Friday, March 22, 2013

Celebrity Mom's Advice For Raising Strong Girls

If it weren't for my regular dental appointments I would have little knowledge of celebrity culture. This particular article infuriated me.  "Raising Strong Girls To Prepare Them For Life!" I was ranting at my lovely hygienist despite all the cleaning gear in my mouth.

This is the truncated version written by a celebrity who just had a first child, a baby girl and felt the need to espouse her wisdom and expertise. It is so Kim Kardashian, but also Beyonce, Megan Fox or Snookie. As we know, all new celeb moms are parenting experts. But the enraging aspect of this is the perpetuating objectification of women, by other women.

Famous new moms all seem to share the same playbook. Act like they are the first person in the world to have birthed a child then give advice like they have multiple degrees in child psychology.

The drill:  First the giggly talk show circuit while pregnant, then the fashionable semi-clad magazine cover, then the required nude cover (no one will be Demi Moore, sorry girls. Demi's cover was bold, made a statement about the very sexual objectification that you all seem to have missed.)

"The use of the pregnant sex symbol was in a sense an attempt to combat the pop culture representations of the anathema of the awkward, uncomfortable and grotesquely female form in a culture that values thinness. Annie Leibovitz' candid photograph celebrates female empowerment."

A cover that spawned so many but without the impact or respect of the original. Jessica Simpson actually copied the pose, down to the ring on her finger. It was laughable.

This latest culture of celeb moms parrot each other; the unmatched love they feel for the baby, how they will have natural or home births, breast feed until the child is six, and then the launching into the bliss they experience of raising the baby, without the help of a nanny (right) and their amazing, supportive husbands.

This is quickly followed by publicity shots of their post baby bodies, two weeks after birth, now a size zero.

"All I did was breast feed. The weight just melted off. My husband is so happy. He misses my big boobs but it's great to be back in my swim wear!"

And without exception, celeb babies are branded before birth, whether it's a clothing line, a butt creme, or diet vodka.

I have to admit when I had my first child, I knew nothing and did everything wrong, covered the poor infant in talcum powder, let him sleep on his stomach, used a leash when he crawled down the hallway and I stole eight of those good swaddling blankets from Cedars. I certainly had no intention of dolling out advice to other mothers, especially since the day I brought him home, I handed the boy to his father so I could go to a Fourth of July party.

But these are very serious new moms that buy $200.00 Bon Point onesies like Allessandra Ambrosia;

and $3000.00 Aston Martin strollers with LED screens, phone chargers and Evolution straight jackets like Sarah Jessica Parker. I'm assuming this is so the kid can't move around too much when you are pretending to not get your picture taken by the paparazzi.

Why these people keep their kids in strollers until they are nine years old remains a mystery. The image takes on an infirmed quality. This is how the contraption looks zipped up.

And why have an Evolution in LA? The kid will get heat stroke. ^^^^^

My girls demanded to be out of the stroller at 12 months. Who can blame them? Why be pushed around in a cart when you can trample on the neighbors lawn and yank out the pretty flowers?

The article is influencing the minds of young mothers everywhere; the emphasis on raising weak, not strong girls. Is it any wonder women are still viewed and treated as a minority?  There is a huge majority of women that agree with many men; women are the weaker sex whose primary purpose is to stay beautiful, service men and have their babies.

"As women we need to teach our daughters and prepare them for the world!" the writer announces in case you missed the headline. When reading, I wondered if she had plagiarized an old article written by Phyllis Schlafly.

Let's now review the celeb writers mind-blowing advice. I should mention she was on the cover showing off her post baby body, a size 0, whatever that means.

Gisele Bundchen did not write this but can we just take a moment and admire her.


Pray: It sounds corny, but the sooner you make communicating with a Christian God  a regular part of their life, the better.

Okay, fine enough. I'm all for prayer, but let your daughter find her own spiritual path. Why Christian? Why the underscore? Why say corny? Maybe I'm a Muslim. Maybe I'm a Mormon. Maybe I find solace in science. If you are such an expert, this is an extremely limited view on all things spiritual.

