Dear People Who Make Things,
Parenthood isn’t easy, you know what I’m saying? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there’s the sleep deprivation, the tantrums, the dinner-time battles, the bed-time battles, the fighting between siblings battles, the ‘it’s 10am and I haven’t had a battle for ten minutes’ battle. There’s just a lot of battling going on. And when we’re already stretched to breaking point, all it takes is one seemingly innocuous annoyance to tip us over the freaking brink. So in an open letter to you all, if you could endeavour to try to fix some of these things, we would all be eternally grateful. Thanking you, on behalf of fellow whingey parents everywhere…
1. Make leakproof water bottles more, well, leakproof
I have spoken before about how I am a human packhorse. And carted around in my cavernous handbag wherever we go, along with half the contents of our home, are the kids’ water bottles. And bugger me if those things don’t leak through my bag EVERY. DAMN. TIME. As if it’s not bad enough having a bag that looks like it’s pissed itself, did I mention the fact that I have half the contents of my home in there? Phone, wallet, mail, tissues, important receipts…. things that do not dig being wet. And when combined with food crumbs from the half eaten bickie that was shoved in there without my knowledge, well, let’s just say I once managed to create gruel in the bottom of my handbag without even trying. Trust me, it’s not a handy life skill to have.
2. Make chupa chup wrappers less impenetrable
Ok, I get that you want a nice, securely-wrapped lollipop, but don’t you think that welding the wrapper to the stick in acres of rock-hard plastic is a little extreme? You do realise that we’ve probably guiltily purchased that lollipop in a weak parental attempt at bribery to make it through the grocery shopping without a tantrum, don’t you?! Well, don’t then cement our shame by making us stand there frantically fiddling and cursing in frustration while the aforementioned tantrum builds regardless, eh? LET US IN, I beg you. And while you’re at it…
3. Ease up on the Fort Knox toy packaging
Yes, I have no doubt that small children swiping things from toy boxes is potentially an issue, but surely there must be a happy medium. Make it hard to get into the box, sure. But once we’re in, let us be in! Because by the time we’ve untwisted multiple wires, prised away objects from vice-like plastic cocoons, found a screwdriver to unattach those little black plastic wheel thingos… we’ve all kind of lost interest in what’s inside.
4. Make Dora’s voice a little less… strident
I love you, Dora, I really do. I think it’s great that you babysit my child at 5.30am while I try to sneak back to bed for a sneaky extra half hour. It’s wonderful that you’re teaching my kids Spanish without me lifting a finger. Not to mention other little life lessons such as wearing seatbelts so we can be safe and not swiping things. But… do you have to be quite so perky and upbeat about it all? Do you have to yell everything you say? I already have two children who do that. And on that note, can you not repeatedly encourage my children to yell at the TV? Trust me, they said it loud enough the first time. They don’t need to say it louder. Three times. Per favore?
5. Cease and desist with the apple stickers already
Back in the olden days, when I was a wee lass, there were no apple stickers and we all got by just fine. Yes, I know, they serve a purpose. But for the love of god, there must be another way. Couldn’t you just give your staff a crash course in fruit and vegetable identification? Or, I don’t know, it’s 2015, surely there’s some sort of micro-chipping technology available? The point is, I have enough stickers in my life already and somehow, yours end up depositing themselves in every room of my house. One of the joys of giving my children fruit is the fact that it requires no package removal on my part… it defeats the purpose if I have to shlep over to the bin and scrape that little oval blighter off the end of my finger. And if we’re out and about with no bins handy, you know where that sticker’s going to end up, don’t you? In my wet, soggy, crumby handbag, that’s where…
6. Extend battery life. Or make batteries cheaper. Or invent a new energy source. Something.
I remember a time, pre-children, when I used to buy my batteries two at a time, on an ad-hoc basis. Oh, those giddy, carefree days. Now, I more or less throw in a 20-pack at every trip to the supermarket. Batteries account for approximately 30% of my household budget.* Some toys seem to need about five batteries each. FIVE! Why does creating an annoying noise use up so much battery power? I’m almost thankful when those batteries run out, except that then The Pestering begins. So we must pay vast sums of money to bring back the annoying noise. And then you mock us further by making us get in there with a screwdriver to change the little buggers. (Yes, I know, I KNOW. We must keep the kiddies safe. But we must keep the parents sane too, mustn’t we? Nobody ever thinks of our sanity.)
7. Stop making childproof caps adultproof too
If I have to give myself a permanent circular scar on the palm of my hand to twist off your cap, it’s a little too effective at keeping people out. I twist and I press and I turn, and all I get is that goddamn ‘foiled again’ clicking noise, and it’s all I can do to not sob a little. And then my husband comes along and opens it without any problem and with a hint of a smirk and remember that thing I said about being tipped over the freaking brink? Yeah, that.
8. For the love of god, just make every train track piece an inny and an outy
Mums of train lovers, back me up here. You spend hours crafting and building an intricate railway network in your child’s bedroom, complete with bridges, crossroads, hills and vales. You’re on the verge of completing your masterpiece when you realise you’re left with two innies facing each other, incapable of joining. O, the indignity! Just don’t mess with us, Thomas makers. If you’re going to give us a bridge, don’t have it with outties on both sides, because it’ll only lead to issues later down the, ahem, track. But of course, you know that, don’t you? It’s all just a ploy to make us buy more overpriced train tracks. I’m onto you.
*I may have completely made that figure up.
PS Before anyone starts, I am, of course, aware that these are frivolous, first-world problems and there are much more serious injustices going on in the world. But sometimes those are the times when we need to laugh the most, right?
Anything you’d like to add to the list?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT