Monday 5th September|
I've noticed that this page was getting rather ludicrously big so I'm
moving all the entries and photos of before Millie
came home to its own page - here.
I'm going to leave this up forever, once I've finished reformatting it
and adding an introduction. Hopefully we'll be able to show it to young
Millie, once she learns to read and appreciate great literature and
high drama. ;-)
And just as a sort of epilogue to that part of our lives, I'd just like
to say "thank you" once again to everyone who came to visit us, who
gave us lifts, who bought us presents, sent us emails and just wished
us well from a distance. Really, a thousand thanks to absolutely
everybody; Millie and ourselves will always be grateful.
As for the young
lady herself - she's very well and is settling in nicely at home. All
the time we spent in hospital with her, watching and learning and being
taught by the very patient (usually) nurses of Lewisham and St Thomas'
helped us tremendously; I actually feel rather sorry for those poor
parents who get sent home the day after their baby is born - that must
be terrifying, being cast adrift knowing almost nothing about babies
and what they can do.
Millie's going to
Swindon to visit her grandparents for a few days tomorrow, as we've got
Ron the excellent builder in, making sure that our new house works
properly, as well as fitting our brand spanking-new kitchen for us,
because the one we had before was, frankly, bollocks (these people
plastered over wallpaper, couldn't be bothered to move the fridge when
they varnished the floor, and painted shut every window in the
We also had
Millie's other grandparents and auntie and uncle up over the weekend,
which was ever so nice, even if Millie did vomit rather a lot - we
think we were overfeeding her; anyway, she seems fine since we cut back
on the amount of milk we give her. Learning all the time, eh? But
Millie now has a v.v. smart pram from Granddad and
Grandma Fisher that converts into all kinds of different shapes and
should see her through till she no longer needs any sort of pushchair
or pram. I'd love to show off and post a picture of it somewhere here,
but I'm a bit tired and I haven't packed for tomorrow yet... Zzzzz...
Where was I? Oh, yes.
There may be some updates from Swindon, there may not. We think
Millie's going to receive rather an unusual number of visitors while
we're there, which will be nice, but will keep us busy; we won't be
taking her out and about to see the "sights" of Swindon because we've
been told she is still a little bit more susceptible to infections than
most full-term babies, but it may rather stop me from updating this
site. Still, it's another step for Millie - leaving London for the
first time; in fact, leaving south London for the
That address for
the archive of the past few months again - it's here.
But don't despair,
there'll be more Millie news on here soon enough. Maybe even a few
fresh book reviews. Who knows, eh?
Saturday 10th September
Good grief, is it really five days since I last posted anything here?
Time certainly flies when you're in Swindon at your parents with a
small baby and your lovely wife, and everybody is being terrifically
nice to you and buying you presents and asking how everything's going
and taking loads of photos and stuff...
But thanks ever-so ever-so much to everyone who came to welcome Millie
to Swindon - it was lovely to see you all, and especially nice to hear
all the kind words and receive all the beautiful presents. Really, it
was, and we came away feeling tired but very much loved, and hoping we
didn't seem too ungrateful.
But yes, we're back
now. Only...it doesn't quite feel like it yet, since the new kitchen is
still not quite finished, due to some rotten
floorboards having to be replaced (although it does look beautiful...)
That and the fact that our new - and very nice - upstairs neighbours
are having a BIG party tonight, which they warned us about, and have
generously moved the sound system to the opposite end of their house to
that which we sleep under, but still, the Lovely Melanie has taken
Millie to stay the night with "Uncle" Local Businsessman Shash Khan and
"Auntie" Megan. Yours truly is going for a quiet local drink with a
couple of old friends and has elected to stay the night here and guard
I have a whole
bunch of pictures from Swindon to put up, but no time to put them up
just now. I will say that in just the week since Millie came home I
swear she's grown a noticeable amount. She's certainly grown out of
some of her first clothes, something that amazes me, as she's been so
small for so long that her getting "big" seems utterly impossible.
Nevertheless, she's getting "big". ;-)
And remember, the
"old" Millie page is safely archived away here,
for when you get all nostalgic for the days of incubators and
Monday 12th September
Ahh, life at home without having to go to work - it's bloomin' great,
isn't it? Just spending time with your lovely wife and daughter, free
from cares and worries, nothing to do but read, change nappies and
stare at a beautiful tiny baby...
Well, that's the
theory. In reality I'm here updating websites while Mel and Millie
sleep the sleep of the exhausted. The kitchen is still not quite finished, we have no food in the house, I've got two book
reviews that I promised to write for various sites, a stack of books to
be read for the Clarke
Award, there's plenty of unpacking still waiting to be done -
not to mention that I've yet to work out my DJ set for the Poodle Chaos night at the Canterbury Arms in Brixton on September 24th...
Still, never let it
be said that I shirk my duties, for here is a page of photos taken from our very pleasant trip to Swindon last
What else? Well,
we've noticed today that Millie no longer has blue eyes - she's
followed her mother and gone hazel at the moment. I thought babies'
eyes changed colour after they were born (so I wasn't expecting them to
change yet - two weeks before her due date), but obviously it must be
more to do with exposure to light or something, rather than
developmental age... So, yes. Millie has hazel eyes (mine are a kind of
We're still getting the hang of taking care of a small baby; no
disasters yet though, and that's after giving her a couple of baths,
too! We have discovered that, like the proverb, you can lead a Millie
to water but you can't make her drink...or she'll be sick all over you.
Yep, we're supposed to feed Millie even if she's not hungry - she's
still small (we're not sure how small - the Lovely
Melanie will find out tomorrow at the doctor's) so she really needs to
take all her food. Unfortunately no one has explained this to our girl.
Being a Carter, however, she's stubborn but polite. She'll refuse to
drink more milk but, if pushed, always gives in in the end and drinks
some more. And then throws it up again.
So we're beginning to let her decide to some degree how much milk she
drinks at a feed. Yes, she needs to take a certain amount, but we
figure it's better if she takes most of her feed
and keeps it than that she takes all of her feed and gives us a full
refund on it a few minutes later.
