Monday, June 16, 2008

SMILF: Say It Isn't So...

Okay, look. If you ARE a pageant mom or strive to be a pageant mom (you poor soul) then stop reading now. Just stop. Move on. Go curl some poor little girls hair or put lipstick on a child that doesn't even know her left from her right.

First of all, I was never in any sort of pageant. I never wanted to be and thank the Lord, my mother never pushed me to be. It is not a world that I want my child in - at all, period. Jon Benet Ramsey anyone??

So when a couple of weeks ago E tells us that Sydney is going to be in a pageant, I almost spit out my lovely piece of pizza I was chewing on. Excuse me? Sydney. Like, our Sydney? The little girl who hates to get dressed up and wants to wear sweats all of the time? The girl who hates to get her hair brushed? I'm confused. But much to my dismay it was true. Sydney was going to be in pageant for her county's fair where her mother lives. This seemed extremely out of character to me.

When Sydney next came to our house I asked her about this pageant (I want to gag when I say this word...why is this?!). She seemed semi-excited about it - and at that point I thought, okay, as long as she is having fun with this, then I will be excited for her. But honestly, she is way more Little Miss Sunshine than Jon Benet. Cute, smart, funny, but definitely not the stereotypical pageant girl. I then find out that E was in pageants when she was little and how convenient for her to push Sydney to be in one considering she wants Sydney to be just like her. Shudder at the thought. I launch into the speech about, "You know, it's better to be pretty on the inside than it is the outside so please remember that you are both and you need to be both during this pageant okay?" She says that her mom told her that when she was in pageants when she was little that she often won Miss Congeniality (bad judges of character pageant judges...shame) and she tells this impressionable, naive, self-conscious 8 year old, "I never wanted to be the nice one though, I was always upset because I wanted to be pretty, not nice." The joke is on her - she never got either.

Robert and I would have rather cut each others fingernails out one by one than go to a pageant, but of course we did because we go to everything of the kids and we support them fully. This pageant was THE most awkward thing I have ever been to. The kids live in a small, country town - absolutely nothing wrong with that. I am from a similar place, so I knew some things to expect. We get there (to a middle school) and the stage has zero decorations on it. Nothing. It has a podium for the announcer (we'll get to her later) and a table with trophies on it covered in this hideous black sparkly piece of material. That is it. It looked like someone woke up that morning and said, "Huh, let's have a pageant here today, nothing else going on." The announcer...I really felt sorry for her. She either was smoking a crack pipe or was sneaking drinks from a nearby flask. She couldn't speak straight, kept dropping things, etc. which made it awkward for the little girls smiling on stage.

The girls came out one by one and said their name, where they would go to school, their age, and their contestant number. Then they would walk across the stage in their gowns (who the fuck makes prom dresses for 8 year olds?! Someone help me please...) while the announcer did her best to tell the girls hobbies, their wishes, etc. Once all of the girls were finished with this portion, they all came back out and stood in a row in front of the judges. No music, no nothing, just them standing there. For like 5 minutes. And finally the announcer realizes they are waiting on her cue and she is all, "Oh, let's give these ladies another hand..." and lets them leave the stage. Pay attention lady. They are your disciples at this point. That was it. No talent, no nothing, just parading them around on stage like little fairies in a snowglobe to be judged on their looks. Fantastic way to raise a child.

After deliberation by the judges they brought the girls all back out and the announcer says, "We don't have sashes for the girls because they are up in a box in the attic so I apologize for that." Um...maybe they really DID just get up this morning and decide to have a pageant?!

Sydney ended up getting 2nd runner up - I was excited for her because I know she wanted it but part of me was thinking, "Oh fuck. She is going to want to do this again now." Honestly, if this was her personality and something I felt she truly enjoyed, then I would be positive about it, but it just seems like (as usual) something that she was mind warped into doing.

Oh yes, let's not forget that E and her entire insane family was there. Tyler was with us that weekend and was sitting with us and E made sure and come up when she got there and make sure that he sat with her instead of us. Because after all, it's all how she looks and to those who don't know her she needs to look like the model parent. After the pageant (keep in mind, this is our time with the kids) she kept trying to get Sydney to stay to watch all of the older girls do their pageant when we really had to go as we had other plans. Sydney was torn but her mom kept on and finally Robert said, "We have to go." Um...please stop trying to get your children to do things that you want them to do. Please stop trying to make them feel guilty about doing things that aren't what YOU want. Do you realize how bad you are screwing them up?!

Yeah, so I hate pageants. I really do. I am a pretty damn girly girl as well - I love makeup, purses, clothes, shoes, etc. but there is something about getting your small child into that world that I just can't agree with. If it's one for fun, then okay, but if you are really trying to make them into something that they aren't? Then get a fucking grip.

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