Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Price of nostalgia

George has got a Fisher Price garage - it says ages one to four on the box, so he's starting with it a bit early (he's nine months old this week). Anyway, daddy had a Fisher Price garage and I'm telling you, they ain't what they used to be.

George's is much more colourful than daddy's was – and is probably a bit bigger, but the older version (below) worked so much better. The big disappointment in the latest version is the car lift at the side. Now, forgive me if I'm a little off the mark on finer details – I haven't played with my Fisher Price garage for quite a while and can't remember exactly where I left it – but as far as I remember, the lift worked by winding a handle and when the car got to the top it shot out on to the top floor of the multi-storey parking area and rolled all the way down the ramp to the petrol pump at the bottom.

This new lift has no winding handle – just a big plastic tab that you grab to move the lift up and down (how boring is that?) and besides, it's pretty hard to do. In fact, you have to put your hand on top of the garage in order to move the lift up (rubbish). Then, when the car gets to the top, the lift floor tilts but you have to give the car a shove and "drive" it over to the ramp so that it can whizz down to the bottom. And I haven't finished yet – the ding doesn't ding (pathetic).

George does have some good Fisher Price toys but this garage is plain, lazy toymaking. Luckily, George hasn't had the opportunity to compare – and at the moment he's happy enough using the ramp to roll brightly coloured cups and balls down.

I've got a feeling there will be more things to come that I remember with fond, rose-tinted nostalgia that have traversed childhoods and evolved into cheaper, tackier and disappointing shadows of their former selves.

I don't know if George will ever be interested in one of those Evel Knievel bikes that you wound up until the pent-up energy got too much, it rocketed off and – if you had enough room – didn't stop for miles (brilliant), but even though I'd quite like to buy him one some day (apparently they're still available somewhere), I'm not sure I could live with the disappointment should it fail to be as fantastic as I remember.

So, it all seems a bit Catch 22 – buy new stuff that's inferior or buy old stuff that isn't as great as you remember.

Hopefully we can rely on The Six Million Dollar Man.

And, in case you were wondering where George has got to... here he is.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

All fright on the night

It has been one of those weeks this week. Mummy and daddy spent their Valentine's Day morning in the children's A&E department after George's temperature rose to 38.7 and even though the Calpol kept it in check to some extent, we wanted to be sure it was nothing serious.

The nurse took down some notes about his weight, pulse and temperature, etc, before giving us a little cup and asking us to collect a urine sample. So – into a cubicle, off with the nappy and while mummy filled up George with the bottle at one end, daddy stood at the ready with the little cup at the other end.

Soon the paediatrician arrived and after checking his ears, throat and lungs – while we distracted him with the warm milk – said a urine sample wouldn't be necessary – phew. Anyway, it seems that on top of George's teething, he has a little virus that contributed to the rise in his temperature and his lungs, ears and throat are all fine and dandy.

Back home, we're feeling a lot more relieved, even if George isn't. He's not his usual happy self and it's sometimes a little difficult to distract him from the pain in his sore gums – even by showing him his first Valentine's card from his great aunty and uncle in Canada. Bedtime is perhaps the most noticeably awkward time. He has taken to waking more frequently and then it's harder to settle him – and there's only so much Bonjella a child can take (or is allowed).

He has also started to roll over in his sleep and move around the cot somewhat – which is a bit of a worry – so we've set up the movement sensor on the baby monitor. The other night it went off and mummy and daddy, hearts pounding, raced in to check on him (false alarm, as he'd shifted himself into the corner of the cot and away from the sensor pad). We didn't get to sleep for quite a while after that, but happily, George slept through the whole thing.

Because of his sore gums we've been extra careful when trying to get George off to sleep and, though he may be able to sleep through car alarms, fireworks and other unplanned noises, it's the moments just as he nods off that are the most precarious. Daddy managed to rock him to sleep in his nursery the other night only to realise that George was the "wrong way round". To lay him in his cot the right way meant either having to swap arms or rearrange the furniture – and it was very tempting to call for mummy via the monitor to get her to shift the cot and the chest of drawers.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

And they call it cupboard love

George has been developing his skills in the reach-out-and-grab-things department.

Early signs came to light at the supermarket where he has started to reach out for anything that catches his eye. Luckily he can't grab anything – apart from the net bags which restrain satsumas and clementines. Even more luckily, he can't put anything in the trolley.

Unluckily for mummy though, he can grab the rim of a cup of coffee – precisely what he did when she was out for a latte with a few of her other new-mummy friends. And, of course, he did it at the perfect moment – just as one of her work colleagues (whom she hasn't seen while being on maternity leave) walks past. Mummy and George returned home early that morning, both smelling like a cafetiere and both looking a little bit sorry for themselves.

This week George has discovered the handles on the kitchen cupboards and it's those that he has been making a beeline for – and with a little bit of reaching out he has found there are some interesting things to grab.

Time for some George-proofing!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Search for a nursery

It's getting forever closer to the time when mummy has to go back to work (beginning of April) and the reminders are beginning to pop up now and then.

One of them is getting a nursery sorted as part of the weekly routine that we are also trying to organise. The current plan is that George will be with mummy one day, daddy one day, nanna one and a half days, nannie half a day and nursery one day.

Now we don't have to check out nanna's and nannie's houses as we know they're warm, comfy, safe and clean (even though they don't have council certificates on the wall), but when it comes to 'offloading' George somewhere new, you want to be sure they meet or beat the standards you expect. So, after making a few phone calls, we chose three nurseries in the vicinity that could be potentially 'good enough' to care for our little boy.

The first nursery we visited, although very clean, happy and safe was a little on the small side with not much outdoor area and a policy of putting babies outside to sleep in all weathers apart from snow. Minds made up very easily on that one.

It's surprising how much importance you can place on impressions over the phone, and the second nursery we visited was the one that we would have chosen based on a phone call. It's also the one we chose after our visit. This one gave you the choice of whether your baby slept inside or outside. Anyway, we were very impressed by the spaciousness, the outdoor areas, the staff, the activities, the monitoring – both on an educational level and for wellbeing – and decided pretty much on the spot. Just in case you'd like to see where George will be spending some of his time over the next year or three here is a link:

We gave the third nursery a call and cancelled our appointment.

This week George's whizzing round the kitchen has decimated his supply of
babygrows – we have to make sure he wears shoes or slippers now – and one day he gave new meaning to the phrase drag racing when he swept the floor with the help of mummy's cardigan. He has also discovered the joy of swings, but even though he has all this fun at home, we're sure George will have
even more fun at his nursery – shaving foam, shredded paper, poster paints and a profusion of messy things.

Just as our nursery visit was ending, one little boy came up to the nursery manager and said: "I think it's a good idea to hang my coat up." The nursery manager replied: "Yes, that's a good idea, isn't it." The little boy must have thought he was on a roll, because he replied: "And I think it's a good idea to throw sand at the window."

Yep – that'll suit George down to the ground.