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!

 

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!’

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

Cheeky!

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!!

 

I’ve Had Enough

You know me – you know I like to have a good whinge now and then.

Well, now is one of those times! ¬†Sorry – it’s going to be a long one!

When I was expecting V, I chose my ob/gyn based on the fact that the clinic was right next to school.  It meant I was able to go straight for my appointments after the school day and then head home.  I had been to this clinic several times prior to being pregnant Рwhen LagosDad and I were doing all our fertility tests, etc.  So I was happy to go back there.

On the other hand, my parents and in-laws, and LagosDad actually, didn’t want anyone to know about the pregnancy until I was in my 2nd trimester. ¬†So if no one is meant to know you’re pregnant, how are you meant to ask advice on which doctor to see?

Anyway, so I made my choice and was quite happy. ¬†I went there at about 7 or 8 weeks to have a blood test to confirm. ¬†Then the doctor saw me at 10 weeks for an ultrasound. ¬†At 13 weeks I was referred to Crestview Radiology Ltd¬†for my nuchal scan and I had to go back there for my 20 week anomaly scan. ¬†The clinic didn’t have the staff or expertise or machinery or whatever else to do it in-house. ¬†And that was fine.

Before 13 weeks I had to pay each time I saw the doctor.  The consultation, the blood test, the scan Рall was charged separately.

After 13 weeks we paid about N120000 ($750) that included all appointments, medication, scans and antenatal classes every other week until week 32. ¬†At 31 weeks I collected my ‘Fit-to-fly’ letter and left for London.

The only problem I had throughout all this was the waiting times. ¬†It didn’t matter what time I made my appointment for (usually afternoon because I was at school until 2pm), I always had to wait about an hour to be seen. ¬†ALWAYS. ¬†It didn’t bother me too much at that time because I wasn’t rushing to do anything. ¬†Work was done for the day. ¬†I didn’t have a kid to rush home to or to pick up from nursery. ¬†Nothing.

Now this time round… ¬†I came back to Lagos from Dubai at 9 weeks. ¬†We delayed a couple of weeks¬†because I’d had some bleeding and was advised to see a specialist before travelling (more on this at another time). ¬†So we came back mid-week and a couple of days later I started bleeding again.

I panicked and called a friend and asked her who I should go see. ¬†I had kind of mentally decided that I wouldn’t go back to my previous ob/gyn as I’d initially only chosen him because he was near school. ¬†My friend recommended another doctor. ¬†I called his clinic and couldn’t get an appointment for two weeks! ¬†Not knowing what to do, I called my first clinic and they told me if I came right away they’d let me see the doctor before the 1st appointment of the day (10am).

Perfect.

I went there and was kind of glad to be there. ¬†I know the layout, how it works, etc. ¬†It sounds silly – but the ‘not-knowing’ about things worries me!

I waited an hour before seeing¬†the Dr. ¬†After all the initial paperwork stuff – DoB, LMP, EDD, etc. I showed him the reports I’d brought with me from Dubai – including ultrasound pictures (which the Dr in Dubai told me were necessary so that any other Dr could see what had happened). ¬†He did an ultrasound. ¬†Everything was fine. ¬†He gave me a picture and told me to ‘add it to my photo album’. ¬†Then I had a blood test and he told me to book in for my nuchal scan and to see him again in four weeks.

I paid for the consultation, the ultrasound and the blood test. ¬†Altogether, it came to about N36000 ($220), I think. ¬†I don’t remember, exactly.

A few days later I received an email from another doctor at the clinic asking me to call them as they had my blood test results and weren’t able to get in touch with me. ¬†I realised that I’d changed my phone number around the time of V’s first birthday and hadn’t updated my records. ¬†Anyway, so I called them and everything was fine. ¬†I explained to the doctor that my phone number had changed and I could I update my records while speaking with her. ¬†She said to just wait until the next time I came in (for my nuchal scan).

When I booked my nuchal scan, they told me it could only be done on a Tuesday as they had someone who came in to do it and that I would have to pay N35000 ($215) I was surprised that they didn’t refer me to Crestview again, but it had been four years and things do change! ¬†So I was booked in on February 18th at 6pm. ¬†It was the only (and last one of the day) slot left.