I've encouraged all of my children to study theology. They also have their own relationship to a form of   higher being. It lessens the burden on their little shoulders, helps them realize they are not alone and makes for great family talks.

Eve:  God scares me. Why would I want some old man with a beard watching me? It freaks me out.
Aud: God is just an idea. There is not fat man sitting on a cloud.
Me:   I believe in a universal force, a kind of connector between us all, a love connector. A guide, if you will to remind us to be kind, loving and accepting of others.
Eve:  Mom, stop trying to sound parental.
Aud: I'm going to learn to meditate when Henry gets home. He's for sure tapped into a higher source.
Me:  Well so am I. I'm tapped into the huge energy field of life.
Eve:  Right. Uh, except you're always tired. Some energy field.
They laugh at me.
Eve:  I want to be Jewish.
Me:  I used to want to be Jewish. How funny.
Eve:  That's not actually funny. I don't really want to be Jewish.
Aud:  Actually we all came from the sea. Eve, let's go play Pet Shop.

Love Yourself: Even when you have a muffin top, or don't understand math or have acne.  You are perfectly imperfect. 

This must be a joke. Even if you have a muffin top? And the assumption girls won't understand math? Well, thank you sexist retro scary lady. So you're saying girls can still love themselves if they are not Madison Avenue anorexic and can't add? That's a relief.

If this article were in the Onion, it might be funny.

Stylists and make-up artists surround this person then airbrush her before she walks out her front door. She also calls herself a "card-carrying feminist." Do they make cards now? I'm certain she doesn't understand what the word means, but just wants meatier roles, usually reserved for male actors. Thus she carries this card around.

Kids learn through example, so if you run around the house screaming about your muffin top and crappy skin while starving yourself to fit into your skinny jeans, so will your girls.  This is the opposite of self-love.

Further, it's just plain insulting to women everywhere.

3. Never Chase A Guy: Anyone worth your time won't make you come after him. If he runs, there is a good reason.

Is this a joke? Why even include this? If he runs, there is a good reason? Way to talk to your vulnerable daughter. If she is raised with confidence, guess what? She can do whatever she wants and with whomever. I can't imagine saying this to my daughter.  How asinine. Plus, they love to chase boys.

Eve:  I chased Evan all during recess, then finally caught him and smeared grass in his eyes.
Aud: That was so cool. I thew a basketball at Eli's head. He ran but I kept throwing it at him.

PS---  these boys are infatuated with my girls. I promise it's all in good fun.

4. Good Hygiene Doesn't Have To Take Long. It Just Has To Happen:  No guy wants to date a MUSKAT or a PIG!! NO GUY!!!! 

Lock this crazy lunatic up. Seriously. Again with their looks. Everything in this highly praised article is geared toward raising girls so they will appeal to men. This woman is batshit. My kids sleep with their dogs, roll around in swamps in search of the almighty salamander and don't give a damn what boys think. And I am certain they are not in the minority.

5.  Respect Your Body: Don't leave the house wearing outfits that overly accentuate your boobs and booty! You are more than cleavage and a popped up rear end!!!

WTF! I would venture to say this mother would not only encourage this behavior but also buy the damn outfits plus any needed surgery to pop that booty. BTW, I didn't even know what a popped out butt was until I saw Silver Linings.

6. Act Like A Lady, Get Treated Like A Lady:  You can be a lady and stand up for your rights, without coming off as bitchy or whiny.

This just gets better and better. What the hell does that even mean? Be dainty, demure, quiet, don't speak out of turn, downplay your intelligence and take a punch in the face if you feel you deserve it? Maybe thank the guy as well?

She went on to say that if you are experiencing bullying or difficulty on the playground, don't yell or fight back, instead just saunter away like a lady to the principals office.

