Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thank God for Small Mercies

We all know about the great inventors and scientists whose ideas changed our worlds and our lives. The standard names that come up – Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Alva Edison, Madame Curie... But what about all those forgotten souls who had ideas revolutionised motherhood and childcare? Here are some of the products and gadgets that I feel I could not live without – or I could but with a lot more stress.

The Baby Monitor
Thanks to this simple device – which is really nothing much more than a one-way radio transmitter – I can put Ayaan down to sleep and leave the room with complete peace of mind. I don’t have to keep wondering whether every sound I hear is him crying and I don’t have to peek into the room umpteen number of times to see if he’s okay. I can just do my own thing with the baby monitor next to me to reassure me that he is indeed just sleeping quietly or that he is crying and I need to go in.

The High Chair
Here is one expensive product that I have no regrets in buying. As Ayaan started getting mobile, it became impossible to get him to stay in one place for his meals and he was far more interested in crawling than eating. The high chair has completely changed that. It took a couple of days for him to get used to it but he now sits in it quite willingly and has his food. And the one I bought has a large tray – so we just load that up with his toys and we are good to go.

Disposable Diapers
This one I do know who invented. It was a lady called Marion Donovan. Like all mothers, Donovan struggled with her babies' exasperating habit of nearly instantaneously wetting her diapers as soon as they were changed --- which at that time meant soiled sheets as well. Steadily working her way through a series of shower curtains, Donovan designed and perfected, on her sewing machine, a reusable, leakproof diaper cover. Later, Donovan began an even more essential innovation: the disposable paper diaper. Surprisingly, Donovan did not have instant success with this idea. She toured the major US paper companies, and was roundly laughed at for proposing such an unnecessary and impractical item. It took nearly ten years for someone to capitalize on Donovan's idea: namely, Victor Mills, creator of Pampers. Well thank God for that as I can now take Ayaan out with me without stress on what will happen if he wets himself. And he sleeps so much better at nights. Which means I sleep so much better at nights.

Socket Covers
Thanks to these simple, cheap yet effective pieces of plastic, Ayaan’s curious fingers cannot access unused plug points. One less thing to worry about.

Gerber Foods
What did women do before this lovely brand came along. It really saves my day when I have to manage Ayaan on a day minus any maids. These pre-packaged bottles come with all sorts of healthy and preservative-free mashed vegetables and fruits and really cut the hassle in an already hassle-filled day. They are also very useful when we have to feed Ayaan out of home.

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