I recently had my own Project Runway moment -- well, more of a Toddlers and Tiaras moment -- and it was ugly. La Principessa had the chance to audition for a fashion show at a fancy schmancy event for a big Down syndrome advocacy group. I was a little startled by just how fast Daddy-O and I jumped on that. But, for the record, some of us were a little more carried away than others.
Let me note, Daddy-O expends great puffs of energy denying that she is a Daddy's girl. But a longtime friend insists that the minute I walk out the door, he's bringing her bonbons on a velvet pillow. I've often imagined him squiring her about Wegmans, with a team of burly guys carting her about in a royal palanquin.
So we arrived in DC, to a mid-sized university meeting room transformed into a runway lined with rows of chairs on either side. While he parked, I took her in but she got ahead of me while I was filling out paperwork. By the time I gathered up several hangers of alternate outfits and a tote full of shoes, tights, wipes, cream, and hair accessories, she had gotten into line and was already taking a turn on the walk. Sadly, it was a stiff, nervous, taken-off guard kind of amble. Enter Daddy-O.
He was thoroughly miffed with me, grabbed her hand and stormed off to get her back in line. All the while muttering about how none of this would have happened if he had been there. I went to the far end of the room to snap a few runway shots for her next turn. He camped out at the entrance to the walk at the makeshift backstage. I should have been snapping pics of him - he was clearly coaching her like she was about to hit the swimsuit competition. Smile and pose, smile and pose; now, walk and walk and walk to the judges, stand and turn, now, walk, walk, and smile.
I half-expected him to break into a tune from Gypsy. He went totally Pageant Dad on my butt, hissing, "Her hair really needs some product!" He dismissed me to rifle through the veritable steamer trunk of supplies to fetch her Moroccan hair oil. He scrunched the bejesus out of her curls and refreshed them by twirling thick stands around his fingers. I was scared. Where the heck was my husband, the guy who couldn't even scoop her hair into a ponytail? The guy who marveled appreciatively at all those Dads onYoutube who styled their baby girls' hair using a vacuum. He snapped me out of that reverie with an accusation: "You were supposed to get her hair trimmed. Knew I should have done it myself!"
As he was escorting her to the still phtoograhy session, he mouthed to me , " Next time, the fancy velvet dress. That's what we should have done this time." Maybe if I'm lucky, I'll redeem myself and get a chance to be her back up stylist. That's if I can remember to prepare the caviar treatment for her follicles.