Thursday, May 8

I've Been Shopping at One Step Ahead Again

There is sort of an unwritten hierarchy of assumed parental intelligence:

No Kids = Don't even open your mouth if you are about to spew any words related to kids or parenting. You are a parenting moron. Shooooosh!

One Kid Parent = You have no idea what you are doing and everybody knows it. Feel free to have an opinion, though, because everybody with more kids than you likes laughing at your stupidity.

Two Kid Parent = You've got a clue. No one will doubt you just so long as you manage to take a shower at least once per week. You doubt yourself on occasion, but mostly you think you've got it together.

Three Kid Parent = You're pretty darn good at that parenting thing. Parents with fewer kids marvel at your ability to do simple things like managing to brush your teeth more than once per month. You're pretty darn impressed with yourself, too.

Four Kid Parent = You're beginning to think you're a parenting idiot, but others perceive you as very wise.

Five Kid Parent = A precarious number. If you give the impression that you still have some control, despite being vastly outnumbered, people will still think you are very wise. You know for a fact those who think you are wise are very much so wrong. That knowledge is exactly why you truly are wise. If you come across like your kids are the ones running the show, you are demoted to Two Kid level. You've got a clue, obviously, since everybody is still alive, but there is some doubt as to whether you get the parenting thing all that well.

Six kids or more = Your status is reduced to less than that of a One Kid Parent. If you don't believe me, ponder your thoughts on the Duggar clan. You know you think anybody that has 17 kids is more than a few French fries short of a Happy Meal. You are right.

Despite my status as a member of the lowly One Kid Parent Club, I do know one thing: Kids make messes. I know! Isn't it amazing how I figured that out so soon? See, I'm totally feeling superior for this knowledge because it turns out that not everyone knows it. Allow me to prove me point, please and thank you.

This little invention might just do a good job of keeping little hands from getting sticky while eating popsicles, but isn't that sort of the point of popsicles? And I hate to break it to all the One Kidders that haven't figured it out yet, but that kind of thing may slow the mess parade, but it will not stop it. Wait until the popsicle melts completely then the kid tips all the juice all over your nice white carpet. Oh yes, it will happen.

If it really bothers you that your kid sometimes misses his or her mouth or scoops some peas and carrots onto the table, you might want to consider therapy. Spending $7 on a bowl that might slow food spillage makes you certifiably insane.

Let's see, I could strip my kid down to the diaper and throw her in the bath after she pours spaghetti all over herself, or I could spend $13 on something that I can just throw in the washer. Sounds good, except for the fact that the hands and head are still exposed. And you know what? Whatever square inch is left exposed? That is where the kid will slop the mess.

Apparently it is impossible to spill the contents of this bowl. You can flip it, spin it, throw it, do whatever, it won't spill.

The catch? It's only for use with dry foods. You know, Cheerios and little crackers and the like. You know, the stuff that is super easy to clean up anyway. Whatever.

This thing is an accident waiting to happen:

That spoon has a chamber that will hold the entire contents of one jar of baby food. All you have to do is squeeze it a little bit and the spoon fills with one little bite of food. The problem? Babies have hands. I know this is shocking. Babies like to use those hands. In fact, most of them like to use those hands to swat at anything within ten feet of their little bodies. I'm sure there will be no mess whatsoever when the kid sends the thing flying across the room.

You know what's worse than a kid that insists on throwing their spoon across the room? Giving that same kid a weapon of mass destruction.

You just know that spoon can be used to catapult food thirty plus feet. I kind of want it for myself.

At first, I was thinking this next thing seemed kind of useful. We are in the midst of the torture that is potty training and it sure would be nice to not have to tear apart the car seat when there's an accident in the car.

However, the product reviews made me expand my thinking real quick. I think we should have bought one a long time ago because of this little line, "I am purchasing two for my stepson and his wife to use in a cross-country trip with their 16-month old." How awesome would that be--drive cross-country and never once stop to change a diaper. The PiddlePad will take care of everything!

