I’m ashamed to admit this now, but before I had my daughter Isabella, I was judgemental and smug towards other parents. I was one of those carefree, childless people who would watch, horrified as a toddler threw a massive tantrum in a shopping centre whilst in my head I would be saying, ‘That’ll never be MY kid’. If ignorance is bliss then I was right off the Richter scale of stupidity in thinking that an out of control toddler is the result of bad parenting. At the time though, it’s what I honestly believed. I was also very anti young-children-participating-in-singing-and-dancing-competitions. Ballet classes I deemed to be conforming and overly regimented. And as for the parents who dressed their kids up to perform like circus animals in front of audiences or talent scouts? Disgusting was the word I used. My opinion was that children should be free to express themselves and not be forced to live out the sad-sop fantasies of their pushy parents. Having endured years of hated ballet classes I wanted my child enjoy his or her childhood and not be forced into sweaty Saturday afternoons of torturous singing lessons. And end up thinking they could win the X-Factor. Wow. What a judgemental bitch I was. My opinions then were all the more arrogant because I had NO IDEA about kids…none. I hadn’t even babysat a small person in my entire life.
But don’t fear. The universe, in her infinite wisdom, realised I needed the karmic equivalent of a good slap around the head…so I fell pregnant, gave birth and was presented with an absolute firecracker of a kid. Which could be a nice way of saying she is 100% hard work. Or just a massive pain in the rear. Ironically, she throws spectacular supermarket tantrums, on her stomach smashing the floor with both fists undeterred when I walk away, right out the automatic doors. She knows how to humiliate me in public and does it often. I’m telling you people, Karma really does exist. Want more proof? Ok. How about this. If Bette Midler, the ultimate showgirl were dead I would swear that she had been reincarnated into my child’s body. Isabella is like Beaches on crack. She is a one child minstrel show who loves performing on any raised platform while simultaneously critiquing her facial expressions on any reflective surface. I’ve yelled at her to ‘Get away from the mirror!’ so many times I’m scared she’ll have a lifelong complex about her own image. On the other hand…maybe not. I saw toddlers like her on performing on TV and I remember thinking….I hate that little kid. And now I’ve given birth to that little kid. Oh Karma, revenge must taste sweet! My lounge room is centre stage for this singing, dancing, acrobatic diva…and she’s only just gone two.
But here’s the kicker. Having a real life child of my own has completely changed my opinion about showbiz kids. I now believe it would be a parenting crime of the highest order if I didn’t encourage her love of performing. Because Isabella honestly loves it. And just to be clear, there is not, nor has there EVER been any excessive push from me to show her off or get her to sing and dance on-cue. And my Dad [her grandpa] is an accountant. Enough said about that. So if she’s happy singing and dancing then I say sod what anyone else thinks. I’ll enrol her in every class she enjoys and not because I want to become rich off her future earnings as the next Lady Gaga. [Although let’s be honest…that’d be awesome!] If Isabella has a natural talent then as her mother I have an obligation to explore the depth of that talent and nurture it as best I can. I have become the unofficial champion of child entertainers.
Just this week in fact, I was asked by Channel 7’s Today Tonight to be on their judging panel for a segment asking, “Do WA Kids have the X-Factor?”. I sat alongside fellow judges The Lord Major Lisa Scaffidi and renowned Perth entertainer Jamie Mercanti debating the calibre of talent we would see in such youthful performers. They started with 11 year old Hamish who sang, danced and tapped his way through a flawless performance of “The Boy from Oz” followed by 9 year old Savannah performing a gymnastic/acrobatic routine so energetic we were left breathless just watching her. Next was 13 year old Harry from Bunbury who performed with all the class of Hugh Jackman but with a better smile and then young Chloe tapped her way through the same number as Hamish, with the added confidence of someone who had previously made it to our screens on Australia’s Got Talent…and she was only 9 years old! The last act of the day was Sophia the beautiful 5 year old ballerina. She was so adorable I instantly reconsidered enrolling Isabella into ballet. They were all amazing, talented kids but most importantly, each one of them loved every minute of being onstage. And passion like that you just can’t fake
You can check out the link to the Today Tonight story here Today Tonight X-Factor Kids
The entertainment industry is tough and it’s ruthless and kids who want to be part of that industry need all the love and support they can get. I speak from experience when I say that the applause and adulation do wonders for your ego, but there’s honestly no greater feeling in the world than hearing your mum or dad tell you they’re proud of you.
Thanks for reading!