I wish I could reveal who this asshat mother is but maybe when her daughter gets her skirt ripped apart at school, it will be in the news and then you will know.

I tell my girls if they find themselves in a situation where someone is belittling them or there is a possible threat of bodily harm, they have full permission to kick the aggressor in the nuts or if it's a girl, they can throw her on the ground.  This might be the best lesson I can give them regarding bullies. To date, they have not been bullied on the schoolyard.

7.  Short Shorts And Slink Tops Are Not Your Friend:  Don't be one of those chicks (chicks?) who slides down the street and thinks it's her beauty that is stopping traffic.

For the love of god. New mothers everywhere are reading this and taking it as gospel because a celebrity spoke. Reminds me of Jenny McCarthy and her anti-vaccine rant; the thousands of mothers who stopped vaccinating. Nice move.

What the hell is a slink top. Who slides down the street? What women says chicks?

8. Care About Other People: That Golden Rule is the real deal and so the good you put out will come back to you.

Hey! She reads bumper stickers. And no kidding. But we also know she is not living this slogan. Kids learn from example. In what universe would this celebrity stop what she is doing to help someone else without the cameras rolling. None. She is no Ryan Gosling.

9. Never Ever Expect A Man To Do For You What You Can Do For Yourself: However, if a man comes along and wants to take care of you, that's beautiful!!! But until he shows up, maybe learn a few things around the house.

How sad is that? Again, parents are reading this. How could anyone publish an article essentially telling mothers to raise cripples? I'm surprised she didn't suggest Fifty Shades of Grey as a primer for life.

10. Here's The Formula: Marriage Before Babies: There's a reason it worked for centuries.

It did? The divorce rate is over 50% for the first marriage, 67% for the 2nd and 74% for the 3rd. But hey, you're the expert.

Women, have your babies when you want to. If you are financial stable, I don't see the point in getting married. But that's just me. I'm all for the family dynamic, and frankly, the more parental units involved, the better, but however that takes shape is besides the point. It is the consistent love and proper guidance that is of import.

This writers prehistoric notion of a girl, turned lady, fetching a provider to have his babies so she will be taken care of is ridiculous and demeaning.

Finally, the best for last.

11. Walk like you're the ISH: Cause you are and if you believe it, other people will too and act accordingly. 

What is an ISH? Is that from Dr. Zuess? I feel horrible for this women's daughter. According to her, ISH is whore-ish, needy-ish, submissive-ish, subservient-ish, 50's housewife-ish and her daughter will be fucked-up-ish. Where is Tiger Mom when you need her?

Rhonda Talbot on celebrities advise, raising girls, parenting, mothering and terror.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

OZ, The Great and Powerful

As a family we don't go to many non-animated films. Mostly because none are made. The girls are age 9, so movies marketed to their age group; Twilights, The Hunger Games, The Die Hard Series, I just don't think are appropriate.  So I thought maybe Oz The Great and Powerful might be a contender.

Alas, no.

E: Mom, you know we hated Wizard of Oz.
Me: You never saw it.
A: See. And why would we. Creepy monkeys, squeaky small people and nasty witches with green breath.
Me: This movie has nothing really to do with the original film. It's a prequel. Like, what if there really was a flim- flam magician man?
Girls: What!?
E: Talk normal, Woman!

I have no idea why E calls me Woman, but she does.  Like, where's my plaid shirt, Woman!

Me: Let's give the trailer a gander.

E: What the hell is a gander?
A: You talk weird.
E: Mom is weird. She wore her homeless outfit today. It was gross.
A: Eeeew.
E: She also did body lunges when we walked to Larchmont yesterday. I almost cried.

A: Mom, you said you wouldn't do that anymore.
Me: I can't keep apologizing. It's almost unconscious. Let's watch.

A:  Okay, that doll is cute.
E:  I like that actor.
A:  James Franco.
E:  Yeah. He played the guy in 127 Hours.