Give a baby a pacifier and he or she will spit it out. On occasion, the pacifier might just land on the floor. Some parents would find a sink or water fountain and rinse it off. Others would stick it in their own mouth to clean it off before giving it back to the baby. Those like me would figure the kid was the one that spit it onto the floor, the kid can be the one to savor the taste of cat hair and month-old dog poop that collected on the pacifier tip. Or, you can be all nutso and spend a bunch of money on a little contraption specially designed to clean up paci messes.

This one is simply a case of a marketing executive not thinking clearly. A big old mat would be useful for a carpeted floor, but tile? Really? How is putting a big sheet of plastic down on a tile floor saving me any work?

For the low, low price of $12, you can buy a package of three glorified tablecloths that will keep your kid from coloring on your table.

Or you could just grab some newspaper out of the recycling bin.

While you're simplifying things, save yourself $6 and grab a knife out of the drawer, mmkay?

I know changing wet sheets in the middle of the night is the second suckiest thing you can do (changing vomit-covered sheets wins the crown), but I hope that anyone who resorts to putting an $80 electrical device down their kids underwear has exhausted all other options first.

Personally, I'd rather change the sheets. Like I said, kids make messes.


  1. I love when you go shopping- it is always fun!

  2. I'm sad to say I owned one of those binky cleaners...hey, I was a first time mommy and I thought it would work, not so much!!

    Here's me hanging my head in shame!!

  3. Heehee...the popsicle thing KILLS me - it's bigger than the kid's head! The catapault spoon is my fave though - think of all the surfaces you could cover with prunes with that thing!

    Seriously, the people that buy this shit should get their heads examined! Kids = Mess. Get over it!

  4. Crap I thought I was first. Anyways, um yeah all of those contraptions make me question the parents that buy them. Are they the ones the wrap their couches in plastic so that no one touches anything and GASP makes the couch look less than brand new (oh wait it isn't COOL to sit on a plastic covered couch and every move you make crinkles) or the people who have plastic runners over the areas of high traffic in their home? I SAY FREAKS!

  5. So funny! Love that food slingin' spoon. :)

  6. You are freaking kidding me! An electrical device down the front of my son's pants?! The boys would never be able to procreate, and what is there after raising children if you can't look forward to grandkids?

  7. My husband and I go through their catalog during dinner and make fun of all the contraptions that people managed to survive the species without.

    BUT, I did buy the SnackTrap from them and have to say I LOVE IT.

  8. What the hell is up with the $80 device you put in the kid's pants? First off, who would spend $80 on something your kid pees on? Generally if I have to pay $80 it's to replace something nice that my kid pees on . . . not something designated for that purpose. Moreover, it looks vaguely sexual and makes me feel very uncomfortable.

    Did you see my post a while back about the disposable bib packaging? I was in Toys-R-Us and saw a package of disposable bibs with a picture of a kid on the front eating CHEERIOS. Who puts a bib on a kid eating Cheerios?

    Marketing people clearly have no young children.

  9. Kids make messes but it does get better. I promise you. It does get better!

  10. secret agent mama10:12 PM

    How you described the parent to four kids describes me to a tee. Idiot mom that doesn't use idiot contraptions. LOL

  11. Anonymous10:18 PM

    Haha what ridiculous things. I'm proud to say I own none of those. I saw a few of those items in "Baby Talk" recently, and thought to myself "what a waste of money..." I'm glad you agree!

    And the electrical device down your child's underwear?! Sounds a bit like torture, to me. No WAY is that comfortable. I also don't understand it at all. What exactly is it for??

  12. I wonder if you can put alcohol into that little spoon chamber thing? I could bring it to the playground.

    Me: What, this? Of course it's NOT filled with tequila. It's baby food. For my 3 year olds. Duh. You must not have kids. Take your dog and it's hand-knit sweater and bugger off.

