Tag Archives: Toys

Mummy the Surgeon


We had a horrible time last night. Dexter’s best friend had a nasty accident and sustained a deep and potentially life threatening gash to his leg. It was absolutely heartbreaking and I’m still feeling shaken by the incident.

There wasn’t anyone else to blame for the incident other than ourselves. Charlie lives with us and is our responsibility. He and Dex are truly inseparable and Charlie comes everywhere with us. Both boys came around Nanny’s house with us yesterday and unfortunately we forgot to strap Charlie in his car seat when we drove the short journey home. When we got home we found Charlie on the floor by the back seat in a mangled heap. Craig quickly carried him the house and we noticed he’d cut himself really badly.

Charlie wasn’t breathing and we knew we didn’t have time to get him the hospital. His eyes were vacant and it was clear he had slipped into a coma. Dexter was very upset and kept trying to kiss and cuddle his little buddy better. It was obvious I’d have to save Charlie myself as there was no way we give up on him.

Through tear-soaked eyes I set to work on Charlie on our kitchen floor. Craig took Dexter aside and explained that Mummy was doing her best and he had to be a brave boy. We popped Dexter in his cot and told him that Charlie would join him later and be with him when he woke up in the morning. The pressure was certainly on to save Charlie and reunite the boys as soon as possible.

Two hours later, I emerged from the kitchen to find Craig sitting stone-faced on the sofa. He looked into my eyes to search for a sign of how things had went. I gave him a little relieved smile and he leapt to his feet and sprinted to the kitchen to see Charlie. Just a few minutes later we tucked Charlie in bed with Dexter so they could both sleep off the ordeal.

Charlie will never be the same. He now has a twisted black scar on his leg and is sporting a bandage whilst he recuperates. He’s being very brave but has had a few diva moments. This morning he insisted on trying some of Dexter’s breakfast and made a right mess of himself. All in all though – we’re so glad he’s okay and both boys are (mostly) all smiles this morning.





Last weekend my Dad and his wife came to visit. Dexter was largely distracted from his teething as he loves an audience and always gets lots of fuss from Nanny and Grandad.

Dexter was most impressed with Grandad’s glasses and poor Grandad had to hide them for fear of them breaking / disappearing into Dexter’s cavernous mouth. Due to his teething, Dexter has an obsession with mouths at the moment – we constantly have our hands in his, and he seems fascinated by ours. Grandad was no exception and in went the little fingers!

When the fun was over and Nanny and Grandad went home, the tears took ahold and Dexter had a rare moment where he struggled with the pain in his gums. He didn’t settle in bed as he usually does and we had to dish out plenty of cuddles to soothe him.

In fairness Dexter is great with pain. He rarely cries and is very easily distracted. I think we’ve had a harder time with his teething than he has! It’s hard to see him constantly biting his fingers and chewing everything in sight. I just can’t get my head around our comparatively ‘easy’ experience when I’m constantly reading horror stories from other mummy’s.

Of course I’ve been on the watch-out for bad nappies and temperatures but we seem to have been spared the worst of this. Yes, there’s been light symptoms, but he’s mostly smiley and seems more intrigued than unhappy.

As overzealous parents, we’ve stocked up on all the usual bits. Bonjela and Calpol, teething toys (I’ve mentioned his Brush-Baby and he also has a gel hand that lives in the fridge in case he needs it) but he seems most contented by a bottle or sucking on his own fingers. Recently though, we’ve been questioning our reliance on medicating with milk as it means an extra 180ml a day (over and above the recommended 600ml). It just seemed to be the only thing that offered any real relief.

Earlier this week – I mentioned the problem on Dexter’s Facebook page and Life With Liv posted something hugely helpful. She suggested to try frozen banana – something we’d never have thought of.

Liv’s (teeth) took ages to come through too, we used a Teething-Bling necklace and bangle, and Tommee Tippee have these teethers that look like a gum shield (you can put your teething gel on it for them to chew on). We also froze banana and put it in Nuby net feeders and also Nelsons teething powder. The main thing is getting him to bite on plenty of things. They really do suffer :( x

This advice has been utter genius. Dexie loves banana and the cold serves to numb the pain perfectly. He screws up his little face when you first pop it in but he quickly starts gumming it when he realises how tasty it is. We’re really grateful for such brilliant advice as it’s certainly helped so far.

I’m under no illusion it’ll get worse as his back ones come through – especially as his grip hasn’t developed yet and he can’t quite get a handle on all the gadgets and gizmos we’ve bought for him to chew on. But right now, I’m pretty proud of my Little Soldier.

Today we made a decision that every parent should make


Today is a very special and long-awaited day.

I know that on this day I will finally rediscover the use of two hands. I will be able to do the washing-up without Dexter crying out for me to entertain him. I will be able to shower before 10am every morning without a grumpy-faced Dexter looking on from his cosy seat. I will be able to kiss Craig when he comes home without a jealous child burning a hole into my head.

More so than this – Craig and I will be able to watch Homelands without interruption. We will be able to eat our dinner leisurely and not give ourselves indigestion by literally shovelling it down our throats. We will both be able to sit on the sofa at the same time – no longer will we have to take it in turns to sit on the floor.

Yes Dex. Mummy and daddy listened. We heard your screams and wails and made sense of them.

