The Internet can be exhausting sometimes. Most of the time, really. Especially when you’re a parent. Sometimes it feels like a big, dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner during which every relative regales you with tales of how you’re doing it wrong or how they just read a study that said blah blah blah and their neighbor down the street lets her kids play in the front yard unsupervised and they almost called Child Services because what kind of parent doesn’t watch their child every, single moment they are breathing air outside the home?
The latest thing to draw the Judgy McJudgersons to their keyboards is the Fisher Price iPad Baby Seat. That new-fangled contraption — as Grandma would say — featured in the photo up there. Frankly, I’m feeling more judgmental that the parents of this child have the gall to maintain white carpeting and furniture, but that’s just my experience as the mother
of a wild animal of a 2-year-old. They’ll learn, I giggle to myself gleefully. They’ll learn.
What I most certainly am not feeling judgmental about is the iPad attached to the baby seat. Fisher Price touts the product thusly:
“Soothing, entertaining and technology all in one great grow-with-me seat for baby… Look for apps with black and white images to enhance visual skills, soothing apps with nature scenes, learning apps and more. With all the fun and excitement of apps, this seat still has all the great features of a baby seat: Overhead toys, motion, adjustable 3-position seat recline, rotating toy bar and a mirror that reflects baby’s image when your iPad® device is removed.”
Black and white images. Nature scenes. Fun sounds. A mirror? THE HORROR.
Listen up! It’s not an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, for crying out loud. The episode your baby probably watched while sitting on your lap last night, by the way. It’s basic baby stuff. Is it the fact that it’s on a screen that bothers everyone? I have news for you, that’s how things are now. In a couple years, that baby seat is going to feature a button baby can press to activate a hologram of mom singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
Is that really so bad? If you’re a parent who happens to be getting sauced in the other room while your hologram entertains for hours on end, then yes, it is bad. But if you’re a solid parent who’s trying to get your baby to take a nap or needs ten or fifteen minutes for a peaceful bowel movement then by all means, break out the iPad or the hologram. Seriously, is someone going to get on that hologram thing because I think I’m on to something here…
Still, there are legions of moms who want to shame anyone who dares purchase the iPad Baby Seat. Over on whattoexpect.com Nicole Stevens offers her advice:
“Skip the newborn computer console and invest in a good baby sling or wrap instead. I’ve been stunned by how well my babies stay calm and contented when I’m wearing them around. I can still get my tasks done, but the baby is engaging with me rather than being banished to a chair in the corner. With the baby in the carrier, I talk about what I’m doing. I point out colors, smells, sights, and sounds. Baby feels my body heat and my heart beat, so we’re bonding all the while.”
While I’m thrilled that Nicole has found a baby carrier so useful, I’m not so thrilled by her implication that any parent who chooses to own an iPad Baby Seat is clearly a parent who will also be parking their child in front of the screen for hours on end.
Laura Perrin, over at The Telegraph, takes it a step or five further and calls the iPad attachment “just about the worst baby product of all time.”
Oh, Laura. We know you’re, like, totally the best mom ever, but can you maybe cut the rest of us some slack? For those of us who recognize that a new baby product is always going to be created, it’s up to us, as parents, to properly regulate usage. Let’s equate it to that occasional glass of wine while pregnant. Moderation is key.
Isn’t that what parenting is all about? Walking this tightrope of decision making that involves cutting yourself some slack and doing what’s best for your kid, and trying to create the best damn human being you possibly can?
Bottom line: Stop acting like you don’t turn on your iPhone and hand it to your baby when he’s crying in the check-out line or when you’re on the phone with that one bill collector who is more relentless than the Terminator. It’s not about the baby gear, it’s about parents balancing on that tightrope, making responsible, sensible decisions, and not beating themselves up later for every little thing they said or did throughout the day.
Besides, I think even my Grandma could get behind this new-fangled contraption if it afforded her twenty minutes to chop up a salad and get her stew simmering.
Image source: Walmart.com