Featured Post

Welcome to the blog!

Hi!, I started this blog quite selfishly and yet not. I had just become a new mum and I needed a space to air out my thoughts. I’ve neve...

Oct 23, 2015

Trollhättan

A long time ago,
Someone told me I had too much “empathy”,
“Empathy” I said, “you mean sympathy surely…”,
to be honest I had never really thought about the difference
Sympathy generally is to feel sorry for someone else’s misfortune
Empathy is to share someone else’s misfortune
I guess that is me,
I am incredibly Strong and yet can be emotional to the point of silliness when dealing with others experiences..
so many times.. in so many ways..
I feel that way every time I read about children being gunned down in the States or floods in Asia or Refugees dying crossing from North Africa..
I don’t just read and turn the page
I feel a deep loss ..
That feeling has been accumulating lately with the refugee situation from Syria literally stepping into our homes in Sweden,
It heightened when Racists burned the homes that were dedicated to these refugee children, not once nor twice..

Yesterday a Man walked into a school, with a sword, killed a teacher and someones’ baby.
Somewhere out there, I’m sure the mother heard, “Ahmed has been killed” and she said no “Ahmed is a common name it can’t be my Ahmed”.
I see her in my head saying good bye in the morning,
Planning his lunch,
Doing his laundry
And a Police man coming to the door instead of her son, yesterday afternoon.
That the media chose NOT to say it like it is
That they didn’t want to say that is was a Racist Hate crime
Fuels the flame
But what deepens my sadness is the lack of outrage again and again from the population at large.
This is everyone’s cause,
everyone kisses their son good bye as they go to school and everyone expects them home alive and in one piece,
The teacher who died aged 21,
he was a TA just like my little brother is right now, right here in Sweden.
Twenty- Friggin-One
If we don’t wake up from this numbness
Then next time ,
because there will be a next time,
it could be your son, or mine.
Today it isn’t mine,
But we owe those mothers the decency of mourning with them and raising our voices with them.


**Trollhättan is one of the ten worst performing Schools in Sweden
"Some international media have pointed to rising racial tensions in the area and police have confirmed that they are investigating reports that the suspect held far right beliefs."
- The Local Sweden "Gärningsmannen angrep inte de med ljus hy, berättar polisen på en presskonferens" "The perpetrator did not attack those with fair skin, reported by the police at a press conference" -SVD

Oct 20, 2015

The response to that Post..

So my last blog post about finding a job in Sweden has now been spread further than I could ever have anticipated..
I put my opinions out there and let people have theirs.
I chose not to defend or comment at all but instead to listen
The response to my post has left me thinking again,

But first let me summarize them:
There were three types of responses
1, I got a lot of private messages, about how brave I was and that’s always nice

2, I got messages and comments from people saying that they identified with my experience.
This group of people were diverse..
Swedish people identified with it, those who were ethnic minorities in particular
Non Swedes in Sweden identified with it
Swedish people who didn’t have Swedish as a Mother tongue Identified with it
Many, Many, women of African heritage, in Sweden and abroad, identified with it


What really touched me, was that it wasn’t the ‘expat’ or recent migrants like me that were in the majority..
It was primarily the Afroswedish community.

3,The third group were just in shock,
they were surprised,
they couldn’t comprehend how this could be happening in Sweden.
perhaps its because my Swedish language skills wasn’t so good’
‘perhaps I didn’t have the sufficient qualifications’
‘perhaps I didn’t have Swedish qualifications’
‘perhaps…’


For me the above is indicative of what I see reflected in society

That people in general can relate to my experiences, regardless of skin-color, is of no surprise,
That a section of Swedish People , in their own country are experiencing this is something else.

We are in Flux,
Politics and Society are in a game of tug and war to define what the ‘soul’ of this society will look like

Self preservation is now at risk when new players take their place; namely the Refugee situation and the Rising presence of the AfroSwedish population

I honestly feel we are split down the middle

we have people feeling they are being discriminated against, whilst they are not
people who feel they are inclusive, whilst they are not
people discriminating whilst empowering
and we have others who simple dont care to join the fray

It might get worse before it gets better,
But something is happening..isnt that better than nothing..?

