Life Has Meaning Once More

Git it baby girl!

Git it baby girl!

It has been a rough summer.  Some dear family members are dealing with serious health issues, I’ve been struggling to get in shape, and I’ve been dogged with a bad case of the blahs for months.   All that is about to change.

Toddlers & Tiaras is back, and life has meaning again.

Toddlers & Tiaras was a reality show that aired on TLC from 2008 to 2013.   Each episode followed several children and their families as they prepped for and competed in beauty pageants specifically designed for very young girls and babies.  If you’ve been hanging around the blog for a while, you’ll know that watching this show was a guilty pleasure for me.

The big-wigs at TLC (an acronym that used to stand for The Learning Channel, but now stands for Trashy, Low-down, Circus-sideshow) have finally came to their senses and resurrected Toddlers.  The first new episode airs tonight.

These pageants have very little to do with the legitimate pageant world, except for the obvious – beauty.  The Miss America pageant world stresses poise, charitable work and talent along with physical beauty.  The toddler version is all about over-the-top makeup, hair and costumes, coupled with an elusive but essential quality called “sparkle.”  I would be interested to know if many girls make the leap from one world to the next; I suspect not.

The cameras roll through the child’s town and then show her pre-pageant routine at home. Contestants are overwhelmingly little girls and the pageants are primarily in the south and southwestern United States.   I watched one show, however, where the child who wanted to be queen broke the mold on both counts: it was a little boy and he was from my hometown in Michigan.  I was geeked to see familiar landmarks on the screen, but couldn’t help wondering what kind of therapy this kid will need down the road.  I wonder that about most of the contestants.  It would be interesting to follow up 10 years later when they’re no longer little and cute, to see what lasting affects this experience has had on them.

In case you’re not familiar with Toddlers & Tiaras and are planning to watch it, here’s a little vocabulary primer to help you understand their special jargon.

Diva: spoiled, obnoxious monster child who does whatever she wants.  Surprisingly, this label is pinned on the child by her doting parents.  Rather than considering this a character flaw that requires spanking to correct, the parents brag about their young hellion.

Full Glitz: some pageants feature natural beauty, but most are all about the fake.  In “full glitz” the children sport spray tans, bleached teeth or fake teeth called “flippers”, Dolly Parton-height teased hair with extensions, false eyelashes and makeup applied with a trowel. The fake package is then encased in a uniform of ruffly ankle socks, white patent leather shoes and a pageant dress so stiffly fluffy, ruffly and rhinestone-encrusted that the child can barely move.  It’s clear from the behind-the-scenes footage that many parents have to take out a second mortgage to afford these one-of-a-kind creations.

Beauty Wear:  the contestants’ first solo walk on stage.  This is their chance to impress the judges with their super-expensive dresses and talent of being able to walk, blow kisses, bat their eyelashes and sparkle all at the same time.

Wow Wear: a second opportunity for each contestant to take the stage and show off costumes for a specific theme like 50s Wear, Western Wear, or High-Priced Call Girl Wear.  The child whose parents spend the most money on the most outlandish outfit, complete with lavish props and costumed adult helpers, wows the judges and wins the category.

“Git it baby girl”: what moms yell while they’re prancing around behind the judges, pantomiming the special walk and eyelash-batting smile they want their kid to adopt up on the stage.  Most of these stage moms are ruthless barracudas who can barely disguise their ambition or desperate longing to be beauty queens themselves. Watching the parents is perhaps the best part of the show.

Pageant Juice: Red Bull.  A legal stimulant that moms give to their kids to counteract the toddler’s natural need for a mid-afternoon nap.  This mid-afternoon slump inconveniently falls just when Wow Wear begins.

Pageant Crack: Pixie Sticks – pure sugar with a little flavoring added.  This treat is given to boost the child’s energy even more.  These come in handy paper straws so they can be tipped into the child’s waiting mouth without disturbing her lipstick.

Pageant Crash: the meltdown that inevitably occurs late in the day when the kid comes down from their Red Bull and sugar-induced high, after being poked, tweaked and urged to sparkle for 12 hours, and when they realize that some other little girl got a bigger trophy.

pegbeautyqueen

I coulda been a contender.

I wonder if my fascination with this show means that I, like the pageant moms on the show, secretly wish that I was a beauty queen.   It’s possible.  They didn’t have this kind of thing when I was a kid.  Back then parents were concerned with raising kids who were well-behaved, respectful and God-fearing.  They were weird that way.   Most didn’t know that if they exploited their children when they were young, it would pay off big-time when said child grew up and starting earning serious cash appearing on “Where Are They Now?” and (semi) celebrity body/marriage/substance abuse/love-life rehab shows.

If my mom hadn’t wasted all her time feeding, diapering and raising nine kids and had, instead, invested in me, I’m sure I would have attained the top title of Ultimate Mega Sooper-Dooper Beauty Queen Diva Grand Supreme.

TLC is kicking things off with a Toddlers & Tiaras marathon today so we can get in the mood for the big season-opener tonight.  I’m going to call in sick and sit around eating Cheetos in my jammies with my crown and scepter.  Shhhh … don’t tell my boss.

Happy Toddler Day to all, and may the sparkle be with you!

