Featured post

We are Seven

If many more people thought like the child in this poem, the world would be just a little lighter for many bereaved parents as the acknowledgment of every child they created and not just the ones that they still have with them everyday is something many of us crave. 
I’ll forever be a mum of every child I’ve held inside me, not just the ones I can hold tight every day. xxx

We are Seven – William Wordsworth 

—A simple child,That lightly draws its breath,

And feels its life in every limb,

What should it know of death?
I met a little cottage girl:

She was eight years old, she said;

Her hair was thick with many a curl

That clustered round her head.
She had a rustic, woodland air,

And she was wildly clad:

Her eyes were fair, and very fair;

—Her beauty made me glad.
“Sisters and brothers, little maid,

How many may you be?”

“How many? Seven in all,” she said,

And wondering looked at me.
“And where are they? I pray you tell.”

She answered, “Seven are we;

And two of us at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea.
“Two of us in the churchyard lie,

My sister and my brother;

And, in the churchyard cottage, I

Dwell near them with my mother.”
“You say that two at Conway dwell,

And two are gone to sea,

Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,

Sweet maid, how this may be.”
Then did the little maid reply,

“Seven boys and girls are we;

Two of us in the churchyard lie,

Beneath the churchyard tree.”
“You run about, my little maid,

Your limbs they are alive;

If two are in the churchyard laid,

Then ye are only five.”
“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”

The little maid replied,

“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,

And they are side by side.
“My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them.
“And often after sunset, sir,

When it is light and fair,

I take my little porringer,

And eat my supper there.
“The first that died was sister Jane;

In bed she moaning lay,

Till God released her of her pain;

And then she went away.
“So in the churchyard she was laid;

And, when the grass was dry,

Together round her grave we played,

My brother John and I.
“And when the ground was white with snow

And I could run and slide,

My brother John was forced to go,

And he lies by her side.”
“How many are you, then,” said I,

“If they two are in heaven?”

Quick was the little maid’s reply,

“O master! we are seven.”
“But they are dead; those two are dead!

Their spirits are in heaven!”

‘Twas throwing words away; for still

The little maid would have her will,

And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

William Wordsworth

International Bereaved Mother’s Day Sunday 7th May 2017 – send a thought to those who pop into your mind, they’ll appreciate it xxx
To read my last blog, click here 

Featured post

Never Ending Cycle of Life

There are so many special events throughout a lifetime for your children, the day they begin to talk, when they start school, move to high school, graduate university, get engaged, get married, have children; the list is literally endless but for Millie, she was never even given the chance to get started.

I am so proud of my little baby girl, I am so proud that she came into my life and I got to see her smile, I got to hear her laugh, I got to see her wiggle her little bum when she was dancing. I am so proud of everything that she was and I hate saying that as I want to still be saying that I am so proud of everything that she is, but I can’t because she is gone.

I am genuinely sat here in tears whilst I am writing this because as I am writing, I am flicking through video footage of Millie and once again I can her laugh, I can see her gorgeous smile appearing and I am watching her little bum wiggle and I miss every tiny cell of her body, it tears me apart that Dan and I created this amazing little human being and she was ripped from us in an instant and we never even got a chance to say goodbye.

Led in front of me right now, is our newest little addition, little Leo and he is fast asleep and I can hear him breathing and every breath I hear come from him is a treasure to me, only a parent who has lost a child will understand that. I want all the things for Leo that I wanted for Millie, that has not changed, what has changed is how I think. I try not to imagine Leo growing up and experiencing all these things that Millie missed out on because , for my own sanity, I have to concentrate on one day at a time and cherish whatever Leo is doing on each and every separate day.

For 2 years, Dan and I haven’t done birthdays or Christmas, we couldn’t face it. I couldn’t face going out and looking for presents for my family and friends, especially the children. The pull from my heart to my eyes strengthened so much if I even thought about trying to shop for child; my heart made my thoughts turn into tears. This wasn’t just for the younger children, this was for the older ones too – I couldn’t face looking at things that I was never going to be able to buy for my daughter, toys that I would never be able to see my daughter play with or clothes that she could never wear.