Still, I am
developing a complete immunity to baby sick. :-)
Tuesday 13th September
Putting photos up
is so much easier than actually writing anything
here, you know, and if left unchecked I could just keep sticking cute
pictures up until my webspace allowance was completely used up.
But because some people have been so very complimentary about my
writing :-) I shall add a few comments here, even though I'm really
rather tired. What a goddamn hero I am.
Today saw the
Lovely Melanie and Millie go outside for their first journey in the
baby pram-carriage-buggy-thingie - the one bought for us by Grandma and
Granddad Fisher. You can see Grandma Fisher in two of the photos above,
looking very very happy with little Millie (and why not?) This is the
same baby Millie who, out for her first ride in the new
pram-carriage... today (as seen above - Millie's looking a bit
sceptical about the whole business in the photo) was taken to a regular
mother and baby clinic at our local doctor's - and was found to be a
whopping great 4lb 14oz!
I mean, I remember the days when she was just 1lb 7oz, and now our
little girl's nearly 5lb. She'll probably be into boys and make-up by
the end of the week, I shouldn't wonder.
And so to bed.
Only...not to bed, because there's a feed due in an hour. Sigh. Let's
hope it's one of the easy ones - Millie has a tendency to be either
fast or slow with her feeds. Fast ones are great: you put the bottle in
her mouth for 15-20 minutes, wind her and then go back about your
business. Great. Slow ones involve putting the bottle in, wiping off
the milk running down her chin, winding her, trying to put the bottle
back in, waking her up, poking the bottle around her mouth in hope of
getting a response, wiping up more spilled milk, winding again, and
winding again whilst telling the Lovely Melanie
that, no, actually, you don't need a hand, before finally just giving
up, an hour or so after you started.
Late at night, when all you really want to be doing is sleeping, a slow
feed can be most demoralising. And this is still before Millie has the
requisite energy and tenacity for sustained, high-volume crying.
If she wasn't so cute and loveable I'd be getting quite nervous about
Monday 19th September
So many people congratulating me on doing such a good job with the
website and what do I do? I stop writing for almost a week.
I have been meaning to write, you know, just as I've been meaning to do
half a dozen DIY jobs, sort out the laundry, play with Millie more,
write a book review, go to the shops, read some of ever-increasing the
Clarke Award pile, etc etc etc.
And some of that stuff is actually getting done,
but only some of it, and rather sporadically. I'll almost be glad to go
back to work on Friday and relax a bit!
OK, where to begin?
Firstly, thanks to all of our chums who came round on Saturday for a
barbecue at ours - it was lovely to see so many people, especially
those who we don't see that often. And thank you all once more for the
presents for both Millie and ourselves. It was particularly nice to see
so many people as I can't help feeling a bit paranoid that people are
going to stop inviting us out or bothering to come round now that we're
parents. Silly of me to think so, I know, but we're basically the first
in my group of friends to have any kids - everyone else is still going
out and having it large every weekend. However I was stunned at how
much all of our party-loving, booze-hound, hedonistic, all-nighter
friends took to Millie. They absolutely loved her to bits, something
which I was really touched to see, and which made me love my friends
all the more. :-)
Of course, Millie
was pulling out all the stops when they were round - cute faces, wide
eyes, gurgling noises and no nappy troubles whatsoever. She was sat
outside with us, all wrapped up in blankets in her new bouncy pink
chair and didn't make the slightest bit of fuss, bless her, not even
when she was passed round the party to be cooed over by men and women
Even cynical "Uncle" Spud couldn't help but smile at her.
And of course,
Uncle Trev and Auntie Conny (my brother and his girlfriend) have been
regular visitors, both making a tremendous fuss of their little niece,
as have Auntie Kris and Uncle "Inspector" Tim, Mel's sister and her
boyfriend. Fortunately we've just about managed (finally!) to get
Millie's room in our new home cleared of boxes of junk, and Mel painted
it a lovely yellow today. Just as well, because Millie's had so many
presents from so many grand old folks that we need her room to store
them all in!
No new updates on
Millie's weight yet, although I think she's looking bigger and brighter
with every day that passes. And not only that but she's looking remarkably like her old dad. Not like her old dad now, but
like her old dad when he was just a baby, too. We saw some old pictures
of me at my parents when we were over in Swindon, and every morning it
strikes me anew how much Millie looks exactly the same as baby Stu.
There's none of Mel in there at all - not a trace. I'm going to try to
get hold of a scan of Baby Stu to post here so we can have a
Another thing that
struck me was how like an old-fashioned video game changing a nappy is.
Firstly, it's because baby clothes are not very much like
yours or mine; not simply because they're all pink or blue and almost
always have some kind of soppy design on them. Oh, no. The way you put
them on a baby is totally different as well. And baby clothes all have poppers on them instead of zips or buttons. Bibs have velcro, but
everything else has poppers. Everything else.
The last time I saw poppers was on some old Action Man clothes back in
the '70s! Luckily, I was a big Action Man fan so all that training and
practice has come in handy.
But I was saying that changing a nappy is very much like an old-style
First of all you have to solve the puzzle of the clothing - and the
puzzle of the clothing is slightly different every time. Babygrows are
generally easy to deal with, especially if short-sleeved, but even then
you've got to make that decision whether to put it on over the head or
the feet (you can do either with baby clothes - something I never knew
before), and which way is going to cause the least amount of tears
(clue: it's never the same end twice). Then you've got hats to put on
and keep on (sounds easy, but a baby's head is very smooth and round -
they shrug off hats like a duck shrugs off water).
Knitted cardigans are up a another level of difficuly - even more so if
you've got a long-sleeved babygrow underneath a cardigan (two sets of
long sleeves on a baby is asking for trouble - one will always ruck up
and make her look particularly muscly). Then you've got your, as we
call them, dunga-***king-rees, which have sleeves
and straps and poppers, and the worst combination
of all is the dunga-***king-rees over a long-sleeved babygrow with a
knitted cardigan on top. And a hat.
