Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Am I a bad parent already?

Myself and Christine have been going about the arduous task of shopping around for a cot bed for our beautiful son/daughter to rest his/her weary head and also look for a pram/pushchair/travel system for them to be chauffeured about in. 
The cot bed we have chosen is the ‘Amie’ from Mamma’s and Pappa’s, fairly reasonable price and its everything we need.

The transport we have chosen for our bundle of joy is the 'Greco Logico’ from Babies"R"us.
 The car seat, that comes with the above travel system is a non-ISOFIX system.

My question is, by buying this, does that make me a bad parent?

Surely, I should do everything I am capable of to ensure that my child is as safe as possible, therefore by not buying an ISOFIX car seat, am I being negligible?  
A couple of  facts/opinions:
  • Surveys suggest that up to 70% of child restraints are wrongly fitted or used. Universal child restraint fittings in cars (LATCH in the US; ISOFIX in Europe) are being gradually introduced to reduce scope for human error. ISOFIX will be compulsory in all new cars in Europe in 2011.
  • ISOFIX is a system inbuilt into the rear seats of many cars designed to "anchor" by way of metal brackets ISOFIX compatible child car seats.  The idea is great except that to anchor anything properly the laws of physics requires three anchorage points and the ISOFIX system has only two!  A third point is achieved by a secondary device such as a leg or tether strap but this is dependent on car. In practice therefore ISOFIX car seats are not the total answer though we do accept on occasion they can work very well. ISOFIX car seats often have great "crash test" results but these results are taken in the lab and are not accurate for all cars.
My point is, by not accepting that ISOFIX could be safer and buying something that maybe cheaper and more within our means, am I already being a bad parent? Or, is it simply that if a non-ISOFIX seat is fitted correctly, they can be just as safe as an ISOFIX seat because according to some websites, most problems are caused by the seat not being fitted correctly!

Is it just a ploy, by manufacturers, trying to capitalise on the guilt of a loving parent?
What’s your opinion on ISOFIX?
What have you used before?


Monday, 25 April 2011

I won an award...kinda!

This week I was given my first (of many I hope...I CAN DREAM!) blogging awards.
Ally over at her blog ‘Cancer and Baby Equals Chaos’ selected me for a Kreativ Blogger award.

This comes with a few conditions though, which are:
Link Back to Ally – Done (

Give you 10 interesting facts about me...this is going to be hard!
1 – I don’t wear any other colour of clothing but black.
2 – I was once featured in a woman’s magazine article about living with Asbestos in our house.
3 – I used to be a promising young 10-pin bowler and even represented Leeds. I have trophies and everything!
4 – I had a strangulated hernia as a baby and had to have major surgery.
5 – Have never broken a bone in my body.
6 – Sadly lost both parents before the age of 28.
7 – Is one of the few people he knows with no tattoos or piercings at all.
8 – Grew my beard as a joke...that was about 4 years ago and it’s still here!
9 – Would consider himself a film fanatic, but has never seen all the star wars movies, no Harry Potter and many other ‘Classics’. (I have however been to the cinema over 30 times since July!)
10 – Once took part in a fun run alongside Sir Jimmy Saville.

Now to choose other bloggers to pass this award onto!
I haven’t been part of the blogging world for long, but these have helped me a great deal so far.:
Check them out!

Thanks again to Ally for selecting me for this award and hopefully I can live up to pressure!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Influence and inspiration

I don’t really have regrets and I don’t really dwell on things I have no control over. If I can’t change it, then why worry about it. One of the saddest thoughts I have regarding my upcoming adventure into fatherhood, is that my mum won’t be here with me.

At around midnight on the 22nd April 2000 (11 years today) my mum lost her second battle with cancer. I was 19. My mum raised me on her own from the age of 9 years old (with help from my big sister) and as you can imagine has heavily influenced my life.  She raised me to be a respecting, polite, hardworking person and I know that if she is looking down on me now, she would be proud of what I have done with my life. She only got to meet Christine once, but I know that she would have loved her dearly and would have been so happy to have been a gran.

There is always the joke about, how when you grow up and have kids, you won’t say things your mum would say, but even now, I find myself in situations where I say something and a small smile crosses my lips as I hear my mum’s voice in my head say the same thing, so I know that when it comes time to tell my son or daughter to do this or that, I know I will do it just as my mum would have done.

I will never forget how hard my mum worked for me to have everything she could give me. It may not have been the best of trainers, or the coolest of gadgets, but what she gave me is a great childhood even with all the bad times and she gave me a blueprint. A blueprint on how to be the best parent I can be and if I can be half the parent my mum was I know my kid will grow up to be just fine.

I love you mum, always in our hearts and thoughts.
 Florence Joan Diane Jenkins
27th April 1948 – 22nd April 2000

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Whats in a name?

My Name, as some of may know, is Lewis Richard Ackroyd.

