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.


Field Day

Last Friday was V’s Field Day (Sports Day) and he was so excited to go to school in the morning.

His class had practised the skills needed in each of the five races. There was an obstacle course, a carry the beanbag on a bat race, wet the sponge, run with the sponge, squeeze the sponge and run back with the sponge race, a sack race and a couple of others.

V knew that LagosDad and I were going to watch him take part. And he had been talking about healthy eating and running fast all week – so he was all set.

On Friday morning we dropped him off at his classroom and made our way out to the field. When his class came out, he was ok. Refusing to wear his hat, but ok. I think it was a few minutes later when he had a chance to look around that everything changed.

Yes, they had practised. But he didn’t know that they would be doing Field Day with four other classes. He didn’t realise that there would be other parents (apart from us) there and none of us knew there would be very loud music in the background.

Once they started, parents started moving from the viewing area next to where the races were taking place so they could cheer on their children. LagosDad didn’t know if we should or not. On one hand, V was likely to play up if we were too close. And on the other hand, he might feel bad that all the other parents were there cheering on their kids and his were just plonked on the bleachers.

As soon as he did his first race (the beanbag on the bat one) we knew the rest of the morning was going to be a disaster. The other children understood that they had to run, that they had to get back to their line as fast as possible. V walked. Slowly. His beanbag slid off the bat as soon as he started moving. He didn’t stop to pick it up. He kept walking. LagosDad and I shook our heads in resignation.

The second race was an obstacle course. We decided to cheer him on from next to where the race was.

And that is how enthusiastic he was.

After that race, all the kids went back to their area to have a rest. And LagosDad and I went back to the parents’ area. Next thing I know, a teacher comes to get me because V is crying. I went over to him to see what was wrong, but he was sobbing away and couldn’t talk. All I could make out from his hand gestures is that he wanted me to sit with him. And then hold his hand while walking to the next race. And hold his hand DURING the race. WTF? Not LagosDad. Me.

So for the next three races, I held his hand and tried to guide him through whatever he was meant to do. And he was extremely unenthusiastic about all of them. I was irritated with him. None of the other kids were crying to hold their mum’s hands. None of the others were refusing to participate. He was letting his team down. Luckily none of them saw it like that – it really was all just for fun. No one was keeping score (thank goodness).

Just look at his face!

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I don’t think I was much better during my Field Days though.

So once it was all over, we were free to take our kids home. I asked V if he wanted to come home or stay in school for another hour (ridiculous to ask him when we all know what the answer is!). His face lit up. He collected his bag from the classroom and he was immediately a different child.

He was animated and chatty. LagosDad looked at me with a WTF expression on his face. I could only shrug.

On the way home, I attempted to bring up the drama of earlier that day. ‘V, why did you cry? Why didn’t you want to do Field Day?’ His reply? ‘Because of you.’

What does that mean, because of me? Does it mean he will always play up when I’m there? Does it mean that I’m not supportive enough? Does it mean he doesn’t want me there? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

I told him that if he’s going to cry ‘because of me’ and not participate ‘because of me’, then I wouldn’t go to school for any more events. He said ok.

I don’t understand. Does he not want me there? Won’t he feel sad if he sees that his friends’ parents are there, but not his? Doesn’t he realise that we love him and want to experience these things with him (stupid question – he’s only 4)?

Maybe next year will be different? Perhaps I will go in disguise…


So it’s been almost a month since we lost V’s pacifier.  As you know the first week was absolutely terrible, but it got better and now he’s doing great.

We did, however, have a little *incident* a couple of days ago.

He was digging through all the cupboards and drawers in the playroom looking for a cup or something.  And he wouldn’t stop until he found it (once he has his mind set on something, there’s no deterring him).  Anyway, so while on the hunt he came across a box.  He opened it.  And inside was a pacifier!

It was an old one, and it was a brand that I thought I’d switch him to, but he never took to it (different shape or something).  So I guess it was just dumped in a box and put away…

His whole face lit up as soon as he set eyes on it.  It was as though all his Christmases had come at once!  But, it was very quickly whipped out of his hands and taken downstairs to be put in the bin.

At first he asked questions such as, ‘Mama, what was that?’  He knew exactly what it was.

It soon turned into, ‘BUT I WANT IT!’  Tears and foot-stamping followed.

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I told him it was one of Rolo’s (the dog) toys.  V looked at me dubiously, and pretty much told me to explain myself!  I really don’t know what I told him – but after five more minutes of crying, he calmed down and asked for milk.  As he was lying in his cot, I heard him say to the nanny, ‘Yaya – that wasn’t a chupa.  It was Rolo’s toy.’

And it was forgotten.

Thank you, Lord!


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?



This summer we were in Bali for a month.  It was fabulous!  

While we were there I wrote a post about how Vinay wouldn’t try anything new and how it was annoying me – because I knew he’d like doing/eating those things.

After our holiday I wrote a post about how much progress he’d made during the few weeks we were away.

See the picture below?  That was him during our last week.  In the pool, in his arm bands without holding on to anyone.  Amazing.