You come across that combination in the baby clothing lottery and you
may as well give up before you even open the nappy - especially if at
the same time you have to deal with that big boss/end-of-level bad guy
that is...a poo-filled nappy.
At least the end-of-level poo,
like the big boss, only comes along occasionally, and if you manage to
defeat it (I've had a couple of close calls) then you're always
rewarded with a much much happier baby, not to mention a much healthier
atmosphere in the room (I was telling my brother at the weekend: before
we brought Millie home I saw these scented nappy sacks in the shops,
for disposing of used nappies, and I laughed at them. "Tsk!",
I thought. "Just put the nappy in the bin and spray some air
freshener nearby, you big girls!" I thought - wrongly!! For scented nappy sacks are one of god's finest ever
creations and I'm down on my knees praying at the altar of the scented
nappy sack even as we speak. Mock ye not the scented nappy sack, oh,
Tuesday 20th September
Sorry, was that a bit rambling and incoherent yesterday? It might not
be much better today as I've been feeling rather headache-y and unwell
all day - although, that didn't stop me getting out there and digging
most of our new front garden this morning. I was only planning to dig
up all the weeds with a little hand-fork, but it turns out that our
front garden hasn't been dug since...well, ever, really, and our front
garden is basically made of clay, so I had to get the big guns out - my
full-size garden fork - and start digging up the whole damn thing with
that. It was kind of fun for a bit: some genuine, honest, sweaty toil,
and people walking by would say "Hello," or "Get in there," but after
about 90 minutes I started to get blisters, so I've got to try and
finish the rest tomorrow.
Still, it gives a nice sense of achievement, and the chance to get the
smell of the earth in your nostrils, and just generally get a bit
dirty, like a true horny-handed son of the soil! Much better than the
accursed, never-ending DIY...
And Granny and
Granddad Fisher came to visit today, as well - bearing gifts, too, as
you'll see in the photos below. A remarkable (I think that's definitely
the best word) outfit for Millie, which she looks outrageously cute in.
She's not actually been very cute otherwise today, what with throwing
up copious amounts of milk all over my (hairy) chest this morning, and
just generally being quite unhappy about something. Possibly the fact
that she's getting more porky by the second - she was weighed today at
5lb 4oz. Quite a respectable amount, I think, considering she's still
two weeks away from her due date...
I think, in that
last picture with me especially, you can really get a sense of quite
how much bigger 5lb 4oz is than 1lb 7oz...
Monday 26th September
My DJing slot went slightly better than I'd expected, you'll be glad to
hear - I even had a couple of people come up to me and say they loved
what I was playing! However, I think that's probably the last you'll
hear from R2-DJ for a while; there's not much call for ex-indie kids
with a taste for Japanese psych-rock and (apparently) "future-retro
funk", as somebody called it. Not yet, anyway... Still, I'm told we
made the Guardian's "Recommended Clubs" list in their Guide.
I'm afraid I got very drunk afterwards - that's the trouble with having
an early slot, you've then got all night to drink and celebrate in! But
we did discover, when I was rudely (and most foolishly in my opinion)
awoken next morning, that I can change a nappy whilst still drunk.
Common sense prevailed, however, when it came to doing the feed. Nobody wants a big, naked, hairy man breathing alcoholic fumes all over them
when they're trying to eat.
Not the best week
we've ever had with Millie (although, obviously, not the worst either).
She's been a bit unhappy - doing some real proper crying, and even the
occasional wail, sometimes for up to 15 seconds at a stretch! Plus, not
sleeping as well as usual and tending towards vomituousness,
particularly after feeds. Expert medical opinion is divided as to
what's causing it - Dr Lovely Melanie is utterly utterly convinced it's
"acid reflux", while Dr Stu is tending towards a diagnosis of "Just
general baby gripes, maybe with some colic - it's hardly an exact
Anyway, we've had a less happy baby at home with us these past few
days. Whch is not to say we haven't been out having fun - we took
Millie to Blythe Hill Fields, 10 minutes walk from our new home, this
weekend, and as well as getting some very nice photos of all involved
we introduced Millie to "Nature" and to "grass", as well as to
Millie cried a bit,
squinted against the light and fell asleep, much as her dad might do if
taken to see an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical.
Still, one thing guaranteed to put a Millie to sleep is taking her out
in her buggy - you can bounce it up and down across uneven pavements as
much as you like and she'll just snooze right on through, which is good
to know (although I had a nightmare premonition of the Lovely Melanie
and I in a few months time walking with Millie in buggy through the
streets of a darkened Forest Hill at 2am...)
Much nicer was
getting some lunch in a local cafe - it was a nice day so we sat
outside with Millie in her pram and had a delicious lunch. We looked
just like a normal family having a normal seafood salad (yum!) on a
normal Saturday afternoon (I had entertained some dreams of going on
the "anti-Iraq war" march that day with Millie, but, well, you
know...it's a long way into town with a pram, and as much as I think
the invasion of Iraq was a stupid and evil thing, driven entirely by
greed...I couldn't quite face marching against it - it won't be too long before goes on her first march though, I can promise you that!)
I must confess, I
felt a bit silly pushing Millie's pram along at first (shockingly it
was the first time I'd been out with her in it), I don't know why, and
I certainly didn't expect to feel slightly embarrassed like that,
perhaps I was just a bit self-conscious about the lack of "cool" that
pushing a pram entails; who knows? Anyway, after we'd been out for
about 15 minutes I felt fine with it - and I didn't do that stupid thing I've seen other dads do, whereby you push the pram
to one side of you with just one hand, seemingly trying to pretend it
isn't yours and isn't with you. I was proudly keeping two hands on the
handle and pushing it directly in front of me!
