Monthly Archives: September 2015

29th September 2015

“I hate mummy bloggers” and other reasons why I am having blogging doubts…

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 14.11.21As you read this, I will be sat at a glitzy award ceremony that celebrates the very best of family-friendly Dubai. I will be dressed in a navy cocktail dress with freshly done hair and nails, applauding the winners, and sipping a glass (or two) or something strong, whilst my husband sits next to me in a tuxedo.

I was shortlisted for Parenting Blog 2015, an award I won last year. And whilst I don’t expect to win it this year (genuinely), I will be sat at that table feeling incredibly grateful and touched that I am acknowledged for a blog I started 18 months ago from my sofa.  In my pyjamas. With Netflix on the TV. And a newborn baby waking between each sentence I managed to type.

I feel like that little blog has come a long way. After all, there are over 40,000 people following it across my social media platforms and the traffic kind of astounds me. I make very little money from this blog of mine, but seeing that three quarters of a million pages were viewed in July alone makes me feel like I must be doing something right.

Kind of. Because I’ve been having doubts.

It’s been niggling away for a while now, because people can be very unkind and sometimes I don’t know if I’m up to it. Only yesterday I removed a link from Facebook because somebody told me that the fact I get upset when people assume I want a girl means that ‘you definitely do want a girl as you clearly aren’t satisfied with your boys’. My gorgeous boys. The boys I wanted and love so much that I created a whole blog to celebrate them.

I guess it’s better than the time someone told me that I should ‘STOP BLOGGING FOR GOD’S SAKE AND SPEND SOME TIME YOUR CHILDREN!” (capitals clearly used to convey she was shouting from behind her computer). By the way, those kids were asleep at the time, in their bed, not missing Mummy at all, as she was just in the next room on the sofa.

But seriously, I have it easy compared to some of the brilliant blogs I follow in the UK. Just yesterday I read a vile thread on the website Mumsnet about how much their users all hated mummy bloggers.

Hated.

Hated those women on their sofas tapping away on their laptops while their children slept.

Just like them on Mumsnet, ironically.

But it isn’t even the abuse that bothers me – after all, I put myself out there. I didn’t expect thousands of people to be interested in what I was writing, but I guess it means a few of them aren’t going to agree with me too.

What is really making me think twice is the view that I am overexposing my children. That they didn’t consent to it. That they will grow up and read about their lives online and hate me for it when they become young men.

This is the one that really gets me – because you can tell me I’m a rubbish writer, a rubbish photographer, a rubbish blogger. But tell me I’m a rubbish mother and I want to throw in the towel immediately.

So I have been pondering long and hard about what I should do.

I wondered whether I should scrap the blog. Put my photos into lock down. Delete my social media pages. Concentrate on being a freelance journalist and stop documenting my life as a mother.

And I nearly did it.

But during the thought process, I thought back to my own childhood and the pictures my mother took of me. There was no social media back there, no digital photos, no digital clouds or hard drives to store them. But she took photos, had them printed, and stored them in albums.

For me. For the future.

And I love looking back at them.

Will my boys not enjoy looking back at their childhoods?

I hope so – and being a mother is all about making decisions we aren’t sure about, isn’t it? It’s all about hope we are doing it right.

But the thing that has swung it for me is the messages I receive.

Saying that you feel exactly the same.

Saying that you no longer feel alone.

Saying you are thankful you read that post.

Saying you cried happy tears or made a special effort to hug your children that bit tighter.

And that makes everything worthwhile – despite the narky comments and despite the doubts about my mothering skills.

So I will keep blogging for now, one footstep at a time.

In my pyjamas.

With my children sleeping in the room next door.

For now, at least.

For now.



27th September 2015

A comprehensive list of things I like to eat and drink, by Wilfred aged 20 months

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 15.42.26Apples. I like to hold them, take 2-3 bites, and then throw them onto the living room floor. Then they make my tongue fluffy, which is quite frankly disgusting.

Play-doh. Especially blue.

