Two weekends ago, a few towns away, there was a pageant. I was mixed when Allyson asked to participate, but she was excited at the possibility of winning a plastic crown and fake sash.
If you’ve seen Toddlers and Tiaras on TLC, you know what goes into putting a pageant girl up on a stage. Thousands of dollars are spent per pageant on hair pieces, make up and dresses. One grandmother from this clip on youtube laughs off the fact that she bought her granddaughter’s first gown for $20,000.00.
Um, what? I think I barfed a little in my mouth.
As they introduced each little girl for the local pageant, Allyson ran forward, shouted that her favorite color was red and fidgeted the entire time she was standing there.
When they passed out the white chocolate, “thank-you-for-participating” lollipops to each girl as the judges marked their cards, Allyson asked if she could eat hers. While other moms said no, I unwrapped the pop and happily handed it to my daughter uncaring if the dress she wore got dirty.
Allyson laughed while other girls kept on their plastic smiles and held their hands at their sides like Barbies on doll stands.
Allyson struck funny poses while some mothers dragged little ones in front of judges screaming and crying.
As you can see, my fiery little redhead wore a simple strawberry patterned sundress, with no makeup except for lip gloss and a white ribbon headband that I made myself.
She was the least decorated one there and I really wish at this point, I could tell you in my perfect Katetopia, where personality comes before beauty, that she won. But she didn’t and frankly, I’m glad.
I won’t be that mother that bends over their child and reminds them to smile and wave and act like a Stepford child. I won’t be that mother who anxiously lip syncs the rehearsed line her daughter sweetly feeds the judges. I won’t be that mom who won’t let my daughter play in the mud or let her get branches and grass tangled in her hair. I don’t need to live vicariously though my daughter, and lament missed opportunities in my past.
In fact, I hope Allyson can forgive me one day for subjecting her to such a false circus. I will work hard to instill selfconfidence in all three of my kids. Ultimately, with proper guidance, they should be proud of who they are and not how they look.
I will never be a pageant mom. Ever.
My kids are beautiful with chocolate smeared on their faces and clothes. My kids are wonderful when they smile without cues. My kids are brilliant, fun and most importantly, kids. Why so many of these pageant moms are so eager to make their kids into adults with rhinestones and lip liner is beyond me.
I will revel in their youth and embrace both their successes and their failures. I will love them for being them.
Allyson did ask why she didn’t get a crown, and as I bought her a fairy princess wreath from a nearby craft vendor, I told her that she didn’t need one to be special or loved, because she was; without the sash, a title or a plastic crown that symbolizes beauty above brains. To me, that’s the most unattractive line of thought one person could have or pass on to an impressionable child.