I’ll just share one last point with you
On the nyheter website where my blog was published, they had this little tool where people could click whether they agreed with my article or not..
This is what it looked like

“Håller du med
The first hour : 18 röster JA 15 röster NEJ
The second day: 33 röster JA 29 röster NEJ
On Friday: 67 röster JA 62 röster NEJ
Today: 98 röster JA 95 röster NEJ
Think about that..

Oct 12, 2015

4 Years...The Long road to my dream job in Stockholm

I was sitting in London working as a Coordinator for an NGO when I decided to move to Stockholm,
Being pragmatic , I sent my CV to a couple of NGOs and schools as I’ve always had this dual love for Education and Development.
Much to my surprise I got called for an interview in Stockholm within 2 weeks and was offered a job , working a nursery/primary school
just like that moving to stockholm became more concrete.

At that time, I had a BA from UCL, a Masters from IOE and over 5yrs work experience doing project management for NGOs ,including working for the UN.
I spoke English, French, Wolof fluently and had passable Spanish so I figured, id move and within a year I would be sure to find a job in my field again..
we moved
we settled
we learnt Swedish
we started a family..

everything was going smoothly , except on the professional front.

Being the pedantic person that I am, I made an excel sheet of all NGOs I could find in Stockholm and made sure to get on mailing lists and newsletter lists etc
I knew I had to stay 'connected'
I applied for a job almost weekly
I called the ones I wasn’t successful with to get feedback on how to improve my application..
I networked
I attended conferences, all alone to meet people in the field
I created my own group on FB to link professionals (like me) in Sweden within in the Development field
I contacted strangers on linkedin to volunteer and asked for advice for getting access to the Industry from a Swedish Perspective
and still nothing.

I listened to advice from Swedish friends about wording and formatting of my applications
I considered picture on cv , or picture off
I considered changing my last name 'Joof' ( staunchly West African) to my husbands 'Campbell' ( wonderfully international)
but in the end I kept my Joof,
I didnt add a picture either..
I stuck to my formality

During all this time I was still teaching,
I contacted the employment agency, arbetsförmedligen to see if they could help me find the way back to roles that I am passionate and qualified for,
They informed that they could not help as I was not unemployed (this is true) and encouraged me to quit my job and then contact them!

By early this year my energy was running dry.
I still hadn’t managed a single interview in 4 years
All the HR people I spoke to, told me my application was flawless and just to keep trying
By this time I spoke almost fluent Swedish and so submitted my CV in the language that was required.
And yet, still nothing,
In the end, it was through a friend that I had met through teaching in schools, that I found a voluntary role,
I was incredibly grateful and I took the role on , in addition to my full time job.
It drove me insane, working long hours in the school,
running home to be a mum for the few hours that I could and then going out for the volunteering job again
However, the voluntary role paid off and almost led to a paid position.
It wasn’t exactly my field but it was something I was good at, with an NGO that I genuinely cared for.

Right when i was about to sign for that role I got called for an interview.
my first official interview in Sweden
My energy was literally at its lowest,
But I went anyway,
I gave it my all thinking to myself at least it will be real-life practice for the future

It had taken 210 applications,
literally ,
I kept count
I went to the interview feeling like my chances were zero but it was the Dream Job,so I did my best
Right after the interview, They offered me the job

To be honest , I had worked so hard that I couldnt feel that immediate satisfaction or happiness right away
something in my head wanted me to be cautious as it felt too good to be true

I did finally explode with joy on that first day of work 2 months later, standing in front of the mirror in the bathrooms! :)

I still reflect on my journey though
It is still inexplicable how i managed just one interview in 4years of active searching
I had applied for management roles,
lower management roles
admin roles
secretarial roles
and somehow my profile wasn’t suited for any of these..
Sadly, i know too many people who are going through the same situation right now in Sweden,

I've often thought about why I never made it to interview
my background
my ethnicity
my non swedishness
My name
the sheer number of applicants
I guess i will never know,
but after all that , I was certain there was something about me , my profile, that they didn’t want, I know this for sure because during these years I have been invited 3 times for interviews with Large NGOs outside Sweden
How can my profile be desirable for International jobs and yet I cant get an interview as a receptionist in Sweden
If everyone else i knew was happily employed i would take it personally, but the opposite is infact true
I know too many proffesional international persons in Sweden who are experiencing the same
in a society strongly percived as embracing and open to diversity and other cultures the reality on the ground is rather surprising

During my search, I noticed the lack of Diversity over and over again..
at talks, conferences, or even just looking on office websites..
Stockholm society IS multicultural then why are we struggling to see diversity represented in the workplace
Im just going to leave that question there..




