Tag Archives: Date

Getting Down n Dirty on Daddy’s Birthday

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Sunday was Daddy’s birthday – 42 no less!

The whole weekend was dedicated to this and included a romantic meal for two at Bella Italia, the casino, and a nice family meal a Nanny’s house.

We decided to get crafty for daddy’s birthday and Dexter and I made this on Saturday night. We dipped his little hands in water-based paints and Dexter was able to sign Daddy’s card himself.  Dexter giggled when his little cards went in the goo and seemed fascinated by the prints left on the card. The paint washed off his hands easily enough but I was still picking out remnants from his hair two days later.

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I think this will become a little tradition now. Both Craig and I have birthdays very close to Christmas so the whole season is really expensive. Craig’s reaction to something so simple made me think that we should just ‘make’ our birthday gifts from Dex; they cost next to nothing and hold far more sentimental value than anything we would ordinarily buy eachother.

This year I was even lucky enough to get some Ring Cufflinks from the delightful and beautiful Vikki over at Love From Mummy – these are really special little keepsakes that are perfect for Daddy’s and Grandad’s. Craig doesn’t wear suits or shirts very often but does dress up for horse racing days and weddings. Now he’ll be able to take a little bit of Dexter with him when he goes which is seriously cool.

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Craig did get other gifts from me, but I think Dexter’s gifts are his favourite. We topped the Sunday off with a film and an ‘early night’… just goes to show thar the best things in life are free.

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“No Photography Allowed”: Dexter’s First Swim

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So, Dexter went for a swim at the weekend.

Since the disaster with the pool on holiday (Dexter hated it) we’ve been hesitant to take Dexie swimming. Our main concern was the temperature. Dexter likes warm baths and hates feeling cold. I’m not a huge fan of swimming either and didn’t want to take him myself. We’ve always thought it was important to take him though as it’s a skill that might one day save his life.

So off we went to a local pool in Reading. It’s the warmest pool we know of so we hedged our bets. Sitting in the spectators lounge – I had to fight the temptation to whip out my iPhone and take pictures. Dexter looked so cute in his little swimsuit splashing around in Craig’s arms. He was so happy and confident in his Zoggs Trainer Seat, Craig noticed he was even kicking his legs in the water beneath. Seeing that Dexter was having fun, Craig decided to be brave and float him instead. Dexter was happy on his back and even reacted well to being briefly underwater. Finally, as the pool was graduated and had no steps – the swallow areas had only a few cms of water and Dexter was able to lay on his front on his knees and lift his head out of the water.

I’d have seriously loved to have come away with some pictures but was deterred by the massive sign by the entrance to the lounge “No photography beyond this point”. There was only myself and one other person sitting in the lounge area and it was clear that neither of us were pedophiles. She was around 40, engrossed in 50 Shades of Grey, and continually checking her watch – every inch the archetypal middle-aged mum taking her children swimming. It made me think – I’d be horrified if there was man in an anorak and a long lens snapping pics of the kids. But then if I were to shoot Mr Anorak an accusatory glance and whisk Dexter away, I suppose I should extend the same suspicions to Mrs 50 Shades. What makes me qualified to decide if someone is acting illegally or not?

In some ways – it’s like the world has gone mad. You wouldn’t wrestle a camera off a man at Disney World just because it’s full of children, yet in Britain, I constantly hear stories of parents being prevented from filming their own children at a nativity play or sports day in case the pictures are misappropriated. Yes – pedophiles are vile and of course we’d all do anything to safeguard our children from predatory advances, but are we taking the whole thing too far? With breaking stories such as the posthumous investigation into Jimmy Saville – the western world is turning increasingly into a ‘trust no one’ society.

But where does it end? When Dexter takes part in his first school play, all I will have to remind me is a photo of him in his costume in front of my fireplace, and not onstage in character. There won’t be an action shot of him winning an egg-and-spoon race either. These were precious memories for my parents and I remember whole albums dedicated to my school days.

Then there’s this blog. I’ve posted hundreds of photos of Dexie. I don’t even bother changing our names. Why should I? This blog is in the public domain, completely unprotected and anyone can view it. But why should I worry? There are millions of pictures of children in their nappies all over the web. Every time we buy a packet of Huggies or Pampers there’s a semi naked baby posing adorably on the packaging!