This year though, we are attempting it, for Leo’s sake – to ensure his normality of life is there as he grows up. We seem to be doing ok so far. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy, I still cry, I still come home with headaches because I have tried to buy someone something and it has stressed me out so much because my head has been in a totally different place. This week it has been a set of twin relatives eighteenth birthday , two absolutely gorgeous, articulate and intelligent girls and we went to their 18th birthday party. Looking at them hurts, it hurts that I will never ever see my little girl turn into this beautiful woman who is so excited for her 18th birthday party, a party that I can never throw for her. It hurts that I can’t see her get excited about passing her driving test or take her to look around universities (that’s if she wanted to go), see that’s the thing , I will never know if she wanted to go into further academia, she might have just wanted to throw a rucksack on an go travelling and to be honest , she could have done exactly as she had pleased and I wouldn’t have tried to stop her, because all I wanted for her was to be happy and enjoy her life.

Then it comes to the dad’s to look so proud – hearing their dad talk about them with so much pride in his voice , so ecstatic that his daughter’s have grown up to be polite, stunning and amazing human beings. You don’t know how much that hurts me as a mum, it hurts me because I know it hurts Millie’s daddy, I can see the pain in his eyes when he sees things like this, I know that his heart is breaking and all he wants to do is stand there and cry, just like I do. I detest the fact that I cannot do anything to ease my husband’s broken heart, to stop him feeling this excruciating pain. We have sadly learnt how to keep our poker face on now in the moment, the tears stay put until we get home. Mine came in the shower later.

Just over 12 months ago, one of my truly best friend’s got married, I’ve known her for close to 20 years and when I have needed her, she has been there supporting me every step of the way. At her wedding I was one of her bridesmaids and I was genuinely honoured to have been asked by her, as (I don’t actually know if she knows this) I have never been a bridesmaid before. When she asked me, of course I said yes, there was nothing to even think about. Later that night, I cried, I cried so many tears because I knew that my daughter would have taken my place if she was still here, I know she would have been a little flower girl/bridesmaid tottering down the aisle, stealing my place of a bridesmaid from me, but that would have been OK, she would have been entitled to steal it from me and I would gladly have let her. It was me though as a bridesmaid that day, it was I that was the bridesmaid because my little girl had left us way before her time, before her mummy. It hurt that day, it really did.

HB Wedding Me as a bridesmaid with Dan, (the eyes say more than the smile here)

But back to proud dads. My friend kept completely to tradition that day and kept her dad away until she was ready, until she was ready to show him what a beautiful bride she was (she really was).

He walked through the door; the look on his face when he looked at her, the look that he couldn’t believe that this stunning bride was his daughter, his little girl – that it probably didn’t feel like two minutes ago that he was teaching her to read, to ride a bike and to tie her shoelaces. But here she was, all grown up, ready to create this whole little new family and become someone’s wife.  It’s really funny because this was such a lovely moment, it really was and I will never forget that split second look on his face as he beamed his “proud dad” smile for the first time at seeing his daughter in her wedding dress. The reason it’s funny? Because this was like a dagger to my heart for Dan, it didn’t affect me as much when the mother of the bride was in the room, it was the dad. All I could think about was how Dan was never ever going to get this moment with his precious daughter, how he was never ever going to do that “proud dad” smile as he saw his daughter in her wedding dress for the first time. It hurts me more when I know Dan is suffering because we lost Millie. I blame myself, I know I shouldn’t because it wasn’t my fault but your head does crazy things to you, my head makes me think, well if Dan had never met me or married me then he would never have had to go through this pain. I know, it’s stupid because we could never in our wildest nightmares have predicted what happened to Millie but it doesn’t stop your brain thinking it.

The closest we ever got to seeing Millie in anything remotely similar to a wedding dress was at her christening and I am so glad that her great-granny bought her this amazing gown, she looked absolutely gorgeous in it, I am sure that you will agree.

SAM_1618

I know that this is going to be a never ending cycle, there will always be something that will be coming up that Millie should be involved in or that Millie should be doing. People like to say that “it must get easier” – for your information it doesn’t get easier in the slightest, you just learn to live with it. The pain is still exactly the same, the same as what is was on 23rd October 2012, just after 1pm when I found out Millie had passed but there are tricks that you learn, tricks that you learn to use to in front of other people and to be honest, a lot of the time, the tricks are to benefit you, not us …..

Follow Joanne on Twitter: @joannet1985

We got his hair cut … finally

Well Leo, with the help of a very lovely young man at Famous Henry’s on Turves Road in Cheadle Hulme, today we managed to get your hair cut 🙈.

