Baby Audition Antics (& My First Time As A Showbiz Mom)
1. Little Magician has a face for the camera.
2. If babies can sit still for 3 minutes, they can get a nice start on that college fund.
3. I'm not sure if I'm ready to be a showbiz mom.
Sometime in July, a friend of mine sent me a link to a casting call looking for "Black and South Asian babies between 1-4 months" for an ad campaign. "Little Magician is a cutie," she wrote. "You should submit her photos!"
The best Instagram-edited photos of LM were sent.
A call-back asking her to come for an audition was received.
An adventure ensued.
I was wondering what kind of audition process a 1-month-old could go through, but it wasn't long before I felt like the one under scrutiny.
The babies were brought into the audition room in pairs, so LM and I were joined by another adorable little 4-month-old (who we'll call Bobby) and his mother. (sidenote: shout out to the mom who was getting her newborn "Frederick" psyched up for the audition. "Get your game face on, Freddy! This is your time. YOUR TIME!" is all I remember hearing.) After cooing over the babies, the director gave us the lowdown on who their client was (a global charity) and what the babies would be doing (laying on a mat).
"One question," the director said. "What are the babies' sleep schedules?"
Bobby's mom started rattling off his sleep patterns, complete with time of day and length of nap. As the director turned to ask me the same, I realized one important thing: I had no clue what LM's sleep schedule was. Does a baby even have a schedule at 1 month? I barely knew what day it was, and now I had to come up with an answer about the most elusive thing to me at that time - sleep.
The most I could muster was a chuckle and my honest response:
"She sleeps when she wants. She'll sleep after a feeding...but uh, she eats when she wants. So, um...it's all up to her."
I can't remember what the director said in response, but I distinctly remember feeling like a dummy. Of course they'd want a baby with a set sleep schedule, so that they can more easily build the filming schedule around them. Of course. I just looked at LM and silently apologized.
I pulled myself out of my shame and self-pity just in time to hear the director give us our next orders.
"So, what we'll have you do now is just swaddle up the babies nice and tight, then lay them down."
Let me tell y'all something. Two somethings, actually - LM absolutely detests being swaddled, and I CAN'T SWADDLE. At all.
My hubby is the master swaddler. Though our daughter hates it, he's always been more successful at wrapping her up, so I leave it to him. Now, I was here at this audition, sweating about my lack of swaddling skills while the Bobby's mom burrito'd him up in the most epic of wraps.
If y'all saw the flimsy swaddle I did...let's just say one of the staffers kindly came over to help me out while LM laid there nibbling on her hand. Another silent apology sent her way.
The kids were laid next to each other, and us moms were told to stand beside the camera, on the opposing side from our babies. The goal was that our progeny would keep their eyes on us, thereby looking as close in the direction of the camera as possible.
"Okay - once we start rolling, just call your babies' name so that they look at you, then we'll do the work to capture them on camera. Annnnd - GO!"
Bobby's mom started calling his name, and he looked at her sweetly with huge brown eyes while laying perfectly still in his impeccable swaddle. I started calling to my little one, and she proceeded to look in the opposite direction at the far corner of the wall, kicking a leg and punching an arm out of her swaddle while slowly rolling onto her side...away from the camera. It seemed like the more I called for her, the more she tried to get away. By the time the director said "Alright - I think we've got everything we need!" my daughter was fully unwrapped, happily playing with her fingers, totally out of sight of the lens.
When Little Magician and I left the casting, I fed her, changed her diaper, got in the car, and promptly burst into tears.
Does she have a sleep schedule and I'm just not paying attention?
Why can't I swaddle?
Why did I subject her to this? She's too little to be in anyone's commercial!
Lawd...why can't I swaddle?
A teary phone call to the Mr. later, I calmed down long enough to join a girlfriend for lunch where I rehashed the whole (hilarious by then) ordeal. As I detailed my worship of Bobby's mama's swaddle game, my phone started ringing.
It was the casting agency.
Little Magician got booked for the ad campaign - for both television and print.
She's forever teaching me things. Unbeknownst to her, she did things her way and still made a positive impression. It reminded me that we don't always have to do things the way we think we're supposed to in order to reach success. And though I left feeling like an inept mother, I got home that day with a beautiful, clean, healthy, happy, and employed baby. Guess I'm not doing so badly after all.