Finally, my dad has
been learning how to make and edit videos using his very smart video
camera, plus some software I pirated for him, and we finally got to see
the first tentative results last night - some video of Millie way back
when she was still in an incubator, plus some of the bath-time sequence
I took (which is on the Millie
archive page somewhere, I think) overdubbed with some
commentary, Stevie Wonder's Isn't She Lovely and
some nice comedy touches, too. Both my parents were in tears after
watching it (!), and even Mel and I had to agree that it was very very
good - we're looking forward to a longer, more polished, finished
Wednesday 28th September
Millie now weighs 5lb 12oz.
And on the Saturday 8th of October (I think it is) she'll be 100 days
I'm going to try and remember that so when she's 100 months old (eight
years and four months...?) I can say to her, "I remember when
you were 100 minutes old. And I remember when you were 100 days old..."
Monday 3rd October
Dad bought home a cake for Millie. Millie cried. Dad ate the cake. So
did mum. Yum.
Today's the day
that Millie was due to be born.
Somewhere in a parallel universe a very large and tired Melanie is at
this moment huffing and puffing and doing all the usual woman-in-labour
type stuff, and a little baby girl is waiting to emerge and see the
world for the first time.
Of course, we don't live in that universe, we live in one that's been
lucky enough to have had her on its' books for over three months now. I
find it completely astonishing that it's still only now that she's
"term". It feels like we've had her forever, and that traumatic time in
June, rather than a great rend in the fabric of our memories, is
already becoming just an exceptional kink in them. A bump in the road
instead of the 12-car pile-up it could so easily have been.
Millie and I had a
busy weekend. Saturday Mel went out to see some friends for the day so
I took my little girl up to Forest Hill to meet her "Uncle" Spud in a
vegetarian cafe place. It was the first time I'd been out alone with
her in the buggy, and probably the first time "Uncle" Spud had spent
more than 20 minutes in the company of a baby that he (a), wasn't
related to, and (b) didn't actually dislike. So we had some tea and
some organic cake and passed a very pleasant couple of hours. And I
bought a broom, so it looked like Millie and I were taking part in a
medieval joust on the way home.
Sadly, the evening
was not to be so pleasant as not only did I make an utterly
inexplicable hash of something as idiotically simple as trying to put
some shelves up (I'm embarrassed to look at the one that has remained
in place), but Millie had a very bad attack of acid reflux (all you
non-parents, think of it as baby indigestion, but very painful) and
screamed the place down for an hour until her mum got home. I could see
in the Lovely Melanie's eyes that she obviously thought I was doing
something wrong and that she could fix it, so I took a little bit of
(very) guilty pleasure in Millie continuing to cry for another 45
minutes in her mother's arms.
That experience had it's good and bad aspects - bad in that Millie was
obviously in real pain and there was nothing at all we could do about
it, except to try and comfort her and hope it wouldn't last much
longer; the upside was that Millie is now clearly capable of crying for well over an hour at a time, if she wants to.
Not only that but
our boiler, that gives us all our hot water, broke, and so did the
vacuum cleaner and so did my digital camera. If you'd wanted something
demolishing this weekend you could have hired me to just walk past and
whatever it was would've just fallen over. :-(
Still, never mind,
eh? Millie and I, both recovered somewhat from Saturday's misadventures
(and having Polyfilla'd the apparent bullet-holes left in the wall by
my attempts at DIY) went to Peckham Farmer's Market. This was doubly
exciting because not only did the Lovely Melanie not come but we had to
catch the bus there, something we've never done before! I thought I'd
do it early on a Sunday morning as the buses were likely to be quiet
and getting a pushchair on board wouldn't be a problem.
Millie had what we call her "Doris" hat on (because it looks like the
sort of hat an old lady named Doris might wear) and this kept falling
over her eyes, but otherwise the whole trip was pretty uneventful.
Millie was ogled by a few old ladies, I was asked for directions by a
pretty young lady in Peckham (I could obviously be trusted as I was
pushing a baby!) and we bought loads of veg, bread and cheese at the
farmer's market. It was quite expensive bread, cheese and veg, but very
Whilst queuing, however, I couldn't help noticing how
many other people there were with babies. In fact, there were two
distinct types of people at the market: there were the hippy types, all
very thin, with big woven shopping bags, and there were the posh types
- again, very thin, all with those three-wheeled baby buggies that cost
a grand and fold up to the size of postage stamp. The hippies were
obviously there because, well, that's what hippies do, whilst the posh
parents were there because they have babies (therefore they're not
hungover after a Saturday night out on the town) and because they're
posh and can afford expensive produce.
My "excuse" was maybe somewhere inbetween the two.
I really liked
Peckham Farmer's Market, though, and I'll definitely be going again.
Millie seemed somewhat ambivalent about the whole experience -
definitely enjoying the bus ride, but not so sure about the market.
Maybe she just doesn't like queuing with posh folk and hippies. That's
babies for you - can't decide whether to eat and then sleep, or to sleep first and eat afterwards, let alone whether they're
proletariat or bourgeoisie."Perhaps I'll just have a quick cry,"
Oh, and we got a
Freeview hard-disc recorder this weekend, too. It's very nice indeed.
And it hasn't broken like everything else in the house, either. :-)
Thursday 6th October
6lbs 4oz. That's what she weighs now.
Also, I've just bought a remarkably nice new
camera, with a "Super Macro" mode (very very close-up
pictures) and even a decent video mode - so expect some extreme
close-up footage of Millie's chubby cheeks on here as soon as I've read
the manual (well, glanced at the manual and played around with the
camera long enough to make it work, anyway).
A busy weekend for
us, too. My very old friend Richie May, his beautiful girlfriend Helen,
and their new baby, Jack (who was supposed to be about three months
older than Millie, but, as it turned out, is now a couple of weeks
younger, are coming up from my old home town of Swindon to stay with us
on Friday and Saturday - so we'll be having an evening of baby-related
entertainment on Friday, which should be very nice and civilised.
Then on Saturday night Michael, another old friend, and his lovely
girlfriend, Inge (she's Dutch) are coming round - due to them being
skint (he's studying for his PhD) and us not really being able to go
out much. So that's two birds killed with one stone right there!