I couldn’t wait for this day to come round – it was only after this scan that we were going to start telling people that we were expecting!

So – come the 18th and LagosDad left work early to come and pick me up. ¬†We arrived at the clinic and I was told, ‘Oh – didn’t anyone contact you? ¬†We’ve had to move some of the scans until tomorrow because there were too many booked for today.’ They then went on about how my phone number wasn’t working. ¬†Yes, true. ¬†But if they could email before, why couldn’t they do it again? ¬†They gave us an option of two times – either one was fine with me, but LagosDad had meetings all day and had to move his schedule around. ¬†We took the 1.30pm appointment. ¬†I was so disappointed.

We went back the next day in plenty of time. ¬†And we waited and waited and waited. ¬†It was 4pm before we were seen. ¬†Why did we have to wait so long? ¬†LagosDad kept complaining and the receptionist kept apologising. ¬†When we finally saw the sonographer he also apologised. ¬†I think he arrived late from wherever he was before. ¬†In fact, I know this is true. ¬†LagosDad saw him arrive when he popped out for a cigarette. ¬†I didn’t particularly like him very much. ¬†It irritated me that he kept leaning his arm on my leg while doing the ultrasound. ¬†But anyway, at least everything was ok. ¬†He booked me in for my anomaly scan for April right then and gave me the first appointment of the day (10am) so that I wouldn’t have to wait. ¬†One of the doctors called me the next day to apologise. ¬†I appreciated that.

At my booking-in appointment I paid N20000 ($100). ¬†I thought this was a booking-in fee so I didn’t question it. ¬†I couldn’t (and still can’t) remember how the payments worked last time. ¬†A different doctor saw me this time (after I waited an hour) and I went through all the same questions I’d gone through at 9 weeks. ¬†Previous pregnancies, LMP, EDD, etc. etc. etc. ¬†Didn’t he look at my file? ¬†He gave me some iron pills, calcium pills and some anti-malaria medication and told me to come back in four weeks.

I made sure that I booked the first appointment of the day (10am) for my next appointment. ¬†And yet, I still had to wait an hour to be seen. ¬†I just don’t get it?? ¬†I wasn’t asked to pay anything this time and thought since I’d paid at my booking-in appointment they would ask me for a lump sum, or for payment at week 32 or something. ¬†The doctor didn’t do an ultrasound – he just used the doppler thingy. ¬†This was the appointment where I told the doctor about my pain, by the way.¬† He told me to book an appointment to see him in four weeks. ¬†I was disappointed that he didn’t do an ultrasound, but then thought it was a good thing that I’d at least heard the heartbeat.

When I went to book my next appointment, the receptionist told me that the anomaly scan would no longer be there, but at another clinic nearby.  She said someone would call me the day before with the address and directions, etc.

It was about two or three weeks later when I started panicking about not feeling any movement Рso I took myself off to Crestview and had a scan.  The receptionist asked me what kind of scan I wanted РI told her I just wanted to check everything was ok.  She said that would be N10000 ($50).  They were quick and efficient.  I was happy.

On Tuesday I went for my anomaly scan.  The clinic sent me a text message the night before (at midnight) giving me the address and directions.  We got there five minutes late (no thanks to LagosDad).  As soon as we arrived the security turned on the generator.  Clue number 1 that no one was there.

This clinic was brand new (it’s been open since February)- and it was totally empty except for one nurse. ¬†She asked if I’d been referred from XX clinic, I said, ‘yes’. ¬†She took all my details (even though they already had them all on file). ¬†She wrote everything down on the tiniest scrap of paper and then took my blood pressure. ¬†We then waited about 40 minutes for the sonographer¬†to show up. ¬†He hadn’t arrived yet.

When he did arrive, he went upstairs to set up. ¬†When we followed he started asking me all the same questions again. ¬†I figured this was because all my details were on his computer, which the nurse was trying to start up and he was trying to waste a bit of time. ¬†Then she couldn’t find my file.