For those who are still job hunting;
volunteer, get a paid internship at Arbetsförmedligen, talk to people and dont give up and network, network, network.

Oct 7, 2015

Feeling beautiful

So,i started running three weeks ago..
I was so proud as this was literally the first form of exercise id done and maintained for forever   ...

Before I had a baby, i couldn't have cared less.

Ive always been curvy but i think i went out dancing so often  that it took care of the workout element in my lifestyle..

I had my lil girl via c section  pretty much 2 years ago and ive felt so guilty for being chubby and round..or i should say for not being like i was pre-pregnancy..
For having a round- beer -belly- look- alike even though i don't drink..
It constantly bothered me..

I see mummies  literally everywhere  with 2, 3 kids looking fantastically muscular and plain ole gorgeous!
I know some worked their asses off and others just have that awesome  genetic predesposition or metabolism that allows them to be trim and slim and baby belly free...

So i kept aiming to work out and then i finally made it! It felt good to be catching up..

And then i met my brothers new girlfriend..
Shes totally curvy and round. .and absolutely gorgeous too..
I scrolled on her instagram and saw the most confident and stunning  little person I've seen in a while..
Picture after picture
You could see..she felt beautiful.
She made me remember that i was that carefree once..
I realised  that yes, i may be running  but no, i should not be ashamed to have put on weight  because i carried a human being inside me.

I was blessed to be that vessel. .
That my body and organs had to make space for another little being is still quite amazing to me..

To expect my body to simply return to origin is just crazy..
Why did i feel that way
Why does anyone expect us to anyway..

I literally looked at my belly the other day and laughed ..
I have never measured my beauty based on others standards
There is absolutely no reason to start now..

There are some many gorgeous people out there who don't feel beautiful and I didn't even realise i was one of them..

People who haven't seen me for a while often said "oh you will be back to your old self soon..just wait till the baby phase is over"

I guess i believed  in those voices..
But really to return to life before my baby is to dull out the shine in my life.

Mummyhood is everything
Its her smile
Its my scar
Its us three..a family
It those lines across my hips
Its the way i see whats in her mind
And love every silly dance
Its my  little belly

When she's 18 and travelling far from me ..
My body will remind me of the brief moment in our lives when we were literally, one.
I will touch my scar and know..thats were i let her go .




Enjoy the photo, thick tighs, belly, no makeup, crazy face and all :D
No Filter..
the New ME :D

Oct 2, 2015

What Happened in Day Care

So our daycare journey has been a little turbulent to say the least.
my little one didnt get a place in a daycare in March as we had planned, so the council offered us a temporary daycare which turned out great but was only open for 4 months.
After the summer we got a place in a new one,a local swedish daycare, right across from our house which we excitedly visited ,

My first impressions were off,
The school itself looked great, wonderful yard, spacious and equipped,
but the 'vibe' was off
the teachers were subdued. In fact they were sitting on a bench when we walked in and no one rose up to show us around
The lady who finally did show us round, said the minimum to us.
The enthusiasm and energy I expect from teachers was non-existant.
I have worked in preschools myself,
my husband has as well so we know the drill..
something just didnt sit right

I always follow the warning signs in my head and so i immediately started looking for an alternative private daycare.
I got us registered and visited the place even before the end of the summer so that it was ready to go in case my gut feelings proved true.

And so come august,we started the Swedish Local Day care full of anxiety and happy anticipation.
my daughter was then almost 2 , she shrugged off her shy reservedness and took to the school with curiosity and openness.
she visited all the rooms and inter acted with the children and teachers,
well she tried...
there was no one to help negotiate the new relationship between her and the other children
and the staff only initiated one activity with her..a puzzle
In addition, the staff were constantly sitting and barely gave us any information like where to sign in when we drop her in the morning,
where they change diapers,
what activities they do each day..
nothing but the bare minimum..