Up until about 5 or 6 months ago, Leo didn’t mind this but recently he just won’t let anyone go near it and it has driven me mad. We’ve tried various places but nothing seemed to work, I didn’t know what we were going to do.

So, I called the Barbers and explained that I had a toddler who was really struggling every time we tried to get it done and they said, “bring him down and we’ll see what we can do” I said, we’d pop in during early evening as I had to get home from work and Dan and I would take Leo down together as it’s a 2 man/woman job and with myself being 8 months pregnant, there is no way that I could handle him if he tried to escape from us!

Have you seen the Millie’s Trust wish list?

We headed on down there expecting the worse, a huge tantrum, screaming and the tears … what we didn’t expect was some extremely lovely barbers who talked to him, calmed him down and worked with us parents to make this as best of an experience as we all could.

We did have the tears, don’t get me wrong … and they were proper tears whilst holding daddy’s hand, the barber talking to him and mummy playing with toys in front of him attempting to get him looking straight ahead. Those tears, are totally heartbreaking!

Follow my blog on Facebook

But between all three of us and discovering that it’s the noises of the clippers in the shop that he didn’t like …. we managed to get a smile through the tears and a gorgeous little haircut …

Don’t give up mummies and daddies if you’re struggling with the haircuts … you’ll get there, we have 😀

Thank you Famous Henrys xxx

Update: The barber’s name is Warren 😀

Follow me on Instagram

Book Christmas party tickets here

We have some news!!!

October will see us into Millie’s 5th anniversary and December will see our charity turn 5 years old. We honestly cannot believe that it has been 5 years since we last saw our daughter’s gorgeous smile or heard her stunning laugh.

We could never have imagined when we started Millie’s Trust that it would grow so fast and gain so much support. I remember the first training kit delivery we had and then a few months later the manikins being sat at our dining room table. It was at that point that we decided that we needed to find an office to build the charity from. Within a couple of months we had our first office space, a few months later we expanded into next door and in July 2014 we moved to our current head office venue to create an internal training room and hire some

staff!

Follow me on Instagram

Well, things are changing again. We’ve grown tremendously over the past few years and we’ve been after a bigger venue or a second venue to create more training space.

Follow my blog on Facebook

A couple of days ago, we completed on a second venue in Cheadle Hulme Precinct, not far at all from where we had our short and happy time with our daughter – it feels like a mark of respect to her on her 5th anniversary to be opening near her home – because the whole charity has been built on her and the legacy she has left behind.

After a very stressful few weeks trying to complete, we finally got the keys! Yippee!

Check out our wish list here

Now we are on a tight deadline of 4 weeks to furnish and set up the venue before we officially have an open day on Saturday 14th October 2017 – I cannot believe this has all fallen in the final part of my

pregnancy, talk about stressful!

The venue will give us opportunity to host even more qualification courses, new courses and my own personal favourite, more courses for children!

We are very excited about our new premises opening and we hope to see lots of you there for the opening day and popping in to see us and may be pick up some Millie’s Trust goodies.

We cannot thank every that has supported us over this past, nearly 5 years as you have helped our charity thrive and be able to continue to grow and provide life saving courses.

With the new office opening, we’ve decided to upon a wish list up on AMAZON with office supplies on that we will need for our new place. This is your opportunity to purchase something directly for Millie’s Trust to use rather than a donation as we know some people like to do this. If you’d like to take a look to see what is on our wish list click here, you can purchase things on it starting at just less than £2!

Come and visit us some time soon!

Read Toilet training adventures blog here!

It doesn’t go away.

The schools are back again this week and so are all the first day at school, moving up a year, first day at secondary school etc photos on social

media and they are all so lovely and I genuinely do love seeing them but I only take a fleeting look as otherwise the tears will begin to fall.

Last year Millie should have started primary school. We know where she would have gone, we know she would have thrived there … except she never took her first step through the door.

I stupidly thought it wouldn’t hurt this year, it does though. It’s never going to go away. The what ifs, the lost school plays, the blank pages of her life. It’s so painful to handle.

And then I had the miscarriage. Am I going to feel the same when that baby should have started school, moved up a year, gone to college? I’m guessing so. The miscarriage wasn’t just something that goes away, we gave the baby a name that no one knows and I’ll carry it in my heart forever.

I know that we’ll be the proud parents when Leo starts school in a couple of years, it will be an utterly scary time for us – more so than other parents but we’ll do it and we’ll be posting the pictures just like every other parent. We’ll cry, I’ll be tortured not being with him all the time but he has to grow and become whatever and whoever he wants to become and we’re not going to put anything in the way to stop that.

