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

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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?

ROYAL AP­PROVAL

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

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