  13. *Hanging head*

    I bought one of those electric snot sucker thingys (took it back, didn't work), but hey, it's a step up from the electric undie drier!

  14. All that stuff takes the fun out of parenting. If raising kids were easy it wouldn't have started with "labor". LOL

  15. Anonymous11:36 PM

    You know I have a personalized drip stix, right? Just saying...

    And, my Haiku is all for you baby!

  16. As a parent of three kids... my children snack on those catalogues. Fifi actually eats them.

    That is all.

    Great post!!!

  17. I was with you all the way up to the end. I love the little sandwich thing because I'm lazy and when you are cutting 3-4 sandwiches, it would speed things up. Of course, I'd probably end up going back to the knife. And the alarm for wetting the bed is a last resort. I may be using one myself for my almost 6 year old. I've talked to the pediatrician about it. Up until age 6 it is not uncommon for some children to wet the bed, but if they are still doing it they need a little help. She said the alarm works pretty quickly to help them learn to wake up. I'm not thrilled about it, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. I'd rather do that than send my 10 year old on a sleepover in pull ups.

    I love the spoon filled with baby food. Babies grab, too, and all they need to do is give that little tube a squeeze and you've got one heck of a mess.

    From a mom of 3.

  18. hehehehehehehe. does three kid single parent rate well?

  19. I'm having visions of Coach actually getting a few of those catapult spoons for he and the boys to play with now. And I'm laughing hysterically in my head, because I can so picture my teenager and pre-teen taking up stations around the kitchen and flinging food at their dad!

  20. the catapult spoon is AWESOME. i totally want one.

    and i'm laughing at your descriptions of parents. yeah, at four plus a step, i qualify as a parenting idiot.

  21. some of those are really idiotic...

    and you know what... I've got some decent sized hooters and I am forever scrubbing stains of of my shirts... So apparently, large busted grown ups make messes too... See anything (other than a sea food bib) which some moronic exec suggested for me?

  22. I wrote my comment late last night and now I'm thinking it sounds a little biotchy. NOT my intent. Hope I didn't offend. But, since I'm here, one more thing. We are taking a long driving trip to Florida this year. Maybe I could get those little pads for all my girls so we don't have to stop. Boys are so lucky to be able to pee into a bottle.

  23. Anonymous7:59 AM

    I love your One Steph Ahead shopping adventures!! I got the catalog yesterday and spent 20 minutes look at it just so I could laugh.

    I want a Piddle Pad for my next long car trip!! It may mean I can skip a bathroom stop!!

  24. amanda8:26 AM

    Here's my issue with some of those items.... it doesn't teach the kids that you shouldn't drop kick your cup across the room. my oldest is 10. that means that she was a toddler before the invention of the spill-proof sippie cups. we had the old fashioned tupperwear cups with the sippie lid. she learned that when you're not drinking, you find a safe spot to put your cup. fast forward to when the 5 year old was a toddler. he would drop that dang spill-proof sippie anywhere he pleased. made it much more difficult to teach him how to drink from a regular cup. for the youngest, we only used the spill-proof ones for situations that called for such, like the car. Taught her the right way to use a cup and was convenient for us when needed.

    I am also a hater of pull-ups for potty training. Sorry! it's a diaper and the kid knows it. which means that they'll use it like one. put some nice, comfortable cotton underwear on them and when they realize that peeing in those makes a soppy, uncomfortable mess, they tend to not do it. all 3 kids were trained at 2.

    the boy still wears pull-ups at night, but that's because he can sleep through anything. literally. that alarm would not help us at ALL! we once caught him sleep walking and peeing in the corneer. and then he washed his hands in an imaginery sink. never woke up once.

  25. I love looking through that catalog, but I've never bought anything. I've found that as soon as I do something I think will revolutionize my life with toddler, Evan completely shows it up.

