A Complete Family

At a recent party, many people asked me if I knew the sex of the baby. I was very happy to say, “Yes! It’s a boy!” Almost everyone congratulated me and made a comment about having 3 boys, which is fine – I know people want to know, but then don’t know what to say when you tell them.

But two people’s responses irritated me.

The first person (a woman younger than me) said, “Oh no! Are you disappointed?” I said to her, “No. Are you disappointed that you have two girls?”

And the other person (also a woman younger than me) said, “Oh no! I’m so sorry! You know they say the family isn’t complete unless you have a boy and a girl.” Apart from the fact that she was spitting all over me while speaking, I really was at a loss for words. Finally, I said to her, “We didn’t choose to have a baby because we decided to try for a girl. We chose to have a baby because we wanted to have another child.”

A family being complete with one boy and one girl (or more than two children, but having both sexes) is a conversation that I’ve had with my mother-in-law (and some of her friends) time and time again. And time and time again, I’ve tried to make her (them) understand – that the idea of a ‘complete’ family is what the parents want it to be! Whether it’s one child, two boys, 5 girls – WHATEVER. And that it’s a choice (and sometimes not a choice) made between partners and has nothing to do with anyone else, and why would anyone even feel the need to comment on it?

This backward, archaic way of thinking really bothers me, and gets me really worked up. I mean… We’re in 2022, for God’s sake.

So for the last two weeks when I’ve thought about these comments from these two young women, I’ve been trying to put my finger on why it’s been bothering me this much. And I think I’ve realized. I’ve spent so many years battling with my mother-in-law, trying to make her (and her friends) see sense, to make them understand that we’ve moved on, and that they should move on, from this old-fashioned, traditional way of thinking – only to realize… We haven’t. What hope do we have of changing how our parents’ generation think if our own generation thinks the same way?

Anyway – rant over.


Last Thursday a friend rang me and said that our boys (they’re in the same class) had decided that they wanted to have a sleepover at the weekend, and would Vins want to go…

Wow… A sleepover? To be honest, I was kind of excited about having the TV to myself for a whole evening. But – would he be ok? Would he cry when it was time to sleep because he wanted to come home? Would we get a middle of the night phone call asking us to pick him up? I wasn’t worried about safety or him being in any danger – my first sleepover was with his friend’s mum (many moons ago) when I was the same age! I knew he’d be fine.

I figured I’d speak to Vins and see how he felt about going. For all I knew, he could have been excited when they talked about it at school, but then thought about it some more later and changed his mind. Anyway, he was quite insistent that he wanted to go, that he would be fine and that he was going to have the most awesome time! He was so excited, I can’t even begin to explain…

Come Saturday afternoon, I dropped him off at 5pm and tried to say goodbye. I also tried to get Vins to say goodbye to Booni. But it was futile. He was off, running around the house with his friend in wild abandonment.

LagosDad and I decided to stay in that evening (actually, I decided to stay in and his plans fell through <evil laugh>) just in case that middle-of-the-night phone call came. My friend messaged at about 9.30 pm to say they were having a ball and didn’t show any signs of going to sleep yet!

I woke up the next morning and the first thing I thought was, “Hey! He made it through the night!”

Can you believe it? Can you believe that my Vins made it through a sleepover in someone else’s home? Without either parent or yaya (nanny)?

He really does infuriate me sometimes, but I’m so proud of him!



Another Milestone 

Today we reached another milestone and I have never been so proud to be Vins’ mama.

About 4 weeks ago, Vins’ teacher emailed me and told me that he had volunteered to introduce their class assembly. I was surprised, but pleased. I also wondered if he’d actually go through with it on the day!

Well… Today was that day.

He introduced the assembly confidently and clearly. He had a second speaking part and after that he had a non-speaking part (dressed as a huntsman). The kids sang two songs – he sang both of them. And he did the actions.

He was wonderful. (And I cried throughout.)

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, or if you know Vins personally, you’ll know what a huge deal this is for us and how much it means to me. 

Bill, Please!

LagosDad and I took Vins out for an early dinner this evening.
Vins doesn’t usually speak to people he doesn’t know (or people he does know, for that matter). But today was amazing. Once we’d finished and ready to leave, I heard him mumble, “Bill please.” He repeated himself a couple of times but the waiter didn’t hear him.
I told Vins that he had to say “Excuse me” first and then to ask and to use his manners. And he did it! “Excuse me! Can we have the bill please?”
Unbelievable! I am so thrilled with him at the moment!

