Friday, April 13, 2007

Poor Little Thing

Even after 2 years in BA, there are still cultural expressions I find jarring. In cultures which I am more accustomed to, doting adults call their young bubs by all sorts of endearing names which are actually terms of endearment. In Buenos Aires, however, the most popular is pobrecito (poor little thing); I am still trying to get my head around this one.

A dear friend in London rang to chat and check on my WIP (work in progress/ my bump); we talked about funky kids' clothes, state-of-the-art European strollers, etc. I also vowed to her that I will nurture my child to be environmentally friendly and unspoilt by the materialistic culture we live in...at which point my buddy pointed out, not without a touch of irony and a grain of truth, that putting my newborn into a Bugaboo stroller is not actually an auspicious start to a simple life! OK, I think what I meant was that I shall try to find a balance between the impulse of giving my child the best and being mindful of not spoiling him.

In any case, I suspect Guillermo and I would most probably end up playing the baddies as the current parenting trend seems to be that of yielding to your kids' every wish – saying no to children doesn't seem to be an option for parents anymore. This trend is one we are definitely not going to follow. Anyway, our child will not be short of relatives spoiling him; my mother is already shopped out with baby's clothes for 3 seasons following the birth in August.

Speaking of clothes, there are wonderful choices available these days; unfortunately, the styles Guillermo and I favour are not available in Argentina. For now, I can only drool in front of my computer most days and occasionally make an internet purchase or two.

You see, surprisingly my easy-going husband has turned out to be quite the fussy shopper for baby's clothes. His rules are simple but difficult (at least if to be carried out in BA): no infantile patterns such as little sheep or bear, no ball of any sport or automobiles, no letters, no numbers, no logo/ brandname on prominent display...and preferably not in gender conditioning blue. And, certainly not in traditional tailoring and styles which make kids look like they belong to the Victorian era, with a butler and a governess trailing behind.

Judging by the popularity of Mimo & Co which is almost all pastels and the primness of high-end children's wear such as those offered by Paula Cahen d'Anvers and in shops along Arenales, casual, unisex and unadorned baby clothes will have a long tough road into the Argentine market.

We did a mini-scale market research into this by surveying La Familia. When Guillermo told his grandparents and parents that we bought an onesie (all-in-one) in black and grey stripes, their faces dropped - the unison of that expression was absolutely priceless! Abuela sighed with "pobrecito" and his parents didn't quite comprehend what he meant exactly by "black and grey". Yes, it is a very smart looking black and grey onesie...if only so after the quick surgery I performed on it; it had a logo of a baseball with "minimimo" (Mimo & Co's baby line) on the chest which I carefully unpicked from the inside so it is now unadorned and looks much hipper.

I think I'd better be prepared that my baby would be referred to as a poor little thing maltreated by his weirdo parents who are to put him in strange clothes and deny him of sugar, salt and dulce de leche...to La Familia, Guillermo and I are definitely beyond reproach. Pobrecito indeed!

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