17 July 2011


It all started one day when I was boiling eggs.  I was standing in front of my clock watching the second hand tick around so the eggs could be not a shade off perfect, wondering if I should buy an egg timer, when I had a light bulb moment: "I bet there's an app for this."  And of course, there is.

I got the free "Egg Timer" App on my iPad, which I love because when the time is up, a pleasant clucking and cackling starts up, making you wonder when your neighbour got chooks.  Unfortunately it's not good for timing the cooking of perfect eggs, which I consider a minimum standard in Egg Timers, so I don't use it whenever I don't need the sound of chooks on the lay.

Since then, I have found a huge variety of apps for all sorts of things I used to use notepaper for. I came across iPeriod, an app that replaces the discreet monthly circles on one's calendar.  It also tracks many other issues of gynaecological interest, most of which would attract odd Google searches if I were to list them here.

For the first-time Mum, there are so many pregnancy apps.  I am sure that The Pregnant Brain couldn't possibly sort them out, as I am having trouble myself.  There's "Pregnancy Tips," "40 Weeks of Pregnancy," "Pregnancy - Week by Week," "Pregnancy Tracker," "Pregnancy Workouts," and the typically-named "iBaby."

Whose bright idea was it to name an app "Pregnancy Food No-No's?"  Any app censorious and matronly enough to shake its iFinger at me is asking to get punched in the screen.  Add a misplaced apostrophe and even in my non-pregnant state I find it completely intolerable.

There's one simply called "Pregnancy" which boasts a feature that will have all friends and family of expectant couples running for cover.  "Now email your baby's kick count to your family and friends!"  Yes, I'm sure they would love that.

What about the "Pregnancy Test - Prank Maker" which enables the iPhone to display realistic ultrasound images when placed on the belly of pregnant women (moderately funny,) non-pregnant women (not funny at all,) men (yeah, thigh-slappingly hilarious) or family pets (ridiculous.)

There are many different Contraction Timers for couples with enough time to grab their iPhone before the babies come flying out.  There's a Labour & Delivery Bag Checklist for those times when you've lost your ability to pack a bag yourself, and a Diaper Bag Checklist for when you've lost the ability to write things like "BUY WIPES" on scraps of paper.

The reality is that either
(a) you don't have these apps, and will forget stuff, or
(b) you get these apps, and still forget stuff.  Honestly.

Apps like "Baby timer" make me wonder who ARE these parents who are meticulously recording every wet and dirty nappy, every waketime, every sleep time, every feed (which side, how long, how many mLs) and then I remember that I did that in the early days with my first baby.  The staff at the hospital had be believing that if I didn't record all this, the world would tip off its axis and I would be to blame.  One day I guiltily stopped recording all this and I was mightily surprised to see that the baby survived.  For subsequent babies I decided just to care for them instead of wasting time worrying about how I was caring for them.  It saved a lot of time.

"Milk Maid" is out there to assist mothers who are pumping and storing milk, which I have occasionally tried for my babies.  It made my head spin.  It tracks all the milk 'stashes' kept in all the fridges you may have put pumped milk in.  All over town.  All over the country.  Apparently.  How many mLs in the 'stash', how old the milk is, everything.  You can track how much milk you have pumped and stored in your upstairs fridge, downstairs fridge, Grandma's fridge, the other Grandma's fridge, the Daycare fridge and the neighbour's fridge.  Would to goodness I'd had that much milk pumped and stored way back then.  Like Buzz' personal manna from heaven, I only ever had enough milk for the next feed.  And, like manna, it tended to go off if it wasn't used straightaway.

So all this is quite ridiculous, isn't it?  Some of the apps are probably quite useful but others - well - I'm just not sure why you wouldn't use tally marks on the back of an old shopping list, or scribble something on the back of your hand.  Come to think of it, I am currently tallying some things on my kitchen whiteboard that could potentially be replaced by iPad apps.  Programmers, here are a few ideas.

Apple Tracker - a handy little app that is linked to a CCTV camera in the kitchen and notes each time an apple is taken from the fruit bowl and eaten, and by whom.  I am now buying 20 apples every few days and I feel like I should have a better idea of who eats them and when. CCTV links to every room in the house would help me track discarded cores for easy disposal.

Head Bump Calculator - an app that tallies Woody's head bumps, graphs his tiredness, correlates tiredness with clumsiness, provides a checklist of medical symptoms of concussion and recommends when to run to Emergency.

That's what I want to see, Programmers.  Get on it.


Crazy Sister said...

Oh dear, oh dear! I had no idea of the insanity out there. That is so terribly funny. iPeriod? Wow.

I still have my baby charts, which were scribbled with pen onto cardboard box flaps, and I'd like to explain that I recorded my babies' actions so that when I told pediatricians "the baby screams for between 8 and 12 hours every day" I could back it up with a graph, so they wouldn't sneer at my reckless estimates.

And I want to hear that egg timer! Too funny.

Emily Sue said...

Ha! For a while there I was using the "Out of Milk" app on my phone, which has a pantry list (in as many categories as you care to create) and a shopping list. You can move things from the pantry list to the shopping list, and also track how much of each item you have left. I was hoping it would be useful for those moments in the shops when I think, "Hey, I'd like to make pumpkin and fetta risotto tonight. I wonder which ingredients I already have?" Great in theory, and great if I could have been bothered to keep it updated. But I couldn't. Now I just use a simple memo app (which came with the phone) for my shopping list. Saves me having to remember to take the actual list of the fridge.

Hippomanic Jen said...

some of those sound absolutely hilarious!

Just like you. Great post.

The Accidental Housewife said...

I used the contraction timer app for my second baby! I was too confused to use the clock, all I had to do was press the button, so it was actually really helpful. My darling us and downloaded it though, I never would have thought of it.

And if I had an iPhone for baby one I probably would have used some kind of tracking app for her every twitch. I filled a notepad with all her feeds, bowel movements and sleep times. Ridiculous. I just kind of went with the flow with baby two, and amazingly, she survived just fine! So far, anyway :)