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Things you should never try after 50

August 17, 2012
Logo design by Christine Hepner

Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age.
Hosea Ballou

Before you hit the door running, let me assure you this is not a sex post, although I do have a friend who has spent more than a year in physical therapy with a “sex sprain.” So, there definitely are some things you just shouldn’t try after 50 without lots of yoga and stretching first. Just saying.

Instead, this is a rant about child-proofing and how difficult it is to assemble or use your basic children’s gear.

Let’s start with car seats. I understand that they have saved thousands of lives. My mother tells me time and time again how she drove with all three of us free-range in the Dodge Rambler, usually with at least one of us on her lap. She doesn’t smoke or drink, but I bet there were lots of parents in the 60s having a cocktail and a smoke, too, while driving the family station wagon.

I can’t imagine driving even out of the driveway without F strapped into his highly-rated-for-safety car seat. But I also know that along with the added safety, this car seat has assured that my son’s first word other than momma and dadda might be an F-bomb. (If you’re offended by the idea that my child has heard me use the F word while installing his car seat, I have to say, that’s just too fucking bad. And further, if you are that easily offended, boy are you in the wrong fucking place.)

The infant seat was worse! I’m pretty sure looking back now that we never actually properly installed the infant seat. Now that he has grown out of it and is in a standard car seat, I’m a little more confident that at least I understand how it should be installed. Whether I manage to get it properly installed is another matter.

Another horror show is the design of most playpens (or as they are called now, play yards or playards, whatever, I guess the “pen” was too prison-y sounding?). I remember the old design…four bars that collapsed in the middle and a solid floor. Apparently too many little fingers were pinched or even worse, amputated, and that is horrible. The new design, though, is so complicated and unwieldy that my very, very smart and well-educated husband spent more than an hour one morning desperately trying to set up F’s new playpen in our living room before he left for work. I woke up to such an appalling string of curse words that I was almost offended. D had even resorted to that last, desperate measure in the assembly process: reading the instructions. No luck at all. And their help line didn’t open until 9 am Central Time, 3 hours away. He had to leave me that morning with the whole mess collapsed on my living room floor.

Before I called, I decided to take a shot at assembling it myself. Bad, bad, bad idea. The poor woman who answered the help line that morning was eventually able to talk me through the process, but I dare ask this question: If it takes 2 adults, at least one having a degree from a good school and another generally thought to be semi-literate, plus a phone call to an 800 number and 20 minutes of personalized hand-holding to assemble a child’s playpen, might we have gone just a tad too far in making these items child-proof? Maybe?

Or maybe it is just an age thing. My neighbor in NYC has two adorable little girls. She is decades younger, and I’ve watched her hold her youngest on her hip while opening her double stroller without even breaking a sweat. I’ve had to put my baby on the floor of the lobby so that I could use both hands, and it’s still taken me 5 minutes to open my stroller. The list of the difficult to use baby gear goes on and on, high chairs, bouncy seats, portacribs, regular cribs. Then again, I’ve never been handy. Maybe it’s not an age thing after all?

Next time: Are you his nanny?

Thanks for following and reading! I’d love to hear your story of IVF. Please leave your comments below.

© 2012

If you’d like a pen, send $3 for shipping to paypal account . Be sure to include your address.

  1. Suzcone permalink

    Hey sweet funny mama! Poor Sandra ‘s bunny died this afternoon. Very sad : (

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S™ II Skyrocket™, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone.


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      I just heard the news. Sad. He was a character. He will be missed. How is she taking it?


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