Ok, first things first, I have never watched the show Toddlers and Tiaras. I have heard about it, read about it in People Magazine and saw the CSI Miami episode based on the show. But I haven't watched it. I don't know exactly why - lack of interest combined with the fear that I'd end up enraged at the end? Maybe.
As my girl is leaving her baby years behind, we have been experimenting with different activities. So far she loves dance, some gymnastics, the cooking channel and a LOT of good, brainy fun. Trips to the museum, workbooks, educational games on the computer, she loves all of that. Since I'm playing catch up from last year, I'll mention that she was THE cutest cupcake in her dance recital last June.
So, as I acknowlege the fact that she is yummy and adorable, I am also thinking that I don't want her identity to be wrapped up in cuteness. Brains, talent, personality - she's got all of that going on. And yeah, she is cute. As a mom, though, I have to remember to talk up the OTHER qualities. Because she will be getting enough of that "looks are everything" message from the media, and that is dumb.
Which leads me to the question - how in the world did I end up at a casting call for an event with Toddlewood? And what am I going to do with a girl who keeps asking to go back and do it again?
The answer to the second question is "I have no idea."
The answer to the first question - how did I end up at a casting call for Toddlewood? I heard about it from a friend. A casting call for kids to come in and try for a spot in a photo shoot. The photo shoot will be kids dressed up like stars from the Golden Globes. Dress up sounds fun, and I love photography, and the casting call was in New York City and we had a free day. I had a "why not?" moment and sent in a picture. And she got picked! Out of 400+ kids, she made the top 125 and we were invited in for the casting call.
I checked out the website, and let me tell you, the photographer, Tricia Messeroux is awesome. She does something so fun and crazy with her photography and I love it. My girl loved watching the videos on the website and got to the point where she would ask me to pull up the site so she could watch. Instead of PBS.org and the Nick Jr. page. It was kind of like when she started watching the cooking shows on Food Network - totally bizarre and shocking to me.
So, the day arrives, we have a lovely ride on the train, just us girls. Lunch in the city, just us girls.
We walk to the casting call a little early (yay me!) and the studio is spilling over with girls. And boys. And some beauty queens. If you click here you can see a video of the mayhem. One mom sat next to me and told me how one little girl kicked her daughter and the mean girl's mom just acted like nothing happened. So yes, there were some of THOSE kinds of
kids moms there. But most of the children were just regular kids who happened to work a little on the side, or some (like us) who had never done a casting call in their lives. My girl got down to business and made some friends and commenced to coloring on the floor.
Eventually she got called in for her turn to meet Tricia. My girl acted like she was going to meet Dora The Explorer (or whoever most 4 year olds want to meet.) She stood in line without me, chattering away with the girl standing next to her, went into that room without me, smiled for the camera and came out SQUEALING, "I met Tricia, I met Tricia." And when I told her it was time to go, she did not want to leave.
To make a long story short (is that even possible at this point?) ~ we didn't get called back for the photo shoot, but we know a few of the cute girls who did and we are so excited for them. And it turns out that one of our friends from dance class was at the casting call too. Chatting with her mom at dance, she asked me if I wanted to forward my girl's photo to the agent she uses for her daughter.
And THAT is the new question in my mind. What do I want to do next? On the one hand, I have this idea in my mind that I don't want to be THAT mom. I don't want to be the mom who drags her kid around to audition and puts a premium on looks. And we are busy. Do we have time for this kind of thing? Maybe once in a while? What will this turn into? On the other hand, I have my girl who asks me every day, "WHEN are we going back? Tomorrow? Day after tomorrow?" She loved it. I did not encourage her to love it, she just LOVED it. And I met some of THOSE moms and lots of them were just like me.
Yes, there is a part of me that is super flattered whenever someone says my kid is cute, when they say that she stands out a little from the crowd. So now I have to decide how much further to go with this, how much I would I be doing this for her, how much would I be doing this for me and how in the world could I keep my child balanced if we go forward? We shall see.