Friday, July 1, 2011

The Next Chapter in the "My Child is Going to be a Model" Saga

Believe it or not, I had never been to New York City before this week's trip to take the next step in Belle's modeling/acting career. It was pretty amazing to see places and buildings I'd experienced prior only in books, magazines, television, movies, and so on.

I had to go into my classroom Monday morning to finish cleaning up. I wasn't able to do my usual trick of just stuffing everything into closets and file cabinets because I'm moving classrooms (not sure if I've mentioned here that I'm going to be teaching high school again next year ... no more middle school, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!), so the extra time was necessary.

Anyway, when I got home, my mother and Belle were ready to rock, and the cooler was packed with sandwiches and snacks.

It took us over five hours to reach our hotel. It wasn't a bad drive, other than getting stuck in traffic in Connecticut for what fell like hours. Eventually, however, we could see the George Washington Bridge, and somehow my mother drove into downtown Manhattan without getting lost once.

We were on the forty-fourth floor of the hotel, and the elevator was pretty intense. Its walls were covered with murals of the hotel's amenities and local sights, and it moved so quickly that my ears popped.

Once we reached the room, Belle and I went straight to the window to look down. It was quite a view.
Belle sat at the window munching on goldfish while my mother and I unpacked and organized and such. She kept calling out what she was seeing, including a giant DirecTV blimp and, most entertaining of all, "I think there's a taxi convention going on here!" That kid cracks me up!
We decided to go for a walk and eventually found ourselves at Central Park. Along the way, we got some postcards and a t-shirt for Addie (who'd stayed home with the dogs because she had rehearsal), and I bought a knock-off Gucci purse.

My mother is a very well-traveled woman, but she had never been to Central Park before. I think she was more giddily excited about this particular landmark than Belle or I, which was quite amusing.

When we got back to the hotel, we went to the club member lounge (my mother is a gold preferred something-or-other for the chain) for cocktails and hors d'oeuvre. Belle ran to a row of chairs looking out huge windows at the city, and I couldn't get over how enthralled she was.

After we finished our drinks, the three of us went for a walk and finally stopped for dinner (and very incredibly yummy cheesecake) at Lindy's.

When we got back to the hotel, I read Belle her story and we all fell asleep pretty quickly after that. The next morning, we found that the club member lounge had a Starbucks Keurig kind of thing, which I was thrilled about (my mother not so much ... she thinks drinking Starbucks is pretentious), and of course juice and bagels and fruit and such.

Preparing Belle for her meeting was quite a procedure, especially since she was in rare form.

Eventually, however, she was clean and her hair had been blow-dried, but then we were left with a conundrum. When my mother had gone to get Belle new shoes the day before, she'd found an adorable striped dress with a ladybug on it. Her impulse buy left us trying to decide whether to go with the original choice or the new one, and we were all getting a bit stressed out about it.

The solution? Facebook. I posted pics of both dresses and begged my Facebook friends for feedback asap.
The original dress won the straw poll, so Belle was decked out in fishies when the doorman hailed a taxi for us.

Riding in a New York City cab is an experience I will never forget. I also suspect it's not one I'll repeat any time soon. In fact, eventually I pretty much had to close my eyes or I was going to have a heart attack.
We were half an hour early for our appointment, but we went in anyway. Belle was making faces and being in general the ham that she is while we were waiting.

And then, once we were called in, my little girl that views every part of life a great adventure, the child who never stops talking (I've seriously considered duct tape at times), the kid who puts on "shows" on a daily basis and wowed professional photographers from L.A. with her poise and personality just a few months ago, froze.

It's like Belle took a shy pill or something ... I've never seen her like that before. She was, like, a wallflower. She wouldn't make eye contact with the agent, she whispered monosyllabic responses, and she chewed on her fingernails.

The agent told us she was beautiful, but she was hesitant to sign her because Belle was so timid. If you know Belle, the notion of her being timid has to have you laughing. Anyway, she gave us her card and said she'll be in touch.

So it was not exactly a raging success in terms of furthering the career, but it was a learning experience.

We are in contact with other agents, so now that we know how this sort of meeting will progress, we can prepare Belle (she still wants to continue with this ... I was kind of hoping this would turn her off, but no such luck). We hadn't made a big deal about this meeting being important or reviewed her monologues or anything, so I think we'll be better prepared when we return to the great city.

We unanimously agreed to walk back to the hotel instead of going the taxi route, and Belle immediately reverted to form. She started chattering non-stop, skipping down sidewalks, and in general being beautiful, vivacious, funny, adorable.

Oh, and photogenic, as evidenced by her Times Square run-in with Mickey Mouse.

So, in a nutshell, this particular trip to NYC was more educational than anything else. We'll be going back soon, and I think Belle will be much better prepared. We'll also be staying longer, plus Addie will be with us so Belle won't be stressed about missing her sister.

I had a blast, though ... and so did my little princess, which is of course the most important thing.

Are Minorities Discouraged from Taking Upper-Level Classes?: The Elephant in the Room

As a public school teacher for sixteen years, I sometimes feel like I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen Standards come and go (and despite the brou...