Car Seats: Rather Complicated!

I have been reading about car seats over the past few days. This is my personal number one priority given we have passed V-day and were our baby to arrive we wouldn’t be allowed home without a car seat. It’s really rather complicated though, thanks to all the myriad options, ever-changing regulations and possibility of using it as part of a travel system.
Here’s a precis of what I have learnt to save you doing so, but with some links if you want to read more:
  • Group 0+ takes you from birth to 13Kg / 15 months.
  • After that we would need a second car seat – you can get one to cover group 0-1 (age 4), but this is heavier of course, not so good for travel systems and probably not great comfort for a tiny baby.
  • Lie-flat car seats exist, and are better for the child. You can keep the child in that for as long as you like, as effectively it’s the same as being in a cot (babies need to lie flat to promote development and ensure proper breathing).
  • All car seats are heavy! But there are lighter ones…
  • Isofix connectivity and/or seatbelts are how you fix a seat to a car.
  • Often an isofix base is an additional expense.
  • Currently all children up to 9 Kg must be rear-facing; rear-facing is recommended for as long as possible. i-size ensures rear-facing until 13 Kg / 15 months, but as mentioned a group 0+ seat takes you this far anyway.
  • Any car seat will have limitations as to which travel system it fits.

 

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This looks immense but is it safe?

Here are some links to read more about the above:
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I have looked at a few and listed below are ones which appeal to me, why they appeal and why they might not. I’ll provide the main review link I was using:
Very common brand and therefore well-known performance, and I believe more choices of travel system. Weighs 4.5 Kg though which is top-end. Not lie-flat.
Extra safety protection on the sides. 4.2 Kg. Multiple travel system options. Not lie-flat.
A Group 0 – 1 seat! It’s been rated a test winner by Stiwa in Germany so we know it’s well-regarded from safety POV. Swivels so you can more easily put baby in the seat in car. Stays in car though – not usable as a carry cot type thing, i.e. not part of a travel system.
Very light! 3.3 Kg. Combines with same company’s travel systems (I think), but again they do a light system (7.6 Kg). Not lie-flat.
i-size. Lie-flat. Heavy – 4.9 Kg, and big.
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Choose your car seat first – perhaps with travel systems in mind – then finalise your travel system choice.

Some parting thoughts:
Safety is paramount but all of these, and others are very safe. You (and us right now) need then to think about what’s important – weight, lying flat, travel system flexibility.
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A Separated Future?

Today the world awoke to learn that The united Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland has voted to leave the EU, with a 51.9 to 48.1% majority.

My wife and I, plus many of our friends and family have been trying to get our heads around this news and the many ramifications that might come from it. Some things have started already – my particular favourites being the drop in sterling, the drop in share prices and the various Leave voters explaining how they didn’t think their vote would have an impact and now they regret it and are fearful for their futures. Oh, and Cornwall demanding the UK government matches the current subsidy they get from the EU, which they voted to leave.

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Our future PM? This is the man we must hope can lead the post-EU plan and help make the best ever from the situation we’re in

What’s a little more pertinent is the fact that later this year, all being well, our child will be born into this country and this country is accelerating towards its inexorable fall from great empire to insignificant island.

However, that’s not a very productive way of looking at it, is it? I mean, yes, so much looks like it will go bad. But I want our child to have all the good. So let’s take a little time to get over this, then watch our political leaders swap around. Let’s watch strong leaders take their place at the top of the tree and let’s listen to their plans and let them know what’s good and not so good. Let’s make the most of the hand we’ve been dealt by yesterday’s vote and make the most of it. Let’s make the future the best it can be. For us, and our children. We might be separated from the future Unites States of Europe but we might be able to retain some of the greatness we have had. Or we can move to Iceland.

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See, Iceland it is!

V Day!

So, today is an important day in mine, my wife’s and our unborn baby’s lives. It’s V day. Now, this could stand for voting day given the UK has it’s in/out EU referendum or it could be vehicular entertainment day (come to think of it, that’s Saturday when I collect my new car!).

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Viability day is after 24 weeks of pregnancy. That means we’re also well past half way. Must start learning how to be a Dad…

What it really is though is viability day. Our unborn baby, were it to decide it fancied joining us for the summer (if you can call this weather summer), would be looked after as much as humanly possible.

That’s kinda awesome.

When I think back to January and February when my wife and I had a multitude of ups and downs, it’s really pretty damned awesome. It feels good, too. I’m totally cool with the idea of being a Dad. For the moment, at least! More people at work know, I’m formally stating my desire to take paternity leave and all of this is being taken in my stride as I look forward to my new role as Dad. It’s said people can only really have five roles. Which one do I need to put aside for 18 years or so?

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This looks like a good lesson to start with!

The Nursery

Oh my word. Things are getting ever-more real. I started clearing out the nursery last week. It’s been the office/games room since we moved in. The house computer and desk are now downstairs, all game and film media have been removed and furniture is slowly being taken apart.

Plenty more to remove, before we can decorate / fill with new furniture, but we’re constrained by the available space into which we can move things. I’ll do some more today no doubt.

