PARENTING TRENDS FIT FOR A PRINCE
As the world goes gaga over Britain’s newborn Prince George, Friday has a light-hearted look at how Kate and Wills are likely to raise the new royal
THE PARENTING TREND Potty whispering The say-no-to-nappies brigade is marching once more… and not for the championing of cloth alternatives, but for total diaper dismissal. Elimination Communication (EC), also known as ‘potty whispering’, has arrived, courtesy of a group of trendy Brooklyn mums and supermodel Gisele Bundchen – the latter claimed she successfully potty-trained her six-month-old son Benjamin using the method. EC enthusiasts turn their noses up at nappies and instead watch their babies for signs (body language, facial expressions and verbal cues) that they need the royal lavatory before rushing them to the potty. They say it leads to better communication with their babies and is more environmentally responsible.
But what happens if you’re out and about? Well, the rules allow for your baby to ‘eliminate waste’ between parked cars or in the park. Tiffany pooper scooper, anyone? ROYAL APPROVAL This could be an accident waiting to happen – not just in the royal household, but on a national level. Just imagine if the baby prince is given free reign to poop in the park, the rest of the British public might follow suit, which would lead to an international health crisis. We do predict, however, that Kate won’t be purchasing Pampers anytime soon. With grandpa Charles’s green fingers in so many environmental pots – and considering that, on average, babies go through 8,000 disposable diapers – we think Kate will favour fabric. THE PARENTING TREND Montessori toys Turning our backs on absolutely anything plastic, the toy trend du jour is Montessoriinspired, all-natural materials, including wooden teething rings and dolls made of wool. Either we’re worrying about our children being exposed to toxins (in 2009, Mattel announced yet more recalls of Chinese-made toys with lead-based paints), concerned about the environment, or just think they look less tacky.
Toys with a career focus involving pretend play, like budding baker sets or crime scene detective kits, are also hot parenting property. ROYAL APPROVAL With the royals setting a parenting example, we think their toys of choice will be alltraditional, all-British (probably Hamleys) and all-natural. Woodenn rocking horse? Check. Fabric playhouse? Check.k. Crochet action man? Check. THE PARENTING TREND D Organic fine-dining Pious parents have beenn growing, picking and puréeing organic veggieses for years, but now the pure food movement hasas gone mainstream, with all mums made to feel guilty if they’re not knitting their own yogurt.
The movement has also been given a finedining makeover, so not only are we now expected to grow, pick, purée, but also to rustle up something worthy of a Michelin star… for a two-year-old. Spinach brownie on a bed of battered quinoa, anyone? ROYAL APPROVAL While we definitely think Kate will opt for organic (Charles and Camilla were spotted just last month picking up a box of Plum organic baby food) something tells us that like most of us mere mothering mortals, Kate will have better things to do with her time. After all, what busy mother has time for cutting up and peeling, let alone picking and puréeing, fruit, when it all comes in a pouch or jar with a screw-on lid and is still organic. We do, however, foresee publicity-hungry little sister Pippa, who’s currently the face ofWaitrose, getting in on the fine-dining baby food act. A recipe book to rival Annabel Karmel, per chance? THE PARENTING TREND Vintage-inspired nursery decor Last year it was all about chevrons (those headache-inducing zig-zags you see on the roads) and this year, thanks to Kim Kardashian, it’s the too-grown-upfor-toddlers black-and-white combination. Thankfully, Kim’s sister Kourtney has usurped this monochromatic movement by bringing the blossoming vintage trend into mainstream mums’ homes, with her nostalgic nursery decor for daughter Penelope.
Pinterest, with its style-sharing opportunities, has also been key to the vintage resurgence, with mums buying into pale pinks or faded blues, homemade quilts, antique dressers and sock monkeys. ROYAL APPROVAL Apart from reports that Kate has been seen sourcing nursery stuff in small antique stores, vintageinspired decor seems right up her and Will’s style street. We’re convinced there will be bunting, crystal knobs on antique wooden drawers and white drapes over the bassinet. We also predict that British baby brand Custard & Crumble, with its 100 per cent organic
bedding, retro toys and handcrafted furniture, will be their one-stop nursery shop.
THE PARENTING TREND Back-to-basics
birthday parties Thanks to both the economy and the environment, over-the-top birthday parties (think helicopter rides, zoo animals and make-your-own-18K-gold-bracelets) are being replaced by the down-to-earth shindigs our own parents threw for us. Well, sort of. There will be no pinning the tail on the donkey (too dangerous), no iced buns (too much sugar) and no plastic goody bags (too environmentally damaging). But they are being held in the home on small budgets with DIY activities. And we love the activities du jour, which involve kids creating their own party bag gifts, like cupcakes and T-shirts, on site. Genius.
ROYAL APPROVAL This will definitely float the baronial boat. Knit your own Union Jack nappy? Bend your own silver spoon? Create your own diamond tiara? And if they’re stuck for ideas, we’re sure party-planning-publicity-perusing Pippa will be all over this like a right royal rash.
THE PARENTING TREND Buying a Dh12,000
buggy In recent years, the stroller has reached haute heights, becoming the ultimate status symbol for parents, with prices soaring past the Dh6,000 mark. The Silver Cross speaks to traditional mums, the iCandy to younger, hipper mums, and the Bugaboo – the choice of A-listers everywhere – to the yummy mummy. For Dh12,000, the Silver Cross Surf boaststs a leather-trimmed bumper bar and aluminium alloy wheels, just like the Aston Martin One-77 (well Aston Martin did help with the design).
