IN 1997 I WROTE A STORY FOR THIS magazine about the birth of my daughter Tyler and how it compared with the birth, just a couple of weeks earlier, of Carson Smith, the daughter of this magazine’s editor, Evan Smith (“Babes in the ‘Hoods,” April 1997). Tyler, born in upscale North Dallas, received a pair of Dior booties as a baby present. Carson, born in the eclectic Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, received a pair of baby Birkenstock-type sandals. Tyler slept in a gleaming white crib purchased from a Dallas baby store that served its customers coffee and croissants. Carson slept in a crib purchased at an Austin store that sold only “organic beds” uncontaminated by varnish or paint. Clearly, I concluded, the long-standing Austin-Dallas lifestyle clash was very much alive and well.
But in fact, Carson and Tyler turned out to be not all that different. They’re both crazy about Hilary Duff. Carson is a voracious reader who loves the Harry Potter books. Tyler is an intense pianist who had mastered “Belle the Bashful Butterfly” by the time she was five. Neither of them has any interest in soccer: During a game, Carson will sit down in the middle of the field to pick flowers, while Tyler will wander off to pet other people’s dogs.
Then, in May, I took six-year-old Tyler to a birthday party held at a place called Sports All Around, a cavernous gym where little girls are taught cheerleading. The gym is owned by Missy Griffiths Laros, perhaps the most vivacious woman I have ever met, and she immediately had the girls