If you're reading this, you've probably noticed that your baby is starting to exhibit personal preferences. Like any other self-involved parent, you probably assumed that your lifelong carefully cultivated aesthetic choices would transfer directly to your offspring via your DNA. Or at least that your own indiscretions of taste simply didn't stick to you, like that one time right after college when you were pretty wasted and you actually said out loud that Counting Crows might be onto something.
Well, you're no Teflon, friend. And your baby knows it. Unlike adults, babies aren't good at being pretentious. At least not on purpose. Remember how supposedly Arcade Fire got signed for their U.K. deal all because some A&R guy's baby heard it and loved it? Your baby likes Seven Mary Three.
Your baby, fruit of a carefully seasoned womb that never read a single Harry Potter book, marches over to the television and with a single pointed finger pushes past the local arts shows and PBS Kids and stops directly – purposefully, even – on Cops. She prefers poorly animated cartoons – like that one about the cheesy dinosaurs on the train – to the slick wit of Phineas and Ferb.
Well, they can't all be Chloe Sevigny, as the New York Times Style Section is fond of saying. But would a baby legging every now and then hurt so much? Anything but the one red sock with everything? At this point she may as well throw on a pair of acid-washed hemmed jean shorts and order up a glass of White Zinfandel.
You have a few options here. Simply reframe all your baby's cultural missteps as either totally ironic or obviously precocious. One nanosecond of a glimpse at the parenting forum Urban Baby proves 5 out 5 of moms choose the latter in all situations.
Your baby smiles giddily when she hears the guitar intro to the original Melrose Place because, at 15 months, she's taken an interest in farcical romps examining West Coast representations of itself. From the early ‘90s. You can't help it if your baby just happens to hate Marc Jacobs sunglasses, and that the only sunglasses she will wear are these faux Raybans that say XL Recordings on the side that came from SXSW three years ago when it was still cool? She's so picky like that. And Cops? Well, she's only taken an interest in criminal justice since just about as long as any of us can remember.
If that doesn't guarantee a personal invite to Chloe Sevigny's brother's impossible-to-get-into summer pop-up mixologist speakeasy, hire a Cool Tutor. They are all the rage in parenting circles on the upscale playgrounds of the tonier neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and for only $450 a "session," they promise early exposure to the so-called tenets of cool, from showing short clips of New Wave films and influential choreography, to contemporary art and other iconic cultural references in the form of easy to understand Flash cards, such as the series of images of girls wearing Wayfarers (the Tumblr) or editorial layouts from the French magazine for kid style, Milk. OK, I made all that up, but it certainly sounds like something that could do the trick.
I guess in the end you should probably take that pointed baby finger and turn it squarely at yourself. You, after all, are the one who, while pregnant, made fun of parents who dress their babies in the same personal style as themselves, only to find that it took you less than 2 months to break down and buy your baby a black hoodie. On a baby? So it was only a matter of time before she would you find your old leather Hot Topic wristband. Remember how you were still wearing it when you were 30?
Tracy Moore is a writer living in Los Angeles. She doesn't seriously hold a 1-year-old baby's taste up to the aesthetic criteria of adults, and actually thinks that one of the greatest things about babies is that they like so much shitty stuff.
Image by Steve Dressler.