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When I first started wearing my son, Ted, I stole my wife’s compact and carried it around with me. She has yet to be down with this.

“What’s he doing — is he upset? How’s he hanging there?”

“See, this is why I carry a mirror.”

“No, that is why you carry my mirror.”

“Hey, if it’s your mirror, why don’t you carry it?”

“Since we’re talking about this, why don’t you carry him?”

When thinking of the most useful items for the purposes of this column, the first thing that sprang to mind was that mirror. I started taking my son Ted out for jaunts around the neighbourhood in his Snugli and discovered a problem:

There’s no way to see how he’s doing.

See, there’s more than one way to wear a baby: Facing in, so they’re all tucked into you — which is adorable, mind. But even better is out — so they can see the world you see, peep into shop windows, drool over meats at butcher shop counters, peer down at passing dogs, and generally stare out at life and suck it all in.

Hands-free baby carriers let you go about your day, run a few errands of a household (like groceries) or personal (like new comic Wednesdays) level, safe in the knowledge that you’re broadening your young niblet’s mind. Plus if you forget your gloves, you’ve got a handy warm pack strapped on that you can slip your paws into. It’s win-win.

Except of course that when you’re out, you don’t really know what’s up with your passenger, whose well-being is the reason why you’re out in the first place. Which is why I decided to start packing the hand-mirror, or as my wife calls it, her compact.

It slips into the front pocket of the carrier, see, and if you’re out strolling and need to know how your lil’ dude is doing, it’s easy to whip out. Flashing a smile? All right – let’s roll. Nodding off, eyelids slipping shut — even better. That’s a sure sign to settle down in Starbucks, grab the paper and catch up on reviews of all the flicks you’ll never make it out to see. (I kid, you’ll fall asleep to them on Netflix.)

And in a pinch, your new shiny friend makes a fun peek-a-boo toy as well.

Why they don’t make compact mirrors for dudes/dads I’m not sure: are we so uninterested in grooming? While researching the subject, I came across these snowmobile glove mirrors in Canadian Tire — and signalling mirrors for lost hikers to flag down passing planes.

On second thought, go for that last one. If you do pull it off, your co-pilot would think that’s pretty cool.

Or if you’re really precious about your design sensibilities, you can bust out the mini MacBook Air version.


WHY NOT? PHOTO: qvc.com

However, there’s no reason to go to such lengths. Just man up and get yourself one with a Hello Kitty on it. Cause really, it’s all about practicality. Your new sidekick will appreciate it.

Ian Daffern is a writer, video producer, comic-maker and enthusiastic Torontonian by way of Dartford, England. His son is the greatest.

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