Just to give you an
idea of the probable level of the conversation (particularly on Friday)
here are some "baby jokes" that the Lovely Melanie and I made up - and
laughed hysterically over - one evening this week...
A baby who?
An English baby, a
Scots baby and an Irish baby walk into a pub.
The English baby says WAHHHHH! The Scots baby poos his nappy and the
Irish baby demands some milk.
How many babies
does it take to change a light bulb?
Three. One to poo his nappy, one to scream loudly and another to drink
Why did the baby
say WAHHHHH! as he crossed the road?
Because he'd pooed his nappy and could see some milk on the other side
of the road.
You had to be there
Friday 7th October (morning)
Oh. My. God.
The new camera is astonishing! We tried it out last night, straight
from the box, just point-and-shoot, and the results were so far beyond
the kind of thing I used to get from the "old" digital camera that it's
hard to believe! The new camera's a doddle to use, starts up quickly
and takes beautiful pictures almost by default. I checked as many
reviews as I could find of it on the internet before I bought it, and
they all said "Nice camera!" but it's better than nice.
I've stuck up some
examples of these quickly-taken-pictures from last night below - a
couple of them are slightly blurred, but that's because I was holding
Millie on my lap with one hand and taking pictures with the other. And
remember, these are from the first 20-odd pictures I've ever taken with the new camera, so give me a chance, eh? Even so, they're still better than all but the very best pics I took with the old camera!
Another thing I got excited about was the camera's night mode. Looking
out into our garden last night I couldn't see a thing. Not a thing. It
was pitch-black out there. But I took a couple of photos to try out the
camera (both with and without the zoom on) and they came out
beautifully: well-lit, colourful and in focus.
The Minolta Z1 is, as those noisy young people allegedly say these
days, da bomb.
Friday 7th October (late
Blair warns Iran - "There
is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq."
But, er... You see... Wait a minute, um, it's just that... Doesn't...?
But he...they...erm...I... Does no one else...?
Thursday 13th October
People have been nagging me to put some more pictures up, so here are
some more pictures.
Honestly, I may as
well just change the name of the site to (not
to be confused with) Millie.
developments this week as I get the return of the "waking up in the
middle of the night and, still half-asleep, being convinced we
accidentally left Millie in the bed with us when we fell asleep"
feeling. I had this when we first brought Millie home; I've no idea
why. We do sometimes bring Millie into bed with us, but it's usually in
the morning, practically never at night, so it's
not as though it's likely to happen, or has ever even come close to
happening. However, I've started waking up in the middle of the night
again and searching through the pillows and blankets for Millie.
Any amateur psychiatrists out there with any suggestions? (not Freudian
ones, please - I had quite enough of Freud's nonsense when I was doing
my Master's in LitCrit).
Oh, and thanks to
Rich and Helen and Jack for coming up to see us last weekend - we had a
lovely time, and it wasn't the baby overdose I'd feared it might be,
rather, it was good to be able to compare them both and swap notes. And
of course, it's always good to see you both!
Thanks also to my brother Rich and Carla for the presents for Millie -
she says, "Bleh-a-gub. Hip-ip. Ahhh..." Make of that what you will...
Friday 14th October
Don't be fooled by the cute pictures below (yes, even the sickie one),
even as I was writing this page and adding the photos last night I
could hear Millie screaming and howling in our bedroom - which, given
the length of our flat, is some achievement! And she didn't really stop
until about 3am.
Yep, 3am. Wailing, howling, screaming, crying, hollering, yelling and
more. God knows why. She'd been fed (and regurgitated it again - that's
our Millie, always sharing...), she'd been winded, she'd been played
with, carried around and finally left to her own devices, to wear
herself out and go to sleep.
But she never did.
Now, I remember the
Lovely Melanie saying, just a few weeks back, "I'll never complain
about her crying - we're so lucky to have her, I'll never complain."
Which I kind of nodded vaguely at; but last night even the Lovely
Melanie was getting fed up with it.
As somebody pointed
out to us - this is what proper parenting is like.
Tuesday 18th October
Two things, neither of them Millie-related (wait! come back...!)
I am very disappointed with the standard of
satsumas around the Holborn area of London - so much so that I've just
decided that plums are the new satsumas, this season. Holborn satsumas
are lacking in juice and lacking in taste; they're not lacking in pips though, since they frequently have more than 20 pips in them (I kid you not - 3-4 pips per segment is perfectly
usual!). That and the fact that they take an age to peel because the
stupid skin breaks off in teeny-tiny little pieces, not the traditional
broad swathes of yesteryear, have convinced me to abandon my
traditional lunchtime satsuma...
The plums on the other hand...ah, the plums. Sweet, moist, not
requiring a peel and guaranteed to have only the
one pip in them - and that always in the same place!
Yes, plums are the new fruit of choice for me.
The other thing is
my current status as a cyborg! Oh, yes! Terribly exciting - I've leapt
forward out of the 21st century and into...well, into a slightly later
part of the 21st century, really.
I'm not talking about my new phone (ahhh, my beautiful new phone...) or
a particularly exotic mp3 player, I'm talking about the Continual Blood
Glucose Monitor that I'm hooked up to for the next few days. A marvel
of miniaturisation, (about the size of three Digestives stacked on top
of one another) this is, as the name suggests, continually monitoring
my blood glucose levels. I've got a tiny probe stuck under my skin on
the right-hand side next to my stomach and connected to the monitor by
a bit of wire.
Gosh, these are exciting times to be a diabetic, I can tell you. They'd
be more exciting if the monitor would continually
tell me what my blood glucose levels were...but it
doesn't; it just records them for later downloading at King's Hospital.
br>I'm hoping to set off a few alarms going in and out of shops,
so I can show off my new hotline to cyberspace at some point, but more
likely, I think, is me getting the wire tangled round my genitals at
some point while I'm trying to sleep. :-(
everytime I reread that sentence it makes me shiver...
Millie is fine, by
the way. Under a harsh new regime that her mum has come up with, but
fine. I'll tell you more about it in a few days, when we see if the
cold showers and 5am reveille are having the desired effect...
