Thursday, 12 January 2017

Why Feeling Your Baby Kick is Important

We spent more than a reasonable part of the Christmas and New Year holidays encouraging one child to kick and punch another.

We aren’t psychopaths, or crazy, instead we’re having ababy and aiming to help our older child bond with our baby bump and become a big brother.

Part of that we see as involving our older child in the pregnancy as deeply as we can.

He regularly talks to the baby bump, gets a veto on the baby name and last week even provided help choosing a pushchair.

But we took it up another notch over the holidays with my wife starting to feel the baby kick, or punch, a little more.

Baby Newbold’s movements have become more pronounced as we pass the half-way stage of a normal pregnancy.


I got to feel it move, and after getting over the shock, it was a development we wanted to share as soon as we could with Max.

Baby Newbold not playing ball
Max sat patiently with his hand gently placed on the baby bump a few times over the holiday period.  

He was a mix of excited and scared at the prospect of feeling movement of a real person growing inside another one.

The first few times left him a little disappointed, as – perhaps a worrying sign of behaviour to come - Baby Newbold wasn’t playing ball or kicking on command.

But when Max climbed between us in bed on Christmas Day morning, he snuggled up patiently for a minute or two, and Baby Newbold duly delivered the kick that Max described as: ‘the best Christmas present ever’.

That may have changed shortly afterwards when he opened Overwatch for the Xbox One, but still, it was a lovely moment and we all felt very blessed.

Max’s reaction was lovely, he was freaked out a little, as we all have been.  But he soon calmed and provided that beautiful innocent perspective us adults sometimes take a little longer to get to. 

And now, we’ve had a complete turn about in behaviour from Baby Newbold. 

The minute I go anywhere near my wife’s bump, the baby stops moving.   No kicks, punches or movement for me to feel.  However Max now has his little sibling so well trained and responsive, he is practising fist bumps with Baby Newbold.

Bloody show off.  Can't think who he takes after.

I feign irritation, at how funny Mommy and Max find this, them laughing at me rushing to feel Baby Newbold move, only to be ignored.

But the truth is I’m loving the bonding that is already going on between them all.

It's a wonderfully precious time that I'm not really left out of at all.
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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

WHY CHOOSING A PUSHCHAIR SHOULD BE CHILD'S PLAY

We’re having a baby.

And part of our plan to ready our 12 year-old son to be a big brother, we are involving him as much as we can in the preparations for Baby Newbold.

Which is why we took him along to a recent personal shopping session with Mamas & Papas.  What else are the school holidays for, if not to make your children useful?

We were specifically looking at pushchairs.

Max test driving a pushchair in Mamas & Papas

We’d done a boatload of research, checked which models fit in our cars easily, compared prices across the country, factored in re-sale values, watched many Pushchair Expert YouTube videos, read plenty of reviews, as well as courted friends and people we vaguely know but drive similar cars to us, for their expert opinion and user experiences.

Of course there was a spreadsheet.

OUR PUSHCHAIR COMPARISON SPREADSHEET

How could we possibly decide on a pushchair without an Excel spreadsheet?
After various sessions, visits and decision impasses, we’d narrowed our search down to Mamas & Papas.  Specifically to their Armadillo Flip XT pushchair, and brand new Ocarro pushchair.

Max had gone into a Mamas & Papas pushchair a decade or so ago, and my parents still use that very pushchair for pushing my toddler nephew around in now, so we know from experience they make reasonably mid-range priced hardy stuff.

We were also sold the virtues of a personal shop on one of our browsing visits to Mamas & Papas, where you get the undivided attention of one of their well-trained staff, as well as further discounts in addition to those available to all shoppers in their stores.

ANTI- DISCLAIMER


I must stress this was all as your everyday-garden-muck-shopper, rather than as your regular-superstar-blogger-review-bum-kiss-in-exchange-for-free-stuff racket.

I’m yet to be re-invited to board that baby-gravy-train (probably could have worded that better).  Can someone please chase up my invite?

THE MAMAS & PAPAS PERSONAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE


I’m a deeply sceptical and cynical human being.  I fear any personal shop is going to cost me more money than your regular 'get-it-off-the-shelf-and-pay-at-the-till' type.  It has to, a retailer is putting more resource into selling to you, so they must look to re-coup that, right?

Wrong.