Enjoy taking your photos and showing your precious treasures to the world, you should be so proud, you made those little people.

But,

If you have a friend or acquaintance that you know has lost a baby, child, pregnancy and they should be overcoming a huge milestone like starting school this week, drop them a text, let them know that you’re thinking of them.

Even if they do seem strong on the outside, they’re not. Trust me xxx

To read my short blog from when Millie should’ve started school last year – click here

To see the next available Emergency First Aid at Work courses in Stockport with Millie’s Trust – click here

Toilet training adventures with a two year old!

Three weeks ago we entered the murky world of toilet training and we’d been told all the horror stories and we were prepared for the worst, at least we thought we were.

This is quite a long blog … so keep with me if you want to see what’s it’s been like toilet training my 2 and a half year old boy Leo. I promise that it’s worth the read.

I’d read some things about what to do, what not to do, how to reward, how to encourage him … to be honest it was an absolute minefield & there is so much conflicting information but we went for it anyway with all this info in the back of my mind and my plan was just to pick out and use bits of it once we worked out what Leo had in mind!

We had planned to do this back in April, but I was far too ill with my pregnancy and I was in bed an awful lot and I didn’t think it was fair to leave it for Dan to do pretty much on his own, that would have been far too stressful and unfair on him.

To be honest, I’m glad we didn’t as I think this was the perfect time to start with Leo, at 2 years and 5 months, he was showing all the signs. Uncomfortable in his nappy when wet, pulling at his pants and telling us that he was doing a wee in his nappy.

For many months Leo has been following us into the bathroom and shouting “wee wee” whilst we were in there, so he had worked out what the bathroom is used for at this point – so this was a good start.

So, we stocked up on underpants, wipes, stickers and made sure we had something to clean the carpet with 😂.

Lessons we learnt in just the first day 🙈

1) You need far more underpants than you could ever anticipate (cue last minute trip to the supermarket) 

2) Daddy needs to learn not to tickle Leo and make him laugh during this process (wet floor incident) 

3) Do not purchase a variation of cartoon characters on underpants because when you put one on – they want another character on within minutes (Totally went wrong mixing paw patrol with diggers and monsters and animals) 

4) Don’t underestimate your child actually liking sitting on the potty – this afternoon must have resulted in at least 15 sessions on the potty just because he discovered he got to pull his underpants up and down if he sat there … resulting in absolutely nothing in the potty at all. 

All in all, a pretty successful day ending in Leo realising that he knows when he’s going to need a wee and rushing for the potty… oh and an underpant wash cycle …

The following days ….

The next three days were spent with at least one of us at home with Leo as we had decided he needed to be able to tell us properly without all the extra visits to the toilet, that he needed to go before we ventured out.

These three days then consisted of us being up and down, up and down I don’t know how many times with false alarms with him.

Many times he’d sit on the potty for a

micro second and then say “done!” – it actually drove us a little mad but you can’t not risk letting him go on the potty because that will be the one time that it ends up all over you sofa!

Follow my blog and our family adventures on Facebook

After about 5 days, we stopped having as many false alarms which was great and probably half of the times he said he needed to go, we actually got something in the potty. By this day we had gone down from about 15 pairs of underpants a day in the first 3 days to about 3 a day, so actually very quickly he stopped dribbling in his pants, which was great for our washing machine as I think it had gotten fed up of being on and wanted to go on strike.

Day 6 … new territory … an outside trip!!! We hadn’t planned this, it just happened to be that I needed to go to hospital to have an ANTI D injection (for those of you that have been lucky enough not to need this during pregnancy, it as an awful injection that can make your arm go really numb and heavy) so Dan & Leo came with me then I didn’t have to drive back with a dodgy arm. So off we went, bag packed with lots of spare clothes & underpants and a thin towel laid on Leo’s car seat; just in case. 20 minutes to the hospital, no accidents and three times whilst I was in my appointment Leo told Dan he needed a wee …..Dan took him to a public toilet all three times and twice he did nothing, but the third time he did 😀😀 success! So it sounds like we are doing well, which we are but keep reading as we had a very public incident that will make you either laugh or cringe!

