easy to watch them both at the same time.  Well all know that it’s difficult to watch just one child at all times.  But I just feel that she needs to be a little more…  Pro-active.  Especially when there are much younger children, who can’t necessarily defend themselves, around.

Children have been subjected to being bitten, hit, pushed and generally terrorised by one or both of these boys (I don’t know which one’s which).

And I don’t know about other parents, but I tend to keep Vinay out of their way (which isn’t always possible, of course).

Today was a close-call for Vinay – he could have been quite badly hurt.

It was also a VERY close-call for those little sh*ts, because if V had been hurt – I promise I would not just have a quiet word with the mum or the committee. 

This is not your usual not sharing, toy-snatching behaviour.  

Someone please tell me I’m not over-reacting?