I feel the worst was the lack of interaction with the children,
i noticed one or two teachers who actually played with the children
when the kids argued over sharing , i was the one who finally stepped in twice..
they didn’t do any normal activities either, no singing, drawing, dancing, painting, circle time, nothing..
we sat at the same lunch table with another child and a teacher and she said a total of 5 words to us the entire time.

it was clear to see the 2 staff who had been there the longest and also the newer staff who seemed eager to do something but needed guidance.
we wish they could all share her enthusiasm.

I basically left after the 2nd day feeling ignored and underwhelmed but my daughter was making the best of it ..
the third day a little boy in the playground referred to my husband as a chocolate ball ..and wanting to eat him up ( there is a popular swedish dessert that has been source of much controversy as it was originally called the n*** ball)
so my husband told him, its not really nice to want to eat anyone up.
to this the little one screamed
" everyone in this daycare should kill this man"
and then nothing happened...
I mean the staff or adults around , no one reacted
my husband packed up, dressed our daughter and came home..

Naturally, I gave all the Heads a piece of my mind on the following Monday and we started the new 'back up' daycare within a few days.
On our last day there, as i walked to drop off my girl with my heart in a knot, i saw the one teacher playing football with the kids and the rest of the teachers ,sitting on the stairs drinking tea/coffee from their mugs..

I should add that during our brief time there, I saw the little ones ignored ,again and again,
I saw girls being mean and no one being around to negotiate the situations
I spoke to other parents about feeling ignored and i was told more than once that "that’s just the way it is, and i gets better"
She spent about 5 days in that school and perhaps only did circle time twice AFTER I had yelled at the Head and that’s it , nothing more..

I realize we took a risk putting her in a 'regular local' school in an area that isnt that multicultural but i always have faith that adults will protect and stand up for her.
I realize racism and cultural misunderstandings will be a part of her existence but i am determined to delay it as long as humanly possible.

In this new school which is Swedish speaking but private, I see a welcome smile every morning when I drop her sniffling and crying..
They comfort and hug her,
She learns something new everyday


I think back to when I worked in pre school , I remember feeling like an extra parent, I taught them how to wait, how to eat with a fork, how to count, how to hold a pen, I sang them to sleep and changed their diapers, I negotiated anger tantrums and danced to Justin Bieber with them. I applauded every painting and encouraged their growth
To be honest I loved my kids dearly
Its therefore doubly important to me , to know that she is loved for those 7 hours ,everyday she spends in the care of her teachers.

Sep 22, 2015

The Refugees: What Happens Next?

I have neglected the blog for a while..
new job,
new daycare,
lots of emotions and i havent made time to empty my head of words
lots of half composed texts running through my mind from..
when she turned two
when she hung out with the grandparents and cousins this summer
when we started daycare and were royally ignored

but all of that will have to keep swimming in my head because this one post has to be written now..
its about migrants..refugees..
The people that Sweden is welcoming
everyday they arrive and I see the general population mobilizing,
putting their best foot forward
people spending their time, money and energy to translate, welcome, alleviate
some the suffering from these refugees

I've been reading and keeping up to date,
once more my jaw hitting the ground,
I guess some peoples pain hit us harder because migrants dying from the African continent rarely get this much understanding let alone discussion
but thats not the reason why I write

I write because I still haven't seen The Plan
perhaps I just haven't found it and its out there..
i dont mean how these 120,000 will be split across the EU,
I mean how will they integrate society..
What is The Plan
i'm still waiting to hear from the powers at be that they have consulted with the kommuns and the cities..
that they have checked where there is housing and health
where jobs are to be found and schools with room for more
i am listening for the plan on regrouping and supporting in finding family members
for centers where psychological support will be available
for discussions about curriculums there and how they children will bridge the gap BEFORE they are placed in Swedish schools

I wonder if someone knows where everyone is going
as they board trains and move on from capital city to newer cities
do they know how many engineers, artists and nurses are walking through those borders and where can we use their skills..

