|Oh sure, now you're smiling.|
I'm ready to pick up my Mother Of The Year badge now. (And sash. There used to be a sash, right? I haven't won for a while.)
The other day, Susannah's agent called. (Just let that one sink in for a sec. I worked my butt off for years to secure a commercial agent...only to have him go to prison for embezzlement just after my first commercial aired...but that's currently neither here nor there. My point is that this kid scored an agent at eight months of age, and never even had to whip out a classical monologue. As proud as I am of her, it still ain't right.)
Anyway. She was being called in for a print audition- the very next day. No problem, I said. Even though there was a problem. A big one. "The very next day" I needed to be at Nora's preschool for my co-op day of helping out in her classroom- my very first time doing so. (And I kinda wanted to be awesome at it, so I'm not ashamed to say that I pretty much read the handbook like nine times.) Nora has school from 9-11:30am, with about a ten to fifteen minute [rush hour] commute tacked onto either side. Now Zuzu, for her part, was going to spend the morning at a friend's house, one whose son was in Nora's class, and for whom I was going to watch her younger kid on her co-op day. (Still with me?)
So on Tuesday morning, the girls and I left the house much earlier than normal, drove across a few neighborhoods to get Susannah all comfy at my friend's house, then took both big kids to school. Even with crazy traffic, we got there in the nick of time. Spent a few hours prepping apple tree cutouts for painting, helping kids wash (and re-wash) hands, and reminding children that puppets don't go in faces- you know, the usual. After the very last kiddo was picked up, we helped straighten the tornado zone, and then took off back to my friend's house to do a kid swap. Zuzu was confused but excited to see me (she had napped, but not nearly as long as she would've at home). I had prepped lunch before leaving- so I plenty of time to cram food into my kids once we got home, and change Zu into her Camera Ready outfit (which the agent's assistant had vaguely told me should be "cute" but "comfortable." Okie doke!)
And here's where I made my rookie error.
I had been told that we could come anytime in the afternoon- but that the audition would definitively end by 3:30pm. At this point it was one o'clock. Now, I know my kids. They nap. A LOT. And they need those naps to be their cheerful, non-destructive selves. But I worried that if Suzy napped, she'd wake up right around 3ish, leaving us no time to jet downtown. So I packed them right into the car and told myself that they'd sleep. I told myself this for about twenty minutes, right until we arrived near P.J.'s office. That's when Nora fell asleep, of course, right before she was going to be dropped off to hang out with her Dad for a few. So we woke her. And she...wasn't thrilled about it. But there was no time to stress about her (because her Dad was totally on it), and besides- Susannah was starting to look a little overly bright and giggly.
We zoomed to the audition and signed in, where we were promptly informed that the baby would need only to be clad in a diaper and onesie. 'Cause the shoot was for a diaper ad. (THAT would've been GOOD INFO TO KNOW. Cute n' comfy, my foot.) Susannah was thrilled to be free of her [really, really cute n' comfy] overall dress and striped tights. Thrilled, that is, until the photographer's assistant came in to get her. Then...we weren't so sure about our purposes in life. (This is the same girl who reached out to be held by a friend of ours whom she'd never even met just this past weekend. Zuzu likes people. She likes to hug them. And give them "pat pat pats." She's no shrinking violet, this one. I had contemplated having Nora do auditions a couple of years back, but when I considered the prospect of momentary parent/baby separation, I realized that it wasn't gonna be Nora's cup o' milk.) But off Susannah went, and I was sure her sunny demeanor would kick back in.
Fun aside: During the time that Susannah was auditioning, a woman came in (dressed to the nines) with her two week-old infant. In a pram. An actual pram. Bundled into a lacy gown, a sweater, a stroller blanket, and other soft fripperies. The assistant informed the woman of the audition dealie and the woman looked horrified. Because she didn't want to wake her baby. Because her baby would need to nurse immediately. And she didn't do that in public. Did they have a separate room for her to use? And she'd rather not undress her infant. And it would be great if no one else would touch the baby or lift her out of her stroller. The assistant looked confused and asked how the woman thought baby auditions worked. The woman replied that she'd be more than happy to, you know, lift the stroller slightly so the photographer could see her baby and take a few pictures...but no touching and no waking. After a few minutes of gentle dealings, the woman took it upon herself to freak out and say that she was leaving, IT WAS TOO HOT IN THE ROOM AND HER BABY WAS ABOUT TO OVERHEAT. (I almost suggested removing one of the seven blankets.)
A few moments later, Zuzu was carried back out. And she looked concerned. I asked how she did, and the smiling assistant said "Great, just great! We only got a few pictures in before she started crying, so we brought her right back out."
And me- awesome parent me- had the first thought of I foisted Nora off on Peej's busy schedule for this? And then came the tandem thoughts of we skipped naps for this/ I am completely exhausted. Nary a thought of my baby's potential overloaditude. So I asked if we could try again in a few minutes. They said sure.
So Zu and I played for a little while, and she was all sunshine and roses...until it was time for her to go back in to audition. She gave the woman A Look. And then she gave me A Look. (And I swear to God she sighed.) But she let the gal carry her back in. A short while later she came back out, smiling a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes. Again, I asked how she did.
"Great! She looked a little confused, but we got a few shots in."
Meaning...those pictures probably weren't any better than the first ones, and most likely reinforced the idea that this kid was not gonna be the one they'd want to work with. I explained that she was just a little tired and was normally so cheerful. The assistant nodded politely, because I'm sure she hadn't heard that a trillion times already that day.
Long story [slightly] short[er], I drove home, cross at myself for messing up our schedules and paying the price in the form of two very crabby and exhausted kids. With absolutely nothing to show for it except for a husband who had had to hold off on actual work for a little longer than expected.
But both girls woke up right as rain this morning. And Suzy seems to have forgiven me. And we even commiserated about bad auditions. I told her about the one where I had to be attacked by a hamburger. She smiled at that one.
She really is a pretty good actress.