Tuesday 18th October
Miss Millie's wardrobe
is courtesy of Roger, Lynne, Nikki and Christopher.
Her father's is by...well, certainly no one's taking responsibility for
Thursday 20th October
I'm getting a bit tired of being a cyborg now, to be honest (see
post below for what the hell I'm on about). I think I
want to be just a regular, unaugmented human again. :-(
Millie had a very
unhappy day yesterday - according to the Lovely Melanie she was crying
all day and sicked up almost all of her food. Still, I thought the
Lovely Melanie took it very well, only panicking a little bit and not
losing her temper at all (I would have been the other way round). Of
course, when it came time for robo-daddy to feed Millie in the evening
she soon quietened down (True!)
I am suspecting the Lovely Melanie is too soft on her, despite the
so-called "new regime", which mostly consists of Millie sleeping in her
own room and having more baths. Not exactly the Spanish Inquisition...
Monday 24th October
Things I have learnt in the past 24 hours:
Millie can cry for a very long time at very high volume when she wants
to. We got her home from Hatfield (full review and pictures to follow,
er, soon) and she was utterly inconsolable. She
cried all the way through Gremlins on TV (which I
had been looking forward to seeing again - it was the first "15"
certificate film I ever saw at the cinema - for my 13th birthday, no
less; although, I had to try and get in twice as when the ticket lady
asked me if I was actually 15 years old the first time I had a crisis
of conscience and answered "No," so she wouldn't let me in - we had to
try again 10 minutes later when she'd gone for her break, and this time
I said "Yes," in a deep voice).
Er, where was I?
Ah, yes. Millie cried all the way through Gremlins,
wailed all the time we were eating our tea, howled while I downloaded
all the Hatfield photos, screamed while I unloaded the washing machine
and screeched whilst on her own in her basket, till even the normally
unflappable Lovely Melanie had to say to me, "You'd better take her -
it's really starting to get me now."
At which point Millie suddenly gave up and went to sleep.
like turning off a big, bright-red-faced, screaming tap.
the Lovely Melanie and I both giggled slightly hysterically.
It was a nerve-jangling end to a lovely weekend spent with her
grandparents and relatives in Hatfield (yes, yes; full review and
pictures to follow when I have the time to sort the pictures out and
check the spellings of some names).
Another thing I
have learnt in the past 24 hours is that Paperback Writer by the Beatles is a very good song. It was one that had always kind of
slipped by me previously, but I heard it this morning whilst on my way
to work in the rain, and it's a great song.
Now, let's see if we can't learn something else nice today as well.
Oh, and I'd just
like to mention little Josh, who was at Lewisham Hospital while Millie
was there, who sadly died over the weekend. After Millie came home he'd
had to stay in hospital with a seemingly never-ending run of bad luck,
and even though he fought and fought and fought and fought,
he eventually ran out of luck. Just to say to his parents, we're
thinking of you both. We know it could so easily
have gone the other way for all of us...
Friday 28th October
Nope, the Lovely Melanie has still yet to sort out the wheat from the
chaff with the Hatfield pictures, but doubtless they'll turn up here
one day when you least expect it (and hopefully before Millie starts
We do have to thank
lots and lots of people though, which we can't really leave any longer,
so I'll do my best here...
Special executive thanks to: Cathy and Carrie for
organising Millie's "baby shower" on Saturday - it was a lovely
afternoon, and we were quite touched by the amount of effort you'd put
into it all. And just goes to show you can have a
nice time at a party without getting drunk (I never really believed my
parents before when they told me that...)
And for more
presents (yay!) and just generally making the three of us feel a bit
special, the award goes to...Cathie (again) and "Mr Incredible", Carrie
(again), Tim and Jasper, Rob, Tori and Tori's mum (I feel dreadful
putting "Tori's mum" but I'm at work at moment (supposedly
subtitling Are You Being Served, heh heh heh) and can't remember your bloomin' name, my dear - but it was lovely to
meet you, and please accept my apologies for being a bit useless!).
to the thanks: Steve and Kathryn, Carol, Sue, Kayleigh, Jean, Don,
lovely Mel (not "The Lovely" - a different lovely Mel) and...and just
everyone who came to see us in Hatfield. Well, came to see Millie,
anyway. Thanks very much. Indeed. Thank you. Thanks. Cheers.
In Millie news this
week...the girl had another vaccination on Wednesday, this time for,
erm...um... (COUGH) disease. You know the one. And I'm reliably
informed that she cried so much that it was a
miracle her liver didn't pop out. She now weighs 7lb 4oz, which isn't
as much weight gain as usual, but a very respectable figure nonetheless.
And the big news
this week is that she almost has eyebrows now! After all this time with
a perfectly featureless forehead our little girl now has the merest
trace of some eyebrows. Don't get carried away though, they're so faint
that a determined old lady could probably wipe them away with a
handkerchief and a dab of saliva. However, bathtime has failed to
remove them so we must conclude that they're here to stay.
A busy weekend for
all of us, as my parents are coming up early on Saturday. They haven't
seen Millie for almost a month (I have no idea how my mum has managed
this extraordinary feat of self-denial) and are going to be surprised
how much bigger and louder she is, I think.
For our part, it means the Lovely Melanie and I get to go on a
f***ed-up drunken bender on Saturday night! Whoo-hoo! Although,
actually, we might just go to the cinema in Brixton, actually.
I can't afford to be hungover at the moment - quite apart from being a
dad, I've got a stack of books that comes up to my knees to be read for
Arthur C. Clarke Award! judging in the next two months. I had
thought I was doing so well, and then yesterday all
the entries from Gollancz arrived. Sob.
Monday 31st October
Indeed they are - very slippery customers. Take
Millie, for instance, our brown-eyed girl - or so we thought! Now it
would appear that the last vestiges of her mother's DNA have been
overcome and her eyes are turning the same colour as those of her dad:
a grey-blue colour.
