Dear Apple, Please invent these for next Mother’s Day

Dear Apple,

As much as moms love their runny scrambled eggs, burnt toast and handmade construction paper cards, I had some ideas of what we really want for Mother’s Day. Can you put your engineers on it and release something by Mother’s Day next year?

A device that accurately translates what’s happening in our kids’ brains. I’m picturing a handheld scanner that I can point at a crying infant and the LED screen will tell me if their screams are due to hunger, teething pain, a wet diaper, or generalized angst at being human. Never again will I offer a bottle when the appropriate response is some Morrissey and a read-aloud of Camus’ The Stranger. Or I can point the scanner at an eight-year-old telling a long, rambling story and the screen will summarize the essential point (if there is one), so I can “uh-huh” with impunity and not be caught off-guard when the narrative abruptly ends. The scanner’s handy “Is It ___?” feature would diagnose whether a teen’s sudden mood shifts are caused by me (as they claim), failing a class, generalized angst at being human, a mental health condition requiring immediate intervention and/or heroin. (Note: the scanner will need to work through closed doors.)

A pause button. Sometimes I just can’t even for one more second. Make me a device where I can freeze everything around me so I can take a nap, finish the chapter, or drink an entire cup of tea without anyone asking where their flute/cleats/signed-form/toothbrush is. But make sure Google still works so I can pause-button in the wake of a tough question, such as “How did the baby get inside the mommy?” or “Did you ever try drugs?” and still be able to research a good answer. This pause feature could also prolong sweet moments, like a spontaneous hug from my 15-year-old. I might sometimes need to just sit in that hug for 20 (or 90) minutes until I’m ready for the storm that will inevitably follow.

A device that offloads the tedious mental and emotional labor of being a parent. I can hear all the folks that worked on Alexa and Cozi and whatnot protesting that these already exist. Sort of. But they still require me remembering to put info in them in the first place. What I’m imagining here is something that removes me—the single point of failure, as you techie folks say—from the equation. This device would automatically track who needs to be where at what time with which instrument/sports equipment/signed-form/personal-hygiene-item. It would project ahead and ensure that I have the necessary birthday present, costume piece, food item and/or white button-down shirt for the band concert that starts in 2 hours, even when no one bothered to warn me. Maybe this device (let’s call it The Unicorn) could also find lost items so I don’t have to register that my daughter’s calculator is inexplicably on the bathroom counter and she’s probably going to ask me in ten minutes if I’ve seen it. Also, it would know which child dislikes which food this week and adjust the grocery list accordingly so I don’t end up 27 cartons of blueberry yogurt when people only eat vanilla now. Think of all the interesting thoughts I would have space to think if The Unicorn took over all this…

If you’re looking for beta-testers, Apple, I’m here for you. Particularly if it means you can launch in time for Christmas.


World’s Okayest Mom

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