stage mom 101

This morning I took Only Daughter for her “photo shoot,” available by approval at the low-low price of $100, and including one year of representation by a local Modeling Agency.

They were “shooting” 52 kids, which generates $5,200 for them up front. This occasion is on a recurring basis, every four months, with “Little Models” being required to have new photos taken every year so that they will be “up to date.” The agency also takes 20% of each booking fee.

You do the math.

Okay, I signed up for it, I shouldn’t complain about it, so I won’t.

I’m hoping this can be something that’s fun, can earn a little college savings money (80% of her “net”) and a little pocket money, but only if it doesn’t interfere with her school, my work, or her positive self image.

I did have a little taste of how easy it could be for this kind of thing to take over your life.

For instance, I absolutely live for Saturdays. It’s the only day of the week I don’t have to set my alarm, and “sleeping in” (albeit only to 8:30 or 9 usually) is such a gift to me – not to wake up to the alarm, but to sleep until I wake up, putter around in a few hours in my pjs over numerous cups of espresso, make waffles for breakfast, read, knit, allow the day to unfold. Alas.

Anyway, I had to set my alarm for 6:50 this morning. And then we had to “get ready.” Now they didn’t want anything fancy, but she needed to shower, with me helping, so her waist-length thick Korean hair could actually, for once in the past two years (since she’s been taking her showers by herself) have all of the shampoo rinsed out of it. And then I had to trim her fingernails and toenails (not because her toes would show, necessarily, but because apparently her mother doesn’t love her enough to keep her groomed; oh, that’s me, hmmm, anyway); then I had to lotion her (Korean skin = dry skin) and put vaseline on her lips (Korean skin = dry lips) and then I had to dry that hair. That took a while.

At one point I sent her off to eat breakfast, and then remembered that I wanted to put a little concealer on this little tiny itty-bitty barely-visible-to-the-naked-eye pimple that she was worrying about, so I called her back to the bathroom. I heard her sigh from 25 feet. I challenged her on it: “Did I hear you sigh at me?” OD: “No, I didn’t sigh.”


I think if this is going to happen on a regular basis she is going to have to learn how to do all these things for herself. I don’t want to be That Mom.

Speaking of That Mom. . .

We drive to the location of the photo shoot. It’s in what looks to be an abandoned factory. I only find it because the pin on my maps.google gps tells me I’m there, but I don’t really believe it until I pull in and see the photographer in the weeds with a blond little toddler in an argyle sweater.

As we are exiting the car, a woman in a ginormous SUV roars up and parks next to me. We walk up the steps to a landing of sorts, and there are some chairs there, so we sit, thinking this is where we should be. The woman (I’ll call her Dinah in honor of Lindsay Lohan’s mother) breezes past me, two blond children in her wake, and starts to enter the “factory.” I say: “Oh, do we need to go in?” Dinah: “Hmmm”


So we follow her up the stairs, where we find a women in a large scarf at a make-shift desk, surrounded by children and parents, handing out little slips of paper on clipboards for us to fill out. The photographer has followed us up, and is asking for 3 more kids to photograph. I volunteer that Only Daughter is welcome to go with; I will complete her form and be right behind. Dinah sighs, her mouth in a perturbed and superior pinch. The other moms and dads say hello, admire the babies in their little suits and denim jackets, smile conspiratorially over our children’s heads; except Dinah, who fusses around her children’s hair and drops names with the photographer.


What is it about certain demeanors, facial expressions, attitudes? Would it have been so difficult for her to tell me, someone who obviously didn’t know what to do or where to go, what I needed to know? And why do I react in such a way? Maybe she had a fight with her husband that morning, or just found out that her sister has breast cancer, (tiny mean voice says “Or maybe she’s just a bitch”); who really knows?

When I called Husband to tell her we were done, I told him about her, including a sentence I’m not proud of: “It seems she’s living vicariously through her semi-attractive children.”

OMG: I’m a bitch too! (She started it.)

I will have to be careful about this.

I would like to be the kind of person who had all of this happen and didn’t think twice about it. Who didn’t even notice it enough to mention it.

I Do Not Want To Be That Mom.

Is that enough?


Apropos of nothing, except that we went to the farmer’s market today:

Brussels Sprout Slaw, c/o the New York Times Sunday Magazine

Run 1 lb. of brussels sprouts* through the slicing blade of your food processor (the shredding one will turn them into little tiny bits).

Toss with:

1/2 c. coarsely chopped scallions

1/2 c. coarsely chopped dry-roasted peanuts

1/4 c. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Mix 1/2 c. mayonnaise with the juice of one lime, 2 T. fish sauce, and ~ 1 tsp. sugar.

Stir into the veggies and chill for a bit. Sprinkle with a few more scallions and some unchopped peanuts before serving.

I have never ever ever liked brussels sprouts until today, and I have a theory why. The farmer at the market this morning told me they take 110 days to mature. I think the ones bought at the store are probably not allowed to grow to maturity, and are therefore tough and/or bitter. These taste quite a bit like cabbage, only greener, if that makes sense. The slaw is fantastic.

1 Response to “stage mom 101”

  1. 1 Margy Rydzynski
    October 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Yum! I do love Brussels sprouts.

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