Fearsome stuff, the
Carter DNA - it assimilates everything it touches...just by reading
this website you're probably becoming more like me without even
realising it! But don't be scared - join us...
A lovely (if busy)
weekend was had by all. Except Millie, who cried through a lot of it,
just to show her grandparents that she could.
Much work was
also done on the house and garden, and Mel and I went to the cinema and
saw Jim Jarmusch's new film, Broken Flowers which, even though it had
Bill Murray in it, was slow and only sporadically entertaining. I would
say that if you've managed to struggle through the first turgid 30
minutes then stick with it - it gets a bit better after that. We
actually wanted to see Cronenburg's A History of Violence but it being
half-term every cinema in London was only showing Wallace &
Gromit and The Legend of Zorro. Sigh. Typical, isn't it - the one night
Mel and I have to go out together to the cinema and there's almost
nothing at all on! Still, it was nice to go out together for a change,
and we had a nice time.
Monday 31st October
We had another photographic "jamming session" tonight.
Tuesday 1st November
You know you live in a "nicer" area...when you get four trick or
treaters call at your house on Halloween.
I've never had them come round in my previous enclaves of domestic
bliss. Last night we had four groups (although, one was a single young
lad - about 10? - all on his lonesome. The fool! Has he never read the
Daily Mail?? Doesn't he know that Rohypnol-doping, asylum seeking,
NHS-scrounging lower-class paedophile druggies could cause his mortgage
rate to slip down the school league tables in the EU if he's out on the
street on his own?! Or something.)
Monday 7th November
Millie currently has a cold.
It's officially not bird flu, and she's taking it
remarkably well, considering how badly she ordinarily takes things that
you or I wouldn't bat an eyelid at (e.g. being laid on her back, having
dinner brought late or early, not having her chair
rocked for more than seven seconds, baths, being dried after a bath,
having her nappy changed, not having her nappy changed, being carried
around against anyone's chest, being put in her buggy, mirrors,
sunlight, hats, et cetera et cetera).
But, no, a cold is
not among these things. We who are in permanent danger of getting a
faceful of snot from a sudden sneeze or a slug-trail of the same
substance across our clothes from a snuffling nose are also finding it
highly amusing for the most part. We'll probably never be quick enough
to catch Millie's expression of surprise on camera (which is a shame
because I could probably retire on the royalties from that photo) but
it's a sight; second only to the expression of horror on her face the
other day when a particular violent burp caught her by surprise in the
middle of a feed.
How we laughed! Having a baby is great sometimes, like having the
world's best slapstick comic performing in your home all the time.
Sorry, did I say "sometimes"? Of course, I meant all the time, of course!
Good grief, we've
got a new (wireless!) keyboard, too, but it's a special anti-RSI one,
which is good, I suppose, but does mean that I'm almost having to learn
to type again from scratch, trying to get used to the layout of the
damned thing. So forgive me if I sign off now - it's not merely from
alphanumeric frustration but also because I'm on a First Aid refresher
course over the next few days and have to revise for the exam thing
tomorrow. To compensate for the potentially poor typography and
shortness of this entry I leave you with two photos of Millie taken at
bathtime on Bonfire Night (Nov.5th for any overseas readers...)
Wednesday 9th November
exciting news about the Sir Arthur C. Clarke Award (which,
you may recall, I'm one of the 2006 judges for).
I should probably put some kind of read-o-meter on this site to show
how much reading still remains to be done before the 28th January (when
we meet to pick a shortlist). Currently there's about two-thirds of a
meter of bookage still to be read.
Two-thirds of a
meter. And I've got two and a half months to read it all in.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ho ho ho! Ho ho. Mm. Ahem. Hm.... Oh, dear.
Also, we thought
we'd try and be a bit greener regarding Millie's nappies, and ordered
some washable cloth nappies, ones shaped like disposables, but made of
I had to change my clothes twice yesterday after piss leaked all over
them. Bloody hippies have got a lot to answer for, I can tell you!
It's back to the eco-disposables for us, I think. Still a lot of waste,
but no harmful lingering chemicals.
And no baby urine over
my trousers either.
Monday 14th November
We had to go back to the hospital with Millie on Friday evening, which
was very strange. The same dreadfully familiar train journey from work,
the same short walk to Lewisham Hospital, just a different ward this
First of all, Millie's fine.
repeat that: Millie's perfectly all right. We were told to go to
A&E by our GP but only as a sensible
precaution and because it was the quickest way to see a pediatrician.
Now, as many of you
will know, Millie has a pretty frightening-looking lump on the back of
her head; it's called a strawberry nevus (amongst other names) but it's
basically a scary-looking bumpy red birthmark that, given a few years,
will almost certainly disappear (and even if it doesn't it'll be hidden
by Millie's hair). This, we noticed, had scabbed over partly, and had
also been a bit of a sensitive spot for Millie for a few days - which
isn't unusual - but then we noticed there was a little bit of a smell
Not an awful smell but a slightly unpleasant metallic sort of smell.
Millie was otherwise absolutely fine but since babies aren't supposed
to smell like this the Lovely Melanie took her to the doctor's on
Friday, and they recommended Millie be checked out at the hospital.
Lewisham Hospital were very helpful, as always, and two doctors both agreed that there wasn't anything to worry about at the
moment, but that we should keep an eye on the lump anyway, and they
gave us some cream to put on it (more to give us something positive to
do to help than for any real practical reason, I suspect).
Still, come Sunday
the smell was still there - detectable from about a foot away from
Millie by now - and we were still worrying about it. There was still no
change in Millie, she was still fine, but in the afternoon during a
feed I suddenly noticed that where the scab had been was now a small
empty round hole in the middle of it and some pus (or something)
I confess, even I was a bit shocked by this - the hole was wide enough
to fit a headphone plug and maybe a third of a centimetre deep, which
doesn't sound like much but on a small baby like Millie it looked more.
A bit of an
anti-climax really, but we put some more cream on, checked Millie was
OK and have since kept the area even nicer and cleaner than before.
