Friday, May 30, 2008

Baby wars, eh?

Like the South End, it seems that the hipper neighborhoods of Toronto are also teeming with urban assault strollers. Are Canadians really more polite about tots in trendy restaurants? Not always.
"The bartender and all the staff were cool, but we got a mixed reaction from other people—a lot of really dirty looks in that passive-aggressive Toronto way, like they thought we were bad parents. "
"The next day, she woke up to a lengthy rant in her in-box: “I will let you know, as a manager of a high-end retail store in Toronto, that your ‘mommy bubble’ attitude is ruining the independent retail sector in this city."

"a sign in the window: “No SUV-type strollers, please” (the store has since moved to the Danforth, but the sign remains). Every time I saw that sign, I thought about the descriptor “SUV” and how it connotes something specific: space sucking, aggressive and, above all, entitled."
"The entitled parent easily becomes the militant parent, lashing out at the restaurant that doesn’t serve organic milk or the singleton who doesn’t help get the stroller up the streetcar steps."
... or the Starbucks barista who wants you to stop changing your tot's diaper on a table?

Some Canadian complaints sound like what we've heard (read?) about some Boston neighborhoods.
"What emerges in these family-driven downtown neighbourhoods, over a long period of time, is effectively the kind of monoculture that happens instantly in the suburbs when a group of economically similar people buy into a development while it’s being built."
They also apparently have some problems that have developed between 'human parents' and 'doggie parents.' Like what happens when an off-leash dog nearly knocks down your toddler.
“She was definitely afraid,” he says. “And the owners just laugh. They think those dogs are their children, but I tell them, ‘Your dog doesn’t grow up to be a taxpayer. My daughter will, and who do you think will be looking after you when you’re old? My daughter and her taxes.’ ”

"After two years of consultation between dog owners, the dog-less, and parks and recreation officials, the dogs of Jean Sibelius lost their off-leash hours in January. An appeal is under way.... She believes city councillors and judges favour parents, and notes, like a police officer talking about a gang, that parents are “highly organized.” Interestingly, Mills complains that the dog owners are “highly organized,” because they have no kids and far more time to lobby for dog rights; Mills uses the word “entitled” to describe dog owners, and Morton uses it to describe parents."
Not sure if this kind of activism has made it to Boston yet. But I won't be surprised when it does. Parents are parents, I guess.

1 comment:

your cousin A said...

As a parent of two girls, I have intimate knowledge about these problems. Having children offers incredible opportunities to sell anxious parents a ton of crap! From a sales perspective it is really a gold mine.

When I walk my daughter to school the last 300 ft is an SUV parking lot of carpoolers who live the same distance or less than I.

I know parents who spent $1000 to babyproof their house including padded mats over hardwood floors so baby 'not fall, go boom, hurting'. The strollers are just the tip of the iceberg.

It is as if all our progress and technology has simply freed up time and money to be neurotic about our kids. People are terrified of only being 'good enough' parents when in fact, that is the best thing they can do for their children.

Do you know what you can really do for your kids? Lay off the crap and put that money in a 529 education fund for their future.

Babies don't notice what kind of stroller or carrier they are in. Babies don't care about brand names or naturally-derived sustainable organic vitamin infused UV-protective baby wipes. So, in a sense, you could say that baby is smarter than Mommy & Daddy.