Being A Mum

Becoming a mother was always very important to me. As a teenager I knew I wanted to be a mother eventually. And as a ‘grown up’, becoming a mum and the idea of motherhood was very prominent in my thoughts.

While I knew I wanted to be a mum, I knew there were parts that I wouldn’t enjoy. Just like every parent, right?

And there are bits I didn’t/don’t enjoy. The waking up several times a night, the disgusting nappies, packing the changing bag at least an hour before leaving the house because you know how long it will take to get everyone ready and out on time – those kinds of things. And now that Vin is older, the constant negotiating is doing my head in. I must add that I usually give in – just for some quiet time! Yes – I am aware that I’m doing the wrong thing and that I mustn’t give in – but you don’t know him. You don’t know how he just drones on and on and on and on. And he sticks his face right up into mine and cries and it drives me bat shit crazy.

Anyway, moving on…

So the things I expected to enjoy, I don’t. I hate bath time. And I hate bed time. Is that wrong? Am I the only one? I know bath time is meant to be all fun and relaxing and stuff. And sometimes it is – but other times… It’s a battle. A battle to get clothes off. A battle to get in the tub. A battle to get out of the tub! It’s not that he doesn’t want to have a bath – he just takes SO long to do anything! I have to ask him at least three times to take his clothes off. And another three times to put his clothes in the hamper. And another three times to get in the tub. ARGH. And it’s usually because he’s too busy talking or he’s too busy pretending to be a transformer (I don’t know why this means everything has to be in slow motion). Sometimes, he pretends to be some kind of construction vehicle. ‘Activating excavator’ (in a robot voice). Sometimes, the laundry can only be picked up if the excavator has been activated. And only in slow motion.

And bed time… UGH. It should be a good bonding experience for us. But by the time he usually gets into bed, I’m irritated. And I’m hungry. We read a story and I sing him some songs – Dream A Little Dream, Hush Little Baby, Twinkle Twinkle, I Love You (Barney), Mr Sandman, Fly Me To The Moon and Goodnight Sweetheart. And always in that order. If it’s not in that order I have to start all over again. So while singing, I have to pat him. And when I finish singing, I have to continue to pat him until he falls asleep. I am aware that this is also my fault. I should not have let him get used to this patting to sleep nonsense. I’ve told him that once the new school year starts, he will get his story and his songs – but once that’s over, mama will leave him in his bed to fall asleep himself. I got puppy dog whining.

I love my boys – and I wouldn’t change them for anything, but does this make me a terrible parent? That I don’t enjoy some of the bits of being a mum that others do?

 

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.

 

 

Introverted

V has always been a little quiet and reserved (but never at home).  He’s always been a bit nervous around new people, and never speaks to anyone he’s not comfortable with.  He’s very particular about a lot of things and I put that down to being a Virgo.

I’ve always called him ‘shy’.  And sometimes, ‘peculiar’.

My mil gets a little exasperated with him and his habits – she likes to tell me about what she thinks he should be like *eye roll*.  And although I sometimes think the same about certain things (especially when I see some other kids) – I will never admit it  to her.  I will defend him until my last breath!  I always say to her, ‘He is who he is and no one can change that.’  She doesn’t like that.

V and his personality take up a lot of my thinking time (and there is a lot of it), and I can’t help but wonder why he is the way he is.  Oh – my mil also thinks it could be because LagosDad and I are a bit ‘shy’ and ‘quiet’ and because we like to stay home a lot (I don’t even know where to start with this one – so it’s better I just bite my tongue!).

I came across an article on Facebook a few days ago, and it really helped me put my thoughts into perspective.  I think it’s even helped me to understand him a little more.  It’s called, Don’t Call Introverted Children ‘Shy’ by Susan Cain.

Please read it if you get a chance.  If your child/ren aren’t introverts, it will help you to better understand children that are.

Confused

I’m a bit confused as to what to do.

It’s V, you see.

Ok – let me explain first…  He goes to nursery every day for four hours.  He loves it.  It’s taken him a little while, but he now participates fully (almost) in all activities and, according to his teacher, is doing well.

His school day finishes at 12.30pm and then we have a looooong afternoon ahead of us.  What to do?  Let’s keep in mind that just chilling at home isn’t always the best option as we’re often without power and it’s hot!

So what to do with him?  How to keep him entertained in ways that don’t involve the television or the iPad?

What most parents do here is get a group of kids together (3 or 4 of them) and organise afternoon classes for them.  Gymnastics, swimming, hip hop dance, art and craft, cooking.  There is a lot going on.

At the moment V does Hip Hop on a Monday (he’s been twice and has only watched so far), gymnastics on a Tuesday (his participation level depends on his mood), on a Wednesday he does cooking.  He loves this class, but his teacher travels often.  She’s been away since December and won’t be back until May.  So Wednesdays are open at the moment.  He also won’t eat anything he’s made unless it’s chocolatey.  On Thursdays he does Art and Craft – he loves these classes too.  And on Fridays he stays home.

