About 10 years ago, a coffee house in Australia started to serve “babyccinos” for parents to give to their babies and toddlers – a cup of steamed milk, topped with froth. Zoom ahead to New York today and you’ll reportedly see babyccinos on the menus at coffee houses, or available as a custom order – but with a twist: now the toddler beverages can include shots of decaf espresso.
According to Paul Caligiore, one of the barristas in Australia that rode the trend, making babyccinos interrupts the workflow, wastes milk and probably most importantly, “can be served at a dangerous temperature to a vulnerable consumer.” And this was just talkin’ about milk.
Look, my whole argument here should be “don’t give your kids coffee, it makes you a douche.” But you know me, and you know how it always goes. So you’re either going to stop here or keep going, and you’re already here. So why not just give me a couple hundred more words? I promise you’ll hate me more after you read them.
You’ve chosen to continue! Thanks!
Coffee houses are a chosen destination for a lot of suburban and city parents. It’s a nice place to go walk to with the kid, sit on someone else’s couch, have a drink and meet with friends without having to pick up the tornado of toys at home. But I think there’s a fine line between bringing your child to a coffee house for your own drink, and indoctrinating them into the world of coffee. These babyccinos aren’t even “monkey see, monkey do” – they’re “monkey do, monkey do.” I know, how dare I judge you.
Here’s the problem: candy cigarettes.
Okay, okay. Admittedly not the same – not by a long shot. But suspend the idea for one moment that cigarettes can only really kill you, and that coffee, when done right, is said to be good for you. As in, you – an adult. For kids, you won’t find a pediatrician out there who would suggest you give your kid excess caffeine. They’re already getting it in any chocolate or chocolate-flavored stuff that they eat. And I won’t even mention that it’s in sodas because you don’t give your toddler sodas, so moot point.
So – ahem – back to babyccinos.When you think about the most dispensable calories and sugar intake that our society willingly consumes, coffee concoctions come to mind – and though you can get Starbucks drinks “however you want it,” kids aren’t necessarily going to be ordering things “skinny” or “nonfat.” And if they get a Caramel Frappuccino in Venti size, that’s 500+ calories and 81 grams of sugar they just ingested.
But how will kids make the jump from having frothy milk to having almost 1/3 of their daily caloric intake in just one drink? Well, that’s the weakest of my arguments here. We don’t know if your child will make the jump. But we say this often here on 8BitDad: your kids are mirrors. If they see you doing something, they want to do it, mainly because you’re their idol. This is the same reason why kids want to try beer or cigarettes, because they see you doing it and loving it. Now, again, we’re talking coffee, not cancer sticks. But you see where this is all headed, right?
Right about now, you think you’re about to Daigo-parry me on this by saying that tea has just as much caffeine as coffee and having tea parties doesn’t indoctrinate kids into the world of childhood obesity – and you’re kind of right, mainly because having a play tea party isn’t the same as giving them actual caffeinated tea. But having a tea party is also not looked at as “cool” (sorry Britons and ladies of high culture), but copying mom and dad’s coffee habits is.
So, you forced me to use my trump card: in the most relevant and poignant terms you can understand, giving your kid caffeine aligns you morally with the mothers on Toddlers & Tiaras.
Awesome! Glad to have you back on the winning team!
Can you give your toddler-aged kid a sip of whatever you’re drinking here and there? Sure. Just don’t make it a habit – and don’t make them think they’re at stage one and need to work up to your level. In any event, read the Brooklyn Paper article (sauced) and tell me you don’t hate this idea more when someone intelligent argues it. I’m just the warm-up guy here.
Also, the author of that Brooklyn Paper article has a totally bitchin’ last name.