Thursday, August 17, 2006
I’m “Parent-Assembly Required Challenged”
When I was a kid, my Dad could practically build anything, from assembling bikes to building a car in the garage any summer afternoon just for the shear thrill (even melting tin nails and pounding sheet metal for the frame). I never doubted his Dad skills; I thought this was some ability that just magically appeared when a man became a Dad. It was evolution at its best. Also, the possibility of watching lots of MacGyver growing up reinforced this thinking.
I was wrong and T.V. has once again failed me.
This past weekend I had the joys of installing a KidCo baby gate on our staircase for a few hours (I’m no stranger to installing, referring to what is now known as “the pony incident” or “the magnetic baby-locks clash of 2006”). I was reliving all my past experiences - pictures that didn’t make any sense, thousands of ‘small’ objects, instructions that could have been written in Latin then translated into English by James Brown. This project had to be the mother of it all. I did what any sane, frustrated adult would do – I dropped everything and asked my wife to finish the job before I sent a burning bag of dog crap to the manufacture. It took her another hour to figure it out.
Later, while walking around the house, I began to wonder why in the world do we need all this stuff? What did parents do 20 years ago when all of this stuff wasn’t around? Who convinced us that if we didn’t have the baby gate, the locks, the table bumper guards, the baby crash helmets that we’re horrible parents and when our kids are calling us from prison it’s because we didn’t secure the linen drawer.
Frankly, I’m tired of the marketing. My parents didn’t have any of that stuff I think I turned out fine. All of my childhood damage was psychological (the way God intended it to be!)
My wife disagrees, of course, and now we’re off to get another baby gate. This time, a pressurized one (no assembly required) that works right out of the box.