Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, May 23, 2010

Judging value of baby items

By Monica Quock Chan

There are hundreds of baby items on the market these days. Some are useful, perhaps more are not, and a handful are indispensable. There are also products that I would characterize as mixed blessings, those that make me want to croon the U2 song "(I Can't Live) With or Without You." A few:

Double strollers: Like well-intentioned exercise equipment, the double stroller often gathers dust or is used for hanging items like clothes. A behemoth to push, both in weight and length, I have nicknamed it "TheBus." Oddly, its storage basket is less spacious than our single stroller's, and can't even fit our diaper bag. Yet on those days when we venture further than our keiki can walk, it's a lifesaver.

Portable booster seats: These handy seats, which come complete with trays, mean we never have to worry about the questionable cleanliness of a restaurant's highchairs. After seeing the rickety, rusty offering that one eating establishment pulled out for us, we were very thankful to have our own.

Yet the seats are still cumbersome (imagine us carrying around two kids, two booster seats, and a diaper bag every time we eat out). And upon returning home, the seats need to be washed in addition to the sippy cups, bibs, and whatever other paraphernalia we have lugged along. Now that our daughter is tall enough to sit in most regular chairs, I've asked my husband if we can pare down to just one booster seat, but for now, hygiene wins.

Monitors: Our master bedroom is separated from the children's room by a large living area. When we first had our infant daughter sleep on her own, we wanted to make sure she was safe, so we invested in an audio monitor. Since she was only 4 months old, it was understandable, although as a mother I seemed to be able to hear her wail no matter what.

A year later, my husband was still leaving the monitor on full blast. Sometimes the volume was louder than our baby's actual cries. After we had our second child, my husband decided to go one step further and upgrade to a dual video monitor. We could then hear and see not only one but both children. After more than half a year of listening to our second born wake up every three hours, however, my husband finally decided to turn the volume off at night. Hallelujah!

Granted, the monitors have been invaluable in being able to check on the children without inadvertently waking them up, but they have also generated numerous false alarms. To this day my husband leaves the monitors on and I switch them off.

My cousin laughed when he heard this, revealing that he and his wife were still debating over the use of their monitor. At the time his youngest was 7 years old. Our youngest is 1. The vacillations over these types of products must be longstanding. We will be singing along to U2 for a long time hence.