I just want to say it here: I am NOT an engineer.
I have a journalism degree. I am a word nerd of the highest order. Which means I can copy edit the heck out of the multitude of assembly instructions that come with baby gear (and now toys). But actual assembly? That's a little hit and miss.
I think hospitals should offer classes in baby gear assembly and daily handling along with courses on birthing, breastfeeding and baby care. Next to the mountain of intricate gear you must handle, bathing your slippery newborn or coaxing him or her to nurse seem like simple tasks.
The challenge starts early, when you have to assemble the crib. No pressure there, right? It's only the place where your precious little bundle will be spending many an hour, hopefully sleeping in safety.
Next comes the mobile for the crib, a darling little piece of torture that will likely lead you to say a string of words unfit for newborn ears, or adult ears, for that matter. Then there's the bouncy seat, the infant swing, the breast pump... But at least you get to handle all that in the privacy of your own home.
Then you find yourself at the hospital, needing to rethread the straps on the infant car seat so your wee one will fit for the ride home. I'm pretty sure this would make a great test for new parents. If you can't get it done with a minimum of cursing, you can't take your baby home with you. Sorry!
Next thing you know you are knee-deep in daily engineering feats: folding and unfolding strollers, getting the straps on the Baby Bjorn right so Junior doesn't hit the floor, fastening and unfastening safety locks. And your child's safety and well-being depends on your competence. At a time in your life when you are more tired than you have ever been.
And just when you feel like you've conquered all those momchanical engineering problems from highchair buckles to safety locks, along comes a new problem. Your kids have figured out them out, too.