It’s little wonder that designer buggies have become the product for pinching in the UK. A 23 per cent increase in stolen strollers since 2009 has led to baby brands, including Mothercare, selling specially made stroller padlocks.
ROYAL APPROVAL We predict only the best of royal carriages will do, and with price no object, we would have put good money on British brand Silver Cross. However, reports suggest Kate has gone the celebrity, rather than the royal, route and joined the Bugaboo brigade. This goes against the aristocratic grain as Silver Cross, a heritage brand since 1877, is not only British (Bugaboo is not), boasting carriage names like Balmoral and Kensington, but it has been supplying the royal family with carriages for more than a century – even Wills was pushed around in one. We think the Bugaboo is for Wills (they do, after all, boast a more masculine look), with Kate opting for a Silver Cross.
THE PARENTING TREND Following the French Last year, we were inspired by the Chinese, clawing our children’s way to the top courtesy of Amy Chua’s 2011 best-seller Battle Hymn of
the TigerMother. This year, parental influence has movedWest, to France, with several books paying tribute to the success of the strict yet
lalaissez-faire parenting sstyle of the French. IIn Bringing up Bébé, PPamela Druckerman eextols the French vvirtues of talking to llittle ones like they’re aadults, pausing before you pick up a crying toddler and giving them exactly what you eat (in French terms, that means escargot, braised leeks and onion tarte tatin).
French Twist by Catherine Crawford tells a similar story, with both books celebrating the French ability to rear good sleepers (sleeping through the night before two months), good eaters and well-behaved children.
ROYAL APPROVAL Despite the fact there’s been little love lost between the British and the French in the past, we think the French secretly adore the British monarchy and vice versa. We certainly think the Gallic expectations of good behaviour, manners, civilised eating and adult discussion during mealtimes mirror those of the monarchy,
though Wills and Kate, like Diana, will be a little less harsh about imposing such rules, we suspect.
PARENTING TREND Sharing shortcomings A backlash against ‘Pinterest perfection’ – where women put themselves under unnecessary pressure to make every photo ‘pin-worthy’, resulting in high levels of stress (a recent study of 7,000 American mums found 42 per cent suffered Pinterest stress) from worrying they are not creative enough – Mom Shaming is hoping to lighten the mothering mood. Mothers are taking to Pinterest to share their failings and embrace their shortcomings by posting photos of themselves holding signs stating naughty confessions about their parenting skills: “Just hidden the last pudding from the kids, so I can eat it in bed later” and “Breastfeeding baby just because it means I can lie in bed and watch reality TV”.
ROYAL APPROVAL While we do believe this could be the easiest way for the former Miss Middleton to win us mums over (Diana did with her vulnerable, revelatory confessions), leading us out of the MummyWars and into some non-judgemental parenting, we don’t see her sharing her shortcomings on any form of social media anytime soon. But then again, nobody expected the Queen to pretend-parachute out of a plane during the London 2012 Olympics either. Watch this Pinterest space…
THE PARENTING TREND Baby yoga It was difficult enough for us to keep up with the bend trends – prenatal, postnatal and paddleboard yoga – but now there’s yoga for newborns. Its recent popularity spread from Russia with a PE-teacher-cum-mother-offive, Lena Fokina, who started spinning other people’s babies (from a few weeks, up to two years) by their wrists and ankles over her head.
It’s a practice, she says, originating from ancient African tribes but since adopted as a Russian method (thanks to Lena’s trainer, Igor Charkovsky), which aims to improve children’s muscular abilities and development. The 50-year-old Lena, who has been spinning sprogs for 30-plus years, also claims baby yogis turn out to be early readers, singers, talkers and swimmers.
Not convinced? Lena says she practised the method on five of her own children, all of whom are now champions in parachuting, free diving and horse riding.
This is not one to try at home, however, as baby yoga requires skilled training. At present Lena offers technique workshops in Thailand, India and Egypt, but is on the lookout for English families to join. Kate?
Having the future queen or king tossed around some Russian woman’s head might not be the smartest move for the monarchy. We do think this no-nonsense approach would appeal to – also pregnant – royal cousin and serious sportswoman, Zara though.
THE PARENTING TREND Neon baby gear Neon is the new white, apparently. Despite being a tricky trend to pull off even for children of the 1980s (neon is just about acceptable on ski wear) this not-so-subtle-shade has somehow made its wacky way into all things baby-related.
On-trend parents are adding ultra-bright pops of colour to nurseries, clothes and other baby accessories. Bugaboo even has a neon collection, with the Bugaboo Bee Pushchair sporting fluro wheels.
ROYAL APPROVAL Halfway through her pregnancy, Kate was spotted with a white wicker Moses basket, purchased from luxurious nursery furniture shop Blue Almonds in South Kensington, so we’re guessing she’s not caught the fluorescent fashion fever. Yet.
While this royal couple is likely to be less formal than previous generations, the pressures of royal protection will no doubt fire up a little helicopter parenting in them
While we believe the royals will see the merit of French-style parenting, they are likely to keep toys traditionally British
Yoga for newborns and fluro fashions are among the latest parenting trends likely to be rejected by the royal couple