    My fav are those bowls that are supposed to suction to the table. WHATEVER! They hold on just tight enough for Evan to think it's a challenge worthy of his best effort. Then he'll pull so hard that the bowl won't just fall to the floor but catapult to the wall - not helpful!

  26. I have five. Yes, I'm in charge (ignore the short people laughing hysterically). Kids do make messes, and those of us with big families love to sit and watch first time parents keep their perfect babies and houses looking perfect. It's cheap entertainment for us.

    What? You didn't think we could afford to actually pay for entertainment did you? We have FIVE children. Do you know how much babysitters charge for that after they stop laughing?

  27. Dude, I am all about baby messes. In fact I HELP them make messes. What's the fun of feeding babies spaghetti if you can't take pictures of their gooey sauce covered faces?

    LOVE your shopping list.

  28. he Duggers just announced on the Today Show this morning that they are expecting #18!!!! Are they walking out of her by now??

    I am a parent of 1, soon to be 2, and i am proud to say I haven't bought any of the products you have featured, but I have bought some of the other dumb stuff out of that cataloge... like the sippy cups that go in the freezer with the frozen core in the middle. Never ended up using them. They would just sit in my freezer, forgotten.

  29. I horrified some people at Target when I gave my four week old baby a dropped pacifier. She survived!

    Maybe the piddle pad will help with vomit since we are allabout the vomit these days, otherwise the rest of that stuff is just stuff that people with too much money can waste on.

  30. As a mom of four I can tell you you don't need any of that---they will find a way to get you, themselves and the house in a lovely pig pen state. And that underwear device-- scary--I'll change a hundred sheets first :0

  31. Anonymous10:06 AM

    Ha ha! Great commentary. I think I agree with pretty much every. thing. you. said. :-) Though I will have to say that I (a wee, teensy bit) coveted a couple of those items that came out AFTER a time in which they might have helped me out. We survived.
    Happy Mothers Day!!

  32. Shopping again what fun! I think some of these things might be useful to someone but as for me and my mess makers I have learned that nothing I buy will prevent messes. I think they secretly plot against me when I do buy something to control the mess Ive seen it before with the trash can, the laundry basket, the toy boxes I've learned my lesson ... lol.

  33. Laughing my butt off! Okay, as the mother of FOUR, all my mil says to me is, "You have changed so much since you just had your first." She thinks I was the most neurotic first time mother and I totally was. It was a gift from God that I had four children so that they had a slight chance of coming out normal, thus lowering the therapy costs.

  34. Here's my thoughts on thos products

    #1-Works okay for drips, but what does it do when the kid decides to use it as a paintbrush? Nothing. Useless product.

    #2-We actually have this. Sasha sticks his hands in the bowl and throws the food out. Then he takes the little fork and spoon and chucks them across the room. Then he yanks the suctioncup bowl right off the tray and throws it behind himself. Then eats what food he can find on his tray with his hands. Useless product.

    #3-It's called shortening up the neck hole on one of your old, stained aprons. Save money and reuse.

    #4-Huh? What happens when they chuck it across the room? I bet it spills when it hits the wall.

    #5-This idea is a "good in theory", however the food has to be so runny that the bowl is too shallow to get a good grip on any of it. Useless product.

    #6-No opinion. Probably a useless product. I imagine the coils make holding it "work" and so Sasha would throw an even bigger fit at being pressured to at least try it.

    #7-Useful, but probably more expensive than practical. We reused old puppy piddle pads on days we knew he was having Lake Icky Cacas. On days we didn't? Well, the seatcover washes.

    The rest I just don't get.

  35. Are you kidding me? Seriously? Some of these are plain disturbing . . .

    BTW, did you hear the Duggar clan is adding another one? Yup. They sure are. Announced on Good Morning America . . .

  36. I am so totally getting the springy spoon for Jon for his birthday. It will be the hit of the year and maybe even be better than the 15 pounds of bacon he got last year.

