Are parents becoming truly insufferable, or is it simply that the media cannot resist a baby trend story? Or, in some cases, a backlash-against-the-baby-trends story? On the teeny, tiny heels of the Brooklyn Paper's investigative report on babies drinking coffee -- forever to be known in your nightmares as "the rise of babyccinos" -- which was quickly picked up, claimed, and disseminated by The New York Post and The New York Daily News, among others -- we now have "baby screenings." Actual movie theaters have opened their doors to mothers and fathers and their wee offspring so that all can watch movies together the way movies were meant to be seen: surrounded by wailing, spitting up, burping, giggling, adorable creatures who frequently soil their own pants.
Brooklyn mom Bob Bland started "Parents & Babies Movies," and for that, we don't blame her. She explains on her website, "Our mission is to bring the Brooklyn community of parents together around our mutual love of 1st-run movies and excuses to leave the house." All well and good -- why should parents, or babies, be confined to the house, or their own DVRs? Instead, they can go to off-peak screenings of films at the UA Court St. theater in downtown Brooklyn, the Nitehawk in Williamsburg, and BAM in Fort Greene. (This isn't actually a "new" trend -- "Big Movies for Little Kids" has been going on at the Cobble Hill Cinemas for years -- though Bland's effort, and Parents & Babies' focus on all movies rather than just kid fodder, is.)
At a recent Parents & Babies screening of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Tracy Connor writes in the Daily News, "the crying started even before the previews — and pretty much didn’t stop for the next hour."
Rhonda Walsh, 32, remembers the cacaphony of a screening two months ago with 60 babies.
“It was a chorus of crying,” said Walsh, mother of 4-month-old Madeline.
Was she able to enjoy the film?
“Oh, yes,” she said. “Of course I don’t remember what the movie was because my baby was crying.”
See! Baby screenings are great. But what 's really the trend here? Baby screenings? Babies drinking coffee? Or the media drooling like a toddler over the rise of any such "baby trend"?
A look at a few recent baby "trends" from just one paper of note:
February 2008, The New York Times: Babies are being brought to bars, and not everyone is happy about that!
May 2010, The New York Times: Babies are moral beings!
January 2010, The New York Times: Babies are being brought to bars, and not everyone is happy about that—still!
January 2011, The New York Times: Williamsburg is the new place for babies!
April 2011, The New York Times: Babies are doing yoga!
May 2011, The New York Times: Babies are being named after "Brooklyn"!
October 2011, The New York Times: Babies are bilingual!
November 2011, The New York Times: Babies have hyphenated names!
January 2011, The New York Times: Babies have sleep disorders, too!
Maybe babies really are "growing up" faster than ever. Maybe 21st-century parents (at least, the ones who live in Brooklyn and have a certain amount of money with which to fund such trends -- and are often the focus of a trend piece or two themselves) are a new model of parenting freedom.
Or maybe, the simple fact is, no one can resist a baby trend story, whether it's real or imagined.
Image via Shutterstock by Igor Stepovik.