Leaps and Bounds

I know one of my last posts was about Vins and how he’s making so much progress socially – but this one is too. I’m just so proud of him.
Firstly, his teacher said he’s doing really well in school. He’s getting more involved and participating more in whole class activities – especially the singing and dancing 🙂
We still have meltdowns at home. But they’re less frequent than before. And he’s become more independent.
He’s always been happier in smaller groups. But if he spent a whole day with a friend and then I turned up or if his friend’s parent turned up, he’d become quiet. I cannot begin to count the number of times a friend has spoken to him after school and has been ignored. Or the amount of times someone has said goodbye to him after school and Vins has pretended he can’t see him/her.
Yesterday was soooo different! Two school mums and myself took some of the kids out for lunch. There were six children in all. They had a ball. They ran around screaming and playing Hide and Seek. Luckily the restaurant was empty! They ran outside in the garden and they played with a bunch of Hot Wheels cars that Vin took with him.
I didn’t think Vins would join in as much as he did – and he was so happy! It was almost as though I wasn’t there!
The best part was when we were leaving. He put the car window down and started shouting, “Bye X! Bye! See you tomorrow!”
I’m so proud of him.

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… 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…  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!


My son never ceases to amaze me.  I’ve said it before, I know.  But I just have to say it again!

In my last post, I was moaning about all the things V wouldn’t do.  He wouldn’t walk in the sand, he wouldn’t get in the pool, he wouldn’t wear a hat, he wouldn’t try new food, he wouldn’t put on his swimming shorts.  You get where I’m going, right?

That was all during the first two weeks in Bali.  

After that…

He tried eating new things – and ate soup and noodles again.  He even said, ‘NUMMY!’ after each bite 🙂

By the end of our holiday, he was not only in his swimming shorts.  He was also in arm-bands AND he wasn’t just on the steps.  He was in the middle of the swimming pool, not being held and splashing about by himself!  He was even jumping off the side into my arms.  

And he’s started talking so much – I  can’t get him to stop!

Report Card

It’s that time of year again…  Report card writing time.  

While I don’t miss teaching *or* writing reports (I’m so glad I don’t have to write phrases such as, ‘must endeavour to do her best’ and ‘has made sound progress in…’ anymore) many of my teacher friends are pre-occupied and completely absorbed by theirs.  I don’t blame them – it’s a stressful, all-consuming task!

Anyway, I started thinking about what Vinay’s report card might be like when he starts school.  Will he get comments such as, ‘not reaching his full-potential’ or ‘is making wonderful progress’?

So I decided to write my own progress report for him (once a teacher, always a teacher?):

Vinay has made a lot of progress in recent months.  Most notably, he is now walking confidently and hardly ever crawls.  This does, however, mean that he needs to be watched all the time.  He likes to wander from room to room, touching things and pulling items off tables and shelves.

Vinay can understand and follow simple directions.  For example, ‘put this block where it belongs’, ‘bring me the other shoe’, ‘give me kisses’, ‘come here’ and ‘please put this in the bin’.  While this is all very good, he must remember to listen when he is told, ‘no’.  I am sure that he understands it.  

He has become excellent at making himself understood and his needs known, especially since he can only say ‘mama’.  He makes sure it is known that he does not want to watch the programme on television by throwing the remote control at whoever is in charge of changing channels.  He shows when he wants to go downstairs by pointing, and he shows that he’s hungry by ‘smacking his lips’.

He can show where his hair is, where his nose is and, by blowing raspberries, where his tongue is.  He can also show where his feet and hands are and, if he’s not wearing a nappy, will happily show you where his nooni is.  He is still confusing eyes and ears, though.  Perhaps a body parts book will help?

He is able to identify (by pointing) many animals in books, on television and on his clothes.  Some of these include, horses, pigs, dogs, cats, monkeys, lions, tigers, giraffes, penguins, birds, bears and butterflies.  Perhaps it is time to move on from animals and onto other objects?  Maybe body parts?

He has learnt how to show his muscles.  He does this by stretching his arms up over his head.  He has also learnt how to do ‘suuuuuper baby!’.  This is done in the same way as showing his muscles.  He is working on ‘shake your bum bum!’, but so far will only wave his arms above his head.  Perhaps he doesn’t know *where* his ‘bum bum’ is?

Vinay loves (some) nursery rhymes.  These include, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’, ‘Twinkle Twinkle’, ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, ‘London Bridge’ and ‘Ring O’ Roses’.  He can do some of the actions to these rhymes, but mostly does his own version of them.

Vinay likes approval, rewards and praise.  Very often, when he’s done something right (such as identifying an object correctly), he claps for himself and looks around to make sure other people have noticed.  He likes to make eye contact with other adults so that they smile at him.

His confidence has grown and he is now comfortable walking away from his mother during playgroup, experimenting and playing with different toys.  In fact, he finally sat on the rocking horse he’s been eyeing up for the last month!

Although he has made a lot of progress in recent months, there are things on which he needs to work.  Vinay must remember that pulling the dog’s tail is not the way to touch him and that he must be gentle.  He should continue to work on learning the different parts of the body.  He must work on putting the shapes in the correct place in his shape sorter and maybe even work on the names and colours of the shapes. 

Most importantly, he should try to not wake up twice every night for a feed.

Overall, Vinay is a delightful, loving and affectionate child and an absolute pleasure to have in everyone’s lives.

*Please note that this might be completely biased