Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Parenting Just Got High-Tech

The baby was asleep when my wife went into her room. Well, at least the baby should have been asleep. Children, as a rule, only do what their parents want if it fits into their schedule.

Baby (translated from “bllll” noises): Sleep? At bedtime? Pencil me in somewhere around 10 a.m. Thursday.

Secretary (usually invisible): You have a play date at 10 a.m. Thursday, but you’re behind on Making Mom Look Bad points, so it might work out.

Baby: Excellent. Make it so.

Going to sleep on time rarely fits into a child’s schedule.

My wife turned off the hall light, slowly pushed open the baby’s bedroom door and slipped inside the dark room. Waking a baby at bedtime means parents can’t spend the rest of the night doing things we always tell them not to … like blowing bubbles in our milk.

As my wife’s eyes adjusted to the dark, the corner of the room with the crib was still about as well-lit as an X-Files episode.

There are times when an idea crawls out of your head and shakes you so hard it’s almost religious. It was like that with Edison and the light bulb. It was like that with Einstein and relativity. And it was like that for my wife

I wish I had night vision goggles, she thought.

Oh, yeah, night-vision goggles. If the people at Babies R Us had any sense, they’d stock night-vision goggles right next to the breast pumps. Or, maybe …

You want to make sure the baby’s OK without turning on the light? You want to see why it’s taking your teenage daughter so long to get out of her date’s car? You want to catch you spouse eating spoonfuls of peanut butter at 3 a.m.?

You can. Just go to www.offuttparentalespionage.com* and you can have it all.

The www.offuttparentalespionage.com Catalogue

Night-vision goggles: See everything you need to: snipers, Charlie, your three-year-old planting Little People landmines along the night-night trail.

GPS Tracking Devices: Not only are these good for following your teen on every step of his/her date, it’ll save you that nervous call from the home when grandma goes missing again.

Hand-Held Metal Detectors:
Sweep every date … and your kid. If there’s a piercing you can’t see, trust me, you’ll find it.

Video Surveillance: In-home spying isn’t just for the government anymore. Is your three-year-old snitching cookies? Is your husband smoking? Is your live-in grandpa a blacklisted McCarthy communist sympathizer? Placing a video camera in teddy bears, toilets and dentures will make your home safe for democracy.

Bomb Robot: This remote-controlled police bomb detonator is a full-featured robot for hazardous duty operations, such as picking up and disposing of a Level IV Full-Fiber Diaper.

Jet Pack: As a parent, have you ever wanted to get away? To your quiet spot? To Portugal? The Parentscapist Jet Pack 2000 – with whining buffer – will take you some place safe from your kids. Even if you’re just flying around the room, they won’t be able to touch you.

So, when you’re looking for the latest in parental-stealth devices, www.offuttparentalespionage.com will make your family wonder just what the heck hit them.

*Not a real Web site. If it’s ever a real Web site, I’m retiring early.

Copyright 2008 by Jason Offutt

Jason’s book of ghost stories, “Haunted Missouri: A Ghostly Guide to the Show-Me State’s Most Spirited Spots,” is available now. Order it from amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or tsup.truman.edu. Visit Jason’s Web site, www.jasonoffutt.com, for his other books.