Designer diapers, etc.: Ensuring a life of therapy and rebellion for our kids

Renee James Contributor
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Several years ago, a magazine titled Cookie appeared on newsstands. Initially, the concept behind Cookie, a magazine for upscale parents, flourished. One of the “thirty most notable launches” of 2005, circulation grew quickly. Advertisers appeared anxious to reach households with children under ten and incomes over $75,000 a year.

The tag line on Cookie read “all the best for your family” and when they said “the best,” they weren’t joking. I read about a company that offered a line of magnetic wallpaper, at the bargain price of only $116 per roll (!), plus a set of magnets (for another $89) that children attach to the wallpaper. This is a terrible idea; it’s just that I couldn’t ever imagine spending hundreds of dollars to make sure my children didn’t write on their walls.

Another company played off the guilt and obsession most parents (read: mothers) have about keeping up with every childhood milestone. Don’t stress about that unfinished baby book! Just download your photos onto a disk and send it off to L’enfant. For $1,400, they’ll design a commemorative baby book of your child, full of photos you took. “Bound in high-quality Japanese book cloth,” I’m sure it’s stunning. I’m not sure what high-quality Japanese book cloth is but it appears the market will bear $1,400 bucks.

Turns out, the market couldn’t quite bear Cookie. Despite its success, it was a victim of the ad market and media downturn of the past few years and it has ceased publication. I was reminded of Cookie’s mission, though, when I read the latest news in baby diapers. Before you get too excited, this has nothing to do with biodegradable plastics or other earth-friendly components. Turns out, the idea of “designer denims for babies”—a phenomenon I first learned about in Cookie—has now reached the undergarment category.

And here I thought spending one hundred dollars on designer jeans—for your toddler—was just a tad excessive. I was incredulous at the Wall Street Journal article about a woman who really liked the designer jeans she bought for her young son because “compared to other jeans, these don’t make him look like he has full diaper.” Who, may I ask, is looking at that child and shaking their heads in dismay while they think, “So sad! Such a cute little guy but those jeans! They make him look like he has a full diaper. They ruin his entire look…his mother is a loser.”

Turns out, babies can now (possibly) have a full diaper and a “look” at the same time. Huggies Little Movers Jeans Diapers to the rescue. According to the press release, HLMJDs are “unique, fun and stylish denim-inspired fashion for the summer.” Honest to God, you can’t make this stuff up. “The design helps babies stay trendy while keeping dry with the same revolutionary design and proven leakage protection that moms have come to know and trust from the Huggies brand.”

Feel free to re-read that quote and then come back. Yes. Like you, I had no idea that babies had a desire to stay trendy. None. HLMJDs feature “a fashionable blue denim design, providing parents and little ones everywhere with a trendy way to express their personal styles.”

The idea of little ones everywhere expressing personal styles is just absurd. This is all about moms, yes? And some kind of inexplicable insecurity about—God help us—the diapers they buy? Our society has reached a frightening level of avarice when some parents believe it’s a reasonable idea to purchase jeans-diapers to ensure their baby is stylish.

Look; I have no real quarrel with people who read and love magazines like Cookie; I almost don’t even care that some parents spend time thinking about the “style” associated with their child’s diaper. God bless, as my dad always said. But here’s my prediction: this generation of babies and toddlers will become the next generation of what the 1960s called ‘hippies.’ They’ll question status symbols, reject their parents’ materialism, and wear thrift store clothing. Can’t wait to read about that trend in 15 years.

Renee James writes social commentary and keeps track of the things that mystify her on her blog: It’s not me, it’s you, found at reneeaj.blogspot.com. Her email address is raaj3@msn.com.