Schmit Family
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24 January 2004 10:21 am

Next-Generation Rocker-Glider

Dylan's First DaysI've been spending quite a bit of time in the newest chair in our house. While the rocker-glider is an excellent piece of furniture, I've had time to contemplate some features that I would request for the next model. Of course, some are just wishful thinking, but innovation has to start somewhere.

The rocker-glider that we have is a Shermag and has the accompanying ottoman. The chair rocks in a sort of gliding fashion. Unlike some models that we tested in the store, it doesn't rock back so far that I'm afraid of falling over backwards. There is the feature to lock the chair in a number of positions, reclined or not, so that it doesn't rock/glide by using a simple lever on the side of the chair. The ottoman also has the ability to glide with the chair. Basically, when one's feet are on it, it moves with the motion of the chair. I've been using it in the fixed position. There is a nursing footstool built-in to the chair, which is basically an inclined surface on which to rest one's feet. This is the mode that I've been using it.

Sounds great, huh? But, it could be so much better! And I've had plenty of time to ponder some features that I would incorporate.

Foot controls for all the current and future features are essential. When I am sitting in the chair, my hands are full. Currently, it is still an effort to get something within reach or to adjust the position of the chair. As more features are added, a system to easily use them will be important. This doesn't need to be too sophisticated. Think trackball or other mousing device for the foot. Or simple voice-activated commands; however, this mode might be tough depending upon the noise level coming from the little one.

One common theme to many of my proposed features involves storage and retrieval of items.

First, a blanket holder. This can easily be located behind the chair and swing out within reach on demand. It definitely needs to have space for more than one type of blanket or burp cloth. And to allow easy selection of the blanket desired. It would be nice if the holder was also a positioner so that I wouldn't have to free one hand to place the blanket on the little guy in my lap or on my shoulder.

A 360-degree mirror. Or perhaps a small video camera. A fiber-optic one. If they can use them for viewing inside of plumbing systems, they can't be too high tech these days. There were many times when I would wonder whether Dylan's hair whirl is clockwise or counter-clockwise. Unfortunately, these times were all when we were both in the chair with him facing me. When I had the chance to look, other issues were more pressing. Another important use of the mirror is to see Dylan's face when he's on my shoulder burping. It's feasible, although not easy, if his head is turned toward me. It's impossible if his face is turned away from me. The mirror could be located anywhere around the chair to look inward. By the way, for those who are now wondering, he has a clockwise hair whirl.

Beverage holder. The concept here is quite similar to the beer holder hat. You know, the one that has room for two beverages and has a tube that can run directly into the wearer's mouth. Mine would contain multiple options for beverages. My current preference rotates between orange, apple, and grape juices. A small refrigeration system should be incorporated to keep the beverages cold.

Book holder with page turner. We're not yet a paperless society. And I doubt that the day when the hospital sends you home with information on an electronic device rather than paper is coming anytime soon. So, this device would hold books, pamphlets, papers, etc. and position the item. Of course, adding the option to view web sites on the main control monitor should also be included to allow access to more references. As we learned, there are all sorts of questions that new parents have!

Built-in speaker phone. I'm awake anyway. But in our current set-up, it's not feasible to use the time to call family and friends. Enough said.

CD player. Or MP3 player. Again, making use of the main control center and foot controls to select desired music for the moment.

Well, I'll continue to ponder.

Update: Oma wrote, "The proposed chair certainly sounds like the next generation of rocker gliders. Since you do not have all these attachments to occupy your time, contemplate a similar chair for retirees. Now I could use one of those!"

Update: Ker wrote, "Don't forget the button that zaps Geoff to wakeness in case you need emergency help or just for fun!"

Update: Grandma wrote, "You really don't want too much. Sounds like quite a system-but maybe an invention you two could conceive. I enjoyed reading about it."

Posted by geoff at 10:21 in /family