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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65 Responses to Life Has Meaning Once More

  1. dmswriter says:

    I know, Peg – my parents screwed up with me, too. Thanks to their insistence on honesty and hard work, I now have no mega career to support the indulgent lifestyle I think I’m entitled to. Sigh…off to work I go. Have fun gorging yourself on Cheetos tonight! My guilty pleasure was always Gene Simmons and “Family Jewels.” Now there’s a role model for a healthy lifestyle!! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • pegoleg says:

      Honesty and hard work??? What were they THINKing??? My sister was hooked on that Gene Simmons show, surprisingly. She’s not the “type” for reality shows, but something about it got her.

      Like

  2. Damn! I had no idea I could have been exploiting my own kids this whole time! Is it too late to get my son on the “Teenagers & Terrible Angst” Show?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. judithhb says:

    Dang. I never knew that I could have pushed my daughter into that world. By now she could have been keeping me in the manner I know I should really live in. Oh well and I have no granddaughters. Really messed up there. Any way, enjoy your Cheetos while we on the other side of the world miss out on this wonderful series.

    Like

  4. susielindau says:

    So you do watch reality TV. Gotcha!
    I can’t get into that show, but my niece was in pageants. You would never know it and doesn’t take herself seriously at all. She is amazing.
    I’ll try watching it again, if you’ll tune into Bachelor in Paradise.

    Like

  5. Sorry, Peg – I run screaming from reality TV…from most TV, actually. I’d rather spend my time dinking around in photoshop, weaving little metal rings into long ropes, wrapping wire around pretty stones or glass, or, if I get REALLY bored, housecleaning…

    If you find a Cheeto in the shape of a unicorn, eat it JUST for me, OK?

    Like

  6. Bernadette says:

    The Learning Channel???? – What is everyone learning?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Yeah, I think that name is a leftover from back in the day when they had educational shows. Although I must admit that I get a great education into the human mind from most of the programming.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. List of X says:

    I’ve never seen the show. Is it like the grown up Miss Geographic Location pageants, with diaper competition instead of swimsuit like grown-ups have?

    Like

  8. Al says:

    To hell with all the murder and conspiracy theories, I’m thinking JonBenet Ramsay probably committed suicide.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jackie says:

    So sad, Peg. So sad. Farewell to you as you dive back into the trash circus. You’re a bag of cheez its and pint of ice cream from being in Jackie Land. Hey, out of curiosity – where do you fall in those nine kiddos? They say the humor thing comes most often to the youngins.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      In this case, that rule is totally broken as I was #3 – one of the ruling class of the family known collectively as “the big girls.” The humor thing comes about because we were so loaded down with babysitting, diaper changing, cooking and cleaning duties to help our poor mom, that it was either find the funny or crack.

      I’m adding ice cream to my viewing menu.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. pattisj says:

    I’ve never watched the show, so thanks for sharing, now I don’t need to!

    Like

  11. Sandy Sue says:

    The worst of humanity on display. It can be fascinating–and horrifying at the same time. Sorta like reading Stephen King? That’s when I get Cheeto-orange fingers.

    Like

  12. Sorry it was so disappointing, Peg. I watched a few of those shows a few years back but couldn’t get into it. MK got me semi-hooked on the Gene Simmons show for a spell. She tried to get me hooked on Duck Dynasty but that didn’t last, thank goodness. Can’t take much of the so called Reality shows, because they’re, well, not real. But you enjoy your guilty pleasure sweetie!

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      It was pretty lousy. But I did watch a new show on Tuesday that was cute, called “It’s Never Too Late” with Henry WInkler, William Shatner, George Foreman and Terry Bradshaw. It follows them as they visit Asia for the first time and it’s a series I think. Pretty funny.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. John says:

    Thanks for watching and taking the bullet for the rest of us. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We all need our vices. Mine comes in a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. 🙂

    Like

  15. thatssojacob says:

    Toddlers and Tiaras, yes yes…yes. Makes me feel like such a good person, and the best mother ever, despite the face that I have neither children nor uterus.

    Like

  16. Typically, this is one of the best repositories for humor but this made me a little sad inside. I don’t know. I think you might be better off with the blas for months.

    So funny that it once stood for The Learning Channel. I’d completely forgotten that little factoid.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Think of it as performance art, Exile. While you watch it, purse your lips, nod your head thoughtfully and comment how the ruffled ankle socks act as metaphor for issues of abandonment in modern society. Then it’s all good, right?

      Like

  17. Blogdramedy says:

    The only thing missing is a video of you…watching this show. *grin*

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You would have seen me with a big frown of disappointment. They went even more toward making it all about adults behaving badly than the actual pageant experience. Hmmmph.

      Like

  18. Heaven help anyone who accidentally walks into a hotel when that show is in town or there’s audition for it going on. (Talk about sparkle – all those vendors and whining for baubles “that will make the difference and give the win!”)
    Will make you run screaming out and dialing CPS

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I only had one son (not that that necessarily disqualified me from the how T & T scene, as you noted), so I missed out being one of “those” moms. I had a challenging enough time being a regular mom who didn’t misplace my son. Come to think of it, if he sparkled more, he would have been easier to find…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Go Jules Go says:

    I think we should embrace our collective latent dream and take our blogs FULL GLITZ. Let me see how many Pixie Stix Amazon will let us order. It’s going to be a long night.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Are you serious about the Red Bull?? Why am I so surprised? I’ve watched one of these shows and it made me cry. Those poor poor children. Some countries would call this abuse but I fear the USA do not. It’s great that you found a good use for your old picture. Maybe you could give it another try on Facebook? 😀

    Like

  22. I have never watched Toddlers and Tiaras but I did watch a few episodes of Honey Boo Boo, which were funny yet sad at the same time. Made me and my family feel less screwed up.

    Like

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