So what is the solution? Should we ID parents on entry to a swimming pool, school gate, cinema? But wouldn’t this limit the freedom of grandparents and family friends to take children out for the day of fun? Of course this is a ridiculous suggestion. So is the only solution to ban photographing your children in public places? Couldn’t that very same person with horrific motivations be swimming alongside my child in the pool!?

I did manage just a quick one of the boys at the side of the pool and was careful to get no one else in it – but the photo is so awful I was reluctant to post it. Dexter looks so chubby it doesn’t even look like him – but hey for prosperity’s sake – here’s my baby on the day of his first ever swim with Daddy. Yet another example of me flaunting the rules… ssshhh don’t tell anyone!

Dear Dexter

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Dear Dexter,

Well you’re now 5 months old which simply doesn’t seem possible! Although it seems only yesterday I was rocking you to sleep in the hospital, you’ve transformed our lives so much we just can’t remember what life was like before you were in it. Despite this, mummy and daddy stll joke that it feels like we’re on borrowed-time and are just looking after you until someone comes to take you back! We’re just so overwhelmed with pride and love for you that we struggle to put our feelings into words.

This has definitely been an exciting month for mummy and daddy as you’re so much more active! We’ve now regulated Lottie (your activity mat) to your toy chest as you seemed to be signing that you’re ready for something new. So this month you’ve road-tested some ‘big boy’ toys and have begun spending time in Ermintrude (your sit-me-up cosy as renamed by daddy), and have much more tummy-time.

You continue to love gazing at yourself in the mirror and you’re responding more to squeaks and music from your toys. Our favourite thing to do is place a favourite toy slightly out of your reach, flip you on your tummy, and encourage you to stretch out and reach it. We’re not convinced you’ll be crawling by the end of the month but we’re getting there!

Image courtesy of Tegan Suzanne Photography

You continue to be the most beautiful baby mummy and daddy have ever seen. You are beginning to recognise us more now and we know you are always pleased to see us as you reserve your bestest smiles just for us. The funniest ones are when you first wake and we scoop you up for a cuddle, and when you’ve achieved something new and mummy and daddy clap to reward you. Those smiles are so wonderful as they’re almost half excitement / half bewilderment – as though you can’t understand what all the fuss is about.

Image courtesy of Tegan Suzanne Photography

As you rarely cry, people are always commenting how well-behaved you are, and mummy can not help but feel proud. You’re a wonderfully social baby and are happy to be fussed over by complete strangers. You seem to take every new experience in your stride and it’s comforting to know you trust mummy so implicitly.

We’ve had the odd night where you’ll wake in the night. This is pretty out of character for you so you’ve caught us unprepared. In our bleary-eyed state we initially made the mistake of bringing out the “big guns” at 2am; bottles, cuddles and popping you in the bed next to us. Although these tricks are undoubtably successful, they seem to take much longer in the middle of the night! It’s pretty clear however that mummy and daddy are too fidgety to embrace co-sleeping. I’ve often woken in the night with pins and needles only find you’ve fallen asleep in my arms. I’ll also worry continually about daddy rolling onto you as he isn’t aware you are next to him. In any case, the very act of picking you up, rocking, or feeding you also just serves to wake you up even more, which isn’t the desired goal in the dead of the night!

Image courtesy of Tegan Suzanne Photography

Finally, mummy has been deep in conversation with Father Christmas this week and he’s sent some amazing things through the post. It’s been very tough resisting the urge to give you your new toys straight away. I simply can’t wait to see your little face on Christmas morning when you rip open the paper and see what you’ve got xx

All in all it’s very exciting and we can’t wait to see what next month has in store.

Love Mummy and Daddy xx
NOTE: These stunning shots of Dexter were taken by Tegan of Tegan Suzanne Photography. If you’d like to know more about her packages, you can like her on FB here

Getting ready for Halloween! (Review: Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, & The Fearsome Beastie)

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Well we’re in our new home! The move hasn’t gone well at all if I’m honest and we’re locked in disputes with our former letting agency over the release of the deposit. As much as I love our new house, we have a lot to do in terms of buying new furniture and making it a ‘home’. Couple this with a return-to-work and a deterioration in mum’s health (she had 6 epileptic fits on Saturday – being disabled (from a stroke) she’s sustained some quite horrific injuries that have left her bed-bound) – I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with it all and, if I’m honest, a bit depressed. The truth is, something will have to give.

