Friday, 24 August 2018

Shit Hipster Toddlers Say by Naomi Elana Zener

Lark Café was bustling, Brooklyn’s premier, hip, child-friendly nosherie for parents in the know. Double-wide strollers were parked out front. Fathers with babies of all ages strapped to their chests, sporting matching lumbersexual-approved flannel shirts—and babies’ wisps of hair styled with equal panache to that of their fathers’ beards—balanced their environmentally friendly, Brazilian roasts in one hand, holding in the other one of the newly-minted published works of the  neighbourhood’s auteurs-in-residence. Brooklyn was the Belle Epoque 2.0’s Paris. Chia had barely walked through the door of the resto, with her nanny in tow, when Jono had spotted her from the back playroom, where she was waiting for their drumming circle class to begin. Jono’s mommy was off getting a pesticide-free soy latte.

“Seriously?” Jono asked.

“Seriously,” Chia replied.

Jono, a sweet four-year old girl, named in honour of her parents’ favourite do-gooder, U2’s Bono—had she been born a boy, her name would’ve been Bono, but they felt that she would’ve been ridiculed—a girl named Bono?—was caught offguard by her friend, Chia’s, attire. Bedecked in red jeans and black patent leather Mary Jane’s, topped off with a t-shirt on which a giant, smiling, textured panda face was emblazoned, Chia looked as though she’d stepped out of the Carter’s catalogue.

“Did you fall out of bed this morning? Hit your head?”

Chia shook her head. “My parents took a mini-break to Woodstock. My grandma dressed me.”

Jono instinctively jumped up from the multi-coloured, Flor carpet tiles on which she’d been meditating, to embrace her shell-shocked friend. Chia knew that Jono’s outfit was mocking hers. Standing there clad in indigo-washed denim, a gender-neutral grey Appaman tee underneath a yellow BonTon cardi (purchased secondhand, of course), and a pair of Fiorentini + Baker boots,  Jono, with hers curly, blonde tendrils poking out of an alpaca-knit, zig-zag patterned slouchy beanie, made for her by one of her father’s author friend’s wife, screamed Brooklyn. Normally, Chia was too, but her grandma’s Midwestern flair for outlet mall kids’ clothes shopping prevailed in the absence of her non-GMO eating, Soda Stream drinking, bric a brac knick knack buying hipster parents: Jenny and Benny.

“I should’ve known. Your parents would never dress you in Hello Kitty. That’s so middle America. Chia ignored the dig. She loved her grandma and knew that her grandma had an eternal love for the Japanese girl who she’d always think of as a cat.

“I love your boots,” Chia offered, an olive branch to divert attention from her gran’s sartorial selection. “Are they new Frye boots?”

Jono shook her head. “They’re Fiorentini + Baker. They are the new Frye. You should tell your parents.”

Resume position on mats. Still early enough in the morning before drumming circle, so only two kids in the playroom.

“Where are you going after class?”

“It’s my shift at the food co-op. You?”

“My grandma’s taking me to knitting class.”

“What would you do if your grandma didn’t knit?”

“It’s the only thing she has in common with us anymore,” Chia replied.

“My mom is signing me up for ukulele lessons. Want to come?”

“I’m still doing guitar,” Jono advised. Her parents were adamant that Bono’s namesake be as adept at him on the strings.

“You should tell them that the ukulele is the new guitar.”

Jono shook her head. Never could she believe such words. She reached into her Skip Hop owl lunchbag-cum-purse and pulled out her thick black-rimmed, Peter Sellers-like spectacles. Placing them on her face in a ho-hum manner, she tilted her head trying to get Chia’s attention, which was clearly fixated on flagging down a waitress for a refill of her non-GMO, organic, microbrewed, carob “chocolate” milk. Unsuccessful in her attempts, Chia returned her gaze to her friend, in awe of the glasses occupying precious real estate on Jono’s face.

“Do you like them? Do you think they work for my face?”

“Since when do you wear glasses?”

Jono brushed a curly tendril from her forehead. “Oh, I don’t. They just complete the look, don’t you think?”

“Where did you get that idea?”

“Pinterest. My mama saw it on some knitting board for hipster moms. Something about “leaning into” being hip. She showed it to me before bed, after we’d read Ella.”


“You don’t know Ella? Ella is the new Eloise! And to think, you live in Brooklyn.”

Chia was ashamed. She knew she should’ve known better.

© 2018. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.