Aug 30, 201109:22 AM
The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

Shiny Baby

I took my daughter Milly to the toy store recently and promised I would buy her one thing. Anything she chose. She is just 21 months old but she knew just what I was saying. She combed the aisles, toddling past all the educational stuff (no surprise), past the big ticket items (whew) and finally ended up in a nook full of dolls. That’s where she found Shiny Baby.

Shiny Baby is a platinum-haired strumpet whose skinny legs end in platform-heeled silver go-go boots. She has a what is clearly the doll equivalent of a fake tan, a metallic pink half-jacket and a shirt emblazoned with the word “Rock!” alongside a guitar. Her tag describes her as Rock 'n' Dolly, “a free-spirit with a heart of gold.”

“Free spirit.” That is a phrase that polite ladies use to say “tramp.” Heart of gold? Belly full of Goldschläger is more like it. And to top things off, she’s French.

I tried to dissuade Milly. I let her roam around for a while, hoping she would get bored with Shiny Baby, but she clutched her tight. I tried to tempt her with an Elmo larger and more vibrant than the approximately 42,000 other Elmos she has in various iterations (slippers, DVDs, puppets, diaper decor) but no dice – she flung the red Muppet to the ground like a dirty dishrag. Horse-related items, which usually prove irresistible, were patently ignored. Her mind was clearly made up – she wanted Shiny Baby, the name she had now coined for this doll.

OK. So shiny baby is probably a lot of fun. Maybe I would have dated her in high school, or (more likely) at least wanted to. But I am one of those fathers who are trying to avoid the Disney princess trap, and clearly Shiny Baby is the first step on an even more distressing path – instead of pointing her toward mass market mall culture, it sends her down into the Meatpacking District to dance with glitter-smeared Europeans with names like Lars and Bjorn. I’m not quite sure which is worse.

Well, thinking about this now as I type this out, the question answers itself. Shiny Baby may be more rebellious, but she is also more interesting. And she is also what Milly really wanted, despite whatever character judgments I might have. I should just be happy that she is happy with her little club friend, and not waste the time even worrying about it. After all, it could be worse – she could have gone for the Bratz.

Reader Comments:
Aug 30, 2011 02:14 pm
 Posted by  Partimer

Dear Jay,

Freespirit can also mean independent. So think positive, you are raising an independent daughter who clearly isn't swayed by others. What more could you ask for.

Paula (Part time NOLA resident)

Aug 31, 2011 08:41 am
 Posted by  Jay Forman

Hi Paula -- very good point. Thanks!

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The Lighter Side

Exploring the humor and peculiarities of the Big Easy

about

Annie Drummond is a graphic designer and artist from Columbus, Ohio. She has a degree from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Two years ago she made the move from the Midwest to New Orleans' Bywater neighborhood and fell deeply in love as she discovered the rhythms and traditions of her new city. In addition to The Lighter Side, she writes about food, art and design (and other stuff) at www.AnniedelaDolce.com.

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