Laurence Andrews

Dadblog - Week 33

Yes, yes, I know it’s been a really long time since the last Dadblog post - sorry about that, it’s been pretty busy. The good news is that I think, we think, we’re almost there with the baby preps - which is a pretty big deal. We’re for sure on the final furlong, the list of jobs is all but ticked, the nursery looks amazing, I have an empty bank account and Victoria has a very large bump (it’s pineapple week)! It’s getting very exciting now and we both can’t wait for baby to be here with us in our home.

The nursery room has seen lots of change, the most significant thing is that the carpet has been replaced, this made a HUGE difference. We had a weird stripy brown coloured carpet in the room before which was just a bit old fashioned and made the room feel very busy. The new carpet is a simple pale cream colour looks great and is really fluffy, neutral and fresh - it smells amazing. I feel like we probably should have swapped the carpet a long time ago as it didn’t really cost all that much and aside from the wait, it didn’t really take very long to install either. We also had the hallway, stairs and landing (HSL if you’re a carpet pro), my office and the lounge done. We’re really happy with all of it, particularly the HSL, which has made it feel like a new home when you walk in the front door. Walking around in the lounge barefoot is really very lovely.

Also in the nursery we have installed the new baby monitor and some shelves. The monitor is a Eufy SpaceView, which seemed to be the highest-rated camera of any and so far, it seems really good. We debated getting the Nanit, but it was very expensive (£300) and you have to pay for a subscription (between £5 and £30), which is a bit crazy. This camera is a closed loop, so it doesn’t have an app, just a simple monitor and camera; apparently an app is also quite inconvenient for a monitor because you want to always keep an eye on it, which is inconvenient when it on your phone. The camera is PTZ with a wide angle lens and a small shelf for wall mounting. The monitor is a simple large LCD display with a few buttons and a kick stand. For some reason, most systems tend to have awful cameras and then a tiny little display screen. This one works really well and we’re properly pleased with it. The only tricky part was that it has been out of stock in the UK since the beginning of the year (well, probably before then) so we haven’t been able to buy it. Fortunately, it was in stock at Amazon in Germany, so we ordered from there and it turned up just fine. We paid about £150 which is quite a lot, but a lot less than a Nanit.

Few other changes in the nursery to finish it off, we installed some shelves above the changing station for books and bits and bobs. The shelves were an absolute ‘mare to install but look good now they’re up. We also put a floor lamp in next to the nursing chair which looks very smart and Dad has made a small oak shelf for next to the chair so that Victoria has somewhere to put her phone, a drink or the bottle. All that’s left is to get the wireless lights to work properly, I need to find a way to define some preset options and to have switches next to the chair and door. We may also get another camera that covers the whole room in addition to just the cot.

The other major investment was the push-chair/buggy/stroller/travel-system/car-seat. Honestly, I didn’t realise this would be as complicated as it was, there are SO MANY options is a little bit crazy. Victoria did all of the heavy lifting in figuring out what is the best one for us and we eventually landed on the Mamas & Papas Ocarro in Onyx which comes with a Cybex Cloud Z lie-flat car seat. I think I’ve talked about this in a previous post, but it all turned up the other week in five (!) enormous boxes. It’s one thing seeing it in the shop and it’s another having it in your house, it seems bigger than I remember, but just about fits in our under-stairs cupboard without being completely collapsed which is good. While we made sure the buggy fitted in the boot of the car, we didn’t check that the car seat would fit properly on the back seat. It does, but even in our relatively roomy Audi A4 the passenger seat needs to be quite far forward. The base for the car seat is pretty snazzy though, it spins around so that it’s easy to clip and seat in and out of the car. I’m sure our mileage with this will vary over time, but all seems good so far.

This weekend is the first lesson of Parent School with NCT. We’re now both members of a special WhatsApp group with all the other future mums and dads which is quite nice. Our tutor is a lady called Vicki Sigston who runs private sessions at Little apprehensive about it, but sure it’ll be absolutely fine, I’m certain it’ll be helpful to listen and learn. It still seems a bit odd that you’re just expected to know what to do when baby arrives. I feel like there should be some kind of test or certification before you are allowed to be trusted with an actual human child! We’re going full-on and are turning up with cupcakes for everyone.

In other news, Covid restrictions are being relaxed and we’re now both fully vaccinated. Most people are continuing to wear masks indoors or in crowded spaces which seems sensible. The case numbers for Covid are still quite high, but apparently that’s fine so long as people aren’t dying with quite such high frequency. We are both still doing lateral flow tests from time to time and touch-wood neither of us believe we’ve had Covid. It’s now possible to sit at the bar in a pub which was my personal metric for when things are back to normal, this is very pleasing although as I type it’s been four weeks since my last beer. A commitment I made with myself to make sure that I make the most of this special part of our lives - plus I have already drunk enough for both of us this year!

In general news, aside from Covid. The war in Afghanistan is now over, well, the ISAF ground forces have officially left which is quite a monumental piece of history. That exit marked the 20th anniversary since 9/11 which is now a frighteningly long time ago. International travel is beginning to resume, which has been all but halted since the start of the pandemic. Travel to most of the EU has been possible for a couple of months provided people are double jabbed, report their location and complete mandatory travel testing. Travel to the US is expected to resume from November, despite the UK permitting travel for US citizens for many months already. Oh and I suppose this is news, England lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. Tragic. In the past few days there has been a massive surge in liquid gas prices, which is causing all sorts of chaos, that sits alongside people panic-buying forecourt fuel and an increasing acceptance that we’ll be living with food shortages in supermarkets because of a shortage of lorry drivers (because, surprise! it turns out most of them were from the EU). Perhaps this is the perfect storm for Winter 2021. We’re truly living the Brexit dream.

This may well be the last big post before baby arrives, but I’ll do my best to continue with the Micro Blog in the mean time, perhaps with some running update on Baby Classes.