Picture Perfect

A Household Word
By Carol Band

I continue to provide fodder for the tabloids. If only they were paying attention!

We've all seen the photos of bad celebrity parents. Michael Jackson dangled his newborn son over a balcony. Britney Spears drove with her 4-month-old on her lap and crocodile hunter, Steve Irwin, held his infant in one hand and fed raw chicken to a gigantic croc with the other. Shudder.

All of these stories make me feel pretty darn smug about my own parenting skills. Of course, I don't have the paparazzi following me around 24/7. Good thing, because if I did, I'm pretty sure that my kids would be wards of the state. Not that I'm a bad mother, but I have had a few mommy moments that are probably better left undocumented.

Two weeks before my due date, I went to my cousin's wedding. The best man offered up a toast and I took a sip (OK, maybe two) of champagne. I had been alcohol-, aspirin- and caffeine-free throughout my pregnancy. I only ate organic food. I made my husband change the litter box, pump the gasoline and do the heavy lifting. I avoided saunas, secondhand smoke and sushi. I stopped dying my hair! I was a saint and I was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. The baby already had its fingers and toes and probably most of its brain cells. I didn't want to insult the bride and groom by not raising my glass and wishing them well, and I knew that having a few sips of champagne couldn't hurt. But, if the photogs from the tabloids had been there, they would have shot a close-up of me with the glass to my lips and the headlines would have announced: "Band and Baby Booze it Up!"

Once I gave birth, the photo opportunities increased. Once (OK, maybe two or three times) my daughter fell asleep in her carseat on the way home from the grocery store. Rather than wake her up to bring her inside, I parked in the driveway, cracked the windows and let her finish her nap in the minivan. I could watch her from the living room window and run to the car the minute she woke up. Still, if the paparazzi had been lurking behind the garage, the caption accompanying the photo of my kid crying in the car would have read: "Band Abandons Baby in Backseat!"

I continue to provide fodder for the tabloids. If only they were paying attention! I sent my oldest son to his first day of kindergarten with a full-blown case of the chicken pox "A Pox on Band!" And when my daughter broke her finger, I thought she was being dramatic, so I didn't take her to the doctor for two days ... "Band Gives Doc the Finger!" This week alone, I neglected to pack my 11-year-old a bag lunch for a school field trip "Band Starves Son!," and I completely missed the deadline to sign up for fall soccer "Band Drops the Ball!"

Turns out, I'm no better than Britney. Fortunately, there aren't any pictures to prove it.