Sunday, March 11, 2012

Toddler Supermodel's demand M&M's

My daughter is beautiful. There I said it. Call me biased. I don’t think she’s ever taken a bad picture. The pictures seem flawless. She undoubtedly a pretty pretty girl. 
She is also insane.
Love Monster turned four this month and every year, as many parents do, we take her to get her pictures taken. Seems easy. Dress her up, take her the JC Penny’s, plop her in front of the camera, say cheese, she in her natural gorgeousness will do so (at the most you’ll maybe need a little prompting from her trusty bear, Bees) and done. 
And a great end result. Right?
Right. The fact that we got a great picture is a miracle. The fact that I lived through the day is a miracle. Let me walk you through adventure shall I?

I wake up. It’s picture day. I lay in bed and do a silent meditation. 
 Calm. Think calm, positive thoughts. Today will be easy. Today will be fun. Today Love Monster will smile on command and not make the photographer want to slit her wrists. Calm, positive...
I open my eyes, take a deep breath and smile. I hear Love Monster’s door open. Hurdle number one. What kind of mood is she in? She stands at her door already wearing her princess dress her hair standing on end, a rat’s nest in it’s full glory. I hold my breath.
 “How was your nap hon?” I brace myself.
 “Good!” She says here eyes sparkling.
 I let out my breath. This is a good start.
 We eat a nutritious breakfast, not too sugary, just enough protein. Keep an even keel. I subtlely integrate picture taking rehearsal into our morning play.
 “Let me see your best smile.”
 “Can you pose with your doll?”
 “Put your hands on your hips. Cute!”
 This is going so well, I’m ecstatic. I give her free reign to play. 
 It’s now eleven o’clock. Time for hurdle number two. Getting ready.
 Time to tame the hair that belongs in a Whitesnake video and clean her face of random snacks (the innerds of a breakfast bar, four cheerios and a good milk mustache).
 I get the detangler, rubber band and brush and sit on the couch, “Come here, Sweetie.” I say as nonchalantly as possible.
 She looks up from her dinner in progress in the play kitchen and screws up her face eyeing the brush distrustfully.
 “Come on. It’s okay,” I say like I’m talking to some wild animal that might go ape shit on me at any minute.
 She puts down her cherry, potato and hamburger cassarole and skips over and sits in front of me.
 “I want Mexico hair, Mama,” She says (Mexico hair is Gertie’s hair in E.T. ‘Where’s Mexico?’ is her favorite line in that movie for some reason). I convince her we should just put her hair over to one side so some can be down. I know. I’m pushing my luck. But she just shrugs and says okay. I’m feeling sort of empowered now.
 I convince her pretty easily to take off the four sizes too big Cinderella dress and put on her nice new dress that her great grandmother made for her. She screamed that she must have a white shirt underneath and I conceded to keep the peace.
 Hurdle three, achieved!
 We go to JC Penny’s with my parents in tow. We’re waiting while an awkward looking teenage boy is getting his pictures taken. Love Monster sits on my lap getting a little squirmy but not unmanageable.
 “You gotta smile with your teeth!” Love Monster says to the boy who clearly needs this direction. 
 “So how do you think this is going to go?” My dad asks innocently.
 And with that question, all the confidence that I had drained out of me.
 “I have no idea,” I say. And I don’t. This is such a crap shoot. She could be a complete ham or she could throw a unending tantrum. I had no idea. The butterflies in my stomach were puking.
 “Love Monster?” A perky JC Penny’s photographer with an impossibly high voice asks.
 Love Monster takes off into the room with enthusiam.
 It’s going to be okay. I say. She’s in diva mode.
 We get into the room and Love Monster skids to a stop on the classic brick background that was laid out for her pre-teen predessor. 
 And the words I’ve been dreading burst out of her mouth, “I don’t wanna!”
 She tries desperately to escape the room. My mom and dad and I try to corral her onto the red spot on the floor where her mark is. The JC Penny photographer sits coolly by picking her fingers while holding the camera. 
 “How about you hold her mom?” The photographer says.
 I sigh. I have barely brushed my hair. I wearing the oldest shirt in my closet and no make up is on my face.
 “Just to get her warmed up I say. Don’t get me in the shot,” I say.
 The photographer totally doesn’t listen to me.
 “Take a look. So cute!”
 I look at the picture. Every freakin’ wrinkle on my face shows. My hair looks stringy. Ugh.  This will not do. Doesn’t she get that I’m an actor and about 98% more vain that the rest of the population!!
 I try a new tactic.
 “See the red light! Isn’t that cool? Stand on it,” I say (Isn’t that light cool? Gonna have to do better than that).
 “NO!” She screams. “I want my Bees!”
 “Okay, here he is,” my mom says giving her her precious bear. It calms her for a moment before she tears around the set again.
 We start bribing her with anything and everything. “We’ll get ice cream after this! You can ride on the merry go round how ever many times you want!”
 “Even on the zebra?” She asks.
 “Even on the dragon?”
 “Even on the dragon.”
 “Even on the elephant?”
 “Whatever you want, Just smile and take a pretty picture!” I scream.
 Imagine a cracked out supermodel that everyone hates to work with because she’s a nightmare. Think Gia, but instead of a switchblade, Love Monster carries a magic wand. Love Monster careens around the set like a mad women while her entourage (me and my parents) tries to get to to feel good about herself and just do the job.
 But it’s amazing. She’s be ranting and running around then turn around give the perfect pose that the photographer catches.
 “You look beautiful sweetheart!” I say.
 “I want some M&M’s,” she demands rolling around on the floor once again.
 A long torturous half hour later, we’re done. I need a nap. I look at the shots and well yeah a lot are blurred beyond belief, but just like that cracked out supermodel, she comes out with great pictures anyway (That’s why you pay me the big bucks mama.). 
I sympathize with professional photographers who have to put up these crazy models. I totally relate now. Except having to buy Love Monster ice cream is a hell of a lot cheaper than having to get an eight ball for a supermodel.

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