Dear crazy mothers from Toddlers and Tiaras,
You frighten me. You’re just straight-up scary. Yet, you’re also fascinating. Watching you obsess over your four-year old’s make-up, mimick your daughter’s “dance” routine from the audience (PS. You look like the devil is being exorcized from your body when you do this), and yell at her to “shine!” for the judges is like watching a train wreck. Part of me wants to change the channel. But…I just can’t. stop. watching.
Pageant dresses that cost $1500? Pageant coaches that charge $150/hour? Spray tans and fake teeth? Ridiculous. Have you heard of piano lessons? Sports? Dance class? Arts and crafts? What motivates you to push your young, impressionable daughters to partake in activities that value physical appearance more than personality or strength of character? Do you care so little about nourishing their self-esteem and instilling in them important life values like honesty, respect, and kindness?
And when you criticize your daughter for not smiling big enough for the judges, or for not holding still while applying her fake eyelashes, I feel a strong urge to punch you in the face. Or at least give you a damn good shake in an effort to knock a little sense into you. Get a grip! Look at the example you are setting for your daughter, who will one day grow up and be a mother and raise children of her own.
If I may make a suggestion: Tell your daughter that she is beautiful, smart, and funny. Every day. Because I guarantee that there will come a day when she doesn’t believe it; when she questions whether she is smart enough, good enough, or pretty enough. She needs to hear these words, so that when she is doubting herself, she will hear your voice, telling her that she is all that and more.
Crazy pageant mom, life is hard. People can be mean. Be kind to your daughter. And teach her to be kind to others. Finally, to the mother whose child won the “grande supreme” title, and then promptly exclaimed that she won the pageant because she is so beautiful and talented and that all of the other girls are ugly and stupid…please, please, set your daughter straight. In about 10 years, she’s going to be waltzing through her school’s hallways as though she owns the place, teasing and bullying other girls that don’t meet her standards of perfection. I know, because I was one of those girls who suffered through three hellish years, all because I was flat-chested and didn’t wear cool clothes. So stop living vicariously through your 6-year old, stop forcing your 4-year old to eat salads while the rest of your family eats pizza so she will lose 5 pounds before the pageant (!!!), and stop teaching her that life is all about looking pretty and winning obnoxious trophies and crowns. Life is about so much more. Let her be a kid, for crying. out. loud.
Ok, rant over. Time to make muffins!
These muffins are wonderful little packages filled with whole wheat flour, a healthy shot of cinnamon, and big chunks of apple. They are so moist, and the sugar on top creates a sweet little crunch. I recommend storing these muffins in the freezer if they aren’t eaten within the first couple of days of baking them, as I fear that all of those beautiful apple chunks might get a little dodgy if they sit out too long. I actually stuck the whole batch in my freezer – I grab one each morning on my way out the door and by the time I’m ready to eat it at work, it’s perfectly thawed and dee-licious!
Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Muffins (barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
A healthy pinch of salt
1 TBSP. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup + 2 TBSP. brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain yogurt
2 large (or 3 small) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Prepare a 12-count muffin tin (for big muffins), or prepare two tins (to make 18 smaller muffins).
Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the white sugar, as well as 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, scraping the bowl at least once. Gently mix in the yogurt with a wooden spoon. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks. The batter will be quite thick.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling with the remaining 2 TBSP. of brown sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 400°F, and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy for breakfast or a lovely afternoon snack! Preferably with a hot cup of tea.
PS. During one of the commercial breaks, I saw an ad for a show called “My Strange Addiction”, in which a dude was trying to explain his emotional, physical, and sexual relationship with his car. Um, sexual relationship? Wha? And then it showed him making out with his car. As in, kissing his front bumper whilst the lower half of his body was underneath the car. With tongue.
What is the one show that you’re most embarrassed to admit that you watch?