Very quickly Leo was happy doing number ones and numbers twos in the potty and he’d also taken to liking going on the actual toilet in the bathroom (with one of the toddler seats hooked over the top). Although we have had to be very strict that he only flushed the loo when he had actually deposited something in there as we discovered that he kept asking to sit on it and jumping off within a couple of minutes because he liked to watched the water spinning around the toilet and saying bye bye to it! Cute the first few times, but not the twentieth false alarm – especially when mummy is heavily pregnant and is suffering from Sciatica and SPD!

Hand washing he likes to do anyway as we’ve already got him used to doing that a long time ago. He’s quite happy to hop off the toilet, flush it, put some squirty soap on and then dry his hands on the towel. In fact, he’s a bit fussy and doesn’t like not to dry his hands!!!

So fast forward quite a few days and he’s doing really well, asking us to go for a wee wee or a poo poo and most of the time he was spot on and he needed to go! I did keep wondering how we were going to get around he fact that he liked to take his shoes, socks, trousers and underpants off if he went to the toilet – how was this going to work in the outside world? Hmmm …. to be honest, he eventually got bored and this habit dwindled away.

My friend Sarah (hi Sarah) recommended a specific potty to us , check it out here on Argos, it’s great for travelling about with as it has a lid on and a lock so you can keep hold of what you need to until you can dispose of it! Again, Leo took to it really well and decided he liked to carry it around. I’d already decided that Leo wasn’t just going to tell me that he needed a wee there and then so I would have to get the potty out there and then in the middle of a shop or restaurant, I personally think that you might as well teach them properly all in one go and that includes teaching them that they may have to hold on for a few minutes until you get to a bathroom. So even though, we had this Potty with us, we made him come to the public toilets with us and then he’d decide whether to hop on a toilet or use his potty in the toilets – and it’s worked!

For anyone who knows my local Tesco (if you don’t, it’s a double story superstore) twice in the past week Leo has let us get all the way upstairs and to the back and then told us he needs a wee and we have to come all the way back down, leave the trolley with security and nip into the front of the store to let him have a wee; but he’s told us and got there with no accidents.

Millie’s Trust price increase for all soft toys, level 3 Paediatric First Aid courses, first aid kits &a much more kicks in on 1st October due to VAT registration. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE NOW before the increase! (Limited edition soft toys included)

Let’s talk about accidents. Well actually, rewards first. So if Leo got to the potty on time and did something, he got a sticker of his choice and we just used the side of the door in the living room so we could watch them build up – three weeks in though and he’s now no longer interested in getting them.

Accidents, we’ve obviously had a few – but not actually as many as we had expected. Apart from the first few days when he would wee right through his clothes, most have been missed potty pee and if a bit ends up on the floor, he really doesn’t like it when that happens, he gets upset.

Then we had the park incident.

🙈.

He’d been absolutely brilliant, so Leo and I had gone over to our friends in Didsbury whilst Dan painted the nursery and we decided to go to park. For around an hour in my friend’s house, Leo kept going to the potty and saying he needed a number 2 … but it never appeared. I decided that we couldn’t just stay in all day waiting, so we decided to risk it at the park. We walked around and everything was going well until about 30 minutes in and he shot me a look from the top of the slide and shouted “poooooo” and it was extremely obvious what he was doing with the face he was pulling and I could just not get to him on time. In just those few seconds, he had completely filled his pants and it was all over his legs. What was I to do? I had absolutely no choice but to strip him there and then, there was absolutely no chance that I was going to be able to get him in anywhere without getting myself covered in, well, you know what! So I stripped him, his trousers went into a carrier bag, I actually threw his underpants away in another bag into the bin as I could not face the drive home confined in a car space with that smell, half a packet of wipes later, underpants in the bin and new trousers on – off he went. Phew – could’ve been worse…. It was though, it got worse! Much worse 😂. Within 10 minutes, he did the exact same thing again – he was obviously too excited to be on the park and that was more important than finishing his toilet episode! Cue a repeat of stripping and cleaning and him running back off. 5 minutes later …. AGAIN! You honestly could not have written it and by this point I was actually laughing. What was the point in getting angry or mad ? It wasn’t Leo’s fault and I couldn’t do anythin to stop it. The only difference this time is that I had ran out of wipes and out of trousers 🙈! Luckily my friend had some wipes on her and I had one pair of underpants left … this whole hilarious situation led to Leo walking to the car looking like someone out of The Village People – take a look below 😂

Luckily, it was a warm day, our car was only a few minute walk away and my friend was up for a laugh 😀! I can honestly say that there really is no point in getting stressed out, it’s going to happen & probably in one of the most inconvenient places ever possible! Other mums in the park were just smiling and laughing with me as we just got on with it.