E read the book; she loves stories about people overcoming unthinkable tragedies. So she really admires Aaron Ralston. I let her watch a few minutes of the film, the part where Franco swims in the canyon with the girl backpackers.

A:  I'd see this maybe with dad.
E:  I'm not seeing it with anyone. There's witches. Even if they're pretty. Inside they are evil.

E gave me a look. I am her evil witch. And the creep behind the curtain. She has been testing me for nearly a year.  She is horrified by my mere existence. It doesn't matter what I am wearing, doing, saying. If I move my face in a certain way, perhaps, an expression of interest in what she is saying, or a slight frown in an attempt to empathize over her bad day, she screams. I should have the entire thing Botoxed.

Therapist:  What does your mom do that embarrasses you, E?

E: Well, she pretends to be fancy with her words. Like she'll say, "Oh isn't that lovely." Like, fake. Or she'll smile, or laugh, or raise her eyebrows. It's all fake.
Therapist: Is there anything you like about your mother?
E: (long pause) She gave me life.

I know to not take this personally. She wants to see if I will eventually cave, be so hurt I will run away and disappear forever; abandon her. But every night she crawls into bed next to me. It's complicated.

Nonetheless, I am human. After a series of particular nasty insults during carpool; my hair looks fried, my teeth could use a wash (huh?) my jokes are never funny, I told her I found in a basket in the LA basin. Like Moses.

Girls:  Who is Moses?

Yes! A teachable moment.

I had to explained who Moses was and added a bit of biblical history, but then went off on some story, as one does, about how I found this beautiful baby lying in a wicker basket covered with a creme colored cashmere blanket. The basket was woven out of bamboo, not wicker; possibly traveled upriver after a storm then fell into some dry brush during a drought. There were no strawberries that season.

I kept going with my story because now I was invested in it. I had forgotten the girls were even in the car.

Me:  I ran to the basket and picked up this beautiful foundling, her sparkling eyes filled with wonder, blue tea cups of joy. She had been rescued. She was a survivor. She was mine and I shall call her Evelyn!

I had no idea Evelyn was crying hysterically in the backseat.

E: Mom! I'm not yours?
A: Mom is telling a story, like the Mrs. Rockbottom Found Diamonds in Her Butt story. You saw her fat stomach pictures Evelyn.
E: That was just you. I'm a foundling. What's a foundling?

Evelyn is very dramatic and incredibly sensitive. She was now inconsolable, a volcano erupting.

I pulled over and apologize for being such an asshole. I got caught up in my own homespun tale. Lame as it was. I tried to explain my writing OCD. My brain has a life of it's own. It needs a shorter leash.

Of course she was mine. Christ, she acts just like me. Hadn't she just written an epic length long story about a young girl whose mother tragically dies in a house fire? Then the girl travels 2000 miles on foot in search of her real father who had been hiding in the desert, building solar panels?

Finally home, her dad and I had to sit them both down and go over their entire birth plan. Her dad actually still has E's security ankle bracelet from Cedars. Here is where the details matter, she wants proof. The birth certificate, the Cedars blanket, pictures.

Us being reassuring:

This is Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig, one of the best looking couples in Hollywood.

Us: See Evelyn. That's you tiny.

E:  How do I know that's me? It could be anybody.

When I finally found the only ultrasound picture I kept, which indicated two babies, her anxiety lessened.

Me: See. Baby A. Baby B.
E:   Which one was I?
Me: Baby B.
E:   Of course. How come I couldn't be A! What's so special about Audrey?
Me: It doesn't work that way.
A:  Cause A is for Audrey, duh.

Later I had to call a dear friend and someone I consider to be an excellent mother. She has three amazing children of varying ages.  She reassured me E will be fine and she in fact as a mother had done worse.

"Please, you're a great mom. Just stop. When Carl was eleven, I told him to fuck off and go to hell. It was horrible. Then he wrote I hate my mom on the front of the house just before a dinner party."

All mothers lose it from time to time. And hadn't my own mother threatened to send me back to the "reservation" ad nauseum?