LagosDad and I came back full of good intentions to take him swimming at *least* once a week.  To continue to build his confidence in the water.

Sadly, however, it just didn’t happen.  He was ill, I had to plan his birthday party, he started nursery, I was ill, he was ill again, I was ill again, it rained a lot.  All the usual excuses.

When two friends said they wanted to start swimming lessons with their kids and would Vinay join, I jumped at the chance.  YES!

I prepared V for what was coming.  I told him over and over again that we were going swimming with his friends and he was quite excited about it.  Until we got in the car.  That’s when he repeated over and over again, ‘Mama no.  No swimming.’

As far as I was concerned, the boy was getting in the pool – whether he liked it or not.

The first lesson – he watched for about twenty minutes before changing and eventually getting in for about five minutes.

The second lesson – he watched, but cried the whole time and refused to get in.  I hate to admit that I took him in for a few minutes anyway – even though he was crying.

Later that week I took him to the pool with my friend and her son.  Again, he refused to get changed or get in and I didn’t force him.

Last Saturday the swimming lesson was cancelled, but LagosDad took him to the pool anyway.  I was busy at another bazaar.  

I was a bit relieved, actually.  I don’t think I could have taken any more of his screaming.

They came to see me at the bazaar after swimming and Vinay was talking about going swimming with his Papa.  Apparently they’d had the most fantastic time playing in the pool.


So he swam with LagosDad, but wouldn’t even get changed with me?!

What’s that all about?

I have three theories.

1. It’s a boy thing – he doesn’t spend much time with LagosDad during the week, so this was a bonding thing…

2. He’s quite shy and nervous (as I’ve said before) and didn’t feel confident enough to swim with so many other people around… (There were at least 3 – 6 other people about during our previous sessions).

3. It’s just me…

We’ve promised ourselves that we’ll take him every week and make it a family thing without a whole bunch of other people around.  

Fingers crossed!

I’ve Turned to Mush

I’ve always been a bit of a softy (though not many people know this).  When I was ten, I cried when I watched ‘Honey, I Shrunk the Kids’.  You know the part when the ant dies protecting the children?  It was so sad 😦  I cried when I watched ‘Bolt’ for the first (and second) time.  I cried watching the news, Oprah and a whole host of other shows.  I even burst into tears the first time I saw one of those flash mob mobile network adverts.  Was it T-Mobile?

But all that was nothing compared to what I’m like now.  Since having V, I have, quite literally, turned to mush.

All I have to do is read or watch something about a baby or child and I’m in tears.  Last month, ‘Baby Boom’ had me sobbing.

So if books, movies and TV shows about neglected or suffering children and animals (or even those that just need a hug) have me in tears, imagine what my *own* child is doing to me!

Relaying a story of what funny/cute/silly/ thing V did that day to Hub makes me teary.  Thinking about how much he’s grown already and how many *more* milestones he will reach makes me teary.  Sometimes just looking at him makes me want to cry.  

I know.  I am aware of how ridiculous I sound.

If V’s normal, regular day-to-day routine stuff has me all mushy, you should see me when he’s unwell.

I am, actually, very lucky (touch wood).  V has never been seriously ill.  Maybe a slight temperature now and then, but nothing a dose of Calpol couldn’t fix.  Teething has never really affected him either (so far).  I’ve gone and jinxed myself (and him), haven’t I?

When he was seven months old, he had to have minor surgery.  I say it’s minor, but actually it wasn’t.  From the time he was born, we knew this procedure would have to be done, so it wasn’t a great shock.  He had to be put under a general anesthetic.  His surgery was scheduled for 1pm and he couldn’t eat or drink anything after 7am.  Hub and I were allowed in with him until the anesthetic kicked-in, and then we had to wait in his room.  

He was in his little white vest, lying on the bed.  As the anesthetist pulled the mask towards him, he opened his mouth (poor baby was hungry).  The mask covered most of his face and he started crying and struggling.  We had been warned that he would do that, and that it was actually better as the anesthetic would work faster.  I felt like shit.  I couldn’t do anything to help him.  We left the room as soon as he was asleep – limp and not moving – and that’s when I started sobbing.

They brought him back two hours later, and the surgeon warned us that he would cry a lot as he woke up; because he would be confused as to where he was, etc.  And cry he did.  A LOT.  But he soon calmed down and was almost back to his usual self.  We had to give him Calpol for the next two days and Nurofen if he was in any pain.  We gave him Nurofen only once.  My brave, strong boy was doing just great.  He recovered quickly.

Yesterday we went to the doctor for shots.  I gave the doctor the Red Book and we went through which shots he was due.  He advised me to choose if I was going to go by the UK immunisation system or the Nigerian one.  The Nigerian system, he said, was devised by WHO (World Health Organisation specifically for the tropics).  Because we spend more time in Nigeria than in the UK, I said we’d go with the Nigerian system.  There are many illnesses we need to be very careful about.  So yesterday, he had his chicken pox and yellow fever shots.  He cried at the time, but stopped very quickly and was back to his normal self.