He told me the scan wouldn’t take long – probably only five minutes. ¬†I looked at him and said, ‘Only five minutes?’ ¬†I was a bit annoyed. ¬†I’d waited so bloody long and he wanted to take only five minutes? ¬†For an anomaly scan? ¬†I don’t think so. ¬†He realised this and said, ‘But you know, it could take longer. ¬†Maybe five minutes or maybe one hour. ¬†It depends on what I find.’ ¬†He then went on to drag everything out – repeating himself and just generally wasting more time. ¬†I was not impressed. ¬†There were no air conditioners on anywhere – apart from in the waiting area, and I found the sonographer to be disorganised and a little unprofessional. ¬†He did that whole leaning his arm on my leg thing again!

We said goodbye when they finally finished and went downstairs. ¬†We said goodbye to the nurse at the desk as well and left. ¬†No one asked for any payment and I didn’t ask if I was meant to pay.

Maybe this doesn’t sound all that irritating to you. ¬†Maybe you’re thinking, ‘What’s she complaining about?’ ¬†But it’s all annoyed me. ¬†But yesterday is what annoyed me more than anything else. ¬†Maybe it was just the icing on the cake. ¬†I was ready to have a full on tantrum.

I had a 10am appointment at the clinic. ¬†The cashier asked me to pay N20000 ($100). ¬†I paid and then asked her what I was paying for. ¬†She said that I have to pay N20000 each time I want to see the doctor. ¬†I told her that when I was coming to the clinic before I paid a lump sum at the beginning and why didn’t I do that now? ¬†She said, ‘Oh. ¬†It’s because you’re nearly at the end.’ ¬†Am I? ¬†Really? ¬†I told her I was only 21 weeks. ¬†She said, ‘Ok, would you like to pay the N120000 then?’ ¬†I told her no, I didn’t. ¬†But I wanted to know why it was never an option. ¬†Why didn’t anyone mention it to me before or give me the choice?

To be honest, I think I’ve spent less this way. ¬†But I’m wondering if I’ve received the same quality of care I would have if I’d have paid the lump sum.

I had my vitals taken and then waited an hour to see the doctor. ¬†I walked in and saw my file on his desk. ¬†And he always inputs everything in his computer while talking to me. ¬†Or is he actually on Facebook or playing Solitaire? ¬†He asked me when my last menstrual period was and then picked up his calendar to calculate how many weeks I am. ¬†SERIOUSLY?? ¬†ISN’T ANYONE READING MY FILE??? ¬†HOW MANY TIMES WILL HE ASK ME THE SAME¬†QUESTION WHEN THE ANSWER IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM??? ¬†No bloody wonder my blood pressure was elevated! ¬†He asked if I had any complaints. ¬†*snort* ¬†Told him of the pain again ¬†and said I felt like I was being ripped apart. ¬†He told me to buy a pelvic support belt. ¬†Finally – advice! ¬†I asked him if I would find one easily and he said, ‘Probably not.’ ¬†Great. ¬†Thanks. ¬†Again – no ultrasound – just the doppler. ¬†I was out in five minutes and made an appointment for four weeks’ time.

I realised that he wasn’t doing any ultrasounds because I’d not paid that N120k.

But you know what – and LagosDad agreed – I’m not going back there again. ¬†In four weeks – or whenver I feel like it, I’ll go to Crestview, pay half the amount, wait half the time and get better service.

There’s only another couple of appointments to go until I leave for London, anyway.

And I can’t wait.

I’ve had enough

 

 

 

 

And Another Thing…

I know I already told you that I won’t be delivering in Dubai any more. ¬†And I know I already told you why I was relieved that we’d be in London instead.

And since I’ve already told you – the fact that I have one more reason that I’m glad I’m not delivering in Dubai any more kind of makes this post a bit useless. ¬†But I’m going to tell you anyway!

So – the UAE has passed a new law stating that ALL mothers must breastfeed their children for two years.

Where the mother cannot breastfeed for any reason – a wet nurse will be provided.

WTF?

When I first saw this news (in February), I read every article I could about it.  I was basically looking for whether this law applied to only Emirati women, or if it would include also expats who give birth in the UAE.

Out of all the articles I read Рand there were many Рthere were only two (maximum three) that stated that this applied only to Emiratis.  And these articles were US and UK papers.  None of the UAE papers said anything about who it applied to.

This scared the crap out of me.

I’ve made no secret about the fact that I¬†did not breastfeed V – he is not any worse for it. ¬†And I have no intention of breastfeeding the new baby either.

