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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My daughter the Roomba

My kid is a Roomba. It's sad but true. Same tiny stature, same sucking noises, same erratic flight pattern, although these things are cute when my daughter does them.

In case you don't know, a Roomba is a pint-size vacuum that goes around eating things off the floor until it bumps into objects too large to swallow, when it turns around and makes a run for it to find more particulate edibility. This is the perfect description of any "oral phase" baby. And if you don't think this matches the description of a teething child, I'll just prove it to you by pulling out text from Roomba's advertising campaigns for comparison with my Baby Roomba.

Roomba: On-board scheduling allows you to preset up to seven times per week for Roomba to clean when it's most convenient for you.
Baby Roomba: Yep. It's called meal time, but my Roomba has a preset for 21 times per week, and it can't be switched off.

Roomba: Two Auto Virtual Walls create an invisible barrier that blocks Roomba from entering off-limit areas.
Baby Roomba: Who needs "virtual walls" when you can have real ones? We use a bench and a kitchen chair to keep baby confined to the living room/dining area so she can't climb up the stairs, eat Legos in the kids' bedroom or eat the grout leftover from tiling the bathroom.

Roomba: Compact Home Base for Roomba to dock and recharge when done vacuuming or the battery is low.
Baby Roomba: It's called a crib, Roomba, now go to sleep!

Roomba: Uses a three-stage cleaning system to vacuum 98% of dirt, dust and debris from floors.
Baby Roomba: I'm pretty sure Baby Roomba does better than 98%. I have seen her vacuum up particles I didn't think existed. My favorite is when one of the older kids spills spaghetti and her face goes to the floor to lap gratefully at the missing marinara.

Roomba: Cleaning head suspension system allows Roomba to automatically adjust between carpet, tile, hardwood and linoleum floors.
Baby Roomba: No problem. Whatever the surface, baby will find contraband to shove in her face. At least she's getting better about spitting it out when we go to sweep her mouth. Enough back of the throat prods and anyone learns to cough up.

Roomba: Counter-rotating bristle brush and beater brush work together like a dustpan and broom.
Baby Roomba: Forefinger and opposable thumb - on each hand!

Roomba: Fine vacuum filter traps dust, pollen and tiny particulates inside bin.
Baby Roomba: The mouth is kind of a staging area, but often those particulates make it to the inside bin, or tummy, as many parents call it.

Roomba: Cleans the whole floor, including the areas you see and those you can't.
Baby Roomba: Yup - easily slips under the table, under chairs, behind garbage, etc. leaving behind a spotless floor.

Roomba: Vacuums under and around furniture and along wall edges...
Baby Roomba: ...and between tiles! No loose grout is safe from Baby Roomba's disposal hole.

Roomba: Selects from dozens of robotic behaviors more than 60 times per second to optimize coverage.
Baby Roomba: You never know what she's going to do next - might eat the mouse ball. Might vault off the chair backwards to continue feeding. Might start eating feathers off the stairs. Often these changes come as fast as 60 per second.

Roomba: Has Light-Touch Bumper Technology which accurately discerns soft barriers from solid barriers, allowing Roomba to go under curtains, comforters, bed skirts and couch skirts.
Baby Roomba: "That's where the remote disappeared to!" you might say as you snatch a thoroughly dusty Baby Roomba out from under the bed. Also has the ability to run from authority figures at a fast crawl.

Roomba: Dirt Detect Technology uses an acoustic sensor to help find dirtier areas and spend more time cleaning them.
Baby Roomba: So that's what all that mumbling and buzzing is about when she's bouncing off things under the table and trying to form a meal out of our unintentional discards.

Roomba: Cliff Detection Sensors allow Roomba to avoid stairs and other drop-offs.
Baby Roomba: I think mine's defective. Cliffs seem awfully attractive to Baby Roomba for some reason.

Roomba: Anti-Tangle Technology keeps Roomba from getting stuck on cords, carpet fringe and tassels, helping Roomba to clean on its own without supervision.
Baby Roomba: Can only clean without supervision, thus avoiding tangles with her parents.

Roomba: Built-in handle makes for easy carrying.
Baby Roomba: Easy to pick up by the seat of her pants.

Roomba: Simple operation – just press the Clean button and Roomba does the rest.
Baby Roomba: There's a button?

Roomba: Comes with one extra filter.
Baby Roomba: Didn't come with any, but we go through like 150 per month.

Roomba price:

Baby Roomba price:
Started with $12,000 in hospital/doctor bills and the price keeps adding up, but totally worth every penny and more.

Roomba Specifications:
Package Dimensions: 17 x 18 x 5 inches
Robot Weight: 8.3 lbs.

Is it any coincidence these are almost Baby Roomba's exact specs at birth? I don't think so. So I think it's obvious and conclusive. My wife gave birth to a Roomba less than a year ago.

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