guest post: adult style & taste for kids

during my maternity leave, I asked a few of my favorite mamas and mamas-to-be to kindly step in with some fun guest posts to keep you company


I’m Claudia and I enjoy writing about motherhood on a blog called Aux Petits Oiseaux (a French expression that stands for a sentiment of great joy). I recently gave birth to a baby girl named Alice. As a new mom, I have my load of insecurities that I overcome by asking a lot of questions.

So, Unruly Things readers, I have one for you! Do you think that it is inappropriate to impose “adult style and taste” to our kids?


Over the past few months, I carefully selected each items (a little selection above) that would go in Alice’s nursery. I spent numerous hours looking at online shops for the best handmade and/or eco-friendly and/or locally made products that would make my baby happy.

Then, we received the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium! Over my dead body I told myself as I looked at the aquatic 3D scene with “mesmerizing” water effects. Oh, I forgot to mention the classical musak.

Maybe it is the lack of sleep from night breastfeeding but I started to wonder if Alice would actually love to stare at the little moving crab while bubbles are rising to the surface of the aquarium.

So, do you think that should I install the crib attaching infant soother (retailed at $75…oh, dear!) or let it gather dust in the closet?

{organic cozy bundler, wall hanging clock, fox teether, muslin baby wraps}


19 Responses to “guest post: adult style & taste for kids”

  1. Melanie said:

    I say install it! She will love to look at it, and it is such a small detail in the room that it won’t take away from your design! Hope that helps!

  2. The Maiden Metallurgist said:

    I had the same dilema when I was designing our nursery, and ended up finding a way to make those bright colors that are so good for baby development work.

  3. Heather said:

    As the mother of a 3 month old, I also swore that I would not fill our nursery with plastic, “toys-r-us” stuff. However, I have quickly learned the value of something that brings a smile to my son’s face, is stimulating, safe, and gives me a little break.

  4. Amanda said:

    I think it is good to expose your kids to things you thing are beautiful and shield them from the garish. That said, I don’t want to keep my son from things he really enjoys. I think there can be a good balance. And I bet if you look back on your childhood you had some ugly stuff you loved (I was into clear plastic purses with unicorns…), but your taste today doesn’t seem to reflect that…

  5. Michelle Smid said:

    I have the same dilemma! But I would have to agree with Heather. If it brings a smile to your baby’s face, then go for it.

  6. Angela said:

    First, I love all the items you posted! I’ll have to get that fox teether when the time comes. I’m currently trying to get pregnant and I’m already stuggling with this issue. No plastic, no overly populized characters, gender roles neutral, no noisy toys, ack! There is no way I can make a list and say do not get these things for my child, but I think I’ll just have to use my best judgement when the time comes. I just hope everything comes with a gift receipt. Anyway, my husband may be the biggest offender!

  7. k8 said:

    i think the key is to avoid ridgidity. you can have a beautiful room AND install a fisher price crib aquarium– it doesn’t have to be either/or. my little nephew has a very classy, minimalist nursery, but he loves that exact aquarium. and i see no problem with that.

  8. Shannon said:

    I also carefully selected all of my son’s early toys and clothing, etc. I never wanted those large plastic monstrosities and was going to color coordinate everything. Then we had a big family-filled 1st Christmas and 1st Birthday and that went out the window! He got tons of fisher-price, and cheap toys. Oh well, I learned to live with it. I painted the walls in his nursery white and that way they aren’t clashing with all of the colors. Oh yeah, and the really ugly stuff I just put in a closet for a “rainy day”. Sometimes (since I stay home with my son) I really do pull it out on a rainy day when I am desperate to entertain him and don’t care what it takes! And other stuff, it just sits there until I take it to our local resale shop and trade it for something else. And the gift-givers? Well, its the thought that counts and they never notice ;)

  9. Flora said:

    Love these items too. Same dilemma, so I choose everything I could according to my taste which we seem to share, and then let her play with the presents she received as I didn’t want to control what she finds interest in -appart from one or 2 things which I sold or gave immediately as they were so noisy and full of flashing lights she was becoming a zombie in front of them. I just put the things I don’t like to see in nice wood or rush boxes :)

  10. Erin said:

    I felt exactly the same way. But 2 years (and another baby) later, and I think it’s unavoidable. No matter how politely you try to tell others your “no noisy, plastic, ugly toys” rule, each birthday, Christmas etc. well-meaning friends and relatives give just these things as gifts. Then you don’t want to offend them by not using them… It’s tricky! I just try to lead by example and only buy what I like and hope people catch on! However, a loud brightly coloured play gym sitting in my living room right now looks hideous but at times has given me precious minutes to myself (for imporant things like a shower!)!

