Once Upon a Childhood

Park Slope, Brooklyn (N.Y.) — On a tiny swing meant for play, someone — also little — sat with a “babyccino.” Just yesterday she was called a child, but now she’s lost that brief, fleeting chance when imagination is a magic carpet to wondrous dreaming, when there is no limit to exploration, when inquisitiveness is so without rules that roadblocks to expression do not yet appear. (In short, literally, the child — any child — is the hope of a world run not so well by adults.)

What happened in Brooklyn? Why is the little one no longer a child though she seems just a toddler in the tony brownstone neighborhood? “Babyccinos,” that’s why — frothy designer drinks that mimic what parents hold whether they drink them or not, as they all mill about the playground and talk of entrance exams for pre-school.

One “barista” (counterperson in New Speak) is quoted in a New York Daily News story: “It’s cute … they feel like they’re drinking the same drinks as the bigger people.” Another barista: “(Parents) want to incorporate their kids into their lifestyle.” (That’s at $1.50 a pop for warm, foamy milk served in a regular-to-go cup with a sippy lid, perhaps with sprinkled chocolate on top.)

Why in this “adult” world of constant war, greed, distant, disconnected government and lobbies for everything under the sun save common sense, would you want a small child to get off her small swing and become a little adult swinger swigging a cappuccino-like container called a babyccino? Why would we want children to leave their fertile, seemingly endless frontier of belief in fairies and super heroes to become adults oh so quickly? Where is the proof that is good for all?

What happened to the little one’s playground water fountain, eagerly sought after when hide and seek wore the child out or following a heady run on the merry-go-round?

Imagination, the stimulant of childhood, needs no extra “caffeine.”

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