I wasn’t worrying about what anyone was else was thinking about what must have looked like some bizarre comedy sketch because Leo was my priority to get him clean, comfortable and warm again.

There’s absolutely no point in judging other people when you see someone in this situation because you’ve probably already been in it yourself OR you will one day be in it yourself! At least my friend got to see what’s likely to come in 12 months with her son, haha!

So now, we are just over three weeks in and he’s pretty much cracked it. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still having the odd accident here and there – this seems to be when he is excited or really distracted and waits until the last minute to tell us – more so with me because I take longer to get him to be potty as I can’t walk very fast at the moment; but we are pretty much on only 1 pair of underpants a day now 😀!

Follow me on Instagram

And, as an extra bonus, he’s unintentionally pretty much gone dry during the nighttime too. We have stopped him drinking after 6pm and he’s in bed around 7pm and sleeps for about 12 hours and comes running in every morning saying “wee wee” and off he hops straight onto the toilet for a wee. I have put an absorbent sheet on his bed and swapped him to the nighttime pants, which if he wet himself, it would wake him up as he’d be uncomfortable, but so far, no nighttime issues!

So what are my top tips?

1. Don’t stress out about it, there is absolutely no point as it won’t work.

2. Don’t show any anger or disappointment if there are any accidents. We just said “oopsy daisy” or “oh no, you missed, it doesn’t matter, we’ll clean it up” and this has seemed to work. If you get distressed so will your child.

3. If you have a room with no carpet – base your Potty in there as it’s far easier for Operation Clean Up!

4. Have different potty/toilet options if you can – I think this is why it didn’t bother Leo when he needed to go into public loos. We had a normal potty at home, another one in the bathroom that he can use as a step too but this one plays music 🎶 when he did a wee in it and the carry potty – as well as him being able to use the big boy toilet.

5. Definitely invest in stickers as a reward, I know some people have used sweets but we prefer the sticker method. (He also gets a big hi 5 when he wees and this makes him really happy)

6. Underpants – Do not underestimate how many underpants that you will get through in those first few days, hence our emergency dash to the supermarket after getting through 15 pairs on the first day!

7. When you do venture out, don’t forget your potty and lots of spare clothes.

8. Stock up on plenty of wipes and take them EVERYWHERE with you.

9. Big hugs if they get upset when they have an accident.

10. Don’t be embarrassed if what happened to me in the park happens to you, it’s inevitable – it will 🙈. Just get on with it, clean up and start again!

So that’s it, our toilet training journey in just 3 weeks! I’m sure by the time baby arrives he will be an expert and that was the plan, to get him trained now before baby comes into the equation!

I hope you’ve picked a few tips up and Good Luck with your toilet training journey if you’re just starting! I promise, it’s not as bad as some make it out to be xxx

To read my blog, Never Ending Circle of Life, click here

Follow me on Instagram – click here

Follow my blog and our family adventures on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter – search for @millieleosmum

Message about Millie’s Trust

We have unfortunately come to that point where our charity needs to register with the taxman for VAT purposes

As of 1st October 2017, all our merchandise and our Level 3 Paediatric First Aid Courses will have added VAT on top 😞.

We don’t want to increase these prices but we now have to.

If you’re planning on ordering products such as soft toys and first aid kits for Xmas/birthday/celebrations/births over the next few months, you can still purchase without VAT until 30th Sept so please do xxx

Remember the anniversary Giraffes are limited edition and when they are gone, they’re gone x

To purchase products before the price increase – click here

Half way around the world …

Often, parents are brought together and many lovely lifelong friendships are created during this time.

Four years ago today Dan and I were brought together with an amazing family thousands and thousands of miles away in New Zealand – on the anniversary of the loss of their little boy.

What followed has ensured that we have lifelong friends on the other side of the world who sadly know pretty much exactly how Dan and I feel losing Millie.

Follow me on Instagram

Many thousands of you donated to raise money to send Dan and I to New Zealand to meet the Downie-Boytes and I can honestly say from the bottom of my heart, that if we hadn’t visited New Zealand and this family – the chances are is that Leo wouldn’t be here. Before our visit to New Zealand, I had decided that I didn’t want anymore children because I couldn’t go through pain like what we did when we lost Millie. Meeting this family and seeing that they had gone on to have another beautiful boy after the loss of Kory, made me realise that if they could do it, so could we; a few months later – we were expecting our Leo.

