As a hip, urban twenty-five year old young woman, my Saturday afternoons always include dance parties. This past weekend was a bit different. I went to a dance party but, this Saturday I danced with babies—no, not hot male babes, babies, as in diaper-clad, bottle-gripping, pacifier-sucking infants. I admit, it was weird to switch up my vodka-tonics for cranapple boxed juice, but this dance party was one of the hippest and liveliest ones I have ever attended.
Baby Loves Disco is a craze started in Philadelphia by professional dancer and professional mama, Heather Murphy. Her brainwave was to make a unique space for parents to boogie with their babies. She was sick of the mass-produced, commercialized places that encompassed the world of children’s entertainment. At Baby Loves Disco, Barney, Mickey mouse-ears, and junk food are banned. Baby Loves Disco happens in every major city in the United States and numerous big cities abroad. It employs local parents and lets them keep the hallucination alive that it is possible to work from home and avoid getting a real job. The San Francisco event was hosted by Sarah Mallas, an über hip mama who wore a midriff-bearing Baby Loves Disco tee with dangly beaded tassels.
As I walked into the lobby of San Francisco’s sleek Ruby Skye nightclub, I was stunned. If it were a Friday night, this club would be over-flowing with skimpily dressed girls with too much mascara and horny boys with too much hair gel. Behind the red velvet rope today was pee-pee, spit-up, wobbly-feet, and tears. The surly black-clad bouncers usually shun this type of behavior—but not this afternoon. As I shimmied under the disco ball, I knew I was in an ankle-biters paradise. The DJ played the ABBA hit “Dancing Queen,” and the mamas, papas, and babies squealed, gyrated, and wiggled.
The lounge area had been transformed into a baby haven—tents, storybooks, tunnels, and toys were strewn everywhere. There was a table full of healthy snacks and the bars were brimming with juice boxes and milk cartons. The second floor of the club was packed with bubbles, a maze of hula-hoops, and face-painters. The entire club was buzzing with the energy of diapers, drool, and parents in need of a night out.
I am yet to enter the world of playgrounds and play-doh, but I already know I will need time to let the diapers down. I will sorely miss my dancing days. I am already anticipating the lump that will form in my throat when I see hot-bodied youngsters roaming the streets on a bender as I push my stroller back home for a night of nappies and bottles. That being said, it’s no shocker that Baby Loves Disco has become a world-wide phenomenon. Let’s be honest, this event is really for the parents who are starving for a break from Thomas the Tank Engine.
I sense the identity issues motherhood creates—surrendering your identity as an independent, hip individual to the full-time attention your child needs. I’m not going to lie—I’m nervous to trade in the Hills for Dora the Explorer and Bellinis for breast milk. However, this past Saturday afternoon gave me hope—hope that I can evade adulthood for a few more precious years (even when I have a tot of my own).
Babies will dance to anything: commercials, cell-phone ring tones, even car alarms. Baby Loves Disco is a chance for the parents to throw down their burp-rags and get their groove on. I saw mamas dressed in glitter-clad A-line dresses, bell-bottoms, hump-me boots, and cleavage bearing tops. I saw dads sipping beers and secretly shaking their hips. This afternoon was a chance for parents to reclaim their identities as the hip, young, sexy party animals they still are.
Furthermore, this is a fresh, unique opportunity for parents to bond with their children. Gone are the days of boring museums, depressing zoos, and monotonous parks—it’s time to put your wee-one under the disco ball. The success of Baby Loves Disco is because a thirst is being quenched and a niche is being filled. Shiraaz, a disco dancing mama brought her charming son and dance-aholic Zephan back to Baby Loves Disco for the third time, saying, “It’s great for parents because you do what you love to do and re-live your pre-kid days—and your kids get to bust a move too!”
Although I am not quite ready to turn in my Saturdays to strollers and bubble machines, when I am, you will find me wearing the beaded tassel shirt, twirling my mini-me to the Bee Gees under the disco lights.
Photos courtesy of Patrick Roddie, webbery.com