Monday, May 31, 2010

The babycino...

I've recently been in the habit of ordering my two-year-old daughter a babycino when we're out at coffee shops. It's not coffee, just frothy milk with some chocolate sprinkled on top, but it's in a miniture coffee cup - just like mine.

The other day my husband and I were out at breakfast and there happened to be a toddler's birthday party in progress. A shrill voice caught my attention and I turned to watched the little girl tear open one of her gifts, as her mother yelled in delight, 'wow, your own coffee maker!'. It was a toy cappuccino maker complete with milk frother, coffee cups, spoons ... the lot. I then looked at my daughter enjoying her babycino and it got me this irresponsible? After all, coffee is a drug - just ask my husband who often blames his mood on the fact that he's yet to have his first cup of the day.

It takes me back to the days when I was little and it was perfectly natural for kids to walk around eating 'fags' - lollies made to look like cigarettes. Nowadays it would be frowned upon but back then everyone was buying them for their kids, or everyone I knew anyway. How long before we start thinking the same way about caffeine?

As my thoughts about being an irresponsible parent percolated, a friend of mine told me her three-year-old daughter was served a babycino with real coffee in it! She was horrified of course, and most cafes understand the concept of a babycino - but it was this story that really highlighted the potential dangers in offering kids pretend coffees.

What do you think? Is it just harmless fun...or something to be concerned about?


  1. I've never heard of babycinos or knew such a think existed. I wonder if that's an Australian trend (or maybe I'm just not very observant). Every now and then my son (5) expresses some interest in my coffee and I tell him it tastes like axle grease!

  2. Wow, that's really interesting! l wonder if it is just an Australian thing? My daughter loves the marshmallow that comes with it much more than the babycino itself!

  3. I am more outraged at the price some places charge for them - up to $2!! Jeeezuz!

  4. I agree, the price is ridiculous! Gloria Jeans are the only coffee shop I've found that don't charge for it.

  5. I think pretend fun, maybe because if Amy gets a babycino, I've ordered chai tea (the green caffeine free kind if I can get it) and she knows that Mummy drinks tea. I'm not a huge caffeine freak anymore, but I used to be when I was working in the commercial kitchen and you needed the caffeine to be 'speedy'. Probably a bad use of coffee. Heh.

    I will say though, babycinos have saved my arse from a tantrumming difficult child more times than I can count. Plus, where I go (normally Gloria Jeans) leaves it to the parent to add sprinkles or not, so we can do the gluten free thing easily.

  6. For me it's just harmless fun. I order babycinos for my daughters (2&6). It's like our own girlie time together.

    PS. Happy Blog Carnival Day.x

  7. Hmm, interesting. I love remembering the days of the 'fags' when you'd use the cold morning air to 'make smoke'. You're right - how much would we cringe if we saw a kid doing that these days?!

    I tend to order a milkshake for my little girl when we're at a cafe, but then I don't drink coffee so she wouldn't see that as something to copy. I do, however, get very frustrated at people who are so reliant on caffeine that they can't be happy in the morning without it!

  8. I think it's all innocent fun, but we've never really bothered with it ourselves

  9. I'd leave it as harmless fun, as there isn't much harmless fun around anymore...

    My daughter has been watching us use the toilet with fascination, so we bought her a potty.

    Same difference?

  10. I love giving my children babychino's! I think it's fun. I get the point here though. I think a lot of things can be negative, drinking, coffee, eating, television, oh, and I can't forget Barbie... it's endless really. I like to think I'm teaching my children to make good choice and give them the right information to make wise decisions rather than ban things all together.

  11. Pretend fun I think. Although it is an interesting question. I had a coffee shop once refuse to make a soy milk babychino so we stopped going there. My girls both prefer hot chocolates so I tend to get them a small 'warm' hot chocolate instead.

  12. I'm surprised that no one has picked up the very real danger of giving a throat sized marshmallow to a 2 year old. I have started my own local campaign to stop shops giving it or at least asking parents. I can not imagine a better sized throat blocker.

    1. Wow, excellent point. I hadn't even considered it a choking hazard.