It would appear that in today's society, there is no shortage of ways to transport a small child from one place to another. Whether it be fastened to a plastic seat on the back of a speeding bicycle or yanked down the block on the end of a nylon leash, people are getting their young ones where they need to go. As of late though, I have been noticing a particularly high volume of what are referred to as Baby Bjorns - fabric contructions strapped around the torso of the parent, into which an infant is tucked like a small, fleshy cocktail wiener.
The Baby Bjorn is designed to simulate an infant's two favorite feelings: suffocation and claustrophobia. By wrapping them up in the fabric like a little vacuum-sealed ribeye, the parent of the child is able to naturally sedate them into a state of catatonic docility. Assuming the carrier feels comfortable having a miniature human being dangling from their sternum, this should generally work out to be a win-win for everyone involved.
I must say though, that even in this modern era where the line between male and female responsibility has become ambiguously blurred, there is something slightly bizarre to me about the sight of a full grown man wearing a Baby Bjorn. Working in Manhattan, this is hardly an uncommon phenomenon for me to witness, and generally the male carrier fits a startlingly similar description. Skin the color of wall primer, earth-toned cargo shorts, sandals constructed of a troubling number of straps, a tucked-in T-shirt (also earth-toned) bearing the logo of his favorite ski lodge or Northeast vacation spot, and glasses. We can only assume that before heading down to the corner store to pick up the Sunday Times, this man dines on a bowl of Kashi (with rice milk). Intermediate yoga undoubtedly follows. It's a sight to behold.
One is led to ponder the possible long term effects of these various modes of transportation. Will the leash baby later struggle with her inexplicable inclination to fetch? Will the Bjorn baby develop a sadomasochistic fascination with smothering? And will Daddy up there find the cage-free organic eggs his wife requested? There's just no way of knowing. But there's little debate about one aspect of the situation. They all look ridiculous.