On a recent shopping trip to Target, I found myself wandering through the breast pump aisle. (This seems to happen whether I plan it or not. Just as my cart used to wend its own way through the school supply/organization section--and even occasionally throw unnecessary packs of pens and cute post-it products into itself without my knowledge). Now, I consistently troll the pump aisle to see if there is any new and improved product since the last time I went to Target earlier in the week. While checking to see if there was any product that could make my life easier, I found breastmilk alcohol detection strips for the neurotic, hard-drinking, breastfeeding mama on the go. These strips check to see if there's enough alcohol in your milk that you will see your child start to slur his speech and make poor decisions after a meal. I, of course, found this product to be absolutely ridiculous. Either don't drink more than a glass of anything at a time, or plan your binges for when you've got enough milk stored so you can have someone else feed Junior for a while. (And yes, I really do enjoy it here up on my high horse. It's so much easier for me to do my judging from this height. Thank you for asking.) However, seeing this ridiculous product has got me thinking about the items I wish did exist in that aisle of Target. They really would make my life easier.
First, I need a breastmilk cow's milk detection strip. I have been off dairy for one week now. I do not yet know if it is out of my system, and it would be WONDERFUL to know if my milk/cheese/ice cream/coffee cream/ice cream/yogurt/ice cream/cottage cheese/ice cream deprivation diet is actually working. I'd love to have an idea of how much is too much, too. Clearly, the large peppermint chocolate chip shake from Chik-Fil-A is a no go. But what about the medium? Can I just get a milkshake and do a "wine-tasting" where I never actually swallow? (J likes to point out that if I were talking about something other than ice cream in this way, we might be having an intervention. I maintain that I can stop anytime I want to. Any old time. Really.) So, if someone would invent a detection strip (which I imagine is impossible, considering the fact that you would be testing milk for the presence of another milk), I might be able to get my hands to stop trembling.
(Okay, I'm exaggerating A LOT. And it's not all bad. I've lost 5 preggo pounds in one week just by cutting out dairy. That's mainly because anything worth eating, with the exception of meat and fruit, is made with dairy.)
My next invention would be a baby dimmer switch. LO doesn't have trouble sleeping at night, which is lovely and wonderful and for which I am very very very thankful. (I have to make sure I don't piss off the gods in charge of babies sleeping through the night). However, this kid is allergic to naps. Where he used to take at least two naps during the day, and one of them was at least three hours long, he is now a wakeful, zombiefied child who is always delighted to see me, unless he happens to be screaming at the time. This week has been my least productive since the early days of motherhood, when someone had set my dimmer switch to perpetually low. There is no need for an on/off button on the baby. That could easily be abused. But a dimmer switch, where the parent puts her child down for a nap and sets the switch to only mildly wakeful, rather than screamingly alert and incapable of sleep, that would lead to children getting much better rest. When mildly wakeful, LO can fall asleep, either on his own, or to the tender strains of his mother singing Love Shack by the B-52s. I'm seeing if I can get Veridian Dynamics on this invention.
Then, of course, there's anti-spit up scotch guarding. Now that I'm in the twilight-weight range of not quite back to pre-preggo clothes, and definitely too small for my maternity wear, I have but one pair of jeans that fit me. With LO's charming habit of projectile puking, I'm finding that I must go out stark naked every other day of the week while those jeans are in the wash. If I could just find a way to scotch guard (or rubberize) the jeans so that the used breastmilk just wipes right off, leaving no tell-tale sour milk scent to alert people to the fact that I am a new mom (because my hair in a crazy pony-tail, my complete and utter lack of make up, the diaper bag that is permanently attached to my shoulder, and of course, the child snacking at my breast, are not really instant giveaways). My tiny wardrobe would thank me.
Some sort of English-to-baby-baby-to-English Babel fish would also be an incredible stress reducer. As of right now, when LO is fussing, we have to go through the diagnostic checklist: 1. Check diaper. If clean, proceed to step two. 2. Offer food. If refused, proceed to step three. 3. Rock/sing. If unsuccessful, proceed to step four. 4. Attempt to degassify child. If no burps or farts are forthcoming, proceed to step five...etc, ad infinitum. If I could simply go directly to the step that is currently bothering LO, it would be much more efficient. (The problem being that sometimes I suspect LO does not even know what it is that is bothering him. When LO is upset, he, like Camus, is experiencing a terrible malaise based on the worry over the existential meaning or lack of meaning in the universe. When LO is happy, I believe the world looks a little more like this to him. And that's just our living room!)
A final invention I would like to see is some sort of instant sleep for parents. All will be well and LO will be happy/sleeping/taken care of by someone else and it will be time for me to get some much needed shut-eye. But my eyes will not shut. I will stare with sad eyes up at our ceiling, willing myself to take advantage of the short time I have for recharging. But of course, when you are aware of how short an amount of time you have, it is impossible to sleep. I would love for some sleep in a bottle to help me take advantage of my sack time.
They have, of course, invented bourbon for this. But then I would need to use the breastmilk alcohol detection strips afterward.