Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bringing Up Baby Modern Style

Single handedly, without any input from the Y chromosome in my house, but with helpful suggestions from the 4-year-old, I put together the Graco “convenience travel system”. For those of you who haven’t had a tot in your house for some years, this means a stroller/car seat/carrier combined. The purpose of these devices, I believe, is to see how much molded plastic you can pack into your house in one box. So far, Graco seems to win. We do have a molded plastic playhouse in the back yard, but it came box-free, so I think Little Tykes cheated on that one.
Graco has created a very convenient instruction booklet for this system. Two, actually. One for the carrier and one for putting together the stroller. I say it’s convenient because it has a minimum of words. It uses pictures instead to detail the steps for hooking the wheels, brakes, snack tray, etc. together to form a handy-dandy, tip-resistant, withstands-winds-up-to-55-MPH baby holder. Parents like me need pictures. We often cannot remember even the simplest of words (like our children’s names), so pictures might seem to be a good idea.
Except they’re not.
I think even the pictures were translations of the original Chinese.
And in case I get confused about what’s supposed to happen when I press a new piece onto the frame of the stroller, each picture has a large caption, in bold black. It says, and I quote:
Exactly like that.
With the exclamation mark.
I find exclamation marks particularly annoying in directions (I also find them annoying before 10:00 AM, but that’s a personal problem.)
In case you’re wondering, it took me a total of 30 minutes to put the 6 pieces onto the frame of the stroller. I couldn’t get the SNAP! right on the first piece. It mainly said, “Oomph.” And I mainly swore at it. Silently, of course, because the 4 year old was, you remember, offering me advice. Like she’s done this so many times that she’s the expert.
Anyway, my molded plastic travel system is put together, 6 SNAP!s and a hammer later, the base for the car seat/baby carrier is installed, with the latch system in place, in the minivan which is now full of kid seats, and I’m ready to join the throng of mall-walking mothers trying to work off the baby butt in the middle of winter.
And in case you think I get anything from Graco or Little Tykes for all the free advertising, I’ll remind you of my track record so far. Eggland’s Best got a free comment, but failed to send me even a coupon; Arbor Day Association told us all when Tree Day was, but they didn’t offer to install my now-thriving Asian Pear Tree; really-nice-but-too-organic man frequently shot us to his website (where are you, anyway?) but didn’t offer to pull my thistles for me… In short, if Graco or Little Tykes would like to comment, I’d love to hear it. And send me a coupon at least. I’ve got a boy to raise and I’m thinking the pink molded slide should be replaced before he invites his friends over.

1 comment:

Barbara Bee said...

Well said, what a clever article! You can get away a couple of years with a pink molded slide, but ya gotta consider the friend thing.