When my daughter was a newborn, I loved nothing more than to sniff her milky head and drink in that precious smell that only new babies have. When you get past the vomit and the poo, babies smell rather nice. Three years on and I still think my little girl smells rather nice – even after a day at a muddy park.
That’s why I greeted a press release that landed in my inbox this morning with a “Huh?”. It was telling me all about an “essential product” called Alvarez Gomez Eau de Cologne for children. Essential? Really?
The press release goes on to explain that this type of product is already popular in warmer countries, as it “leaves a refreshing gentle aroma” on a child’s skin. Apparently it smells of lemon blossom, Spanish lavender and mint which “suit a young child perfectly”.
Let’s be clear here, we’re not talking about kids’ soap. We’re not even talking about play make-up or some fruity gimmicky children’s shampoo. We’re talking about perfume, for kids as young as five.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those preachy mums who won’t let her kid play dress-up. My three year old loves nothing more than to steal my eye-shadow and smear lipstick on her cheeks. On occasion, she even wears a dab of nail varnish as I attempt to persuade her to let me cut her finger nails. But the thought of her getting her very own perfume – a perfume that’s not even a play thing but a non-ironically marketed child’s product? No way. Not even when she’s the grand old age of five years old.
Kids don’t smell for starters. For seconds, if they do smell – of mud and rain and grass and old yoghurt stains – then that’s just the whiff of childhood. Kids aren’t meant to smell of lemon blossom and Spanish lavender, just like they’re not meant to care about getting their wellies dirty at the park or their hair full of sand at the beach.
Do we need yet another product marketed at gullible mums and keen young children, making them take that step towards being a grown-up too soon? Instead of pushing little kids along their way to teendom, we should be slowing them down.
In fairness, the one thing I can credit the press release for is the fact it doesn’t once mention “little girls” but keeps the product open to all “children”. So at least there’s no gender stereotyping there – I guess little boys are allowed to smell of lemon blossom and Spanish lavender too. But still, why would they want to?
What do you think? Eau de Cologne for kids – genius or just plain bonkers?