Sometimes I don’t need to explain why I fall in love with a photo ….. You just need to look at it …
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A little boy went missing in our local area today. I heard the news on Facebook as I walked into Tesco to buy my lovely friend some baby clothes for her impending baby… I shared the post on Millie’s Trust Facebook three times to try and catch a big audience whilst I scanned the news to see if they had found him … In about 15 minutes, my posts had been shared over 5,000 times – how amazing is social media for spreading news like that when people need help?
I didn’t even make it to the baby section when I saw that the little boy was still missing … I bought Leo some water and a snack, put buying the clothes off, walked straight back out of Tesco and headed 5 minutes down the road to where this little 3 year old had gone missing …. I felt sick thinking about the possibility of another mum and dad going through the devastating news of their baby not coming home, I felt like I had to help; so I headed on up there.
Driving around the area for 10 minutes scanning all around whilst police cars flew around and passing people who were clearly searching for this little boy, I clocked one of my friends (Hi Lisa!) running up the street and I knew instantly that she was looking for him too.
Pulling up to speak to her, I was just about to get Leo out of the car to join Lisa when the news came through that this little man had been found safe and sound. The relief across both mine and Lisa’s faces was instant and we didn’t even know this little boy.
I logged back on and updated the Facebook statuses to let people know that he had been found safe and sound and that’s when I noticed that these posts had been shared over 5,000 times combined in such a space of time. I was absolutely gobsmacked and then I started to read some of the comments and what was awe striking was the amount of people that I came across making comments saying they were helping to look or they were heading on up there when they heard the news that he had been found or simply shared the Facebook posts to allow other people in the area to know to be alert and to keep their eyes open. The way that communities pull together at times of need is absolutely fantastic and I find it so inspiring that so many people who don’t know one another can come together and help.
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There’s no judgement to be on anyone regarding this situtaion because no one knows what happened and I wouldn’t listen to any rumours because they probably aren’t true anyway.
What this story has done is show once again how quickly children can leave your sight without your realising and it’s a harsh reminder about ensuring you are watching your children all the time. No excuses.
You all know that I count my blessings with Leo every single second of every single day not only because he is our son but because he is our rainbow after losing our Mills.
So, after a little catch up with Lisa, Leo and I headed back to Tesco to finish what I had set out to do an hour earlier, purchase some cute baby clothes. I had dejavu walking back in there, I think I even parked in the same spot – which was weird when I realised that when we came back out of Tesco later.
Before we left Tesco though, I met someone that told me a story. We got talking about the baby clothes that I was purchasing and she asked if I had any other children other than my little boy in the pram. As I always do, I responded with “yes, I have a daughter who passed away at 9 months old and she should be 4 now” The lady looked at me and before she even said it, I knew. She looked straight at me and said I’ve got a child that died too – a boy who was 15, he died from Meningitis and he donated his organs and was the first heart transplant at Wythenshawe hospital.
Wow. Total respect from me straight there from me to this mum. I’ve noticed a lot nowadays that when I meet someone who has lost a child, those words “I’m sorry” are very rarely said because we don’t need to – there’s like an unspoken language between parents who have lost children. There’s that problem again, no word for me to use to refer to someone who has lost a child because there isn’t one powerful enough to exist or describe the pain that a parent suffers over the loss of a child.
Anyway, I told this lady that we tried to donate Millie’s organs too but we weren’t allowed because she had to have a post mortem done. We went through the whole administrative procedure (which is extremely long and intrusive but I totally understand why it needs to be like this) but we were then informed that we were unable to donate Millie’s organs which was a very sad blow to us; but we tried.
This lady today mentioned that her daughter followed our charity and I hope that she sees this blog so that she can see how much I respect her just through that small conversation that we had today with one another. I did also let her know that we taught all about meningitis to everyone who comes on our 1 or 2 day courses, she seemed pleased to hear this and told me that her daughter campaigns heavily about Meningitis in her brother’s memory.