Grapes. Which I call ‘apples’. And if you make the mistake of calling them grapes, I won’t eat them because the taste changes.

Microwave popcorn. But only if it’s totally white. If it has any black on it, I am naturally horrified and can’t eat it.

Old snacks. Especially miscellaneous old snacks I discover between the sofa cushions.

Peas. But only when I am at other people’s houses. At home, they taste completely different, so I prefer to play a game that involves dropping them on the floor one by one and watching how far they roll.

Jam sandwiches. Cut into squares with the crusts off. The crusts MUST be off. I like to open them up, lick the jam and butter, and then leave the rest.

Jelly Sweets. That our Grandparents buy and feed us in secret.

Mummy’s chocolate biscuit. The one she was hiding behind her coffee mug.

Baked Beans. But ONLY if I feed myself. If anyone tries to help me to prevent me spilling them down my front, they are no longer something I want to eat.

Bath Water. Mummy says it’s disgusting. I totally disagree.

My brother’s snack. Even when we have exactly the same thing, his always tastes nicer

My brother’s drink. Ditto. Especially when he’s been given juice and they were hoping I wouldn’t notice.

Smoked Salmon. Sometimes. Just when I feel like it. You just have to guess.

The sole of Mummy’s flip-flops. Quite frankly irresistible.

Raisins. I like them in the little boxes. I can only manage to feed myself the first half of the box and then I get angry because the rest get stuck. But I DO NOT NEED YOUR HELP.

Mummy and Daddy’s Dinner. When we go out for a meal, I mostly like to eat what my Mummy and Daddy ordered for themselves. It always tastes better and I’m pretty sure they don’t mind.

Poster paint. Just. Can’t. Resist. Licking. The. Brush.

The brand of snack that has run out in the supermarket. Nothing else will do. Nothing.

Apple juice in a carton. I must hold it myself, which involves squeezing it all over my top, all over the table, and all over whoever happens to be nearby. If you try to help, I will wrestle you for it and there won’t be much left in the carton.

Pancakes. And blueberries. But NOT pancakes and blueberries together.

Toothpaste. It’s definitely tastier if you brush your tongue.



24th September 2015

10 reasons why 3-year-olds are just as hard as newborns

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 20.24.38You know what they say about parenting getting harder? It’s true – and I’m not expecting that to change any time soon…

1. You will remember the days when you could dress your newborn in cute outfits very fondly. When you buy them clothes now, they take one look at your selection and decide they’d rather accompany you to the supermarket in their superman pyjamas.

2. You still have to make just as difficult parenting decisions – but this time, they have an opinion. And they’re not afraid to share it.

3. Remember how much your newborn slept? Just when you get used to a regular chunk of quiet time in the middle of the day, your child decides that naps are overrated. So you suggest that ‘nap time’ becomes ‘quiet time’ and they nod in agreement, climb out of their bed obediently and plot up on the sofa with a book. Five minutes later, they are sprinting laps around the house and demanding a full rundown of the afternoon’s activities – and you realise life will never be the same again.

4. Middle of the night nappy changes and poo explosions are nothing compared to the sinking feeling in the car when you have just set off and the three year old announces he needs a wee. And a poo. And he needs them that very second.

5. The days of pulling down your top to feed or preparing bottles of formula will feel like a doddle compared to the task of cooking three meals a day that a) taste nice b) are healthy and c) are not rejected within a second for not being the right colour.

6. They couldn’t move. And now they just won’t stop.

7. Days at home with a newborn were long and sometimes boring, but you could flick the TV on and sit together cuddling as you caught up on a box set. These days, you have surrendered the TV to Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol and spend most of the day on your hands and knees picking playdoh, squashed peas, and unidentifiable crusty objects off the living room floor.

8. If you lose a newborn’s favourite cuddly toy and they will have no idea. If you lose a three year old’s favourite cuddly toy, you will not sleep for a week.

9. If they’ve started nursery or school, memories of lazy mornings hanging around in sick-stained pyjamas seem like a holiday compared to the horrors of the school run.

