Tag Archives: Job

Loving my little family

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What did I ever do to deserve such an amazing family?

We’ve had a rough time of it in the Mills household. I’ve taken the tough decision to go back on maternity leave. Despite a promising showdown with my mother in hospital, she’s now rediscovered her demons and is ill again. As I’m fearing the worst, I’ve chosen to spend a bit more time with her. Craig has therefore had to forsake his daddy-time and go back to work full-time. It’s taken a lot of late-night chats and tears to get to this point but it’s now decided and I’m with Dexie until February.

Craig allergies also took hold this week and he came down with a full-blown chest infection. He’s a Man so doesn’t complain but I forced him to go to the out-of-hours surgery on Saturday after listening to him struggle to breathe throughout the night. The problem: Billy. I’ve tried to ignore it since Craig and I started living together but it clearly couldn’t go on any longer. Billy the cat is my best friend. I’ve had him for 6 years and he’s been through various house-moves and failed relationships with me. We’ve been inseparable since I got him and I’m gutted that he and Craig can’t live together. But Craig is desperately allergic to Billy and I simply can’t jeopardise his health any longer.

Missing my hairy son Billy

So Billy was re-homed yesterday. He’s gone to live with his Nan and Granddad about 10 minutes down the road. I’m gutted but pleased I’ll still get to see him regularly. He’s well used to staying around Nanny’s house as she’s had him over when Craig and I have taken weekends away. I know he’ll be more than happy there but I still miss tripping over him on the stairs, him meowing at me for a second breakfast because he thinks I’m oblivious to the fact that Craig has already fed him, him chasing dust around the lounge… He’s such a little legend there were no shortage of ‘takers’.

So Craig can finally get some respite. The doctor says he has a chest infection. His chest is really quite weak from years of smoking in his childhood. He gave up years ago but the damage was irreparable and the slightest cold sends him wheezing and brings on his asthma. inevitably, with all the sneezing, I’ve now got it. Luckily, I’m still covered by a flu jab during my pregnancy and tend to fight off illnesses easily. But poor Dexie is, as yet, untested.

He started displaying signs of a cold last night. He sounded a little bit like Darth Vader and was coughing a fair bit. Then the sneezing set in and we began to worry. Dosed with Calpol, and saline drops we put him to bed with a Karvol tissue buried in his teddies. He didn’t complain once and went to sleep. I was up with him again at 3am as he started crying and wrestling with his blanket. As the heating wasn’t on and this house gets chilly downstairs in the night, I changed him in his room then told him I’d be back with things ‘to make him feel better’. I’m not naive and know he doesn’t understand me, but he patiently waited for me to return with a warm bottle and more Calpol. He was so quiet I thought perhaps he had gone back to sleep, but no, he was watching the door waiting for me to return and smiled when I approached his cot.

I administered his meds and he was quiet and seemingly grateful. He snatched his bottle from my hands and fed himself as if to say “I’m okay mum, stop fussing”. I went back to bed when he’d finished and left him coo’ing at his toys. The plan was to let him tire himself out so he would fall asleep naturally. Unfortunately he cried again within 15 mins. I gave him a big cuddle and popped him in bed with us and fell asleep within seconds. The whole night-time saga lasted 3 hours which seems like a lifetime at that time in the morning. It’s also completely out of character given he usually sleeps right through. Having said that, it was an absolute pleasure looking after him as he was such a brave little man. We’re very in-tune with each other now and I feel really confident that I can trust my mummy instincts to help him through the difficult times.

I’m definitely feeling very grateful this week. My employers were very sympathetic and understanding, Craig continues to surprise me with his undying support, love, and resilience, and Dexter is the most perfect baby I could ever have wished for. Given I have thrown more than my fair share of tantrums this week, I’m really in awe of my little family and dedicate this post to them.

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.

My raspberry-sized miracle is 2 months old!

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I’ve given myself 1 more month to break the news to my boss that I’m having a baby. Won’t pretend I’m not nervous. This means I’ve got 1 more month to a) prove myself b) revel in my pregnancy without worrying! It’s amazing how quickly this is going. To think I’m nearly 1/4 of the way through is incredible really – I can definitely thank my job for keeping me distracted.