I can't find anything
instead i hear about their poverty not their capabilities
their right to live here permanently, when really, what do we know about what they actually want?
have we asked?
I hear about children arriving and then vanishing in city centers and I pray..
i hear of childrens homes , where some are placed receiving hate mail and abuse
beneath the exterior of kindness and acceptance
is an underlying discourse of otherness left unsaid

I know this country is capable of so much good,
when disaster strikes anywhere in the world the Swedish expertise and professionals are welcomed with open arms
where are those people now

I never underestimate our willingness and capacity to do good ,
but when i spend one Saturday volunteering , i go home and that person is still here..
without a system ..what happens next..
when the next bandwagon comes along..
what happens next..
in five years when these children are struggling in schools
what happens next
society's fabric of integration is currently being ripped and Sweden knows it hasn't got that right yet
Are they planning for what happens next?

I am still listening out for the young people and children's perspective
but I guess its a voice that's rarely heard in post conflict situations,..
at this point i would like to hear any voice that could simply tell me
What will happen Next

Jun 11, 2015

Seeing the world through eyes of colour

I am being racialised..
im not sure if that is a legit word but it works for what i'm feeling..
for the first time i'm living in a city thats not big and international,
one where multicultural doesn't mean the same thing as it would, say, in my last home;London

i have to say this isn't an anti sweden rant..
in fact unlike most people that moved here,
i chose to be here because i loved Sweden
i love the seasons, including the winter
i love the green parks everywhere
i love the pastry
i loved the islands
i love the feminism that exists here in a real way
i love that sports newscasters can all be women and thats normal
i love that pregnant women can still be tv presenters with their tummys so big theyre ready to pop
i love the constant hot water pressure and functioning indoor heating
i love that my husband is equal to me as a parent in the eyes of the law and society
i love that i got one year parental leave as a mum
i love that my husband gets one year parental leave as a dad
i love the working healthcare and public transport
gosh i love it here

now after 4 years , im finally seeing myself in sweden
and i dont like what i see
I may not look like a minority but i feel like one here
Because really i meet swedes everyday who look like me. .
Still,
i  looked for work for 4 years in my field and didnt manage a single interview
i see colour within a stratosphere of power plays that i do not appreciate
the questions and looks make me feel different in a way that is unappreciated.
in london being different is the norm, in sweden being different is not
Instead, to get ahead one must
Confrom ,conform,conform

I worry not at being a curiosity, but that my daughter will be one,
that her skin will be questioned
that her hair will be touched
that she will one day say 'I am swedish' and society will give her a questioning look

That she would then turn to her parents  roots for acceptance  and find she doesnt quite fit there either..

when i gave her daycare teacher a pot of sheabutter for her on the first day,
i was ready for the explanations necessary, i know they think it odd,
but there you go ,thier education begins just like hers
but you have to wonder how long we are willing and ready to ' educate ' those around us
because if we're being honest there are other places in the world albeit filled with problems of thier owns but at least i can get my hair conditioner from the regular local store like a normal person.
And i guess that  is what it boils down to..
I want to be in a place where it is normal  to look brown,speak italian and be Indonesian. .
I dont want people to see me or my family and be surprised that we speak three languages
That we have  an education
That we are kind..
Or simply  that we now speak swedish

In  a place which  seems so inclusive from the exterior  there seems to be intrinsic discrimination once a layer is peeled  back..

May 26, 2015

Babyfro Routine!

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while..
I wanted to share our step by step routine for sorting out little Ella’s hair..
I feel like I need a disclaimer though..
Hair of African Origin is diverse.
Basically think rainforest..
think leaves..
see how many different ones exist..
that’s about as much different textures of hair we have..

therefore..what works for us in terms of steps can only be guidelines for you to then leap on this baby-fro-learning curve..

first the tools:

you need a wide tooth comb,
you also need a shampoo and conditioner
and we use loom bands to keep our braids and styles in place
and patience..lots and lots of it

These are the combs i use


and these are our products

I've tried alot of brands and to be honest the tresemme from ICA works brilliantly on mine and her hair!

you also need a plan.. my lil one is not patient so shampoo day is bath day..she gets all her toys in the bath with her, at times the laptop is on site to play a lil movie to distract her or even grandma on Skype to chat with her so I can get the hair clean.
be flexible!
we live in Sweden so its not really dusty ,so we wash once a week unless she’s had an very artistic day at school where there is glitter/glue/feathers or other assortments to be found in her curls

depending on the type of week she has had, I generally wash with conditioner ..lather and rinse
then put conditioner in the hair, lather and then give her ,her sponge bath to allow the conditioner to seep into her curls and all the way down to the scalp.

