Sunday, November 30, 2003

A Wal-Mart for babies.

That's probably the best way to describe Babies'R'Us. These are humongous stores, filled to the rafters with stuff that is only for kids. Everything from preemie-clothes to bedroom furniture (only all the beds are size XS), from strollers and carseats to toys and picture books. We spent the afternoon in one.

I haven't been there since my first days as a father. Those times were so hectic and stressful that I really didn't take the time to wonder. This time, with my daughter sleeping in her stroller, I could marvel at the whole spectacle.

Imagine if this wasn't it. What if there were stores that sold business outfits for kids? Kid's coffee shops? Car dealers catering to toddlers? In short, what if kids and adults were equals? I mean, we do our best to accomodate all different varieties of people. No matter where you come from, whether you can speak the language or not, if you are mentally all there, etc. Sure, sex, skin color, sexual orientation, and more, may freak us out, and make us try to discriminate against each other, consciously or not. But at least we are supposed to strive for equality. To respect each and every human being. Regardless.

Which kind of brings me back to my point. I am watching my daughter growing. By the day. And soon enough she will be fully capable of doing all sorts of things. I mean, she will likely surpass my puny math knowledge in less than a decade. So why is she a part of a minority group in this society, whose dollars ard good enough to be taxed, but her voice is not good enough to be represented? Why are literally all her decisions, by law, not her own but mine until she is almost twenty years old?

Sure, sure. I can hear my 'whisper back' inbox wimpering 'Oh, nooo. They are going to yeall at me. Tell me that kids need to be guided. Shielded. Not least from themselves. Protected. From the evil of this world.' To this I say to you OK. I am not advocating that kids should run amok, as soon as they can run about. Of course this needs to be kept in perspective. In moderation. But still. I think that we, parents, collectively hang onto our power over kids for far too long.

It didn't used to be that way. Children used to come of age younger. Waaay younger. Read some Shakespeare, if you don't believe me. Romeo and Juliet, anyone? Granted, those times may have represented one extreme in the matter. But if so, then we today are living in times of the other extremes. I mean, people in their twenties should be able to decide whether to drink or not. All of them.

Not that I will be any better. By the time my daughter will be fifteen, I will have conveniently forgotten all these noble thoughts, that came to me in Babies'R'Us, and erased any remnants thereof.

Including this blog.