So 8 weeks in, where are we at with the pregnancy? Here are the highlights:

8 week old foetus

8 week old foetus

Baby is now the size of a raspberry (about 18 mm (3/4 inch) in length) and is growing at a rate of about a millimeter every day – 10,000 times bigger than the size of the fertilised egg.

Baby is busy moving his or her little arms, legs, and slightly webbed fingers and toes as their muscles and nerves start to function more efficiently

Upper and lower limbs all show recognizable elbow and knee joints and the lower limb bones are starting to ossify

Baby is finally starting to take on some very distinct human features; nostrils, external ears and eyes are now visible under a thin membrane of skin. The mouth has lips and a tongue and, amazingly, tooth buds have already formed. The eye colour they’ll have at birth is just starting to show.

Right now, baby’s head is disproportionately larger than the rest of the body making up almost half of little one’s height and weight. This is due to the rapidly growing brain which now has two distinct hemispheres

And mummy?

Emotional! I cry at everything – 5 times in the town centre today! I can’t remember the last time I really smiled and giggled as I’m so moody – Craig jokes I’ve had a sense of humour failure. He’s also managing most of the household tasks at the moment where I’m so tired. My boobs are also now a staggering J cup so I’m looking a little top-heavy.

Other than this – I feel great. It’s a strange sensation as I feel fine, but outwardly I suspect I’m difficult to live with. Going to do something special with Craig in the week next week. Not sure what yet but he deserves something nice. I’m hoping this will all get easier as I get used to working again and the 2nd trimester kicks in. It’s both of our first pregnancy so I want us both to enjoy it.

So this post is dedicated to the man I love, and our beautiful baby to be. You guys are the most important people ever xxx

My man, your daddy xx

My man, your daddy xx

So I used to have an arm…

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So I mentioned I was having a blood test in my last post. These are just routine bloods for my midwife. Luckily Western Elms has a blood clinic which is great as it saves trekking to the hospital for what is, after all, a 5 minute appointment. I’ve had LOADS of blood tests in the last few months as Craig had been concerned about my lack of appetite and how it might affect our chances of conceiving. I must have given 8 pints of blood in our quest for answers. Turns out I conceived easily and my lack of appetite was down to the fact I hated the taste of my own cooking. Never the less the battery of tests has prepared me beautifully for the trials of pregnancy so I won’t moan.

So with blood tests, I usually bruise a little but am otherwise okay…… until now. This time I was running slightly late. As I haven’t confided to work about my pregnancy yet, I’ve been covertly fitting in appointments around work commitments and this time I only had a tiny window to get to the doctors and back. As I was 10 minutes late for the test, I was already apologising and shrugging off my cardigan as I entered the nurse’s office. Expecting to see the usual nurse (spitting image of Heather from Eastenders), I was shocked to see she had been joined by a new guy. Heather’s friend turned out to be Ben, a student doctor gaining some work experience, Although he looked about 10, I figured he had to learn how to operate a syringe at some point so agreed to him taking the blood.

NEVER AGAIN. My arm was literally caked in blood after the 8 vials had been taken. The “sharp scratch” turned out to be a nasty shock. The tourniquet fell off mid way through and as Ben went to catch it, the needle fell out. My vein was a mini fountain spurting blood at the wall. I was too polite to tell him to stop so let him carry on but it really hurt. By the end of the day I was feeling really faint, and Craig said I had turned white.

Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly. This is a blood test and I’m sure the labour in 7 months will be ten times worse, but this was truly painful. I’m left looking like a victim of domestic abuse and I’ll have to cover it up at work. Check out this for a bruise!

