Thursday, January 22, 2009

One Step too Far

We have five children. Our house is not childproofed at all. No outlet plugs, cabinet locks, toilet-seat-holding-down-thingies, safety gates - nothing. Nada. Zilch. I would put the medicines in a cupboard out of the kids reach, but we don't have any in the house. Well, maybe an almost empty bottle of children's tylenol in the back of my kitchen cabinet. I do keep most cleaners in the cupboards above the washer and dryer, too high up for the little ones, but I would be lying if I said there's none under the kitchen counter (nothing harsh - just dishsoap and such).

I am not at all saying that I am against babyproofing, in fact, we did that when we only had one child. But with five, it's just not possible. Instead, we "houseproof" the children - i.e. we teach them not to stick things in outlets, touch cleaning supplies, etc. It's always worked fine.

There is a catalog that I receive in the mail called "One Step Ahead". I think they should be called "One Step too Far" or "One Step off the Deep End". My guess is that their clientèle mostly consists of older parents who have one or at the most two children. Nobody with lots of kids could afford to be so obsessive-compulsive. I wouldn't say that all of their products are worthless, but most of them are pretty ridiculous. Their catalog always makes for great comic relief.

Walking Wings

Are you one of these parents?

Shame on you!

Add-a-size Garment Extenders

You know, instead of spending $10.95 on new onesies, you can now keep using those old, stained, and worn-out looking ones that your child has outgrown. Not just for grunge moms!

The tight fit allover also gives your child that healthy, plump "I-am-busting-at-the-seams" look that strangers find so irresistible that they just have to pinch your baby.

Wee Block

The name says it all. For those of us with sons, this is intended to make diaper changing time a little less... unpredictable, shall we say?

Pacifier Rinser

I used pacifiers with two of our kids for the first few months. Inevitably, the thing always would get dropped at the wrong time in the wrong spot. Until now (psst... this is just between you and me...) I would pick the stupid thing up, blow off any visible dirt, and then sanitize it by (hold on now) sticking it in my own mouth. Gross, no doubt, but hey - the kid doesn't know that yet. I would tell you that if it's really dirty, you could always have one of the older siblings "clean" it for you, but that would be to weird too say publicly.

Anywho, this is now a mute point because all moms will want to start toting one of these around in their purse, car, diaper bag, back pocket, first aid kit, glove compartment, stroller, and wherever else necessary to always have one within arm's reach. You can't afford to be caught without it any longer.


Ah, I could go on all night long with that catalog alone. But, time is short, and I'd hate to not mention some perfectly useless baby products from other companies that I find hard to believe anyone would buy:

Zaky - a pillow shaped like a fake hand that "imitates the look, feel, weight, scent, and warmth of the parents’ hand and forearm." At the bargain price of $49.95, you can't go wrong buying this thing! In fact, I am thinking about ordering one for each of my sons - I could lay this hand across their mouths at night when they keep talking after I have tucked them into bed.

Is it just me, or does that giant blue hand look kinda spooky - like surgical gloves on some abnormally huge intruder tying to snatch the helpless, sleeping baby away?

Thudguard - Baby's 1st Head Gear

I tell ya, you gotta start 'em young on that head gear stuff. Otherwise they'll grow up and ride their motorcycle without a helmet, too.

After all, you want to "make the learning how to walk experience fun for the whole family." As opposed to what... only the adults having fun when junior bonks his head?!? What do they mean by that statement??


A home test for alcohol in breast milk - yeah mama! Booze it up!

Cleanoz - a battery-operated nasal aspirator

I wish I could think of something funny or clever to say but [shudder] imagine [shudder] someone stuck such a thing up your nose [shudder]. I rest my case.

And, last but not least, my favorite:

WhyCry Baby Crying Analyzer

"How Do You Use the WhyCry?

Turn ON the Why-Cry device

Press the reset button

Put the Why Cry at the distance indicated in the distance table, following baby’s weight

Check the green led indicator turn to a clicking indication. [sic]

Wait for 20 seconds to collect crying sounds. A prognostic led will turn ON.

Review the body language in case of doubts to have a more accurate interpretation of the prognosis

Babies do not always cry the same, so the WhyCry device provides a guide to learn how to recognize different patterns."


No similar device like it [You can say that again!]


Reduces all crying parameters to five categories


Clinically tested and verified [Sigh of relief... it MUST work, then!]


WhyCry has been clinically tested (obtaining a pass certificate) and tried out in nursery schools with completely satisfactory results. [That's because nursery schools are satisfied regardless of whether or not the baby is crying or why. And by the way, they DID just mention the clinical testing part in the point above.]