Joking around and teasing your children, which I do very rarely, can be incredibly damaging. I know this. Yet, once in a while, I will do it.

"That's it! No more computers until leap year! If you don't start brushing your hair properly vegetables will start taking root!"

The problem is the kids take this seriously, my dreadful attempts at humor. Parenting alone is already a very fine wire walking act and constant day- by- day attempt to hopefully not mess them up for life.

Many adults often don't understand my humor, so how in the world would a child?  Kids take everything so literally.

"Oh my god. When is leap year? Can any vegetable grow from your head? Like a potato?"

So, going forward, I will stick to telling them Mrs. Rockbottom stories they know are fiction, and try to do "mother" things; which honestly elude me.

So once again I'm reading books, because now we are heading into early teen years and I am frankly clueless.  Start with the simplistic, like "How to act parental with your pre-teen." I'm not even at the "How to parent effectively." First I have to simply act like one.

Of course my first trial run as "acting like a parent," both girls rolled their eyes. I put on a real outfit and was making breakfast.

Girls: You are totally creeping us out.
Me: Why? I'm making omelets and talking about your homework. Then I will move onto cultural events and the arts.
E: Mom, please just go back to how you were. Put on your ratty bathrobe. We don't want a fake mom.
A: Yeah. We like the other one better.

Me: Really? What a relief.

I immediately relax and started dancing whipping eggs. I know they hate this, but I need to be free. I love to exercise when doing mind-numbing chores.

E: No matter how much you exercise you'll never look like a real dancer.
Me: I know honey. But I can feel like one.

Rhonda Talbot on parenting, teasing, bad parenting, learning on the run, twin girls and mother/daughters.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Writing in Chanel, Streetwalking in Perla

Hey look, I can be stylish. Occasionally I take off my sweats to have my picture taken. This way I can take advantage of the great clothes I love but rarely get to where. I suppose I can type in Prada.

By the way, Elizabeth Street is a great website, full of pretty tips on being a great you.

On a typical day when the cameras are not rolling.

Oh wait, that's my night job. I don't think my donation button is working out very well.

Here we go.

Yeah, yeah, that's Carrie Bradshaw. And I don't even own huge phones. But sometimes I lie on my stomach and stick my legs in the air when I'm trying to concentrate.

My particular problem is over-concentration. I have writing OCD. It's painful and I don't wish it on anyone. It's not a gift and doesn't even result in a lot of product. Just tons and tons of words, piles of them, stacks of paper, chapters, notes, ideas, it never ends. In fact, it becomes so overwhelming I have to shut the computer and go outside.  That's why I took up streetwalking. It was the only thing that got me out of my writing fugue state.

That and talking to strangers at Peets.  By now thinking I have 300 stories, four books in process, at least ten scripts, five pilots... and some pissy emails I will never send.

Rhonda Talbot weighing in on writing, OCD, street walking and fashion.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Calling Alec Baldwin!

They're back... again. I don't know what the hell happened in this world, but head lice now seem as common as gurus in LA. They are not only everywhere and multiplying, but highly resistant to removal.  Kids even enjoy getting them at this point.

"Mom! I have a lots of live lice on my head. It's like a buffet up there. They love me!"  I was going to show you a picture of a louse but Courtney Cox popped up when I Googled. No correlation and she ought to sue Google. Her daughter recently had lice. This was not only major international news on every search engine but apparently an outrage in Malibu.

The Things, otherwise known as my twin girls, seem to get head lice once a month. I wrote this a number of years ago when it first happened because I was horrified; my first experience with these persistent fuckers. Now, it's a routine. I'm a champion when it comes to ridding kids of lice. I ought to hang a shingle and start getting paid. Give me a call Courtney when they return.

SHINGLE:   "Psychic. Your kid has lice. I can remove it. $200 bucks. Plus, I'll read his/her future."

I can tell by looking at a kid where they will end up. This one will some day become the GOP VP.

