By MIA FREEDMAN
I promise this isn’t going to be an uppity column about the fact Jennifer Lopez took her four year old daughter to a Chanel show. Or that Victoria Beckham sat catwalk-ringside with her one year old. This is not a column called Why Are Celebrities Taking Children To Fashion Shows And Have They Confused Baby Humans With Expensive Handbags Or Small Dogs.
As far as cruelty to children goes, I’m not losing sleep over the little ones forced to watch size 0 models in $18,000 jackets stomp up and down a catwalk for 20 minutes. There are worse things than being bored, WORSE THINGS I TELL YOU, little Emme.
But that look on Jennifer’s face? I know that look. I’ve worn it on so many occasions. It says: “I thought this experience would be really different to the way it’s turning out and this is hard and unpleasant and I am feeling extremely stressed/anxious/frustrated/disappointed”. I’d bet the same thoughts are going through the mind of the little girl squirming restlessly on J-Lo’s lap and wishing she could be anywhere but here where it’s BORING and too bright and awfully loud. And why isn’t that skinny lady wearing any pants with her jacket? Did she forget to put on her pants? And Mu-um, can I have your phone and when are we go-ing?
Absurdly often, I have this lovely, wafty image of what an outing with my kids will be like and then reality goes and screws with my fantasy, turning it into scrambled eggs with a side order of excruciating. Even after 3 kids and 15 years, I cannot seem to reconcile the IDEA of a fun, bonding experience with my child with the reality of….you know, CHILD.
Like the time I decided it would be life-affirming to bring a baby to a funeral (the circle of life!) and had to excuse myself when his crying began to drown out the eulogy. Sorry grieving loved ones, I muttered as I squeezed past them with a wailing infant clutched to my bosom, pretending to comfort him but really trying to insulate the congregation from the godawful noise.
Or the time last year when I took my two youngest ice-skating, with thoughts of happy frolicking. Adventures! Fun! Unfortunately, my 3 year old and I had a major misunderstanding about how ice-skating works. When I’d explained to him that it was no big deal if you fell over and got your bottom wet, he interpreted a wet bum to be the objective of the exercise. Thus we have some special photographic memories of me dragging him around the rink trying to keep him upright as he tries to sit down on the ice and becomes a bawling, thrashing dead weight. And then I fell on him.