Toddlers and Tiaras, the new TLC series, is teaching me new vocabulary words! This week learned for the first time about flippers! When pageant girls are in the tooth losing state of childhood, fake front teeth, called known as flippers, are worn to perfect their smiles.

Let me state for the record that I am from the South. I know women who did the pageant circuit as teens and really enjoyed it. But some of the families profiled on Toddlers and Tiaras represent the worst stereotypes about stage mothers!

On the show, I see the moms say how much their kids love the pageants. But the children seem stressed out, scared and incredibly pressured by their moms to perform. Here are a few examples from the show:

Toddler Spray Tan

Mom takes her kids to get spray tanned to prepare for the weekend pageant. The younger daughter is scared of the spray tanning booth, as any toddler would be! Is it really worth it to scare the heck out of a toddler in order to get a tan? I understand we have to make our kids do things they are afraid of, but getting a spray tan isn't up there for me.

Hobby Lobby

This week's episode followed a mom with two girls on the pageant circuit. We see the mom practicing and barking at the girls, and the little girls admit they often practice all day. One of the daughters says she doesn't like to get her mom mad! The part of watching this mom that made my stomach hurt was when she and her pageant costume consultant went to Hobby Lobby to get fabric for the costumes. They spent $600 on fabric! OMG. Spending $600 for just fabric for a costume seems over-the-top.

As I mentioned, I know there are girls who love the pageants and love performing. Cafe Cynthia over on Toddler Buzz has a good interview with a CafeMom member who is involved with pageants. I know there are reasonable moms who allow their daughters to be in beauty pageants!

But I don't see the normal moms and families on Toddlers and Tiaras! I see moms pushing kids to be beauty queens for their own reasons. If you think I am wrong, please let me know. I'll give you one final example why I feel the way I do about this subject.

Bella Wins and Cries

On one episode, a little girl won...and she burst out into tears. But these tears weren't tears of joy. Little Bella cried because she was relieved she won back the money the family spent for the pageant. Poor little Bella, who is five years old, was worried about the money. When a Kindergarten age child feels the weight of the family finances on her shoulders because of a beauty pageant, it's not fun anymore. 

Talk to me. Am I being harsh or do you agree?