Carl Bosch wonders if baby equipment called “Bright Starts Exersaucer Triple Fun Around We Go Active Learning Center” can really increase a child’s I.Q.
I love babies. I swear to God. My wife and I have two of our own. Well, they’re not really ours any more, considering they’re all grown up and voting and drinking and all the other things that used-to-be babies do. They’re adults.
My friends just had their first granddaughter. She is a beauty, jet black hair with a cheeky face inviting family pinching. They babysit for her occasionally and this is where the crazies come in. They have a couple elaborately complex, over-energetic, distracting, hyperkinetic, activity- centers for her to be placed in. Perhaps it’s an effort to launch this little tyke into I.Q. overdrive. Now I could be wrong on this and the device might just be designed to keep her busy and distract her from the three main tasks of being a baby: sleeping, eating and pooping. (I didn’t say ‘only’ tasks… I said main.) But I have my doubts.
This modified re-entry vehicle has more controls than my new Subaru Outback. It has items that jingle, ring and bleat. Mirrors abound. Shapes and sizes are multitudinous. Things ratchet and squeal. Rods and cones and twirling and spinning and…need I go on. For the hell of it I went online just to investigate a bit. The names of these apparatus were enough to be placed on a standardized test for the new national Common Core objectives. We’ve got the “Luv U Zoo Jumperoo”. The “Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center.” Next, the ever popular “Bright Starts Around We Go Activity Station”. For the more aquatic infant we can recommend the “Ocean Wonders Jumperoo”. One of my favorites is the “Skip Hop Treetop Friends Activity Gym” considering that babies can neither skip nor hop, probably won’t be in a treetop for a few years, and, let’s be honest here, don’t have a whole lot of friends just yet. The best, by far, has to be the “Skip Hop Funky Farmyard Activity Mat”. If it wasn’t designed by Snoop Dog, it should have been.
I’m not really poking fun at babies or the crap we buy for them. Hell, I was totally guilty of it. My wife and I bought this Inquisitional contraption called the “Johnny Jump Up”. I have no idea who Johnny was, but you’d attach this thing to the top of any doorway and springs descended from it with a little bucket seat for your child. My daughters’ feet just touched the ground. They couldn’t walk, but, man could they jump. And jump. And jump. It never ended. I would get exhausted just watching them. I think ultimately Johnny Jump Up got recalled because it was dangerous and I think my youngest daughter did give her head a few good thumps on the doorway. Heck, she got a college education and a Masters degree so I guess Johnny never did any real damage. I swear, if they could build a Johnny Jump Up that would fit her today, I think she’d go out and buy one. I’m amazed that every single kid who had one of these trapeze-like slings didn’t end up in Cirque de Soleil. Maybe most of them did. Except for mine.
So we buy stuff for our babies. Lots and lots of stuff. To make them happy, to help them learn, because we love them.
But I still think a playpen with pots and pans and some wooden spoons would do the trick.