Help me get to 10,000 followers on Facebook before Millie’s 5th anniversary

Although, as I write this now, it is the 24th of August in the U.K., New Zealand have already hit the 25th August – which means it is Kory’s anniversary there.

Our hearts are with our lovely friends, his gorgeous family during this time. I wish none of of us had to go through this and none of us experienced this pain or these same feelings on these unforgettable dates.

Friendships can be formed under the most mysterious circumstances, but our babies brought us together for a reason.

Huge hugs to our New Zealand family during this time xxxxx

To read NEVER ENDING CYCLE OF LIFE, CLICK HERE

To read about Kory’s story, click here

Day 1 Potty Training 

Today we started to potty train … we didn’t have a clue what to expect. We’ve waited until Leo’s shown all the signs, waited until we have a few days between us to ensure that we can stay at home through these first few days and stocked up on even more baby wipes than usual. 

Follow me on Instagram – click here 

Lessons we have learnt in just the first day 😂

1) You need far more underpants than you could ever anticipate (cue last minute trip to the supermarket) 

2) Daddy needs to learn not to tickle Leo and make him laugh during this process (wet floor incident) 

3) Don’t buy a variation of cartoon characters on underpants because when you put one on – they want another character on within minutes (Totally went wrong mixing paw patrol with diggers and monsters and animals) 

4) Don’t underestimate your child actually liking sitting on the potty – this afternoon must have resulted in at least 15 sessions on the potty just because he discovered he got to pull his underpants up and down if he sat there … resulting in absolutely nothing in the potty at all. 🙈

All in all, a pretty successful day ending in Leo realising that he knows when he’s going to need a wee and rushing for the potty… oh and an underpant wash cycle …


Day 2 … here we come 😀

Follow my blog on Facebook – click here 

Follow me on Instagram – click here 

To read my previous Blog Crash Course In – Click here 


Take a look at Millie’s Trust Online shop – Click here 

Crash Course in…

Often I find that throwing myself into the deep end works more for me rather than wallowing in the shallow end for a while, in this case it was straight into the deep end for me.

I didn’t learn to swim until I was about 9 years old and I always hated that all my friends could swim but I hadn’t been taught properly. I always felt silly when we started to go swimming with school and I still had to wear armbands. I have never wanted my children to feel like this and so this week, Leo has been taking part in a swimming crash course.

Back in March when I first saw the course advertised, I decided that Leo was still a little young as he had only just turned 2 but a few months ago we decided that the time was right and we were going to get him booked on. So, I contacted Swimabout based in Cheadle Hulme and got him onto the next available crash course. I figured that doing it like this would help Leo’s confidence, my anxiety and Dan’s worries about someone else taking care of our our boy.

I have literally been pulling my hair out every time that I thought about him taking part in this course since I booked it. Many of you know that I have serious issues with other people taking care of Leo – there is literally only a couple of people that we are comfortable leaving Leo with and even then, it’s never longer than a couple of hours and when we are around the corner.

So handing Leo over to a swimming instructor (that we didn’t actually know) and not being in the pool with him was absolute torture for me. Honestly, I often wonder why I put myself in these situations but this was one situation that I wasn’t going to give in to though and so on Monday, this happened…

IMG_0655

This was the first evening…look at his poor little face. I am pretty sure you can imagine what I was like at the moments like these – especially when he was shouting “mama, dada” in between those cries. The idea is that he is in the pool and mummy and daddy aren’t around, so you literally have to ignore the cries. I was sat on the floor, with tears in my eyes listening to him cry but trying to smile at him if he looked at me – I honestly felt like the worst mum in the world. I can imagine him being in the water thinking, why can mummy and daddy see me but they’re not coming to get me when I’m crying?

Millie’s Trust Limited edition Giraffes now available to purchase 

After around 20 minutes, we had our first couple of smiles that lasted a few minutes but then he started again. Cue mummy tears again.

We do take Leo swimming when we can and he swims in the pools on holiday but he always clings on to us and to be honest, we of course let him, why wouldn’t we? No parent wants to see their baby upset and we know that we are even more likely to let him cling on as long as he wants; but this is why we needed this course – the intention was that it was going to benefit all three of us in one clean sweep.