A couple of hours after we got home, he started screaming.  Screaming and screaming and screaming.  And nothing could distract him – not even Animal Planet or the trucks outside the window.  He would fall asleep on my shoulder and then wake up screaming after a few minutes.  From the way he was positioning his body, it seemed that he had a tummy ache.  He soon fell asleep again and when he woke up an hour later, he was back to his normal self.  Playing, crawling, hiding and laughing.

And then it started again before bedtime.  Not as much screaming – but quite a lot of crying.  So we went back to the doctor (a different one this time).  The doctor checked him out and said he was fine, and that it was just his way of reacting to the shots and to give him Calpol every four hours.  He was a nice man, but a little patronising and he made me feel a bit dumb for over-reacting.  As did Hub.  IF Hub had been home during the day and witnessed the screaming, he would have been as worried as I was.

Vinay’s temperature was at 101 last night.  And it is still at 101 this afternoon.  He drank most of his milk, but didn’t want breakfast.  He did, however, guzzle his Petits Filous.  And now, while he’s sleeping, I’m crying quietly in my room and feeling guilty.

His reaction to the shots, I’m told, is normal.  ‘Don’t worry’, people say, ‘he’ll be fine’.  But I think I should have researched the vaccines.  I should have checked what they entailed.  I should have insisted that he have only one at a time.  But I didn’t.  I trusted the doctor completely.  Did I do the wrong thing?

And now I can’t stop worrying.  

Does it ever stop?  Will I always worry like this when he’s unwell?  Will I always wonder if I’ve done the right thing?  Will I always worry about whether I’ve done the best thing for my child?  Will I always cry when he reaches a new milestone?  Will I always feel so helpless when he’s not ‘himself’?

Am I destined to always be mush?


We Made it to London! (Part II)

I mentioned in a previous post that:

1. I wouldn’t get my stroller until baggage reclaim


2. V had lost 3 pacifiers and was having a meltdown because he couldn’t handle having to stay in one place anymore…

So, 30 minutes after landing we were allowed to disembark.  V had been crying so much, he wouldn’t let me put him down.  Not even for a second.  This meant that I couldn’t get the Baby Bjorn out of the bag.  I couldn’t get it out of the bag or put it on!  So I carried him, my heavy handbag and his very heavy changing bag.

Getting off the plane was a challenge – his bag kept getting caught on every seat we walked past.  And the strap was so long, it kept bumping me in the back of my leg.

And then the walk started.  The walk to immigration was so effing long, I wanted to have a tantrum.  Seriously, Heathrow – think about it…  HOW DO YOU EXPECT PEOPLE TO WALK ALL THAT WAY WITH HEAVY BAGS AND HEAVY BABY?  By the time I reached immigration, I was nearly crying.

While in the queue, V started smacking the arm of the lady in front of us.  When she turned around, I realised it was someone I used to work with.  We had been on the same flight!  She asked me if the baby had been ‘finger-painting in chocolate’.  Eh?  I looked down at myself and realised that I was covered in lint from my pink and orange shawl (it looks better than it sounds (the shawl, not the lint)).  Not only was I covered, I was wearing black and white – so it was very noticeable.  Oh well…

I got a trolley and was going to cry with relief when I got to put V’s bag down on it.  And then I saw my stroller on the belt.  I love the stroller – it’s a Mamas & Papas Urbo.  


It looks fab, but it’s not very practical.  It’s a bit heavy and you need two hands to open and close it.  Anyway, so my ex-colleague helped me take it off the belt and she held V while I opened it.  I chucked him in and gave him a biscuit to keep him quiet for a few minutes.  One bag came out.  I was still waiting for two when ex-colleague asked me if she should wait.  I felt bad, so told her to go ahead and that I would manage somehow.  The second bag came.  And then the third.  I had taken V out of stroller between bags two and three because he was cranky and crying.  I put him back in while loading the trolley.  

And then I looked at him in the stroller and at the trolley and had no bloody idea of how I was going to push them both.  

A very nice man offered to help me.  He said they were still waiting for 3 bags, but if I waited – they’d help.  I was too tired to wait any longer.  So I said I’d fold the stroller, throw it on top of the luggage and carry the baby.  But he didn’t know how to fold it down and I didn’t know what to do with V.  So I asked him to carry the baby for a minute and I’d fold it down.  The boy cried like he was being tortured!  But it was only for a second!  

So, carrying V and pushing the trolley with one hand, we started the wobbly walk to customs – trying to weave our way through other trolleys.  Why do people just stop while walking and expect not to be hit by a trolley?

I was so relieved to see my parents I nearly cried (yes, I nearly cried a LOT!).  Then my mum asked if V had thrown up all over me.  That’s when I remembered the lint.

I asked a lot of people for advice on what to do when flying alone with a baby, and now I know what to advise others if they ever ask me.  What I’ll say is: You will be absolutely fine if your baby isn’t very mobile yet.  And you’ll be fine if your child is old enough to sit in his/her seat and watch something on the entertainment system.  If he/she is at that in between stage, DON’T DO IT!