I then use the wide tooth comb to slowly detangle section by section. once that is done I take a normal come and run it through just to see if there are any knots hidden in there..

then we rinse..(not her favorite moment)

if she’s having lots of fun in the bath I towel dry her hair , whilst she’s still in the tub and begin styling.
I feel that with the lack of moisture and daycare combo, leaving her curls out leads to lice, breakage or worse..play-doh-accesories so we try and put it in a little style for the week.

I begin by oiling it with some coconut oil and add a little curling crème
the oil is from the health store and the creme from my local 'african shop'
then I part the hair and braid..
sometimes I start a braid in the tub and finish in the living room..
sometimes I have to wait until she is in her baby chair having dinner to braid
sometimes she braids on my lap
sometimes I braid running around behind her as she dances..
we are flexible..
but we are consistent so she knows the routine..

I make sure that she gets to touch my hair and comb it too in the weekends..
I blow out my curls and let her love it.
we try not to spend a fortune or let it feel like a chore which is why they is often music on and dancing during hair moments..

that’s our routine for learning to love and care for our curls
feel free to get in touch if you have questions!!

Healthcare

Many..Many..many people have asked me with bewilderment
" why did you ever leave London..for Stockholm!!"

I know it sounds a little crazy...unlike most of the migrants/expats/foreigners I meet, there wasn’t
anything really pushing us away...or a job offer.... we simply liked Sweden and what it had to offer for family life.
That’s not to say life is perfect in Sweden, in fact I have a draft blog post where I’m ranting about how I’m exasperated and ready to leave because of the job situation but in typical Emily - fashion..I wrote it and decided to pause and think on it..

this weekend I was reminded of one of the main reasons why I moved to Sweden.
Healthcare.. I know its lame but its everything..
on Friday my daughter was sent home from daycare with a fever..by Saturday she had awful rashes and a fever..
by Saturday night she was screaming and barely recognized us..
I called the online medical service and was told to see a dr. asap... so I called the emergency services
and they came right over , reassured us and spoke to a Dr directly who told us to let her sleep that night because she’s most likely too contagious for the ER.

Today its Tuesday, she’s seen a dr..she had Impetigo and chicken pox..she will be fine.
Shes home for the week.
Im home for the week because I could contaminate the kids are school tool.
This time I spend at home will be paid as ‘sick leave’ at 80 percent of my normal salary.

Everyone we dealt with was professional and calm . The system worked impeccably and all of it was free.
Even with my loss of income , I still get a really good deal..

As a parent when your child is sick you need a system that works and one that’s affordable..
the fact that these services around my child are free are worth every blistering winter we face.

I remember feeling the same way when I came home with my baby after my C-section.
how could it be that I had impeccable service, 6 medical professionals with me , major surgery, stayed in hospital for 5 days and paid absolutely nothing.

Natural we pay higher taxes, but we also get higher wages
and yes there’s discrimination and racism and all sorts
but when you're a mom something’s are simply worth much more.

May 19, 2015

Mummy Goes Out

There are many firsts in a mummys life,
I feel brand new sometimes, like everything I experienced before was nothing but a shadow of my true experiences now.
This one I’m proud of my first night out without baby.
It was my brothers’ birthday AND we were celebrating his PhD
a totally fabulous event and there was no way I could miss out.
To make matters better, baby was in the BEST care in our home with my mum, dad, uncles, aunts and cousins!
She was surrounded by love and care.
So I walked away with very little goodbyes and had a great night out.
You know the kind were you’re dancing so much people aren’t sure if you were truly sober or not: p
I honestly had a wonderful time
However
I missed my baby in the car
I missed her when we got home
I missed her in shower
I missed her in bed..
in fact I barely slept

To make matters worse my breasts clearly missed her too because they HURT LIKE HELL.
Ella is almost 9 months old and she eats solids all day long, but she is still breastfeeding for comfort and habit.
AND I have never been away from her for more than 3/4 hours max (and that was only one time).
I know it sounds excessive, but I live in Sweden where I am privileged to have one year of paid maternity leave so I truly spend all my time with this little girl of mine, as I know it is precious..
anyhoo the bottom line is , it went well really well I know it was important developmentally and emotionally.
Nonetheless I’m still feeling that guilt that I’ve only felt as a mother.
I’ve always lived my life with no regrets but with the birth of my child I’ve developed a sense of possessiveness and insecurities around her which I’m happy to report are totally normal.
My midwife has assured me that our need to protect our kids is heightened to the max leaving mummies feeling like aggressive mama tigresses! lol
The first few days was a whirlwind of emotion and now it’s completely different because baby doesn’t just need me, she wants me..she will cling and clamour for me and pull her lip with her big round eyes pulling every single guilty string of your heart.

