Singing Time

This morning we went to playgroup – as we (almost) always do on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

We’ve been going for eight months now, and Vinay has really settled in well.  He LOVES it.  He calls it ‘bamba’.  I don’t know what the connection is, but there you go.

He’s become more independent.  He’s quite happy to play on his own.  But only until he sees I’m busy talking to someone.  Then he suddenly needs *all* my attention!

When we first started going, he would sit in my lap during singing time and I’d sing for both of us and move his hands/arms/feet accordingly (depending on the song/action).

After a few months, he still sat in my lap and would do a couple of actions when he felt like it.

Then he started sitting in a small chair, but insisted I sit right behind him and prod him to do the actions (the prodding being my decision).  He usually only ever did it for a second or two of each song though.  

It really irritated me – because at home he does them ALL the time!  

I know he was busy watching the other children, was fascinated by what they were doing and is always learning as well – but it still bugged me!

This morning…

This morning he sat in a chair on his own.

This morning he didn’t call me to sit behind him.

This morning I didn’t have to encourage him to do any actions.

This morning he did all the actions of every song by himself and smiled the whole time.

This morning I looked at my son in amazement.

*proud face*

Use Your Feet!

When Vinay turned one, one of the presents Hub and I gave him was a Little Tikes car thingy.


He loves it.  He loves being pushed around in it.  And in the late afternoons, when it is cooler outside, we take it out into the compound and he has a little ride.  

While we were in Dubai, I took Vinay to a soft-play area in one of the malls.  He was a bit overwhelmed, but quite enjoyed himself.  Attached to the play area was an arcade.  They had loads of little rides and things.  I put him on a couple, but he just screamed.  He was, however, very happy to sit in the Kiddy Kart or in a trolley in every mall we went to (there were a number of them) and just be pushed around.  He would sit for a couple of hours at a time, which worked out perfectly for my mum and me.


Vinay in Kiddy Kart (Dubai 2012)

At playgroup, they have several of these Little Tikes ride-on cars.  Vinay has never given them a second look.  Until now.  He seems to have discovered a new-found love for them (I blame the malls in Dubai).  And none of them have the base attached.  This is so the children’s feet can touch the ground and they can push themselves along and zoom around wherever they want.  That’s great.  IF your child knows how to use his feet to do that!

So…  Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, he spots the cars as soon as we walk in.  He looks around for which one he wants and sits in it while I go and pay.  When I come back, he lets me know that I have to push him.  So I do.  And it’s hot.  VERY hot.  So I’m sweating like a piglet before 10am, trying to push him about and shouting, ‘Use your feet, Vinay!  They’re going to get stuck underneath the car!’

I’ve been trying to convince him to do activities indoors (where it’s air conditioned).  

‘Vinay, do you want to see the horse?  Shall we go sit on the horse?’  He looks interested for a split second but then turns away.  

‘I know!  Let’s go read a book!’  He goes and sits in another car.

‘Shall we go see if your friend, X, is inside?’  He looks at me briefly, but decides against it.  

‘Shall we go play with the trains?’  Hooray!  It worked!

He enjoys playing with the trains and in the kitchen, etc.  I tend to stand back and watch him and as soon as he seems settled, plonk myself on the ground near the air conditioner and start a conversation with another mum.  

I think he has some sort of radar, because as soon as I’m comfortable (and cooler), he zips out of the room.  

One second he’s there and the next he’s gone!  

Back to the bloody f-ing cars!

I’m very happy for him to sit in them.  I’m also very happy to push him around.  Even though it’s sweltering hot.  But I’m so scared that I’m going to hurt his feet if they get caught underneath!

So how do I get him to use his legs to push himself along?  

And how do I (selfishly) ‘encourage’ him to stay indoors?


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?



There are a number of nursery options here, and anyone you speak to has an opinion on one or more of them.  Some of them accept children at 18 months, some at 20 months and one or two at 24 months.

A few months ago, mums with children the same age as V started asking if I’d been to see any nurseries.  One or two of them had been to see several and I started feeling the pressure!  Some of them are in quite high-demand and waiting lists are long…

I went to visit one.  And I loved it.  And decided that V was going to go there.  Why bother looking at the others when this one is so close to home?  I won’t have to sit in traffic crossing the bridge twice a day!

Hub went to visit it, got a tour and he really liked it too.  We registered with them and decided that V would start in April when he’s 19 months old.  He would be dropped off at 8.30 every morning and picked up at 12.30 every afternoon.  No problem.

But recently, over the last month or so, I’ve started questioning whether this is the right thing to do for him.  Nursery is the right thing (although I’m aware many would disagree).  But I’m wondering about whether he might be too young still…

He can’t talk yet – how would he make his needs known?

He’s still a little insecure – would he stay for four hours without me or another adult he’s happy with?

And…  I don’t think he’s ready.  Although a lot could change in the next couple of months.

