As we finished off the last of our home decoration, my partner and I felt very proud. We finally had the house we had dreamed of. He'd lovingly made the kitchen from wood and I had painted it, bright green with Mediterranean style reds and patterns. It's bright, bold and very us.
"Ooh," "Aaah," gasped our friends when they came round, "It's so...you! So bright and funky." "Ooh we love the art on your walls," they cooed,
"Haven't you got a 'distinctive' style!?"
Even if they hated it, and they'd be well within their rights, they could see that it was the
house we had dreamed of.
Which is why it's all the more offensive that as soon as our daughter was born, these friends and family appeared to forget how fabulously "us" bright colours and wooden magnificence are and plied us with seven piles of pastel plastic crap.
I'm not saying that we have "taste" and they don't, far from it (well maybe a bit), but it's the most depressing thing in the world when you can dress yourself and your house in the way you want but you aren't allowed to dress your baby that way too.
No. If you favour wood over plastic, primary colours over pastels and minimalism over fuss in your "main" life you are still expected to shove all that aside as soon as you pop a baby out.
Our friends often comment on how lovely it is that our house is full of handmade (by my partner) wooden items, so why on earth would they imagine we'd like a giant pink and white plastic turtle knocking about the place?
And it's not their fault, of course. If they tried, they'd be hard-pressed to get something that worked with our décor because, in the main, baby things are, well, hideous.
I wouldn't dream of buying my friend Sasha an item of clothing because our tastes are very different. She likes pale colours and I don't. And she hates my penchant for yellows and purples. But we have a compromise in the adult world.
There is no compromise in baby land: "Oh you want something plain with stripes do you? Here's one, but be sure not to turn it over too soon or you'll see the enormous furry duck on the
other side and leave the shop without paying."
Perhaps the argument is that babies are too young to care so it doesn't matter about being stylish. Well if they don't care, why put Forever Friends bears on everything?
Of course, you will say there ARE baby outlets who appear to produce things I would be seen dead in/put my baby in but these have realised their desperate appeal and whacked their prices up so that only Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow can afford them. Until then the rest of us who care what we look at looks like must suffer Disney prints and Ben Ten babygros.
Naturally, when my little girl is three she may well have her own ideas on what is and isn't stylish. She may well favour pastels and frills and all things Disney. But she isn't three, she's nine weeks old and until she's old enough to decide what she wants to wear, why can't I dress her in a style that suits me without breaking the bank in the process?
What do you think?
Are you frustrated by the choice of baby clothes and baby gear available?
Or should Hazel just accept that her home will look like a doctor's waiting room with a sea of plastic tat and her baby will be a vision of pastels?