Baby waxing, baby botox, followed by slathering make-up on a little baby face. These are the stunning images we're kind of growing used to (how sad is that???) since the beginning of TLC's Toddlers & Tiaras, which taught us what real kiddie pageants were all about. This is, of course, completely disturbing.
Which is why I wince a little when I let people know that my own daughter was a baby model. I get ready for the judgment, and begin to defend myself. "I wasn't working." "We could have stayed home, or hung out in the studio -- what's the difference?" But most importantly, "She had no idea what was going on."
Since my daughter is now five, and has no desire to strut down the catwalk, I'm thinking some decisions I made helped us out in the long run. There's a way to cash in on your baby's cuteness, without turning her into a hairspray-addicted narcissist.
1) Keep It Real
You have a child -- not a superstar. If you act like everything is normal, your child won't feel like he's an extraordinary person and should be treated as such.
2) Be Nice
Most photographers, baby make-up artists (yes, they exist -- and do very little), baby stylists and baby wranglers are super nice people. They're making the choice to work with kids, so they have something going for them right there. Don't act like a diva, and treat everyone as if they're your friends, not your employees.
3) When It Stops Being Fun, Call It Quits
I knew my daughter's baby modeling days were over when she cried at a shoot and wouldn't sit still. If she's not having fun, you're not having fun. If mamma's not having fun . . . well you know how that ends.
Overall you should treat it as an extracurricular activity that has no long-term value. Not unlike a toddler sign language class. Have fun, marvel at the cuteness of your offspring, then go home and lead a normal life.
Would you let your baby be a model?