And for my little dude, as you can see below – today just got all too much for him and he just had to put his head down to rest! 😍
This is just really a big shout out to remember to hold your children tight whenever you can and keep giving them hugs and keep telling them that you love them even when they think that they are too old! They’re never too old 😉.
I’ve not quite been able to put my finger on why I haven’t been feeling myself for this past week or so.
I’ve been in a bit of a dream world half of the time, I’ve cried a lot, restless sleep and I’ve been finding a lot of comfort recently visiting Millie’s sleeping place more than usual. The past few times I’ve headed on down there with Leo and he has been so good. We just sit down now and he sits playing with the toys around her headstone and he is obessed with me blowing bubbles – he hands me the bottles all the time, although today I tricked him into thinking he was actually blowing the bubbles and he was laughing his head off.
I’ve never thought this before but it probably looks really strange to other people to see a young woman sat with a toddler playing and laughing at a resting place – in particular to newcomers to the cemetery.
Anyway, back to the start of this blog. I know what it is now … It’s nursery graduations! Who knew? I didn’t even know they even did these but my timeline has been flooded by children at the age of what Millie should be now, ‘graduating’ from nursery/pre school.
We’ve not had a milestone for a while and we knew the starting school one was coming up, we obviously knew when but this whole graduating nursery has just thrown me for six because it was truly unexpecte!
I’m not saying this is a bad thing, of course it isn’t – it’s an absolutely wonderful thing for young children and their parents to experience together at this stage of their early life and so cute.
Although I have to admit though I have to scroll past extremely quickly and not look; I’m pretty sure that my friends and family will completley understand why I have to do this.
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It’s not the actual event, not at all. It’s the lack of preparation that I had before I saw these because as I said earlier, I didn’t even know these events happened until this past week or so. Maybe I have seen similar photographs before in previous years but not really registered what they were until it has become the time for Millie to have been doing it.
Now the whole starting school thing in September which Millie should have been doing in just a few weeks time, well, I’ve been gearing up for a long time for this.
In my head that it is
I know it’s coming. I know exactly what date Millie would be starting at the school she would have gone to. I know what shops to avoid so I don’t see these lovely little kiddies that would have been Millie’s class mates buying their school uniform and getting all excited. I know anyone who knows where we lived when we sadly lost Millie will know exactly which school uniform she should be wearing in September.
I’m getting prepared. I know in my head what dates I will be coming off my personal social media so I can avoid (I know, I know – avoidance is not the answer, but for me this time it is) any photos of kiddies on their first day at school. I come off social media at these milestones because I want everyone else to carry on as normal, I don’t want people thinking they are going to upset us if they post a photo – it’s part of being a parent, you want to show your child off and I totally understand this and I think that’s it’s lovely. So the easiest thing, is for me to break away for a few weeks which is exactly what I will do and when I’m ready … I will go back to my friend’s pages and look at the precious photographs that they took of their children smiling on their first day at school in their school uniform … But in my own time. (And I always do).
I know that I don’t want to be around the schools when they go back , I can’t bear to see mums walking their children to school when they go back – in fact, I think I just need to hibernate!
Millie’s class (what should have been) will have our little girl missing when they start this year, they should all have another friend that they should be getting to know and all these gorgeous little people should all be Millie’s friends but they won’t be, because many of them won’t even know that she even exists and I find that extremely sad.
I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. That’s not why I am writing this blog.
I don’t want people to stop posting photos of nursery graduations or first day at school photographs. I’m not asking you to do that and I wouldn’t want you to.
I’m just writing about what I’ve figured out what has been making me sad without me actually knowing in the past few weeks because this happens a lot and it takes a while to work out what has triggered it.
I’m writing this to remind you that you may have a friend or family member that is experiencing the same kind of troubles and they might not actually realise it either, not yet but they will.
Just remember to drop them a quick text, a quick call or a big hug because believe me, they really need it right now and in particular when the schools start to go back – give them a little thought of rememberance, I promise you that they will thank you for your acknowledgement that their baby should be starting school.