I told Hub I think it would be better for him to go to playgroup for a year.  I’d be with him, but can keep my distance and he would slowly become more confident.  And he could start nursery in September when he’s nearly two.

Hub thinks I’m being too anxious.

Eighteen months is *very* young.  Isn’t it?  

Would love any advice you have… 




Proud Mama

As you may already know, we started going to Mum and Baby playgroup last week.  And we’ve been six times so far.

I was so nervous about it, but the first day went well and I now actually look forward to going.  And so does Vinay.  He gets so excited when we arrive and he realises where we are!

He’s still a little unsure of himself and wants to be reassured that I’m by his side, but he’s getting more confident.

On Wednesday, after looking at books – he decided he wanted to mess around with the shape puzzles.  He was happy holding the pieces and banging them on the table (as usual).  I showed him what to do with them a couple of times and told him to try.  He tried a few times and when he (eventually) got it right, I praised him and clapped my hands.  The second time he got it right, I did the same.  The third and fourth times, he clapped for himself and started looking around at the other mums to see if any of them had noticed.  Unfortunately for him, they were all too busy with their own children!

He’s never been too keen on swings before.  Apparently he is a little ‘bizarre’, because one of the mums said *all* kids like swings.  (Let’s not go there (*slap slap*) stupid b*tch)  So we tried the swing on Wednesday.  He enjoyed it.  A lot.  But had enough after two minutes.  Today, he LOVED it.  Smiling at anyone who walked past, looking at people to see if they noticed him (again, no) and showing me his muscles (don’t ask).

He loves listening to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes (and is trying to learn the actions), Twinkle Twinkle and The Wheels on the Bus.  We sing them a lot at home and he does his own version of the actions, but during singing time he usually sits in my lap listening and observing the other children and adults.  Today, however, we were on the swing when singing time started and he indicated to me that he wanted to go and join.  He stood and watched for a few minutes.  Then I plonked him in a little chair.  He stayed.  He flapped his arms danced and did a couple of actions!  

I’m so proud of him.  I’m so pleased that playgroup has really helped develop his confidence – even if it just a little each session.

I was just tweeting with SAHDandProud two days ago and saying I was looking forward to V growing up a little, toddling off and being able to play independently.

But it’s happening right in front of my eyes and a little too quickly!

Playgroup: The Ins and Outs

Well…  We did it!  We went to playgroup and survived.  Yaye!

The playgroup is run by a group of volunteer mums and is at the British Deputy High Commission Club.  Three days a week they take children from 0 – 2 years and on two days a week, they take 3 – 5 year olds.  It runs from 9.30 am to 11.30 am.  But you don’t have to be there at 9.30 am on the dot.  Thank goodness – because we didn’t get there until 10.15 am!

Someone arrived just before me, so I was able to follow her to the correct part of the compound (phew – I didn’t get lost!)

I was pleasantly surprised as I turned the corner and saw the scene before me.  There was quite a large playground with swings, slides and various climbing frames – and it was all in pretty good condition.  The area in front of the playground was full of Little Tikes ride-ons.  There was a large covered area where all the changing bags were left – with tables and chairs for the little ones as well as the adults.

As I walked through the gate, I noticed a couple of mums give me the ‘top to toe’ look and then carry on with their conversation.  I wanted to turn and run, but somehow managed to keep walking!

I spotted the registration desk (I had to walk through the Little Tikes ride-on area, past the covered eating area with the tables *and* the playground to get there!).  I handed over all the paperwork and paid my temporary membership fees (you can be only a temporary member for the first three months – until they’re sure you can meet all their attendance requirements, etc).  The fees for the year was £24.  Plus another £2 for each time we go (minimum of 6 times a month). 

Right by the registration desk, there were two rooms – one was full of playmats, bouncers, ball pit, books, blocks, and other activity centre toys.  The other had a couple of playhouses, a colouring table and other toys and activities for slightly older children.  

All this time – Vinay was just looking around at everything with wide eyes.  There were children running, crawling, screaming, crying and squealing in delight all around him – he didn’t know what to look at first!

We went into the first room – with the playmats and books, etc.  We looked at a book and played with blocks.  There were two other mums in there at the time – they didn’t stop their conversation to look at me or Vinay.  

Then we went outside.  And I saw someone I knew!  And then I saw someone else I knew!  Then I recognised two other people from my pilates class.  And another lady whose son was in the other Year 2 class while I was teaching.  

We had a snack, we played some more, we chatted.  And at 11 am it was time for songs.  Vinay was exhausted by this time since he’d missed his morning nap.  We sang a few songs, including his new favourite – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – and then we came home.

It was actually not that bad at all.  And Vinay was very happy to be there (sigh of relief).

But now I know…  

Don’t wear any make-up (I only put on eyeliner today) – it’s too hot and sweaty.  

Wear comfy clothes – there was a lot of bending and squatting.  