Learning to swim is obviously something extremely important for a child and it’s something that we should all know how to do, as well as being enjoyable and healthy for you, it’s a potential lifesaving skill.

So day 2. Talking to Leo about going in the pool again before we went and he is all excited and laughing in the car and can’t wait to get there – shouting “pool” in the back of the car … although it was a completely different story when he actually realised that we were back at the same place again. Dan putting his Swimfin on resulted in pretty much a full on break down at the side of the pool because Leo must have realised that he was actually getting into the water again and without mummy and daddy. Dan put him on the side of the pool and .. well check out the photo, I think that pretty much says it all – not impressed at all about being plonked there.

IMG_0706

This night didn’t get any better. In fact, he pretty much cried the whole way through the session. Well, I say cry – there wasn’t any really tears – just lots of noise and a very uncooperative child. Let’s just say day 2 was a write off.

Day 3 and we have an excited child again – until Dan hit the changing room and major meltdown Operation Leo commenced, although by the time he made it to by the swimming pool edge, he had calmed down a little and was saying “pool, pool” and actually wanting to get in. Could this be the night it all changed? Actually Leo did pretty well, there were a lot more smiles and a lot less noise. He was still pretty grumpy, although that’s more than likely to be because he doesn’t like being told what to do by anyone.

Leo had some time with Simon this evening who runs the classes. I’m not sure what he actually says to the children when he is with them but he is like a child whisperer and they stop screaming – amazing.  Look at how he has Leo concentrating and listening to him in this photo – I don’t actually think that he has ever concentrated that much on anything that Dan nor I have ever said to him.

IMG_0651

 

 

At the end of the pool time, we asked if he enjoyed it and wanted to come back tomorrow …. Result.. see the cheeky smile behind his hand.

IMG_0712

Day 4… Well, we ended up being late to the lesson unfortunately due to a huge traffic jam on the motorway coming back from the 999 day that we’d been at. Leo didn’t actually have time to realise where he was before he was changed and in the pool with the teacher again and once he did, he made a lot of noise. At this point we were actually thinking oh no, is it going backwards again? Then the Child Whisperer started to talk to him again and lo and behold, the noise stopped and the smiles started, enough for me to get him smiling in some photos whilst he was in the pool which I hadn’t really managed all week. Smiling Leo led to a happy mummy and daddy.

IMG_0675

Final evening ….. What a turnaround in just a few days, he has gone from screaming and clinging on to the instructors to not minding being in the pool without mummy and daddy, being a little way from the instructors playing with toys in the pool and laughing and smiling.

I’m not sure Leo knew what to make of the bike that was made for him out of noodles judging by the look on his face below – but I thought it was a great way to get his hands off the instructors and onto something else, completely fab for his confidence building in the water.

IMG_0657
The lessons had so much going on in them, it was great for the children, especially the younger ones that by the end of the week didn’t have much time to think about whether they should be crying or not. Ducks, bouncy castles, balls, shark fins, noodles and lovely swimming instructors to keep Leo distracted enough to smile pretty much through his final session of the week. 

So as you can see, Leo had us all smiling by the end of the week. It was nothing but torturous for the first few days and handing our son over to a complete stranger had both of us pretty much in pieces as it was the first time (apart from a small hospital operation when he was younger- click here to read this ) that we had done this. The instructor obviously didn’t know any of this, so it was really good for us to see just how great he was with all the children – not just Leo.

Next step is that we are going to continue to take Leo swimming over the summer and carry on with some of the things that we learnt to do with Leo in the pool to improve his confidence and then to get Leo booked onto regular swimming lessons when the new term starts in September and we will of course be booking with Swimabout – why would we choose anywhere else when we have discovered that the child whisperer runs it? 🙂

Click here to follow my blog on Facebook 

Follow me on Instagram here

Seriously though,  all the instructors were fabulous with the children and it really did worry us that Leo was pretty much one of the youngest though – but we had nothing to worry about in the end and it all worked out fabulous.

For anyone who is debating whether to do this type of crash course, don’t think about it – get it booked, you worn regret it. X . 

Follow Swimabout on Facebook here

To read a previous blog Kisses for Big Sister…click here 

Take a peek at this video clip so you can see he actually did enjoy it! 😀

*Please note no payment or services have been taken in exchange for any businesses mentioned in this blog. Views are my own.*

Click here to purchase Millie’s Trust limited edition 5 year anniversary Giraffe – only 300 left