Before making the committment, we took advice from other mums and dads on the internet. What you were begging for wasn’t cheap and we wanted to ensure we were doing the right thing. We posted on forums, tweeted, read blog after blog and didn’t find one negative. Parents described it as something that “transformed their lives” and one recent convert on Mumsnet said she’d rather “sell her car than turn back”. Some also fondly recalled the day they made the leap and we heard story after touching story about how they had “reached their limit”, “were at their wit’s end”, were “desperate”… then they found the answer.

We debated holding off until Christmas but just couldn’t. It turns out that having a few minutes of quiet everyday is vital to someones sanity… so we’ve given in.

So here we are. The day has finally come. The Fisher Price Jumperoo has landed.

Yes. The toy of epic proportions now has pride of place in my living room. Do I resent it? NOT AT ALL. This gharish and noisy contraption is legendary. This is the holy grail of baby products; the most iconic baby toy in the UK. Dexter first had a play on one at the BabyShow and mums were literally tripping over themselves to tell Craig and I how fabulous it was. Yes, mummy’s were just standing by the Fisher-Price stall admiring the pre-schooler’s at play and lovingly recalling their experience with the product. It was such a lifesaver for them, they felt compelled to share their views with us. If the mums didn’t have their distraught-looking partners in tow, I might have even questioned whether it was staged.

Our first few hours were spent with Dexter exploring the various light displays and play-centre’s the Jumperoo has to offer. He had the odd cry – who wouldn’t? – He’s finally getting to play using his feet and this takes some getting used to. As soon as he got the hang of it, he was bouncing, giggling and bashing the hell out of it. I’m reliably informed (if I’m to believe 95% of the reviews on the web), this product will be good for another year and a half. It’s tough, durable, and boredom-resistant.

After 5 hours with the beast, the noise just fades into the background and I can still hear the banal nasally arguments on The Real Housewives of New York just fine. Result!

Mums of the UK – hear my cry… BUY THIS BAD BOY! It’s “transformed” my life. Oh and the car comment is real – just look

Who is the Boss in your house?


This weekend I skulked around Dexter’s nursery watching my Craig settle Dexter to sleep. I wasn’t spying I was having a ‘mummy moment’ and watching my boys having a cuddle. Dexter was fighting sleep and crying and Craig was soothing him. In response to Dexter’s whinging, Craig joked:

Come on mate. You’re not the boss of this house. There’s only one boss here and that’s mummy. She’s makes all the decisions, then it’s daddy’s job to pay for them

I grimaced. I know Craig was joking as he’s so rarely serious. He’s unoffical king of the one-liners and it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with him. But this one made me stop and think. I snuck away and mulled it over. It made me contemplate my role in our household

I really don’t see myself as bossy. I’m independent, strong-minded and occasionally sharp-tongued, but I’m mostly fair. I don’t make most of the decisions either. The truth is both of us are dire at making decisions. If we have to pick a restaurant, excursion or holiday, we both spend more time deciding than enjoying the actual treat. He surely wasn’t referring to this.

But then I glanced over to Dexter’s toy box and it struck me. Most of the the toys in that box, were chosen by me. The ELC sit-me-up cosy I was so insistent upon, but is rarely used; the Lamaze Spin and Explore that I was so convinced Dexter would enjoy. To the side of the sofa is Dexter’s Christmas box – it’s full to the brim with little bargains I’ve spotted online.

Then there’s his nursery. I chose and bought all the bedding and decorations without even consulting Craig. Even the canvasses on the wall. I bought them, chose the pictures, and hung them when Craig was at work to surprise him. In fact, I seem to have had a hand in every design / purchase decision in this house.

I’m not saying I buy everything – Far from it! Craig manages our household bills and keeps a roof over our head. He’s the only one with an Amazon account (which is probably a good thing) and I’m constantly sending him links of things to buy. He’s also forever running out in the van to collect something I’ve purchased locally from eBaby. If it’s a ‘big’purchase (furniture etc), we always sit down and talk about it – but the final choice is usually mine.

I will admit to being a ‘marketer’s dream’. I’m known to read magazines and put post it’s on pages with sites to check out, things to buy, and inspiration. Similarly, If I see anything innovative that appears to solve a parenting problem, I have to have it. Having said that I usually pay for these things myself so Craig doesn’t know a thing about it until it’s in the cupboard / toybox. I’m not a spendaholic though as I’m also quite disciplined. I have a ‘wish list’ of things I’m coveting but can’t afford. I know one day I’ll get them. It’s just a case of prioritising and waiting for the January sales. To be honest – with all the fantastic discount codes around, I can’t remember the last time I paid the full price for anything!

So I guess you could say, I am a boss of sorts. Far from being sad about this realisation. I’m actually quite comforted by it. Craig’s little quip is actually quite ‘telling’. He sees me as homemaker and avid parent ‘researcher’. He trusts my decisions and is happy to make the expensive ones happen financially. I’d go so far as to say that Craig enjoys providing us with things when budget allows. He is also a nurturing and loving daddy. If I’ve suggested a toy that claims to “promote motor skills and hand / eye coordination”, he won’t question it, we’ll buy it and both get on our hands and knees on the floor to help Dexter get the most out if it.

I don’t often think too deeply about my role in the home. I tend to just get on with it. Craig’s role is much more defined and structured – he’s the glue that keeps us all together. If he likes to see me as the boss, I don’t feel that’s a bad thing. All in all – we are quite the team.

Dear Dexter


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)


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


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.