My sister-in-law recently gave birth to a baby girl, and when The Pea and I went shopping for baby presents, I was amazed by the multitude of new products that have come up in the 6 years since 3Po and Jammy were born. Some of these products are so cool (hello, Bumbo Baby Seat!) or cute (hello, Mary Jane socks!) they almost make me want to have another baby so I can use them, but others are just plain useless. I'm not talking about frivolous fashion accessories like newborn baby bikinis or unnecessary gear like toddler beds, I'm talking about products that most people would look at and think, "Are You Kidding Me?" With apologies to the people who make'em and the people who buy'em, here are 5 Totally Ridiculous Baby Products on the shelves today:
5) Mommy Mitten
I get that your hands get cold and you've lost your gloves and you don't want to push that stroller all around the park with bare hands. But instead of paying $30 for a fleece-lined folder to shove your hands in, wouldn't it be easier (and cheaper) to tug your coat sleeves down over your hands? And won't your hands get cold anyway when you take them out to adjust your baby's blanket/wipe his nose/pop his pacifier back in/pat his cheek/hold your cup of coffee/answer your phone?
All the comedians on late-night talk shows are making fun of the Snuggie (that ridiculous blanket with sleeves), and instead of getting the message, the baby products industry has come up with a Snuggie for babies. I'm all for babywearing, but I draw the line at baby straitjackets, and honestly, seeing a mom with a baby's head popping out of her stomach is a bit freaky, kind of like the alien baby in Total Recall.
3) DadGear Cargo Jacket
Alfie was horrified at the sight of this jacket-slash-"wearable diaper bag", which has pockets for diapers, wipes, and even a changing pad. The manufacturer claims "no one will know dad's carrying diapers, wipes, and even two bottles" Ha! No sane parent would leave home without packing at least half a dozen diapers, a Costco-sized pack of wipes, changing pad, Purell sanitizer, tube of diaper rash cream, diaper disposal bag, extra change of clothes, pacifier, bottle or sippy cup, snacks, books, toys, special blanket or lovey, and chocolate bar (for the parent) into their diaper bag. Try stuffing that into the DadGear Cargo Jacket without looking like the Michelin Man! And good luck carrying that dirty diaper around in your "wearable diaper bag" until you can find a trash can to throw it in.
2) Toddler Hotdog Slicer
I own an apple slicer and an egg slicer, but a hotdog slicer is one slicer too many. This plastic contraption looks more likely to smash the hotdog into "Ewww! I'm not eating that!" bits instead of neat little chunks, and any time saved by cutting a hotdog in a single stroke instead of twelve is negated by the time it will take to scrub all the hotdog bits off each and every one of those corners. Get a knife already!
1) Pee-pee Teepe
The number one spot in my Ridiculous Baby Product category has to go to the Pee-pee Teepee. Why? Because it actually suckered me in. Yes, I bought a pack of Pee-pee Teepees when 3Po and Jammy were born. I had heard lots of horror stories about parents getting pee'd on while changing their newborn sons' diapers, and these absorbent flannel cones seemed like the perfect solution. How cute! How neat! But reality bit me, or should I say sprayed me, hard. For one thing, the cones never stayed on for more than a second; they fell off my little fellows' winkies with every squirm. The only way to keep them on is to hold them with one hand -- and since you need the other hand to hold the baby, there are no hands left to change the diaper. On the rare occasion that the Pee-pee Teepee was actually positioned correctly when one of my sons pee'd, the force of their spray shot the stupid thing into the air anyway. It was simply too much of a bother to use. In hindsight, a simple washcloth draped over their fronts would have been far more effective.
So why are these products still out there? Why do parents still buy them? For the same reason, I suppose, that I bought the Pee-pee Teepees: because taking care of 3Po and Jammy was unfamiliar and scary, and they were too precious for me to fail, and I was hoping that the Pee-pee Teepees would help. For all the years that humankind has been doing this, parenthood is still uncharted territory for any new parent, and people will always be coming up with bizarre ways to help map the way. Besides, a product that's useless to one parent could be a goldmine for another. Hey, that wearable diaper bag got one reviewer's 5-star rating on OneStepAhead.com. As for those Pee-pee Teepees, I ended up washing them and giving them to The Pea to use as little hats for her stuffed animals. So I did get some use out of them in the end.
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