Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"And Maggie is having fun in her swing-a-majig."

I am sometimes surprised by how badly things are designed. Mrs. Jerkface and I recently had our second child, and naturally, we had to buy all new stuff for her. Among the items we bought was a playpen that has a spinning mobile. The mobile is like all other mobiles, you wind it up and it spins around while playing a song. However, I have found at least three defects in the mobile that I think are serious enough that I will never use it.

First and foremost: it winds up. It's my understanding that a mobile is installed with the purpose of soothing the baby to sleep. It's also my understanding that babies are often startled awake by loud, grinding noises. So why for pete's sake would a mobile have a loud, grinding wind-up system as its only method of activation? In order to start it up, I have to wind it up, waking up the baby. This foolishness is grounds for public flogging.

Not only is the loudness of the windup feature an absolute bar to its use, the mobile only functions independently for about a minute and a half. Now, my experience with babies is very limited (I have a no-exceptions policy of not interacting with babies that aren't my own), but it seems to me that there are few, if any, babies that are soothed in a minute and a half, especially if mom or dad is looking for some baby down-time.

A simple solution to both of these problems would be to make the toy battery operated. Then, it can start without that irritating loud grinding and it can run continuously until baby is asleep. Again, more proof that I am smarter than everyone else.

My second problem with the mobile is that the bears that are hanging from it are attached at the neck. This gives the impression that the bears are all being hung...by the neck. It's more than a little creepy. (I'll include a picture if I remember.)

My final quarrel with the mobile applies to pretty much every toy I've encountered since the births of my children: it's too loud. The sound is nearly deafening to me, and I don't have sensitive baby ears. The same goes for all of Little Jerkface One's toys. I've had to open up several and muffle the speakers, or simply remove the batteries for me to feel comfortable with him playing with them. I understand that toy companies feel that when a child is looking at two toys side by side, they'll probably pick the louder one, but for crying out loud, does it have to be that loud?

I propose that the readers of this blog write a petition to Graco and Carter's asking them to. . . oh, I don't care enough to do anything about it. I'll just keep circumventing the design of the toys as part of my quest to slowly undermine society and turn my kids into weird anti-social outcasts.


Kirsten said...

Good luck with that. I'm pretty determined to never have noise-making toys in my house because I find them Highly (capitalization added for emphasis) irritating. Especially ones that have little kind sing-songy noises. If my toys are making noise, they've got to be realistic. Cars should have gut tickling revving. Sounds should be recorded using electric guitars in the lower octaves. Voices should be slow and slightly depressed. In summary, babies are dumb.

Daniel said...

Brilliant, Kirsten. Brilliant.