Thought I’d share this highly scientific and peer checked graph I’ve put together for any parent who has taken a child on a car journey.
I so want try this military style child carrier that it is almost worth having a new baby to get my hands on one.
I saw a picture of this JACS Carrier Systems (Junior Adaptive Carrier System) and having suffered from carrying kids, their cuddlies and the kitchen sink I really saw the potential in this – actually being able to carry your child and the things they need without morphing into some weird and often heavy breed of part rucksack, part carrier, part dad donkey is a great idea. With the added coolness of thinking you are a US Navy Seal….OK, maybe that is going too far.
I realise I am going out on a bit of a limb here and doing one of my first reviews without actually having used the product. I understand the perceived wisdom is to actually try the thing before making a comment. In fact if JACS are happy to send me one I’ll try and persuade my wife to have a baby or borrow a child. Also let me set the record straight – this is also not a paid for ad either – my blog isn’t that popular yet ; )
But heck it’s my blog and as a dad who is not a stranger to military gear and hauled two kids in carriers up mountains and down dale hopefully I have something to say. (Warning DadGoggles is hapless and although he believes what he says is true and has tested this out in his own head you may wish to carry out your own further research.)
First of all – anyone who is looking for a baby carrier should take into account that you will also need to haul around the gear that goes along with your squealing and pooping pride and joy. In my case, as a keen walker, I had several day sacks to choose from but as they were separate it was always a bit uncomfortable or the straps didn’t work with the carrier. In one case with a trip up a hill in the Lake District I was carrying everything as well as holding onto a very eager dog…vital it turned out for pulling me up the final yards of the hill. This not only had me looking like an ungainly and over pregnant tortoise but I was definitely not balanced and felt it later in my back as well as where the straps rubbed. It also means the handy pockets you love about your rucksack are no longer accessible to find that handy tissue as baby Goggles sneezes in your face. Equally if you have your child on your back traditional daysacks are really uncomfortable to wear on your front. As our kids grew older we did have a backback with extra internal space but you find yourself carrying your child very high and with little room for gear. Ok if you have one – but carrying the coats for two kids and your wife as well as picnic etc etc – space becomes an issue.
That’s why I like the look of this new system in that it has thought this through. It looks comfortable and you can change it to how you want it. Clearly designed by a parent.
Now I am a big fan of military gear. Not because I wish to join the SAS – although I have every respect for them or because I was in the US Navy Seals. One – I am nowhere fit enough and two – I don’t want Don Shipley on my door accusing me of stolen valour (If you haven’t heard of him and his wife Diane – check him out on YouTube – one of the funniest couples on the net). I often find that military load carrying equipment is well thought through and now very customisable to suit how you want to carry things. My family rucksack is military issue and has molle straps which means I can add extra pouches for cameras, wet clothing etc. I can wear it to the library or on a family walk and know it will fit everything I want and have pouches or pockets in easy reach. More importantly I don’t care if I scrape it or the dog uses it as a bed. Equally we know that being bumped up and down will often mean there is a good chance the food your child has just had will be reappearing down them, your back or in my case down the inside front of my t-shirt. And let’s face it – hopefully no one will think I’m trying to be a special forces wannabe if I’m toting a Pepper Pig umbrella strapped to it and a Thomas the Tank Engine picnic blanket tucked on the side. There are a range of interchangeable pouches cheap on EBay or any surplus store which makes changing it to suit the occasion cheap, easy and as every parent wants – practical.
So what I like about this JACS carrier is that it has all the hardwearing properties that I look for in a military sack but also the option of adding things. You can use it just as a rucksack or put the pouches on the front for when you are carrying your little one on your back. Let’s face it dads it also looks very cool too and easily cleaned. Also for those who do want the military look it comes in cammo too – just remember where you put it down.
From the website and pictures I have seen I would probably look for some further straps or netting to tuck things in or hold more bulky stuff on the outside. But maybe it does have that or can be added. I also think they are updating it from the brief look I had on the Twitter account @jacsbabycarrier
So having carried kids and rucksacks for miles and have the bad back through unbalanced loads to prove it believe me when I say if you are looking for a carrier have a nose at one of these. If we have another kid I would definitely pester my better half for us to check one out.
Well done JACS Junior Adaptive Carrier Systems, and Scott Haslam, the Founder of Babyjacs UK Limited, who first had the inspiration for The JACS after taking his son Jack on his first plane journey. Great idea as already tested by dads….just not me yet.
PS – Scott, if you read this – apologies that I did a review without using the carrier and I hope you don’t mind me showing your video.
On the sad news of the death of Victoria Wood it seemed appropriate to share her thoughts on being a parent. My thoughts are with her family and friends as well as the laughter she provided. RIP a true comic genius.
Our youngest took a small jump for a 4 year old but a giant leap for him.
Since our youngest was born its been clear he is a little different. He hated being put into any noisy or crowded situation. Take him though the threshold of a shop and he would deal with the noise by covering it up with his own. He has extremely hyper mobile joints which mean half the time his feet are pointing in different directions, usually not the way he wants to go. Frankly he looks like he has broken something the way he stands or rests with feet and hips facing opposite directions.