I know some of you must be wondering why I keep him so busy.  And when does he get a chance to do ‘children’s things’.  And why don’t I do things with him?  Why don’t I just take him to the park?  Why not organise play dates for him?

So here’s the thing.

First of all, the classes are only for an hour.  Secondly, even though he goes to nursery every day – the children he does these classes with all go to different schools.  He’s still quiet and a bit reserved and I want him to spend more time with other children.  I could do stuff with him, of course I can – but I’m tutoring twice a week, he misses out on being with other children, and I’m struggling a bit with this pregnancy.  As for the park or other places to go…  We’re a bit limited here.  Playdates?  That could work.  But most of the children he would meet are in all the classes he does!

So, just to be clear – I’m not confused about his classes – as you read, that’s all sorted.

My problem is…  V.

He loves art and craft.  He loves cooking class.  A friend of mine is homeschooling her son this year and V sometimes joins in their lessons – and he loves them.

He does not, however, like dance or gymnastics.  I thought about trying football – but he’s not interested in that.

So what do I do?  Do I pull him out of those classes?  Even though I know he would benefit greatly from taking part.  But he doesn’t enjoy them.

At the moment there are no other options for him on a Monday or Tuesday.  And there’s no cooking classes until May – so that means he’s home on Wednesdays too.  Don’t get me wrong – he LIKES being at home.  And he likes being alone.

But I feel that he should be with other children more often.

I’ve realised that he’s one of those children that enjoys doing ‘learning things’, rather than ‘active things’.  And maybe he probably won’t be an ‘all-rounder’.  And that’s fine with me.  He is who he is.

 

So what should I do?  Force him to go and hope that he might eventually want to take part?  I feel so silly stressing about it when he’s only three-and-a-half.

Doh!

V is unwell.

He started coughing on Wednesday morning and I started giving him cough syrup immediately.

He threw up a couple of times on Thursday morning and therefore stayed home from nursery that day.  He was in good spirits though.

He started feeling a little warm just before bedtime and after taking his temperature, I realised that it was slightly high.  I told him I’d have to give him some Calpol.

Bloody hell – anyone would think I’d said  I was going to torture him.

He ran around his room, hid behind the curtains, covered his mouth with his hands, all the while screaming and crying and just ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to have the f-ing Calpol.

With the nanny’s help, we finally managed to pin him down and give it to him.  He then threw up.  He got more upset.  He cried more and I started feeling guilty.

I shouldn’t have made him have it.  I should have let him calm down first.

He was beside himself.

None of us knew what to do.

And suddenly I blurted out, ‘Do you want to choose a toy from the toy cupboard?’ (This is where all presents received go before they’re re-gifted or taken out at a later date.)

I regretted it as soon as I said it.

Homer Simpson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I knew it was the completely wrong thing to do.  But it was too late.  He’d heard me.

There were no more tears.  There was no more screaming.  He nodded and said, ‘Yes’.

I told him he had to have the Calpol first.  He did.  Without a fuss.  Then he got all smiley and giggly.  And I felt even more stupid.

I unlocked the cupboard and opened it.  The look on his face was priceless.  I wanted him to choose something small – so directed his attention to a Doctor’s Kit.  But he chose the Fisher-Price shopping trolley.

He went off to bed – happy as Larry.  Smiling and laughing.

He was ok during the night.  His temperature went up and down – but it was never worryingly high.

He came into our room early on Friday morning.  He climbed onto me and said, ‘Mama, I don’t want the shopping trolley.  I want the doctor’s kid.’ (Yes, kid.)  I told him he couldn’t have the doctor’s kit because he already chose the shopping trolley and he had already opened it.  He insisted.  Going on and on and on.  I ignored him.

He spent a large part of the morning whining about wanting a present.  I either ignored him or said things like, ‘Oh!  Is it your birthday?  I don’t think so.’

But I feel so sorry for him – it’s not his fault.  It’s mine!

Luckily he’s not made a fuss to have any of his medicine since then – he could easily just have a tantrum each time, hoping I’ll open the cupboard again.

But now he knows how much is in there.

Maybe I’ll move everything into another cupboard while he’s sleeping tonight!

A Promise To My Child…

I found this on Twitter a few weeks ago and retweeted it.  I just re-read it and it (again) struck a chord.  I don’t know where it came from or who started it – so I’m sorry I can’t credit the right source – but please read it.

My promise to my children ~ as long as I live ~ I am your Parent 1st – your Friend 2nd.  I will stalk you, flip out on you, lecture you, drive you insane, be your worse nightmare & hunt you down like a bloodhound when needed because I LOVE you!  When you understand that, I will know you are a responsible adult.  You will NEVER find someone who loves, prays, cares & worries about you more than I do!  If you don’t hate me once in your life – I am not doing my job properly.  Re-post if you are a parent & agree.

