Nine-month old Eric is typical of a phenomenon that has come to be known in the popular media as the "gourmet baby." He has two educated, professional parents who have delayed childbearing until their early thirties. He has all the best baby equipment that money can buy -- the right furniture, the right stroller and a genuine shearling cover for his car seat. Eric has swimming lessons, looks at flash cards of famous paintings and simple words, plays with the best "developmentally engineered" toys and will begin the study of the violin in a year or two. He also has enough stimulation in the course of a day to make even a college student want to take a nap and shut it all out -- which is just what Eric does.Eric's doing even more college student-style napping now. These alarmist quotes were taken from an article in The Zero to Three Journal, December 1986. Eric's probably just finished his freshman year of college--assuming he got in, of course.
Bookshelves in the gourmet baby's home are likely to contain titles such as How to Teach Your Baby to Swim, Yoga for Children, How to Teach Your Baby to Read, How to Teach Your Baby Math, How to Make Your Child a Genius and Test Your Baby's IQ. (Believe it or not, all these books exist.)
The "Gourmet Baby" and the "Little Wildflower" [zerotothree.org]
[update: By coincidence, the Ivy League admissions experience of gourmet babies and their overwrought parents is the subject of a column in the NY Observer this week: "I heard one woman telling a tale to a venerable Southern school about her youth in Texas and the summers that she spent visiting her grandparents in Alabama. "The South is in her genes," she said as she patted her child on the back. "She canít help but be attracted to it." Youíre pathetic, I thought. Shut up! Dear Reader, that woman was me, competing with the masses, trying to exhibit some edge. My daughter rolled her eyes and asked me to speak no more. I happily obliged."]