by regular contributor Brian Hoover
Newborns come with “stuff,” you’ve no doubt realized. Boppys and Bumbos and Soothies and Pack ’n Plays; blankets and onesies and bottles and books. Don’t even get me started on breast pumps and everything those entail.
When we brought our daughter home, my wife and I found ourselves thrust into an all-fronts war with “stuff” that we’d never anticipated, even as the spoils from the baby shower accumulated alongside the gifts that other gracious folks had sent. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful; quite to the contrary, we were blessed by this extraordinary show of generosity from family, friends, and colleagues. It’s just that we had, until then, lived a relatively simple, mostly clutter-free existence. Now we had more stuff than we could manage with our combined four hands.
Which got us thinking.
We were often asked by friends who were expecting what we thought was essential: Do we need the video monitor, or will a regular monitor do? Do we need a monitor at all? During one such conversation with a friend, my wife was asked what product, if she could choose just one, she felt would be the most helpful thing for a new parent to own.
Without missing a beat, she replied, “Robotic third arm.”
This had been a matter of regular conversation in our house since very nearly the beginning of our tenure as parents. What could be more useful than a third arm? Consider:
You have a wailing, hungry baby on your shoulder who will only cry harder if you put him down. Preparing a bottle is a two-handed task and your partner is not home—Help!
Robotic Third Arm™ is ready to assist.
At the changing table, your kid’s diaper is filled with “banana soup,” and you realize you forgot to refill the wipes after the last change. The refills are across the room, and but you can’t leave the baby unattended, even for two seconds. What to do?
Try Robotic Third Arm with Extension Fingers™.
You’re holding a sleeping baby in one arm, rubbing her forehead in that way that for whatever reason is the only thing that keeps her asleep—Man, she’s beautiful and all, but how are you supposed to read a magazine?
Robotic Third Arm with LED Book Light™ (two AA batteries not included).
You get the picture.
In order to operate at peak function, I imagine that Robotic Third Arm™ would need to somehow be wired into the user’s brain, but also easily removable for those times when your regular complement of arms is sufficient. In terms of motion and texture, it should be as natural as possible. And, most importantly, prospective manufacturers should always strive to keep the consumer in mind, especially in these uncertain economic times: we’d like to keep the price tag at or under $400,000 per unit. We put families first.
And so petitioning all inventors: We claim the intellectual property rights, but we just don’t have the technological savvy to pull it off alone. Interested parties should kindly leave their information in the comments section beneath this post, and I’ll be happy to be in touch regarding formal proposals. On behalf of parents everywhere, I thank you.
And, parents everywhere—You’re welcome.