May 11, 2015

The 'Tummy Bug'

yup..the Tummy Bug is capitalised because it is that major,,
since we moved to sweden ive been around parents and kids and have heard of this 'Tummy Bug',
kids apparently are super contagious, they have runny poo and throw up everything they eat..add a fever to the mix and you have our current situation..,
to make things even more spectacular there is literally no medication to give,,
you just have to ride it out..swedish style ,
,
my little girl was sent home on friday from daycare because she had a fever on friday... ,
from friday to today monday evening we have: ,
- changed the sheets on my bed 7 times,
- she has thrown up every single bit of food that has touched her lips,
- she has done so many number twos that i lost count..,
- i dont know if its the african in me, but when all this eewyness happens i am literally stuck to her so her and I got to shower together quite a few times,
- i slept 10 hours this weekend and showed up for work like a totally functioning zombie,


Im hoping things begin to cool off and stop before i loose my mind, but ive been thinking of all the love involved in this weekend.,
because i tell you, nothing else will propel you towards projectile vomit quite like love. all this time stuck to me, including out baths together has given us skin to skin contact that we havent had since her first weeks.,
it is beautiful ,
Feels wierd that seeing her so ill and tired and honestly eewy has brought my love to the fore even more. ,
before she fell asleep tonight she but her little arms around my kneck and with a tight embrace she gave me a kiss right on the lips.. shes only done that once before,( the first and last time i spent a whole day and night away from her)

Apr 1, 2015

Ellas time is the best

Im from west africa so i understand lateness lol...
Gambian time is something between 3-5 hours late
so when i had my baby my midwife told me rather sympathetically that i should be 'flexible ' when making plans with a newborn.
She was totally right,
every time i would make plans to meet someone or be somewhere..
Ella would need to be changed at the last minute,
or poop,
or have a tantrum..
or need to eat..
it is just never ending.
I finally got the hang of things, and u know like most things in life, you get into a rountine, and give yourself a mental pat on the back.

the other day Ella reminding me just how much she is still the boss ..
i was trying to pack as were off on holiday soon,
and i had to try on each and every outfit due to baby weight, nothing fits anymore:(
..Ella just wasn't having it..
she was crying and kicking up a fuss.
so i rocked her to sleep then put her down and she woke right up.. we were at it for one whole hour..
so i gave up just sat on the bed and nursed her for 20 mins straight.
after that, she looked up totally drunk in love and milk and happily sat by herself playing and giggling to herself.
now that madame was satisfied ,
i was given the green light to continue my packing, except by that time all i wanted was a nap!

Mar 17, 2015

First Day at School

So its actually day two
Ella Marie is one and a half and on Monday she started her education journey.
Unlike other countries, Sweden once again is incredibly pedagogic when it comes to starting day care.
We the parents have to be at the school with our little ones for at least three days.. we shadow them and make sure that the transition isnt abrupt.

I have worked in preschools so i've been on the other side of the fence,
I know that the best thing a parent can do really is just be there and be boring,
let the teachers find a connection with our babies, let them play with you little one, help feed them, rock them to sleep..
let them find each other in the safety and assurance that mummy or daddy or both are right there in the background.
Many have been asking me how ellas first day went,
I find it hard to five a straight answer,
the truth is it went super well,
and thats what makes it super hard

I prayed that she would feel at home and build that connection with her teachers
that she would feel comfortable enough to nap there from the first day,
my little one can be a major introvert, she can be shy and not say a word for hours if she feels uncomfortable,
i was worried, so worried

well it went great, she played all day
she interacted with the other kids
she cuddled her teachers,
she ate by herself
she feel asleep in teachers arms, woke up and wouldn't even let daddy hold her
she basically had the best time and didnt cry once