With all this going on – Dexie and I haven’t managed any solid quality time. By the time I get home from work, he’s ready for a bottle, bath, then bed! Luckily my work have been fabulous and offered me a phased return-to-work rather than working a full 5 days for the first few weeks. I’m hugely grateful as I have definitely overdone it this month. So today, it’s all about Dexter and having fun.

With Halloween coming up, I decided to do a themed day. We’re dressed up; Dexie is a Pumpkin courtesy of Tescos, and I have no make-up on! And we’ve been on some scary adventures thanks to the supremely talented Giles Paley-Phillips.

We’ve kindly been sent two books Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball, and The Fearsome Beastie (winner of the People’s book prize). It’s so important to us that Dexie grows up loving books. I was a massive reader growing up. My mum still raves on about how proud she was that I was reading before I went to school. Unfortunately mum is so ill now, it’s so difficult telling truth from fiction but I believe her about this one. I have a hazy memory of the entire house being labelled up so we learnt that every room, piece of furniture and toy had a ‘name’. I doubt I’ll be this over-the-top with Dex but we’ll always read to him.

These books are the best I’ve seen for tiny people. The entire page is illustrated so there’s plenty to feast your eyes on. Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball is great fun. Poor Tamara is snatched away in the night by a monster and whisked to a ball with friendly goblins, ghosts, ghouls, witches and bats. There’s dancing and delights and Tamara is even welcomed into the fold with a slime cake! As you’d expect, all ends well as the witches cast a spell to return her home to her bed. I’ve seen a fab review of this book over on Missing Sleep that suggests that her 3 and 5 year olds discovered a new-found appreciation for things that go bump in the night. How fabulous is that for Halloween preparation!?

The Fearsome Beastie is about a huge monster that tricks some brothers and sisters into playing with him by crying outside their window. Having gained their trust he gobbles up all but one child who rushes to his nana for help. His wise old gran rushes out with an axe to slay the monster and release the children from his belly. Thanks to the bravery of nanny, each child comes “running out of Beastie’s tummy… each one crying for their mummy”. With disaster averted, nana then brews up a monster stew!

These books are a massive hit here at Chez Mill’s as each page is a set of witty rhyming couplets. Daddy is a champion story-teller and can make the phone book sound fun and exciting with an array of accents and embellishments. I, on the other hand, am terrible. Giles Paley-Phillips’ style is so engaging even I am able to keep Dexter interested. I’ve also left the book open the floor next to his playmat on some of the colourful pages. Dexter will chat to himself and study the monsters quietly – grabbing at the book.

With Dexter growing up and sleeping through the night – it’s getting harder and harder to entertain him throughout the day. Thanks to Paley-Phillips I now have another tool in my armoury to keep Dexter happy. Rather than let your babies gorge on sweets this Halloween, this is surely the better bet.

Giles Paley-Phillips blogs here about his writing, upcoming book signings, and about prizes he has been awarded. You can buy Tamara Small and the Monsters’ Ball from Amazon for just £6.29, and The Fearsome Beastie for just £4.49.

DISCLAIMER: I was sent copies of both books from GPP PR & Marketing but all the words and opinions in this post are my own. I have not received any payment for this post, nor had any communication with any other mentioned retailers.

Giggles, gymnastics and posing at 4 months

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I can’t believe how quickly you’re growing! Looking back through photos of you laying next to your earliest cuddly toys, you seemed dwarfed by some of them! Now, you’re able to grab and chew them with ease.

Your little personality is coming into its own now. You’re cheerful and endearing, sweet-tempered and loving. A tearful tantrum is always followed by a smile and you’re able to calm yourself down now without mummy. You’re also an avid chit-chatterer and each day you’ll make a new sound. Giggles are now prolonged and more frequent and just when mummy thought she couldn’t love you any more, she finds a little bit of extra room in her heart with every laugh you give.

Your legs are now super strong. Everyday you’ll come into mummy’s bed in the morning after daddy has gone to work. You’ll finish your long sleep with mummy then wake us up at 8am by kicking off the bed sheets and giggling beside me. You also love to stand up. After changing your nappy on your mat, you’ll stretch out your arms towards me and I’ll pull you up by your arms into an upright position. Standing there smiling in your sleepsuit you look like a mini gymnast after a world-class floor routine.