Mummy's arm

Mummy's arm

It’s just one long list of Can’ts

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CAN’T hold it together

I knew I’d be emotional but this is ridiculous! I’m moody, irritable, excited and tearful – all in one big scary bundle. Poor Craig took me to the cinema three days ago only for me to blubber through the entire showing. I turned up with a full face of make-up (liquid eyeliner etc) trying to look remotely glam for Craig. The film starred Seth Rogan (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express), so I’m expecting something funny and targeted at the” beer lout” generation – How wrong was I??? I’m restricted on what I can say as it was a preview screening (meaning the audience were tasked with road-testing the movie; we were made to sign disclosures, the security guards resembled MI5 agents, and Craig was ‘politely’ asked to hand in his iPhone before entering the auditorium doors). All I can say is that I left the Vue in Reading looking like a member of Kiss. My cream cardigan was stained black as I was forced to use it to wipe away my tears (too scared was I to ask agents A, B, E and F if I could get some loo roll from the ladies).

But tears turned to frustration a few days later when Friday’s episode of A Place in the Sun turned out to be a repeat of Thursday’s! What was More 4’s production team thinking??? I went so far as to type  ‘More 4 complaints’ into Google before I realised how stupid I was being!

Not complaining baby – you’re worth it x

CAN’T stay awake

As this rate I’ll be lying in bed for the whole 9 months and being fed through a drip! I know the experts say this fatigue will subside by the second trimester, but personally, I’m doubtful. I’m in bed by 9pm every night! I’ve missed Educating Essex, The Eviction of Dale Farm, Downton Abbey – and a whole host of ‘educational’ programming I’ve been waiting for all week. Why do the terrestrial channels tease us by putting such gems on past the watershed? My dongle credit is dwindling as I’m forced to turn to BBC iPlayer (and the like) to catch up!

Last night I was forced to call out to Craig to plead for a glass of water; I had no energy to even get out of bed and fetch myself one. I’m lucky he’s so good-humoured and sweet. If the situation was reversed, I’d be lifting up the bed covers to see if he still had legs of his own! Speaking of the man of my dreams… Craig ordered the pregnancy books I wanted! I must have been in Waterstones for hours on Thursday – wading through the millions on sale; I figured there must be an ideal bed companion that would teach me enough to earn an honorary degree in obstetrics – the amount of time I’m spending in bed, there has to be some good to come out of it! My list of requirements was therefore exhaustive – I wanted pictures, I wanted diagrams, I wanted daily progress reports, I wanted medical jargon… a tome of a pregnancy manual. Having narrowed it down to two (ISBN numbers scrawled on the back of an old receipt), I came home and trawled price comparison websites to find the best price. Good old Amazon came through. I logged in as Craig, added them to his shopping basket and waited for him to tell me off for accessing his account. Imagine how my heart melted when he came into the bedroom last night and whispered to his sleepy and barely deserving girlfriend that he’d dived straight in and ordered them… I love you Craig xx

Your Pregnancy Bible

Your Pregnancy Bible by Dr Anne Deans

CAN’T smoke!!!! Argh!!!!

I don’t want to complain too bitterly about this. It’s been consistently reiterated to me about the harm it causes to the unborn baby; increased risk of SID, developmental problems, suppressed appetite leading to low birth weights etc. I know it’s wrong, I know they’re cancerous, I know I should quit for myself aswell as baby… but it’s a 15 year habit that’s proving SOOO hard to kick!

Needing some medicinal support, I went (head hung in shame) to the NHS Stop Smoking stall in the Broad Street Mall outside TK Maxx and plead my case to the advisor. I was somewhat optimistically hoping that overnight a new miraculous alliance between science and faith had occurred, and that the NHS now recognised hypnotism as a tried, proven and humane way of curing the afflicted. But of course they would ever make it that easy. I was offered gum, an inhaler, lozenges, even nasal sprays… surely one of these solutions would work for me! But no. When I mentioned my pregnancy, this huge choice of nicotine replacement therapies was diminished to just one. The dreaded PATCHES. How could these flimsy plasters possibly reduce my craving? Just how does said nicotine hit enter my bloodstream and replace my beloved physical cigarette? And (if I’m truthful) how can it possibly be this easy to quit?! If the answer has really been staring me in the face since the naughty’s (remember those adverts with impossibly attractive female jogger karate-kicking human sized cigarettes out of her way) – then how have I wasted thousands of £’s on Mayfair Superking’s ALL these years????! BUT acknowledging this is for the health of my unborn, I pessimistically collected my little prescription headed to Superdrug.

