Tuesday, 25 May 2010

He's Got a Ticket to Ride

Caution!  Baby Blue does not advocate letting your child drive your car!  Doing so is dangerous as they can't reach the pedals. Plus, they're well know to be speed freaks.  And the insurance premiums are murder.

Alex is rapidly outgrowing his car seat.  Technically it is usable until he is 13kg (he's around 9kg at the moment), but he's long for his age, and so his feet stick out from the end rather comedically.  Add to this the fact that Alex + car seat = about half a ton, and it was becoming clear that it was time for a new car seat


Buying car seats is a tedious, expensive and time consuming activity.  They come in roughly one million different flavours and each one has a subtly different set of features.  In addition, buy the wrong sort and you're risking firing your child through the front windscreen in the event of an accident, so it's stressful too.

We were in need of a group 1 (9-18kg, or roughly 9 months to 4 years) seat.  It also needed to be a seat that fitted into our car (a 207).  If it happened to cost less than one major organ, that would be a bonus.  Nicola, being far more organised/interested/caring/just-plain-better than me had scoped out our options on-line and found that a Britax Prince Forward Facing Group 1 Car Seat - Alex was likely to be our preferred choice.  (Alex is the colour.  It's not a personalised seat!)  There was one in the local Halfords, at the same price as on-line.  Result.

Come Monday (a day off, for reasons of hospital visits) we went round to check it out.  It was great.  Sort of.  The very nice man in Halfords fitted the demo version for us.  It didn't quite fit totally.  You could use it half reclined (really pretty upright) or totally reclined, but not completely upright.  And if you wanted to adjust the recline, you had to loosen then re-tighten the seatbelt each time.  (Thus increasing the possibility of getting it wrong at some point or worse, waking up a snoozing Alex whilst doing it!)

"Would you perhaps be interested in the newer version?" the man asked.  "It's got added side impact protection..."  he tailed off, leaving the clear implication that we were bad parents to skimp on Alex's safety for the sake of £40.  (Despite the fact that all car seats have to meet stringent safety regulations.)  We looked unconvinced.

"Plus, you can adjust the reclining without undoing the car seat."

Maybe we could just take a look...

So out comes the Britax Eclipse Forward Facing Group 1 Car Seat - Jet.Which fits much better.  And is comfier looking.  And has "added side impact protection".  And you can adjust without faff.  And costs almost as much again.

The nice man takes the previous one inside.  Nic and I quickly confer.  We decide that the ability to adjust the reclining quickly without waking Alex is almost certainly worth £40.  (We couldn't give a stuff about the "added side impact protection".)  But is it a decent price?  A quick check of the internet (what did we do without mobile browsing I wonder) reveals that we could save £5-10 on it, but we'd have to fit it ourselves.  And probably collect it from Livingston, knowing our luck with couriers.  We decide to go for it.  The nice man fits our brand new car seat.

Alex doesn't get to ride home in it though.  We're not sure if he's actually big enough!  We haven't weighed him in a while, so our estimate of 9kg is just that, an estimate.  Nicola is going to take him along to the clinic on Thursday and see if he's big enough to go in his new seat.  If so, forward facing adventures here we come!

(Oh, and Nicola pointed out that the sight of two child seats side-by-side was enough to put her off having a second for a while yet!)

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Off topic self-promotion:  Check out my article at the Escapist! 

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Raspberry Ripple

Alex and his Granny Tatty are communicating.





I don't know quite what Alex thinks he's saying, but it apparently the funniest thing in the world.

In case it's not clear, Alex has learnt how to blow a raspberry.  He is delighted by the discovery and takes every opportunity to show it off.  Fun toy?  Raspberry.  New person comes into the room?  Raspberry.  Tasty food?  Raspberry.  (A particularly messy raspberry this one.)  The joy of blowing a raspberry is only topped by the joy of having someone blow one back, hence his farting conversation with Tatty.

Copying has become a new favourite thing for Alex.  Well, I suppose I should say having others copy him has become a new favourite thing.  He's always been somewhat pleased when you talk back to him, but recently a parroting of his babble gets big smiles.  He also enjoys slapping his palm onto the table top/orange juice carton/ surface of the water/cat (pick the nearest, if tied, pick the fluffiest) in a staccato rhythm then having you do the same.  For one thing, it's fun.  For another, it means the cat savages you and not Alex.  The sacrifices we make as parents, eh?