How much did mummy and daddy struggle getting a shot of you on your legs?!

You continue to take such stunning photographs and seem to enjoy posing. Mummy and daddy both have photos of you set as the background on their laptops and you seem to recognise yourself whenever you catch a glimpse of our screens.

We have had the odd bad day. You gave your dad a fright a few weeks ago when you screamed for 2 hours whilst mummy was having a few drinks with her friend, and yesterday you refused to let me put you down all day. We put these outbursts down to you feeling a bit tired or a bit unwell. They are always short-lived and never a problem.

We’ve had just one accident so far when mummy dropped an iPhone on your head. You sustained a tiny cut on your eyebrow and mummy stayed up all night crying. I’m sure this is the first of many knocks and scrapes but I could do without another for a few months as I was devastated.

Rolling still seems a long way off, but your sitting is progressing well and its only a matter of time before you can do this unaided.

This next month will be a big one for you. We have the challenge of introducing you to ‘grown up’ food, you’ll be going swimming for the first time ever with daddy on holiday, and I suspect we might get a ”mama” or “dada” out of you. We’re also moving house and moving you into your own room, and mummy is going back to work. These are massive things for us both to deal with and I’ve had lots of tears myself as I’ll really miss being with you during the day. Daddy will be with you from 10am – 3pm and I know you’ll make him as happy as you’ve made me with lots of giggles and little milestones. Just don’t forget mummy please, and save some smiles for me in the early evening.

100 days old today!!!

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So you’re now 100 days old!!!

You’re already so much bigger than you were when you were born. I remember your tiny fingernails were no bigger than a ladybird, and your feet were the same length as my baby finger – and now they’re growing so fast! From a teeney 5lb 14, you’re now knocking on for 12lbs 5 and you’re showing signs of being very tall. You’re already in some 6-9 month outfits!

Yours and mummy’s foot

Yours and mummy's hand

Yours and mummy’s hand

It will come as no surprise but you continue to be demanding. Getting you to sleep is like a military exercise; bath-time, bottle, then carry you at arm’s length and very gently pop you into your cot. This pre-bed bottle HAS to be in the living room, on your feeding pillow with the tv on – any other combination just won’t do. Daddy is amazing at this.

You still wake up in the morning at either 3am or 5am sucking your fingers extra loud to let us know you’re hungry. Gone are the cries as you’ve worked out that mummy is a light sleeper and will always get up for you. A quick nightfeed then you’re back into a coma. In the morning you’re a little angel; You never cry, just lay there in your cot playing with your hands and staring at your mobile until mummy discovers you.

In fact, we’ve really got the routine nailed and I’m very proud of you. The big boy cot isn’t so scary anymore and mummy and daddy are getting much more sleep now you’ve gifted us our bed back. Having said that, you are still partial to the odd day nap there…

Caught you!

You also FINALLY giggled!!! A handful of times we’ve got one out of you. Mummy and daddy nearly cried when we heard it two days ago. There doesn’t seem to be any magic formula; sometimes we’ll tickle your tummy, sometimes we’ll make telephone noises at you, and just a second ago you laughed at mummy singing Carly Rae Jepson. Despite our best efforts we can’t seem to get this on video but we’ll keep trying. We have so much failed footage which I’ll get around to uploading soon.

You’ve also managed a roll-over. You might hate tummy time, FACT. But unfortunately all the doctors we’ve met have encouraged us to stick with it to try to re-correct your neck problem. The other day you screamed and cried and mummy started burst into tears as she felt sorry for you. So desperate were you to get on your back you kicked your little leg-ins and made the big roll. You looked so pleased with yourself on the floor it seemed to make up for the torture of the 30 seconds on your tum.

Yep you’re still the cutest baby ever and I have a number of presents in the post to celebrate your very first Day Century – more on these later… Proud of you baby!

Love from Mummy xxx

Who are you at 10 weeks?

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Yes. You are now a whole 10 weeks old! You are growing by the day and turning into a lovely little boy before my eyes. Mummy and daddy are now well versed in your ‘little ways’ and you are getting much better at chatting to us and signing what you want. It’s certainly exhausting (and expensive) work keeping you occupied, but every little smile you give makes us all the more determined to fill up your life with wonderful experiences.

