Friday, April 24, 2009

To Be a Toddler

Recently, I saw a clip from the TLC documentary show, Toddlers & Tiaras. It was only a few-second-long clip, aired on a news show that I was watching, but it was so disturbing that it brought tears to my eyes. This tiny girl, who couldn't have been more than three or four, was dancing up on the stage with makeup and a fake tan on her face, a big frilly dress, and perfectly curled and coiffed hair. She made some kind of mistake with her dance, facing away from the audience instead of towards them, and when her mother loudly whispered something like, "Turn around, you're facing the wrong way", her beautiful face melted into tears, and she ran off the stage into her mother's arms, crying, "I messed up, I messed up". Her mother hurriedly comforted her, shooing her back onto the stage to continue performing. And my heart broke a little for that poor little girl.

Because I have a toddler, too. And toddlerhood and preschool-hood should not be filled with makeup, and fakeness, and performance anxiety, and peer pressure. There will be plenty of that once our babies get to junior high school. In my opinion, toddlers should regularly be covered in food and mud. Their hair should be styled with yogurt or possibly oatmeal, and they should be discovering what sound a rock makes when it's tossed into a creek, or learning the words to songs like The Wheels On The Bus...not memorizing dance steps reminiscent of Britney Spears. Whatever happened to childhood, people?

Is this what childhood is supposed to look like? I submit to you that it is not.

And I offer you an alternative picture.

I love this picture of my little Z. Seriously, can you even tear your eyes away from it? I cannot. There is no makeup involved in this picture. He does have a little food and possibly snot on his face. His hair is self-styled...with applesauce. His little pants & socks are dirty and wet from stepping in the creek, and his shoes are muddy. He's chilling on the porch swing, looking up at his mama (me! Aren't I blessed?) with an inquisitive, happy smirk, his blue eyes wide with curiosity.

And THAT's what being a toddler is all about.

**Disclaimer: I'm not trying to act smug, like I'm a great mom, better than those 'toddler pageant moms' - that's not the point of this post at all, and I humbly realize that I have lots of shortcomings as a mother and am NO better than anyone else. This is only meant to be a gentle reminder to all of us to let our kids be kids...they grow up SO quickly!!!

1 comment:

Heather of the EO said...

What a beautiful boy you've got!

I totally agree about this show (and the pageant life), it's just so sad. It's hard to understand why someone would want to do that with their child. Really hard.

So nice to "meet" you :)