Monday, February 8, 2010

Early childhood education: Dumb product division.

Does anybody ever read a press release? Is that even a remotely effective way to get your message out to journalists? Do PR people think about whether the recipients of their releases would really, truly be interested in them? Did the person who sent me a release about this have any idea I would only publicize it in order to mock it? (Oh, any press is good press, I know.)

The one lesson I have learned from new motherhood is that 65 percent of the products you think you need are absolutely dispensable, if not totally worthless. From now on I plan to give my newly expecting friends one of those Must Buy Baby checklists, relentlessly annotated: Borrow, Borrow, Don’t Need, Don’t Need, Borrow, See if You Need it Later and Then Borrow, Don’t Need, and so on. A prenatal iPod waistband would go into the Please Don’t Tell Me You Just Bought That category. When you are eight months pregnant, do you really need your belly to be even wider? Can’t you just turn the stereo on?

Here at Educated Reporter we are big on the misuse of research, so the website’s implication (backed with many quotes from experts that may or may not have anything to do with this product) that not buying the Lullabelly shortchanges your child’s education—which “begins in the womb”!—was disturbing. Yes, the young brain is plastic. Yes, music is great. But that doesn’t mean an MP3 player strapped to your stomach is going to make your kid smarter. Take the fifty bucks you’ll save from not buying a polka-dotted band of fabric with a speaker embedded in it and buy a stack of great books instead.


  1. karen Nemeth, www.languagecastle.comFebruary 8, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    I just want to say: Thank you. That's it. Just: Thank you, Linda. Maybe you could infuse your good sense into a head band and market that to pregnant women?

  2. Amen! I'm so thankful I happened to read a Mothering magazine article on "what you really need" to get ready for the baby (almost nothing!) back when all of this was new to me (11 years later I'm a lot smarter). It's so easy for first-time pregnant moms especially to get sucked into marketing. And our culture's so inundated with false norms about what you must have and/or do. We had plenty of friends who were shocked our first daughter had neither her own room nor even a crib when she was born. She's 11 now and fabulous - all the better for growing up in a household where we ask questions rather than accepting that "everyone does it."