So what have you been up to so far, and who is Dexter Thomas Mills? Well…

You are prone to the odd diva fit

I’m sure every mummy in the world has dealt with mild hysteria from their babies. You however, take this to a whole new level. When you’re hungry, the whole world knows about it. I’m seriously surprised the neighbours haven’t called social services about the blood curdling screams emanating from our flat when we’re preparing your milk in the bottle-warmer. Nothing will distract you; no amount of cuddles and singing will calm you, and you’ve cottoned on to the fact that no amount of sucking on a dummy will ever produce the magical elixir that is your milk.

“Umm… Bottle please mummy… Mummy, bottle?… Bottle NOW please mummy… Maybe you didn’t hear me – Bottle NOW.”

Similarly, you’ll whinge at the slightest indication that you need a change of clothes. You’ll happily coo whilst mummy or daddy perform Operation Nappy Change, but lift a t-shirt over your head and your bottom lip wobbles. If there is even a fraction of a second where the fabric obstructs your view then we’re in for at least one full minute of unadulterated strop.

Surprisingly, nothing else will give you the hump in the same way. You can fall asleep anywhere, in any position, regardless of the noise around you. If you are bored, the simplest of things will nip a tantrum in the bud. You are in fact, so chilled that even your first set of immunisations only produced a 2 second whinge.

I’m convinced that your behaviour now is likely to be representative of your behaviour when you’re older. This means you are most definitely your daddy’s son. Daddy is the most patient, loving and funny man that mummy has ever known. Daddy, however goes into a Dexter-like meltdown if he’s tired, can’t find his mobile phone, is forced to watch Jeremy Kyle, or gets stuck in traffic. Any one of these world-ending events will result in daddy throwing his toys out of the pram in a momentous fashion.

You love water

Yep. You’re a water baby! It didn’t take you long to work out that washing is a daily necessity you can most definitely live with. Strip you naked and dunk you in the bath and you transform into a right old exhibitionist. You love showing off your newly acquired skills in your plastic tub in the hallway (we have to wash your here as mummy doesn’t like sitting on the tiles in your bathroom). Next to singing-with-daddy, bath time is the only time we’re guaranteed a smile.

Bath time with daddy!!!!

We are most definitely on Dexter-time

Many babies at 10 weeks will have settled into the semblance of a  routine. It’s pretty rare they will get a full 12 hours sleep at night, but many will reach a certain point in the evening and know that it’s bedtime. Most babies at this stage will also be feeding at regular intervals throughout the day (usually every 3-4 hours) and be steadily increasing the amount of milk they’re taking onboard. Unfortunately your obstinacy has led mummy and daddy to believe that you, Dexter Thomas Mills, are clearly either a trend-setter or set to be a very unpredictable teen.

We’ve tried everything, read every book, scoured every website and parenting forum… looking for answers as to why your sleeping pattern is so inconsistent. Although you are pretty consistent with the whole feeding thing, there is simply no dictating to you when you’ll sleep. You wake between 2 and 3 times a night for a feed and like to surprise mummy and daddy by changing the times of said feed every night.  You also enjoy the odd nap in the day and like to take said nap at different times everyday. There is simply no telling you otherwise. If I try and rouse you throughout the day when a nap is in progress, you play dead and refuse to open your eyes. If I try to set you down when you aren’t ready, you cry uncontrollably and thrash until I pick you up.

However unpredictable you are, there are some times we can guarantee, without fail, you will be awake; when mummy and daddy are watching a programme that requires concentration, eating their dinner, or bidding on eBay. But these few occasions of irritating regularity don’t end there! There are also guaranteed sleep times! Every time we step a foot outside the front door your eyelids come down and you enter a sleep coma. Many mothers might be jealous of mummy about this, and it does have its benefits, but it would be nice to show you a little more of the world than our two bedroom flat.

I’ll decide when I sleep

Butter wouldn’t melt hey Dex?

So there you are youngest Mills! Lots coming up for you over the next few months with a weekend away in Leicestershire (going to a theme park / zoo), a holiday in Portugal, a house move, and mummy going back to work! More on these as and when you allow mummy an hour on the laptop…

 

Love you baby!