They've come up with 5,000 different types of baby carriers and twice as many strollers. There is a sippy cup to suit my son's every mood, and the NSA might want to look into harnessing the power of today's baby monitors. There is a wonderful array of products we never even knew we needed out there. But I can't be the only mother of a toddler wondering why product developers haven't managed to solve my real problems.
Can they tame this willful creature that took the place of my sweet baby? Can they keep him safe - and I mean when he's not in that giant monstrosity of a car seat I spent too much money on? And can they help me stop stressing out for a minute and actually enjoy being a mom? If you people in your magical labs of science want to be useful, you'll get to work creating these:
1. A Cone of Silence
On Get Smart, this was supposed to allow for secret conversations inside a transparent bubble (don't ask me why it was called a "cone"). We want the reverse - a cone that allows us to place our sleeping children within our sight, but won't let them hear anything we're doing. Imagine the dinner dates!
2. Detachable Arms
Sometimes the kid just won't take his nap or go down for the night unless someone caresses him constantly. This is great. It's nice to feel wanted, after all ... until we remember all the phone calls, emails, reading, housework and, oh, yeah, sleeping we planned to do on our own. I'm pretty sure we could do all that with just one arm (I mean, we've done a lot of it while carrying a child), so why couldn't we just leave the other arm behind to do the comforting?
3. A Protective Force Field
We're not picky about this one, if you inventors want to create something that goes around all dangerous items or around the kid, it's up to you. Just lovingly block their falls and their access to the sharp/electric/strangle-y/chokeable objects we swore we put out of reach last week but have somehow rematerialized in the wrong places exactly when we've turned out backs. If version 2.0 could include UV protection and bug repellent, too, we'd much appreciate it.
4. The Freeze Ray Gun
Hey, we love the way our little ones can move around on their own, but if we could just zap them every once in a while and temporarily freeze them to change a diaper, give them medicine, keep them from running into the street, that would be super convenient. We'll pay extra for the model that tickles them, too.
5. Guilt Off-Switch
Whether it's having to leave our children in the care of others, watching them suffer from all those colds, or just knowing they'll inherit our unruly eyebrows, we would prefer if we could just turn off the tormenting guilt over things that are totally and completely out of our control.
6. Time Stopper/Accelerator
In a fair and scientifically advanced world, that moment when he giggles at the dog, and that good morning hug should last at least four hours each. And then we'd like to speed through the next tantrum in .33 seconds.
7. Cry/Grunt Translator
Those dog translation boxes they had in Up seemed like just a cute punch line, but imagine if we had them for our pre-language babes. We'd be able to catch their needs before they turn into screams and wails. Hopefully, they wouldn't also provide running commentary on our parental screwups, though.
8. Food Capsule Puffs
Where are those Jetsons-style food pills already? OK, so science has already told us that they could never squeeze adequate calories and nutrients into a single capsule, but maybe they could do it in a cup of puffs for those days when the kids refuse everything else? We'd also settle for a spray that makes spinach taste like chocolate cake.
9. Zero Gravity Food
On the other hand, food can be plenty of fun, too, especially when it's tossed in every direction. If we could create a zero-gravity zone around the high chair, so the kid's carefully balanced (and lovingly cooked) meal doesn't all go to the dog or the regrettably dirty floor, then we'd all be happy.
Or, you can skip all of the above and help us be in two or three places at once. Goodbye "can't have it all" dilemma, hello, perfectly balanced life. Just no Orphan Black-level drama, if you please.
Certainly this is the mere tip of the wish-list iceberg, and I know I'm nowhere near imagining the gadgets I'll demand for an older kid. What would you like to see someone invent, if the laws of physics were no object?
(photo: Angela Waye/ Shutterstock)