The Perfect Game 

Vins: Mama, I can’t find Snakes and Ladders. But I’ve got another game we can play. It’s perfect!

Me: Oh yes? What is it? (My heart started to sink as I thought about another game with his Pokémon cards)

Vins: Let’s play… “Order me stuff from Amazon”!

Me: Errr…

Vins: So we go on Amazon and you have to order me whatever I want!

Me: Errr… No.

Six Going On Sixteen

My Dearest Vins,

I can’t believe it. I really can’t believe that you are six today.

SIX!

I spent the morning reminiscing about the day you were born and how I felt. My immediate love for you overwhelmed me.

And you know what… it still does.

You never cease to amaze us – with your sensitivity, your intellect, your ever increasing vocabulary, your interest in animals and dinosaurs, your love for books and the iPad and also, with your total brattiness.

I love you Vins.

Happy birthday.

xx

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. 

We’re Getting There

I’ve made no secret of the fact that Vins’ behaviour tends to frustrate me.

He’s always been clingy and getting him to go anywhere without me or his nanny has been a struggle. I’ve come to accept this. I mean… That’s just how he is. But it still does bother me a little from time to time.

Having said all that, he seems to be improving.

Last week a friend from school invited him (and a few others) over for a ‘movie night’. At first, Vins said he wasn’t going. Then I explained to him that he’d go at 5 pm and that they were going to play outside. Once they came in from the playground, all the children were going to eat and then change into pyjamas before watching the movie (Peter Pan). I told him his friend’s mum said that he should also take his duvet and pillow. I also told him that E (his nanny) would go with him. The excitement started building!

On the day of ‘movie night’, the traffic was disgusting. It was so bad I even told Vins he didn’t have to go if he didn’t want to. But when he said he wanted to go, I realised I couldn’t hold him back. He came home at 8.45 pm and he was SO happy. He’d had a really fun time, and I was so proud of him.

This week he had a half-day on Friday. This meant that he started school at 8 am (instead of 9.30 am) and finished at 11 am (instead of 2.30 pm). His friend’s mum asked if he would like to go home with them that day (in their car) and have lunch and play. Amazingly, Vins agreed. I say ‘amazingly’ because all of last (school) year another friend offered to take him home after school, and he always flat-out refused. He would only ever go to a friend’s house if I or E were to take him. So this Friday – we had a double victory. He went home with a friend in their car (with another friend of theirs) and he went without me or E.

Vins’ friend’s mum messaged me to say he was fine and that she’d never seen him so animated. Another friend rang me in the evening to ask where I was at pick-up, as she’d seen Vins with his friends. She said he was so happy and that she’d never heard him make so much noise before!

I know he’s better in smaller groups and that we still have a long way to go – but I think he’s turned a corner.

My baby really is growing up!

He’s Five!

I’m absolutely terrible.

Vins’ fifth birthday came and went – and I didn’t acknowledge it on my blog. I’m so ashamed. I didn’t write a post for him or anything.

Oh well.

Anyway – he’s FIVE! I’ve been looking at pictures of him as a baby, and can’t quite believe it.

His and Booni’s birthday pawty is over (THANK THE LORD). It was so stressful – but they had a ball. I’ve got some pictures – but they’re still on LagosDad’s laptop – so I’ll post a few soon.

 

Bruiser

Vins is going through a stage where a plaster is the solution to every injury. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bump or a scrape or anything. It doesn’t matter if we can see any blood or not. They seem to have some sort of magical healing powers that I don’t know about!

Last Sunday he had an accident on the trampoline. He and a friend were jumping on it together, and they collided. Her head went into his face and chaos ensued.

His bruise came up immediately.

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And the next day, it looked worse.

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Later that day (Monday) he came to me, rubbing his eye, and said, “Mama, my eye is really hurting. Should I get a plaster?”

I looked at him and said, “What’s hurting you?”

He replied, “My eye, mama! It’s hurting. I think I need a plaster.”

I said, “Vins, which part of your eye is hurting?”

(Are you confused yet? It was a bizarre conversation. All will be revealed soon!)

He got a bit exasperated and said, “Mama! My bruise! My bruise is hurting! I need a plaster. Should I go get one?”