In reality it was quite the opposite with Mamas & Papas.  We actually got an extra discount from the already discounted prices advertised in store.  Still meant we parted with more money than I sold my last car for (true story), but it was still a good amount less than we would have paid by ordering online or in-store normally.

Our superstar comparing pushchair weights

Our personal shopping appointment with Sara was excellent.  She was incredibly patient with us, involved Max in the process, and went that extra mile to rid us of any doubts we had. 

It really did feel tailored to us, and that we weren’t being pushed towards more expensive products that we wouldn’t perhaps get the benefits of.  Like the Ocarro is a stunning and more rugged pushchair, but we'd be paying more to be unnecessarily flash.

We all had a try comparing pushchairs, we loaded different versions into the back of our car boot and got to compare colours in both artificial light and in normal day light.

It was a very relaxed experience.  No pressure to look at accessories or other items, but one perhaps without which we would never have come to a decision on which pushchair to go for.

CHOOSING WELL & HELPING MAX BECOME A BIG BROTHER


I love our little trio, and as shopping amigos it means we at least reach a majority verdict, even if we aren’t always unanimous.  It also means we stay calm and consider more aspects and scenarios as we all see things from a different perspective.

Doesn’t always mean we get things right, and the problem with pushchairs in particular is you buy them without knowing the size and personality of your new baby.

You're buying something not quite knowing your requirements, and the proof of your decision will only become apparent once you've used it for real for a good little while.

Still, at least when Baby Newbold finally arrives we will all get to bask in the glory, or share the blame, together!


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Monday, 19 December 2016

Making a Big Brother

If you missed it, we’re expecting a baby in April 2017.

And when you make a new baby, we shouldn’t forget we make things of other people too.

We turn parents into grandparents, brothers into uncles, sisters into aunties, nieces and nephews into cousins and of course, friends into baby sitters.


Also, with our particular genitals, we have inadvertently made the best big brother the world could ever hope for.

Max in full Big Cousin mode

As many long term friends & followers pointed out on my Facebook preganancy announcement, Max will make a fabulous big bro.  Just like I do (it isn’t necessary, or safe, to ask my sister for proof).

And I’m not concerned about that at all.  Ever since his nursery years, where he was nicknamed ‘Mother Hen’, he’s had a very caring and patient side.  His younger cousins have been grateful recipients of his good nature, and couldn’t  pester and harass love him any more.

I know he’ll also be a wonderful loving asset for his new sibling, as well as for us, who will burden him with some parental duties.  After all 24-hours divides rather neatly by three, and he’s drawn the 10pm-6am shift.  Unlucky.

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE AGE GAP?


It’s one advantage of the larger age gap that he’ll effectively act as the third parent as well as big bro.

He’s all set to be incredibly useful, and I also see it as an important part of keeping him right at the centre of our family unit. 

As he careers towards teenagedom, an expected period of non-communication, self-doubt and hormone explosion.  I fear him harbouring feelings of being pushed out and that life has suddenly become all about his little brother or sister.

That isn’t the plan.

Whilst he’ll get an extended lesson in sharing, including a parent’s time, his importance to us doesn’t change.  If anything I hope it makes him even more vital and integral to our growing family unit.

FEELING LEFT OUT, OR BRINGING US CLOSER TOGETHER?


Max often makes the casting vote, or brings about the calm and perspective necessary to allow us to move on through our regular arguments decision impasses.

We’ve asked him for opinions on names, and suggestions of his own.  He gets a veto, just like we do.  Which is why Baby Newbold will probably be called Baby Newbold until they are old enough to legally choose their own name.

He talks to the baby bump about his day, and also offers reassurance and advice on how to deal with his daft parents.  The baby will recognise his dulcet tones.

Max will be with us sometimes as we go shopping for baby equipment.  There isn’t a finer individual to test the robustness of a pushchair.  Keep an eye out for a blog post to see how we got on with that.

And with all these interruptions to his life, we still plan to make sure he gets his own fun time, time with grandparents, other family and his friends, as well as Xbox One chill-out marathons when he’s at home.

In the end I’m hope I’m doing an impression of this.


Rather than this.


YOUR TIPS FOR INCLUDING AN OLDER SIBLING


Your tips and ideas for including an older sibling would be most welcome. 

As are free shiny brand-new robust compact pushchairs.



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