And I would NOT want a wet nurse!

Should breastfeeding be part of the children’s rights law?

What about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body?

Anyway, so even though this doesn’t apply to me any more (if it ever did – who knows?), I thought I’d share with you!

Summer in London

I’m quite stressed out at the moment. ¬†I have all these thoughts going round and round in my head – and I can’t do a lot about some of it.

Sorry – let me start from the beginning!

V was born in London.  There was never any question as to where I would deliver.  I lived in the UK for 15 years before I moved back to Lagos.  My parents had a flat there and there was plenty of space for LagosDad, me and a new baby.  Although, my parents did have to move into the smaller guestroom and we took the larger master bedroom (to fit the crib and changing table, etc.).

This time round, we decided I’d deliver in Dubai. ¬†Because that’s where my parents are now. ¬†I want to be with my mum.

We toyed with the idea of London briefly.  Very briefly.  But decided it might be easier in Dubai.

But, it’s really not that easy!

Here’s why.

1. We’ll be there over the summer – it’s very, very hot.

2. It will be Ramadan.  No eating or drinking in public.  I would have to stay home all day!

3. My parents’ driver is going on leave during Ramadan. ¬†That’s ok. ¬†I figured we’d manage. ¬†I could drop V off at summer camp on the Metro. ¬†Then I realised it would be too damn hot to even walk to the Metro station (17 minutes walk).

4. To enroll him in a nursery, I need proof of residency. ¬†I’m not a resident there, and neither is LagosDad

5. My mum said there won’t be space for all of us in their flat, so we’d have to rent an apartment. ¬†Where do you even start?

6. ¬†I don’t know anything about the process of registering the birth or applying for a baby’s passport in Dubai. ¬†However, from what I’ve read, it’s not a straightforward procedure. ¬†And – ONLY THE FATHER CAN REGISTER THE BIRTH!

7. It is illegal for a single woman to give birth in the UAE. ¬†I know this doesn’t apply to me – but I still find it unsettling.

8. I would probably only get a three-month visa for the nanny – but I’d need her there for four. ¬†I know – it sounds ridiculous – but it was stressing me out.

9. Everything is so expensive there – I didn’t want to buy all my baby clothes there because it’s so expensive. ¬†A pair of pyjamas for V costs about $28 in Mothercare. ¬†ONE PAIR!

10. And lastly… I just found out on Friday that I actually can’t deliver the baby in Dubai because neither LagosDad or myself are residents there.

So my last six weeks of research – summer camps, nurseries, serviced apartments, visa requirements, buying online in the US and delivering to my sister-in-law, etc has all been a waste.

Now we are back to London.

And to be very honest – although I’m finding it stressful to start my research all over again – I am much happier.

1. Fresh air.

2. Taking V to Regent’s Park to play and feed the ducks.

3. Walking on the high street.

4. Selfridges.

I could go on.

I love the thought of summer in London.  But there are a few things I have to do.

1. Apply for the nanny’s visa!

2. Book in with a doctor. ¬†I’ve emailed the one who delivered V – I loved him and would want him to deliver this baby. ¬†I think I may have left it a bit late though. ¬†Last time I booked in with him at 10 weeks. ¬†Now I’m 16 weeks and I’m hoping that he’ll fit me in.

3. Find an apartment to rent for four months. ¬†I’ve been looking – but we may have to make a trip to secure somewhere I think. ¬†Or maybe I’ll ask LagosDad to go. ¬†If you know of any two bed/two bath apartments for rent in St John’s Wood – please let me know!

It’s all very daunting – but I’ve got to do it!

Wish me luck!

Finally!

I’m finally back.

Not that I’ve been anywhere for a while.

So LagosDad and I went to Bali as planned at the beginning of January.  V was absolutely fine with my parents, sister and nanny.  I believe he had the odd tantrum or two, but nothing unusual there.

Bali was fantastic. ¬†We went to buy furniture – so we were on buying trips from morning until night. ¬†It was a shame that we didn’t get to appreciate the hotel and the fact that we were upgraded to a suite!

We were meant to leave for Lagos two days after getting back to Dubai.  But V and I delayed a couple of weeks.