10.  You still deal with meltdowns and tears when you are in public, but nobody thinks it’s cute anymore. Nobody.



23rd September 2015

My Top 10 Things To Do With Small Children In Dubai

I have been sent private messages no less than four times in one week to ask for recommendations of things to do in Dubai with small children, so I thought it was time to update the post I wrote a year ago (which has changed quite a lot as we’ve discovered new things that are better!) So here are the places we tend to go in Dubai. It’s worth bearing in mind, like with anything in life, that different mums will recommend different things based on their location and the tastes of their children, but I think this list is a great place to start – whether you are a resident or a tourist. Please feel free to comment on Facebook or underneath this post with your own suggestions! So here goes…

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.56.361. The Dubai Mall

www.thedubaimall.com

Location for taxi driver: The Dubai Mall

Public Transport: The Dubai Mall

Take the kids to the mall? You must be mad! Well no actually, because this is the biggest mall in the world and that means it has an aquarium, a 150-155 million year old Diplodocus dinosaur, an ice rink, the opportunity to head up the tallest building in the world, and countless family friendly eateries. We tend to head over early on a Friday or Saturday to avoid the crowds.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.56.50 2. The Beach at JBR

www.thebeach.ae

Location for taxi driver: JBR at Dubai Marina

Public Transport: JBR 1 or 2 on Dubai Tram (connects from JLT Metro Station)

I’m probably a bit biased about this one, as I can see it from my bedroom window – but this area of Dubai, running in front of JBR complex, just keeps getting better. Not only is there a stretch of soft white sand for kids to play on and splash in the shore, but there are a plethora of kid-friendly restaurants, a splash pad attraction for toddlers, toilet and shower facilities, and (during the cooler months) a market every weekend.

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3.  The Lost Chambers at Atlantis

www.atlantisthepalm.com

Location for taxi driver: Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah

Public Transport: Monorail from terminal next to One & Only Royal Mirage

I was trying to think of words to describe The Lost Chambers at Atlantis aquarium to write this post – and ‘stunning’ and ‘breathtaking’ keep coming to mind. To be honest, this aquarium has spoilt us, as nowhere else we visit can compete. The boys love the space, giving them the freedom to toddle/run between the displays. I love the beauty of the place – you just have to sit down on the floor cushions and gaze up at the stingrays, sharks,  and colourful shoals of tropical fish to feel instant calm (even when your children are wrestling on the floor). It’s my dream to stay one of the rooms at the hotel that looks out at the aquarium – until then, I will make do with day trips.

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4. Le Petit Palais

www.lepetitpalaisdubai.com

Location for taxi driver: The Dubai Mall

Public Transport: The Dubai Mall Metro Station

There are so many indoor soft play areas to take your children in Dubai, but we love Le Petit Palais because it’s more than just a jungle gym. It does have that, if your kids are that way inclined, but it also has a charming French-style mini village to spark their imagination. Think cars to drive around the roads, a grocery store to fill a mini trolley, a beauty salon to sit and imagine you are having a fabulous beauty treatment, a patisserie to pick up your croissants, and a playhouse to explore. It’s located on the second floor of The Dubai in Galeries Lafayatte.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 20.59.525. Café Ceramique

Location for taxi driver: Town Centre Jumeirah (next to Mercato Mall)

Public Transport: Nothing nearby

We used to live next door, so we have visited plenty of times before for a coffee – but last week, we let the boys paint on ceramic for the first time and they loved every second. You start by selecting from the ceramic items on the shelves around the café (priced individually) and then you choose up to five different coloured paints. Then they can get creative – and with kids meals at just Dhs17 each, it’s worth feeding them too. I was jealous – so next time, I’m painting something too.

