Monday, September 14, 2009

My Kid Oughta Be in Pictures -- by Jamie Levine

I think my daughter is the most beautiful girl in the world. Doesn’t every mother believe that of her child? But my adoring perception of Jayda has been validated time and time again by more objective people than myself. From her “gorgeous blue eyes” and “amazing curls” to her downright “Gerber baby” appeal, I’ve heard more compliments about my daughter than you can imagine.

Even when Jayda was just a few months old, she seemed to have a mesmerizing effect on people. Wherever we went, we were approached by strangers who were charmed by her smile, men who stopped in their tracks when Jayda batted her eyelashes at them, and, even other moms who would joke that my child “was going to be a real man-killer” when she grew up. I’ve actually had people on the street ask me if they could take Jayda’s picture, and was once stopped by a television producer who told me that Jayda would be great on camera because “she’s got the great looks…and the charm.” So, yeah, my daughter is beautiful. Really beautiful.

My father is one of my daughter’s biggest fans. When Jayda was only a few months old, he began his rantings that I “must get her into modeling.” And every compliment Jayda has received from someone in a store or a restaurant since then, has only fueled his fire. As a joke, for one of my father’s birthdays, I gave him a sweatshirt with Jayda’s picture on it and the caption: “Get this kid an agent!” He wears it constantly. But when he prods me to get head shots taken of Jayda or to find her an agent, I shrug my shoulders and suggest, “You do it. I don’t have the time – or the desire – to parade her through modeling agencies and on casting calls.” I’m also not so sure I want to place so much importance on Jayda’s appearance; my daughter is quite intelligent and funny as well, and I’d rather focus on those qualities. But my dad still dreams of seeing Jayda in a print ad. Or on TV.

This Tuesday (September 15th), I’ll be appearing on a local cable TV show called "Something to Talk About.” The segment is about SMCs (Single Mothers by Choice) and I’ll be appearing with another SMC, and speaking about our experiences. It’s a live show, with viewers calling in, and the host, who has seen pictures of Jayda, has asked me to bring her on the show with me. There’s just one problem: The segment starts filming at 8pm – which is Jayda’s bedtime. Generally, Jayda is well-behaved and charming when we’re out of the house and around other people (it’s just at home that she melts down and can turn into a real monster…lucky me!), but we’re never out of the house at 8pm. It’s made me wonder: What might Jayda be like at that hour in a studio? When she’s overtired, she’s quite manic and silly. Will she embarrass me? Make it difficult for me to focus on the topics which I’m on the show to discuss? Or, will she be my darling Jayda — and make me feel proud to have brought her on the air? I wish I knew.

My father, of course, has offered to drive me to the studio with Jayda – and to watch her while I prep for the show. My more reasonable mother has offered to give Jayda dinner and put her to bed while I drive myself to the studio and film my appearance alone. More than likely, I’ll do what’s best for my child – isn’t that what’s most important? But maybe, just maybe, I will give Jayda her 15 minutes of fame.

If you’re in the Long Island area, tune in to my appearance on “Something to Talk About” (Great Neck, NY Cable 20 & Verizon FIOS 37: Tues 8pm (live), Fri 10pm, Mon 5pm and Nassau/W. Suffolk NY Cable 20: Thurs 7:30pm). I’d love to know what you think.

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