Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The person Helena will become

How much is my child an expression of myself?

"Grown-up stores marketing children's items add to the misconception that kids are just like adults, only smaller. And the unfortunate side effect of that theory seems to be the burgeoning concept of parenting by art direction: The belief that one can mold his or her child's personality by purchasing the appropriate accoutrements."

How do I groom her to be an astronaut?

"An Ikea child would feel stifled and confused in the home of a Pottery Barn kid. Except for the wicker baskets. They both have wicker baskets."

Even Helena has wicker baskets. For her cloth diapers.

But her room's a mess actually. I wouldn't feel comfortable sleeping in there. I should do something about that.

On her wall are letters spelling out her name that I cut out of some old Picasso calendars. Mostly because I didn't have any child-appropriate posters to hang, painting would require too much energy, and I had more old calendars on hand than I do bristol board in primary colours.

As for around the house, we listen to a lot of Beethoven, some Miles Davis. We prefer to have CBC radio provide the background noise to our day than to watch television. There are books everywhere; Helena sees me often with my nose in a book and mimics this behaviour.

I have, of course, insisted on a couple splurge items (and convinced other family members to splurge on these items for us): the chair and the stroller.

"Roll a hulking Graco stroller down the streets of Manhattan and you'll be greeted with xenophobic stares from all the Maclaren pushers. But this is not just urban elitism; it goes both ways. Take one of those lightweight Maclarens with you while visiting relatives out in SUV country and you'll have incredulous neighbors asking you where the baby's cupholder and clip-on toy rack are."

Helena's an urban baby.

Still, all we want for her is the best — we're just muddling about trying to figure out what that is.

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