When they cut her umbilical cord an invisible cord remained
that cord was stretched even further this week,
she waved goodbye at me without a hint of sadness
she didn't need mummy or daddys cuddles to find solace
she was confident and not my little baby anymore..
sigh
talk about bitter sweet

Mar 4, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me

Thank you for the birthday wishes..
I love birthdays,
the older i get the harder it gets to celebrate,
on my birthday i worked from 9.30 to 1800 and then went to a meeting immediately till 2000ish..got home at 2130 totally deadbeat,
I am however not complaining,
apart from missing my daughter beyond belief i am totally fine.
i still have so much to be grateful for.
its all perspective, just the day before my birthday a young friend, a kind heart passed away in his sleep..
he wasnt even 35.

we are alive
we are healthy
we are in love
we are kind
we are free
and we together
we can dance in our pyjamas
we can laugh through our phones
we can reach for our dreams

so happy birthday to me,
cheers with a glass of water
im so blessed and happy to be right here.

Feb 28, 2015

In two weeks

I looked at the calender this morning and my heart skipped a beat.
It wasnt the usual birthday excitement.
I realised we had two more weeks and thats it.
In two weeks someone new would wipe her tears
In two weeks she would play hide and i wouldn't seek
In two weeks she'll fight her first battles
In two weeks she'll grow a little more confidence
In two weeks her hair will be pulled,
She'll throw her food everywhere
She'll laugh in someones arms
She'll discover new adventures
She'll find a new besty
In two weeks neither mum or dad will always be there..
In two weeks her world will get a little wider
In two weeks our cocoon of safety will be cracked
Im two weeks the reality of the world slithers in
In two weeks my baby starts preschool.

As if she knew what mama knows.she looked at us today. Bundled her confidence ..and started walking. 

All by herself

Jan 22, 2015

I love her afro too

Ive neglected my blog..my apologies..ive had the itch to write. .so so many times but the time to write escapes me..

Like most brown people i know. .im a little hair obssesed although i would rather call myself a hair conscious person instead lol..
well i do my little ones hair weekly in plaits or puffs of some sort... i realised that on a regular basis people tell me how cute the style is but "wouldnt it be cute/fun to have it in an afro"

Hmmmmm....(hold the thought)

I also notice a significant number of brown skinned little ones often of mixed cultural heritage with their hair out in an afro thats all tangled and matted that their hair is a breath away from natural locks!
This makes me worry..
So i decided to blog about it..
I braid my Ellas hair not because i dont like the afro but because her hair needs protecting.  Its sweden. .hello..its freezing and there is zero moisture in the hair.
Unlike European hair , my/our hair gets dry and brittle with time.  Hence protective styling such as braids and extentions.
Where little ones are concerned its always best to
-wash at least once a week
-use the right conditioner
-detangle with a wide tooth comb or fingers whilst still damp and wet dripping with conditioner
-rinse..then oil and towel dry a little.

This is when i braid the hair using loombands as mini elastics:)

So lets spread the love..if you know a parent who needs a little inside info on how to care for their little ones curls..send them my blog link!:)

Jan 5, 2015

Happy New Year!!!

Well i planned on blogging on New Years Day but you know everything on the mummy clock runs a late so here we are ..it's the 5th of Jan 2015 ..HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!

I have to say thank you to all my readers, i checked this morning , and the stats say I have had over 8,000 reads which is mind blowing. I started blogging as my own therapy , as a way to make sense of my mummyhood and for other new mummys out there. Thank you for sharing this virtual conversation with me.

As I think back on 2015 ,its been lovely. I dont know how you celebrated but we ushered in the New year in bed, with popcorn and a disney movie of some sort.. Ella between my hubby and I, we were happy as can be. To add to the silliness, the champagne we planned on drinking on new years eve is still in the fridge unopened. I think there is no better way to explain just how much my life has changed and how wonderful it has become.

I was thinking of the way everything comes back around so , im thinking my party days will surely return heheh.. come to think of it.. tops that stop at your midrif are back, pointy nails, rings on thumbs and little fingers ..all totally the fashion of my teenage years thats come back around :D there is hope yet for mummy me!!

I have lots more to discuss but we will save that for our next post..

Kisses and Hugs
xoxoxo