Friday, 14 May 2010

Holidays and a Toothsome Treat

Ahh, nothing like regular updates, is there? Bit of an epic this one, so let's get started.

"You are now leaving Yorkshire.  Are you sure?"

The last week of April Nic, Alex and I were on holiday with Nic's parents, Alan and Hazel, and her brother, Douglas, and his wife, Christina.  (Granda and Grannie Sinclair, Unky Doug and Auntie Christina, respectively.)  We were staying, as always, in a self-catering cottage just outside the North York Moors.  It's peaceful, beautiful and relaxing.

It's also bloody miles from Dalkeith.

Now, I know it's not really that far in the grand scheme of things.  It's a good deal further from Aberdeen than Dalkeith, for one thing.  But this was the longest journey we had ever undertaken with Alex, so we were somewhat worried about how it would go.

We timed our trip down so that large parts of the drive would be over standard Alex nap times.  It turned out that he decided not to nap in the morning, but that was ok, as he spent the first hour chatting to his book.  Then it was lunch time (pork terrine for mum, quiche for dad, spinach goo for Alex).  Then we were back in the car and off again.  Alex fell asleep pretty much instantly.  And stayed asleep.  The whole way there.  Joy!

Once we got to Wrelton, I discovered an ancillary benefit to having a baby.  You get the best room in the house.  (The other bedrooms were too small to have a cot in them and, strangely, Alan and Hazel didn't feel like sleeping with Alex.)

The other primary benefit is that you have a cast iron excuse for not going on long walks.  ("Gosh folks, I'd just love to spend three hours tramping over a moor, but I don't think the buggy will make it.  What a shame.  Pass the cake, would you?")  An option to avoid exercise, other people to entertain Alex, tasty food made by someone other than us, what more could you want?

Well, how about not being woken up at 5 o'clock every monring by a bright eyed and bushy tailed little boy?  It was no doubt due to the long car-based nap during the first day, but Alex's sleep was a little out of whack all holiday.  (The first day required a few minutes controlled crying to get him off to sleep.)  Each morning he'd wake up and demand fed and played with horribly early.  Then, just to rub salt in the wound, he'd fall asleep again at around six for an hour or so.  It was not an uncommon occurrence to find both Alex and me asleep on the kitchen floor first thing in the morning.  (Alex usually got the best spot, rolled up in a blanket.)  Ahh well, if I have learnt nothing else from parenthood, I have at least learnt how to sleep anywhere and at any time.

During our holiday we discovered that frozen peas in an empty milk carton make a great toy, that peacocks like organic apple flavoured rice cakes and that Unky Doug and Auntie Christina are so entertaining that merely being in the same room as them causes fits of giggles.  (It can be galling as a parent sometimes when you've spent the last hour busting a gut to raise a smile and someone else wanders by causing great amusement by simply existing.)  Alex also got to make friends with seven (count 'em, seven) different cats!  Much happiness.  And I caught a fish.  (From a very heavily stocked trout lake.)  Alex behaved well on the way back home too.  And we cured the five AM thing pretty sharpish once we got home too!  (Thank you, controlled crying.)

All I Want for Christmas...

All of Alex's little friends (those from our NCT ante-natal classes, who I now habitually refer to as "our NCT litter" after having seen a litter of kittens on holiday, and those from NCT Bumps and Babies) seem to have at least one tooth.  Often they have several.  Alex, by contrast doesn't.

Until Tuesday, that is!  The discovery was made by Nicola on the bus on the way into town to visit Grandpa JRB.  A glint of white, poking through his lower gum.  A definite ridge of toothy-ness sticking out of the soft, pink gum.  It explained why his eating my nose had hurt more than usual that day!

A tooth!  Hooray!  We were beginning to get worried.  (Or I was a t least.  I don't know about Nic.)  Now nose eating ("kisses") is off the menu.  (It really, really hurts with a tooth!)  It may also signal the beginning of the end for breast feeding too, if Alex starts biting down with his new found dentistry.  That will be a big step, and not one that anyone is really looking forwards too, I don't think.