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6. RIPE Market

www.ripeme.com

Location for taxi driver: Zabeel Park, Gate 1

Public Transport: Al Jafiliya Metro Station

This is my favourite thing to do at the weekends during the cooler months – and I’m counting down the days until mid October when it will be back in Zabeel Park every Friday between 9am and 2pm. I can’t fully describe how lovely this event is, with foodie, craft and gift stalls along palm-tree lined paths and a petting zoo and pony ride area for kids. We head over shortly after opening for the boys to eat pancakes and let off some energy in the play areas, my husband to swig strong coffee, and me to sip from a fresh coconut whilst browsing the stalls.

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7. Apple Seeds Dubai

www.appleseedsdubai.com/

Location for taxi driver: Gold and Diamond Park

Public Transport: FGB Metro Station

This one is only for residents rather than tourists, as you need to take out membership – but if you have babies, toddlers, or young children, I really recommend you do. The spacious location at Gold and Diamond Park has a play area like no other in Dubai, with educational features wherever you turn (disguised as fun) and nothing you need to worry about little ones hurting themselves on. You really can sit down and relax while they enjoy themselves, which is a godsend if you have two children as they will always be in sight. There are also regular classes and a sweet little café with free WiFi.

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8. Dri Dri Gelato

www.dridrigelato.com

Location for taxi driver: The Beach at JBR and Box Park

Public Transport: JBR 1 or 2 on Dubai Tram / None nearby Box Park

While you’re in the sunshine, you need to eat ice cream, right? Of course – so it might as well be the best. Dri Dri makes authentic Italian gelato – and it’s so good that it really does melt in the mouth. We visit the branch at The Beach – and the boys love selecting their flavour (usually Orange for Stanley and Vanilla for Wilfred) and then taking a stroll along the beach as the sun sets. This charming gelato spot also runs regular workshops for kids and can even host parties.

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9. Marina Promenade

Location for taxi driver: Marina Promenade, opposite JBR Amwaj

Public Transport: JBR 2 Tram Station (you can connect onto tram at JLT Metro Station)

I should probably keep quiet about this one, as we love how peaceful it is on Marina Promenade. Unlike Marina Walk (the other side of the Marina), it is rarely busy – so there’s lots of room for kids to zoom past the boats and water on their scooters. There’s also numerous family-friendly cafes along the promenade and a kids play area under the bridge.

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10. Kiddies Café

www.kiddiescafe.com

Location for taxi driver: Lake Shore Tower, Cluster Y

Public Transport: JLT Metro Station and walk around the lake

A lifesaver in the summer months – and also when I first had Wilfred and needed to get Stanley out the house. You can have a cup of coffee in front of the big glass windows, whilst watching your children have fun in the giant play area, jungle gym, ball pit, and craft room. There’s free WiFi and a morning deal that includes a cup of coffee and two hours of play per child.



Competition: Win £50 store credit at Cloggs.co.uk

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 14.10.12I find it hard to find comfortable, practical shoes for the boys that are still stylish (is it just me, or do boys shoes seem a bit of an afterthought by some brands?) So hearing about stores that sell a good selection for little boys – right from leather sandals for the early days, to velcro trainers, to flip-flops, to school shoes, to wellington boots – is very welcome indeed.

I was very happy, therefore, to find out about Cloggs.co.uk – a British online store that ships internationally (hurrah for my Dubai readers too!) After browing the site, I couldn’t resist a little shopping spree – and it wasn’t just for the kids, as there’s a great selection of adult footwear too.

There are so many shoes on the website that caught my eye, including the best selection of TOMS I have seen online, Haviana flip-flops, Converse pumps, Ralph Lauren trainers, Crocs slip-ons, and Hunter wellington boots (and so many more brands too).

If you are shopping for footwear for the whole family, check out Cloggs.co.uk

I’m excited to team up with Cloggs.co.uk to give away a £50 voucher to one reader; a competition open to both UK and Dubai readers as the brand ships internationally.

To enter, head over to my Facebook Page and complete the following steps:

  1. Like and Share the competition post
  2. Like Cloggs.co.uk
  3. Like Mum of Boys (if you haven’t already).

The competition will be open for one week, closing on Wednesday 30th September and the winner announced shortly afterwards. Good luck!



