It amuses and amazes me everyday how I have become that old person who looks back on life and wondered how I ever got through it without all the aids, gadgets, networks that are available today.
I raised two delightful and complicated children back then. We did not have seat belts in cars and my friends who smoked were allowed to smoke while we went somewhere. Miraculously my children survived both these dangers. I unknowingly fed them foods in containers lined with carcinogenic plastics or probably sprayed with dangerous pesticides. School lunches included the vegetable ketchup to balance the repast. Abandoned refrigerators and mean dogs were the greatest fear in neighborhoods.
Because I am a technologically savvy grandma, I purchase gifts from my grandchildren via that new magical mall, the Internet. These companies then automatically assume I need paper versions of their inventory as well and my mail box begins to regurgitate colored catalogs of items beyond my wildest dreams.
There are gates and locks and containers that even an enterprising raccoon would have difficulty surmounting. Children now have their own luggage when they travel, and sunglasses and helmets when they are out riding in that dangerous but very comfortable stroller. With the added cup-holder and side music speakers, as Fran Lebowitz says, they are never leaving that stroller.
In the latest version of one of these missives offering "thoughtfully selected products," I have the opportunity to purchase a Potty Watch that alerts small children with lights and music to remind them to go to the bathroom at preset intervals...I cannot help but think of a child who would become dependent on this and could not go to the bathroom without the alarm...you know, that idiot CEO at the board meeting! I could buy a pillow that supports good posture in small children when they sleep...unless they sleep sideways across the bed as does my grandson #1 or with the pillow over
their head as does my granddaughter.
There is even a strange device that one uses to remove mucus from the noses of little ones who have not mastered the art of blowing. The mother puts it against the child's nostrils and then puts a little plastic tube in her mouth and proceeds to suck on the tube. The text assures us that the mucus goes into a tissue and not the mother's mouth. It still looks very unsettling in the photo (above) of mother and child using it. The real clincher is that the publisher claims it has been used by European parents for years. (They probably write in the European version that it has been used by North American parents for years.)
How did our baby "animals" survive without this stuff? What new wonders will be available to my grandchildren when they begin to raise their little ones? All of these do not belay the real dangers of global climate change, air pollution, water pollution, crime, drugs and daily stress that our little ones have to battle.