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.

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!

The Nanny Diaries

I don’t often write about the children’s nanny – but I have to write about this.

Anyway, so our nanny (E) has been with us since Vins was six months old. She lives with us, in our home and sleeps in the children’s room. Vins is very attached to her. He adores her and she loves him. Knowing that she’s with him has allowed me to have a life of my own. I can go out during the day or night (not that I have anywhere particular to go – but at least I have the option!), meet friends or whatever.

She travels with us when we go on holiday, and she spent five months with us in London last year while we were waiting for Booni to arrive.

She goes on leave for a month every year (back to the Philippines). I HATE that month. But I’ve survived so far!

In March this year she was going for her annual leave. The immigration laws over here changed before she came back and we had to redo all her paperwork before she could return.

While E was away, Vins was very insecure – and became very clingy. Everything was ‘mama, mama, mama’. Only mama could bathe him, put him to sleep, drop him off at school, pick him up, etc.

Luckily we had another helper (T). She took over Booni completely. I was happy, Booni was happy, Vins was happy and T was happy.

Vins slowly became more accepting of other people helping him out. He let LagosDad brush his teeth for him every day. He eventually started sleeping downstairs with my in-laws. And he eventually started having breakfast with my father-in-law every morning. This was a huge relief for me.

I was feeling so stressed. Vins wouldn’t let me spend any time with Booni. I felt guilty that I wasn’t giving Booni the same input that Vins had his age. Going out at night was off the cards unless my in laws were home. Going out during the day was off the cards as I couldn’t leave both children at home. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea when E would be back.

Do I sound very spoilt? I realise there are parents all over the world who do everything by themselves all the time, without any help. But this is what I’ve been used to.

Right before the boys’ birthdays I found out that T wasn’t the trustworthy person I thought she was. I found, in her bags, a whole bunch of the children’s clothes. Many of the clothes were brand new, with the tags still on. Some of the things weren’t new – but I was keeping them – either for Booni or for sentimental reasons. I found a pack of Booni’s spoons. A brand new tumbler, bowl and plate set and balloons that I’d bought for the party. Oh and E’s UGGS.

It was night when I checked her things (I’d received a tip-off). I took everything away and put it in my room. The next morning she obviously knew I’d been through her things but she didn’t say anything.

When I eventually spoke with her (when the children weren’t around), she started crying and apologising. She said she didn’t know what she was thinking and that it wouldn’t happen again. How many other things had she taken over the last few months? I asked her – she said nothing. But I know that’s not true.

My first instinct was to throw her out. I’d trusted her! I left Booni in Lagos with her (and LagosDad and my ins) and gone to London with Vins for two weeks!

I decided to give her another chance. How would I cope with the children? Especially with their birthdays and party coming up?

On the 11th T was going off and coming back the following evening. After another tip-off, I asked her to open all her bags and show me what was inside before she left. She showed me everything confidently and happily. Until I went back to the first bag she opened. I asked her to take out the plastic bag that was at the bottom of the bag. She did and told me it was clothes. The shape of the bag was oblong. So I asked her to open it. She did everything she could to delay the process. She pretended she couldn’t undo the knot she’d made at the top of the bag. She pretended she couldn’t find the scissors she needed to open the bag. I brought them to her. Once she undid the knot, she put the bag on the floor. I was carrying Booni at the time and told her that I couldn’t open the bag, so could she please open it and show me what was inside. She nudged the bag in my direction. I got a bit cross because I’d been waiting at least ten minutes to see what was inside (though I knew by now). She eventually showed me. It was a brand new pack of 52 Pampers. Not Pampers that Booni had outgrown (those are also easily accessible), but the 4+ size, which he’s currently wearing.

How could she do this to me again? How naive was I? I was so cross with myself.

I told her to pack up her things and leave. I watched her as she packed all her stuff and then I instructed the security not to let her back in the compound.

That was a terrible weekend for all of us. Vins was fine – my mother-in-law looked after him. He slept downstairs, ate downstairs and spent a lot of time with my in-laws.

Poor Booni, though. He was missing T a lot. He wasn’t used to me putting him to bed. I wasn’t used to putting him to bed. Or doing all the other things that T normally did for him. It took us both a couple of days (and a few VERY long nights) to readjust to each other.

And finally… on the 14th (five and a half months later), E came back! Vins was super excited. I didn’t tell him she was coming back (just in case something went wrong).

Vins is happy. Booni is used to her again and is happy. LagosDad is happy (I’m not bitching and moaning at/to him any more). And I’m ecstatic. I’d never have found the time to sit and write this post otherwise!

 

 

 

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.

 

It’s Time To PAW-TY

Booni is going to be ONE on Monday (31st August). HOW did that happen?

The following Monday, Vins will turn five. FIVE!!

After Vin’s 3rd birthday party, I decided I wouldn’t have any more parties. It’s just too stressful (and expensive).

