Toddlers & Tiaras

I never get the TV to myself these days. Usually we’re watching Andy and his Dinosaur Adventures or Nina and the Neurons. Actually – anything  on CBeebies is what’s usually on!

Pair that with the fact that LagosDad has been home with a trapped nerve for three days (God help me) – and I’ve had no time to myself.

I don’t know how it happened, but I was lucky enough to be able to choose what I wanted to watch yesterday.

I flicked through the channels and saw that Say Yes To The Dress was on soon. I won’t rave about the show – many think I’m very sad for watching it!

Anyway so before the show started, Toddlers and Tiaras was on.

Have you ever seen it?

I know the show has caused a lot of controversy. I can understand people think it’s an appalling extra-curricular activity for children to partake in. And I think I can see how some parents might enjoy dressing up their daughters every weekend. Like they’re dolls or something. I realise that some mums have other reasons for entering their children in beauty pageants – I just can’t think of any.

So in the episode I watched yesterday there was an eighteen month old who didn’t really know what was going on around her. By the end of the episode her dad was saying, “I think she’s probably a bit tired now. It’s been a long day.”  You think?!

There was a three-year-old who, according to one of the judges, “didn’t make enough eye contact”.

And there was a six-year-old who, according to another judge, “had a fake smile”.

At one point, the three-year-old came on stage for her swimwear bit and got distracted by one of her fake nails which was falling off. It bothered her and she didn’t know what to do about it.  A judge commented saying the toddler would get marked down for ‘personality’ because of that and the eye contact issue.

The child is THREE Ffs!

I was quite horrified by it all. You can think whatever you want about your own child – but to have people on television saying your child has no personality, moves stiffly, has a fake smile, etc has to be an absolute no-no. No?

I think the worst part for me was watching the awards at the end. The categories were things like “prettiest eyes” and “most beautiful”.  Who the f*ck are they to judge on what’s pretty or beautiful?  Aren’t all children beautiful?

Is it any wonder that girls are growing up with major body image issues? If you’re exposing your daughters to being judged from the age of eighteen months, what will happen to them when they’re eighteen? How will they see themselves? Is it fair to do that to them?

I did a little more reading about the show, the contestants and their parents.  I have to say I was quite shocked by some of what I read.

Some of the things that these kids have to endure: spray tanning, hours of hair and make-up application, eyebrow plucking, eyelash tinting and curling, fake teeth and fake nail applications.  And they’re not usually happy about it.

Then I read about one mum who dressed up her toddler as Dolly Parton. Complete with fake boobs and backside.

Another child has a special ‘Go-Go Juice’. It’s part Mountain Dew and part Red Bull.  According to the girl’s mother, ‘everybody on the circuit does it’.  Well that’s ok then, isn’t it?

One mum made her four-year-old smoke a fake cigarette on stage and another dressed her daughter up like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. You know, like a hooker.

There’s also the mum who waxed her five-year-old’s eyebrows. That’s bloody painful for me as an adult. How would a child cope with pain like that .

I wish people would let their children just be children. Aren’t they growing up too fast as it is?


No Stress

You know I used to be a smoker, right?

I’ve been a non-smoker once before, but stupidly started again.

However, I’ve stopped again 🙂  It’s been about three months now.  Yay me!

Anyway, so I know I’m 35 years old – and I know it’s ridiculous, but for me and in my community, smoking and smoking in front of your elders is an absolute no-no.  Especially if you’re a girl.  And no matter how old you are!

In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter if you’re a boy.  My brother smokes in front of my parents all the time – and they NEVER say anything to him.

I started smoking when I was 15.  I am absolutely positive that at some point in my fifteen years as a smoker (and then during the twenty months when I started again) my parents knew I smoked.  I’m sure they could smell it on me each time I came home.

When confronted, my reaction was always the same – deny, deny, deny.

So during my last few trips to Dubai (to stay with my parents), sneaking out for a cigarette was really difficult.  And it wasn’t just them – it was V as well.  I didn’t want to smoke in front of him.

Usually, when I’m here without LagosDad (he only comes for part of the time) it’s more difficult.  I spend all day with my mum.  And even if we weren’t together for a few minutes here or there – I didn’t want her to smell smoke on me!

It actually became quite stressful.  She would get on my nerves, I’d need a cigarette, I couldn’t have a cigarette, I’d get grumpy, cranky and desperate.

I’d do whatever I could to spend a few hours by myself (almost impossible), just so I could have a cigarette.

Every evening I would beg my sister to come out for a drink, just so I could have a cigarette or four.  Sometimes I wouldn’t even want to go out – but I made myself!

I know it sounds silly – a grown woman having to go through all this just to have a cigarette – but it’s just what happened.  And as I said before – it was stressful!

I’m in Dubai at the moment, and you know what?

I don’t have any of those issues anymore.

It is such a relief not to have the added stress of trying to get away from everyone to smoke!