In the classic Simpsons episode "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?", Homer's long-lost brother Herb invents a baby translator. The baby cries, the machine announces its meaning (in Danny DeVito's inimitable voice) in plain English.
Seventeen years later, there's an app for that. Cry Translator promises to identify the "five distinct cries" made by infants.
In other words, you no longer have to wonder if your ankle-biter is tired, hungry, mad, stressed, or just bored. It's like Stanza for crybabies.
My first reaction: That's cheating! My second reaction: Why wasn't this around nine years ago when I needed it? And finally: No way does this actually work.
Unfortunately, I'm fresh out of babies on which to test it. So I'll throw this out to anyone willing to invest $9.99 on the promise of easier parenting. Put the app to the test, then report your findings here.
For what it's worth, the app not only translates Junior's cries, but also offers suggestions on how to calm him. You can also enter emergency contacts, like your pediatrician, for quick and easy access.
Again, I have my doubts about whether this really works--but wouldn't it be awesome if it did? The developer cites a study--conducted in Spain--that reported a 96-percent success rate in calming crying babies when following the supplied suggestions.
If nothing else, it might be $10 well-spent just to calm fretful parents. Once upon a time, I was one of them.