Thursday, February 12, 2015

Zoe vs. the Posh Tots

Most parents agree that by far the biggest change that comes with having kids is the new and various catalogs you receive in the mail.
Birthday and holiday decorations. Party favors. Costumes. Land of Nod, Chasing Fireflies. What happened to the Victoria's Secret catalogs I used to get before I had Zoe? Oh wait, they're still there, buried under those women-of-a-certain-age catalogs I've started getting. Did you know that you can hide a lot of living under a caftan, the sophisticated woman's muumuu?

Work it, Jeanine!

Almost all of these catalogs end up in recycling immediately, except for Pottery Barn Kids, which I just cannot resist. I leaf through it half angrily, half hungrily. Who can afford all these personalized bean bag chairs, monogrammed duvets, nameless hurricane lamps? Wait, is that a sale? Monograms on everything! Whee!
As I was to learn, however, Pottery Barn Kids doesn't even know.
I saw this article the other day from the Wall Street Journal about over-the-top bedrooms and playrooms for children. The focus was on the princess-themed fantasy room.
They may use the word "fantasy" but they mean an actual room existing in space and time and also in someone's house. Not at all like how I fantasize about someday having a home library with a secret entrance.
Anyway, these fantasy rooms are full of lavish furnishings "handcrafted by artisans" and extravagant---though they use the word "whimsical"---decorations that will make your little girl feel like a princess. All for the non-whimsical price of $70,000 plus. Not including a bed that's basically a castle, complete with turrets and a slide. 
One of the sites mentioned that provides this full-throttle whimsy is called PoshTots. Venturing to their site, I clicked on "children's furniture" and found the Woodland Princess Castle Bunk Bed, which combines a bunk bed with a playhouse "to maximize space in your child's room." I'm guessing that for most of their customers having a spacious room is not an issue.
They also sell a bed that looks like Cinderella's coach. You need to "call for pricing" but it starts at $65,000, so you better start skipping your morning Starbucks run.
PoshTots also sells luxury playhouses (villas, chalets, lodges) for the backyard. Which backyard? After all, I have several. Do you mean the one with the topiary shaped like beloved children's book characters? The one with Roman temple folly? Or maybe the one by the stables? These Disney resorts in miniature will run you about $50,000. Can I charge my child rent? 
Alas, it's all moot since I don't have a yard, so let's go back inside to the bedrooms, filled with sweet-dream facilitators (what I assume they call beds) that are bigger than my whole apartment. Not that I'm the demographic. 
In fact, for fun I thought I'd compare Zoe's bedroom.

Abandon all hope yada yada.

From her convertible crib/toddler bed Zoe graduated to a trundle bed, which is useful for a small Brooklyn apartment. When Grandma sleeps over, just pull out the bottom bed and voila.
Then Zoe broke it by jumping on it. No problem. We can still stow the mattress under there and pull it out when needed. Look out for errant nails though! Unless your fantasy is tetanus.
As for decor, I never really got around to it after she was born (or before) so there are no hand-painted murals or toy boxes that double as fainting couches (yes) or swarovski crystal--encrusted letters spelling my little princess's name. That reminds me though. At my baby shower I received a wooden letter Z, about 8 inches tall, solid white. It was apparently craft related in that I could decorate it, somehow, I don't know, I'm no artisan, and then hang it in Z's room. Over four years later that hasn't happened.

Found it!

About a year after Zoe was born we finally got around (my brother-in-law took pity on us) to hanging shelves on which I planned to put books and stuffed animals. I'd show you a picture but a few weeks later Hurricane Irene hit and we had a leak causing the shelves to fall from the wall. We still haven't rehung those shelves, or repainted. That was August 2011. Though I think in 2012 I bought some putty and a trowel thing, then forgot where I put them, but I refuse to buy more since they must be around here somewhere, probably in that bag with the curtains we never put up in the living room.
So, okay, maybe we're just minimalist.
You'd think PoshTots could let me have that, but no.
In the world of PoshTots, Minimalist includes a rocking chair for $1,500. For 200 dollars more the Subtle and Serene room has the Versailles Cream Adult Park Avenue glider. And nothing says subtle like Lucy the life-size stuffed giraffe for $1,000 plus. Completing the look is a hamper ($900). Zoe would have to jump in puddles of champagne and pee pure gold before I'd put her clothes in this hamper.

The infamous wall we still haven't
repainted. Underneath, our glider.
Zoe and I can sit side-by-side on it
since she kicked an arm off.

Now, a quick rundown of the arguments. These fantasy rooms are an obscene waste of money. You're teaching your kid all the wrong values. And: Are you telling me all of this is to feed the child's imagination? (Fainting couch, folks.)
On the opposite side. Why not? You're only a kid once. And think of the people getting paid. Economy and stuff. And people have the right to do what they want with their money, you communist bastard.
And yet . . .
Something something war, famine, pestilence, and widespread human suffering. Something sense of proportion and obscene wealth.
Notwithstanding the over reliance on the Disney fairy-tale images, I'd imagine some of these folks are cultured, or at least want to appear to be. So when they take their kids on the tour of Europe and end up at the Palace of Versailles---inspiration for the glider in their bedroom---as these mini royals marvel at all the tiny chairs will they perhaps detect a whiff of some awkward history?
Or maybe they never travel. I mean, why go anywhere when you have a Disney theme park in your house?

The clock above Zoe's door. The previous tenants left
it behind because it was broken. We left it as artsy
commentary. When you're in Zoe's room, time stops.

Still, here's what I'm wondering. These are little kids, which means they leave destruction in their wake. So you laid down custom carpeting for twenty thou. What's going to happen when the new maid in the left wing sneaks these deprived princesses some cheese curls, and their precious paws get orange powder all over the creamy white glider and pastel carpet?
Because kids break things and make them sticky or they grow tired of toys and play with boxes. Zoe's often happiest with toys from the dollar store that light up and make noise and spin around until she breaks them. And thank god for that---both her affection for cheap toys and then her breaking them because all the lights and sounds and spinning trigger my migraines.
So who needs the fancy stuff, right? Anyway those life-size stuffed animals would scare me in the dark.
I would, however, like to buy the carousel horse. Only I'm not sure if the pole is long enough for my cathedral ceilings.
Zoe: 79; Universe: 0

For more of Zoe's hijinks, follow me on Facebook and on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse
I need a win here, people. 

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  1. Let it be known...I found the after looking for a while.

  2. Please, I find everything around here. Quick, where are your keys?

  3. I will need to rethink my prior stance on caftans now and really entering into one of my children's rooms is a very interesting experience with new surprises each and every time! We are not a family of posh tots either.

  4. I'm glad I could persuade you to rethink the beauty of caftans. And I'd love to see the before and after articles with the people who do buy these rooms for their kids.

  5. I used to drool over the PB Kids catalog too, but I've only purchased a set of mirrors from there, on clearance. 65 grand for a bed? That is ridiculous. We did not have posh tots, and now we have sloppy teenagers who wouldn't even notice the bed under all the clothes and underwear.

  6. Right? I think all I ever bought were Halloween decorations on clearance.

  7. It's insane, is it now? I used to fall victim to the allure of Pottery Barn Kids. Dragged my husband in there to drool over the overpriced Nantuckian wares. We actually did get a couple of things there - on sale, I must clarify - but yeah, it's straight up madness.

  8. And yet I can't resist looking at least. This fantasy life where I own a second home by the seashore somewhere. Maybe it will happen someday so should I buy the outdoor couch now that it's on sale?