Well… It turns out these patches are genius. I can now stand next to smoker’s in a pub without wanting to rip their cigarette’s out of their hands. I can now make it through the day on 2 cigarette’s (I’ve promised to do away with these remaining little crutches in one week’s time). I can now wake up and not search frantically for a lighter down the back of the sofa. These tiny patches are AMAZING. Their effectiveness isn’t my gripe. What irritates me is the following: They AREN’T truly translucent, and they AREN’T even remotely waterproof as promised. If you were to lift up my sleeve during the day you’ll find a frayed and yellow patch barely clinging to my skin. From afar you’d be forgiven for thinking I have a patch of leprosy.

CAN’T drink!

This is considerably easier for me than not being able to smoke. I’m not as big a drinker as I was before I came home from London and Craig and I only usually drink at the weekends. But when you tell someone you can’t do something, you want it all the more. I’m actually beginning to resent Guinness and Carling for putting on television ads during the Rugby World Cup schedule. Nevermind the fact that I can’t actually stand Guinness. Just stop with the adverts!

And the dreaded weekend… this being my first full weekend knowing I am pregnant. I am literally so jealous of Craig! I know he’s not deliberately drinking in front of me and he has every right to enjoy his weekend after working so hard to provide for us during the week – but I want a beer too! Drinking your body weight in Diet Coke watching the football at the pub, just simply isn’t the same. And Craig is simply rubbish as pretending to be sympathetic and sober. I know every single nuance of his personality; If he’s tipsy, I know it. I’d actually rather he came home stumbling through the door so I could laugh at him and pat myself on the back for being infinitely better off.

I guess I need to get used to this as I’m reluctant to drink around baby after he or she arrives anyway. I hate seeing new mums in pubs downing wine with their child in their arms – it makes me so angry.

CAN’T dye my hair!

At first I thought this was a mistake. When I picked up my bottle of ‘Nice and Easy’ by Clairol yesterday morning, I couldn’t believe they were advising pregnant women against using it! Why? So confused was I,  I Googled it. This made my heart sink:

… One study suggested that it could cause babies to develop the cancer neuroblastoma. This is a rare childhood cancer that affects the nervous system and other tissues… It’s possible that a few of the chemical compounds in hair dyes could cause birth defects…

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy

Apparently the above risks decrease as you enter the second trimester. This is because during the first 12 weeks the developing brain generates between 50 and 100 thousand new cells  per second. The hair dye could, in theory, enter the bloodstream through my scalp, and travel to baby!

WHAT????????! Come on now. Really????? I have dark hair – greys show and I’m about to start a new job.  I find this whole rule pretty incredible and there’s conflicting advice everywhere you look. I’ll admit to ignoring this one. Sorry baby but I just don’t believe it.

CAN’T feed my cat!

So my GP advised me against feeding the cat or emptying his litter tray; chores that his mum has performed for all of his life. Again, I couldn’t understand this so turned to Google:

Toxoplasmosis caught during pregnancy can cause an infection in your unborn baby resulting in eye problems and brain abnormalities. Toxoplasmosis is usually caught through eating raw, undercooked or cured meat but it can also be caught through contact with cat faeces and, in rare cases, cat saliva

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/pregnancy

Okay, so there does seem to be considerable medical research supporting this one. In fairness, I’m happy to go along with it too. The smell of Billy’s food makes me feel ill and I wasn’t looking forward to the re-introduction of a litter tray in the new flat. The problem is that I can’t tell Billy about the change in routine; he’s learnt many things in his short life, but the ability to speak English isn’t one of them. So he literally whines, paces and chases my feet ALL day whilst Craig is at work. He’s turned into a lunatic. As if to fully articulate his frustration, he’s become fussy about his food too. No longer is Purina or Iams enough for Billy. Now he likes a variety of wet and dry food and it’s a guessing game as to which he wants on a given day. One day, he wants a Whiskas tin, the next he fancies Felix’s offering. This is literally doing my head in.

Billy

His Royal Highness (as taken by Craig)