Has been clinically tested, obtaining a success ratio of 95% [Didn't they already mention that in BOTH previous points?]

bulletA survey carried out among first-time parents showed 98% reliability [I thought these parents bought the WhyCry because they didn't know what baby's cries meant - how can they tell if it's reliable?]

Here's a new idea: instead of putting this next to the screaming baby and waiting for him/her to work themselves into a frenzy, just pick up the baby and comfort him/her.

My only question is - how did parents manage before the advent of modern electronic gadgets?


No point to this post whatsoever. other than to make other moms laugh after a long day of parenting in the real world. If you did, please leave me a comment!


  1. Zsuzsanna,

    I'm not a mom yet but I find this absolutely positively hysterically funny! I'd never heard of such things. What is it about society making things so much more difficult than it should be? The Crying analyzer is the worst and the Thudguard was as ridiculous as the head/elbow/knee gear they have for kids to ride bikes. I rode bicycles (as I'm sure you did) w/o that stuff and I lived to tell about it with a few scars from skinned elbows or knees. Rights of passage if you ask me. Thanks for a good laugh!! Hopefully, I'll be a mom soon through foster care and I can tell you most assuredly that once we adopt, we won't be using any of these ridiculous items (fostering requires kids to wear the protective gear when riding bikes)!


  2. Some of those are too funny! I have seen baby knee pads for when your little one starts crawling to protect their knees.
    I must admit though that the big hand is something my husband and I talked about. My eldest would not sleep for quite some time unless one of us had a hand on her back. It could get quite annoying to sit there for ages on end with a full bladder! But, I often think back to those moments with my little one. Precious moments that I would not trade
    Oh, and the dummy thing is a complete crack up considering some of things that kids will stick in their mouths

  3. I'm so tired...............thanks for the laugh....I can't believe the sell stuff like this!!!

  4. I just want to make a comment about the first comment. Please, make sure your kids wear helmets on a bike. I taught a kid who fell off his bike and he ended up in hospital with a broken arm. It would have been a lot worse if he had not been wearing a helmet; he brought it into class and it was cracked right down the middle. I shudder to think what his head would have been like without that helmet
    Now, having said all that LOL I do think that those knee guards and elbow guards are completely unnecessary.

  5. I totally did the "lick the pacifier" thing.

  6. I'm totally snickering.
    I keep getting One Step Ahead in the mail, and I laugh every time I get it. I was going to mention the knee pads, too. Cracks me up! Then there's the crib teething rail. Cause, you know, your child just has to teethe on the crib!

    Or my new favotire, the straps you put on the car seat to keep the car seat straps out of the way. "Stop Poking And Prodding Your Tot... because you sat him down on his harness." (quoted directly from the catalog)

    The depths we have sunk to.

  7. Thanks for the laughs ! How in the world did any of us ever survive without these "wonderful" products? On a serious note though I would hate to think there are parents out there so lazy as they would buy these things.

    P.S. If the boys peeing in your face is an issue a washcloth works just as well. ( And is a lot cheaper!)

  8. Now I always thought the onsie extender was ingenious for a couple of reasons:

    1.) If you cloth diaper, a lot of times, the onsie is too short to make it around the bulk of the diaper. But if you size up for the length, then it's too big around.

    2.) I usually use onsies as a bottom layer under a regular tshirt or sweatshirt. So it doesn't matter if it's stained. So yeah, I would rather reuse a stained one than buy a new package.

    But I guess I must be pretty meticulous with my laundry, b/c after two kids, I only have a couple stained onesies. The rest will be passed down to the next kid (whenever we're so blessed).

  9. I have to admit, the onsie extender is a great idea. My son had a very long torso, very long. So, his onsies were either too short in the length or they were horribly big everywhere else so they could fit in length. Add his cloth diaper to it and you had a wonderful reason to use the extender. The cry decoder? Oh my, get up and help your child. You know what their cry means within the first few weeks of life. Pick the baby up!

  10. I think the first one is a great idea for parents with back troubles!

  11. HA! HA! yes, you got a really good laugh out of me!! I am trying to think which is the creepiest.... the Weeman is a finalist! : ) Have good day!

  12. I would be concerned about that hand pillow or whatever it is...that could smother a child.

    I wouldn't be surprised if it's recalled.

