Over the winter break from school, and finding myself with a few minutes between a book, the laundry, and waiting for my frozen pizza to heat up, I found this TLC show called "Toddlers and Tiaras."
And if you, like I, have seen it, you ran screaming from your t.v., swearing aloud that the world is a really f'ing crazy place and the people in it are completely tapped.
And then you went back to your t.v. and sat down, appauled and unable to move, transfixed by how insane some women can be about their daughters winning pageants for no apparent reason other than they very closely resemble miniature versions of a cross between The Stepford Wives (post lobotomy) and Tammy Faye Baker, hair, eyelashes, and sparkly costume all. While we watch the girls (some of them as young as 18 months) twirl themselves around the stage to canned, drum machine/keyboard music, the camera pans to their mothers, many of them once pageant girls themselves, miming and modeling the dance routine they've doubtlessly rehearsed in their living rooms to exhaustion, jumping around in faux-Fosse fashion.
I would like to think that I support all women, no less all mothers, in their tastes and desires for their babies to be what they think will make their children happiest and most fulfilled and nurtured. The show made me shudder, though, and when Devi woke up from her nap, still a little drowsy and warm from nuzzling her blanket, I made a quiet promise to both of us that I'm not sure I can iterate clearly in one sentence here--but it was partly to let her be little as long as she was little, to not rush her growing up, to let her personality emerge, and to try my hardest not to pin my own hopes or lost dreams on her (not that I'm sure I have any lost dreams--life's been pretty good--but I think if I had any talent with a guitar, I would have loved to be a rockstar, or at the very least, a really kick-ass soul back-up singer).
We took Dev to get her 1-year-old portraits done last Sunday. Alloted 30 minutes and three outfits, I chose a casual outfit she'd normally wear for play, a polka-dot dress I found on the clearance rack at Babies-R-Us two days prior, and a little shirt-dress I found in Japan that sports a strawberry and boasts the Champion logo and our hometown, the (old?) Champion HQ, from a Champion outlet store outside of Tokyo. During the shoot, the photographer did her best to get just the right angles and shots, while Heath worked his magic to make Devi laugh, and I worked mine. Apparently my magic is jumping up and down and making crazy sounds and faces like someone on a cocktail of mushrooms and crack.
And just as our photographer gleefully squealed that she got what she wanted, I had a flashback of those stage moms, jumping up and down and all about. It was a scary moment. Thankfully, no false eyelashes nor hair extensions on our stage, but I imagine there will come a day, maybe 6th grade, when she'll want to pierce a part she can't spell yet, or like the prom, when I won't help but be sentimental for the good ol' days when the dresses covered more than high breast tissue and thigh, and my girl will look like she's prematurely 35.
I, new mom and part-time control freak, just hope I have the fortitude to let her be herself.