    Even if that stuff worked I would still be cleaning up messes. It seems to be in my kids' DNA to find new and improved ways to mess stuff up. You should see our "golf course" drive way right now. Everyday Gracie adds a new hole she made out of old wood and roofing material...sigh.

  37. That spoon on a spring? I actually bought that for Little Man. But the damn kid couldn't seem to figure out how to use a spoon by three months and kept dropping it on the floor, so something had to be done.

    Of course, the suction cups didn't stick to his tray table at all, so they were used exactly 0.5 times.

    Amazingly, at 2.5 years of age, even witout the spoon on springs, he learned to feed himself and the dogs at the same time.

    Have you ever seen the Solutions catalogue? You'd love that one, they've got three pages just for foot and toe products that look like medieval torture devices. I must mail you my copy.

  38. I, too, am just a lowly 1 kid parent, but, it seems to me that we should put all of our children in straight jackets and put them in restraints in their beds...that might solve the problem.

  39. Truthfully, some of those products I think might be WORSE for development. For example the spoon on a string. Resistance to your scooping movement isn't exactly helping your child learn the proper technique. And it won't help with hand grip either. Pshaw!

  40. The entire time I am reading I was thinking to myself, "Gee, I should get that!"

    The spoon attached to the highchair...genius...and I am more picking up utensils off the floor a million times at each meal.

    The binky cleaner...I have a mouth...and if it drops, I just suck off the crap and hand it back to him. Gross, I know...and maybe that's why I am always sick...but at least the kid's not...since we all know how that goes!

  41. I've always been pretty "old school" and never bought in to all those contraptions that supposedly make parenting any easier. The only new fangled thing that I ever bought that wasn't around when my 12 YO was a baby is the container for formula that have the separate chambers that hold the appropriate measurements for your bottles. That cuts my bottle-making down by at LEAST 30 seconds.

    Ew, about that electric device that you strap on to your boys at night - WTF?!

    And, just for the record, I have 4 kids and I am STILL clueless. I'm not ashamed to admit it!

  42. This was fabulous, you crack me up. Well written, humorous and spot on, IMO. :-) I am soo stumbling this!
    Lurv ya!

  43. Hysterical! I would love a spoon catapult, myself.

    I bought a "floor savor" disposible floor covers thinking that it looked like a great idea... never even opened the package. The dog takes care of everything and it's not like it's carpeted. I don't know what I was thinking!

  44. OMG!!! IS that last thing for real????? I mean really, for reals?

    I love your "messy" picture - she's so adorable!!

  45. You and I have GOT to go shopping together. Now THAT would be funny!

  46. we have the mess mat for under the high chair...but in my defense, we got it when we lived in our townhouse that had carpet in the dining room (I didn't have an eat-in kitchen). I only used it a handful of times, which also included Gavin's first birthday because, well, Jello Cake is not easy to clean up off the floor during a sweltering June afternoon. ;)

    And um, are you holding out on us? Did you have tickets to tonight's Pens game? Or am I a moron that forgot? Waaaaaiiit...I did see a suspicious tweet from you the other day...something about Ticketmaster being your B*#$@. Hmmm...*think*think*

    I think I'm going to go grab a glass of wine and ponder further...then commiserate my alcoholism and drinking wine alone while watching a hockey game.

  47. oh wait...I think I saw you! You were the crazy-looking Pens fan with some contraption on your head and dancing with a gigantic plastic penguin, right?

    Maybe I should just drink more wine and shuttup, eh?

  48. your shopping trips are so much fun! um, I want the catapult and I want to call the police on the electical device manufacturer. How is that NOT considered abuse? ew.

    i don't mind the mess. seriously. cleaning is my life. really. don't mind.
    17 kids? they probably haven't had a happy meal since the honeymoon you know?

  49. I have a love/hate relationship with One Step Ahead...I love to see all their new doo-hickies, but it always makes me feel like I don't have the best thing for my kid...and I MUST buy it...seriously, kids make messes, right...they're just messy...and we should all just invest in Clorox wipes and let it be.

