Friday, June 27, 2008

Public Service Announcement x 2

A few words of wisdom borne of my own experiences.

1. Last year I bought a Dell PC. It came pre-installed with McAfee security software.

After a while I noticed a few websites I use - including a forum I share with friends - were loading woefully slowly. I mentioned this to my friends. It ran fine for them.

In the grand scheme of things this was no big deal, so I grinned and bore it.

Recently I got rid of McAfee, and installed the free version of AVG Anti-Virus. Suddenly the web browser is running like a dream across all sites.

At a guess, I suspect McAfee was doing some sort of real-time (sic) validation of embedded content such as adverts.

My recommendation, ditch it.

2. E started off as a really bad sleeper, but after a few months became capable of sleeping soundly for upwards of twelve hours. Fantastic.

Alas, as the early summer mornings arrived this year, they triggered a dramatic change. Suddenly she was waking as early as 5.30am and announcing herself to us, usually with a cry of 'Beebies'. Not good.

K picked up a tip on one of the mummies forums she frequents. The advice was to buy a Stay In Bed Bunny Clock.

My immediate reaction was this was an overpriced gimmick. But sleep deprivation makes a man desperate, so the purchase was made.

When it arrived, my cynicism grew. It feels like it was put together for 50p in some SE Asian sweatshop.

Within days, my cynicism was dispelled. The idea is devastatingly simple yet effective.

The clock is a very basic LCD unit, attached to an illuminated face, split into two halves, only one of which is illuminated at any given time.

The top half shows a little bunny, backpack on, out and about on a sunny day. The bottom half shows the same bunny tucked up asleep in bed.

The time each half is illuminated can be altered.

The child needs simply to be told it's OK to get up when bunny is up, but if bunny is sleeping then they should stay in bed.

I guess this works better for some kids than others, but with E it was an instant success.

She now bounds into our room at a mercifully civilised hour, and usually proclaims 'Bunny is awake'.

I can't guarantee success, but if you are a sleep deprived parent seeking a panacea, this is definitely worth a gamble!

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