I was gonna save this one for the next Things I'd Like to See post, but I think it deserved a post all its own!
If you have children, I'm confident that at one time or another you have faced the Tube Removal Dilemma. I'm not talking about removing tubes from your child's nose or ears or wherever else they might stick foreign objects, rather I'm talking about those twisty turny colorful tubes they can crawl and play in.
Whether you took them to McDonald's Playland for lunch, or they went to TubeLand for a birthday party, you know what I'm talking about. You need to get your kid out of the maze of tubes and down on the ground so you can:
(a) yell at them
(b) get them to the table to eat / open gifts or
(c) take them home
You also know that these tubes are NOT made for adults. Sometimes you can fit in them, but navigating the twists and turns is difficult at best, and definitely degrading to an adult who would rather not squirm around on his/her stomach like some kind of army ranger recruit.
You can yell, but the decibel level inside the play structure is such that you will never be heard. I've tried this -- stuck my head up a tube and shouted for my kidling, hoping there weren't any other Kierstens or Codys hiding out up there so on the off chance I am heard, I get the right kid.
You can also try bribing other kids to do your dirty work. "Would you go up and see if you can find a blonde little boy in a blue shirt and tell him his mama is waiting?" Of course you know if you try this, the other kid will forget the description as soon as his back is turned and if he comes back, chances are good he's going to be dragging someone else's kid and will say loudly, "Here's the kid you paid me for."
You don't want to go there.
Enter my solution.
You know those little coaster things they give you at restaurants that vibrate and light up when your table is ready? Gimme one of those, on a belt. At the push of a button (that I'll be guarding with my life, thank you very much), junior's device will light up and vibrate, telling him it's time to report to Mom.
It'd be really cool if you could record messages on the thing, like "It's time for ice cream!" which may or may not be code for "It's time to Kiss Auntie Gertrude goodbye."
Now, I'm tempted to add a little shock feature for those times when junior is taking his (or her) sweet time exiting the facility. But I'm going to skip it because of course our little darlings are obedient enough to come the first time they're called.
(Why are you laughing?)
Maybe we can just tell them they'll get zapped if they don't comply within 60 seconds.
So that's it in a nutshell. My kids are getting a little old for the PlayLands anymore, but consider it my gift to you so you don't have to face the humiliation of getting lost or stuck inside the tube labyrinth.