Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sunday Supplement

It's Sunday and time once again for the round-up of reviews and recommendations that is the Bringing up Charlie Sunday Supplement.

First, baby monitors. I'm on my own with two kids every day. With the best will in the world you can't keep your eye on them for every second and now and then (shock, horror!) I have to leave them unattended. It's never for long and always while I do something else like start cooking supper, hanging out the washing or even going to the loo.

I've tested baby monitors with a camera before, not all that successfully. But the new Kid Cam from UK technology company Storage Options is a bit different. For a start, it's made by a firm not known for its baby monitors; second, it comes with two wireless cameras and a split-screen facility which allows you to see what's happening in two different places (say, a baby's bedroom and a toddler's playroom). That's a real bonus. Third it's entirely wireless, and fourth - it comes supplied with both permanent mounting brackets and strong, suction cup mountings that allow you to experiment with different locations. And that's important. I've discovered, for instance, that our kitchen is something of a wireless blackspot for all manner of transmissions, from monitor signals to WIFI. Being able not only to wall mount the screen (as well as cameras, of course) in order to keep it out of the way of whatever I'm cooking but to easily change the location to improve reception is a real bonus. Oh, and I forgot to say how easy it is to set up. And that you can use it in the car (there's an in-car charger available) and garden.

Next, a top secret assignment. Listen very carefully. I shall say theesss onli wance. The 'top secret' Ministry of Letters - an ordinary-looking postbox in the shadow of Big Ben, but in reality the place where all the words in the world are made - has just launched Operation Alphabet.

It's the story of little Charlie Foxtrot who has started school with a bad case of 'alphabetaheebeegeebees'. Fortunately, the Special Alphabet Service (S.A.S) is on hand and they embark on a top secret mission to find Charlie, teach him the alphabet and open his mind to a love of letters and stories.

Like an increasing number of books, Operation Alphabet is, well, more than just a book. It's an interactive website, a couple of YouTube videos as well as a poster, a blog and - coming soon - a show. The aim is not only to help teach children the alphabet but to make it fun and to inspire a lifelong love of language. As they say in their manifesto song...

Our mission, friends, is clear and true -
To help boys and girls like you!
To show how wonderful words can be -
All from the humblest A, B, C.

Finally, a little more about backache. Or more specifically, how to avoid it. As I mentioned in Friday's post, I attended a briefing for parents given by the British Chiropractic Association last Saturday. The aim was simple - to give us a little more information about looking after our backs, from the rudiments of good posture to lifting babies safely. Here's a short video, starring Dr Tim Hutchful, with some of the main messages. But don't forget the one I've already mentioned. Brushing your teeth standing on one leg isn't some kind of bizarre adult game to play whilst sharing a bathroom. It's actually a simple way of improving the decompression of your spine. Preventive exercise, in other words. And something you can do without going to the gym. It really was one of the most useful and interesting sessions I've attended and you can find out more by visiting the British Chiropractic Association website.

So, until next month, consider your Sunday well and truly supplemented. And for the sake of your back, don't forget to brush your teeth.

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