This afternoon found all of us except the baby huddled around printed pages ~ pointing, snorting, and laughing. What was this literary masterpiece that captivated people from four to forty-five? The One Step Ahead catalog. Every time this thing arrives in the mail, we know we are in for a treat of sarcastic proportions. Scanning its collection of infant and toddler “must-haves” is an exercise in insanity, perpetuating the myth that it is so difficult and so expensive to raise children. Read with us:
We found special shoes that emit a two-toned squeak so that the parent (or “caregiver”, as they say) can be assured the child is learning the proper way to walk (heel to ball). “We never had those shoes, Mom, do we all walk wrong?” asked my ten year old. “However did people learn to walk correctly without the squeak?” wondered the twelve year old with a roll of her eyes. We found shoes billed as “Perfect for the daycare set ~ easy on and off.” Because we all know that kids who are home with their mothers and a gang of siblings have neither the need nor the desire to do things on their own since they’re spoiled and anti-social (I think I may have laughed tea out my nose at that one.). There were many manifestations of antibacterial liquids: pump gel, purse spray, mini wipes, dipping bottles, treated bibs and placemats, and even playground equipment.
Today’s favored item, however, was a potty-shaped, potty training watch. This programmable thing beeps every thirty, sixty, or ninety minutes to remind distracted toddlers to try to go potty. A teenaged boy, to whom potty humor is still a viable form of entertainment, loved this. Being that kind of mother, I took the opportunity to make sure the children understood the complexities of potty training (sensation recognition, large-motor activites of getting there and adjusting clothing, etc) in my most solemn voice. “So,” said the aforementioned son with a naughty twinkle in his eye, “It’s possible for a man never to learn that recognition stuff if the watch constantly reminded him when he was little to get up and try without paying attention to his body feelings, huh?” The possibilities of an executive in conference whose beeping watch prompted an excuse to colleagues to gotta try the potty was just too much; we dissolved into giggles as the hypothetical examples of adults tethered to potty watches grew more and more fantastic. Our old couch rocked and rolled for 20 minutes.
I’m not really sure of an inspirational moral from this afternoon’s antics; all I can come up with is more giggling and tea-spilling. Perhaps I could use a beeping watch as a reminder to cultivate a more sweet and genteel spirit.