Best Place to Ditch the Kids - 2009
Small Land at IKEA
The whining. The nagging. The incessant need for coddling. Sometimes your spouse just drives you bonkers — the kind of insanity that only strolling through a labyrinth of home goods can cure. Of course, you still have the tykes to contend with. It is tedious mornings like these that demand freedom — and honey, that's why IKEA's Small Land exists. Geared toward children who are potty-trained but haven't yet gotten too big to cuddle (height requirements are between 37 and 54 inches small), the pseudo-forest allows you the opportunity to deposit your child in exchange for a pager, much like the kind you receive waiting in line at Chili's. That soon-to-be-blinking beacon of freedom guarantees you one hour of free child care, so make the most of it. While your lil' one is being slipped through various tiny doors — an identification door, a shoe removal door, and, finally, one that plops him into a playland of Lysol-ized surfaces — you're high-tailing it to the café for a 99-cent breakfast and the morning paper. Let the calming wave of grownup conversations wash over you, purifying the experience, while you take a decadent amount of time adjusting the sugar quantity in your coffee. You don't have to worry about your child's safety. He's now joined a legion of IKEA youth in coloring exercises, Disney movies, and exploration of the off-smelling ball pit. Sure, when he grows up, it might take years of therapy to associate these things with his fears of abandonment, but right now, that's not really your problem. You've served your time and earned your hour. Sip your coffee until that pager buzzes.