Ikea Baby

Can’t afford $18,000 for a “trait-selected” child? A viral internet parody shows how the Swedish retailer Ikea would design a kid that goes great with a rattan ottoman and a spiffy halogen lamp.


The parody’s cover-sheet depicts a product that may entice minimalist couples who don't mind ashen offspring with grim, Nordic expressions. “I didn’t actually want BÅB to be gray,” says Clayton, “but this was the only 3-D model of a baby I could find to digitally cut up. It’s actually that old Dancing Baby [of “Ally McBeal” fame], though I did manage to edit out the diaper.”


All hardware is supplied, including Ikea’s infamous Tiny Wrench of Doom and eight “101350” metal finger-dowels. Clayton reports that the images have provoked outrage, though not, as you might expect, from tender-hearted moms: “[The geek crowd] likes to point out that the baby would not function correctly as furniture because certain joints are not mechanically sound. These people are obviously not parents.”


Though BÅB would perfectly complement the EXPEDIT bookshelf or the BESTÅ TV Solution, its visible foot seams might offend those Americans who do approve of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the procedure Fertility Institutes was proposing to exploit. In a recent survey by the New York University School of Medicine, 10 percent of respondents said they’d support genetic testing for athletic ability, while 13 percent wouldn’t mind upping the odds that their child boasted “superior intelligence.” Fully 95 percent requested seamless ankles.


Sloppy assembly could result in a product that has no chance of getting into a leading nursery school, or even being wait-listed. Clayton, who spent two weeks on the project, worried that his expectant-mom friend might find a baby with its legs inadvertently inserted in its shoulder sockets less than side-splitting. “But she loved it,” he says. “She totally got it. During her pregnancy, she’s had a complicated relationship with all those [alarmist] parenting guides. She was just telling me about an autism website where all the parents are convinced their kids were autistic just because they like to look at picture books upside down.”


Truly sloppy assembly could result in a product (marked here with an X) that would require considerable patience when it's time for potty training. Clayton, who says he wasn’t consciously alluding to the current controversy over genetic-defect screening, doubts that his buzzy new offspring will induce maternity-minded females to seek him out for dates: “I don’t think those women go for guys who like to put babies’ heads on backwards.”