Tuesday, July 10, 2007

in search of the elusive Hipster Parent

So we made it to the cottage, and it rained for two days while Toronto melted, and now we’re melting too. I don’t remember the cottage ever being hot like this when I was a kid. I suspect perhaps we’ve lost some big trees over the years, along with their air-conditioning umbrellas of leaves. At least we have the lake to cool down in.

The first rainy night we were here, there were also two dogs staying here, and I suspect that squadrons of mosquitoes rode in on their damp fur to lay siege to us. They dive-bombed us all night, and poor Swee’pea once again looks like he’s got chicken pox.

Today we went to Kingston to explore, and on the way we considered making a sign for Swee’pea to inform nosy passers-by that it is not chicken pox, but mosquito bites. Because we didn’t have any materials to make such a sign, and also because we’re lazy, we didn’t do it (plus, it occurred to us that having a kid covered in so many angry red mosquito bites wouldn’t say much better about our parenting than bringing a contagious kid out with us). Sure enough, at the place we ate lunch at, a woman with two kids, one about 3 years old and the other probably only about two months, came up to our table and opened up with, “Boy, looks like you guys have had a rough time. How’s he doing?” It took me a moment, but eventually I clued in that she was talking about Swee’pea’s red crusty spots. “Oh! Those are mosquito bites; we wouldn’t bring him out if he had chicken pox.” “Oh,” she said, “He wouldn’t be contagious anymore if it were, it wouldn’t matter.” She’d obviously been sitting at her table for the last 10 minutes, stewing about that contagious kid at the next table over and calculating the risk to her precious and vulnerable kids, especially her youngest, just like I would have if I were in her position. Anyways, we conversed about how bad the bites are, as I do with just about every mother I encounter when Swee’pea has The Pox, and then she sat back down, satisfied that her children were not going to be infected.

The restaurant was perfect for us, a bit divey but charming with bright coloured walls. Blackboards high up on the walls described mostly vegetarian and vegan dishes in coloured chalk. A display fridge bursting with salads and take-out wraps and rotis, and scrumptious desserts (which we were too full to even consider after our meals) ran most of the length of the restaurant down from the cash. What was most perfect, however, was not just the food, but a little play corner with lots of toys, that Swee’pea kept looking longingly over at through the meal until finally he could play after consuming mountains of fresh baked bread and homemade hummus. It was truly a family-friendly place.

As soon as we walked in, I noticed that the other patrons were decidedly bohemian. Not many families, but lots of young folks with dreadlocks and lurid, multi-coloured hairstyles with lots of gel, the kind of hairstyles I’ve admired for years. Looking around, the phrase hipster parents kept echoing around my mind; this is the place for Kingston’s hipster parents.

Feeling so at home there brought me up short: could we possibly be hipster parents? What are hipster parents anyways? I’ve seen a lot of references to these mythical creatures, although I haven't actually seen a field guide to hipster parents so I'm not sure I'd know one if I saw one. It's always been a term to describe other people, and not any people I know, because the people I know are kind of geeky in their passions. I’ve always figured we weren’t nearly cool enough to be hipster parents. Over lunch today, however, it occurred to me that nobody labels themselves as hipster parents, at least I don't think they do; people just live their lives the way they want, the way they think is best.

Um... so that's all I got. Yeah, I go on vacation and all I can think about is how to define a hipster parent... well, that and the dial-up that's so slow it's backwards.


slouching mom said...


The dial-up so slow it's backwards.

As for hipster parents, you may be right that people don't know that they're hipster parents, don't label themselves as such.

But they -- I -- know when they're (I'm) not hipster parents!

NotSoSage said...

Oh, I know a few people who might define themselves as hipster parents, but that's probably a symptom of living in a city that is constantly laying claim to the (pathetic) title of a "World Class City". Ever seen the book, Urban Babies Wear Black? It just struck me that someone was trying WAY TOO hard.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm still snickering about that Chicken Pox sign--I would obsess about that, too!

Before I had kids I vowed I would be a hipster parent but now I know I'm just a...well, *parent*.

Kyla said...

Oh, the agony of a dial-up connection, I don't envy your suffering, Sin.

(notice how for me, the dial-up connection outweigh all those mosquito bites...I think this might be one of the signs of an Internet addiction *lol*)

Beck said...

Hipsters in general always strike me as trying too hard, and being a hipster parent doesn't seem like that great a goal - if someone IS a hipster parent naturally, then fine, I guess. But it's not me. I'm a doofus parent, the dorky, comforting kind.

nomotherearth said...

I am plagued by mosquitoes. I like to pretend it's because of my sweet personality, but it's probably due to the overabundance of candy I eat.

How do you stop mosquitoes from biting a kid, anyways?

ewe are here said...

Hipster parents are like cool parents. If you think you're 'hip' or 'cool', well, you're probably not. The ones who truly are, don't think about it too much.

And then there are the rest of us.

Hope the mosquito bites aren't too itchy.

Christine said...

oh the "hipster parent!" not me, we are "nerdy-academic" parents.

Carmi said...

You'll have to share the address of that restaurant sometime: we drive through Kingston on the way to Montreal, and the experience sounds like something I'd love to capture with my camera.

Love your perspective on dialup: can I quote you to my in-laws? They don't even use theirs during the day for fear of missing a phone call. Sigh...such luddites in my family!

Mimi said...

Ha! What a great post. I guess you're so hip, you didn't even realize you were hip.


When I was a wee baby, I got such bad mosquito bites my eyes swelled shut. Swee'pea, I feel your pain, man ...