Don’t wear low-rise pants (itchy c-section scar which couldn’t be scratched in front of other people!).

I’m quite looking forward to going back on Wednesday 🙂

We’re Starting Playgroup!

I knew a playgroup existed – I just didn’t really know anything about it.    That is, until I came back to Lagos when V was 12 weeks old (Come to think of it, I still don’t know much about it).  I was advised to put us down on the waiting list ASAP as it was quite long.

So, when Vinay was about 16 weeks, I made contact and we were officially on the waiting list.  He was six months old when we got to the top of that list.  Unfortunately, we were travelling that week for a couple of months and wouldn’t be able to attend.  They did say we could keep our place if Hub filled out all the paperwork and registered for us.  It never happened.  And we went to the bottom of the list.

This week, I got an email from them – and we got a place!  Hooray!

Having said that, I don’t really know what happens at these playgroups.  Are there organised activities?  Will I keep him entertained?  Will there be music and singing?  Am I going to be very disappointed?

I’m nervous (for me) and excited (for Vinay).  He’ll get to play with other children, discover a new environment and, maybe, become a little less shy.

I’m also terrified.  For both of us.

Is he going to catch something and get sick (and we all know how well I don’t cope when he’s ill)? 

Will the toys be clean?

Will he be very clingy and not want to do anything?

Will his routine be all messed up since he’ll probably miss his morning nap?

What if no one talks to me?

If someone does talk to me, are they going to ask me if he’s sleeping through the night (No, he’s not.  He still wakes for TWO feeds!)? 

Will I find my way to the correct part of the building (I have no sense of direction)?

What should I wear?

What should I take? 

What if he doesn’t do his morning poo before we leave, does it there and then stinks out the place?

What if he does his poo over there and then refuses to lie still on the changing table for me to clean him up?

IS there a changing table?

Oh dear God, I’m going to drive myself crazy over the weekend, aren’t I?


Anti-Social Baby?

My child is a bit wary.  He’s suspicious of new people and surroundings.  He’s a bit of a scaredy-cat.  He doesn’t like lots of loud noises or voices and can be a bit clingy and cranky when we’re out and about.

At home, however, he is quite different.  He loves his room.  He can tear it apart within minutes – pulling books and toys off the shelves.  Throwing blocks and other brightly coloured plastic items on the floor or across the room, all while babbling very loudly.  He’s happy at home!  He’s happy looking out of his window.  He’s happy to look for birds, trucks and, sometimes, even horses.  He’s happy crawling from room to room and hiding behind his cupboard to play peek-a-boo.

He’s not had very much opportunity to be around other babies and children.  We do meet friends of course – but not as regularly as I think is necessary.  And the mums with babies his age have other friends with kids, which I do not.  (I’m not a complete loser, it’s just that most of my friends are single!)  And we are still, 6 months later, wait-listed for the (I say ‘the’ because it’s the only one) playgroup.

When we do go out, we go out after 4.30pm – because it’s much cooler then.  Usually at about 5.30 – 6pm, he starts getting clingy and cranky.  He takes the toys the other children have – not because he wants them, but because he doesn’t want anyone else to have them.  He doesn’t smile all the time (he has his off-days, I guess) and two mums have said, ‘He’s not very happy when he’s not at home, is he?’  And they know, because they’ve been over for a playdate before.  I just kind of shrug it off.

Three weeks ago we went to a birthday party.  We spent one hour in traffic getting there.  Baby was not happy.  He was, I think, still getting over the shock of his own birthday party.  This was a joint party – so there were 50 kids ranging from 6 months to about 9 years, it was outdoors, the music was loud, it was chaos and my baby was not happy.

He wouldn’t let me go.  He wouldn’t smile at many people and he wasn’t interested in the balloons, face-painter or bouncy castle when we got there (he relaxed after about thirty minutes and enjoyed the slide).  We saw a mum with her baby (who he knows).  She talked to him a bit.  He just stared at her.  

And she said (to my boy), ‘Are we feeling a little anti-social again today?’  

I wasn’t sure if I heard her correctly, but I actually knew I had.  And I didn’t know what to say.  I found myself mumbling something about the traffic and him being tired.

I KNOW he needs to get out more.  I KNOW he needs to spend more time with other children.  I KNOW he needs to get used to other environments.  I KNOW he won’t always be a scaredy-cat.  

But I also KNOW that you don’t call a baby (especially someone else’s baby) anti-social.  WTF!

I felt a little hurt.  And I started feeling a little guilty (as always).  Have I made the most out of the options we have?  Should I be making more of an effort to get Vinay out and about – and not to see just adults?  Will he always be clingy and cranky in new environments?  What will happen when he starts nursery at 18 months?

Is this a phase?  Will it get better?  Is this his personality?  Is it a confidence issue?  Will he prefer to spend time in his own company as he gets older?  

Should I be worrying this much?