It does say to re-post it if you agree – so please go ahead!

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?

 

All The Things I Said I’d Never Do

Before I had a baby (or was even pregnant) I think I may have been one of those women that was quite ‘judgy’…  How could she take their baby to her bed at night?  And how could she give her child a pacifier?  I had decided that when I had a baby (and ohhh, how I wanted one), I would do things quite differently to others.  Below is the list of things I said I would or wouldn’t do when I had a baby.  Did I stick to it?  And has it affected him in any way?  

Here they are:

1.  I would breastfeed baby.

2.  I would not rock, walk or bounce baby to sleep.  Ever.

3.  I would not allow baby to sleep in my bed.

4.  I would not let baby use a pacifier (or ‘chupa’ as they are called in my house).

5.  I would not take baby for walk in buggy to try and get him to sleep.

6.  I would not let baby sleep on top of me.

7.  I would not carry baby too much so that he gets used to it and wants to be carried all the time.

8.  I would follow Gina Ford, Baby Whisperer and any other parenting books I had so we could get into a routine as soon as possible.

9.  I would not pick up crying baby from cot – he will learn to soothe himself and go back to sleep.

10. I would follow Annabel Karmel weaning advice ‘to the T’.

So now… The Truth.  Keep reading to see what I did or didn’t do!

1.  I did not breastfeed my baby.  I’m not going to go into it right now – but here is my story if you want to read it.

Sma

2.  Baby has been rocked, walked and bounced to sleep and he is still sometimes walked.  I tried *really* hard not to do any of these things…  But you know, whatever works!

2011

3.  Baby has slept in my bed.  We travelled to India and to London when he was six months old.  We were away for seven weeks and didn’t have a cot for him in either place – so he slept in our bed – and he slept really well!  Even before we left, there were nights when I brought him in to bed because I was just so tired!

Vinay_and_papa_sleeping

4.  Baby used pacifier.  And still does.  While I was pregnant, I had no intention of buying pacifiers.  And then someone told me that I should have them just in case.  And also since we travel – it would be easier on his ears during landing. (Little did I know that he prefers to scream than take his chupa)  So I bought a set of two.  And at two weeks old, when I was worried he was ill (he wasn’t), the doctor suggested I give Vindoo a chupa to help settle him.  He actually wasn’t happy to take it at first, but that soon changed.  He uses one mostly when he’s tired and cranky and about to fall asleep.

Vinay_using_chupa

5.  I did take baby for a walk to try and get him to sleep.  Only a handful of times.  And it worked.  But only until we got back home!

In_buggy

6.  Baby did sleep on top of me.  Sometimes that was the only way to get him back to sleep when he woke up.  He doesn’t do it anymore though!

Vinay_and_mama_sleeping

7.  I *loved* carrying Vindoo when he was a newborn.  He was so tiny and (still is) perfect.  How could anyone *not* want to carry him?  It was my mum, more than anyone, who kept telling me not to get him used to it…  But I did it anyway!

Carrying_vinay

8.  I read a whole bunch of parenting books while I was pregnant and was quite gung-ho about following a routine.  But when he actually arrived – it was so difficult!  Luckily, he quickly fell into a routine.  Feeding every 2 hours.  And then 3 and 4 hours.  My problem started when he was about 14 weeks.  He was feeding every four hours, which was great – but they were never the *same* four hours!  I didn’t know what was happening from day-to-day.  So I decided I would follow the Gina Ford feeding and sleeping times.  It was great 🙂  But he still doesn’t sleep through the night.

Parenting_books

9.  If you are a mum that let your baby cry it out and put himself to sleep – Well done to you!  I wanted to do that.  I just couldn’t.  There were nights when I ended up in tears while listening to Vindoo crying.  I just couldn’t do it.

Crying_vinay

10.  Weaning.  I started feeding Vindoo baby porridge and baby rice from when he was about 5 months.  He loved it!  Once he turned six months, I started on the carrot puree and the others suggested in Annabel Karmel’s weaning books.  A few days later, we left for Bombay.  We were staying with my grandmother – and it was a full house.  My aunt, uncle and cousin were there too.  And my parents.  And everyone ridiculed me for making the poor child eat vegetable and fruit purees.  And how could he eat dinner at 5pm and sleep at 7pm?  Together they convinced me to let him eat what we all ate (without the salt, sugar, masalas and chilli obviously).  He eats really well (touch wood) and likes almost everything.

Ak

Now…  The question is – have any of my choices affected him negatively in any way?

Nope – not at all!  He is happy and healthy 🙂  I suppose the fact that he still needs to be walked to sleep sometimes isn’t a good thing…  But the only thing I’m a bit worried about is the pacifier thing.  I figure we’ve still got a few months to deal with that.  Suggestions for weaning him off it would be very much appreciated!