This all means that Sports Day, climbing frames, soft play areas are a massive challenge for him. Leaving the ground or jumping into a pool has been a real barrier. Until very recently when he discovered he could fly.
It can be like the puppeteer has taken a pair of scissors to his strings. We did wonder at his first sports day if he would just head the opposite direction. We get plenty of loud tuts as he slowly climbs stairs. He constantly moves, even when standing, as his unstable body adjusts to balance. We find ourselves repeatedly explaining as while his friends and peers run along logs and play equipment our uncoordinated son grabs a parent or helpful handhold for reassurance and balance. His swimming instructor has been brilliant at building his confidence but still he can’t quite feel comfortable enough to follow his classmates and jump into the pool.
But this holiday he flew. It was a small jump for any 4 year old but a giant leap for ours. Egged on by his understanding big brother and after a few times of holding our hands he jumped from a log in the dunes into the soft sand. He was a few feet up and a few feet from where he started but to him it was like he leaped from the moon. Suddenly he was one of the superheroes he loves. Giggling he awkwardly climbed back on the log proudly telling us he didn’t need our help and after teetering to the edge he leaped again…this time not into the unknown.
I love this photos and the others we took. The shadow shows him leaping, arms wide like the planes and pterodactyl he loves.
His older brother found himself being told in no uncertain terms by his now excited younger sibling that he must have less turns. That he should watch him closely as he could teach him to jump. This is an older brother who climbed over dog gates, up book shelves and leaped off most things as soon as he could walk. His older brother clapped him and let him have more turns enthusiastically asking how he could jump so far and high.
So I guess I’m writing this blog as a proud dad but also to recognise challenges and accomplishments for our kids come in many forms. As I watch my little one sleep soundly with a smile on his face I’m proud. I’m proud he learned he could fly and his long suffering older brother learned that sometimes helping someone to spread their wings can just be as good as flying yourself.
Here’s to future challenges and conquering them.
As promised in an earlier post I said I’d blog about Deadpool – the less than kid friendly film that Ryan Reynolds has been a decade trying to bring to the screen.
Seriously though. Although this is a Marvel film its not one for the kids unless you don’t mind them learning some choice language and explaining the sexual attractiveness of unicorns…and thats just the beginning.
As this has been out for a few months and now on my wish list from Amazon I’m guessing most of you have seen this. So I’m not going to do a massive review – but there may be the odd spoiler.
Although not a massive fan of superhero movies and didn’t know anything about Deadpool. I loved the marketing and trailer and I really enjoyed this latest incarnation. The cinema ticket was worth the first few minutes alone – a cleverly thought out, witty opening scene – one of my favourites ever.
I loved the adult humour and the way they have taken the comic and how Deadpool breaks the third wall. There is no doubt this is been a labour of love for Ryan Reynolds who has thanked fans for getting it green lighted after a pilot trailer was ‘leaked’ onto the Internet. Having seen some interviews with this Canadian actor you’ve got to think now and again a piece of him would like to strap on the red suit for real…possibly why he says he took the suit home after filming ended. Also I think it has hopefully wiped the slate clean for X- Men Origines Wolverine were for some god forsaken reason the film execs decided to make Deadpool (also played by Reynolds) have lasers firing from his eyes and mouth stitched up. Something Reynolds argued against and makes fun of in both this version and to is great interview with Hugh Jackman.
There are plenty of in jokes in the latest outing – loved the super hero landing and recognising the budget was too low to have anymore X men characters.
The marketing for this film and Internet spots have been for me the real game changer. It was the thing that made me desperate to see the film and enjoyed how they could play with the third wall and have fun with it. Reynolds says its one of the first times he has had a social media marketing calendar.
I admit it. I have done something that I think people of my age do. Once I like something I want to find out everything about it and now having man love for Mr Reynolds…don’t tell Mrs Goggles! So I have seen quite a few trailers and interviews. But I had to feel very sorry for Reynolds in the one below – if you can watch it without your feet and fingers balking in automatic cringeworthy embarrassment or not wish to gnaw your arm off because it is so uncomfortable than you are a better man than I. Well done to him to sticking with it.
So great news Deadpool is coming back with a sequel with Tim Miller at the helm again. Hope it outshines the first – but that’s a big ask! But remember if you do go to see it – don’t leave your popcorn on the floor…that’s a dick move! Sorry Spoiler alert too late.
There are some texts that make you glad you are at work and there are some accidents that you don’t even know where to start the clean up. Both our boys managed to break through the seal of their nappy forcing Old Faithful style jets of poo to reach their hairline – untroubled by baby suit and vest. It seems the more you wipe the more you spread. There’s no real reason for this blog but to share a text that made me smile with laughter, sympathy and a…thank God that’s not me. When next you are dealing with a massive bottom cough that has pebble dashed your little Cherub know you are not alone or trailing a stream of wee through your house.
Missing the kids? Have access to stationery?….on a break…yeah right! Simply take a large Post-It create a simple nose and mouth pic. Stick on your nose and send a quick selfie to your partner or child if they are lucky enough to have a mobile. Although if mine keeps forgetting where he has put his it will quickly become mine!