Then I got pregnant. And very quickly realised that I’d have to do at least one more – for their first and fifth birthdays.

So this year, I’m doing a combined party for them. In the past Vin’s parties have been indoors and outdoors. However, all our new furniture arrived a few months ago and I refuse to have anyone inside! So it will all be outdoors.

Vins has been “planning” this party since March! We decided we’d go with the PAW Patrol theme. Booni, obviously has no say! He spent a couple of months looking at PAW Patrol cakes online and chose about a dozen different cakes that he liked.

I ordered all the return gifts in June – 60 of them. But the guest list keeps growing and growing and growing. Vin’s whole class, friends from his class last year who are in the other class this year, friends not from school, children whose parties they’ve been invited to and we need to return the invitation. The list doesn’t end. And I can’t cut it down without offending anyone. Oh well – the more the merrier! Let me be clear – I’m happy to have the kids – I’m just worried about not having enough return gifts.

I’m feeling a bit stressed about it all already as there’s so much to do. So far I’ve given out all most of the invitations, ordered the cake and cupcakes, booked the photographer and got the party planner.

This week I have to go to the market to get more balloons (no more helium balloons – I’ve learnt my lesson!), extra tableware, gift bags and some extra return gifts.

Keep you posted!

V&V 2

London With Vins

So as you know, Vins and I went to London for a couple of weeks.

We left on a Sunday – both of us excited. But I was sad to leave Booni as well. Vins was amazing on the flight. He only threw up once (at the end). Thank goodness for Kwells Kids!

We got our luggage, our minicab and checked into our hotel. It was his first time staying in a hotel and he spent the first few hours saying, “Mama, this hotel isn’t very good, is it? They don’t even have a kitchen!”

My sister was arriving on the Friday and I knew that I’d want to spend some time with her – shopping and whatnot. So I tried to make the first few days extra special for Vins.

On Monday morning we ran a few errands – picked up a passport application form, did passport pictures, bought a SIM card, topped up my Oyster Card, etc. He was super excited to have lunch at McDonalds (as was I!) and then he insisted that we go to Mothercare to buy his and Booni’s new pyjamas *face palm*

After spending what seemed like days in Mothercare (I usually love going there – but it’s a different story with Vins in tow. And I hate it when the sales are on and everything’s strewn around the place) – all because he couldn’t decide on which dinosaur pyjamas he liked best (we bought both in the end), we went to Geox so he could choose his new sandals. I don’t know why – but he takes so bloody long to make a decision!

We went back to the hotel – he watched CBeebies and I started filling out the passport application form. And we had dinner at Pizza Express. It is actually a blessing that Vins eats spaghetti and pizza now. It really made life a lot easier for me!

The next day we went for an early Chinese lunch and then went to London Zoo. He loved it. And we walked A LOT! I hadn’t been there in years – at least 11, maybe more. I found it a little disappointing. It didn’t seem as big as it used to. And there didn’t seem to be as many animals either? But we had a good time together, anyway. I think his favourite part was the ice cream at the end *smh*

Wednesday was his passport appointment and I took him to the Harrods Toy Kingdom after that. It was, in hindsight, a mistake – but he hadn’t been there and I wanted him to see it. Well… He cried because I wouldn’t buy him a £50 guitar. And then he cried because I wouldn’t buy him an £80 children’s camera. However, I did get him the Transformer he’s been wanting. And a PAW Patrol book thingy. I also got him one of those remote control cars that goes up the walls and stuff (but I told him it was for someone else and I’ll give it to him for his birthday). I got Booni a birthday present from there and I got myself a new jigsaw puzzle. Nightmare. Anyway – at least this way I wouldn’t have to do Hamley’s. Right?

I spent most of Wednesday evening deciding on what we should do on Thursday. In the end I decided to take him to Chessington World of Adventures. He troubled me a bit – but on the whole, we had a really good time. We didn’t get back to the hotel until after 9 pm that night and we were both exhausted! He went straight to sleep – but I had to pack! We were checking out on Friday morning and moving into my sister’s room after she arrived at lunchtime.

Vins really was very good for those first few days. We spent time together and did a lot of fun things. Unfortunately, once the weekend came round, he changed! I just couldn’t understand why he was playing up all of a sudden – having more tantrums, etc. Then I realised – he was used to it being just me and him. He had my undivided attention. And then when my sister arrived – I was suddenly distracted. And he didn’t like it!

Anyway – my sister arrived. She had her own stuff going on – so Vins and I were still spending time together. Lots and lots of time. I was beginning to feel a bit suffocated!

On Saturday evening Vins and I met with LagosDad’s brother and family. Vins gets along with his cousins and chacha (father’s brother) and chachi (father’s brother’s wife). It’s amazing – he’s so reserved with so many people; and although he doesn’t know them very well – he’s totally comfortable! I won’t tell you about one of his cousins or about Vins throwing up at the table at ASK…

I had booked tickets for Dinosaur Zoo for the Sunday – it was brilliant! If you have a kid interested in dinosaurs – go see this! Vins was a bit scared – but it really was good. I won’t talk about the tantrum that happened afterwards (all because he wanted popcorn but the kiosk was closed)!