We had some renovation work happening in our house – and the kitchen wasn’t ready yet. ¬†And our downstairs TV room and bar was being converted into a bedroom and TV room for my in laws. ¬†Yes. ¬†My in laws have moved in. ¬†I don’t want to talk about it right now. ¬†More on that another day.

And other news?  See picture below.

Image

Yes.

FINALLY!

V is going to be a big brother!

Catching Up

It’s been ages, hasn’t it?

I’ve been a bit lazy about updating my blog since I left Lagos – but I can’t put it off any longer!

You saw my last post, right?  About leaving Lagos?

Well – lots to report!

1. I don’t know if you know this or not – but Motilium does NOT help with airsickness. ¬†Not in V’s case, anyway. ¬†As with our previous flights, he slept for a bit and woke up whining. ¬†He woke as the meals were being cleared. ¬†I honestly think it’s the smell of all the food that makes him feel queasy. ¬†He started throwing up when there was three hours left of the flight. ¬†This is pretty much the same as the last two flights. ¬†Maybe next time I should find some medication to knock him out for the whole eight hours? ¬†Once we got home (at about 4 am), he decided he was hungry and wanted an egg and chocolate milk. ¬†He ate so fast – he projectile vomited all over the kitchen! ¬†My mum was thrilled. ¬†Not.

2. It took him a little longer to ‘settle in’ this time. ¬†About three days. ¬†He wouldn’t communicate with my parents or my sister much at all. ¬†His tantrums were frequent and loud. ¬†My mother said they were ‘excessive’ (implying it was all my fault). ¬†On the third or fourth day he had a slight temperature – slept all afternoon and woke as a different child. ¬†Smiling, laughing and affectionate with the others and not only me!

3. We were in Dubai for Christmas last year as well. ¬†Last year, if the ‘S’ word (Santa) was said, there would have been meltdowns. ¬†V was terrified of him! ¬†Pictures, statues – the whole lot. ¬†This year was a different story. ¬†He talked about Santa a lot. ¬†We wrote Santa a letter, Santa wrote back, V knew he was going to get a gift, etc. ¬†So I decided I’d take him to SEE Santa. ¬†We went to Wafi City Mall. ¬†I’d heard that the grotto there was fabulous – so that’s where I was going to take V. ¬†The queue was very long – but we finally made it to the front! ¬†It cost 60 dirhams per child (that’s about $19) and it included a gift from Santa and a photo. ¬†V got more and more tired (and hungry) as we waited in the line, but he managed not to have a total meltdown. ¬†Before seeing Santa, we had to wait in a little area that had been decorated with elves, Christmas trees, snow, presents, etc. ¬†V was frightened of the reindeer that moved its head – but as we got closer, he didn’t mind it so much. ¬†I was nervous as I didn’t know how V was going to react when he actually saw Santa. ¬†I needn’t have worried. ¬†He was shy. ¬†But he sat on Santa’s lap and told him that he wanted a bus for Christmas (he was a bit disappointed that he got a rag doll instead). ¬†I swear, I had tears in my eyes when we came out of there. ¬†I couldn’t believe it. ¬†Was this my child?

4. V loves Barney. ¬†You know that already, right? ¬†However, he’s always been scared of people in those big Barney costumes (or any other character costumes). ¬†This doesn’t work well when we go to birthday parties where they have ‘characters’. ¬†One of the last parties we went to, they had someone dressed up as Simba. ¬†V freaked. ¬†Anyway, so once I got to Dubai, I saw that there was going to be a Barney show at the Dubai Marina Mall. ¬†It’s not exactly close to us, but I decided I was going to take V and he was going to like it – whether he liked it or not. ¬†I kept talking about the show and how much fun it was going to be – and he got excited about it. ¬†Come ‘SHOW DAY’, we took the Metro (because V was dying to go on the Metro) and got to the mall just in time. ¬†I’d never been to one of these shows before – so I didn’t know what to expect. ¬†I didn’t even know where the show was going to be. ¬†As we walked into the mall, there was a stage right in front of us. ¬†There was a small area around the stage that was cordoned off and there were people EVERYWHERE. ¬†The cordoned-off area was for the children – and no adults were allowed to sit inside with the kids. ¬†Eh? ¬†My friend and I took V and her son in to settle them (because that was allowed). ¬†We sat them down – though they fussed a bit and didn’t want us to go. ¬†But they stayed. ¬†V’s friend came out crying a few minutes later – he didn’t want to stay. ¬†And I started worrying about V. ¬†How would he sit alone? ¬†He’s scared of these big character people, what will he do? ¬†What if he cries? ¬†I moved round and positioned myself (among buggies, nannies, babies and other mums) so I could see him. ¬†He didn’t see me at first, so I was able to watch him. ¬†He was a little scared when Barney came out – I couldn’t see that from the way he was sitting and his fingers were over his mouth – but it was only for a minute or two. ¬†And then he was fine! ¬†He caught sight of me and I saw this made him more confident. ¬†He didn’t sing to any of the songs, but he did follow instructions (for once) and close his eyes when Barney told all the children to. ¬†Honestly – I don’t know if I’ve been prouder. ¬†I may have cried *embarrassed face* The only downsides were‚Ķ a) The sound system was crap. ¬†And b) When the show ended, there was no system for going in and getting your child. ¬†The security just lifted all the ropes out of the way, and adults and children were free to move in or out of the area. ¬†This is something they definitely have to think about and come up with some sort of system!