22nd September 2015

You will stay my baby forever (evil laugh)

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 11.37.31With my first baby, I embraced every milestone.

I had a little boy – so I dressed him like one, right from the beginning. Little skinny jeans, T-Shirts emblazoned with band names, teeny tiny Converse and Timberland boots. When he rolled, I cheered. When he crawled, I leapt in celebration. When he walked, I cried happy tears.  I took pictures on his first day of nursery and felt proud as punch as we walked to his classroom. I woke on each birthday with butterflies of excitement in my tummy. I fist pumped when he spoke his first words and declared him a genius as his first sentence left his lips.

In classic first mummy style, I couldn’t get enough of the growing up thing.

And then my second baby arrived – and everything was different.

As I unpacked the boxes of baby clothes and came across the 0-3 month pieces, I looked at them and felt shocked. Did I really dress my tiny newborn baby in those jeans? I threw them aside. And those printed T-shirts? They were discarded too. Did I really bother to lace his tiny feet into those shoes? They were flung onto the pile.

When it came to dressing the new baby, I kept him in babygrows for as long as possible. I wanted him to look like a newborn baby, not a little boy. I kept dressing him in my favourite little onesie until it was so small that the poppers flew open whenever he moved – and one Saturday morning, my husband took it off him, walked into the nursery, and flung it back in the cupboard. I cried silent tears, as I knew it meant he was growing up.

Still, I didn’t let him wear the jeans and rocker T-Shirts. He stayed in soft leggings and pale colours – and at night, I loved seeing him back in those onesies.

He is now nearly 20 months old, but he is still my baby.

I celebrate milestones, as I am proud of him, but each one comes with a wave of sadness (and fear, knowing how much trouble a rolling, crawling and walking baby can cause). It means he is growing up and I don’t think I’m ready!

I want to carry him everywhere, even when my arms feel like they are dropping off. I let him drink his milk from a bottle as he struggles with a cup. And when he cries in the night, I go and get him – and I enjoy feeling him next to me as he drifts back to sleep.

I am in no hurry to potty train, to banish his dummy, or to hear him recite the alphabet or count his fingers and toes. I am not ready to let him cry at night so that he becomes the world’s best sleeper, nor ready to watch him climb under a duvet in a toddler bed and drift off to sleep.

I loved watching his older brother grow up – but it taught me something.

He had years ahead to wear those cool clothes, show off his vocabulary, and put on his own shoes.

But his babyhood disappeared in what seemed like seconds.

So given the chance to do it all over again, I am clinging onto that babyhood for dear life. Because I know that one morning soon, I will glance at him and see a boy.

I know that he won’t fit between us in the bed forever. I know that he won’t always cry out in the night, walk around clutching his cuddly monkey tight in his fist, or speak a jumble of muddled up words.

But I’m not ready for it all to stop yet.

I’m not ready for him to grow up.

Not yet.

Just not yet.

I need a little bit more time.



20th September 2015

We have to let him do it alone

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 14.13.08This morning at school drop-off, my husband and I stood outside our son’s classroom and watched him walk around looking lost. Too soon in the term to form  real friendships and missing the lazy mornings of the weekend, he looked so sad and so small. He had gone quiet as we drove into the school a few moments before – and as we lifted him out of his car seat and walked through the doors, we could see uncertainty wash over his little body.

We felt like we’d had our hearts yanked out of our chest as we watched him walk around that classroom looking so unhappy.

I walked away, but my husband wanted to linger and watch him some more – and back in the car together a few minutes later, we sat in silence.

We never expected settling him into school to be so difficult. Not just at the sadness of him growing up (that was true a few weeks ago and we have moved on), but because this is one thing we can’t make better.

We have to take a step back.

We have to let him do it alone.

This is the first time since becoming parents we have felt like this, when every fiber of our bodies wants to scoop him into a giant hug and tell him we will take him home. Tell him that he doesn’t have to do it. Tell him that he is too young to go out into the world without us by his side. Tell him we have changed our mind and he can be our baby again.