We spent the rest of the afternoon on Oxford Street.

On Monday afternoon I got my haircut. It was such a pleasure to go to Sam at Le Beautique Spa again! And yes, Vins came with me. He was very good, actually.

I’d booked tickets to go and see The Gruffalo for the following day and I (and Vins) were quite excited! In the afternoon I had an appointment at Debenhams (more on that later) and my sister took Vins to the park. She brought him to me a couple of hours later before she went out for the evening. We ran a couple more errands and then went home.

We went to Croxley on Wednesday – to visit Vins’ cousins. Actually – we ran errands in the morning and went to them in the afternoon. The kids played in the garden and my sister-in-law and I were able to catch up in peace!

My hairdresser, Sam, had convinced me to do keratin treatment – so that’s what I was doing for three hours on Thursday afternoon (more info to come) while Vins went to the Natural History Museum with my sister. In some ways I felt as though I was wasting time sitting there for three hours and not doing anything – but I was also so happy. It was the first time I was just sitting down and doing nothing. And without a child!

Poor Vins – on Friday he spent the day with me – going to House of Fraser, Debenhams and Marks & Spencer to get all the VAT forms sorted. We also had to pick up a few other things along the way!

We were leaving on Saturday evening, but of course there were things I’d forgotten – like shirts for my FIL, and the cooking sauces my MIL wanted. So we rushed out again on Saturday morning to get those sorted.

And that was it. I tried to make it as much fun as possible for Vins.

Two weeks went by in a blink of an eye!

(You can see photos on Instagram – lagosmum)

 

Can’t Wait

Going back home in 3 days and I can’t wait!
I’ve enjoyed being in London and spending time with Vins (more on that soon), but it’s been rather full – on.
I still have stuff to do here – there’s never enough time to shop and do other people’s errands!
And of course I can’t wait to see my Booni Boo 🙂

Two Weeks

Today is Wednesday. And on Sunday Vins and I are off to London for two weeks.

Yes, just the two of us. For two weeks.

He needs a new passport and apparently you can’t renew British passports over here any more. I didn’t dig too deeply to find out more information, because hey – who doesn’t want to go to London?

The thing is… I’m leaving Booni behind. Not on his own, obviously – LagosDad will be here. The nanny will be here. And my in laws will be here. So I know he’ll be very well taken care of. But I’m still worrying. What if he’s lonely? What if he misses us? What if he thinks I’ve abandoned him? LagosDad has promised to take him to playgroup at least twice a week – so at least he’ll be getting out a little.

I’ve left Vin before – once when he was 15 months and once when he was 21 months. Each time I only went for a week. And that was pretty hard. While I loved being in London, and I loved being on my own, I had the feeling that something was missing. Like a part of me was missing.

London with Vins will be…. exciting interesting. I’m used to having either LagosDad, or the nanny or my mum around to help out. So this is a first for both of us. My sister will arrive four days after us – so she’ll be there to help! And also, thank God he’s decided he likes spaghetti and pizza now – so we have a couple more meal options!

I am so excited to get out of here and escape for a couple of weeks – but now that it’s all confirmed, the nerves have set in. What if Booni’s lonely? What if he misses us? What if he thinks I’ve abandoned him? (I know, I’ve said all this already) And… What if he forgets me??

 

 

What Will Booni Be?

Booni will be elven months at the end of this month and I still can’t get over how different Vin was as a baby of the same age.

I look at him and wonder if babies are meant to be the way Booni is, or if they’re meant to be the way Vin was. By the way, I do realise there’s no right or wrong answer here.

By this age (yes, I’m going to compare again), Vin showed a strong interest in animals and books.

Booni… Booni is like a cross between an excitable (and extremely loveable) puppy and a hungry hamster. Booni actually sounds like a puppy dog’s name!

There’s a shelf in the playroom which holds all the boxes of games and puzzles. Booni loves to crawl up to it, pull himself into standing and either:

a. pull boxes down one by one, or

b. chew the corner of one particular box.

He’s got a whole bunch of toys. He usually picks one up, looks at it, puts it in his mouth and then throws it behind him. And he repeats this four or five times!

If there are clothes in the laundry basket, he removes each item and chucks it on the floor.

If there’s anything on the bed, he’ll reach for it and throw it on the floor.

Whatever he can reach ends up on the floor!

I remembered writing a post about Vins might be when he grows up and although he was much older when I wrote it, I started wondering about Booni.

And I could only think of two things that he (Booni) might be when he’s older.

1. A professional food taster (since he loves to chew things and just eat in general).

2. A waiter in a Greek restaurant – where he can smash all the plates he likes every day!