We hear so much about mini this and mini that these days, we thought we'd heard everything but here's a new one - the singing "mini-mom." She's Barbara Cowsill of New York, the 40-year-old mother of seven.
It's hard to believe she's actually 40. And it's east to understand why her fans have dubbed her "the mini-mom." She's just five feet two, slender, weighing 106 pounds, and has bleached-blonde hair cut to a Mia Farrow style. And she wears mini-miniskirts.
It's not so much that Mrs. Cowsill wants to look like a teen-ager; it's more like she has to.
As she explains: "I absolutely couldn't make it on stage if I went forty-ish. When you're surrounded by kids nine to 20, you have to wear short skirts."
The smiling vivacious "mini-mom" sings with six of her children in the rock-folk-country group called the Cowsills. They other singers are William, 20, who has recently married; Robert, 19, Paul, 16, Barry, 13, John 12, and Susan 9.
There are two other Cowsills, too. William "Bud" Cowsill, the 43-year-old father, manages the group but doesn't play or sing. Richard Cowsill, 19 - Robert's twin brother is with the United States Army at Fort Gordon, Ga.
This summer the family is booked on a whirlwind schedule of personal appearances throughout the country - mostly at county fairs.
According to pert and pretty Mrs. Cowsill, the whole idea of working as a singing family was her husband's. He founded the group four years ago when he retired from a 20-year stint in the Navy and decided that his singing, drumming and guitar-playing family was ready for more than charity shows and family jam sessions.
They have sold three million single records. Their biggest hits are "The Rain, The Park, and Other Things" and "Indian Lake." And virtually all of their success has come in the last nine months.
One reason for the Cowsills' popularity is that they have generated a wholesome, all-American image that appeals to children as well as their parents and grandparents. As a result their detractors often refer to their music as "Bubble Gum Rock."
But this doesn't faze the Cowsills - they're too happy and successful to care.