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A nursery. Ours may or may not look like this. Ever.

We have – as always – a long list of things to do. We need to do it in a sensible focused way rather than flitting all over the place. For me it’s sort the nursery and continue car seat / travel system research. Car seat mainly as I need to be ready in case anything happens early and without one of these I’d not be able to take the little one home. Dope.

In other news, as continued preparation, I bought a new car yesterday suitable for a three-person family. And it’s a little bit newer than the current one. Oh, and all doors open and shut appropriately. Older cars, huh? Now just the wife’s to get as well….

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My new car (if I didn’t have a wife and baby on the way..!)

Sailors?

Let’s talk about maternity wear. Lots of people need it. People who need it like to wear nice clothes which make them feel good about themselves. I know my wife does – if she’s wearing something she likes, she’ll be a happier person that day. It’s also helpful if it fits well at that point in time. You know, pretty basic things really.

So why is it so hard? My wife’s now 20-something weeks’ pregnant and she’s struggled with pretty much all clothing, but the dresses I think are what cause the most consternation and befuddlement.
nautical

This dress is called Nautical. Quite.

It seems you can have any maternity dress as long as it’s blue with stripes and makes you look like a sailor. Ahoy there! It also seems that unless you go high end it’s rarely going to fit anyone at any stage of pregnancy. Not really conducive to joy, is it?
I’ve told my wife she should learn from this pregnancy what opportunities there are for an enterprising woman. Namely, to create a better-fitting selection of maternity wear with a wide-ranging variety of designs. The market’s clearly there for them. My wife must have ordered the equivalent of all stock in Amazon’s distribution centre – and returned all but a couple of things – via trips to and from the Post Office, Collect+ and more. I know, I’ve listened intently and helped shuffle things back and forth where possible.
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I have no idea.

So, for now my wife has very little clothing she’s enjoying wearing, an idea for a future business and a vast understanding of Seraphine and other maternity wear selections.

Uncharted & Reflective Gaming

Spoilers reside below for Uncharted 4 – continue reading only if you’ve completed the game, or really don’t care 🙂

I recently had the good fortune to play the latest, and final, installments in two of my most loved gaming series: Dark Souls III and Uncharted 4. Aside from the awesome fun of playing them (and you should too if you have even a passing interest in gaming) they both mark an end, and a new beginning.

Each game is an ending. In Uncharted particularly there’s a very definite finality about it. Looking back at each series as a whole the journey has been a wonderful one, starting with shock, awe, love and finishing with reverence, seriousness and again, love. I don’t want to get into the games and the stories themselves but I do want to illustrate a couple of things.

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Praise the sun!

These series have ended now. Just as a series of episodes in my life ends, and a wonderful new one readies itself to begin. I grew up, went to Uni, met a wonderful lady, got engaged and then married. Now all of that’s ended (although let me be clear, many of those things continue in perpetuity, like marriage!) and we look to the next series, or act. Parenthood. It’s kinda cool that these games I so dearly love would end now too, freeing me from their grasp to enable complete focus on the real life.*

What’s more important for this post is the end of Uncharted. After the main events of the game we jump forward in time. We see a new character, a girl aged around 12, who is clearly the daughter of Nathan and Elena Drake, the couple who we’ve adventured with for the past 9 years. I have always been one for a good story, and will always feel the emotional hooks if done well, regardless of the subject matter. But here, seeing a young couple older, with child in tow? It kinda hit me hard. In a good way. This will hopefully be us someday. The way I viewed this scene with my current view of the world, versus how I would perhaps have seen it a year ago? Night and day difference.

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Nathan & Elena Drake

I haven’t told my wife about the ending of the game. I wanted her to read it here first. That might seem odd but I’m a guy and saying this kinda stuff is a little bit out of my comfort zone. Writing this blog was a way to say stuff that needed to be said without necessarily having to say it. So there you go wifey, the ending of Uncharted 4 was awesome but probably not for the reason you might have expected I’d give. Thank-you Naughty Dog.

* – Note I will absolutely continue playing games BUT I recognise a certain new something has to creep above games in the priority list 😀

Twenty (20) Weeks and Counting

So. Last week, after our Babymoon, we had our 20 week scan. Fortunately, all is looking as it should at this stage! That is all we wanted to hear.

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I’m not allowed a BMW so the baby certainly isn’t.

We did not ask the sex of the baby – or flavour, as someone else had described it – as neither of us wants to know. The main reason each of us had (if I recall correctly on my wife’s part anyway) is that knowing in advance increases the risk of post-natal depression. I don’t remember where I read that, or when, or if the research is properly peer-reviewed. But you know what? Who cares, anything that helps this whole thing be the best it can works for me.

Now we’re here there’s the need to really step up the search for the first and most important things – like a car seat so when the day comes we can actually go home, a travel system so we don’t break our arms all the time and some other stuff which is in the wife’s head and not mine (clothes actually might be a good thing to get).

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This is a good starting point!

We probably would have started on some of this this weekend but things didn’t go to plan to be honest…