The good news is that since the scab/wound/whatever has "burst" the
smell has definitely gone, and Millie has still yet to even notice
anything wrong. She's going for a regular hospital checkup tomorrow
anyway, so the Lovely Melanie's going to point out the problem again to
the doctors and may well ask to be referred to a dermatologist, as
quite apart from this whole thing not being good for Millie it's rather
disconcerting for us, her parents, too!
The lump has always made it slightly awkward to hold her (particularly
during feeds and bath time) but if there are going to be problems with
infection then I think perhaps we need to look seriously at getting
something done about it - despite the fact that most doctors prefer to
leave such things alone and let them sort themselves out. But we'll see.
In the meantime,
shortly after all this, I was getting more worried about something
Millie's technically six weeks old now, and although she's putting on
weight and feeding and everything else physical we've yet to see her
properly smile. Not only that but according to some experts by now she should be making regular eye contact with us, responding to
our presence and engaging in other such little rewarding activities for
And the fact is that Millie doesn't really make much eye contact - in
fact, she often seems to deliberately avoid eye
contact, preferring to stare at walls, bookcases, windows, lights, the
I hadn't been bothered by this until I suddenly read something about
baby development yesterday, and was suddenly seized by The Fear.
If you're not a parent then you probably don't really get it, although you might understand what I mean: that your child
might have something wrong with her. I don't want to even write the
words particularly, but, yes, autism or something.
So I can't tell you
what an astonishing relief it was to all of a
sudden, out of the blue, for the first time Millie smiled at me after
her feed last night.
We'd had a
particularly dispiriting feed, what with the lump on the back of her
head, Millie spraying milky sick everywhere, and with me - suffering
from The Fear - constantly trying to get Millie to meet my eyes or
acknowledge my presence somehow. She absolutely
hadn't been doing it - not matter how much I smiled at her, bobbed my
head about or chatted endlessly away to her, she'd rather look at the
wall than at me.
It was a bit of a low point, I have to be honest.
Which only made it all the more amazing that suddenly, out of nowhere,
right then, just when I needed it the most, her eyes met mine and she
gave me a huge smile! I shouted out to Mel, and she ran in and told me
it was just wind or coincidence, as usual. So we did it again: I sat
Millie in front of me, looked her right in the eyes, smiled and told
her how clever she was...and she looked me in the eyes right back and
Her mum cried, her
dad almost cried, and we were so happy.
Then for her feed this morning, she wouldn't look me
in the eyes again, and I thought, did I imagine it last
night? Are we building nothing up to be something...? But no,
again after her feed she looked at me and smiled like a goddamn bona
fide angel, and all our fears were allayed.
Until the next
time, I guess.
So...kids. It's a
roller-coaster ride. And if it's not one thing it's another. I keep
thinking, surely after all we've been through we
must be due a nice, quiet, easy couple of years...?
And apologies to
any grandparents whom I may have just accidentally scared the Bejesus
out of with this post. We didn't tell you any of this over the weekend
because we didn't want to worry you (and no, there isn't anything else
we're keeping from you!)
Tuesday 15th November
No Millie news today - I had to do the "socialising with work" thing
last night so I've barely seen her for 24 hours. :-(
Still, the Lovely Melanie's off out on the piss on Wednesday so it's
just me and the girl in that night, and we can do a bit of
father-daughter bonding. I'll let you know how that goes. The thing is, you can never really predict whether it's going to
end up with beautiful smiles on both sides, or if it'll be one of those
nights where I end up saying though gritted teeth, "Yes, I think it
might be time to SHUT UP now, Millie," as has once or twice happened in
unrelated thing to add here... Actually, TWO entirely unrelated things:
this weekend me and the fambly (not a mispelling, that's what we're
calling ourselves these days) are going to Brighton for the Brighton Comics Expo.
Well, I'm going for the Comics Expo (I've got a
press pass! My first ever press pass! I'm reporting on it for Emerald City) - the
Lovely Melanie and Millie are just going because I'm going, really.
Although, since we're staying in the Hilton on the seafront it should be a nice weekend for everyone. And we get to
show Millie the sea for the first time, too; even if it is the sea in
Brighton in the middle of November...
The second thing is
of no interest to anyone unless you're a bit of a geek and you have a
Java-enabled mobile phone (that'd be one of them there fancy ones what
has a colour screen), because the makers of my most favourite (and now
free!) web browser - Opera - have released a version for the aforementioned Java-enabled mobile
phones. If your phone can access the internet then you really really really want to download the new (free!) Opera
It's basically a web browser for your phone,
but - like it's big brother, the full Opera, it's waaaaaay
better than any other internet browser. The big
thing in it's favour, however, is the fact that it trims and
streamlines webpages before they're downloaded to
your mobile, thus saving you money (because viewing webpages on mobiles
isn't the cheapest way to do it, sadly)
Tuesday 15th November
A bit blurred, yes,
but I think you get the general idea...
Friday 18th November
Generally, as a rule, I dislike using the term "miraculous" to describe
something; mainly because of the religious connotations surrounding the
word, and particularly when talking about Millie, where people are
already inclined to cast their reason out the window (me included) to
describe her entry into the world, her subsequent survival and, well,
just when talking at all about how wonderful she is.
It is nothing short of miraculous, but as a hardcore atheist I see it as a
mixture of "luck" and the skill and professionalism of the doctors and
nurses of the NHS - a remarkable event more than any kind of divine
intervention. That kind of miraculous.
But, as usual, I
I was just going to
mention that this week we've have had two doctors
make the point that Millie's survival and subsequent progress have been
nothing short of "miraculous". Both of them, upon looking at Millie's
notes, have commented that it's extremely rare for
a baby born three months premature to make it this far with no setbacks
One of them even asked the Lovely Melanie, "Which infections has she
Not "Has she had any infections?" but which ones, because premature
babies "always" get at least one.
When the Lovely Melanie told her that Millie had been - ahem - hale and
hearty since birth the doctor couldn't help reiterating just how
unusual that was.
Almost miraculous, you might say. If you were that way inclined.