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May 31 2012

My Stage Dad Moment

By at 9:35 am

To this story that was just posted on the McSweeney’s website  about baby photographer Anne Geddes who is fond of taking syrupy sweet pictures of little ones inside giant eggs and perched on large tulips, I just have to say yes, and more yes, and amen.

Together, we the Anne Geddes babies ask: How many sets of triplets must be stuffed into matching terra cotta pots freshly plied with breast milk and in a state of undress before enough is enough? How many oversized props must pile up in studio corners, snails upon bird baths upon acorns, before we recognize the monument we have built to poor self-image and willing infantilism? How many more toddlers must be kicked to the curb as they approach sentience and can no longer be easily crammed into a gourd before we assert that impossible puzzles are a marker of intellectual stasis?

I don’t know. Maybe there is something to getting your kids in the public eye early. It’s a great way to start a college fund (better than writing for a nonprofit website, I’d bet), and it gives them a sense of responsibility and encourages their performativity and creativity and stuff. And it seems to have worked out alright for our colleague Mayim.

(Side note #1: I was just watching the episode of Blossom where Phylicia Rashād explains about ovulation and menstruation–I never watched Blossom first time around, and am doing my penance–and, as a father, I think it would be REALLY FREAKING WEIRD to have my kid taught about menstruation while acting on a TV show.) (Side note #2: If it did happen, I can’t think of anyone who I’d rather do it than Phylicia Rashād. Except for maybe the Muppets?)

So: We did it. We caved in. My older daughter’s favorite band, Stereo Sinai, was making a music video. The entire thing was supposed to be kinetic typography (that is, words twisting into cool shapes on the screen), and then at the end it zooms out and you see it’s all been happening in a child’s mind. And Miriam, the band’s singer, asked if my daughter would want to be in it.

I was hesitant. Granted, it’s not like it’s going to get a zillion views, but it’s impossible to know:

a) who knows who’s viewing it, and
b) whether, as an adult, she’ll be totally mortified, and
c) my mother said it’s possible for internet prowlers to take a picture of a child’s face and figure out their name and where they live and then kidnap them.

I did what I do with all important decisions: I freaked out and then got my wife to figure it out.

“She loves the band,” my wife said. “And she’s smart enough to know what’s going on. She’s also incredibly shy, so Miriam can come over with the camera and if she decides to be in the movie, then what’s wrong with that?”

So Miriam came. And our daughter went for it. You can see her right at the end, with her blanky and her doll. Even when we’re half-contriving her into doing crazy things, she’s gonna do it her way. And, despite my misgivings, I’m pretty freaking proud.


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