Here is my earlier archived post. It's still relevant. I still dream of celebrities but I'm no longer this major shrew to my husband. I've grown to like the guy. I don't even mind his play-by-plays. Or maybe it's because now that he has a massive man-cave, when he realizes I'm in a "mood," he just leaves.


At a five star hotel, there was a film shoot in progress. Sitting under an umbrella and wrapped lace, Alec Baldwin came over and asked if I would be in his shoot.

He was short one super model and I would be perfect. I glanced at the women standing on the beach in their string bikinis, all glammed up with body oil and fake tans. I’m nobody so this couldn’t be a punked thing. And also is that show still on?

“You are gorgeous,” he says. "Let’s move!”

Alec carried me to a group of 21-year old models, where I stood out like an infested oak tree.  I'm on the far right, just out of frame.

Alec is shouting out of a large, white cone.

“When I say RUN, head toward the water. Okay. Action. And RUN!” We all took off; feet on fire from the hot sand, yet the girls are running gracefully, like gazelles especially Gisele Bundchen because she is a gazelle.

“Why are we going so fast?” Then I hear gun shots. “That’s why…” Gisele tells me. But they were now way ahead of me. I took a bullet in the back and fell flat on my face.  This is how I saw myself just before going down.

Reality -----

Then I hear: “Baby, let me adjust this again, make sure it’s tight. Now we twist is around…”

My husband’s voice. He runs a commentary re Thing One’s nit cap, during which he woke me up and burst my bubble. Yes, it was a dream, but goddamn it I got out of the house!

“YOU popped my bubble! I’m trapped for life. Why do you have to talk all the time?” I am now sobbing. Inconsolably.

“It was a perfect dream! I was a model! Alec Baldwin shot me!"

Husband whisks Thing One out of the room. I am hysterical.

“Anything is better than this!” I sobbed, olive oil dripping down my neck.

I never tell dreams in stories because I never read them. I skip over them and get to the point. Hence the opening.

I want to go back to Alec, to see the wound, his reaction, the fuss over me. He thought I was a supermodel! Who cares if I was killed?

I can't seem to stop my ranting. "I'd rather be dead with Alec Baldwin than alive with you!"

The night before we all tucked in, we did a nit treatment; all of our heads were covered in olive oil, caps and scarves. There was an outbreak at school. I never had nits or lice as a kid, or if I did, my mother ignored it. She probably figured they would die in the Michigan cold. Who knows?

Earlier that day, I had to make this call according to school rules.

“Hi parent mom whom I never talk to, but your daughter told E she has lice. You should know that.”

This mother is French. “Impossibeeel. There is way no.” This went on and on until she saw a bug in her kid’s hair.

“OH, this is catastrophic!” Here come the tears.

I have worked with the French over 15 years and everything is catastrophic. What I might consider a drag, to them it’s catastrophic. For example, “Well, they want more on the back-end on this movie.” “Oh, that is catastrophic!” Really? I grew to like the word and now use it regularly.

“There is jam on the table. That is catastrophic!”  "Oh my god! There is a smudge on my new jeans! This is a catastrophe!"

Back to the French mom.

“Oui, oui,” I tell her. “Douse her hair in olive oil then go on line.” She kept talking as I hung up.

Still upset about not getting shot by Alec, I got out of bed and flung myself around the house. “This CANNOT be my life. This has to be the dream!!” I sashayed up and down the hall.

And also when did I turn into little Edith Bouvier?  We seem to think a lot a like and oddly, my backyard, due to gardeners never showing and tree droppings falling everywhere, has an overgrown, haphazard fetid quality.  I'm certain now that Little Edie had nits. Probably her entire adult life.


After exhausting myself twirling around, I went back to bed, hubby slept god knows where, maybe on the kitchen floor. Closing my eyes, I envision that hotel, the models, the blood, then wondered if nits are in fact catastrophic.  The next morning this magazine was on the mail stand.

They have no idea what is coming.