5. ¬†And lastly‚Ķ ¬†Today is New Year’s Day. ¬†And LagosDad and I are in Doha airport in the lounge waiting for our flight to Bali. ¬†V is in Dubai with my parents. ¬†He was kind of ok about us leaving – we didn’t tell him where we were going or that we were going by airplane, or he’d never have let us leave. ¬†The last time I left V was 18 months ago. ¬†I went to London for a week and left him with LagosDad in Lagos. ¬†He doesn’t remember that. ¬†And this is the first time we are both leaving him. ¬†He has an exciting few days planned – my dad is taking him to the airport tomorrow to have ice cream and watch the planes take off and land (V’s idea of heaven). ¬†My sister is going to take him to a new wildlife park over the weekend. ¬†My mum will take him to the pet shop every couple of days (he likes to go and see the animals). ¬†And then we’ll be back. ¬†We’re not even there yet and I miss him already.

My son – my darling boy – I can’t believe how much progress he’s made in recent months. ¬†I could make a list here – but I won’t bore you to death.

I’ve got photos – but I’m using LagosDad’s laptop – so will include at some point!

Happy New Year everyone!

No Stress

You know I used to be a smoker, right?

I’ve been a non-smoker once before, but stupidly started again.

However, I’ve stopped again ūüôā¬† It’s been about three months now.¬† Yay me!

Anyway, so I know I’m 35 years old – and I know it’s ridiculous, but for me and in my community, smoking and smoking in front of your elders is an absolute no-no.¬† Especially if you’re a girl.¬† And no matter how old you are!

In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a boy.¬† My brother smokes in front of my parents all the time – and they NEVER say anything to him.

I started smoking when I was 15.¬† I am absolutely positive that at some point in my fifteen years as a smoker (and then during the twenty months when I started again) my parents knew I smoked.¬† I’m sure they could smell it on me each time I came home.

When confronted, my reaction was always the same – deny, deny, deny.

So during my last few trips to Dubai (to stay with my parents), sneaking out for a cigarette was really difficult.¬† And it wasn’t just them – it was V as well.¬† I didn’t want to smoke in front of him.

Usually, when I’m here without LagosDad (he only comes for part of the time) it’s more difficult.¬† I spend all day with my mum.¬† And even if we weren’t together for a few minutes here or there – I didn’t want her to smell smoke on me!

It actually became quite stressful.¬† She would get on my nerves, I’d need a cigarette, I couldn’t have a cigarette, I’d get grumpy, cranky and desperate.

I’d do whatever I could to spend a few hours by myself (almost impossible), just so I could have a cigarette.

Every evening I would beg my sister to come out for a drink, just so I could have a cigarette or four.¬† Sometimes I wouldn’t even want to go out – but I made myself!

I know it sounds silly – a grown woman having to go through all this just to have a cigarette – but it’s just what happened.¬† And as I said before – it was stressful!

I’m in Dubai at the moment, and you know what?

I don’t have any of those issues anymore.

It is such a relief not to have the added stress of trying to get away from everyone to smoke!

