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Friday, 24 September 2010

Man flu misery...

I may have a Lemsip problem.

Over the last few days I haven't been able to get enough of the lemon-flavoured good stuff as I have fought, far from courageously, against a particularly nasty early-autumn cold. Indeed, I am the first to admit that I have not been a pleasant sight of late, dressed as I am in pyjamas and dressing gown, armed 24/7 with a tissue-replacement muslin and looking generally fit for nothing more than a starring role in Night of The Living Dead.
Mrs B suffered the same virus last week although it is evidently clear that this particular bug hits the male half of the population much harder. Despite being 36 weeks pregnant (yes, regular readers, we're almost there) I can only put my wife's ability to shrug off this cold down to the fact that it is a male-hating virus. How else can I explain the fact that, while she was back at full capacity after three days, I am strenuously typing these notes - and straining my bloodhsot eyes to read them - on day five of my seemingly endless battle.

The recent sleepless nights, however, have given me time to ponder and to be thankful for the fact that we have at least  endured the Cold War now, a month before Baby B's arrival. I can only imagine how hard it must be to look after a newborn child whilst constantly blowing your nose. Not only would I be worried of passing anything on to my vulnerable son or daughter, but I'd also be terrified that a combination of sleep deprivation and Lemsip would cloud my judgement and see me depositing dirty nappies in the fridge, or putting the little one down to sleep in the washing basket.

So, what am I complaining about really? I'm lucky to be suffering like I am, aren't I?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Swede dreams!

Thirty-five weeks and counting.

The big day is rapidly approaching now and, having put it off for as long as possible, we buckled earlier this week and found ourselves eating meatballs in Ikea. It was the culinary precursor to the inevitable Market Place sweep for last minute nursery bits and bobs.

Prior to arrival at the Swedish furniture mecca, however, Mrs B and I had sworn an oath to enter the building, head directly to the nursery section, pick up the changing mat and covers we needed and aim directly for the checkouts. It was a simple mission, in and out in as short a time as possible and head home for supper and Coronation Street.

Needless to say, it didn't go to plan.

Within seconds of walking through the insanely large revolving doors we had talked ourselves in to eating out, or rather in Ikea. It took nothing more than a quick; "ooh, the meatballs look good," to ensure that we found ourselves with trays in hand and time ticking away. The oath had already been forgotten.

Dinner over and having deposited our trays in the tray racks (for some reason eating at Ikea reminds me of school dinners), we grabbed our compulsory yellow bags and headed for the Market Place, pausing to study the floor plan before entering. For some reason we couldn't see the children's area and, assuming it was an oversight on our part, began following the arrows through the Market maze.

It was clear from the eager faces of our fellow shoppers that we had all fallen in to the Ikea trap, wondering as we were whether we could actually live without the bargain cutlery sets, over-sized mugs, mixing bowls, storage boxes, picture frames, shelves and lights that gravitated towards our trolleys or yellow bags.  How easy it would be to come home with a new kitchen, when all you went in for was a spare bulb for that annoying lamp in the lounge!

Bereft of daylight and any indication of the time - despite the miriad of clocks on offer - Mrs B and I trekked aimlessly around the Market Place, eventually realising that the children's zone was upstairs in the showroom and that we had, in fact, wasted the past half hour perusing curtains and bedding (despite being fully equipped with all the curtains and bedding we could ever need).

And so it was that Ikea stole our evening. Coronation Street was missed and we returned home with a bag of odds and ends that we didn't know we needed.

Mind you, the meatballs were good!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Back to school biology

Walking nervously into the grounds of a local primary school earlier this week, Mrs B and I embarked on the first of our NHS-funded 'Parent Craft' lessons.

Literally going back to school the pair of us took our seats (thankfully not toddler-size) in a neat semi-circle, largely consisting of puzzled-looking mums and dads, in an empty primary classroom. The setting for our introduction to the miracle of childbirth was as sterile as it was uncomfortable. The NHS, bless their souls, had, however, laid on a wealth of refreshments for us, namely two jugs of water and at least five glasses. We were, it was fair to say, instantly sceptical of the two hour lesson that lay ahead.

We needn't have worried. Our community midwife tutor - a bubbly, calm and motherly figure who instantly put us at ease - wasted no time in whipping out the labour diagrams and explaining the intricacies of the birthing process to us. Mrs B and I were utterly gripped. We thought we knew the basics, but it was clear we knew nothing.

Jenny, adopting the role of biology teacher, began by detailing the various signs of labour. The breaking of waters may not, we were told,  actually mean the start of labour. In fact, the whole process may not start until hours or even days afterwards, which was news to us. As were the intricacies of the various stages of labour - all expertly demonstrated to us by an enthusiastic Jenny with the aid of a 30 year-old baby doll and a plastic pelvis.

Needless to say we left the school grounds wiser than we had entered and thankful that the free course had given us such a brilliant insight in to what we can expect in a few weeks' time. What's interesting now, however, is how NCT will compare? I have a feeling that there may be a few more cushions, and maybe even a selection of biscuits, but will the quality of the information and the delivery match that which we received from the NHS? Watch this space to find out.