  50. This is funny, and scary all rolled up into one!

  51. I think you've pretty much nailed it. ALL. And I imagine most people with children already aren't the ones buying this stuff. It's pregnant first timers registering for it for their baby shower. Stuff they'll never use.

  52. I love the Duggars! I think they are amazing! All of their kids are so freaking sweet and well mannered. It is bizarre. How the hell do they do that? I think they definitely know more than I do. I couldn't have 18 kids, but God bless them. It must be their calling or something. I don't know.
    I'm excited for summer so that the kids can all eat outside. That way I can just hose them off after they drop jelly/milk/watermelon/etc. all over themselves. ;)

  53. LOVE your blog. And your descriptions of all the different gadgets was priceless.

  54. I just love it when you do the baby product reviews. Gives me great ideas for gifts for my nieces. Heh. And that mat on tile - isn't that what Meg is for?

  55. i especially love the paci cleaner. what is up with that one? i bet people buy them. suckers!

  56. Some of those are quite interesting.
    Others, not so much. I like that thing with the popsickle in it, and the bowl with the peas. That think where they mess the bed, that's plain wacked.. i'd be afraid that it would electrocute them or something. What will they come out with next?

  57. Best. Post. Ever.

    Seriously, this killed me. With kid #1, I'll admit to buying a few contraptions thinking it would make things easier for me. With kid #2, no contraption purchases were made. I even threw out the ridiculous plastic floor mat - it's much harder to clean than the hardwood floor underneath it. Duh, me.

    Oh, and anything with suction cups spells utter disaster. It doesn't take long for the kiddo to figure out how to pry them off the surface. I prefer to just put the food directly onto the high chair.

    I think you've missed your calling as a catalogue writer, lol.

  58. Laughing my butt off over here! Too funny! I kind of want those spoons on springs for me and hubby...I envision contests to see who can fling food the furthest.

  59. And that is why you get a dog! I never clean up after meals.

    Your hierarchy of assumed parental intelligence is hilarious!!

  60. I never even knew that any of these things existed, thank you for enlightening me :) Does being a nanny of three kids qualify you for anything?

  61. Your comments on each of the silly products is hilarious. I think though that maybe the electrical bed wetting tool (not really sure what to call it) might need an explanation. I think someone mentioned something about it but as someone who has actually seen it used, I might be able to offer some insight?!?!? Anyways, it doesn't shock the kid, it just makes this rather loud and truly obnoxious sound the second any sort of moisture hits the underwear. The kid has the opportunity to wake up before their whole bed is covered in pee, yay! The device is meant to help kids who are having serious problems with bed wetting. These are kids who have no problem learning how to use the potty, in fact, they are generally quite good at it, however, due to most likely a hereditary issue (often runs in families) the kid does not wake up in the middle of the night if they need to pee. The 'signal' isn't sent to the brain and thus an accident occurs. It can be so humiliating for the child that they don't participate in sleepovers (not even ones at their own house) and can carry on well into middle school (generally accidents occur less and less). In fact, many males (for some reason it's just the males though, not the females from what I've been told, weird) who have bed wetting problems as children (we're talking 5-12 years of age, not when they're first learning) will have accidents on rare occasions as adults! Poor them! The device is just meant to help their body figure out what needs to happen, maybe the signal is too faint and the brain isn't quite understanding what that signal means. Hard to say. Regardless, it's actually a fantastic device when used for the right situations (1 in 10 children are bed-wetters). Anyways, now that I'm done explaining something from a post that is now a few weeks old, I have to say, You are freaking hilarious!!! All your posts are. Not just this one:)

  62. Sarah8:17 PM

    Just stumbled across your blog today and read your comment about the carseat pad and potty training....

    Check out this website:

    Might be something actually practical that you're looking for!! :)

  63. Anonymous10:50 AM

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