Babies and beauty pageants; it's a topic guaranteed to provoke almost as much debate as toddlers and dummies...
There's a story in yesterday's Daily Mail about a little girl from Essex, 19-month-old Bobbi Boyden, who is apparently poised for stardom as a baby beauty queen.
The tot's mum has reportedly spent £5,000 on pageant fees and frocks, and has, unsurprisingly, attracted a fair bit of criticism from those who think that babies don't belong in beauty pageants.
Personally, I can't understand the appeal of entering a child in a beauty contest - no matter how much that child might love dancing and dressing up. I'm fairly sure most little girls would relish the chance to parade around on stage in a flouncy frock, busting some moves to music, as indeed Bobbi's mother says her daughter does. But then most kids would also relish the opportunity to live on nothing but chips and slush puppies for the rest of their days - my point is that basing any of your decisions as a parent on what your child might choose makes little sense to me. They're kids, after all, and it's our job as parents to guide them towards choices that are good for them.
Twirling around in frilly frocks is something I think children should be encouraged to do in front of the mirror at home, as opposed to on stage in front of an audience. And dancing is something my kids and I do as a family - a household dance-off in the kitchen while we get dinner ready is a popular pastime - but it's certainly not a spectator sport.
And don't get me started on the curious business of 'rewarding' little girls for something as superficial as being beautiful..
But what do you think?
Image credit: Flickr/ladydragonflyherworld