By Amber Leventry of Family Rhetoric
Early each year, companies show off their new and innovative kid and baby products at expos all over the country. Britax, Munchkin, and Mattel are just some of the top brands trying to make parents’ lives easier while simultaneously making a large profit and vying to be the most desired and fought-over gift on kids’ lists all over the world.
“If parents are taking out a second mortgage to make their kids’ wishes come true, then we have done our job,” said a rep from Spin Master, who brought Hatchimals to the market in 2016.
They also brought society to its knees when the weird-looking, sometimes potty-mouthed toy was sold out by early December. The rep added, “Not having enough to go around is a good problem to have.”
In anticipation of the trade shows, and to gain some footing in a very overpopulated playing field, Graco held a press conference to reveal the product it is putting all of its weight behind: the CarryMeForever™ Enabler 2020™ Stroller. The first stroller of its kind is intended to fit older, lazier kids ages 5-12 and weighing up to 175 pounds. Key features will include:
- iPad, Kindle, or Android tablet holder with adjustable settings that eliminate neck and eye strain
- Padded pocket for participation trophies and certificates
- Insulated storage with removable ice packs to keep juice boxes, soda, and energy drinks cold
- Five pre-recorded messages reminding both the child and parent they are doing a great job
For an additional $99, a detachable sidecar can be added to the CarryMeForever™ Enabler 2020™ Stroller, called the ManBaby™ Carrier. Graco’s website said this about the ManBaby™: “Don’t let the name fool you. This sidecar can carry both men and women. We know that in each relationship, whether gay or straight, there is an individual who cannot handle the common cold, a trip to the zoo, or standing in a long line. The ManBaby™ Carrier allows the entire family to get out of the house together with minimal interaction and complaint.”
One reporter at the press conference mentioned that childhood obesity is a serious concern in the United States and asked if the company was worried their product would add to the problem. Joe Haven, Graco’s head of Sales and Marketing, was well aware of the statistics.
“From 2011-2014 the CDC reported that 17.5% of 6 to 11-year-olds were obese. We didn’t create these figures; they already existed. Our goal at Graco is to supply products that are valuable to parents worldwide. Clearly there is a market for the CarryMeForever™ Enabler 2020™ Stroller and we intend to fill it. And let me remind you that studies have also shown that kids who play video games grow up to become surgeons. We are simply enriching a child’s future by enabling them to have a stress-free childhood.”
Another reporter agreed that a stroller for older kids had its benefits, especially in an active family with one child who is the weak link when it comes to fitness and enjoying the outdoors, but he wondered if a stripped-down version of the stroller, one without the bells and whistles singing the warning signs of never meeting expectations, could be purchased.
“Nope. If you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound,” Haven replied.
A select group of testers have given the CarryMeForever™ great reviews thus far. One mom of three was particularly excited. “Do you know how hard it is to get kids out of the house these days? I can finally get some fresh air in their lungs with this thing. The sidecar is great for teenagers, too,” said Debbie as she was carrying a 4-year-old on her back and pushing her 8-year-old and 14-year-old daughters.
Mike, dad of one, loves the CarryMeForever™ for different reasons. “My wife is always nagging me to get more exercise. And she is always complaining about not getting enough time to herself. I just move the iPad up so I can see it while I walk my son around the block a few times and watch Netflix.” Mike’s 9-year-old son chimed in, “And I play on my phone, so winning!” The two exchanged fist bumps without taking their eyes off of their respective screens.
Pre-orders are available online, but the CarryMeForever™ Enabler 2020™ Stroller will not be on store shelves until summer when users finally leave their homes to play Pokémon GO and complain about the heat.
About the Author
Amber Leventry is a queer, nonbinary writer, and advocate. They live in Vermont with their partner and three kids, one who is transgender. Their writing appears on The Next Family, Sammiches & Psych Meds, Babble, Ravishly, Longreads, and The Washington Post. They are a staff writer for Scary Mommy. They also run Family Rhetoric by Amber Leventry, a Facebook page devoted to advocating for LGBTQ families one story at a time. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @amberleventry.