There is a reason I don't watch much t.v. If I were to stumble across a show like "Toddlers and Tiaras" I would then have to explain to the Professor how exactly the remote "just happened" to slip out of my hand and crack the t.v. screen. Accidentally.
I consider myself a fairly reasonable person. My girls experiment with nail polish and on rare occasions are allowed minimal make-up in public.* When I read this girl's interview, I was equal parts horrified, grieved, and self-righteous; Horrified at who/what this little girl (and her pageant comrades) are and will yet become, grieved for all they can never be and self-righteous that I would never do this to my girls.
Everything in me screams, "In what alternate universe is this acceptable?!?" This girl is growing up in a world where her best is not nearly good enough. Hence the spray tans, hair extensions and fake teeth. Oh have mercy. Did I just write that? Sweetie, your skin isn't porcelain-perfect, let's fix it. Your hair is not thick, shiny, long enough. But that's OK, because we have something superior to add to your noggin. Your precious little baby teeth aren't cuttin' it. Here's some kid-friendly, bubble gum flavored Polident and your brand new chompers. Muuuuuch better. Now eat a carrot and hit the stage in this pint-sized Madonna cone costume.** The ultra-crazies aside, I truly believe these parents just want what's best for their daughters. But this runway could take them from "Toddlers and Tiaras" to "16 and Pregnant".
Innocence is not like a wart; It does not grow back.*** So much has already been lost and these little munchkins haven't even hit the kindergarten playground yet. I want so badly to grip their mothers' hands and tell them how fleeting these years are. Childhood is gone all too soon on it's natural timetable; Let alone when thrust upon a fast track. I grieve for their discarded innocence, so harshly replaced by too few sequins and too many spotlights. They can never be truly carefree. What with the corsets and all. I know some of these moms would argue that my girls are the ones not experiencing a full life. My daughters will most likely never be famous, never have their own perfume line and never have a room full of trophies.**** However, my daughters will also never be itty-bitty sex symbols.
I confess to openly judging these parents. Thus far, I haven't been able not to (another great reason not to watch the boob tube*****). I really would like to understand their rationale. The closest I've come is from the aforementioned interview. Mrs. Barrett said what she wants for her daughter is for her to be a "well-rounded individual". While I'm fairly certain that dropping fifty Gs on pageants isn't conducive to this goal, I also realize how ridiculously short I often fall in reaching my parenting goals. If I were to list my goals on a reality t.v. show, the world over would be certain to find every inconsistency, every flaw. And they are many. While I will never understand the world of pageants, I refuse to be sucked into the parenting wars. It's easy to judge these parents from my couch, when what they really need is love...and perhaps a little balance. The truth is every single parent will scan the horizon of innocence, only to realize that what they see is a mirage of their children; Some sooner than others. Children grow, goals go unmet, and every trophy, badge and reality show will gather dust.
Trying To Humbly Drop My Stones,
*They also have their own make-up and have a hayday painting their faces to look like circus clowns. "Mermaid Shimmer" has a stunning effect when swept across the bridge of the nose. I highly recommend it for your next gala.
**Oh how I wish I were exaggerating.
***Catchy, right? Feel free to quote me.
****If they do, you'll find me writing from the Bahamas.
*****Calling it that just dated me in a major way. *sigh* Might make for some interesting blog search results...