I just stared at him for a few seconds and said, “Vins, you’re rubbing the wrong eye. Your bruise is on the other eye!”

He looked a bit sheepish and said, “Oh. I don’t need a plaster then.”

 

 

Squeezy!

I was drying Vin off after his bath and he said, “Mama! You’re squeezing me!”
I replied, “But Vins it’s because you’re so squeezable!”
He looked at me and in a very matter of fact tone said, “Mama, I’m not squeezable. You’re squeezable. I’m boney.”

I’ve ordered my Clean 9 Detox kit!

The Same. But Different.

I’ve had over nine months to get used to being a mum of two. There have been ups and downs – but I think we’ve all settled quite nicely.

One thing that I can’t stop thinking about is how different my two boys are. I know V1 (Vin, from now on) and V2 (now known as Booni) are four years apart so there will obviously be differences. What I mean is how different Vin was as a baby. Obviously they won’t be the same, and they’re both their own person. And I’m not saying I prefer one over the other – they’re just different!

Vin and Booni were both born on their due dates – Vin by emergency c-section and Booni by an elective c-section.

Vin was 5.8 lbs and Booni was 7.3 lbs. Vin was still wearing ‘tiny baby’ size at two months and Booni was in 3-6 months clothes by the time he was two months old.

They both put themselves into a four hourly feeding schedule early on.

Vin always needed cuddles to fall asleep. And he still prefers to sleep cuddled up with someone and sleeps better when he is. Booni has only ever slept on my chest once. And he’s only ever slept in my bed once. He hates being cuddled to sleep. Instead, he prefers to be bounced to sleep in his chair!

At twelve weeks I used the Gina Ford book to put Vin into a routine. I guess it didn’t work that well (I didn’t follow it very well) because he continued to wake at least twice a night for milk until he was three years old! Booni put himself into a routine by eleven weeks. And started sleeping straight through the night – sometimes for thirteen hours. That all changed at about seventeen weeks and he started waking quite regularly again. And now, at nine months – he still wakes.

I’ve got tonnes of photos of Vin – lying on the bed or propped up on pillows – in all his little clothes. The reason I’ve got all these photos? He stayed still while I took them. I’ve got a lot of Booni too – just not nearly as many as of his brother. The reason why? He can’t stay still for a minute. With Vin I was able to put on a Baby Einstein DVD and he would sit and watch it. For at least ten to fifteen minutes. With Booni? Forget about it. He barely sits still long enough to notice that the television is on!

At nine months, Vin was able to identify a few animals by pointing to them. Booni doesn’t know any. Vin could point to his nose and to the light. Booni is more interested in the ‘click’ the light switch makes than actually looking (noticing of) at the light.

Vin loved looking at books. Booni loves chewing and throwing books. He’s not interested in listening to stories.

He can wave goodbye. He is quite marvellous at chewing and throwing things. He does understand ‘no’ (especially when accompanied with a wagging finger). And he understands ‘come back’. So he knows something at least!

I know he’ll learn things in time. But I’m wondering if it’s because he hasn’t had the same input Vin had – you know – first child and all. Or does is he just not bothered? I started feeling a bit guilty about it a couple of months ago and decided I’d sign him up for playgroup. So we’ve started going to playgroup. Again. He loves it. He’s so happy to get out of the house and to go somewhere that has different toys for him to chew.

LagosDad and I were discussing how we thought Vin would be book smart and Booni would be street smart. I know it’s too soon to know what they’ll be like in the future – but we still talk about it.

I wonder if they’ll always be so different to each other. And will it work in their favour? Or against them? Will they be close? Or will they be too different to get along?

I suppose I shouldn’t think about all those things now because:

a. Vin loves Booni to bits (Booni is the name he came up with and now we all use it).

b. Booni adores Vin. His face lights up when he sees him.

c. I love them both more than anything.

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Ducks and Goats and Cows

Earlier this week we went to City Walk for dinner (we are in Dubai).
Once we decided where to eat, got our table, parked the stroller and settled down, V1 said, “Where’s Nana (maternal grandfather)?”
My mum (or was it my sister?) replied, “He’s gone to the pharmacy.”
V said, “Oh! Has he gone to see ducks and goats and cows?”
Errr.

Field Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that is how enthusiastic he was.

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

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

Just look at his face!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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