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23 September 2007

Are yuppie semi-bohemians particularly bad parents? Or, at least, do they have weaknesses particular to their type?

Two anecdotes from coffee shop conversations overheard during the week:

An attractive woman in her mid-thirties is having morning coffee with two friends, both of whom look like ex-models and are dressed in an expensively casual way. Her daughter, maybe eight or ten years old, is glued to her Powerbook. The mother, in between talking about her daughter as if she wasn't there, tells her to stop watching and anime and start working. The daughter, who has a precocious air, says something offhand and otherwise ignores her. Thereafter, every fifteen minutes or so, the mother tries to get her daugther's attention: "Ayla," she says. The name, I must say, is a good one. "Ayla. Ayla. Ayla. Ayla. Ayla." Though her name is being repeated, Ayla ignores her mom and continues to stare at the screen. The scene is repeated ever fifteen or twenty minutes.

Two new parents are discussing with a friend what sport their baby boy will someday play. They seem like nice, thoughtful people. Basketball and football, decides dad, is out of the question -- he'll never be big enough to be really good. What about tennis, suggests the friend. Mom responds that a friend of hers has a son who plays tennis, and it's very expensive -- not just because of the lessons, but traveling all over the country for tournaments and whatnot. They seem genuine supportive and concerned, but it never occurs to them that their kid might just pick a sport that he happens to like, and play it for fun.