  13. Ummm...Pacifier Rinser? Whaaat?

    Only 3 of my six used pacifiers. The best cleaner, in my humble opinion, was my own, um, how shall I say it... SPIT! Always available, no cost, etc. etc. Also, that same always available fluid is a great face washer for kids in a youngest son, at age 3, cried during a Christmas Eve church service, because "Mommy washed my face with spit..."(on my thumb-wiping the chocolate Santa streaks off of his face!)

    And that weird hand thingy creeped me out!

    Thanks for the great laugh, Zsuzsanna!


  14. This has to be the tops for being a funny post that I have ever read (at least on your blog)!! I can't believe that this is for real. I didn't even know half this stuff was out there.

    I have to say the one thing I hate the post is that doggie leash thing for kids. My #2 is a really escape while you look the other way child but I would never thing of holding him like a dog! I see parents with these things and I think well it's never going to teach them self control, listening to instruction, and how to follow rules basically.

    Very funny! It made my day to laugh.

  15. LOL! I did enjoy your post :-) I used to get those catalogs, haven't seen any for awhile... I can't believe what they keep coming up with! With my youngest I put them plugs your suppose to put in the electrical outlets, and the next day he spotted them and then tried to get them off! So I quickly took them off and he wasn't fascinated with the outlets anymore. I believe people are being taught to believe they aren't smart enough to do what comes very naturally... being a Mom! My last baby was born 6 1/2 weeks premature. He spent 5 weeks in neonatal care. I had people constantly telling me I had better get him in home therapy (where a stranger comes to your home and evaluates and works with your child free of charge). I wouldn't do it, but would ask them for excercises that I could do with him, they would keep referring me back to the home care option and it took me asking several different people before anyone thought I was capable enough of doing it myself. I am seeing it more and more where hospitals and dr. offices are encouraging parenting classes and even in home training! They asked me with a couple of my last babies if I needed someone to stop by and check on the baby and me ...Scary thing is it reminds me of Hillary Clintons "It Takes a Village" ...

  16. Mommy8, I have a simular story about my son but he was older. He was going to my cousins preschool a year ago and he stuttered. They asked me if I wanted to have a speech therapist evaluate it well I didn't know it until the interview I had with the therapist that she worked with the state! I freaked out!

    They kept pushing to have him do all sorts of therapy stuff and I kept insisting that he would grow out of it. So I declined the therapy but boy the state didn't let it go. The started to use scare tactics on me. Guess what just as I thought, he did grow out of it LOL!

    My mother was the brains behind this idea of having a speech therapist evaluate him and I'll tell you what I'll never listen to anyone again on what I should or should not do for my children.

  17. I agree, most of these things are ridiculous! But the onesie extenders are great. My daughter has always been thin and long, and like other mom's posted, going up a size meant baggy clothes. Just because someone uses them doesn't mean they're too cheap to buy new clothes. And I'm not trying to be rude, but for someone that prides themself on buying used clothes, I thought you might like the onesie extender. :)

    And the crying monitor is the MOST ABSURD thing I have ever heard of. I knew within a week what my daughter's cries meant. And before I figured them out in those 7 days, I certainly didn't let her lay there crying until I knew, I would pick her up! Ridiculous.

  18. Alright, alright - I stand corrected! The onsie extenders ARE a good idea for some parents. Coming to think of it, I wished I had one this morning when I realized that our 3 month old had outgrown THE CUTEST onesie after wearing it like once. She, too, tends to be the long, skinny type.

    Pascha, you are right, we do buy used clothes for the kids, and when they are babies it is really easy to find practically new stuff for cents on the dollar. My point was more "Why spend $10 on extenders when you could buy 10 onesies with the same amount of money?".

  19. Here is my favorite useless baby device of all time. The bottle propping aid. is one type, there are lots of others. is another. They all say "for parents of twins and triplets" but you KNOW there are a ton of formula feeding moms out there using these so they have to hold the baby as little as possible. So sad. If you *have* to feed formula (and although most who do it don't "have to", there are SOME parents who "have to") can't you at least HOLD the baby while you feed him/her?

  20. So funny!
    I love the part about putting the "hand" over your sons mouth to help him stop talking! Great stuff.

  21. Those devices are cool!(solomon)

  22. What in the world! Every thing is just so weird!

  23. I used pacifiers with two of our kids for the first few months. Inevitably, the thing always would get dropped at the wrong time in the wrong spot. Until now (psst... this is just between you and me...) I would pick the stupid thing up, blow off any visible dirt, and then sanitize it by (hold on now) sticking it in my own mouth.

    Reminds me of this pacifier study:
    I'd never heard of sucking your child's pacifier until I heard about the study on the news; maybe it's a European thing...


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