  11. taryn said:

    i totally avoid all kinds of “gadgets” when i was pregnant. thankfully, i wasn’t gifted anything that i found incredibly tacky. but i’m quickly learning that what makes baby happy makes me happy and i’m sure it won’t be long before i’m setting up gadgets for my little boy. not sure how i’ll deal with this when he’s a little bit older and more opinionated, but for now we’re just going with whatever works.

  12. sarah said:

    yeah, I think the assumption in America is that fischer price is an institution. Along with osh-kosh-b’gosh. And playmobil, etc. Someone probably meant well. You know, if the giver won’t be around to have hurt feelings, why not check and see if there is a women’s shelter for new mothers in your area. That would be a great way to let something you don’t really want do a lot of good for your community!

  13. zoe said:

    There’s research out there that suggests that the minimalist, all-white nurseries that are so popular with modern parents can actually seriously hamper a baby’s eyesight development – their eyes need colour stimulation to develop properly. That said, I’m not sure “mesmerizing” water effects fall under the same category – a bright mobile might do the trick instead! I love Sarah’s idea of donating it to a women’s shelter.

  14. Kristen said:

    When my son was 6 months old, I tucked away a box of all the ugly plastic toys that we had received from family/friends. Enter Winter. Entertainment trumps style.

    I think it is fine to tailor your child’s clothes to your taste, but honestly, I think that it is a little too materialistic to edit his or her toys with only style in mind. Unless you feel like the toy would negatively impact their development — like one of those walker contraptions, or things that blink too fast or have lead paint or BPA in them — than they should be given these things to explore.

    At 2 months, my home was still essentially mine to style. At 11 months, I’ve found a happy medium, but our home is definitely my son’s as well. And what makes him happy makes us all happier — If that includes some ugly toys, than that’s okay — I just put them in a toy box when I tidy up!

  15. Dana said:

    I got that the same thing from my in-laws. I begrudgingly put it in the crib, but my son didn’t seem too into. I ended up taking it out. Now that he’s a little bigger and can push the buttons himself, I’m thinking about putting it back.

  16. Abigail said:

    Developmentally, you want to encourage bright color patterns, textures, etc. No artificial lights and sounds, though- but yeah, children’s toys are garish for a very important reason- they stimulate eye and brain function. There are plenty of fantastic toys out there that are not the typical Fisher Price toxic plastic crap. Manhattan Toy, Haba, and the organic rubber teething wonder that is Sophie the Giraffe. I never would have been able to live without it. These bright, tacky things aren’t just for entertainment, they are a developmental necessity.
    Learn to love them.

  17. Ali said:

    Young babies really don’t need any toys at all. Just their mum and dad :)

  18. Cynthia said:

    Abigail, I’m sorry but you are so wrong! Bright, tacky things are not a necessity. I highly encourage you Claudia to develop your baby’s aesthetic from infancy. There are beautifully made wood toys with natural dyes that feel, look, and taste good (since they all end up in the mouth for exploration). Edit baby’s collection to a small number of these specially made items and enrich Alice’s life with household objects to handle and explore. There is no reason to turn your living space into a garish, plastic, hideously colored den of “stuff”. You will end up raising a thoughtful girl who appreciates a beautiful item or handmade object vs. throws plastic into a heap, frustrated with too many choices. As for well-meaning friends and relatives…request books only, refer them to online sites you approve, or simply donate toys that do not meet your aesthetic. It’s also possible and FUN to have no-gift birthday parties…put the emphasis on old-fashioned games, crafts, and a memorable time together. Birthday parties for under threes are for the adults, so don’t kid yourself!

  19. Abigail said:

    Cynthia, are you a pediatrician? Do you have an additional PHD in childhood behavioral science? If not, please do not tell those of us who do, how to do our jobs. Thanks