As I type this, he is still at school. And I know he will be happily playing with his classmates, splashing paint onto paper in bright hues, building towers as tall as himself, and sat on the rug listening to stories with his mouth open. I know he will be fine. I know it only takes him minutes to settle every morning when we have walked away. And I know that a few weeks down the line, he won’t be wandering around the classroom looking lost, but running up to his friends with a smile on his face.

But this morning, it was hard to remember all that – and as we drove around those dusty Dubai streets after drop-off, we started talking about parenthood.

About how hard it will be to let them make their own way in life.

To watch them do it from the sidelines.

To let them go.

My little man is made of tough stuff and I know he will be OK. But how will we get used to the worry? How will we get used to walking away?

When we have children, we make a decision to wear our hearts on the outside of our body for the rest of our lives. I know the worry will never melt away completely, but I know we will get used to it. And seeing his happiness will make things much easier, I am sure.

We have to let him do it alone.

But we will be watching from the sidelines.

Always.



16th September 2015

Wish list for the boys!

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1. Tracksuit bottoms, H&M (UK £5.99, UAE 79 AED) Shop here

2. Ice cream night light, Peanut & Pip (UK £10.99, International delivery available) Shop here

3. Fox Sneakers, Zara (UK £17.99, UAE 125 AED) Shop here

4. Dinosaur Toothbrush Holder, Oliver Bonas (UK £9.50, International delivery available) Shop here

5. Boy T-Shirt, £18, Selfish Mother (UK £18, International delivery available). Shop here

6. Mickey Mouse Sweatshirt, Next (UK from £13, UAE from 65 AED) Shop here for UK. Shop here for UAE.

7. Print, Miniwalla (UK £24.50 at Skandivis, UAE 160 AED at Marmarland) Shop here for UK, Shop here for UAE.

8. Aqua TOMS, Cloggs (UK £19, International delivery available). Shop here

9. Monochrome Rug, IKEA (UK £60, UAE 375 AED) Shop here for UK, Shop here for UAE

10. Padded Jacket, JoJo Maman Bebe (UK £29, International delivery available) Shop here

11. Shark Lunch Box, Beatrix NY (UK £29 at Skin and Bliss, UAE 135 AED at Baby Souk) Shop here for UK, Shop here for UAE

12. Camelbak Dinosaur Water Bottle, Amazon.co.uk (UK £14.55). Shop here



14th September 2015

Dear kids, here is why I need you to nap…

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 15.41.44I’ve known this day has been coming for a long time – but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow. The problem is that I fear my lovely, quiet two-hour breaks at lunchtime are coming to an end – as for the first time in forever (or what feels like it anyway), you are no longer napping.  I’m not prepared to go down without a fight though, so if you could read the below points and have a long hard think about it, I would be most grateful. Thank you for your time.

1. You have no idea how lucky you are. Oh what I wouldn’t give to crawl under the duvet for a couple of hours every lunchtime! I wouldn’t be stood up, clutching the bars of my cot whilst yelling ‘MUMMY!!! UP! UP! UP! UP!” Hell no – I would be out like a light as soon as my head touched the pillow and hoping you’d forget to wake me up a few hours later. The simple truth is that you wont appreciate how wonderful sleep is until you are teenagers – and by then, life will have caught up. Snatch it! Snatch it with both arms! Nobody will ever encourage you to nap again in the same way I am begging you to do it now!

2. I need a break. I love you boys, I really do. But you are bundles of non-stop energy. I fear that if you refuse to nap ongoing, I will be passed out in a heap by 4pm and Daddy will get home to find you roaming the apartment like a couple of lost boys.

3. You are mega cute when you sleep. There is something about sleeping babies and toddlers that make mothers forgive and forget. You might have thrown your yoghurt pot at your brother at lunchtime, used the living room walls as a canvas for your new felt tip pens, or hidden the car keys in your shape sorter – but when you shut your eyes and nod off into peaceful slumber, you are nothing but adorable. What if I don’t like you as much if I don’t get to put my head around the door and watch you sleeping?

