Toddlers, Tiaras & T-Ball


While I’ve never thought that there’s anything wrong with a little healthy competition (see: heated games of Candy Land, Checkers & Sorry that have recently been played in our house), the last few weeks have reminded me that it can sometimes go too far.

A couple of weeks ago we started T-Ball.

EZ running the bases

I’ll admit up front that despite my legacy as JV Girl’s Soccer Captain in high school, I’m not much for sports. Beyond the X-Games or the Olympics, I don’t really watch sports on television, and will only be dragged to an actual sporting event if somebody I know is playing and demands I attend. However, we thought that T-Ball could be a fun activity for an energetic kid like EZ, and when his bff decided she wanted to play as well, we signed them up.

Now I spend my Saturday mornings watching a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds running around haphazardly,  tossing balls and having fun. We’ve seemed to luck out since the other kids and parents on his team (he’s an Angel) as well as his coach, share the same easy going, relaxed, “let the kids have fun” mentality.

I think they’re supposed to be practicing tossing the ball here… 

EZ & his teammates hopping around the field

However, that’s not the case for everyone. As EZ runs around (or sits next to me, not in the mood to play), I’m usually checking everyone else out. What I see makes my stomach roll at times: Other team’s coaches being a bit too loud and forceful as a four year old stares off into space, unwittingly allowing a ball to fly by… A parent decked out in full Red Sox regalia, standing right behind her son on the field, dictating his every move and getting visibly flustered when he fails to follow directions… A little boy crying because he’s just not having fun, yet is still forced to play.

It’s that sort of icky behavior and competition that I can’t get on board with. Perhaps that means I’m just not fit to be a “sports mom,” and that EZ won’t go on to bat in the national league. Or…maybe it means he will, because instead of feeling forced, he enjoyed the game. Who knows. (I’m secretly hoping he enjoys it for what it is now and leaves it at that, because otherwise I’ll end up being the worst mom in the world who doesn’t want to go visit her son at “work.”)

There’s grumbling and grimacing on my part, none too happy with the fact that some parents were taking T-Ball just a bit too far in my eyes. I realized that this was probably also only the tip of the competitive iceberg as far as kids and sports go. Then, I came home, caught up online, and thanked my lucky stars that I’m only dealing with T-Ball stuff and not Botox and virgin waxes.



Beyond the world of competitive T-Ball, there are other arenas where children battle it out to emerge victorious, and one of them involves fancy dresses, fake tans, and tiaras. Despite my penchant for crappy reality TV, even I can’t bring myself to watch as little girls are exploited in the name of pageantry. While I’ve mostly turned a blind eye to it, the latest news from the pageant circuit made me more than uncomfortable.

When 8 year old girls are getting Botox and “virgin waxes,” and others are celebrating and promoting that? Something ain’t right.

There is competition and then there is injecting your child with botulism to erase wrinkles. At 8 years old. If there was a line crossed, it happened so long ago that it’s a blur in the distance at this point. I won’t even get into the messages that are being sent when an 8 year old girl feels like she needs Botox, waxes and who knows what else to feel “pretty.” What’s going to happen at 10 or 12 or 16 when those aren’t enough?

Perhaps it is too simplistic to remember the whole “let kids be kids” sentiment, but in an age where somebody in the medical field is providing Botox for pageant kids, I think I’m okay with simple.

Whether it’s T-Ball or tiaras, the push for such fierce competition at such a young age unnerves me. While I’m beyond relieved that I will most likely not have to deal with such things as Botox and virgin waxes, I’m also not so sure what else is simmering beneath the T-Ball surface. This first foray into sports will certainly be an interesting one…

Pregnant In Heels

There’s this new “reality” show on television right now, and even before I saw a clip of said show, I made a promise to myself that I it. Not because I thumb my nose at scriptless yet still crafted shows about pseudo-celebs, Drag Queens, Top Chefs or even 20-something strangers picked together to live in a house and have their lives taped. No, in fact, I eagerly DVR many of them for later consumption, much to my husband’s dismay.

However, without even having watched a second of this new reality show, I knew that if I even devoted an ounce of my time to it, I would be become incurably frustrated and perhaps even throw a shoe or two at my TV (hence preventing me from watching any other horribly delicious reality television).

The show in question is Bravo’s latest… Pregnant In Heels. The name itself told me more than I needed to know. The best I got during my 9 months of pregnancy was “Pregnant in Flip Flops” (okay, there were probably forays into “Pregnant in Boots” and “Pregnant in Slippers.” This was in my pre-Ugg days, after all).

However…if there was ever a show called “Pregnant & Hooping,” I’d be the 1st one to sign up

I knew from the title alone that I would find contention with this show, and not the good kind where you’re shouting at the screen because your favorite contest on Project Runway has just been Auf’d. No…I knew that there were most likely philisophical differences between the moms-to-be on the show and myself…so great, in fact, that it would only serve to frustrate and annoy me.

Yet, somehow I failed. Perhaps it’s because I let myself linger a little bit too long after the ending credits to the Real Housewives of Wherever, but there it was. Pregnant In Heels was staring me right in the face. Yes, I know I had a choice, and I exercised it. I changed the channel. But as I surfed the other ones, a nagging thought in the back of my mind kept pulling me back to Bravo.

What could it hurt? I wondered.

Oh, it hurt. It hurt a lot.

To be fair, I only ended up watching no more than ten minutes of the show, but those ten minutes made an indelible impression.

The clip I saw included a mother in her 3rd trimester who wasn’t enthused about losing a 2nd guest room for a nursery (which she feared would be “too babyish” for her taste), and a couple who utilized the help of a focus group before hosting a dinner party for the sole purpose of choosing their son-to-be’s name.

I couldn’t find the remote fast enough after that. I’m not sure what happened in the last fifteen minutes of the show, so I’m not sure what name was chosen (Asher, Bodhi & Tucker seemed to be the big contenders) or whether or not the other mother came to terms with giving up her extra guest room for her baby.

The rest of the night I kept thinking about what bothered me so much about this show, and I think what did it was the unrealistic bar it sets for pregnancy. There is already plenty of pressure for pregnant women and new moms, that there’s no need for more. While you can argue that Pregnant In Heels is more fantasy than reality, I can guarantee that there are women who walk away from an episode internalizing what they see.

I tried to decide who was at fault (because it’s always easiest to place blame somewhere). Is it these mothers who have these ridiculous demands, treating their children-to-be as possessions rather than actual people? Is it Bravo who continues to put out these types of shows while promoting these over the top notions? Or perhaps it’s the viewers who can’t stop watching, which…if that’s the case, then I certainly take on some of the blame.

While I can honestly say that I won’t be seeking out another episode of Pregnant In Heels on purpose, I also can’t promise to look away if I accidentally land on it again.