Saturday, 28 January 2012

A pram, a pram, my kingdom for a pram

Finally, and with much stress and soul-searching, my wife listened to reason and went for the pram I said I liked months ago. 

We passed the 28 week mark yesterday and this has come with a large amount of panic for me - nursery not ready, no cot yet and no pram.  So 12 weeks before Junior's arrival time is planned for there was nothing to arrive to.  A second day it was then of vehicular experimentation and a brave quest through the baby shops.  Once more into the breach...

Buying a pram, gentlemen, is a nightmare.  And no single pram offers all the features or, more importantly, eliminates all of the irritants.  There are an absolute wealth of options and ask three different people and they will give you three different priorities that your pram simply must have.  Carrycot?  Check.  Parent-facing chair?  Check.  Car seat that fits to frame?  Check.  Folds down conveniently?  Nope.  Light?  Nope.  Everything is a compromise.  The models that were light, were flimsy, the ones that folded down well had fiddly clips, or rubbish carrycots.  Picking a pram is a continuous compromise - I challenge anybody to pick one that they are universally happy with.

And this week I was faced with another new (to me) phenomenon.  The 'everybody-tells-you-you-need-that-but-you-don't-however-X-is-essential' advice.  Everybody that has a baby, and even some that haven't, has an opinion on what is necessary and what is not.  And all the advice is well-meaning and gratefully received but so much of it is conflicting that for the first-time parent it can be somewhat bewildering.

I worry that people these days bury their instincts underneath advice, rhetoric and literature.  I recognise the security blanket that this offers and I will admit to wanting to read some books to help me out (Martin Seligman's Optimistic Child is top of my list), but I do believe I need to allow myself the chance to learn with my baby.  None of these books know my child; it is a journey that nobody can fully prepare me for and one that my wife and I will travel with the kiddie bean when it arrives.  There will be wrong turnings, dead ends and the occasional bump but for thousands of years parents and children have reached the destination of independent adulthood and I see no reason why we should be any different.

Brave words now.  Come back and ask me how I feel two weeks after birth day!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Preparation, preparation, preparation...

It's been a while since I was last here, but I thought it was time to finally pick up my proverbial pen and record some more thoughts.  Due to the passing of my dad at the end of November I have been continually reminded of the importance of family.  I will probably share more thoughts in this regard in future blogs, for now it is a little too soon still.

So what has been happening with regards to the kiddie bean?  A lot of growth!  My wife now sports a highly desirably front extension, that occasionally entertains the both of us with visible bulges and kicks.  There is simply no hiding the fact that she is pregnant and with this simple fact seems to have come an explosion of appetite!  Clearly junior is demanding a lot of calories, and my wife is only too happy to supply them.  :-)

More seriously we visited Asda's baby event today and have begun to stock up in preparation.  We have two huge boxes of newborn nappies now, which my wife predicts may last three days if we're lucky.  The goal is to do towelling nappies when junior's digestive system settles down a bit, but I am reliably informed the first couple of weeks are particularly explosive and prolific.

We now have a selecton of lotions, wipes, cotton products, bibs, sleepsuits, with some Sudocrem and a travel cot thrown in.  With this flurry of purchasing came a not insubstantial level of nervous anticipation - it is now becoming very real and I do find myself asking if I will be ready?  Is anybody ever ready?  We moved from Asda to the babies section of Toys R Us, where we examined a number of very similar looking cotbeds, as well as pushing around a number of prams that approach the market value of my car, yet apparently don't even have ABS.  They are extortionate!  Baby products come with quite a mark-up it seems.  And so far we have not even got a room ready to put all this in.  While I am very excited about junior's arrival, it is beginning to feel that time is running out for us to get things ready for the big day.

With that in mind, I'm going to go help the wife put away the Christmas decorations (we've been really busy, ok?!)