Becoming a parent throws you into a whole world of uncertainty, new experiences and different issues to tackle. For instance, I never knew the stress of travelling on the London Underground with a pushchair or the annoyance of trying to navigate the pram passed selfish pricks who park their cars on the pavement. Grrrrrr!
Still, sometimes you have to try and find solutions to life’s little problems. There’s no point bitching and moaning about it. Instead turn some of that rage into creativity. How do you think world-changing inventions like the fridge, telephone, lightbulb and beer helmet were created?
Since having a kid, I find myself faced with numerous challenges which I try to find solutions for. Driven by a desire to become filthy rich and cursed by the brain of a former business consultant, I come up with a lot of fantastic ideas. In fact, I’m willing to bet that they aren’t just fantastic, they’re fan-fuckin-tastic.
I therefore thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve invented since becoming a dad. They’re not quite my best ideas – that’d be ridiculous to share them before my patents come back – but I would go as far as saying they are the greatest baby products never invented.
Obviously, these products don’t YET exist. Well, they might, but I’ve been too lazy to Google them. So, I’ve instead teamed up with one of my favourite bloggers to bring these inventions to life in two-dimensional form – the hilariously funny, crushed grape drinking, cello playing, artistic genius who is Carry on Katy. Enjoy and You. Are. Welcome.
Wing Mirror Hat
The first of my greatest baby products never invented is the Wing Mirror Hat. I’m a big fan of sticking the sprog into a carrier and wearing her like Mr T wears his gold jewellery. For the majority of her life she’s lived on my chest, however recently, an increasingly heavy Baby L has graduated to the rear. Although this has taken the strain off my ageing back and shoulders, it has created an unexpected complication.
On the front, the little one is visible. She’s ‘just there’, ready to be talked to, played with and admired. On the rear though, she’s hidden from sight. A bit like a giant back spot, you can feel she’s there, but just can’t turn your head enough to see her head. I’ve often put my phone in ‘selfie’ mode when out to check how she’s doing, but I have a better invention.
Let me introduce you to the Wing Mirror Hat. Obviously it needs a snazzy, new name, but I’m so confident that it would sell even if it was called something like ‘smegma’. The concept is simple. You have two mirrors which easily clip to either side of your hat – be it baseball, beanie, woolly, cowboy, fez, beret, deerstalker, party etc – which allow you to see behind you, just like when driving a car. Simple. Effective. Stylish.
The Child Locator
The second of my greatest baby products never invented is The Child Locator. No, this isn’t the brother of the antagonist from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but instead a simple device to help you locate your kid in all manner of situations. Like many inventions, the idea came to me when Baby L began to move around the living room and my life was thrown into watching her like a hawk every second she was awake.
After she learnt to escape the many obstacles I put in her way to try to stop her from crawling, I had to face the fact that there was little I could do. However, I didn’t want to spend every waking moment watching her, because, let’s face it, that impacts on my TV and FIFA time. Instead, I tried to come up with a different way of knowing where she was, when I couldn’t see her.
By mistake, I stumbled upon the solution when she was playing with a helium balloon we’d got her for her first birthday. The string from the balloon got caught around her leg, so as she crawled, the balloon floated above her. As she made her way to the other side of the living room and disappeared behind the dining table, I was still able to see where she was and know that she was safe, all from the comfort of the sofa.
In the same way that you can get a topper for the aerial antenna of your car to help you to spot it in a car park, this little gadget means that you’ll never lose your sprog. It also means you can customise your kid, and who doesn’t love the ability to personalise things which they own.
Side Handlebar Pushchair
The third of my greatest baby products never invented is the Side Handlebar Pushchair. OK, so I’m not suggesting that I’ve invented the pushchair. What I like to think I’ve done though is take something that’s already good, but improve it with my ‘genius’. If I’ve learnt anything from the likes of Grand Designs or Location, Location, Location, it’s that those little touches at the end make the difference. The cherry on the cake, if you will.
When Baby L turned nine months old or so, we turned the pushchair from being parent-facing to forward-facing. We were finding that she was more interested in looking at the world around her than my ugly mug – to be fair, who could blame her. The ‘problem’ with this though was that we could no longer stare lovingly at her cute little face. All we had to look at was the back of the pushchair.
In order to catch a glimpse of the little one’s cuteness, I found myself often trying to push the pushchair whilst standing directly next to it, rather than being behind. This not only put my arm into a massively uncomfortable position, but meant that manoeuvrability was sacrificed as I’d often crash into walls or veer onto the grass.
Therefore, my idea is simple. Instead of just having handlebars at the back of the pram, stick one on either side too. That way, you can walk next to your little one, which means you can interact, admire and check on, whilst still allowing them to be forward facing. The secondary benefit is that the half push, half pull technique will build those arms in time for your next ‘gun show’.
The ‘Get Them Moving’ Aid
The final of my greatest baby products never invented is the ‘Get Them Moving’ aid. Baby L is 14 months old, but is still to take her first tentative steps. She’s been cruising for five months and standing unaided for two, but she just isn’t bothered about walking yet. That’s fine with us – she’ll do things in her own time and when she’s ready. BUT, some parents aren’t as understanding as us. Some love to be the proverbial pushy parent, forcing their kids to do things that they don’t want to do.
The means to achieving this could be looked at using the carrot or stick idiom – do you offer reward (the carrot) or the threat of punishment / pain (the stick) to get them to do what you want? Well, this got me thinking, probably a little bit too literally…
What if you could dangle a bit of food off your kid’s head in order to encourage them to move? I’m thinking of it very much from a walking perspective, but it could also be used earlier in life to help them crawl. The invention is basically a pole which attaches to your baby (head or back), then has a piece of string which dangles in front of your little one’s head. To this piece of string, you can attach your sprog’s favourite food – for us, that’d probably include a banana, a blueberry or some pasta.
As babies aren’t the cleverest of beings, they’ll see the food, want the food and attempt to get to the food. As they won’t be able to reach it with their hands, they’ll be forced to move towards the item. Just like that, you have helped your sprog achieve crawling / walking. Take a bow and pick up your Parent of the Year award.
As a loyal reader of my blog, I’m offering you the opportunity to invest early in these amazing baby inventions. I’m yet to set up a Kickstarter, but get in touch and I’ll happily provide you with my PayPal address so that you can send me your money, I mean, investment.
Have you ever invented anything as amazing as my greatest baby products not yet invented? Have you come up with a fabulous idea as a result of family life / parenthood?