Warning said child or partner may post pic on Social Media…long story short I’ll see you down the job centre. I’m the one taking a pic of myself as a rabbit.
Send me your pics.
I spend most of my time telling my kids to wait their turn. Yet people who see this sign:
Seem not to grasp a concept that even my 4 year old can get. Don’t get me wrong I am more than capable of driving idiocy but even I can see travelling at speed into either roadworks or an accident is likely to be on the wrong end of the stupid scale.
After queuing in traffic, leaving plenty of room for people to get in, listening to my kids insanity level hit destruct levels I’m usually very short in patience. Don’t expect me to have sympathy with you if you flashed past all the other queuing traffic to the last moment to try and bully your way in at the last accident avoiding moment. No matter how much you indicate, flash or try and bully – frankly if you couldn’t read the signs and reached the cones you really should park it as you shouldn’t be driving.
I recognise I’m ranting now and in the scheme of things this is not as bad as drink or drug driving. But it is incredibly frustrating. Not only does it make it harder for emergency services but is really one of the best examples of drivers who show not a care about their fellow road users. To me, this is often what is wrong with driving today. Many of us drive like toddlers. The world revolves around me and everyone else has to move out of my way. That’s all very well if people are looking out for you but that’s a big ask – especially if we want to encourage our kids to ride bikes on roads. I’m not sure my oldest would watch out – I’d hope other drivers who see a child are watching out for them.
I have seen one driver speed past queuing traffic on a motorway to see the cones too late…and the police car behind it. This short sighted driver who clearly could not see past his bonnet looked to be getting a ticket as we passed him. Hopefully my new law would then put them at the back of the queue again. So if there is something to say in this rant is if our kids are to grow up as good drivers then we all have to learn patience and to look out for each other…if not we might as well all go back to square one.
You can hear the car groan every time it hears we are going on holiday as it prepares to be stuffed to the gunnels and spend a week or two like a permanent chimp party has been held in it. With a large dog and two boys to stuff into it we have learned over the years to pack light…oh ok lighter and to teach the dog to fold.
My top tips for UK hols include:
Charity shops are your friends:
Half our luggage space used to be taken by must have toys the kids or we felt we couldn’t leave home without. We soon found that you really didn’t need the wooden train set, garage of Hotwheels cars or full library of bedtime books. The boys often ignored the toys, made their own games or were too tired in the evenings. So, much to the relief of the car suspension we’ve cut back and use charity shops. We give the kids a few pounds each to choose a few things from a charity shop that they can use during the holiday and either give back or take home. Not only do the boys learn about money and charity but also you can get some real bargains you don’t mind burying on a beach. There is nothing worse than spending your holiday nagging your kids about not getting the car Aunt Maud bought in a mess. Add their favourite bear, some paper and pencils, bucket and spades and relax.
What applies to your hols often applies all year round. One of our best buys was the Maclaren Volo pushchair. Although it’s incredibly light and folds down small it has lasted both boys and some severe punishment over 9 years. It has a carrying strap which means you can just put it over your shoulder as your little one toddles about. It’s gone up rocky Lake District paths and dragged across pebble strewn beaches with buckets, cool box, spades and picnic hanging from it and ice cream daubed on it. One draw back is that our model never had a rain shield but we have always used full rain suits with the kids mainly because in a random toddler fit of anger both hated having a rain shield on our other pushchair. Clearly we bought this models many moons ago so you may not be able to get one. Also use the spaces in the folded frame to stuff things in when you pack.
We also found a folding tent like cot – known to us as the hobbit hole. It’s much lighter than a folding metal cot and far smaller to pack.
If you have any top tips please share for the sake of my car.
I don’t want to walk in your dog’s doings and I certainly don’t want my kids digging it up on the beach or just finding it in a bag on the grass. It is not rocket science – How would you like it if I bagged my son’s dirty nappies and then left them on your favourite walk or on your doorstep
Don’t get me wrong I love dogs and I know most owners clear up after their pets. Our last two dogs were big dogs and they seemed to be able to poop like horses. Great training for when kids come along. But despite some of them making me gag…and to put not too finer point on it being as sloppy as curry sauce I managed to take responsibility and clear up.
I am mystified by what seems to be a trend in bagging the poo then leaving the bags laying around like little smelly plastic parcels decorating parks, beaches, paths and basically any bloody where you choose. Now I know some dog owners will bag, discreetly leave in a place then pick it up on the way back from the walk. But that doesn’t explain the amount of bags I’ve seen. Let alone the stuff just laying about or even in kids playgrounds.
I’m not even that puritanical about dogs in children’s playgrounds. Just not using them as a toilet!!
In a fit of anger once my dad picked up a freshly produced dog poo that had been left outside our caravan door, followed the owner and deposited in front of their holiday home on wheels. Leading to massive argument with dog owner and embarrassed me. But now I’m a dad myself I can absolutely see why he did it. Trying to clear dog mess off your child is a nightmare – let alone the risk of tummy upsets or disease.
I know this blog has little chance of changing anyone’s mind but after my 4 year old nearly ripped into the one pictured above I just had to rant.