I’ve never really had any desire to do baby product reviews. For me, there are really only two criteria that I look for in a product: 1) it works and 2) it does what it’s supposed to do (i.e. entertains, educates, provides peace of mind, etc). Other than that, things like aesthetics and design are just words meant to inflate prices and lure people into thinking they are providing the best possible product for their child: “If BradDad bought one, it must be the best.” Anyway, there are many other dads out there providing product insight that I never saw the need to jump into the fray. Until now, that is. Let me preface by saying that Mrs. Big Dubya and I have several items in our home that we couldn’t live without. The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium Cradle Swing and Fisher-Price Baby Papsan have been godsends in Casa Dubya. Add to those the fondness Little Dub has started to show for the Baby Einstein Caterpillar Discover & Play Activity Center (lengthy way of saying exersaucer) and for his Bumbo seat, and things and have been fairly pleasant at home.

But. You knew there’d be a ‘but’, didn’t you? I do have a gripe about a product out there you really need to work and work right. Monitors. You know, those walkie-talkie-type devices that allow you to be in another room or downstairs while the baby is, hopefully, sleeping. The piece of equipment that lets you move around the house while still being able to hear the baby’s movements and breathing and farting. This is the one thing you really need to work…expect to work…anytime, anywhere. Well, you will probably be disappointed. You read every possible baby, product and consumer report site available on the Web, narrow it down to one or two and then make a decision only to have it shit the bed, not be loud enough or have some other defect that requires bringing it back and starting all over again. Little Dub is six months old and we are already on our third monitor set. Unlucky? Maybe. Faulty equipment? Probably.

So, where have we been and where are we now? Well, we started off with Fisher-Price’s 900 MHz Long-Range Monitor with Dual Receivers. This set worked great for the first four months we used them. There was the occasional static but nothing that would cause you to tear your hair out. But, all of a sudden, one of the receivers just went kaplooey…stopped making any noise whatsoever. Just up and died. It was unfortunate, they were pretty good and doing the job. Well, returned them to Babies ‘R’ Us only to find they didn’t have them anymore. Mr. Big Dubya you are SOL. So, I purchased:

Safety 1st 900 MHz Home Connection Monitor. I thought this would be great and imagined I would get points for thinking ahead with regard to a second child. It comes with three monitors and 2 receivers (which act as intercoms – very useful when quiet is of the essence). And, judging by the reviews, this product was the be-all-end-all of monitors. It just might be if you have super-human hearing like Superman or some kind of Spidey-sense. I can’t tell you how many times Mrs. Big Dubya or I hit the mute button and strained to hear something or stared at the thing long enough to see if the lights moved. I despreately searched for a way to make it go to 11, to no avail. So, last night I gathered it up, wrapped up the cords, neatly put it back in the box and off it went back to the Customer Service counter to be replaced by:

Private Connection™ Monitor with Dual Receivers. After one night’s use, I can say that the volume is sufficient – no straining to hear anything. There are 10 channels to reduce the possibility of someone hearing anything and it has great range – though I’m not sure when I’ll ever need to be able to hear the little guy from 800 feet away, but hey, you never know.

So, there you have it, my one and only review in my six months of dad-hood. I know your mileage may differ. I’m just throwing out my two pennies worth. It might come down to two cans and some string, who the hell knows.

Addendum, Update or otherwise known as Warren’s a big dummy: Mrs. Big Dubya is correct. We actually are on our fourth monitor system. After the original Fisher-Price unit shit the bed, Mrs. Big Dubya purchased a Fisher-Price Sounds ’n Lights Monitor with Dual Receivers. However, the static was sooooooo bad it was enough to make you climb the walls, start drinking or both. Needless to say, it was returned with a quickness. I guess I just tried to erase this experience from my memory.