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!