So to the parents who’s little ones have just left their nurseries, pre schools; your photos are gorgeous. Keep clicking away and recording every moment possible with your children and showing them off to the world because they are all extremely beautiful.
To everyone who is thinking – aaagghhhh 6 weeks of summer holidays … The kids are going to drive me crazy; just remember me and every other mum that would give anything to have our kids driving us crazy and remember, it’s only 6 weeks – just a tiny dot in your life. I read something online recently where. the author was saying “I wish people who didn’t have kids would saying stop complaining about the summer holidays and making me feel guilty”… Well, I am going to do just that, I am going to make you have a niggling guilt because Dan and I and thousands of other parents would give our right arm to be spending some extra time with our children this summer and we can’t.
I hope that you have enjoyed the sunshine today … I believe that the weather people have said that it’s going to be here for a couple of days! We had a lovely day starting off with Leo having his first football lesson 😍 …. Visiting a lovely little shy reindeer called Millie at Blithbury Reindeer Lodge …
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I probably should have gone to see someone at 5am this morning when I was awake crying in pain … But I avoided going as I didn’t want to spoil Leo’s first football lesson and the reindeer visit! (A total parent thing to do… Putting your kids in front of your own pain 😘) All sorted now though, sat at home on the sofa on painkillers…😥
Enjoy the sunshine whilst it lasts X
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Daddy seems to be having lots of fun with Leo’s hair, this is tonight’s effort … ❤️ it.
Sometimes I wish so much that I could freeze time when I see smiles like this from my gorgeous boy … Time is going way too fast and my little baby has already turned into a little boy and before I know it, I’ll blink and he’ll be a handsome young man leaving school.
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Every day Leo is learning to say something new or doing something new.
I had a count yesterday of roughly how many words he can say already and we are on about 15 … It doesn’t seem 2 minutes ago that he was saying his first word, before we know it – he’s going to be bossing us around.
Time stops for no one, so make sure that you make the most of every single moment that you have with people that you love and make memories in everything that you do.
If you are coming to our fun day in August (see advert below) – don’t forget to book your child in for a place to make a chocolate pizza with the fabulous Oliver’s Chocolate parties, click here to book
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I don’t normally blog about what’s going on with the charity at all – as the blog is my personal journey outside of what we do with Millie’s Trust big today’s official announcement from the government is far too important not to blog about and it is of course part of our personal journey!
Many of you guys at the back end of 2013 and throughout 2014 made the effort to sign the petition that we started following Millie’s Inquest – to raise the standards of paediatric first aid in nursery.
You guys were fabulous and over 103,000 people signed our petition, which triggered a debate which in turn led to the announcement of Millie’s Mark and a change in paediatric first aid with regards to newly qualified staff and we have been waiting for so many months to finally be able to talk properly about it and TODAY IS THE DAY!!
This morning Minister Sam Gyimah formally announced the creation of Millie’s Mark at a conference that I am about (nerves of steel here) to speak at. (3pm on Friday 1st of July – if you’re reading this blog after that time, I’ve already spoken 😀).
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This is is it!!! This is official logo of Millie’s Mark – going forward this is what parents need to be looking for in nurseries to ensure staff are trained in paediatric first aid.
Please note this logo is trademarked and is NOT ALLOWED to be used on a premises without the nursery applying for and achieving the mark
Please note this logo is trademarked and is NOT ALLOWED to be used on a premises without the nursery applying for and achieving the mark
Below is the official photo of the announcement – this is a new mascot, called Millie and if you look closely on her t-shirt, you can see the official logo for the Mark.
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We have worked so hard to make this a reality and a legacy for our daughter, that today seems a bit surreal and I am sure that when we launch the first awarded nursery it will feel even more surreal. (The Pilot scheme is currently taking place and we are very close to announcing the first nurseries to receive the mark and then it will be open to any nursery in England to apply)
This has been an emotional day for us and I just have to hold it together for my speech now, wish me luck!