Now, using the art of deduction you will determine that my second name ‘Ackroyd’ has been passed down from me by my parents. This was indeed the surname of my dad Stephen. My middle name of Richard was taken from my Granddad on my father’s side and the name Lewis is derived from a close family friend at the time of my birth. After a little research I find the following (most common) meanings:
Lewis - \le-wis\ as a boy's name is pronounced LOO-iss. It is of English origin. Anglicization of Louis (Old German, French) "renowned fighter”.
Richard - \r(i)-cha-rd\ as a boy's name is pronounced RICH-erd. It is of Old German origin, and the meaning of Richard is "powerful leader".
Ackroyd - \ack-royd\ It translates as "The dweller by the clearing in the oak tree", from the Olde English pre 7th century "ac" meaning oak and "rod", or the later royd, being a clearing or possibly even a farm. 

As with the majority of men, I am not a fan of commitment. When we first started looking at buying our own place the thought of having such a large commitment as a large debt over 25 years seemed crazy to me, but after realising there was no other way I got used to idea. My next ‘commitment’ stumbling block is that I will have 50% say in what name a human being will have for their whole life. That as a concept amazes me. I understand people can now change their name by deed poll to pretty much whatever they want, but they have to have a name to start with and I will help choose that name.

Luckily, we have plenty of time to decide what the name should be and we won’t know for sure until we know if it’s a boy or a girl, but we still need a shortlist!

Where does your name come from or how did you choose the name(s) for you children?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Team Yellow?

One of the biggest decisions we have had to make since the decision to start a family was whether or not to find out if we were expecting a boy or a girl.
Many people know if they want a boy or a girl, I genuinely don’t have a preference.  I can understand why people would prefer one or the other, some already have boys therefore would like a girl, or some would like a boy as to keep the family name from disappearing into the ethos.

When I asked the question of whether we should find out or not on a baby related message board I got many different reasons for both.
I would like to know, I guess I just never saw the point in a surprise. It's just like having your surprise early
Finding out the sex made me more excited about this baby! I feel like I know more about her, and now she's a "she" instead of an "it"
Actually, there wasn’t much a case for against finding out, most people that replied said they either have already found out or will when the time is right....

So the decision had to be made. At our 20 weeks scan recently the sonographer began by explaining that the scan would take around 15 minutes while she checked things out. She then looked at Christine and asked “would you like to know what you’re having?”; now me as the funny guy and always looking for how to make a joke had to hold it together without screaming out sarcastically “BABY”! Needless to say without skipping a heartbeat my wife says NO.

Now this was a big decision for her. Not only have some people been nagging her to find out, if only to be able to by blue or pink, but she has been toying with the idea of finding out herself.

Originally, we were team Yellow, and then as the pregnancy has progressed doubt over the decision has slowly crept in. When we go shopping and we see outfits we would love to buy, we have to put them back as we don’t know which colour or style to buy. This gets increasingly annoying and in a way wears you down. I just think to myself, would it really hurt to find out. The devil on my left shoulder makes a good case; finding out won’t take away from the magic that is bringing life into this world. Then the Angel on the right shoulder reminds me that there are few surprises in life now-a-days and that there will be few prouder moments than when I tell our families that the latest addition to the family is a son or daughter.

The other problem we have regarding the question whether to find out the gender or not is names. We have many times laid in bed at night going over the pros and cons of this name or that name, but nearly all names that we have both agreed on have all been girl’s names. When trying to think of any boys names we both like we always seem to fall short.

After making the decision to remain on team yellow, there doesn’t seem to be any regrets. We have another scan scheduled TODAY as there were a few things that couldn’t be checked on the scan due to the way the baby was laying so you never know, we could still change our mind.

One thing I do know is that no matter what team we finish on, team blue or team pink, I know that as a couple we will do the best we can for any child we have.

Now then, back to the conversation about names..........

Saturday, 9 April 2011

We are half way!

It’s been a long time coming, but we have finally made it to the half way point...20Weeks
From reading the 1000’s* of articles, message boards and blogs I knew that the there were but few really important dates to look out for;
12 Week scan
20 Week scan
24 weeks (Some call V-day)
Due date

The 12 week scan was amazing, for the first time we could see our little.....something. Although you could just make out what looked like a little human, you couldn’t really SEE anything.
 What the 12 weeks gives a parent-to-be is piece of mind.  Although we know that anything can happen even up until the birth, but most believe that the 12 weeks scan is a safe point, an OK for you to begin to tell people, a sign everything is OK,and that’s all it gave us really. I believe that what will be, will be, so if I had told someone when we first found out around the 4 weeks mark, it wouldn’t have made a difference. The way we have lived our lives wouldn’t have changed and if the worst were to happen it is because, that’s what was meant to happen and not just because we announced our news on facebook!

The 20 week scan is something completely different. The only disappointment regarding the appointment was while the sonographer was doing the necessary checks that everything was OK with our little one, she just simply sat in silence with an occasional tap on a keyboard. This made me nervous and it took all my will power to stop myself from screaming, “Well? Is everything OK”?

Well it was and nerves promptly disappeared once she turned the monitor toward our expectant faces. As she turned the screen, she began showing us the details. Fist she showed us the face (I swear LO was looking at the ‘camera’.
She then went down the body, showing us arms, torso, and finally legs. They looked so normal and formed. We didn’t find out the gender...or ‘Flavour’ as the mrs likes to say and I will talk about why in my next blog, but for now, I leave you with the picture that currently sits on my desk at work and keeps me smiling.

* = Probably not an exaggeration.