From "10 Things I Hate About You" (based on one of my favorite movies) to "Ruby & the Rockits," I've been busy this week. But perhaps the show I'd anticipated the most was aired tonight on The Learning Channel, TLC. It's called "Toddlers & Tiaras" and follows a few select parents and their children as they enter super high-class beauty contests.
I don't know what was most shocking and disgusting - the fact that one mother reluctantly admitted she has spent $65,000-$70,000 so far on hear 4-year-old princess or the fact that said princess frequently wears fake eyelashes, mascara, fake hair and a fake tan and claims the fake hand puppets her mom entertains her with are her best friends. Or perhaps it was the moment when she took her child for a photo shoot even though the toddler had a fever and wouldn't stop crying. "I might take her to the doctor when we're done," she said.
Another mother - supposedly a former beauty contestant herself, although I daresay it would be a stretch to call her pretty - was pushing her five daughters into the world of parading in silly dresses to show off their beauty. Two of the daughters were fraternal twins, competing against each other in the same age group.
"It isn't always fun because my sister always wins," said one of the adorable (and less cocky) 6-year-olds when interviewed.
It was clear the mother preferred the other sister, the one who always wins. Of the one I thought was the cutest, she only said, "It looks so forced when she's on stage."
"Well of course!!!" I yelled at her from the couch. "YOU are forcing her to do this!!!"
She didn't hear me. But it got a little better as the favorite twin threw a temper tantrum and was pulled from the competition by her father, who loathes beauty pageants (the mom, of course, was devastated). And the shy girl took home the Director's Choice Award once her sister was out of the picture.
But, wait. Then there was the mom, who seemed OK at first. She entered her 7-year-old son, dressed in a tiny tuxedo, into the competition. Of course, I gave up all hope as she also entered her 2-month-old baby boy - so small he couldn't even hold his own head up when she showed him off to the judges - in an even tinier tuxedo. I can't even imagine how much she spent to have those made.
"It makes me feel good that I can make beautiful babies," she said after they both took home trophies.
The 4-year-old princess, of course, took home the top prize of the entire pageant - a $1,000 award. She smiled and waved, and held up the shiny tiara that was too big to fit on her little head. She added it to her collection of tiaras, which filled a whole wall in her room.
"I love to be perfect," she said. Her mom nodded in agreement.