“We are so proud of our daughter, as is Leo of his big sister xxxx”
More to come later …
Official Press Release.
NEW ‘GOLD STANDARD’ IN PAEDIATRIC FIRST AID LAUNCHED FOR EARLY YEARS SETTINGS IN MEMORY OF BABY
A new initiative to help improve paediatric first aid training in early years settings has been launched today by Education and Childcare Minister, Sam Gyimah in memory of a nine month old girl who tragically died in 2012.
Millie Thompson passed away after choking on her lunch while at nursery in Stockport. Since her death, Millie’s parents – Joanne and Dan – have campaigned for a new ‘gold standard’ certificate to be created in recognition of early years childcare providers that train all their staff in paediatric first aid, going above and beyond the minimum legal requirements
The quality mark – which has been developed by the Department for Education, National Day Nursery Association (NDNA) and the Thompsons – will be known as ‘Millie’s Mark’ and will help to give parents assurance that every staff member that cares for their child is trained in these important, life-saving skills.
Speaking at the NDNA annual conference in Milton Keynes, Mr Gyimah will call on nurseries and other early years providers to apply for the quality mark so that as many members of staff are trained in paediatric first aid as possible.
“As a parent myself, I know there is nothing more important than the safety and security of our children. We trust the staff looking after them will have the right training should anything happen while they are in their care.
“That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the Department for Education has awarded the National Day Nursery Association the contract to deliver a voluntary quality mark for nursery providers that have trained all of their staff in paediatric first aid.
“I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Millie’s parents, Joanne and Dan, who have campaigned tirelessly in their daughter’s memory to reduce the chances of such tragic accidents happening in future. It is hoped that, over time, this initiative will help ensure that as many staff members as possible are trained in these important, life-saving skills.
“I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with NDNA and Millie’s parents, and to seeing the early years providers that go over and above to help keep our children safe.” SG
Also speaking at the conference, Joanne Thompson
“Millie’s Mark is a direct outcome of our campaign as parents, for parents. Following the loss of our darling daughter Millie, we strive to encourage nurseries to be exemplary in paediatric first aid practice and we are looking forward to seeing the first Millie’s Mark being awarded later in the year.”
NDNA Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, said:
“We are delighted to have been successful in our bid to develop and deliver Millie’s Mark. We believe passionately that it will make a difference in keeping children safe.
“Millie’s Mark will soon be well-known to parents all over the country as a clear indicator of the highest standards in keeping children safe from harm.
“Seeing that a nursery has achieved Millie’s Mark will help parents make informed decisions when they are choosing childcare and it will be great for nurseries to show how serious they are about providing the best services possible.”
From summer 2016, early years settings in England will be eligible to apply to be accredited with this unique quality mark that will provide parents with the assurance that their child is being cared for by safe and knowledgeable staff. The quality mark will be in addition to the existing statutory requirements for paediatric first aid that all early years providers must meet as a legal requirement.
A total of 10 nurseries, chosen from more than 200 applicants, have been taking part in a pilot to thoroughly test the new standards that settings will be required to demonstrate. These nurseries will be the first to receive Millie’s Mark.
Alongside the launch of ‘Millie’s Mark’ the government has today published our response to the consultation on changing the paediatric first aid requirements in the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage. The majority of those who responded were in favour of increasing the number of paediatric first aiders in early years settings.
So, from this September, all newly qualified level 2 and level 3 staff must also have either a full paediatric first aid certificate or an emergency paediatric first aid certificate to count in the required staff:child ratios. This will mean an extra 15,000 staff a year coming into the sector with paediatric first aid training, providing vital reassurance to parents that their children will be well cared for, particularly in an emergency. Paediatric first aid training has also been shown to increase safety awareness, so reducing the likelihood of accidents occurring and staff confidence especially when helping children with complex medical needs.”