4. I need to eat. The simple truth is that I need to eat food to survive – and when I do it in your company, you steal it. Without naps, I might waste away. This might actually be convenient at first, as I still need to lose a few baby pounds, but if I disappear completely everyone will be sorry.

5. I thought we understood each other. It took me a long time to get you to nap when you arrived in this world. At first, I didn’t think we’d get there. We tried everything – white noise apps, commando crawls out the room, lullabies, moving you to the big bed, black out blinds…. And one day, we cracked it. I felt like we’d won at parenting. And I thought we understood each other. It all just seems like such a waste.

6. The afternoons are suddenly so long. I try to be the world’s most entertaining mum – but let’s be honest, I fail frequently. So how will I entertain you for those extra few hours of awake time?  Especially the days when we decide to stay at home in the afternoon and complete painting, playdoh, building a train track, and decorating cupcakes all within the first 10 minutes. Let’s compromise. Can we at least agree that we stick at an activity for more than a few minutes if we are scrapping the naps?  Please? It only seems fair.

Just think about it, OK?

Your (not even remotely optimistic) Mummy x



12th September 2015

Family Update: Back in Dubai

Screen Shot 2015-09-12 at 20.19.39

1 – It was like an oven when we arrived back in Dubai a fortnight ago. This is my 5th year living in Dubai, but it was hotter than I ever remembered it. In fact, it felt exactly like we’d stuck our head in an oven when we got out the car. But a week later and the temperature seems to be dropping. We even went to the beach this morning for a couple of hours, which we haven’t been able to do since May (and we didn’t go to one single soft play area this weekend, shock horror!). I expect the temperature to ramp up again (as it doesn’t really cool down until late October), but it’s been a nice break in the sweaty temperatures and given us a little taster of what we can look forward to later in the year!

2 – I finally get why a lot of mums look forward to ‘a rest’ in the school holidays! We are only 2 weeks into the new school and nursery term – and I have spent most of my time in the car, driving to and from school and nursery, stuck in epic traffic jams, and trying to find car parking spaces. It’s been exhausting – and I’m not even the one having to get used to a new class, a new teacher, or (in Wilfred’s case), a whole new experience entirely, so I can only imagine how the boys feel… We will get used to it soon, but being in the car at 7.20am hasn’t been the easiest task every morning! I even had to drag Stanley out of bed at 6.30am for the first time in his life, which was like a flash-forward to the teenage years!

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3 – Talking of the school run, Stanley spotted some skydivers in the air on our way to school on Thursday (one of those surreal ‘only in Dubai’ moments).  He tells me that he isn’t old enough to do it yet, but that he will be doing it when he is six.

4 – While I was sat at nursery one morning, waiting outside the classroom for an hour to make sure Wilfred settled, I got talking to three other mums doing the same. One Brit (me!), one American, one Indian, and one Canadian mother, all equally anxious about how our children were doing. We got talking and had a fascinating conversation about what our children ate for breakfast in the morning and generally how life differed to our home countries here in Dubai. At a time when I was missing family and friends back home, it reaffirmed why I love bringing up my boys in this country. I love the fact that their classmates come from all over the world and they see no difference in skin colour, religion, or culture – everyone is the same in their eyes and I love that!

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5 – My sister is here at the moment, staying for the weekend before she attends a work conference next week. The boys have absolutely loved it – and it’s been the perfect distraction from school and nursery for a few days. I’m not looking forward to breaking it to them on Wednesday morning that she has left!

6 – Other places/things we have enjoyed over the last couple of weeks have included breakfast at Paul in The Dubai Mall, a visit to the mall’s 150 million year old dinosaur, ice cream treats at Cold Stone Creamery (after injections yuck), a trip to Appleseeds Dubai, where we are members, and a morning at Fun City Ibn Battuta Mall. We’ve also been catching up with friends with various play dates – and most of all, having chilled afternoons to make up for the exhaustion of the mornings at school and nursery.

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We miss our friends and family in the UK, but we are happy to be back!