One of the lessons learned from becoming a new parent (besides important lessons like “how to maintain a dry heave” and “fixing a bottle one handed with a screaming baby in your other arm”) is that the consumer marketplace becomes increasingly confusing and absurd. In our series “Return of the Product,” we attempt to shed light on only the products worth mention for either their terrific return on investment or their failure to live up to expectation. We’ve found in our own discovery of the marketplace that the useless-to-useful ratio is closer to 9 to 1 with close to 90% of the crap out there absolute landfill fodder. You’ll find that tried and true methods (that sometimes don’t even require a product solution) are still effective to this day. Parenting didn’t change, only the products have. And when the scale tips and statistics go onto prove the worth of a segment of the consumer population, every gadget manufacturer in the world starts trying to dream up a low-cost, quick-cash scheme to siphon millions out of sucker parents standing in line at Babies R Us…the pet rock for parents. I’d say that, largely, my lovely wife and I have taken the high road on product purchases. Rarely did we spend money frivolously on stupid crap that serves no great purpose, but you see the traps. You’d go broke as a new parent if you believed a quarter of the product myths living in the shelves of major retailers. In America, we petition with our pocketbooks and our currency is our vote. Public opinion means jack if there’s someone spending money on it. Money almost always wins in this country. If there’s a dollar to be made, you can guarantee that someone will sell their soul to get it.
This product allows you to bypass the so-uninteresting bulb and instead use this snot siphon which essentially uses the force of your inhale to yank that nastiness from your child’s nasal caverns. Now, I can speak from the perspective of a daddy of a daughter who’s been a little snotty since she hit the delivery room table–you just wish she could heave one into a Kleenex the old fashion way. To me, that’s as good as the day that she can tuck herself in…the day she can blow her own nose. In fact, I find myself now picking her boogers for her which is a level of intimacy that I never imagined I’d experience with another human. Picking her boogers for her beats the hell out of this torture device. At least, while she’s not in school and doesn’t have to worry about the embarrassment and social isolation that comes with having your daddy sticker his fingers like tweezers up your nose.
How about these pair of spooky hands in your baby’s crib?
Zakeez, makers of the Zaky Hands, claim that these hands that lost their owner are an effective aid in relaxing your baby and inducing a calming slumber. I can’t think of anything, anything spookier and less effective in bringing a baby to a peaceful place than realizing that your mother or daddy’s hands have all the sudden lost their owner and are now crawling around your daughter’s crib without a body wrapped in a pair of rubber toilet-cleaning gloves.
Not that it doesn’t look fun, it just doesn’t look particularly necessary. I mean, stirrups? What kinda action are you really going to be involved in as a Daddy with a toddler on your back? Go up on your hind legs like Silver. One time, my brother and I were horseback riding up in the mountains as part of one of those amateur horseback riding tours though the rough. There was this kid that kept kicking his horse and going into a gallop. Sure he got a kick out of it. He kept acting like he wasn’t doing anything to spur on the horse, but I kept watching him. He knew exactly what he was doing. As we neared the valley, he gave a good heel kick to the ribs of that horse and that horse took off like Secretariat toward homebase and when got down by the parking lot, he went up on his hind legs and dumped that kid right off the ass end and onto the ground. Kid could’ve broken his back, but he didn’t. He cried like mad, though. Not that I would ever do that to a kid, but that was just the first story I thought of when I saw this product. It’s burned into my memory. I can’t remember my home phone number, but I remember the sound of that kid screaming bloody murder as his body rolled off that horse some eight feet to the ground. Nature wins again. Maybe this is a better simulation of riding a horse…the “Poknee“…you just can’t make this stuff up.
The Poknee puts daddy first and child’s experience second. Daddy had a hard day at work, back aches. Needs a cold drink.Baby wants to ride the horsey. So dad gets out the Poknee, puts it on his knee, puts toddler on his knee, spares his back from the strain of carrying a sack of dog food around the house on all fours and still might allow for a free hand to raise a glass of beer to his thirsty lips. Problem is, this thing is probably the goofiest and saddest piece of plush I’ve ever seen. If the plush world had a mullet, this would be it except this product is all in the front. Big draw back on this one, too: imagine if the above toddler was kicking to get the horsey to gallop and he missed with this left foot. It’s a likely scenario. Hope they’re done having kids.
This next product I actually get. It’s the photo. The seat back protector makes perfect since for protecting the back seat of your wagon from kids who track nasty stuff in from playing in the park or, like this kid, a game of soccer, but really, what did this tike step in? It’ll protect from a little mud or dirt, but this kid just tracked in a dead squirrel carcass and rubbed it off on the back of the seat.
Sure, the seat’s protected, but now the seat back protector is ruined. Way to go, Bobby. I think this kid was just out for trouble.
Back seat toilet? I say squat roadside and keep moving. Haven’t had to navigate through this fork in the road yet. Pretty sure, though, the Wyricks aren’t the type to have the kid crap in the the back of the car. Don’t know the product detail here, but I would imagine that once the “doo is did,” you take the innards out and toss ’em. Gotta think that with all the ingenuity in the world, there’s a simpler way to do this. But, hey, this girl seems to like it. Close the door, daddy!
That looks like absolute torture and, beyond that, barely looks safe. The shades seem to work, though.
This last one, sure, I get that it’s important to avoid head injuries. And I understand that some medical circumstances might make it necessary to wearing one of these, but I’m calling a fake here because there’s no way you’re getting an active toddler to wear one of these.
At least, not a spirited toddler. Ellison would take this thing off and make it a missile quicker than you could say “$39.95.” There’s absolutely no way she’s wearing this. And I’m not entire sure if there this would be effective in protecting a child’s head from the kinda trauma you’re hoping to protect him from. My fear is that Ellison’s going to go near the ironing board, pull on the cord that goes up to the top wondering what it’s connected to and whammy, takes an iron right in the forehead. This isn’t helping in that department. She pulls a towel off the counter and there’s a small Tupperware bowl on top of the towel and she drags both off the counter and takes the bowl in the head, not a major injury there. Certainly not one that would require you to wear a pillow on your head as you crawl around the house. I think if you’re the type of parent (promised I would sustain from using that phrasing, but it just made sense) that would put this on your kid, you might as well just put shoulder and knee pads on ’em too. Kids have fallen for centuries now and kids have had things fall on their head for centuries now. And when exactly do you use this thing? If the threat level is ever-present, does the kiddo wear this all the time?
It’s Saturday. I know I’ve been bad to you readers. I’m sorry. I got put through a gauntlet that includes three business trips, preparation for a Bible study, a Red Sox/Yankees series, preparation for Ellison’s birthday and we got rain which means I have actually have to take care of the yard for the first time this year. On top of all of that, I try to be a loving husband and father and I’m working on the Fifty Funkiest…a list of the 50 funkiest recordings of all time over at IKnowYouGotSole (serious cross-promo, there) which begins on September 12th. Daddy don’t sleep.