Emirates – Love/Hate

Regardless of whether I have a toddler with me or not, I find travelling a stressful experience. 

It might be because of the whole checking-in process in Lagos (you know, the opening of every suitcase, rummaging through them all and then being asked ‘what of me?’). ¬†

I actually don’t think it matters where I fly to or from, until I’m on that airplane, I can’t relax.

Yesterday’s flight, however was a different story altogether. ¬†Some things made me furious, but other things made it all better. ¬†I don’t know how to feel about Emirates any more!

So – here’s what pissed me off.

My meal choices were a) Nigerian chicken stew (typical Nigerian chicken dish cooked in spicy tomato sauce, accompanied with plain local rice, sauteed local spinach with onions and fried plantain).  Or b) Fried croaker fish fillet (on a bed of tomato sauce, accompanied with jollof rice with sauteed green peas and plantain cubes, garnished with fried onions).

Now if either of those meals are to your taste – that’s just great. ¬†For you. ¬†If they aren’t to your taste, well… ¬†There’s not much I can say. ¬†Personally, they’re not for me. And I don’t eat fish anyway. ¬†What’s so wrong with making one of the dishes a Nigerian dish and the other something else? ¬†This is actually the second time this has happened flying Emirates. ¬†I suppose I should have known better and booked a special meal for myself? ¬†At least I wouldn’t have had to wait three hours until after take-off for something to eat or drink. ¬†Or maybe I should just fly Business Class all the time (poor LagosDad!)?

Another thing which the airline definitely needs to look at is their children’s meals. ¬†I have flown Qatar Airways in Business Class and in Economy and although Vinay has refused to eat the food (being so fussy and all), it’s actually looked and tasted appealing. ¬†Mini burgers, French fries, etc. ¬†Actual children’s food! ¬†I could not believe it when I saw his meal yesterday. ¬†It was a big hunk of deep fried fish. ¬†With a couple of tasteless potato wedges and boiled carrots. ¬†It looked awful. ¬†I don’t know anyone who would eat that.

V was hungry and had a bite of everything – but wasn’t impressed and ate no more. ¬†

About thirty minutes after they cleared the meals, V started throwing up.  All over the blankets, himself, everywhere.  

He couldn’t be changed into his spare clothes as one of his bottles leaked in his bag and wet all his clothes. ¬†All I will say on that subject is that I didn’t pack that bag.

Cabin crew were aware of what had happened as I’d gone to the galley to get rid of all the blankets, etc.

After V had thrown up enough times for me to need more airsick bags, I pressed the call button.

It took forty minutes for someone to come and see what was going on. ¬†FORTY MINUTES. ¬†And I kept pressing the button so that it made the ‘ding’ sound. ¬†But still. ¬†Forty minutes. ¬†I’m not impressed.

Once I eventually got more bags, he was a bit better. ¬†He was thirsty though and everytime he had some water, he’d throw up again.

Meanwhile one of the crew had come to check on him, and took some details (how many times had he been sick, what had he eaten, medication, etc.).  They contacted a medical team on the ground and I was told we had to wait until everyone else disembarked before we could see someone.

When we FINALLY landed and everyone else had gone, we went to First Class where the medics were waiting. ¬†They asked a whole bunch of questions, checked V’s temperature (normal) and told me I could go with them to the medical centre and see a doctor right away or see my own doctor. ¬†

Vinay was fine. ¬†He was chatting to the head of the flight crew and was excited about finally having landed. ¬†And I decided we’d just go home and see how he did. ¬†I really thought it was probably just air sickness. ¬†

And then he threw up again.  All over the First Class seats.  Haha!

I changed my mind and we went to the medical centre.  The medics drove us on one of the golf buggy thingies and Vinay was so excited about the siren, the horn and the speed!

We saw a doctor who prescribed some medication to settle his stomach. ¬†He said it couldn’t be air sickness as it would have started when he was younger and earlier on in the flight and was probably just a gastro issue.

We finally got home at about 4 am.  And Vinay is fine.  

Thank God.

So РEmirates definitely need to rethink their meal options.  Also, I know the crew are always busy on flights, but if you can repeatedly hear the call bell Рgo and see what the hell is going on!!

The Emirates staff were very efficient when it came to V needing medical attention.  In the air and on the ground.  I was impressed.