3 Become 4


Well, it might have taken me a couple of weeks to get round to writing about it, but I’m very pleased to report that our new addition arrived, safe and sound, and that we’re settling into life as a foursome pretty well. Which is just as well, given that I came back to work yesterday!

You’ll be pleased to know that I’m not going to write a blow by blow account of Megan’s arrival – no-one needs to read that, even viewers of One Born Every Minute! But having another baby has highlighted just how much of Heather’s birth/first few weeks I’ve forgotten in her short lifetime, so I want to record something. What follows, then, are some thoughts, memories and observations on the whole experience.

  • Gemma might disagree with this, but Megan’s arrival seemed more straightforward, and quicker, than Heather’s. Both were back-to-back (which for the uninitiated is NOT good) and therefore not completely straightforward, but we managed natural deliveries in the end with both. I say “we”… one of the things I’d forgotten from last time was how much of a spectator I felt throughout the whole birth process. Hand-holding, brow-mopping and the odd comforting word is about as involved as it gets, and not being able to do any more while the love of your life works her backside off, in constant pain, is… well… frustrating doesn’t really cover it but it’s as close as I can get. Definitely a strange experience though
  • Weirdly, Megan is virtually identical to Heather when she was just born. It’s uncanny – they could be twins. Seriously! Gem found two similarly posed photos, perfect for comparing the girls, which we’ve turned into a test of sorts: Name the baby. I’m not going to shame anyone on here, but suffice to say the grandparents scored less than 100%!
  • Heather is completely besotted with her new sister. I don’t think we could have asked for a better reaction than the one we got, and not just on the first meeting you can see at the top of this page. Next day, when we brought Megan home and her Grandma and Grandpa came to meet her, Heather dragged them through the house to see her baby sister, beaming all the way. And two weeks later, she’s still the same – she still wants to hold her, still gives her kisses and hugs, and still gets concerned when Megan cries. She’s even calling her “Megan”, instead of “baby sister”!
  • That said, we’ve seen a little of the other side as well: tantrums where there were none before; acting up to get attention; questions about where Megan sleeps, and dislike when she was temporarily put in Heather’s cot. All to be expected, but we’re doing our best to spend time with her, to limit the “put-out factor” as much as possible. How successful we’ll be remains to be seen…
  • And then there are all the practical things that we’ve forgotten. Like how to expand/collapse the pram wheels. Like the fact that the steriliser needs water putting in before it will work (twice I’ve forgotten that now!). Like how tiring it is feeding around the clock (very!). Like how much new babies sleep (constantly).
  • Not forgotten is how piercing the sound of a new baby crying is. Fortunately Megan doesn’t do too much crying though, which is just as well because the volume is incredible. I definitely don’t remember Heather being so loud

I really could go on, but I’m going to stop there. For now at least. Plenty more to come though…

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

What’s in a name?

It’s been almost 4 weeks since my last post, and an eventful 4 weeks at that. Remember that iPad I talked about? Yeah, we bought it, and so far I’m pretty pleased. Oh, and we also have a new daughter to feed/wind/change/gaze at adoringly. More to come on both of those, but in the meantime a little housekeeping.

Three months ago, when I started this blog up, I didn’t know what to call it. I wanted something unique, suitably abstract and anonymous, and really struggled to come up with anything I didn’t hate 5 minutes later. I even tried this blog name generator which came up with some fantastic suggestions, but nothing that I felt attached to.

And so, for the past 3 months, the title of my blog has been “Untitled”. Hardly imaginative, I know, but accurate nonetheless.

But no more. Having realised over the past few weeks that I only seem to write here on my lunch hour at work, I had a flash of inspiration, and I’ve now got a title. And I like it. Well, I think I do anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

So welcome, one and all, to Lunch Hour Waffle. You never know, there might even be something new soon that’s actually worth reading!

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!

iPad or not iPad?

iPad 2 adYesterday, Apple launched the iPad 2. Depending on whose reaction you read, this is either the most important event in the history of mankind, or just a minor upgrade to what is already a pretty good product.

What caught my eye, though, wasn’t all the improvements that have been made (iPad 2 is faster/lighter/thinner/has cameras) but the £100 drop in price of the original models.

We’re going to Ireland for a family wedding later in the year, and had been investigating in-car DVD players to keep Heather entertained en route. We very quickly came to the conclusion that it would be an expensive purchase for something that will only be used once in a blue moon, but that it would ultimately be worth it.

And then I had an idea.

For a long time Gem has dreamt of a touchscreen computer she could use in the kitchen. For someone who cooks – and in more recent times, bakes too – it would be more convenient than printing recipes off the internet, not to mention better for the environment! For years now, we’ve been monitoring the cost of touchscreen devices as they’ve become more mainstream and more affordable, although still not cheap either.

So, my idea was to buy a tablet computer that could be used to play movies and/or games in the car – objective #1 – but could also be used in the kitchen – objective #2. Yes, it’s going to be more expensive than a DVD player, but if we get more use out of it, that makes it better value, right?

This was the tail end of 2010, as decent Android tablets started to appear on the market. Only trouble is that with one or two exceptions (Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak, neither of which had as big a screen as we’d like) there was nothing to actually hold and play with. No sign of an Archos 101 or Advent VEGA, which were the two tablets that caught my eye. And I’m not going to part with hundreds of pounds for something I’ve not had a chance to try out.

So we waited. And waited. And, um, waited. And now the iPad 2 has come along. Which is still above the £200-300 price range we’ve set ourselves, but it has caused the price of the entry level iPad 1 to drop to £329, which I think we could stretch to, and I have no doubt we’d be happy with that.

I also know, however, thata slew of new Android tablets are coming in the next few months. Whether they’ll be any good at our price point, or come along in time for our road trip, is a different question. And there isn’t much information about yet, on which to base any kind of decision.

So here’s our dilemma: we’re definitely going to buy something, so do we pick up a discounted iPad 1 while stocks last, or wait another month or two in the hope that an Android device comes along that fits our basic requirement (> 7″ screen, plays music/video, web browser, no 3G or cameras required) and that we can actually get our hands on, the risk being that nothing does and we end up splashing out on something off spec.

Of course, winning an iPad in Why Settle‘s prize draw would make it an easy decision!

Comments/suggestions welcome…

This autumn I'm running/cycling in a 30km duathlon and a half marathon, to raise money for Breast Cancer Campaign. You can read more about my challenge here or support me here. All donations, however big or small, gratefully received!